ROH: Death Before Dishonor
***Special K comes out with a bunch of girls and start to have a rave in the ring. The announcers go to elaborate lengths to point out it was only “7:03” and the show didn’t start till “7:30.” Some of these chicks were actually pretty hot. Maybe this also explains why the greatest group in wrestling (in my eyes) is seen as heels, because they get the girls. Think about it.
***Samoa Joe is stretching backstage and some tool comes over to ask him questions. Apparently this guy is Gary Michael Cappeta, who you may remember from WCW back in the day. I always found it odd how people who were never really that good can keep going from job to job to job. I currently have to watch my San Diego Chargers be ruined by Marty Schottenheimer but at least can be satisfied that the Raider’s one upped them by taking Norv Turner. Shouldn’t you actually have some accomplishments to earn a lifetime of second chances? Anyhoo, Capetta talks tonight about being a special moment for Paul London. In a really intense moment Samoa Joe says he is sick and tired of being an afterthought. “This is my title reign. This is my moment!” I’m really getting into Samoa Joe the character although I’m really not sold on him as the wrestler. And you know there is something wrong with Capetta when he makes Michael Cole look cool.
***Special K’s rave is still going on in the ring. While this is one of my favorite parts of the show, it must have seemed like death to some people in the crowd. I was talking to one of the guys on the Torch and he hates, he absolutely HATES Special K’s music. I happen to love it and downloaded it off ROH’s website, but all I could think about was what it must have been like to listen to it for 30 minutes if you couldn’t stand it. Oh well, I had to suffer through a reggae concert for a friends birthday once with the band Oleander playing literally right next door, so I feel your pain. How many sons did Bob Marley have anyway? The Dudley’s in ECW had less members.
***Tool Capetta now runs into Homicide, Julius Smokes and SOME GUY. Capetta wants to know what happened in a closed door meeting between Homicide and Low-Ki. He is told to get bent. The King of Old School is brought up and Homicide demands a strong style match with him. I’m understand more why Julius is with Homicide because “The H” kinda has a girlish voice when doing promos. Not Mike Tyson girlish, but definitely an octave or two below what we are used to hearing from pro-wrestlers. This is not to say that Homicide couldn’t kill me in less than 5 seconds. And I will also note that Smokes was 32% less annoying here than during Wrath of the Racket.
***The rave is still going on inside the ring when ring announcer Stephen Deangelis comes in only to get goofed on by Special K. The techno stops and ‘It’s Raining Men’ starts playing as the Christopher Street Connection comes out. Gigantic crowd chant here of “YOU SUCK DICK!” To which Buffy hilariously responds, “But can anyone tell me if we spit or swallow?” I don’t care who you are, that’s funny. After a bit of smack talking, Special K jumps the CSC and the rave quickly starts back up.
***Then, in one of the greatest moments I have ever seen and is EXACTLY WHY WRESTLING CAN BE SO GOD DAMN COOL, the lights go down and Low-Ki’s music plays. The crowd went absolutely ape-shit. Keep in mind this isn’t the lame Low-Ki you’ve seen in TNA, this is the F---ing PSYCHO Low-Ki. I think to give it proper perspective to a WWE-only fan would be to say, “Remember back to the Al Wilson wedding? What if during that god-awful debacle it was asked if anyone objected to the wedding and Kurt Angle’s music hit? Follow that with Angle, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas coming to the ring with Your Olympic Hero shooting a promo on how this wedding was everything he hated about wrestling. The three would then destroy the fake chapel and Al Wilson to thunderous applause.”
Anyhoo, just about everyone in the ring bails out when Low-Ki enters and it looked like people jumping off the Titantic. This is how you book a monster. Seriously, the WWE would have kept everyone in the ring staring at Low-Ki. Cloudy, Hi-Jinx and Deranged stay to confront Low-Ki. Cloudy immediately gets the taste slapped out of his mouth and sells it like he was shot. Hi-jinx was laughing at Cloudy’s predicament and in a good bit, Low-Ki mockingly laughed as well, right before snapping a Dragon Clutch onto Hi-Jinx. This was a all a giant segue into…
(1) Low-Ki beat Deranged. Deranged gets some offense in by low-blowing Low-Ki and also working on a shoulder that the announcers sold was hurt at Ki’s last ROH show. Otherwise it was just Ki killing Deranged dead, including a series of kicks that make Tajiri’s look like shit. This was insane. I’ve seen UFC fights that don’t look that stiff. The finish came after Ki picked up Deranged and hit him with the Krush Rush, followed by the Ki Krusher (wow!) which went right into a Dragon Clutch.
