Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor - Death Before Dishonor Posted by J.D. Dunn on 06.16.2006
Punk takes a drink, and London bows out at Ring of Honor's biggest show to date.
Ring of Honor — Death Before Dishonor (07.19.03)
From Elizabeth, N.J.
Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Lovey.
Backstage, we open with CM Punk who promises to end this feud with Raven once and for all. He says when he choked out Raven at "Wrestlerave," he had a "moment of clarity." He recalls a time when his dad came home drunk and started to smother in his own vomit. Punk says he tipped his father over, but he's regretted it ever since. He knows why he saved his father, but he can't figure out why he saved Raven. Colt Cabana interrupts with tomfoolery and shenanigans. Punk goes off on him and leaves. Cabana hijacks the interview time and calls himself a "modern-day Dave Coulier." Great stuff from Punk.
Samoa Joe tells Gary Michael Capetta that tonight will be a special night for him, not Paul London.
Homicide assures Capetta that he and Low Ki are doing their own things. Homicide tells Capetta to relay a challenge to Steve Corino. He wants a strong-style match with that "bitchass wigga."
Before the show starts, Special K hijacks the ring and holds a rave. They refuse to let the ring announcer start the show, so The Christopher Street Connection interrupt to turn the Jersey fans on to disco. Special K attack and leave Ariel, Buff E & Mace laying. Suddenly, their music grinds to a halt, and Low Ki comes down! Ki says he came for a fight. Ki destroys Cloudy and Hijnx, but Deranged sneaks up and gives him a low blow leading to…
Unofficial Opening Match: Low Ki vs. Deranged.
Low Ki is still down, so Deranged gets a rana and a spinning front kick. He zeroes in on the shoulder, actually dominating for the early portion. Low Ki drops him down off a sloppy handspring Victory Roll attempt and starts kicking Deranged right in the face. The Kappou Kick in the corner sets up a series of slaps. He puts Deranged down with the Tidal Wave, but the rest of Special K runs down. Slugger grabs Ki from behind in a reverse bearhug, but Low Ki breaks it up with the TESTICULAR CLAW! Ki finishes Deranged with a pair of Krush Rushes and the Dragon Clutch at 6:34. It wasn't much more than a glorified squash, but the point was to get people into the show early, and it certainly accomplished that. *
In Japan, Christopher Daniels receives an update from Alison Danger. Don't worry about roaming charges, though, because he's using Koji Kanemoto's phone. Hello, Kanemoto. He tells her to "offer him the spot" and then claims that he's the reason Ring of Honor can draw 1,200 fans.
Opening Match: Matt Stryker vs. Jimmy Rave.
Rave is subbing for Chad Collyer, who decided to work in Japan instead. He would go on to become one of the more over heels in RoH's short history, but here he's just a plucky jobber from NWA Wildside. Stryker, on the other hand, is developing a cult following because of his signature unibrow and an impressive series of technical contests with Chad Collyer. They start with a lot of back-and-forth reversals to show that this is an even match. Rave hits a Billy Robinson-ish backbreaker and locks in a shinni no make. Rave busts out a Spider Belly-to-Belly Superplex (!) but Stryker runs right back up and returns the favor with a Belly-to-Belly Superplex. Rave knees him in the gut and gets a Shining Wizard for two. Rave goes for an awkward sleeper, but Stryker counters to a jawbreaker. Rave comes back with a Satellite Headscissors into a Crippler Crossface, but Stryker makes the ropes and finishes with a Death Valley Driver at 8:45. **1/4
Weapons Match: The Carnage Crew vs. Rudy Boy Gonzalez, Hotstuff Hernandez, Fast Eddie & Don Juan.
And now we get the perfect counter to the previous technical match. This is the full Carnage Crew (Loc, Devito, Justin Credible & Masada). The CC attacked the TWA guys at the First-Anniversary Show to set this up. Masada takes the first big spot here as Hotstuff and Eddie hit a sandwich Van Daminator on him. Credible hits a powerbomb on Don Juan. The action splits off as Rudy beats Justin Credible through the crowd, and Fast Eddy hits a moonsault to the floor on Devito and Loc. Masada hives Eddie a Super German Suplex through a chair. That was sickening. A ladder gets involved as Justin gets whipped into it. Don Juan gives Masada a swinging neckbreaker through a chair. Loc and Devito team up to give Don Juan a spiked piledriver off the apron through a table. Hotstuff tosses Eddie on top of Masada and then hits his over-the-top tope! Back in, Hotstuff gives Masada a Razor's Edge through some chairs to pick up the victory at 8:04. To be successful, these kinds of matches need the participants to ignore any risk to their own bodies and their opponents and just let it all hang out, and they need a feeling that everything isn't contrived (a problem with TLC II). This one surprisingly satisfied both needs. Crazy stuff all over the place. The only downside is that it didn't feel like they built up to the finish so much as they just decided to go home. ***3/4
Tony Mamaluke & John Walters vs. The Outcast Killaz.
