ROH 001 – Era of Honor Begins – 2/23/2002
ROH 001 – Era Of Honor Begins – 23rd February 2002
I’ll try to keep my intro brief. I’m McXal. There, job done…
Just kidding. But these things are always awkward and I really don’t have too much to say! It’s good to find a new home at Wrestling Recaps. I’ve been writing various bits and pieces around the independent wrestling scene for 7+ years now so it’s always brilliant to get my name out there to as many new readers as possible.
Over the years my primary focus has tended to fall on the Ring Of Honor promotion. I know their fans get a bad rep…get considered snobs, smarks, elitists, overly-serious etc. But, as someone that’s always favoured substance over style, workrate over glamour and what’s going on in the ring over what someone says on a microphone…I’ve been following their product essentially since their first year of existence.
They were also my window into the world of online reviewing. If you’ve never read any of my stuff before, I’ll break it down – I focus on the positives. I’ll say what I liked first before highlighting anything I wasn’t a fan of. And, ultimately, my goal is always to review a show by putting myself in the shoes of my readers – essentially all I want to do is tell YOU whether I think the show I’m watching is worth YOU spending YOUR hard earned cash on. That simple!
And I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue doing that here at Wrestling Recaps. As a staunch ROH completist I’ve got a stockpile of EVERY show going back to day one and Era Of Honor Begins. I’ve also got a stockpile of reviews I’ve amassed over the years, that will all find themselves aired out like old washing and reposted here on (at least) a weekly basis. If you’re interested in checking out my entire Ring Of Honor archive, learning more about my star rating/show rating system, as well as checking out my other work from down the years (if I ever get it sorted, edited and online!), feel free to go to my own website – http://mcxalsreviews.yolasite.com
Thanks for joining the fun, thanks for following myself, Wrestling Recaps, Ring Of Honor…and indeed independent wrestling in general. I’ve always found the online community a wonderfully supportive and rewarding outlet for my own creativity as well as a fun source of debate, discussion and even argument. To be able to continue to contribute is just a treat! Enjoy the ride…
And…I now return to where it all began. After being involved in ECW then selling other promotion’s shows for many years, staff at RFVideo decided they’d put together their own indy federation. But unlike so many others, theirs would be a different product. Based on respect, honour and discipline; competitors would follow the Code Of Honor, with 5 rules determined to ensure the spirit of competition and the highest quality of matches for the fans. After years of sports-entertainment and ECW rip-offs, this new company will focus on workrate and putting on the best wrestling matches possible. Welcome to Ring Of Honor. We’re in the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, PA. Hosts are Eric Gargulio (yes, the CZW commentator) and Steve Corino (yes, the wrestler).
Code Of Honor –
1) Competitors must shake hands before and after each match
2) No interfering in matches or having others interfere on your behalf
3) No harming a referee or causing others to harm an official
4) No sneak attacks
5) Any violations result in automatic DQ
A video package (set to the music that is now on the menu page to all ROH DVD’s) shows all the wrestlers on the show tonight. Then we go outside to Da Hit Squad (Mafia and Monsta Mack) hyping up the fans arriving on various buses outside before the show starts. Spanky is goofing around on the bus when they try to get on which is quite amusing. Mafia says people are about to become ROH addicts. How very true…this segment goes on for 10+ minutes though which is way too long.
The show opens with the Christopher Street Connection and Allison Danger crashing the ROH party and making an unscheduled appearance. Corino’s homophobic commentary is immediately hilarious. Buff E. claims that ROH is the Ring Of Homosexuals, and we get an all too graphic all-male kiss. Da Hit Squad charge out to absolutely destroy them. Mafia drops Buff ‘right on top of his gay head’ – Corino. Mase is finished off with a BURNING HAMMER from Mafia. Allison Danger tries to help but gets powerbombed through a table. The point is…’f*ck sports entertainment’.
Jay Briscoe vs Amazing Red
The first official match in ROH history, and it’s between two guys who have a big future with the company. Jay Briscoe, and his brother Mark are wrestling prodigies at the ages of 18 and 17 respectively. They’ve impressed in promotions like CZW and the RF crew wanted them in ROH from the start. Mark can’t wrestle in Philadelphia because he’s not old enough yet, but he does accompany his brother. Red, along with the SAT (who you’ll see later), was trained by Mikey Whipwreck and is an exciting high-flier.
