ROH: The Era of Honor Begins (02.2002)


ROH: The Era of Honor Begins
February 23, 2002
Philadelphia, PA
Murphy Rec Center

If the name didn’t give it away, this is the first-ever Ring of Honor show. The original idea was that ROH would take the best of the American independent wrestling scene and put them all onto a mega huge super show once a month. But it’s not going to be like all the other sportz entertainment bullcrap promotions that the mainstream companies have jammed down your throats for the past five years. ROH also refuses to give our fans the outdated insulting gimmicks that we saw from a decade ago. In fact, the wrestlers here must abide by a code of honor in order to remain in this promotion. What could go wrong, AMIRITE?

Before anything gets started, we see Da Hit Squad hyping ROH to the tour buses coming in from NYC and Boston.

Your hosts are Donnie B and Steve Corino.

  • Da Hit Squad vs. The Christopher Street Connection (w/some hag)

In case you didn’t know and believe it or not northeastern US, not everybody knows everything about New York City, Christopher Street is synonymous with the homosexual community. In fact, these two dudes are the most flamboyant gays you have ever seen. They make Billy and Chuck look like Riggs and Murtaugh. They are literally leading the parade with feather boas and kissing each other. One of these guys even kisses a fan. Philadelphia isn’t exactly giving these guys a warm reception. Shocking, right? When they start MAKING OUT, Da Hit Squad hit the ring and destroy these two with suplexes and lariats. Corino – “German Suplex on the top of his gay head!” Total and complete squash on the CSC. Burning Hammer to Mase ends it all. (2:00) So there’s your answer to the question who was in the first-ever ROH match. Entertaining, but totally un-PC in 2014. Afterwards, the nameless hag gets a powerbomb through a table. ½*

  • The Amazing Red vs. Jay Briscoe (w/Mark Briscoe)

At the time, these guys were so young that neither man could legally buy alcohol in the United States. They could go kill people in a land far away, but NO ALCOHOL THOUGH. Series of mat wrestling that leads to stalemates to start. Briscoe finally has enough as he throws Red to the floor. Back inside, they trade dropkicks on each other. Briscoe extends his hand for a shake and cheapshots Red in the face. Boooooo. Red fires back with a corkscrew enziguri, but Briscoe blocks a tornado DDT with a nasty kneeling Muscle Buster neckbreaker. He takes forever to cover and only gets two. Red tries to fight off the J-DRILLER as best he can, but it’s inevitable. Cover, 1-2-NO! Red gets his foot on the bottom rope. Jay gets crotched up top as Red tries some silly springboard only for Briscoe to spear him in mid-air. Three-Quarter Nelson Suplex connects, but Red avoids the Flying Senton. He delivers some kind of a flying corkscrew moonsault legdrop. RED STAR PRESS! Red picks up the three-count. (8:31) Being the first “scheduled” ROH match, this much more exemplifies the direction Ring of Honor is looking to project. A little sloppy in places, but a fairly exciting contest all the same. **½

Low Ki welcomes us to Ring of Honor. He’s not here to prove he’s the best, he’s not here to claim that this is the gospel, he’s only here to prove that it’s not the size of the fighter but the size of the fight he will bring. All I can think of when he’s talking is how I just remembered he was in WWE once.

Elsewhere, the Natural Born Sinners Homicide and Boogalou are hanging out in their sketchy Brooklyn neighborhood that looks demolished. It’s where he used to sell drugs and do drive-bys. You know, gang activity. They plan to bring the streets to Ring of Honor, yo. Boogalou finds a rubber chicken where Homicide’s mom used to cook. You don’t get it. IT’S A METAPHOR.

Somewhere backstage, Xavier tells some kid to keep his chin up. Apparently, he won’t be wrestling on the show or something.

Scoot Andrews tells us that 2002 is going to HIS year. We’ll see about that.

