ROH – A NIGHT OF APPRECIATION – PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 27, 2002
We open up with the hardcore referee HC Loc on the phone, and the guy he was talking to is ECW alum Tony DeVito. They abuse one of the ring boys and are excited about tonight.
The opening video is set to some truly awful music. It highlights the recent events surrounding Christopher Daniels, Low Ki, and American Dragon. Tonight’s show, however, will be more about showing appreciation to Eddy Guerrero, who had resigned with WWE but was allowed to appear on this show.
Backstage, Quiet Storm wants to try a new submission move on Brian XL, who resists. They disagree about something else too, but I can’t understand what.
The Christopher Street Connection goes outside and talks to the fans, which seem put off by the gayness of the CSC. Just to accentuate that fact, Buff-E and Mase make out in front of everybody. This pisses off Da Hit Squad, and the crowd chants for them. I’ve always said that there’s nothing like a little homophobia to garner babyface heat. Mafia rips off classic Roddy Piper promos that don’t really make any sense in their current situation, but it shows that he watches old tapes. This is great for the live crowd I’m sure, but it’s such a waste of time on DVD.
Quiet Storm tells American Dragon that he knows someone who is dying to be taught a new brutal submission. Brian XL and Chris Divine are still arguing about one thing or another. Dragon is wearing a t-shirt that says “Psalm 23,” which is the one that starts out “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Dragon puts a hold on XL and he screams.
Da Hit Squad is backstage with Boogalou, and they’re all talking about how much they miss Homicide, who I think is in Japan. DeVito busts in and wants to know if Boogalou is ready.
Frank Talent of the PA State Athletic Commission is addressing the locker room again. All of the big bosses from Harrisburg are in attendance tonight. He puts over Eddy Guerrero, and then yells at Spanky for having his headphones on. This guy is hilarious.
Stephen DeAngelis is the ring announcer tonight, and our hosts on commentary are Donnie B and Steve Corino.
MATCH #1: Da Hit Squad (2-0) vs. The Christopher Street Connection (0-1) vs. Prince Nana & Simply Luscious
Da Squad comes out before ring announcements can be made, and they advise that DeAngelis leave. They call out The Christopher Street Connection and they come out in short order. The fight starts on the outside of the ring, as Allison Danger tries to get Da Hit Squad’s attention inside the ring. They notice her and go in the ring after her, so she announces that this is a three-way now, with a combination of Prince Nana, Elax, and Simply Luscious joining the fracas. Nana tosses Elax outside the ring, so it looks like Luscious is officially his partner for the night. Danger tries to distract Luscious with her feminine wiles, which leads to a shoving match between Nana and the CSC. This allows Da Hit Squad to recover and run everyone over. Nana takes a beating so he bails, leaving a woman on her own. Mafia hits a Burning Hammer on Luscious and totally gropes her tits for the pin at 3:54. That was really bad.
Elax comes back to yell at Luscious and he gets a beating as well. They set up a table and put Elax on it. Monsta Mack delivers a senton of sorts from the top rope to break the table.
MATCH #2: Jay Briscoe (0-2) vs. Tony Mamaluke
A little video package shows how Jay has lost his first two matches. Jay tries to cut a promo backstage, and Mark mocks him for being a loser. Jay tells him to just shut up because Mark hasn’t even had a match of his own yet. This is Mamaluke’s debut with the company. They wrestle on the mat to start, no doubt trying to put over Mamaluke’s reputation as a “shooter.” Corino goes over the Code of Honor as these two wrestle on the mat and exchange holds. They go back and forth without any real rhyme or reason for a while. Mamaluke appears to be in control. He goes for a backslide but Jay rolls through and hits the Jay Driller to get the pin at 7:20. Nice finish, dull match. Jay shakes Mamaluke’s hand, but Mamaluke is very angry about the loss. The Briscoes’ parents are backstage and Mark keeps being a jerk so he gets yelled at by his parents. The Briscoes are already bringing the awesome.
In a different are backstage, James Maritato is angry with Tony Mamaluke for still doing the comedy FBI stuff. Maritato says if he wants to do that stuff, he can do it without him.
Matthews and York are backstage to cut the most generic Indy promo since their last one. York promises that tonight they will be “in full effect.” Ugh, terrible.