Now THAT is how you start a F---ing show!
True story. After watching Wrath of the Racket, I was completely jakked about going to Chicago to see ROH first hand in April if only to see Deranged in person. I’m going on and on and one about Special K and Deranged to fellow Torch Scribe Keith Lipinski and he tells me, “Derek, Deranged doesn’t work for ROH anymore.”
SCANDALOUS! I’m going to have to start a grass roots campaign to get Deranged back into ROH
***Christopher Daniels is on the phone “in Japan” with Allison Danger. He tells her to offer a Prophecy spot to someone. After the call he shoots a promo taking credit for ROH’s success, which was pretty damn good. Shouldn’t there be a time difference between Japan and New Jersey?
(2) Matt Stryker beat Jimmy Rave. I’m a big fan of Jimmy Rave and I think I’m supposed to see something in Stryker, but I don’t. The guy has a great look but I just don’t feel a connection to him at all. Like Billy Kidman in the WWE he comes across too bland for me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is ROH and wrestling is supposed to be ‘the only thing’ but this is also an entertainment medium. You can get away with being bland in MMA because if you kick someone’s ass you are going to be seen as a talent. It doesn’t matter whether you are truly tough in wrestling, the preconceived notion is that it’s fake anyway, so you need to rise above that. For the most part the only “sizzle” Chris Benoit has is one of the worst wrestling t-shirts ever made (and think what that is saying), but in the ring he shows an intensity that is second to none. Matt Stryker does not have that intensity. A decent match between the two that ended when Stryker hit the Death Valley Driver.
(3) The Texas Wrestling Academy beat The Carnage Crew Well, you know this isn’t the WWE because Hell would freeze over before Vince McMahon would put wrestlers from another promotion ahead of his own regulars. He made DDP job to Sara Undertaker for God’s sake. Anyhoo, this was a Pier 6 brawl and because it wasn’t an “ROH sanctioned” match or something the Code didn’t apply. Total ECW-like hardcore stuff with it being impossible to follow everything that was going on. It’s almost mind-blowing that this Justin Credible was the same guy who was on Heat every week. Masada did this insane move in which I wrote in my notes, “German suplex by Masada to Fast Eddie off the top rope through a chair!” I’m now thinking I must have imagined that spot because I remember thinking that Fast Eddie would be dead, yet I saw him at Wrath of the Racket. The announcers pushed hardway that Fast Eddie is legally blind, which I think means he can drive a car as well as your average woman. Hotstuff Hernandez picks up the win for the Texas crew after a nasty looking powerbomb. Wild stuff that doesn’t bore you to tears like most WWE/TNA “hardcore” brawls.
(4) The Purists beat The Outcast Killaz. The purists are Tony Mamaluke, who I remember from the FBI in ECW along with a WCW run, and John Walters, who I’ve never heard of. They had a really cool theme that started like music you would hear in The Godfather that segued into club-like music. How TNA has more than one CD of their un-listenable themes while ROH has yet to make one is beyond me. Call me crazy, but I really like Mamaluke, I can’t even explain why other than he might be legit nuts. I also liked how before and after the match Walters would shake hands but Mamaluke just blew off the Killaz. Crazy finish came with a tag-team submission move that I can only describe as one guy doing a Crossface while the other applies a Sharpshooter.
***After the match the Ring Crew Express (Dunn and Marcos) come to the ring to explain why they can “Rock you like a Hurricane.” I wonder if they got all those 80’s hair band t-shirts from the closet of Wade Keller? C’mon, you gotta believe Wade was into Poison like nobody’s business. Out comes Xavier, a former ROH World Champ who’s been gone for a while. Xavier DESTROYS Dunn and Marcos, announcing his placement in the mysterious Field of Honor.
