ROH Round Robin Challenge

ROH Round Robin Challenge

From March 30, 2002

ROH Round Robin Challenge
Christopher Daniels cuts a promo - GREAT! THIS is how Era of Honor Begins should've started, a main event guy cutting a magnificent heel promo.

Recap of The Era of Honor Begins/highlight reel for tonight - Good, aside from some production nitpicks (the music that was chosen sounds like something from a Sega Saturn sound chip, and because they with a black and white filter, everything that didn't happen directly under a light looks like a silhouette), this was a great video package. Again, this is the kind of quality and explanation of what was meant to make Ring of Honor unique that should've somehow been worked into The Era of Honor Begins (the absence of which is made further inexcusable by the fact that the rest of this was clearly a highlight reel of what happens at the show, so obviously they had some capacity for post-production).

Da Hit Squad rile up fans - OH FOR (censored) SAKE,. Da Hit Squad tell us they're going to do the same thing they did at the beginning of the last show. The way one of them says "feverishly hot" made my skin crawl the way obviously scripted WWE stuff does. They go out to the people. For some reason the outdoor part of this is nightmarish blue-tinted. At the very least, they were smart enough to do this while people were obviously waiting in line, and the people were happy to see them. Da Hit Squad have also apparently taken some Sports Management public speaking classes, because they at least know to stick to basic "Where you from/I can't hear you" pump up gems. Unfortunately the whole thing goes terribly wrong when they amble over to a group of people not from the same place, so when they do the "Where you from?" thing, it's just a mishmash of noise, including some guy who's entirely too excited to be from Wisconsin. Luckily they just kind of appease him and walk away, going back to the first part of the crowd and getting them to chant. I still don't like these goofs, but they're getting better.

We get a text crawl of the rules. WHY WASN'T THIS IN THE FIRST SHOW?

Divine Storm and American Dragon try out holds on some mats One of Divine Storm wants to try out a cross-face chicken-wing on the other, acting like he invented the move. The other one reluctantly complies. American Dragon walks by and shows them how to do it way rougher than how Storm was doing it to Divine. Divine is hurt, Storm is cool about this. It puts over Dragon as a douche wrestling know-it-all, but I don't enjoy tag partners being cool with their partner being hurt for no reason.

Round Robin Match 1
Christopher Daniels vs American Dragon - 9/10

Dragon follows the Code of Honor while Daniels doesn't. This is weird considering the douchbaggery we saw from Dragon earlier, but I guess in a three way feud somebody has to be the tweener. The story of the match is that Daniels initially wanted a quick win, but Dragon wanted a slow, technical bout. We see that Dragon is the better technical wrestler and striker, but when it comes down to more traditional pro wrestling, Daniels has better power grapples. Daniels works Dragon's neck, which Dragon sells expertly, by being prevented from doing certain moves because of it, but he'll smartly do something else instead. However, Daniels eeks out two big power moves on Dragon's neck, and clinches in a cross-face for the win. An amazing match considering these guys have to hold back for matches later on tonight.

Post-match - Daniels demands Dragon shake his hand, and Dragon does. I like the idea of Daniels being the shitty veteran when it comes to people showing him respect but he has no respect for other people. Daniels clearly understands how to be a heel in this relatively unique environment.

The Towel Boy shines Prince Nana's shoes - Got Nana being a rich jerk over.

CW Anderson picks a partner - CW Anderson has a match against Joey Matthews and Christian York. He doesn't have a partner though, and Handicapped matches aren't a thing in Ring of Honor, so CW Anderson's solution to this problem is to abduct a random ring cew guy because he's so amped to fight York/Matthews that it doesn't matter who his partner is. This was weird.

Prince Nana and The Towel Boy w/ Simply Luscious come out - As they make entrance Eric says that Simply Luscious drove from Texas to be a part of the show, and she wanted to be apart of it so badly she took the only "spot" available, which was as Nana and Towel Boy's valet. From an event organizing point of view, this makes no sense, as it would imply any random girl could've filled the position if they'd cared to show up. Corino provides the most logical explanation, saying that she wanted to be Nana's valet. When Corino outsmarts you on the headset you need to never announce again. Anyway, Nana cuts a relatively generic heel promo about respect, and Towel Boy shines his shoes. This results in...

Prince Nana and The Towel Boy w/ Simply Luscious vs Da Hit Squad - Squash

Da Hit Squad jump Nana and Towel because they are babyfaces you see. I actually popped for the Figure 4/Frog Splash Combo. Almost screamed at the spear that appeared to almost kill Towel Boy. Burning Hammer to Towel Boy for the win. Nana apparently just left.