The Outcast Killaz are Oman Tortuga and Diablo Santiago, two members of the ringcrew who are paying their dues as jobbers. Mamaluke is making his return as part of a new tag team. Lots of amateur wrestling to start. Mamaluke fares a little better than his partner. The Killaz come back with doubleteams. Walters gets a silly Gory Special and chinlock on both members of the Killaz. Oman gets a cool elevated stretch into a dropkick by Diablo. The Purists toss Diablo and finish Oman with a side leg lock/leg-scissor full nelson combo at 8:31. This had the positive effects of introducing the Purists as tag team to contend with while not burying the Killaz completely. **
After the match, Dunn & Marcos come out to make fun of the Killaz for getting rocked like a hurricane. Suddenly, Xavier comes through the curtain after a four-month absence and takes them out with the Kiss Your X Goodbye and Cobra Clutch Suplex. Gary Michael Capetta wants to know what he's doing there. Xavier announces he's back for the "Field of Honor" tournament to earn some respect.
Tom Carter vs. Doug Williams
And we go back to wrestling. Notice how Gabe is smart enough to cleanse the fans' pallet so that two similar matches aren't stacked on top of one another. Carter, of course, is the former Reckless Youth, who was a big name in the indies as a high flyer before getting injured and deciding to tone his style down. He turned heel recently but refused an offer to join the Prophecy. Most of the first part of the match is Carter being slightly cocky and certainly more aggressive, but Williams is able to frustrate him with his knowledge of counters. Carter eventually does get the advantage through sheer persistence and gets an Arm Dragon Screw. He pinpoints Williams' arm in his sights and goes to work. Williams bales out to get a breather and comes back with the Tornado DDT. They fight on the top, with Carter getting a hammerlock while standing on the top rope. Williams sends him flying to the ring with a high-crotch takeover. Carter gets a surprise two off a quebrada press, but Williams uses the Triple Knee to stay on top. A kneelift gets two. Carter comes back with a Swinging Flatliner and a pair of Shining Wizards for two. Williams catches him going up, but Carter gets a swinging DDT. FROGSPLASH! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Carter locks in the Cross Armlock, but Williams rolls him over into a pinfall attempt. Carter has to let go and falls victim to the Chaos Theory. Williams can't hold the bridge because of the injured arm, though. Nice. Williams goes for a suplex, but Carter counters (eventually) to a rollup at 14:21. Williams conservative style costs him again. If you miss the days of Benoit vs. Malenko, this match is for you. Good story. Good work. Very little that was botched or contrived. ***3/4
In the back, Alison Danger catches up with Carter on his way out and offers him a spot in the Prophecy yet again. He just walks away from her.
#1 Contender's Trophy: B.J. Whitmer vs. Colt Cabana vs. Homicide (w/Julius Smokes) vs. Dan Maff (w/Alison Danger).
Well, this is a motley crew. Homicide trained Maff, but then Maff joined the Prophecy, turning on his own partner Monsta Mack. Whitmer debuted as a solid wrestler before siding with Raven against the Second City Saints. Homicide calls Maff out early, but Cabana blind tags Homicide to rob us of that blowoff. Cabana pays for it when Maff gives him a backdrop driver. Cabana comes back with a lariat. Homicide and Whitmer go at it, with Homicide hitting a tope. Julius is AMPED about that! Whitmer gives him a kick in the back, which Homicide just thinks of as an insult. Maff yanks Homicide out and tosses him into the barricade. Maff tries a top on Whitmer and Homicide, but he goes all the way into the audience! Free Dan Maff Night at the Wrestleplex. Everyone in the front row gets one. Cabana one-ups him with the Asai Moonsault. Back in, Whitmer and Maff chop it out. Homicide and Maff set aside their differences to chop the hell out of Whitmer. Homicide hits Maff with the Ace Crusher and Whitmer with the Corner Knee. Maff gives Cabana a German Suplex into a Fisherman's Buster on Homicide. Cabana goes for the Colt .45 only for Whitmer to counter to an Inverted DDT. Whitmer avoids the Cop Killa but takes a lariat. Cabana jumps Homicide and hits a Rope-Assisted Ace Crusher. Maff gets two off the Burning Hammer, but Whitmer makes the save. Homicide knocks Maff to the floor and sets Cabana on top. Whitmer runs up the ropes and hits a Super German Suplex on Homicide. Cabana is still on the ropes, so Whitmer gives him a Super Exploder! Neither Maff nor Homicide can reach them, so Whitmer picks up the win at 13:45. Give this one more time, and you have a classic. After the match, Maff tells everyone to go fuck themselves and refuses to shake hands. ***3/4
Recap of Special K putting The Backseat Boyz through a table and starting a rave in the middle of the ring. Hot chicks make out. A good time is had by all but the Backseats.
