ROH One Year Anniversary Show 2/8/03
TO THE PARKING LOT. Low Ki cuts a promo about implementing "four characters": Respect, Honor, Discipline, Dedication. I don't think he meant to say "characters", because that makes no sense. Characteristics, maybe? Guidelines? Attributes? Ethics?
TO THE WE ARE AWESOME VIDEO. A highlight package of the first year of ROH events. It's terrible. Rave music, weird text, and every effect from a free moving making program from 1999.
TO THE PARKING LOT. Paul London arrives, promising to win the ROH Championship tonight.
Chad Collyer vs EZ Money vs Colt Cabana vs Michael Shane
Great. An indie fatal four way to start the show. The ring canvas is already torn, fixed with tape. Chad Collyer, you aren't Dean Malenko, you fuck. Cabana's gear is SO low rent Jesus Christ. Actually, so is Michael Shane's, which looks like it might be the default gear for a Smackdown CAW from 2001. Despite being a four way, this is worked like a tag match, complete with FIP and hot tag sequences. EZ fucks up his handspring elbow (why was a guy as big as him doing that anyway?), landing on his head. He was the FIP for most of the match, and made the hot tag to Cabana. In a four way match. Boy, every big spot in this looks so bad. It's almost hilarious. EZ Money wins with the Crash Landing in a match that had dive sequences, finisher kick outs, and no selling in the opening match. And the ECW/WCW guy winning instead of young, hot talent.
Remember the time Tommy Dreamer showed up and gave Michael Shane a DDT? RELIVE THE MOMENT IN BLACK AND WHITE!!! DANGEROUUUUUUUUUS!
TO THE BACK. AJ Styles has arrived, and he also promises to win the ROH Championship.
Fast Eddie/Don Juan/Hotstuff Hernandez vs Carnage Crew
Gabe is still on his WE ARE NOT SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT, WE ARE PRO WRESTLING shit when the first two matches involve shitty ex-ECW guys and 9 minutes of the first 30 have been promos and recaps. What a shocker, Hernandez is crazy reckless and stiff. Somethings never change. Fast Eddie, who is legally blind, completely misses an Asai moonsault. Missed 3 fucking people. And not a single one of them tried to move to catch him. Wait...He got hit with a hub cap in mid air. You know what screams "this is totally great wrestling and not sports entertainment"? Hubcaps and garbage wrestling. The Texas Wrestling Academy clan wins via DQ. Fast Eddie got hit with a super piledriver after the match. Rudy Boy Gonzalez tried to save his boys after the match, but got laid out. Then the Christopher Street Connection, an overtly "LOL GAY DUDES" tag team that actually opened the first ROH show by getting demolished for being gay, comes out to save the day. Oh my god, their finisher is actually called "The Gay Basher". Lol. Wow. They also use "poppers" (as in, the little fireworks things, not amyl nitrite) to get the advantage on the CC, all to cheers...until they start making out in the ring, which gets loud boos and sounds of disgust. This is more sports entertainment than anything going on in WWE at the time.
Marc Briscoe vs Jay Briscoe
Dem Boys are actually boys here. 18 and 19. And they look like it. This match seems like every second is completely scripted out and they've worked it out for weeks. Marc has turned heel and joined the Prophecy after the death of one of his friends in a car wreck. He started wearing black, got a tattoo, and is a lost soul. Could be that he's just a moody teenager, though. This is very dumb, Jay is bleeding for some reason, Marc is hitting moonsaults to the floor. Jay has so many MOVEZ. Marc is one of 3 dudes on the roster doing the Burning Hammer. After a SUPER KANYON CUTTER, they're doing a strike sequence 5 seconds later, literally. Lol. Then Jay does one a few minutes after that. Finisher stealing, finisher kick outs, MOVEZ. Definitely an indie match. Jay wins with a ROLLING J-Driller. Because you know, you really need to do two under hook piledrivers in a row. The brothers hug after the match.
TO THE ROOF. Da Hit Squad cut a promo on a roof. You can only see their silhouettes because there are no lighting sources. You also can barely hear them due to wind blowing directly into the camera mic. This is the worst produced promo of all time.
TO THE BACK. Homicide said...something. I had a hard time understanding him.