MATCH #3: Divine Storm (0-1) vs. Joey Matthews & Christian York (1-0)
Storm and Matthews start it off with some choreographed looking exchanges. Corino’s gushing over these guys is pretty irritating. Corino’s overselling of everything is irritating as a matter of fact. You know you’ve gone too far when you’re calling the referees “two of the greatest referees in the history of professional wrestling.” The ridiculousness continues inside the ring, with everyone hitting sloppy moves on each other. Brian XL interferes, and gets yelled at by Divine Storm. I guess Divine Storm is really into the Code of Honor. Donny B says that XL “inverted” himself into the match. He also then spells “pain” “paine.” This guy’s a moron. The match, as it were, is not much better, and I really, really hate Quiet Storm and his Storm Cradle Driver and how he has to call it out. Storm puts some kind of leg submission on Matthews and he taps out at 8:47. That was ugly and I can’t wait until I get to ROH shows that these four are not on.
MATCH #4: James Maritato (0-1) vs. Xavier (2-0) vs. Scoot Andrews (0-1)
Xavier beat each of these guys in singles matches on the last two shows. Backstage, Maritato promises to win the match tonight by submission. Andrews makes a promise of his own, that no matter how many ways they dance tonight they all end with him hitting the Force of Nature. All three shake hands to start. Andrews and Maritato mat wrestle to start while Xavier takes a quick breather. Maritato gets knocked outside the ring for a brief spat and Andrews gets a near fall on Xavier. They do some various three-way spots, and a lot of two guys fighting while one guy watches. Andrews hits a Force of Nature on Xavier but Maritato breaks it up. Maritato is able to lock the Fujiwara armbar on Xavier and that gets the win at 6:29. That was short and inoffensive, but I can’t really say I would invest much in any of these three.
Backstage, Simply Luscious busts into the locker room to bitch to Rob Feinstein about how she’s being used with Prince Nana. Rob says that next month she’ll be happier. What an unnecessary break of kayfabe. I mean, I know it was pretty much already dead by this point, but what purpose could that have served?
MATCH #5: Low Ki (2-1) vs. AJ Styles
AJ Styles’ promo before the match is unintentionally hilarious, and reminds me what a goof the guy is. Donny B and Corino are already calling it the best match I’m ever going to see. They start it off on the mat, and Donny B describes Low Ki as “pure oxygen O2 squared.” How many more shows is he on? They trade some kicks as both men are trying to intimidate the other. Donny gets even dumber as he says Low Ki is the better aerialist and Styles is more of the mat wrestler. He makes it hard to enjoy matches sometimes. Corino is nearly as bad, going off on how this “isn’t” “sports entertainment.” Low Ki takes advantage with kicks and chops. The commentators put over the Low Ki vs. Christopher Daniels feud, and Daniels has said that he won’t fight Ki again until the ROH Title is on the line. So I assume an announcement about crowning the first champion is forthcoming. The idiots on the mic make a lame connection to what Ki’s name means to Styles’ religious beliefs, and announce that the owner and the booker of ROH are Jewish. Why, why, why are they doing this to me? Ki tries the Ki Krusher but Styles reverses it to a cool looking DDT. Styles then hits the flipping reverse DDT for a near fall. Ki fights back and hits a powerbomb for two. Ki delivers some Kawada kicks. Ki hits a tiger suplex for two. Styles comes back with a suplex combination for two. A few moments later he hits a Razor’s Edge into a DDT right on Ki’s head but it only gets two. No one should ever kick out of that move. Styles goes up and tries the Spiral Tap and Donny calls it a “twisting senton back suplex.” Ki comes back and goes for the Ki Krusher but Styles blocks it and tries the Styles Clash, but Ki avoids it and rolls up Styles for the win at 18:14. Well the finish was extremely weak and no one should kick out of that DDT Styles gave Ki, but that was mostly a super fun match and a good introduction for Styles.
Christopher Daniels is backstage and very excited about wrestling Donovan Morgan tonight. He goes over how much they have in common. He almost sounds like he has a crush on him.