Post-match - The reason why this gets its own header because this is so appalling I've decided to rant about it. This actually has a beginning that's hilarious . The Christopher Street Connection do a long entrance to "YMCA". Meanwhile, as Nana and the CSC argue, Da Hit Squad hit the most horrifying body press out of the ring on Towel Boy to the other people., in which he's caught by no one. I never thought I would enjoy watching someone absolutely smack his head just as the chorus of YMCA kicked in. They do the same to Luscious, who everyone makes damn sure to catch.

Why is this kind of behavior allowed in Ring of Honor? Why are are Da Hit Squad given top billing as babyfaces despite doing nothing, having non-competitive squashes, and abusing women? The ICP did two of the three and were told "Don't come back" at Glory by Honor this same year!

Anyway I digress, because this is where it gets bad. Nana thinks about carrying Luscious out, but drags her to the back by the hair. Corino suggests that this is how you get a wife in Ghana, and he participated in the clubbing of women when he vacationed there. How are these WWE-lite ripoffs (Corino being Jerry Lawler, Hit Squad being the Dudleyz, and Nana being a cross between Jeff Jarrett and Ted Dibiase) in the same promotion as guys like Low Ki and Daniels?

Also CSC get their blow job insinuations in with a knocked out Tuttle (which is sexual assault by the way folks) and Da Ht Squad, laughing and having a great time, shake everyone's hands because Code of Honor, Wacka-wacka! And THEN, the CSC carry off an unconscious Towel Boy, presumably to sexually assault him more. If this seemed like I was jumping in and out of the segment it's because this didn't end. Places where you'd think they'd logically cut to he back, more dumb crap would happen. Did Vince Russo write in part of the format while Rob was on vacation? OH MY GOD IT'S STILL NOT OVER WHYYYYYY? The CSC attempt CPR because GAY COMEDY! Nana saves Towel Boy from this and drags him away. Then they give CPR to each other because GAY COMEDY.

The Boogie Knights attempt to steal Homicide's chainsaw - One of the Boogie Knights admits to pooping in "Eric's" ba bag. This doesn't specify which of the two guys named Eric are that are on the card. But at least we know pooping in bags is a heel move, this at least establishes who I'm supposed to root for in this feud. The meat of the segment starts out good at first, because while this is a comedy segment, it's understandable why they'd want to take away the chainsaw, It all goes down the toilet when they find only Homicide's rubber chicken. And while the rubber chicken as a weapon makes sense to Homicide's character at the moment, it sounds infinitely dumber when The Boogie Knights think they can steal it and gain an advantage. Even MORE so when they drop the chicken. They went from street toughs with a juvenile, yet sensible plan, to two comedy goofs in the span of a segment.

York and Matthews promo - Literally the first credible wrestlers I've seen since Daniels vs Dragon ended. Hooray! They cut a meh promo which sounded much better considering what it followed.

CW Anderson and Elax vs York and Matthews - 4/10

We learn the ring crew guy is named Elax. He looks like the stereotypical Asian sidekick from a 1950's movie, small with a goofy face. He's also wearing a shirt that says "Got Poop?" which he proudly mugs to the camera. At this point I realized this was the Brawn/Nicolas vs The Bar story from Wrestlemania 34, and I realized how much Nicolas would've been over with me if he wore a shirt that said "Got Poop?". This was a fine little tag team match, except for the fact that York and Matthews went noticeably slower doing moves with Elax than they did with Anderson. As you might expect, a miscommunication between Anderson and Elax cost them the match.

Post-match - Everyone follows the Code of Honor. Anderson telegraphs beating up Elax, Elax pretends like he doesn't know what's about to happen, and gets beat up. Amateur hour bullshit.

Xavier Promo - A decent promo considering that the match had to be changed so quickly.

James Maritato promo - EXCELLENT. He puts an interesting spin on the "I'm not my established character anymore" promo that I hate and talks about how he was a known shooter in the UWFi before this and how he was going back to his roots tonight. I wish more people spun the old "I'm not my established character anymore" promos this way, even if the person wasn't recognized somewhere else. Going back to one's beginnings or roots s something everyone can identify with.

Xavier vs James Maritato - 7/10

They start out in a technical wresting exchange, but then Xavier shows his power, and James tries to fight back with submissions, but is unsuccessful. A few choice moves by James swings it back in his favor Xavier picks up the win after a clutch pin out of nowhere, which is fine, but the count was weirdly fast.

PA State Athletic Commissioner Frank Talent addresses the talent - Bizarre. He tells the guys they're great but if they bleed or curse they won't be paid. Also the camera man spends an ornate amount of time focusing on Spanky who's listening to headphones and brushing his teeth. Spanky sarcastically claps as the commissioner leaves.