Scramble Tag Match: The Backseat Boyz & The Spanish Announce Team vs. Mikey Whipwreck, Hydro, Angel Dust & Brian XL (w/Special K).
Johnny Kashmere shoves some "X" down Angel Dust's throat early and spears him. He locks in a figure-four, but Brian XL springboards in to break it up. Mikey mists Trent Acid and gives him a facebuster. They do a car wreck suplex spot. Hydro gets caught in the wrong corner, and the faces do the usual Taffy Machine craziness. Mikey stretches out Joel, and Special K take turns stomping him off the top. Joel counters a 450-rana by Brian XL to Maximo Explosion. Kashmere hits a Cradle Breaker, but Mikey hits him with a Shining Wizard. SPANISH FLY! Joel accidentally hits Acid with an enzuigiri, enabling Mikey to hit the Whippersnapper for the win at 8:22. After the match, the Backseats blame the SAT and give them the T-Gimmick and Dream Sequence. **3/4
Jeff Hardy vs. Krazy K vs. Joey Mathews.
Oh boy. Fans of John Cena can take solace in this match. The crowd mercilessly boos Jeff Hardy. The Willow the Wisp outfit and the dancing probably didn't help. I find it odd that we went from a bunch of kids whose drug habit hurts their wrestling ability to a Jeff Hardy match. All three guys are from the OMEGA family. Jeff and Matt basically ran the promotion; Jeff trained Krazy K; Joey trained and first broke out in Omega. Joey attacks both guys to start, but the crowd isn't crazy about Krazy K, and they *despise* Jeff Hardy. Jeff tosses Mathews, and he and Krazy K do a horrible sequence. Funny spot as Mathews takes Krazy K to the floor and tells the crowd to part so he can toss him over the railing. Then, when they do, he mocks them and tosses K back in. Jeff goes for the Swanton, but Joey pushes him to the floor. Joey gets two off an Inverted DDT and fights with Jeff on the top. Jeff pushes him off the top and hits the Swanton Bomb. Jeff finishes Krazy K with the double legdrop rollup. 1/2*
Recap of the epic Punk vs. Raven feud with Raven unable to get a win. At Wrestlerave, Punk was victorious once again, hitting Raven with a chain and hanging him with it. After the match, Punk talks about his father being an alcoholic (like Raven) and how he's going to become a monster to fight the monsters of the world. Great post-match promo from Punk.
Dog-Collar Match: CM Punk vs. Raven.
This is, allegedly, the end of the feud. Before the match, Punk taunts the fans for coming to a non-alcoholic arena. He also mocks Danny Doering who is in the audience drinking a beer. When Raven comes out, Punk says he'll give him a break and let him back out of the Dog Collar stipulation. Raven just ignores him until Punk finally puts on the collar. Raven whips Punk with the chain and then crotches him. The beating continues with a Russian Leg Sweep into the barricade and a ringbell shot. Back in, Raven sets up a table, but Punk goes low. Punk puts Raven through the table and gives him a kneedrop with the chain wrapped around his knee. They brawl out into the crowd. A fan gets in on the act, holding a chair while Raven sends Punk's head into it. Raven goes up the bleachers for a dive, but Punk yanks him down to the floor. Back in, Punk taunts Raven on the microphone and hits an enzuigiri. He goes up, crotching Raven with the chain, but Raven yanks him off. Punk grabs the mic again and screams, "Is that all you got, Flamingo?!" Raven makes the big comeback and does the drop toehold into the chair spot. Raven grabs the chair and swings for the fences, but Punk ducks out of the way. Raven winds up taking out the referee. RAVEN EFFECT! No ref. Colt Cabana runs in and DDTs Raven into a chair. Danny Doering jumps the rail and takes out Cabana, but the damage is done. Punk crawls over and pins the unconscious Raven to "end" their feud at 18:42. After the match, Punk ties Raven to the ropes crucifix-style and says he'll send him on a downward spiral to hell. He grabs a beer and pours it in Raven's face. Punk mocks him and calls him an addict. Tommy Dreamer suddenly jump the rail and SMASHES Punk with a chairshot! DREAMER EFFECT! Dreamer ties Punk to the ropes and frees Raven. Raven shakes his hand and hugs him. Dreamer finds a couple of extra beers, and Raven pours one down Punk's throat! Punk screams, "You're a dead man," as Dreamer and Raven celebrate. The ref's finally manage to free Punk, and HE IS PISSED! The match itself is just a really good brawl, highlighted by intensity and a build to a finish rather than a collection of barfighting spots. The booking and the afterparty are what really push this over the top as one of Ring of Honor's shining achievements. ****1/2
Paul London says he can't sum up his Ring of Honor experience in just one promo.
