Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor - Unscripted Posted by J.D. Dunn on 03.31.2006
They probably should have come up with a script for this one.
Ring of Honor — Unscripted (09.21.02)
From Philadelphia, Penn.
Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy (Gabe Sapolsky).
Paul London opens the show explaining that Spanky can't be here tonight, so he found himself without a partner for the RoH Tag Title Tournament. But now he has a replacement — American Dragon! That bastard, Michael Shane fake limps out and reminds London that he's beaten him over and over and over again. London gets pissed and jumps out on Shane with a Shooting Star Plancha. As a result, London forfeits his spot in the tournament to get a piece of Michael Shane. That leaves Dragon to find a new partner for the tournament. Well, that's just bizarre, but the end result is okay, so I won't complain too much.
RoH Tag Title Tournament, Quarterfinals: Los Maximos vs. Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan (w/Simply Luscious).
Daniels and Morgan are, of course, the Prophecy — Ring of Honor's first heel stable. Daniels narrowly missed out on becoming the first RoH Champion, so he decided to focus on the tag titles. Some woman in the crowd starts a verbal sparring session with Luscious. The Prophecy attacks before the bell, but the Maximos bust out a series of goofy MPro stuff, including Kaientai's old chinlock/dropkick combo. They isolate Daniels, but Morgan blind tags himself in and backdrops Joel to the floor to take over. In spite of the fact that the Prophecy are the top heels, they actually draw heel heat. If that doesn't make sense, remember where we are. Morgan locks Joel in a legscissor Full Nelson as Daniels goes out and piefaces that woman back in her chair. Joel comes back with a double neckbreaker drop and makes the hot tag to Jose. Jose backdrops Daniels over, and Joel sets up for a dive, but Luscious trips him up. The woman jumps the rail and moonsaults off the top turnbuckle all the way down to Luscious and Daniels on the floor. She kidnaps Luscious and takes her to the back. Back inside, the SAT hit a Tornado DDT Device on Morgan. Daniels narrowly makes the save. Morgan breaks up the Spanish Fly (Double Backflip Exploder off the top) by pulling Joel off the top, so Jose finishes it with a Single Spanish Fly. You can see Daniels motion for Jose to cover him so Morgan can hit him from behind. Oops. Indeed, Morgan hits him with a sledge and finishes with the Sayonara (Pedigree) at 7:20. Some good moves in there, plus the introduction of the new girl, but no one gave the Maximos a snowball's chance in Tijuana. Of course, that mysterious woman would turn out to be…Trinity. **
In the back, Dick Togo and Ikuto Hidaka talk strategy. The Christopher Street Connection (w/Japanese Pool Boy & Alison Danger) come in and offer them some banana. Apparently, Japanese people don't like bananas…or gays. I'm not sure which.
Elsewhere, a sound tech asks for James Maritato and Tony Mamaluke's entrance music CD. Maritato wants to go with something serious, but Mamaluke switches it out with the old N-Trance "Stayin' Alive" music the FBI used to use.
RoH Tag Title Tournament, Quarterfinals: James Maritato & Tony Mamaluke vs. Dick Togo & Ikuto Hidaka.
You might remember Togo from his brief stint in the WWF in 1998 as a member of Kaientai. Hidaka had a few appearances in ECW wrestling Super Crazy in some memorable matches as well. At this point, though, they were free agents working for whichever Japanese fed wanted them. Maritato and Hidaka tear it up on the mat to start. Togo and Mamaluke go at it next, and they also take it to the mat. Levy reminds us that Mamaluke was trained by Dean Malenko. Togo and Hidaka start pulling out the old MPro doubleteams. Maritato counters a slam to a leglock, and Mamaluke takes a cheapshot at Hidaka above James' objections. Mamaluke locks in an Argentine Single Leg Crab, and the former FBI ride Hidaka down into a double Fujiwara Armbar. Maritato and Mamaluke get into an argument enabling Hidaka to roll up Maritato into a side leglock. Mamaluke makes the save, but Hidaka catches him with a powerbomb. Togo gets the hot tag, and the match breaks down into a two-on-two. Togo plants Mamaluke with a Pedigree and finishes him with the Senton Splash off the top at 9:42. **3/4
Former NWA ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta gets in the ring and asks Maritato what's the what. Maritato says Mamaluke doesn't take things seriously enough, so he wants to beat the humor out of him on October 5. Mamaluke reminds him that Maritato was nothing until Mamaluke left WCW to rescue him. Mamaluke says if they're going to get it on, it will be right…now.