MATCH #6: The Carnage Crew vs. Dunn & Marcos
This turns into a squash in real short order. Loc and DeVito dominate the Ring Crew Express, until Marcos dodges a Moonsault and hits a tornado DDT. Dunn gets tagged in and hits a missile dropkick. That doesn’t last too long before the Crew gets tired of it. They hit Marcos with a razor’s edge / neckbreaker combination to get the pin at 3:13. And thus begins the run of the Carnage Crew.
Donovan Morgan appreciates the kind words of Christopher Daniels. He says that tonight he will prove to everyone how good he is tonight.
MATCH #7: Donovan Morgan vs. Christopher Daniels (1-2)
They start off exchanging holds on the mat, with Daniels coming out on top with a hammerlock. Morgan recovers and utilizes various holds on Daniels. He settles on the headlock and Daniels fights like hell to get out of it. He back suplexes Morgan to break the hold and Daniels goes after the neck now. Morgan recovers and like his opponent, targets the neck. Daniels regains control and works over Morgan for several minutes. He hits the not-yet-named Best Moonsault Ever for a near fall. He tries the Iconoclasm but Morgan avoids it and hits a huge DDT off the ropes. Daniels locks in a Crossface variation but Morgan escapes. Morgan goes for a sunset flip and Daniels counters it and tries the Last Rites, but Morgan reverses it to the Golden Gate Swing and Daniels has to reach the ropes. Morgan hits another Golden Gate Swing and this time holds on to it for the pin at 13:10. That was technically very good but lacked any real heat or emotion.
On the mic, Daniels puts over Morgan and how he heat him fair and square in the middle of the ring. He says he’s not going to shake his hand because the Code of Honor is a farce. He does him one better though, by offering to watch his back.
Spanky walks in late to a TWA pre-match meeting. Trainer Rudy Boy Gonzalez namedrops Shawn Michaels. Everyone gets pissed at Spanky for being a disrespectful prick.
MATCH #8: Heartbreak Gauntlet Series Featuring – American Dragon, Spanky, Michael Shane, Paul London, and John Hope
~ROUND 1 – John Hope vs. Paul London (1-0)~
Hope claimed he was the dark horse to win this whole thing, but I guess what that means is that his match is going to be clipped. London pins him with a Shooting Star Press.
~ROUND 2 – Paul London (2-0) vs. Michael Shane~
These two start off fast, with both guys looking for quick covers. London actually hits the Dropsault but the commentators don’t notice. They continue to trade moves. Shane hits a big spear for a near-fall. Shane puts on a submission that would later become known as the Haas of Pain. London reaches the ropes. Bentley tries a superplex but London counters it and drops Shane on his face. London tries the Shooting Star Press but Shane moves. London then takes a phantom bump and Shane hits the Picture Perfect Elbow to get the pin at 3:42. Well that was way too short to do anything, obviously, and London’s goofy flop at the end didn’t to it any favors.
~ROUND 3 – Michael Shane (1-0) vs. Spanky (1-0)~
Spanky slaps Shane right in the face and they’re off to the races. It’s a bit off because Shane is wrestling as the babyface and Spanky the heel, and I’m used to seeing them as the opposite. Shane tries going to the top rope but Spanky knocks him to the floor and Shane is busted open. Back in the ring Shane makes a comeback and clotheslines Spanky to the floor. He follows him out and they fight on the floor for a bit. Back in the ring the fight continues. Shane tosses Spanky outside, but Spanky tries to skin the cat and Shane knocks him down. They crawl back to the ring and Spanky tries an enziguiri and Shane counters it to a La Magistral cradle for two. Shane goes up top but falls down before being able to hit a move. Corino blames the blood loss, but he hasn’t lost THAT much. Spanky tries Sliced Bread #2 but Shane avoids it and hits a Superkick for two. Shane tries another kick but it leads to Spanky hitting the Sliced Bread #2 to get the pin and advance in the gauntlet at 10:24. That was a good high energy contest, I just don’t see much in Shane.