(5) Tom Carter beat Doug Williams. The announcers hyped ad nauseum that these two were having a match “just because.” No feud between them, just something that ROH does “for the fans” I guess. Sounds a lot like the WWE’s booking for all their secondary TV shows. Tons of matwork that I’m sure was great if that’s your thing. Carter wins with a rollup. I found out after the show that Carter is the very same Reckless Youth I’ve been reading about in the sheets for seemingly forever.
***Backstage Allison Danger is on the phone with Christopher Daniels. I really need to get her cell phone plan as she’s talking to a guy in Japan and I can barely call my friends in the next town without being charged an arm and a leg. I guess the Prophecy must use Nextel. Danger says she will get Carter to join the group, but when she asks he basically blows her off. My experience with hot chicks is that when you blow them off they get REALLY pissed.
***Next up is CM Punk, who shoots a promo on Raven saying he is no better than a dog. This was the most important night of Punk’s life as he recounts a moment of clarity he had. Punk talks about a time his dad drank so much he passed out and threw up. Punk tells how he watched the “life fade from his father” but ended up turning him over and cleared out his mouth. He said he hated the man, but it was his father. They then flash back to CM Punk strangling Raven with a chain but also letting him go. This is one hell of a promo. Want to know just ONE of the reason TNA SUCKS DONKEY BALLS? Well over there CM Punk has someone doing his promos for him! Have Jim Mitchell talk for Abyss, not CM Punk. All of a sudden Colt Cabana comes over holding the dog collar chain. CM Punk FLIPS OUT and is tired of Cabana’s Abbot & Costello act, he shortly storms off.
***Cabana takes this time to shoot a much watch promo as he introduces himself as, “Hi, I’m Colt Cabana, you might remember me from such ROH videos such as….” Total Troy McClure stuff. CLASSIC~! Cabana talks about himself in the third person and says he reminds himself of “a modern day Dave Collier.” Cabana finishes by talking about his upcoming four way match and the fact he will put the trophy on the “Cabana mantle” right next to his hop-scotch championship. Solid gold.
(6) BJ Whitmer beat Colt Cabana & Homicide (w/Julius Smokes) & Dan Maff in a #1 Contender’s Trophy Match. I’m reminded of how good theme music can really help a wrestler’s entrance by seeing Cabana come out to Barry Manilow’s “Coca Cabana” and Whitmer to Stone Temple Pilots “Down.” Compare this to the RAW show I watched on Monday that had Chris Jericho coming out to his song from WWE The Originals. It won’t be long before Victoria’s cool licensed song is replace with some horrible Jim Johnson original. This is probably the best four way match I have ever seen. You can tell there is heat between Maff and Homicide, which the announcers explained was because “The H” trained Maff and felt betrayed when he joined The Prophecy. I need to see how this shit went down. This gets even better after the match when Maff spits into Homicide’s hand.
I was only half sold on Whitmer while watching his match against Samoa Joe in Wrath of the Racket, but he really impressed me here. This was like a cool X-Division match in TNA except it actually made sense. Whitmer won the match and trophy with an Exploder off the top rope. Everyone made a big deal about him getting a title shot, which was a nice touch.
***Christopher Daniels is on the phone again. He had no idea Xavier was coming back. Soon after he shoots a promo and says Xavier coming back was all in the master plan of the Prophecy. I’m really enjoying how ROH did some of these skits that actually made some sense out of why cameras would catch people saying things instead of a lot of TNA/WWE skits which just remind you to check your brain at the door (see current Nidia storyline.)
***Tool Capetta interviewed Low Ki who said that Special K disrespected the Code of Honor which was why he had to destroy them.
(7) Special K beat The SAT & The Backseat Boyz in a scramble match. ECW mainstay Mikey Whipwreck was with Special K, which makes absolutely no sense to me, but whatever. I thought he retired 2 years ago due to all the concessions. Maybe he forgot he retired. Brain damage will do that to you. Another wild match further establishing Special K as my favorite ROH wrestlers. However, this was the first time I had ever seen Trent Acid and he really did some cool stuff in the match. Match ended after Trent took a Whipper Snapper from Mike. Special K wins! Special K wins!! The match needs to be seen just to se the “Dream Sequence.” Someone needs to explain to me why The SAT are a big deal because I don’t get it at all. I’m going to bring my own team in and call them The SAT 2. It will be Juvi-Juice and AAA’s Psichosis. Sure, they will no show 8 out of every 10 events, but when they wrestle it will be off the hook.