James Maritato vs. Tony Mamaluke.
Mamluke offers a hug and then double-crosses him with a belly-to-belly suplex. He tries a Russian Leg Sweep off the railing, but Maritato sends him CRASHING down on the railing. Things go badly for Maritato on the outside, and Mamaluke drives him down on his head back inside. James kicks his leg out from under him and mule kicks him in the face. Mamaluke sets Maritato on top, but James shoves him away and hits a missile dropkick. The ref is out of position, so Mamaluke hits a low blow (BANGKOK!) and gets a schoolboy rollup for the win at 2:55. After the match, Maritato points out that there are no low blows in Ring of Honor, so it didn't count. He challenges Mamaluke to a rematch at "Glory By Honor" next month. The stipulation being that if Mamaluke beats him, the FBI rides again, but if he wins, the gimmick is dead forever. 3/4*
In the back, Gary Capetta catches up with American Dragon and finds out that his partner is none other than…Michael Modest. This is intriguing because Modest is Donovan Morgan's trainer and regular partner in NOAH. Also, he looks a little like Michael Chiklis.
RoH Tag Title Tournament, Quarterfinals: Divine Storm vs. American Dragon & Mike Modest.
Quiet Storm and American Dragon exchange mat moves to start, and Modest has to make the save on a cross armlock. Chris Divine tags in and locks Dragon in a keylock. Dragon powers up, but Divine rolls through back to the keylock. Modest tags in and absolutely DRILLS Divine with forearms. I guess Modest wanted to make an impression. I'm just not sure the impression he wanted to make was his individual armhairs in Divine's left cheek. Modest ducks a clothesline and lofts Divine over with an overhead uranage. He no-sells a tilt-o-whirl headscissors but takes a Russian Leg Sweep. Quiet Storm sneaks in and gives Dragon a Spinal Shock (Victoria's Widow's Peak). Dragon and Storm take it to the floor with forearms while Divine brainbusters Modest on the inside. Modest catches him going up, though, and finishes Divine with a Super Fisherman's Suplex at 6:22. What was here was good. **
Earlier, The Carnage Crew attacked a couple of ringboys to protest the fact that they weren't included in the tournament.
Roh Tag Title Tournament, Quarterfinals: Da Hit Squad vs. The Natural Born Sinners.
The match doesn't even start, as the Sinners were attacked backstage, and The Carnage Crew jumps Da Hit Squad from behind, leaving them bloodied and laying. No match. Dragon and Modest get a bye to the finals. [NR]
RoH Tag Title Tournament, Semifinals: Dick Togo & Ikuto Hidaka vs. Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan.
