ROH: Round Robin Challenge (03.2002)

ROH02

ROH: Round Robin Challenge
March 30, 2002
Philadelphia, PA
Murphy Rec Center

In the locker room, Christopher Daniels says he considers Ring of Honor as just another independent promotion. He says he should know – he’s been in every independent promotion in America. He also disses the code of honor and tells us he’s here to pin shoulders to the mat, not shake hands. Tonight, Christopher Daniels will prove to Bryan Danielson and Low-Ki that he is the best independent wrestler in the USA today. The only thing you can do about it is say your prayers.

Gotta love all the faggy dance music used here in the promos. That’s SOOO Rob Feinstein. Then everything changes to some crappy hardcore music. Riiiight.

We see Da Hit Squad again ready to hype the fans standing outside the Murphy Rec Center on Shunk Street – a couple blocks away from the ECW Arena. Yeah, the ROH fans are SO HYPE now.

Just so there’s no mistaking, here is the Code of Honor. I feel like Gary Michael Capetta should be reading this like he does the Wargames rules in WCW.

Elsewhere in the back, Quiet Storm wants to show Chris Divine how to do a crossface chickenwing. If he hurts Divine, Divine will have to take him outside and show him what it’s like. Well, Quiet Storm puts the hold nice and loose on Divine when Bryan Danielson comes walking by and REALLY shows Chris Divine how a crossface chickenwing feels. BEST IN THE WORLD~!

Your hosts are Donnie B and Steve Corino.

  • Round Robin Challenge: Christopher Daniels vs. Bryan Danielson

Daniels tries to get the quick win to start with a dropkick, but no dice. Danielson wants to *wrestle* and that’s exactly what we get. While they meet on the mat, Danielson does his cool bridges and no-sells anything Daniels can throw at him. We even get to see the YES Lock. Danielson stays with a headlock for a bit. Daniels finally has enough and breaks it off with a back suplex. That one really stunned Danielson and his neck. Dragon fights off a cravat and chops away, but Daniels isn’t falling for such things and elbows Dragon in the neck to knock him down. Daniels crimps on the neck for a while with some well-placed hope spots from Dragon. He eventually nails a belly to belly throw that puts Daniels on his head. The kitchen sink leads to some more strikes, but the whole time Danielson is SELLING THE NECK. This is like a breath of fresh air. Daniels stands his ground to prevent a suplex, which hurts the neck. Dragon drills Daniels with a few elbow strikes and delivers the leg swing suplex. Swandive Headbutt connects! Dragon sells the neck as he rolls onto the cover for two. Daniels fires back with the STO and the BME for 1-2-NO! Dragon lands a few more strikes culminating in a Rolling Elbow for two. Daniels actually wins a slugfest with a running clothesline for a nearfall. Blue Thunder Driver gets two as well. When the CATTLE MUTILATION fails, Dragon tries the RINGS OF SATURN only for Daniels to reach the ropes. Daniels escapes a Dragon Suplex and delivers a piledriver! LAST RITES! Daniels applies a crossface and wrenches back for the tapout! (14:24) I loved this match. What an excellent lesson in ring psychology here. Instead of rendering all of Daniels’ work meaningless and just doing whatever he wanted to anyways, Danielson FOUGHT through the pain and continued the match. That’s a key element in matches that is completely forgotten these days. This month, Daniels is fine shaking the hand of his opponent. Dragon shows him how classy he can be and obliges him. ****¼

In the back, Prince Nana makes Towel Boy shine his boots.

Elsewhere, CW Anderson introduces himself to us. Since there’s no handicap matches in ROH, he is forced to choose a partner. He picks some random ring crew to be his partner for tonight.

  • Da Hit Squad vs. Prince Nana & Towel Boy (w/Simply Luscious)

Da Hit Squad hit the ring once Nana gets “Towel Boy” Eric Tuttle to shine his boots some more. Yes, the only way Eric Tuttle will make it in his business is on his knees. Nana takes a double shoulderblock from DHS. Once he’s in a figure-four, the other behemoth splashes him from the top rope. That leaves Towel Boy to take on DHS by himself. He’s promptly destroyed and pinned with an Orange Crush at 1:50. We see the return of the Christopher Street Connection. They have mini Badd Blasters with them. Before they are close enough to the ring, Eric Tuttle is tossed towards them and Prince Nana. Sorry, Eric! Simply Luscious thinks it’s a good idea to get some revenge on DHS. Since they can’t seem to decide what cool move to do to her, they decide to just toss her onto the fellas as well. WHO WILL STOP DA HIT SQUAD? After Da Hit Squad shake the hands of their opponents, the Christopher Street Connection drag Eric Tuttle with them to the back and attempt mouth to mouth. Prince Nana saves Towel Boy before any molestation could occur. ½*

Elsewhere, the Boogie Knights try and steal the Natural Born Sinners’ chainsaw. When they reach the chainsaw case, there’s only a rubber chicken inside. They hear a chainsaw going off and decide to run for the exit sign. Who can blame them?