(8) Jeff Hardy beat Krazy K & Joey Matthews. Now this just wasn’t right. Hardy was being booed even before he was announced. I think for the most part the ROH crowds have been incredible, but this was bullshit. It is laughable to me to hold against a wrestler the fact that he takes drugs when it’s pretty apparently the abuse rate for pro-wrestlers is higher than that of crack-whores. Hardy came out in his Will-O-The-Wisp mask and a Matrix-like jacket. He did “suck it” crotch chops along with the “v1.0” hand signal to further drive the crowd bananas. The announcers comment on how Matthews is doing heel stuff to Hardy, but becoming babyface in the process. Short match which ended after Hardy hit the Swanton Bomb on Krazy K. After the match he put over K as well along with dealing with some obnoxious fans on his way out. This is not like Lex Luger going to TNA and there was no reason for him to have been dogged as much as he was.
(9) CM Punk beat Raven in a dog-collar match. Back when ECW was in its heyday, I was transfixed by Raven and his flock. I felt it was one the most innovative concepts in wrestling.
Flash forward to 2004 and I now think CM Punk has that innovative gimmick (being a straight edge wrestler) and here he is fighting Raven. I’m not the biggest fan of dog collar matches, as like the “coal miner’s glove” matches, I thought the concepts should have stayed in the 70’s. This was actually a lot better than your average chain match though, so I’m not going to complain.
Before the match CM Punk was shooting a promo in the ring and was interrupted in a shouting match with a guy in the crowd, who turned out to be Danny Doring of all people. Jesus, I haven’t seen Danny since he was teaming with Amish Roadkill back in ECW! This was actually great because Punk was taunting the crowd that building didn’t sell alcohol. I’m waiting for a WWE heel to make fun of all the idiots who buy the foam hands. Raven finally comes out and IT’S ON. A brutal match that had Raven kicking Punk’s ass from “pillar to post” as they say. Crowd was eating it up because THAT’S WHAT THEY DO WHEN YOU GIVE THEM A GOOD STORYLINE.
The finish, and this was just amazing, came when the ref was knocked out. Colt Cabana came in and DDT’d Raven. Doring ended up chasing Cabana out of the ring, but this allowed CM Punk to make the cover and get the 1…2…3. This is actually when the match went from “great” to “off the chart.” Instead of the lame wrestling bit of getting a guy’s arms twisted in the ropes, Punk used athletic tape to tie up Raven, almost like a crucifixion. He then went under the ring and brought out a bag which had a six pack of beer. He opened one up and taunted Raven by saying all the torment he had in rehab was for naught and started pouring the beer down Raven’s throat. Who should appear to make the save but TOMMY F---ING DREAMER! Dreamer pounds on Punk
giving time for Raven to untangle himself. Raven then ties up CM Punk. Raven then pours beer down Punks gullet! INSANE~! The former and current star of Heat then shook hands. When Punk was released by the refs he went CRAZY.
That’s what wrestling is all about kids.
That was the end of Disc ONE. Disc TWO starts off with a promo by Paul London. Paul puts over ROH and says it put him “on the map.” During this promo they aired clips of matches and it was honestly more action I have seen from London then in the entire 6 months combined he’s been in the WWE. London talks about his epic matches with Shane Michaels, Bryan Danielson and AJ Styles. Tonight he’s going to win the titles for the fans, “I want to, but I have to.” Trust me, that sounded a hell of a lot cooler than it looks being written here.
***Highlights aired of the last two matches between the Briscoe Brothers and AJ Styles & The Amazing Red. I don’t how to get over how cool these matches looked other than to say I WANT TO SEE THESE MATCHES NOW!
(10) AJ Styles & The Amazing Red (w/Alexis Laree) beat the Briscoe Brothers to retain the ROH Tag Team Titles. Yes, this is the same Alexis Laree that was thrown on SmackDown in a lame bit at the APA office and has never been seen again. This girl was SMOKIN’ here. It’s really a sign of the times that when the announcer read the official weight of the teams (337 lbs and 380 lbs respectively) I was almost in shock. Probably even more shocked because this is wrestling and even THOSE weights are artificially increased a little. This was, quite simply, the greatest tag team match I have ever seen in my life. Impossible to pick out my favorite parts although a double enziguri by Red and Styles was quite the sight. The finish was absolutely wild. Styles and Jay Briscoe were battling in the middle of the ring with AJ on his knees and about to be hit with a move. The Amazing Red runs across the ring and hits Jay with a Shining Wizard using Styles himself as the last stepping point. UNREAL. Styles then
segued that into a Styles Clash, one of the best finishers in wrestling. The announcers hyped that the Briscoe Brothers were only 18 and 19 years old and if that’s legit, JESUS CHRIST! .