Luscious is still MIA. Daniels has worked with both guys as Curry Man over in Japan. It's back and forth until Morgan offers a handshake. Hidaka is just naïve enough to accept, so Daniels sneak attacks him to give the Prophecy the advantage. They dominate on the outside, but Hidaka hits Daniels with a spinning wheel kick back inside. Togo slingshots into a Senton on Daniels. Daniels plays heel-in-peril until Hidaka gets distracted by Morgan. Daniels gives him a low blow (BANGKOK!) and tags out. Morgan gives Hidaka a backdrop suplex, and the Prophecy doubleteams Hidaka to oblivion. Daniels hangs Hidaka on the top rope and delivers a guillotine legdrop. Togo saves Hidaka from a dropkick, so Morgan locks Hidaka in a Triangle Headscissors. Daniels distracts the ref, so Togo sneaks in and locks in the same hold on Morgan. Nice try, Togo, but Daniels comes off the top with an HBK-ish elbow to break it up. Togo gets the hot tag anyway and drops Morgan with an X-Factor and a Tornado DDT. Morgan blocks a suplex, so Togo reverses to the Crippler Crossface. Daniels saves, but Hidaka knocks him to the floor and follows him out with an Arabian Moonsault. Inside, Morgan catches Togo with an overhead uranage and a Golden Gate Swing, but Hidaka makes the save. Togo hits Morgan with the Senton Splash, but Daniels makes the last-second save. There goes Togo, and Daniels hits ANGELS WINGS on Hidaka. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO?! Hidaka kicks out! The front uranage (Book End) sets up the Best Moonsault Ever, but Togo saves. Hidaka Tornados Daniels into a rope-assisted front facelock. Never seen one like that before. Hidaka powerbombs Daniels as Morgan knocks Togo to the floor. That allows Daniels to hit Hidaka with the STO, and Morgan grabs his leg to make sure he can't kick out at 13:55. Great, face-paced action, with a nice little substory if you're familiar with Togo's work as a Lucharesu Rudo in Japan. He just can't out rudo Daniels. ***1/4
Alex Arion (w/Prince Nana) vs. Dunn (w/Marcos).
This was supposed to be a tag match between the four, but Nana still has a concussion from Low Ki's kick back at "Road to the Title." Arion, who's a squat little guy a la Dean Malenko, overpowers one-half of "the top tag team in Ring of Honor." Arion finishes with a Superfly Splash at 1:34. After the match, Nana double-crosses Marcos and hits the Butt Avalanche and an Impaler DDT. He gets on the mic and asks Alex Arion to be his servant. Nana's had bad luck with servants as of late. Arion pretends to shine his shoes before giving him a superkick. Just a quick segment to introduce Dunn & Marcos and putt over Arion. 1/4*
The Christopher Street Connection (w/Alison Danger & Japanese Pool Boy) comes down and checks Nana's head…no, the other one. Nana freaks out and runs to the back. Buff E tells Mace that he wants to marry him, but Mace just wants to make out. See, the WWE had a cop out gay wedding with Billy & Chuck, so this was a little shot at them. But wait! While Buff E and Mace are making out, Alexis Laree runs in and destroys them! Japanese Pool Boy bitchslaps her, so Alexis spears him and gives him a Tornado DDT. The crowd chants, "You are hot!" I presume at Alexis, though Pool Boy was rockin' those short cutoffs.
Ring of Honor Championship: Low Ki vs. Xavier.
This must've seemed like a good idea at the time. Xavier asked for a title shot before Low Ki even won the title, then when Low Ki successfully defended the title at "Honor Invades Boston," Xavier was the first one to challenge him. Xavier lived by the Code of Honor, so Low Ki didn't really have a problem with it. Low Ki is working with a serious ankle injury here. They trade stiff kicks, with Low Ki winning, of course. He takes it to the mat with an cross-armlock. Xavier reverses to his own. The announcers suddenly make Vince McMahon look like a well-adjusted, non-delusional commentator as they talk about how the fans respect Xavier and aren't about chants. Mind you, they're saying this while they're chanting at Xavier! At least ECW did the whole "freedom of speech" thing to explain why their fans were smart asses. Xavier lays in some comparatively weak