Natural Born Sinners promo - Homicide says he is "very piss" and plans to murder the Boogie Knights. Boogaloo offers up the following gem

The Boogie Knights vs Natural Born Sinners - Squash

This is the match the Natural Born Sinners should've had last month, killing these two goobers. Also Corino whines about Eric's bag smelling like shit, and only now do I realize that the Boogie Knights shit in the Eric the ring announcer's bag and not Eric the towel boy. What's most worrying is that Eric can't identify the smell of human poop, and is getting really defensive.

Low Ki promo - Excellent babyface promo.

Round Robin Match 2
Christopher Daniels vs Low Ki - 8.5/10

The fact that they teased Ki immediately hitting his finisher but didn't deliver on it nets this an extra .5 to begin with. Low-Ki spends the first half of the match annihilating Daniels with his signature stuff. The second half, Daniels hits the sweeping STO like he did on Dragon, and works the neck. But, Low Ki fights back and gets the submission win. A very simple, but impactful and well done, story The only thing that puts it below Daniels and Dragon is that inherently you wouldn't put two guys who were 0-1 in the main event.

Post-match - Daniels acts like he's going to shake Ki's hand, but then swerve, he doesn't! Like a good heel, he makes a logical excuse as to why he lost, he had to wrestle twice while this is Low-Ki's first match. He also refuses to wrestle again until the ROH Title is on the line. The announcers act befuddled at the mention of such a thing. A few problems I have with this right now.

1. Why would announcers act befuddled at the fact that eventually a promotion would eventually crown a champion? I'm pretty sure every backyard fed in the history of time has a champion.

2. How does Daniels know about the Ring of Honor Title, but no one else seems to?

Christopher Daniels backstage - Xavier congratulates him. He then chickens out of a fight with Da Hit Squad and some of Low Ki's other friends. RYAN *Censored* SHAMROCK is here, accompanying KEN *Censored* SHAMROCK with no indication of why either are here. The camera man follows Daniels, or tries to, but Spanky blocks them, singing for the camera.

Mikey Whipwreck's students (?) play basketball earlier today - The question mark is there because someone forgot to put in the name keys. I'm only half convinced it was them because I think I heard/saw Red. They all look like generic midgets when they aren't in gear. One team is a bad sport to the other team and walk out.

Chris Marvel vs Paul London w Rudy Boy Gonzales - DUD

It starts as a spotfest, but then Chris Marvel horrifically breaks his leg. I think the poor bastard managed to turn his leg 180 degrees from where it was meant to go.

Jay and Mark Briscoe Promo - Jay cuts a generic babyface promo, and Mark teases him about possibly not being able to win, to which Jay shoves Mark and stomps out, Mark is satisfied with this, having properly motivated his brother. This was great, and got their characters over a little better.

Jay Briscoe w/ Mark Briscoe vs Spanky - 4/10

Spanky has changed literally nothing about his entrance in nearly 20 years. Spanky works the jaw, and Jay makes his comeback once Spanky starts bleeding.

Gabe and some other lads look at a Texas Wrestling Academy poll on a computer. Okay?

Divine Storm vs SAT vs Amazing Red and Brian XL - 4/10

Between the red light and the haze backstage, it looks like something's on fire. This was an X-Division style spot-fest, to the point where a Code Red off the top got a two count. I feel I saw this match at least monthly for at least 5 years in TNA.

Low Ki Promo - A promo immediately ruined by Low Ki, the badass karate warrior opening with "Here we go".

Before Low Ki vs Dragon can kick off, Shamrock asks to be the referee, and it's cool with everyone, so we get...

Round Robin Match 3 with Special Referee Ken Shamrock
Low Ki vs American Dragon - PERFECT 10/10

These guys spend most of the match doing crazy shoot style shit, then go to batshit insane striking. A Ki Crusher from the top doesn't put away Dragon. Dragon locks in the Cattle Mutilation and Low Ki passes out.

1. The Texas guys are all feuding. It's weird to see Londrick and Dragon together on camera.
2. Mikey Whipwreck's guys are arguing. Brian XL has been expelled from the crew, and Mikey will find Red a partner next show.
3.. Donovan Morgan vs Daniels is booked for next week.
4. Low Ki vs AJ Styles is also booked for next week.

Final Thoughts
Literally just watch the Round Robin stuff (and the James Maritato/Xavier match if you're a UWFi junkie) but skip everything else. The Round Robin stuff propelled an otherwise bad show to greatness

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