***Jim Cornette promo. Classic Cornette here as he starts off saying fans are asking him everywhere he goes why he’s heading to ROH. He says fans approach him at restaurants, the mall and the airport. I can buy the restaurants, but I doubt many fans run into Jim Cornette at an airport. That would be like me saying I once ran into Stephanie McMahon at a William Goldman writing seminar. Anyhoo, Cornette does this great bit where he says he, “smells money” and that’s why he’s going to ROH. He promises to do something so outrageous and despicable that people will never forget it. Cornette closes by parodying The Rock by going, “If you smelllllllllllllllllllll what JC is smelling.”
(11) Samoa Joe beat Paul London to retain the ROH World Title. London came to the ring and the fans really made it seem like he was someone special leaving their group. I can’t believe these are the same people who treated Hardy like crap. When London’s name was announced pre-match a ton of streamers flew into the ring like you would see in Japan. This was awesome and something I don’t think I’ve seen since ECW’s Barely Legal PPV. This was a good match and the announcers put over that it was past midnight at the start of the match, or 10PM in Japan. I’m really getting into Joe’s “Ole Ole Ole” kicks, but considering this crowd was the biggest ever for ROH I would have thought the chants would have been louder. I guess there is also the fact that no one wanted to see London get his head kicked in. I got to give props to Paul for taking a 360 degree bump on a lariat 20 minutes into a brutal match. I seriously can not believe this is the same guy I’ve seen on SmackDown. Samoa latched onto one of his choke holds and London held out for a long time, but ended up passing out giving Joe the victory.
After the match the entire locker-room came to the ring. A gigantic “Thank You Paul!” chant starts in the crowd. Paul gets a mic and the wrestlers go down to one knee when he speaks. In the WWE they would probably put Big Show and Matt Morgan next to him the whole time he talked. London puts over ROH and the fans again and talks about how much the company meant to him. Fantastic stuff that actually makes you feel good to be a wrestling fan. After he shakes and hugs everyone, London is alone in the ring and bows to the ROH logo and kisses it. I can imagine Vince McMahon and all the stars he works with watching this and it’s like the ending of Jerry McGuire when Bob Sugar’s client sees Jerry and Rob Tidwell hugging and asks, “How come we don’t have that type of relationship?”
***Promo by Raven, who’s behind a steel fence. Raven talks about how he has never beaten CM Punk. He wants a cage match and he promises to win “if CM Punk has the sack to face” him.
***The Carnage Crew shoot a goofy promo which ends up with them being pissed at Special K because they are rich. They should probably be more pissed at the hot chicks K hanging and banging with. This made me thing about Deranged not being with ROH again and made me very sad.
***Christopher Daniels shoots one last promo and takes credit for making ROH the company that can sell 1,200 tickets on a hot night in New Jersey. He says he is coming back and has his sights on all the ROH titles.
***CM Punk is backstage, dejected, with Colt Cabana next to him. Rob Feinstein comes over and says he needs five more minutes to fill up the tape. Rob then brings up that Raven challenged Punk to a cage match. CM Punk is livid, knocks over Feinstein and says “anywhere, anytime!” How about 4/24 in Chicago?!!!!
This was, without a doubt, the greatest all around wrestling show I have ever seen. Yow owe it to yourself as a fan to give it a try. You can pick this DVD up by Clicking HERE or by going to
www.ROHwrestling.com and seeing all the other choices they have.
If a wrestling DVD ever deserved a (10.0) -- even without extras -- this is it.
Derek Burgan reviews SmackDown for PWTorch.com along with doing the tremendously successful Cheap Pops! comic strip every Thursday Night. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes any and all comments, except the ones that tell him
the movie "Seabiscuit" is worthy of Oscar consideration.
Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.