kicks, drawing the ire of the crowd. They even piss of Low Ki. Xavier badly screws up a tilt-o-whirl and tries to cover it with an Argentine Rack Drop. He is rapidly losing this crowd. Low Ki takes it to the outside with a Koppou Kick to knock Xavier to the floor. Back in, Xavier comes back with a turnbuckle powerbomb and starts sucking wind. A Bridging Butterfly kills some time, and Xavier dumps him to the floor for another breather. Low Ki blocks a baseball slide and punts Xavier right in the face. Back in, Xavier blocks the Ki Krusher and rolls him up for two. They botch a powerbomb reverse roll up spot and go into the most amateurish sunset flip reversal sequence you'll see on a major show. Low Ki gets sick of it and starts kicking as hard as he can. Eventually, he's able to lock in the Dragon Clutch, but Xavier powers up and drops him on his back. Xavier blocks the springboard spinkick and delivers a reverse Michinoku Driver for two. Christopher Daniels walks down to ringside to observe. Xavier gives Low Ki a kneebreaker and goes up for the 450-splash. Low Ki avoids it and calls for the end before seeing Daniels. He goes out to confront him, so Xavier chops Low Ki's bad leg out from under him. Daniels and Xavier smile as it becomes obvious that Xavier has joined the Prophecy. Daniels holds one of the railing supports over Low Ki's stomach while Xavier drives it down on him with a chair. Low Ki spits up blood and crawls to the ring with Daniels taunting him the whole way. Once back inside, Low Ki is easy pickings for the challenger. Xavier sets him up and hits the 450-splash for the win and the title at 25:43. Xavier drapes Ki under the RoH banner and celebrates with Daniels, Donovan Morgan and Simply Luscious. This was like Ring of Honor's version of "Bash at the Beach '96." The match, though, was horrible. Low Ki was either injured or working an injury that prevented him from bringing his best match, and Xavier looked gassed throughout. I've heard theories that say Xavier intentionally dogged it to lose the workrate-freak Philly fans support. A close look at the execution of a lot of those simply moves (like a loose chinlock) lends some credence to those theories. Great angle, horrible match. *1/4
Takao Omori vs. Sonny Siaki.
You might remember Omori from the Royal Rumble one year. Well, he's all grown up and a Japanese superstar now. Siaki is in the middle of his Flying Elvises gimmick in TNA, so he's dressed like Elvis here. Omori takes one look at him and kicks the ever-loving crap out of him. Siaki is subbing for Modest who joined American Dragon who came to the aid of Paul London who dropped out of the tournament to fight Michael Shane. Siaki can't get much going as Omori keeps dominating like it's an episode of "WWF Superstars" and Siaki is Dusty Wolfe. Finally, Siaki hits a reverse elbow and gets in a flying neckbreaker. Crowd chants, "Rocky!" and then "Siaki!" The announcers sacrifice even more credibility, saying that the RoH fans don't try to mug for the camera or make themselves part of the show like the WWE. They just raced past "Teddy Hart" and into the "Bill O'Reilly" level of delusion with that one. Omori finishes with the Axe Guillotine Driver (over-the-shoulder reverse piledriver) at 7:28. Okay, but nothing special. *3/4
CM Punk makes his Ring of Honor debut and hypes his first match at "All-Star Extravaganza." Punk's partner/enemy Colt Cabana interrupts and complains about CM Punk getting to wrestle for RoH while he's stuck in Chicago. He promises you will see him wrestle in Philly. Punk sucks up to the fans as he leaves.
Jay Briscoe talks about how frustrating Ring of Honor has been. We see clips of Jay's struggles and his first win. We also see him celebrating with his mom and dad, but his brother Mark was an asshole about the whole thing. Then, Mark cost him another match to James Maritato and when Jay had a shot at revenge, Mark busted him open and beat him at "Honor Invades Boston." This was quite the little promo by Jay. He gets in a great line: the same blood that was on your fist runs through your veins. He vows not to lose again in Ring of Honor.
Jay Briscoe vs. The Amazing Red.