Steve Corino vs Homicide
Before the match, Samoa Joe gets all up in Homicide's grill. Steve Corino grabs a mic, which was "not on the format". SPORTZ ENTERTAINMENT. "Corino isn't even supposed to be on the mic right now!" So...just point out that the show is scripted and booked out. Gabe is basically telling you something bad is about to happen. Way to telegraph, breh. You're the booker, could you at least try to not give away your angles before they happen? Michael Shane is introduced as a new member of The Group. Oh yeah, Corino named his stable THE GROUP. Corino is SHOOTING on Gabe and Feinstein. Great. Nothing sports entertainment about worked shoots. CW Anderson is brought out. You see, CW was fired from ROH for taking a booking in Japan over ROH, but somehow one of his matches accidentally ended up on one of the video tapes released later on. Lol. This is dumb as fuck. Corino calls for Low Ki to join the group. Homicide then grabs the mic, says Low Ki isn't down with that, then goes for cheap hometown pops. "Steve Corino isn't doing what he's supposed to do!"
Finally, the match starts. So, this must be a shoot then, right? THIS match is real, while everything else was fake, right? Because if Corino was shooting during the promo, not doing what he was booked to do, surely he wouldn't be working a match on the script right after. That's how logic works, you fucks. Gabe bitches about CW Anderson, calls him an asshole, and wishes for a fan to take a punch at him. Oh look, another top rope Kanyon Cutter, even though we just saw a match with TWO of them. Of course, there is a ref bump and Homicide straight up stealing Muta spots (the shining wizard off the back of someone else). Gabe keeps talking about how hostile the crowd the building is getting. Sure doesn't seem very hostile, outside of Joe arguing with clear plants. "This is Ring of Honor, mother fucker. You're lucky this is Ring of Honor or I'd fuck you up." Lol, Joe. Gabe and RF are screaming at CW Anderson. This is SO stupid. Homicide is forced to pass out to a cobra clutch. The Group continues to beat up Homicide until fans start jumping the railing. Now, obviously, most of the fans are plants (including Julius Smokes), but at least one actual fan hits the ring and is immediately swarmed by EVERYONE. Homicide and The Group all stomp this dude. And I think Low Ki is out there hitting fans. Joe beats up a dude in a Peyton Manning jersey. FUCK Peyton Manning. Big headed fuck. The rest of the roster ends up out there. "Throw storylines out the window!" Lmao, some fan takes his shoe off and is hitting wrestlers. "At least in situations like this, kayfabe means nothin'." Fuck off, Gabe. Jesus Christ. Michael Shane repeatedly screams "fuck you" at RF, who is screaming about getting banned from the building. Homicide also screams at RF, saying he'd "fuck the shit out of you" and actually ran after him. Lol at Gabe literally shrieking like a woman in a horror movie. After about 15 minutes of this, they show it again from the hard cam.
TO THE BACK. Christopher Daniels cuts a promo on Steve Corino.
Outcast Killaz vs The Ring Crew Express
Okay, so tell me why the RCE are billed from Paradise City, yet come out to Unskinny Bop. Gary Michael Capetta comes out saying that a member of Steve Corino's Group wants promo time, and Steve Corino gets what he wants, so here is CW Anderson. Fucking lol. What? After the riot, they actually interrupt the next match for a promo from the guys who started said riot? Like, with an actual announcer? CW attacks all four guys, so the match never happens. CW begs for a match, even while Gabe is screaming about how he's not booked for the show. Yet, no one from the company is making him get out of the ring. CM Punk runs out and accepts the challenge.
CM Punk vs CW Anderson
LOOOOOOOL at Punk trying to get cheap NYC pops. That pandering fuck. CW, not booked, not working for the company, banned from the company....working a match, with a ref, following the Code of Honor. Lol. Punk was supposed to have a match with Reckless Youth, who was unable to appear due to a car wreck, even though Punk seemed to make a reference to him being a punk ass bitch for no-showing. Punk is really the epitome of indie scrub look. Basketball shorts and tapped up elbow pads. CW works the arm, while Punk works the leg. Well, at least there is some kind of story here, as opposed to everything else on the show. Punk wins after countering the spinebuster with a roll up. It's amazing how nonathletic and uncoordinated Punk is.