Recap of the Briscoe Brothers numerous attempts to take the titles from AJ Styles & Red, leading to their last shot at the titles.
RoH Tag Team Championship, Last Stand: AJ Styles & The Amazing Red (w/Alexis Laree) vs. The Briscoe Brothers.
This is the Briscoes last shot at Styles and Red. Hence "Last Stand." AJ and Jay slug it out and spill to the floor. Red tries a dive, but Mark cuts him off. Red gets Code Red early, but it only gets two. Style and Red hit sandwich enzuigiris on Mark. The champs isolate Mark, but Mark goes after Red's injured knee to come back. Jay puts Red in a Single Leg Crab and spits on AJ. Mark and Red slug it out, and Mark hits a powerbomb. Red comes back with a modified Schwien and tags AJ. AJ cleans house on the Briscoes until Jay hits an overhead uranage. Mark cuts off the Red Star Press, and they work in a tower of doom spot. The Brisoes hit a Spiked Jaydriller, but AJ tosses Jay into Mark to break up the pinfall. The Briscoes turn their wrath on him with the SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE! It only gets two. Jay is about to hit another Jaydriller on AJ, but Red breaks it up with a Shining Wizard, injuring his knee even further. He doesn't have to worry about it now, though, because AJ finishes Jay with the Styles Clash at 14:27. ***1/2
Jim Cornette joins us for a promo. He explains that he's coming to Ring of Honor because he smells money. Corny obeys the old rules for cutting a promo — "Dayton, Ohio" "Dayton, Ohio" "Dayton, Ohio!" "August 9" "August 9" "August 9!"
Recap of London and Styles' epic encounter at…"Epic Encounter." It ended in a draw, but London was ranked higher, so he gets the title shot. Also, we get a recap of Samoa Joe's title reign so far. He defends successfully against Doug Williams, the Zebra Kid, Homicide, and Dan Maff.
Ring of Honor Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Paul London.
They could forego this match and show a Carnie Wilson/Paulie Shore sex tape, and this would still be an awesome show. Paul London is on his way to the WWE, so this is not exactly in doubt. This unfolded as you might expect with Joe just trying to trample London like a bull elephant, and London trying to ground Joe with hold and use his quickness. Joe shrugs off London's offense early and steamrolls him. The announcers make a big deal about London possibly losing his WWE contract if he gets injured here. The story continues pretty much unabated with London sprinting as fast as he can with his head down, and Samoa Joe playing the part of the brick wall. Well, a really vicious brick wall. The kind that gives you a Facewash in the corner and slams you into the ringpost haphazardly. Joe hits an Olay kick, taking out one of the barricades. It also doesn't hurt that he can bust out his own highspots like a missile dropkick that rival London's. About 10 minutes of beatings in, London comes back with a series of nearfall attempts and uses strategery. He pretends to go headfirst into the turnbuckle and then hits the Legsweep DDT and the SHOOTING STAR PRESS! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Joe ducks a swing and locks in the Coquina Clutch. In a play on the Bret Hart/Piper sequence, London flips off the ropes into a cover, so Joe has to let it go. They go back to the formula, with Joe going for the hardhitting moves. He winds up behind London and locks in the Coquina Clutch again. London fights against it but finally fades and passes out at 14:13. After the match, London says his goodbyes to the entire roster. ***1/4
Raven, apparently out by the airport, says he wants to get CM Punk inside of a cage.
The Carnage Crew talk about their crappy families and have jealous words for Special K.
Christopher Daniels takes credit for the big crowd and promises to make life hell for Samoa Joe, AJ Styles & Red, or even BJ Whitmer.
An irate CM Punk shoves Rob Feinstein down and accepts Raven's challenge. He says he will not be responsible for his actions. Ah yes, the straight-edge mantra: "No drugs, no alcohol, no responsibility."
The 411: Ring of Honor knew going in that this would be one of their biggest shows to date, and they threw everything they had into it. It's practically a triple main event: London's emotional sendoff title match, the AJ/Red vs. Briscoes tag title match, and the Punk vs. Raven contest. The result is their best show yet in terms of importance, angles (both build and blowoff), workrate, and fun. One of the many "must haves" from Ring of Honor, but I'd put this one way up there.