That promise is going to be put to the test right away. Mark Briscoe offers to manage Red for this match, but Red refuses and kicks his ass on the way to the ring. This is a rematch of the first ever Ring of Honor match, which Red won after an intense series of back and forths. They start out on the mat, exchanging counter after counter. A sloppy sequence sees Red pull Jay to the outside where Jay's vicious side starts to emerge. Red finds a way to avoid his offense, though. Back in, Jay grounds Red with an Indian Deathlock. Red hits a beautiful spinkick and a back heeltrip driver for two. Jay goes up, but Red catches him with a spin kick and sunset flips into a powerbomb! RED STAR PRESS! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Jay kicks out at the last second. Red goes for a Pendulum Bomb, but Jay just dumps him on his head and just spikes him down with a released powerbomb. Red is out of it, so Jay picks him up and destroys him with the Jaydriller (Tiger Driver '91) at 7:47. I liked this better than their first match. After the match, Dixie and Elax attack Red, but the SAT makes the save for their running buddy. Elax catches the Spanish Fly. Other than being high all the time, was there ever a reason given for Special K attacking Red? Then, the big black guy from "Crowing a Champion" runs in and KO's the ref, so Dunn & Marcos come out and help him to the back while promoting themselves. The funniest part is the black guy goes back to his spot in the crowd and watches the rest of the show. **1/2
Street Fight: Michael Shane vs. Paul London.
No Code of Honor here. London was a late emergence from the pack of Texas Wrestling Academy contenders to the HBK throne. It seemed he always came in third behind Michael Shane and Spanky. At "Crowning a Champion," Michael Shane seemingly stole a win and an RoH contract from London, then he ran down Spanky and Rudy Boy Gonzales (London's trainer). A match was made for "Honor Invades Boston" in which Shane won by exploiting London's soft side. A shorter way to say all this is "they hate each other." You've probably heard the phrase "Please don't die" associated with Paul London. Well, this would be the genesis of that chant. London hits a spinning wheel kick and a dropsault early. Shane goes up but gets crotched. This is more than just your average cruiser stuff. London is PISSED. London tries to skin the cat, so Shane just spears him to the floor. London pulls out a chair from under the ring, but Shane smashes it into him with a somersault plancha. Back in, Shane slows things down between going for pinfalls. Shane sets up the chair in between the ropes, so of course, he gets sent into it. Shane is busted open. Call it 0.6 Muta. Shane grabs a ladder (he's Shawn Michaels' nephew, you know). London kicks it back in his face. Back in, London goes for…something. It looked like he tried a senton on the general vicinity in front of Shane's feet. Shane belly to bellies him into the ladder in the corner. That gets two. Shane stops to taunt the crowd, so London slingshots into a headscissors, sending Shane THROUGH A TABLE! London throws in a bigger ladder because he's clinically insane. Shane gets backdropped into the ladder, so he scurries to the outside and tries to leave. London sees him heading up the aisle, so he sprints up the rungs and delivers a FRIGGIN' SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Think Shelton Benjamin at Mania XXI. Back in, London tries to catapult himself over a ladder into a rana, but Shane catches him with a powerbomb. ONE, TWO, THRE----LONDON KICKS OUT! Shane gets two off the Picture Perfect Elbow. London comes back with the SSP, but then Shane kicks out! London climbs up the tall ladders as the crowd chants, "You sick fuck!" Shane yanks him down and hits the Picture Perfect Elbow off the ladder. ONE, TWO, THRE-NOOO! Shane tries to climb the ladder again, but London quebradas into a kick, knocking Shane to the mat. London goes up amidst now-familiar chants of "please don't die!" SHOOTING STAR PRESS OFF THE LADDER! ONE! TWO! THREE! (20:38) The fans chant "Five Star Match" and "Match of the Year." Well, not quite, but it was pretty amazing. After the match, London and Shane shake hands and hug. Shane is sobbing as he raises London's hand in victory…and clotheslines him! Good, but not quite as good as the Eddy vs. Edge street fight that happened around the same time. ****
Earlier, at the RoH Fanfest, Donovan Morgan tried to convince Michael Modest to join the Prophecy, but Morgan didn't want to rattle any cages his first time out, so he politely declined. Of course, that led to Morgan getting pissed off that he never listens to him because he's the trainee. Man, it's just like "Revenge of the Sith." Things came to blows, and Morgan ran away.