Bryan Danielson vs Samoa Joe
I'm hoping this doesn't make me think both guys were just indie shitheads. Please be good. Bryan is bigger here than he was during his title run period in WWE. Joe is svelte. "You better believe it's not sports entertainment." Mother fuckers, you've had gay guys making out in the ring after using poppers to beat up ECW guys using hubcaps, a worked shoot that turned into a half a shoot "riot" and announcers (once of which is actually the booker) saying worked-shoot shit that would make Vince Russo blush. ROH is sports entertainment as fuck. Lots of mean ass grappling in this. Joe focuses all of his offense to the lower back. They also slap the FUCK out of each other. Jesus Christ that STJoe was bananas. This is pretty good. Bryan just keeps fighting back no matter how hard Joe hits him, and Joe is starting to get frustrated and tired. But all it takes is one big shot for Joe to stop the rallies. The finish is interesting, as it was basically a MMA like KO rush from Joe, desperately trying to finish Bryan off, only for Bryan to score a flash small package OUTTA NOWHERE to get the win. IT IS ALLLLL OVER. Very happy that this was actually good and not just dumb indie shithead stuff. Seeing the difference in ability and presence these two had compared to Punk is staggering. They were SO far ahead of him at everything.
Paul London vs AJ Styles vs Low Ki Number One Contendership
Expecting indie fuckery. Fucking looool at Gabe calling AJ and Low Ki "two monsters". This is just nonstop spots, most of which are overly complicated and silly, or a dangerous bump from London.London wins with a shooting star press to AJ, moments after AJ was hit with a top rope Ki Krusher. It was a very stupid match, but it is hard to deny that all three of these guys seem like they'd all become something much bigger in the industry. Which....one of them did, at least.
Xavier vs Paul London ROH Championship
This was supposed to happen later in the show, but Xavier decided to force it to happen now. At some point in this, Alexis Laree comes out to fight with Alison Danger. You'd think London would be getting dominated, right? I mean, he just had a triple threat that was 15 minutes of nonstop action. Yet he gets a significant amount of offense. This is overbooked for sure. Random table bumps, blood over...nothing, it seems, Alison Danger getting drilled multiple times, cat fights, finisher kick outs, and then Xavier winning with a roll up. Title retained. I don't like Xavier.
Da Hit Squad/Divine Storm/SAT/Mikey Whipwreck vs Special K Tag Team Scramble
Uggggggggguuuuuu, a 14 man indie tag spot fest. Fuck. Imagine a match were 12 tiny dudes and 2 fat dudes trade shitty ranas and arm drags for what feels like a month. This is the worst match ever. 14 indie guys botching everything, doing shitty comedy spots, and MOVEZ for 30 minutes. Jesus fuck. And it ended with an AVALANCHE BURNING HAMMER. Gabe botches his own name when signing off.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Mikey turned on his team when promised drugs and then left the match.
TO THE BACK. Chris Daniels gives a history lesson to Steve Corino. Elsewhere, AJ offers to team up with Paul London. Elsewhere elsewhere, CM Punk talks about about shit until Colt Cabana interrupts, and Punk bitches about having to do promos because he hates them and just wants to go home. I guess some things never change. And then he does "take 2" of the promo, word for word. What the fuck. Terrible. This promo sucks, too. Monotone, no energy, boring as fuck. It's on Raven enjoying drugs and shit.
Elsewhere elsewhere elsewhere, Raven cuts a promo on Punk, which is 1000X better than Punk's promo was, even though it is very rambly and he repeats himself multiple times.
Bryan vs Joe was good. Everything else can get fucked. For a company that always went on and on and on and on about how they were REAL PRO WRESTLING and not SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT, ROH had some of the most obnoxious sports entertainment/Russo style angles and promos imaginable. In fact, Vince Russo wasn't even going as hard on the worked shoots and "behind the scenes" shit in TNA in 2002-2003 as ROH was doing. The real take away from this show is how wholly unimpressive CM Punk was, both in the ring and in both of his promos. For a guy known for his speaking ability, he sure didn't show it here even with two chances. And he looked as generic and bland as possible in his match. Of the guys that would go on to be bigger indie stars or beyond, he was completely blown out of the water by Bryan, Joe, AJ, London, and Low Ki. I might even argue that Colt Cabana looked and felt like a bigger star than Punk. How the fuck did Punk end up the biggest one of them all?
Everything about the riot was fucking ridiculous. You would think that after everything Vince Russo had done by this point, companies would have figured out that people don't want to see worked shoots and people screaming about kayfabe. And, clearly, there was no oversight in protecting moves of any kind. Most of the matches has shinning wizards, two matches had springboard ace crushers, multiple matches had variations of underhook piledrivers, and at least 3 people on the roster do the burning hammer. ROH, particularly in the first year or two, was straight up ECW/Russo over booking and shoots with guys thinking they were in 1995 AJPW or on Nitro in cruiserweight matches. It was not a good product, but they did have some very talented guys who would go on to do good things.