  • Xavier vs. Scoot Andrews

They show us some hammerlock exchanges to start. Nothing too outstanding. After that, they slam one another and kick them away. Pretty fresh for 2002, but nothing too interesting today. Andrews blocks a tilt-a-whirl headscissors with a facebuster and connects with a dropkick for two. Moving on, Xavier accidently dumps Andrews on his head. He fires back with a Spinebuster out of the corner. Slow cover gets two. They trade chops, but then Andrews drills Xavier with a clothesline. Xavier avoids a flying legdrop and connects with a wicked forearm smash for two. Knee strikes in the corner lead to a back suplex for another nearfall. Andrews blocks a sunset flip and pulls Xavier up off the mat into a reverse DDT. Nice! FORCE OF NATURE by Andrews! Cover, 1-2-NO! Xavier finds the bottom rope. Andrews argues with ref John Finnegan instead of capitalizing on Xavier. FORCE OF NATURE gets countered to the X BREAKER. Xavier covers Andrews and picks up the win. (10:06) With Andrews having more experience than most of the guys here on the show, this was probably the smoothest wrestling outside of maybe the two main events. Andrews considers avoiding the handshake, but thinks better of it and raises Xavier’s arm out of respect. **

  • The Natural Born Sinners vs. The Boogie Knights

The Boogie Knights are not Alex Wright and Disco Inferno. They are Danny Drake and Mike Tobin – two New Yorker types trying to get heat from the Philly crowd. Homicide and Boogalou wear the orange jumpsuits to show how crazy they are. Homicide wears a Michael Myers mask while Boogalou has a Hannibal Lecter mask and carries a chainsaw with him. Just so many gimmicks. Boogalou tries to rip these guys arms off to start. Homicide tags in and whips Drake into a Wig Splitter (exploder suplex) from Boogalou. Double-team powerbomb onto Homicide’s knee sends shivers up and down Drake’s spine. To the floor, Homicide nails Drake with a Tope Con Hilo while he’s sitting in a chair. Homicide’s fall splits apart the barricade. Tobin shows off with a pescado on the Natural Born Sinners, but it’s hardly enough to stop these guys. Back inside, Homicide double stomps Drake. Finally, Tobin tags in, but there’s not much these guys can do. Tobin eats an ACE CRUSHER by Homicide. Drake receives a clothesline-aided Tiger Suplex by the NBS. Homicide gets the rubber chicken and starts whacking Tobin and Drake for the weak DQ. (7:34) Well now our first DQ is out of the way. They looked so strong here though, I would have rather seen an actual deadly finish I know these two are capable of doing. Otherwise, a pretty fun extended squash. For DQ’ing the Natural Born Sinners, the ref gets beaten up and bloodied. COP KILLA to the ref! *½

It looks like Drake and Tobin arm themselves with baseball bats. Probably not such a bad idea.

Elsewhere, the Christopher Street Connection whine about their beatings backstage. When they wonder why they are here in Ring of Honor, one of the guys gets all hot and bothered when they see Spanky dancing around in the locker room.

  • Elimination Match: The SAT vs. Amazing Red vs. Divine Storm vs. Brian XL

Mikey Whipwreck is the special guest referee. All of these guys except for Brian XL are students under Mikey. You have got to be kidding me if you think I’m going to do a strict recap for this one. It’s just all action for fifteen minutes. They do a bunch of missile dropkicks and then they do a bunch of tope suicidas and planchas. Once that’s over, they do a crazy tower of doom spot in the middle of the ring that makes no sense. Brian XL shows off his cockiness trying to pin one of the Maximos with one foot. Brian XL then does a standing moonsault off the guys chest. Next thing you know, he’s caught in a Crippler Crossface. The SAT and Red rule the ring for a while until Red gets pinned by Jose after a backslide at 10:00. Quiet Storm lands the SPINAL SHOCK on Brian XL and Divine covers him for the next elimination at 10:28. The SAT deliver the SPANISH FLY to Divine. While one of the Maximos is pinning Divine, Storm gives the other Maximo a bridging German suplex for a double-pin. That Storm kid REALLY loved Chris Benoit. It’s now down to Joel Maximo and Quiet Storm. After some silly submissions are traded, Storm calls out his finisher, which surprises Donnie B that he’s actually talking. STORM! CRADLE! DRIVER! Whatever, dude. Joel blocks the move and drills him with a lariat. Sloppy pumphandle driver by Joel gets two. Storm has clearly watched too much Japan. He nails Joel with some sort of wheelbarrow facebuster and Joel gets pinned. (14:56) Cool story bro. These guys still have a ways to go. *½

In the locker room, the cameraman gets up in the faces of the Natural Born Sinners, but they want him to leave.