~ROUND 4 – Spanky (2-0) vs. American Dragon (1-2)~
This is the final round of the gauntlet. Dragon is wearing long tights, which I think may be the only time in ROH I can say I’ve seen that. They wrestle on the mat and reach a stalemate to start off. Corino picks Spanky to win. They wrestle around some more and reach another stalemate. They try a knuckle lock and Spanky stomps the fingers and goes to the headlock. Dragon recovers and goes to work on Spanky. Dragon gets dumped to the floor and it looks like Spanky has ripped his pants. He follows Dragon out to the floor and throws him back in. Spanky goes to work on the neck as Donny B somehow gets worse on commentary. They go back and forth for a bit, and Spanky tries a suplex of some kind and they blow it. That’s rare for those two. Dragon takes over and hits a series of moves for near falls. Spanky appears to be out of it but is able to hit a Sliced Bread #2 for a close near fall. Dragon comes back and sets Spanky on the top rope for a super back suplex, but Spanky hits the Sliced Bread #2 again, this time off the top, and that’s enough for the win at 13:41. That was good clean fun, and I’d like to see them wrestle again.
After the match Spanky gets on the microphone and mocks Dragon and then throws his name into the hat for the ROH Title tournament, which will conclude with a four-way Iron Man match on July 27. Dragon has a retort, but it’s hard to hear because the audio is not good. Dragon nominates himself for the title tournament. Christopher Daniels comes out to do the same. Scoot Andrews wants to fight for the ROH Title as well. He challenges Daniels to meet him in the first round. Xavier wants to be in it as well. Jay Briscoe wants in as well, and I say just go ahead and give it to him. Prince Nana wants to be champion too. Finally, Low Ki comes out and everyone just clears out for him. Low Ki is a douche. He goes on and on and on and I can’t believe how long this segment is.
MATCH #9: Eddy Guerrero & Amazing Red vs. The SAT (1-0)
They show a brief recap of the idiotic and catty feud between Red and the SAT. Mikey Whipwreck set up Red with a partner, and since he’s so mad at him, he picks the WWE Intercontinental Champion. I don’t see the logic there, but it’s Mikey, so I’m not surprised. Red starts it off with one of the Maximos, I’m not sure which. It’s Jose I’m told, as Red tags out to Eddy, who gives the SAT no time to breathe. Eddy continues to dominate and even uses the sharpshooter, called a Boston Crab by Donny B. The SAT come back and actually get to beat on Eddy for a while. Jose goes to the top rope but Eddy stops him and hits a superplex. Red gets tagged back in and hits the Red Star Press for a near fall. The SAT soon regain control and work on Red now. Eddy gets a hot tag and he’s a casa en fuego. He hits the brainbuster on a Maximo for a near fall. The locker room has emptied to watch this match in person. Marks! The SAT goes for the Spanish Fly but Red breaks it up. Jose tries a tornado DDT on Eddy but Eddy blocks it and tosses Red into a rana, just like in the No Mercy ’02 match with Edge & Mysterio. For the record, this one was first. Eddy tries the Frog Splash and misses. He is able to hit Splash Mountain though (which Donny B somehow mistakes for the Gory Special – dude, seriously) to get the pin at 13:28. That was a solid tag team match thanks mostly to Eddy (duh) and this has to be the best match the SAT have ever or will ever have.
Brian XL comes out after the match to mock the SAT. Eddy re-names him Lil’ Bow Wow, prompting a chant from the crowd. XL wants to fight Eddy for some reason, so he obliges, hitting a brainbuster and a Frog Splash much to the delight of the crowd. The referee even counts three and the bell rings, but I didn’t hear an opening bell, so I don’t think that counts as a match. Eddy cuts a promo thanking everyone for their support. He makes a nice speech and the crowd is supremely supportive and appreciative of the fact that he’s on this show. I think it’s great as well.
American Dragon and Low Ki are talking about how great it was that everyone respects Eddy Guerrero. Spanky is in the back listening to headphones and eating pizza, so Ki and Dragon try to yell at him about it. Spanky says people pay to see him not Eddy, and then Christopher Daniels and Donovan Morgan come in and call Ki and Dragon girls and accuse them of marking out for Eddy. A brawl ensues, and Daniels proclaims that if he still had hair ROH would make it go grey.
The 411: As is the case with many early ROH shows, there is a good deal of garbage and filler, and the commentary is cringe-worthy at almost every second. There is still some good stuff here though, notably Spanky, the Ki vs. Styles match, and the Eddy Guerrero appearance. It’s not a great show by any stretch, but it’s a good show for where the company was at this point, and like the last one, I’m interested to get to the next show.