RoH Tag Title Tournament Finals: American Dragon & Michael Modest vs. Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan.
This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, is the obvious partnership and mentor/student relationship of Modest and Morgan. The second is the exhibition match Christopher Daniels and Michael Modest had on WCW Nitro nearly two years earlier in which Daniels nearly broke his neck going for an Asai Moonsault. Modest and Daniels do start out together with Modest dominating. Morgan short-arms his tag attempts until he's sure Modest it vulnerable. Modest challenges Morgan to a shoulderblock contest and then levels him with a cheapshot forearm. American Dragon gets caught in the Prophecy corner, and Morgan whips him into the railing. Daniels goes to work on Dragon's leg, but Dragon hits an enzuigiri. They work in a false tag spot, and Daniels Crabs Dragon over the ropes while the ref is distracted. Morgan whips Dragon into the guardrails again, destroying two more sections. Back in, American Dragon desperately hits a 3/4-Nelson toss and makes the HOT TAG TO MODEST! Modest catches Daniels with a handspring headscissors (Stratusphere) in the corner. Daniels avoids a charge but runs into an inverted chokeslam. Morgan comes in illegally with a bodyslam, so Dragon gives him an enzuigiri to put all four men down. This time Morgan goes into the guardrail, thanks to Modest. Daniels sees them fighting and delivers an Arabian Moonsault onto both of them. Dragon topes onto Daniels but hurts his own knee. Back inside, Modest hits Daniels with a Super Fisherman's Suplex! ONE, TWO, THR-Morgan makes the save and hits the Golden Gate Swing on Modest. Dragon comes in with a Roaring Elbow and a Cradle Suplex. That leads to Cattle Mutilation, but Dragon can't put weight on his left knee. Morgan Rydeen Bombs Dragon off the top into Daniels' Best Moonsault Ever. That gets two. Daniels gets two more off the Blue Thunder Driver. Daniels hits the Flathliner into a Koji Clutch. Modest has to make the save. Modest and Morgan brawl on the outside, leaving Daniels and Dragon to go at it one on one. Dragon sets Daniels on the top, but Morgan grabs his leg on the suplex, enabling Daniels to shift his weight and land on top. That gets two, but Daniels lifts him up and hits the Last Rites for the win and the titles at 14:42. I was hoping for something epic, but they just put out something above average. There wasn't even much of a story outside of Morgan liking to use the guardrails. The crowd, after several hours of wrestling, was just out of it, which didn't help things at all. This was a good match where a great match was needed to kick off the titles (see "Crowning a Champion"). Dragon and Modest destroy the tag team title trophy, but the Prophecy now holds all of the Ring of Honor titles. ***
In the back, Simply Luscious is worried about what Trinity did to her face while Xavier admires his new belt. Daniels and Morgan come in and celebrate and complain that Ring of Honor doesn't have tag title belts. Daniels says that since they hold the titles, they're going to defend them whenever they feel like it. In fact, Xavier is going to wrestle the biggest loser in the building at "Glory By Honor." Mark Briscoe interrupts and volunteers his brother as the biggest loser. So, it's settled. Next month is Xavier vs. Jay Briscoe in a non-title match while Daniels awaits the winner of Dick Togo vs. Doug Williams and, if he wins, the loser can never shake hands again.
The 411: Bleh. When Ring of Honor crashes and burns, it really crashes. While few of the matches are bad, and there are even quite a few good matches, the overall show just seems to drag on forever and never really kicks into high gear like the other shows. Plus, the booking is starting to feel like low-rent ECW with all the chaotic partner switching and run-ins by big guys (911 anyone?). London vs. Shane is a great match, but you can find it on the "Please Don't Die" DVD, and none of the tag tournament matches are really worth going out of your way for.