Rob Feinstein gets this next match planned seemingly on the fly. Knowing what we know now, this is so creepy. Towel Boy is Eric Tuttle who looks no older than 16, but he’s actually 19 at this point. He’s more well known for his time in CZW than anything else.

  • Prince Nana vs. The Towel Boy

Before the match, Towel Boy wipes down the ropes one more time. Prince Nana bum rushes the show and beats him up from corner to corner. DOUBLE ARM SUPLEX is enough to take out Towel Boy in :53. He’s knocked out, but that doesn’t mean Nana can’t still shake his hand.

  • Michael Shane & Oz vs. Spanky & Ikaika Loa

These are all Texas Wrestling Academy guys. The winning team gets a contract with Ring of Honor. Spanky and Oz start us off with wristlocks and armdrags. Spanky shows off his crazy character a little bit. Loa and Shane tag into the match. Shane dominates with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a suplex. Spanky tags in and gets up in Shane’s face. They trade shots on each other followed by some armdrags. Shane catches a leapfrog for a powerslam for two. Shane knocks Loa off the apron and climbs to the top turnbuckle, but then gets shoved down. Tag to Loa, he pounds on Shane and whips him from corner to corner. Back to Spanky, he works the back for a moment with a bow and arrow. Double KO ensues. Loa cuts off the tag to Oz with a back suplex on Shane. He puts Shane up in the corner for a possible back superplex, but Loa takes an elbow back down to the mat. Missile dropkick by Shane leads to the tag to Oz. He muscles Spanky around because Spanky is good for that sort of thing. Shane sneaks in with a Flying Elbow on Spanky. Cover by Oz, 1-2-NO! Is the name Oz a rib on HBK’s good friend Kevin Nash? What’s the deal there? Anyways, the match breaks down and Spanky does the moonsault kick off Shane in the corner. Oz takes out Spanky with a bridging German suplex for two. Double Flapjack and a double STF to Loa, but Spanky saves the day with a dropkick for them both. SLICED BREAD #2 to Oz gets shoved off into the SUPERKICK from Shane. Cover by Oz, 1-2-NO! Spanky flips out of a back suplex and hits SLICED BREAD #2 on the second try for the 1-2-3. (12:30) Not bad for a couple students. Shane and Spanky are clearly the standouts here. Is Spanky’s music Christian Aguilera? **½

In the back, Super Crazy helps Mikey Whipwreck yell at his students since they can’t seem to get along.

Elsewhere, the ref during the Natural Born Sinners match talks to somebody on the phone. He tells the guy he’s talking to about the butt kicking he got. He expected better from the Ring of Honor. Well, FCK PAYING DUES. It’s time for people to see the real him. Who are you? In fact, it’s time for people to see the real “us”. He then gets off the phone and throws his ref shirt away.

  • IWA-PR Intercontinental Championship: Eddie Guerrero vs. Super Crazy

This is Eddie in between WWF firings for his pain killer and alcohol addictions. We are also crowning the first champion here as this is a new title for IWA Puerto Rico. ROH tries to bill this as a dream match, but this matchup would be at the end of a long list for me. Maybe for Philly fans this is a dream match. Not caring about the rules of Ring of Honor, Eddie slaps Super Crazy across the face when Super Crazy offers a handshake. Guerrero shows Super Crazy what wrestling is all about with a snapmare and twisting his boot on his face. Back elbow and suplex gets two. Eddie tries to slow things down with a headlock, but Super Crazy wants to move. Guerrero wins a slugfest and hits a back suplex to grab a chinlock. Super Crazy escapes and hits a big series of lucha armdrags. Ten-count corner punch knocks Eddie silly. As Guerrero will do, he likes to bait his opponents in making mistakes. While Eddie is on the floor, Crazy heads to the apron for something and gets his feet pulled out from under him. Guerrero then posts Super Crazy and gives him a BRAINBUSTER ON THE FLOOR. Back inside, the Hilo gets two. Eddie stretches Super Crazy for a few moments, but Crazy fires back with a running dropkick as they start running the ropes. Springboard Moonsault by Crazy gets two. Missile dropkick gets two as well. Eddie stops Crazy up top and hits a super headscissors for two. Crazy nails Guerrero with a spinning heel kick, but then Eddie comes right back with his NASTY disgusting Powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker leads to back to back Brainbusters. FROG SPLASH misses, but Eddie rolls across the ring. Crazy charges Eddie and applies a tilt-a-whirl into a small package for the upset win and the title. (10:43) Pretty sure everyone was shocked there. You got your IWA Puerto Rico IC belt, but Eddie would return to the WWF in five weeks and start going after Rob Van Dam and the REAL IC belt. Fun little carry job here as Eddie clearly made Crazy look as good as he could. Afterwards, they show each other respect. Crazy gets a little time to pose with the new belt. ***

In the back, Christopher Daniels sees Eddie Guerrero and Super Crazy walking by. He doesn’t seem all that impressed.