In other places, Christian York and Joey Matthews tell us that they will be in full effect tonight against CW Anderson.

  • Christian York & Joey Matthews vs. CW Anderson & Elax

Elax is a useless goofball with a “Got Poop?” t-shirt. He may or may not have done drugs at some point in his young life. CW stands tall against Matthews until there’s a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Such is life. Tag to York, there’s a double dropkick to CW. Elax tags himself in and gets destroyed with a double gourdbuster followed by a double suplex. CW comes in for the save. He superkicks away York and gives Matthews an armbreaker. Back over to CW, he hits Matthews with a hammerlock sitout slam for two. He lets Elax have another go, but the guy can’t keep Matthews contained and has to tag out. CW delivers the Stalling Superplex for 1-2-NO! Matthews gets a desperate neckbreaker and reaches York for a tag. He hits CW with a springboard back elbow. In comes Elax, he’s taken out with a Gory Special and pushed back into the corner. The guy was laughing the whole time. CW gets the Ferris Wheel on York for 1-2-NO! Blidn tag to Matthews, he catches Anderson with a bulldog. Elax manages to take out Matthews with a missile dropkick. Meanwhile, CW delivers the ANDERSON SPINEBUSTER to York! Matthews breaks up the pin even though I thought he was the legal man. Anywho, Anderson gets whipped into Elax to set up the SNAPSHOT finish. (7:07) Considering three of the four guys here were ECW alums, this felt VERY ECW. The commentary got a tad annoying too as they kept mentioning over and over again how ridiculous it was that Anderson could possibly think he could beat York and Matthews by himself. Match was okay; nothing major to mention here. Afterwards, Anderson punishes Elax with an Anderson Spinebuster. *½

In the back, Xavier and James Maritato (you know him best as Nunzio) cut respectful promos on each other.

  • Xavier vs. James Maritato

Xavier has that Barry Bonds swagger about him that most people just hate. You look at him and you feel like he’s never able to give you a genuine compliment. Crowd chants “AC Slater” at him. On the other hand as I mentioned above, we have James Maritato. He wrestled as Little Guido the comedy wrestler in ECW and Nunzio the comedy wrestler in WWE. Despite the comedy, he’s a legit shooter trained by Billy Robinson. No joke. After some arm work, Maritato and Xavier take turns mounting and slapping each other. Nice exchange on the mat as Xavier counters out of a headscissors into a bow and arrow. Maritato escapes and lands on top of Xavier for two. To really turn the tide, Xavier faceplants Maritato from the apron onto the mat. After a series of strikes, Xavier looks for the Stratusphere (the handstand headscissors thing) when Maritato blocks and stretches Xavier out up top. Donnie B mentions that Maritato is a fill-in for Scoot Andrews due to a broken tibia. Meanwhile, Xavier throws Maritato around and hits a Russian legsweep for two. Maritato lands a DDT off Xavier’s shoulders to send him out to the floor. From there comes the SICILIAN SLICE~! To show off his mat skills, Maritato grabs a Muta Lock and attempts a tapout. Xavier tries a cobra clutch, but Maritato uses the corner to escape that hold. Maritato looks for the KISS OF DEATH, but Xavier forces out of that and pins Maritato with a prawn hold. (7:01) Probably would have liked to have seen more mat stuff from Maritato. Hands are shaken and arms are raised. Next match. **

From earlier in the evening, we hear from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission representative. He looks like he may have a DeLorean and actually lives in 1955. He also says he cares about the wrestlers. Spanky is the only one applauding, which is pretty hilarious.

Elsewhere, the Natural Born Sinners tell us they will play some mind games and then KILL the Boogie Knights.

  • The Natural Born Sinners vs. The Boogie Knights

Can the NBS be any more like the Puerto Rican version of the Gangstas right now? They destroy Tobin with a powerbomb on the knee and then the clothesline/dragon suplex combo finish at 2:50. CRAZY! ½*

In the back, Low Ki will make Christopher Daniels respect him by the end of the night.

