Flashback: ROH A Night Of Appreciation 2002
Ring of Honor returned with their third show on April 27th, 2002 titled A Night Of Appreciation. It was given that name as a way to honor Eddie Guerrero, who is on the show, since he is back in the WWF and won’t ever be back on the independents.
Eddie would be in the main event teaming with a rather popular Amazing Red to square off against the Maximo Brothers. The show also features the northeast debut of AJ Styles as he squares off against Low Ki.
Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Spanky and Paul London also appear on the show.
McXal provided a more in-depth review of the show located HERE.
1.) Da Hit Squad defeated Simply Luscious & Prince Nana, & The Christopher Street Connection in a three tag match
2.) Jay Briscoe defeated Tony Mamaluke
3.) Chris Divine & Quiet Storm defeated Christian York & Joey Matthews
4.) Little Guido defeated Scoot Andrews and Xavier in a three way match
5.) Low Ki defeated AJ Styles
6.) HC Loc & Tony DeVito defeated Marcos & Dunn
7.) Donovan Morgan defeated Christopher Daniels
8.) Spanky defeated Paul London, Bryan Danielson, John Hope and Michael Shane in a gauntlet match
9.) WWF Intercontinental Champion Eddie Guerrero & Amazing Red defeated The Maximo Brothers
Dan Maff and Monsta Mack continue to be presented as bad asses in the company and they are completely believable. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the work of Maff while Mack is someone I’ve never been a huge fan of. As expected, they murder everyone else in the match. I’d be inclined to think that these two were designed to be a top tag team in the company. We’ll see what happens there.
After losing his first two matches in Ring of Honor, Jay Briscoe gets an important victory over an accomplished tag team wrestler in Tony Mamaluke. Despite the victory, Jay is still taunted by his younger brother Mark Briscoe backstage. Also, Little Guido is mad at Mamaluke for using the FBI music and whatnot.
Despite some success and buzz towards the end of ECW, York and Matthews never seemed to recapture that in any company they worked for together. The same can be said here in ROH as they had a forgettable match with Divine Storm. Divine Storm is a team that I can’t take seriously nor do I believe to be any good. To me, they are a low point in early ROH shows. Their matches just seemed like they took forever to get through.
Promoting Little Guido as the master of the three way dance doesn’t make much sense to me considering Guido lost probably 98% of the three way dances he had in ECW against Super Crazy and Tajiri. At least he was able to prevail against virtual unknowns in Scoot Andrews and Xavier. Xavier had been undefeated prior to taking the fall in this match, but he’ll be far more memorable in the coming shows.
It feels rather bizarre saying this, but this was essentially a tryout for AJ Styles competing in Ring of Honor. This show is two months before the start of TNA where AJ would make a major name for himself. It’s hardly a gamble when you book one of the best performers in the 2000s. This is probably a match that should have headlined countless pay per views for at least TNA, but Low Ki would get stuck competing in just X-Division matches there. It’s an enjoyable bout between two great talents and a good victory for Ki, who is one of the top acts in ROH at the time.
I remember back in the early 2000s picking up Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazines and usually managing to read about Donovan Morgan. He seemed to get a lot of hype back in those days, so it’s not a huge surprise that he would be involved with ROH in the early days of the company. Considering Daniels is the top heel and perhaps the only truly effective heel, the loss here is surprising. It’s a decent bout here and is a solid undercard match, I’d say. However, Daniels should have won here. They shake hands afterward and appear to form a team, so Daniels has a ally now.
You’d probably think that Bryan Danielson would have won the gauntlet match, but Spanky winning is actually not so bad. It’s a different situation than the previous match. Danielson appears to be behind Low Ki on the top baby face side at this point while Daniels is the clear cut top heel and needs to be strong. This victory for Spanky brings him up as an underdog main event guy who has the heart it takes to prevail over top challengers. Plus, he isn’t half bad to begin with.
While it is neat that the WWF Intercontinental Champion is on an independent show and is teaming with a promising performer like Amazing Red, the match with SAT isn’t all that great for obvious reasons. Guerrero isn’t going to be involved in a twenty minute classic with insane spots and anything of that nature for the risk of injury. Some people don’t like the SAT, but I seem to recall them not being so awful. At least, when they were competing in TNA during this era. The Spanish Fly finishing move is quite a sight to see, I must admit. Anyway, this was a basic bout that was designed to give Eddie his independent farewell, though he wasn’t really on the scene all that long to begin with.
While it’s not a spectacular show or anything it’s the first show that shows real promise for what Ring of Honor could and will become in the years that followed. There wasn’t one epic match like there was on the first two shows, but there are three solid bouts that make the show not a complete loss. It’s a cool show for the debut of AJ Styles and having a major champion from a major promotion appear on the show, too.
The next show will feature the beginning of the ROH World Championship tournament.
Thanks for reading.