  • Christopher Daniels vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Low-Ki

All three guys try to do this one-on-one to start and it just doesn’t happen. The guy not included will break up the collar and elbow every time. Daniels is able to suplex Low Ki away and goes after Danielson. He gives Danielson a suplex into the tree of woe and sets him up for a running dropkick from Low Ki, which may or may not have been intended for Daniels. Low Ki lands a Rolling Koppou Kick and starts kicking Daniels while he’s on his knees. Danielson breaks it up with CATTLE MUTILATION. Daniels then breaks up the hold and starts slamming the guys on top of each other. He applies an interesting Boston crab and camel clutch hold on the two guys. Daniels can only rule these two for a very short time though. Danielson starts chopping the crap out of Low Ki and Daniels. He applies a Muta Lock and chicken wings the arms instead of pulling back on Daniels’ head. Low Ki kicks Danielson in the thigh and kicks him down while Danielson still has the toehold on Daniels. Eventually, Danielson blocks the kick and lifts Low Ki over into a Northern Lights suplex while he’s still got Daniels in the toehold. Crowd loves it. This leads to the plethora of kicks to Christopher Daniels as Low Ki and Danielson try to outdo each other. Once they miss Daniels and kick their own shins, Daniels takes control on these two. He hits a neckbreaker-DDT combo on Low Ki and Danielson. Double pin does not score the three-count. Daniels gets slammed off the top by the other two and then they send him down with STEREO YAKUZA KICKS. Danielson and Low Ki start kicking each other again. Low-Ki tries a tilt-a-whirl on Daniels, but then Daniels passes him onto Danielson for a sweet spinning DDT.

Tidal Wave from Low Ki to Daniels! Slow cover gets two. Up in the corner, Low Ki interrupts an abdominal stretch on Danielson and applies the HANGING DRAGON CLUTCH on Daniels. Danielson looks for the Cattle Mutilation on Low Ki, but Low Ki roundhouse kicks him back into the Blue Thunder Driver from Daniels for 1-2-NO! Back over to the corner, we get a cool three-man tower of doom spot. Leg swing DDT and the Dragon Suplex from the American Dragon on Daniels gets 1-2-NO! No KI KRUSHER, but Low Ki does apply the DRAGON CLUTCH to Danielson. Daniels breaks up the hold and hits the Uranage to set up the BME on Low Ki. Cover, 1-2-NO! Danielson gets wiped out with a lariat from Daniels, but then Low Ki lands the Tidal Crush in the corner! Danielson then knocks Low Ki to the apron and works Daniels down to the mat for CATTLE MUTILATION! Meanwhile, Low Ki heads up top and hits Danielson with the Phoenix Splash to break up the hold! Now with Danielson done, Low Ki grabs Daniels and delivers the KI KRUSHER for the win. (20:06) This is one of the earliest examples of the three-way dance done correctly. It no longer meant that one opponent stayed on the floor while the other two fought it out. This proved that the three-way dance could include all three guys at the same time and it could be entertaining and come off looking like a mess. If you think about it, even tag matches are one-on-one matches. The biggest difference is you have somebody to tag out to and you have more possibilities for bigger spots, but I don’t recall a time before (and I’m not an expert on the independents) where this was done better or deemed more important than with this match. ****½

Final Thoughts: You will want to seek out the main event. The Eddie Guerrero match is interesting because we’re so used to seeing him in bigger atmospheres, so it’s almost surreal to see him wrestling in a Philadelphia gym when you know this guy should be in a WWF ring. The main event is really good, but I’m not a firm believer in that a main event can save a whole show. It’s not an outright bad show, but there’s a ton of greenness on the rest of the show. Heck, I’ll give The Era of Honor Begins a thumbs up. What’s it going to hurt?

Posted on May 5, 2015, in ROH and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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