  • Round Robin Challenge: Low-Ki vs. Christopher Daniels

Low Ki tries to force Daniels to respect him from the very beginning with a ton of strikes. At one point, Daniels gives Low Ki the bird from his knees only to have the bird kicked away and then his head kicked away as well. Awesome. Over in the corner, Low Ki drapes over the top rope and punishes Daniels with a cross armbreaker. Daniels fires back with a couple STOs and a couple suplexes. He hangs Low Ki out to dry and delivers a legdrop for two. Daniels then works a chain of submissions on Low Ki starting with a half crab and ending up in the ropes with a bow and arrow. Falcon Arrow gets two. Uranage sets up the BME, but Low Ki rolls out of the way and hits the Tidal Wave. After they try to hit their finishes, Daniels wins that exchange with the Fall From Grace for two. ANGEL’S WINGS! Cover, 1-2-NO! Low Ki escapes a powerbomb and manages the KI KRUSHER! He’s not able to cover though. Tidal Crush in the corner from Low-Ki. That gets two. More finishers are tried, but Low Ki finds the DRAGON CLUTCH for the tapout. (11:02) Just great back and forth action from these two. Afterwards, Daniels says the tapout doesn’t prove anything. If this wasn’t his second match of the night, there would be no way in hell Low Ki would have won. Daniels says he doesn’t want to wrestle here again until the ROH title is on the line. What ROH title? Anyways, Daniels heads to the back and gets congratulated by Xavier and hated on by everyone else. He walks in on Da Hit Squad and the Natural Born Sinners. They all stand up for Low-Ki, which means trouble for Daniels. He walks out of the dressing room and goes somewhere else. Hey, Spanky is singing. For some reason, the cameraman finds that more interesting. ***½

Earlier in the day, we see the SAT, Quiet Storm, and Amazing Red failing at basketball. The SAT get pissed and walk off when Amazing Red wins again.

  • Paul London vs. Chris Marvel

Before this match gets out of first gear, Marvel breaks his leg REAL bad after London crashes on top of him with an Asai Moonsault. The ref calls for the bell at 2:09. No rating.

While Jay Briscoe starts to cut a promo, Mark asks him if he thinks he’s going to win or not. What a dick!

  • Jay Briscoe (w/Mark Briscoe) vs. Spanky

Feeling out stuff to start. Over to the corner about four minutes in, Spanky counters a superplex with a hotshot. Springboard knee strike and a slow cover gets two. He hits a low dropkick for another two. More basic stuff and nearfalls. Although I will admit the cravat facebuster was pretty cool. He looks for SLICED BREAD #2, but Briscoe shoves him off into the corner for the Slaughter bump to bust him open. Briscoe is on fire, but can’t put Spanky away. Sitout gourdbuster gets two. Spanky flips out of a powerbomb and kicks Briscoe back in the corner. He stands in the opposing corner so the camera can get a good look at his blade job. Tiger Mask moonsault kick to Briscoe, but then Briscoe runs him down with a boot. Jay calls for a Muscle Buster (??), but Spanky dumps out to the floor and delivers a double jump springboard dive. WHAT. Back inside, Spanky hits knees after a flying splash and receives a powerbomb for his troubles, but grabs the bottom rope to prevent the pinfall. Finisher attempts are exchanged, but SLICED BREAD #2 is what connects. Spanky covers for the win. (11:20) For Texas! Mark chastises his big brother for losing again. Some good chain wrestling to start, but the rest of their stuff isn’t as good as I felt on the first viewing. Jay is still not there yet for me. **½

Somewhere sad and sweaty, Gabe Sapolsky and other underlings find a poll on the best Texas Wrestling Academy wrestler on the ROH website. Gabe votes for American Dragon (shocker!) along with 64% of the other voters.

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

Well this is probably the match I was looking forward to the least. Very sloppy and highly choreographed match here. There’s no build to any of the high impact moves and they are just dropping bombs on each other that have no meaning whatsoever. Amazing Red is the most popular of the six and will have the most success out of everyone here. Skipping ahead, he does the RED STAR PRESS off one of the Maximos onto Quiet Storm to send his team to the showers at 7:46. You had to know this is where the match would be heading. Red hits the SUPER CODE RED on one of the Maximos, but it only gets two. He tries the Phoenix Splash and lands on the guy’s knee. Brian XL lands a springboard somersault legdrop. Red and Brian fight over who gets the pinfall, which allows one of the SAT guys to roll up Red for the three-count. (12:18) Just a jumbled up mess for the most part. Red and Brian XL go nose-to-nose, but who really cares. *½

  • Round Robin Challenge: Bryan Danielson vs. Low-Ki

Ken Shamrock walks out and decides he wants to be the special referee for this match. So yeah, that happens. They work a work-shoot type style for the first ten minutes or so. Lots of mat work and mounts wearing each other down. While that might bore some people, I love that worked shoot UWF style and they do it well here. At about nine minutes in, Low Ki catches Danielson with a nice kick to the side of the head. Danielson was busted open around the eye in his match with Daniels, which plays into this match. The neck work Daniels did in their match does not, which knocked this down a peg for me. Matches for next month’s show are announced: Donovan Morgan (from APW) will be facing Christopher Daniels while Low Ki will battle the debuting AJ Styles. Danielson manages to get right back on track with his submission holds until Low Ki starts kicking him again. He holds Danielson by his hair and kicks him repeatedly in the face until Danielson heads to the floor. Back inside, Danielson shoots on Low Ki and applies a cross armbreaker that ends up in the ropes. Just waiting for Low Ki to make a mistake, Dragon grabs a full nelson dying to take him over for a dragon suplex, but settles for a back suplex instead. He snapmares Low Ki over for kicks and chops to chest and back. Low Ki fights up and hits a Pele Kick. He takes control of the match and gives Danielson his receipt for those kicks and chops to the back and chest. Low Ki grabs a sleeper on the mat and as Danielson fights up, they both go crashing through the ropes to the floor. Still holding onto the sleeper, Danielson looks to be out on his feet. He’s even drooling and his face is turning blue! Back in, Low Ki gets a two-count and then double stomps Danielson. He just stands there on his stomach, so Danielson bridges up! Low Ki double stomps him again to break the bridge. Awesome.

Danielson blocks the Ki Krusher and hits a Rolling Elbow. Dragon Suplex gets 1-2-NO! Leg swinging suplex sets up the Swandive Headbutt, but Low Ki brings up those deadly feet to block! Tidal Crush sets up the Dragon Suplex from Low Ki for 1-2-NO! Next up, they trade each other’s submission finishers! After a series of suplexes by Danielson, he sees the Tidal Wave coming and dropkicks him down. Low Ki blocks a suplex and hits a Brainbuster. Another bunch of kicks leads to the KI KRUSHER for 1-2-NO! HE KICKED OUT. Danielson stops the Phoenix Splash using his knees and delivers the Dragon Suplex for two. Back Superplex and the slow cover gets 1-2-NO! Over in the corner, Low Ki fights off another superplex and hits the SUPER KI KRUSHER~! Danielson rolls to the floor and Low Ki is too exhausted to capitalize before that happened. Low Ki manages to put him back inside, but he pins Danielson near the ropes and only gets two. Low Ki looks for another Tidal Crush because what do you do at this point. Danielson catches him in mid-air though for the Dragon Suplex. Low Ki is squirming too much, so Danielson busts out the fisherman’s back suplex for two. From there, the CATTLE MUTILATION! Could this be it? Low Ki refuses to tap and passes out from the pain. (32:11) It’s the old Ken Shamrock finish, eh? Well, at least there’s no double turn, so it’s not a complete rip-off. This had an extremely limited amount of bullcrap here. Whether you like the work-shoot style of the first half or the exciting pro wrestling stretch in the second half, there’s something here that both types of fans can appreciate. Like I said earlier, the only thing I didn’t like about this match was the fact that nobody seemed to apply the effect of the neck work here. Otherwise, this is a top ten ROH match for me and easy MOTYC of 2002. ****¾

Final Thoughts: Well, the Round Robin Challenge was very, VERY good. The rest of the card needs some work. The problem is they have the greatest indy wrestlers of the day (Dragon, Low Ki, Daniels) and they need a solid mid-card to make these shows good from top to bottom. The mid-card they have now either feels too green or feel like guys that even ECW would have passed on by in their latter days. It’s only the second show, so Feinstein and Sapolsky still have to see what sticks and take out what stinks. AJ Styles, Paul London, and Spanky are three guys who could breathe more life into the mid-card in the coming months. CM Punk, Colt Cabana, and Samoa Joe will be here by the end of the year. Overall, I have to give a thumbs up for the first Round Robin Challenge.

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Posted on May 13, 2015, in ROH and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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