The crowd for this first ROH show is electric. Lots of fast back and forth stuff starts us off, ending when Briscoe heaves Red over the top rope to the floor. He attempts a pescado, but I’m assuming he missed given that it’s Red that brings the match back inside. He drops Jay for 2 with a corkscrew enziguri. He misses a tornado DDT, and Briscoe blocks a swinging DDT as well. Jay pulls Red out of the corner with a MUSCLEBUSTAAAA! Red kicks out at 2! Brainbuster on Jay for a nearfall. Red lands a few more kicks but runs into a big boot. He comes up with some awesome counters for it, but eventually Briscoe plants him with the JAY DRILLER! He took a sick bump on it too, but ends up next to the ropes and manages to get a foot on them to kick out. Jay goes to the top rope but Red runs to the other turnbuckle and they have a mid-air collision as both dive off. HEAD DROP GERMAN by Jay. He misses a big senton bomb. INFRA-RED! RED STAR PRESS! Red wins at 08:30.
Rating – *** – I’m being generous with the rating because this match is SO dated now. It’s very much a match of it’s time on the indy scene, where matches crammed full of minimal selling and maximum head droppery was the norm. This was what the fans wanted to see as an opening contest, however, and it was always exciting. You can’t fault the effort at least. Can’t say I really want to see moves like the Musclebuster and the Jay Driller used as nearfalls, but whatever. This is 2002 independent wrestling.
Low Ki cuts a promo talking about the historic occasion. He’s here to prove it’s not the size of the fighter, but the size of the fight he will bring.
The Natural Born Sinners (Homicide and Boogalou) are in a trashy neighbourhood in NYC. They’re pissed off for some reason, and say they’re bringing the streets to ROH. Four years later Homicide still can’t cut promos.
Xavier vs Scoot Andrews
Interesting factoid about this match – it was originally scheduled to be Xavier against Mike Quackenbush, a guy that fans are still clamouring to see in 2006. But he pulled out of the booking because he didn’t want to work Xavier, so the ‘Black Nature Boy’ Scoot Andrews was drafted in as a replacement. Xavier is based around the New York scene, and was booked for ROH on the strength of a series of decent matches with Low Ki there.
‘AC Slater’ – fans at Xavier. He does look like the Saved By The Bell character. A more basic back and forth sequence than we saw in Red/Briscoe starts us off. Xavier goes for a satellite headscissors but gets powerbombed on his face. Scoot controls the pace, but almost falls victim to the X-Breaker. Xavier botches a flapjack and drops Andrews ON HIS HEAD! Quackenbush is patting himself on the back now. Alabamaslam by Andrews has Xavier reeling again. Xavier goes for a bulldog almost in slow motion and Scoot counters with a big clothesline for 2. Andrews takes too long going to the top rope and misses a leg drop. Xavier uses punching sequences too much. He takes Scoot into the corner for some nice jumping knee strikes. Modified back suplex gets 2. Andrews pulls him into an inverted DDT. FORCE OF NATURE (pumphandle piledriver)…but Xavier’s foot is under the ropes. Andrews argues with the referee, but eventually goes for the FON again. Xavier counters…X-BREAKER! He pulls out the victory at 10:05.
Rating – * – Poor match, and one that left you feeling sorry for Scoot Andrews, as he had to work so hard to carry an incredibly green Xavier. He’s a long way from being the finished article judging on this match. Slow transition work, very telegraphed mat-work, noticeable botches and he went back to flurries of punches far too often. Andrews didn’t really show anything special either, although that may well be because he had to bust his ass making his opponent look half-decent.
Boogie Knights vs Natural Born Sinners
Homicide and Boogalou come out in Halloween masks brandishing chainsaws. That’s quite the intimidating gimmick they’ve got themselves. The Boogie Knights are Danny Drake and Mike Tobin. To be honest, I don’t know anything about them, and they don’t go anywhere in ROH so that doesn’t really matter. HC Loc (former ECW “extreme” official) is referee for this.
Boogalou immediately takes Drake down and starts pounding on him, then floats into a cross armbreaker. Tobin tags and Boogalou has his way with him amateur-style. Homicide tags and gets 2 on Drake with a T-bone suplex. POWERBOMB BACKBREAKER by the Sinners. Boogalou sets Drake up on the floor for a TOPE CON HILO from Homicide! Tobin sails out with a pescado but that doesn’t stop the violence. Cide lands a double stomp from the top. Drake manages to hit an inverted DDT on Boogalou, then a Rydien bomb. Springboard swanton by Tobin gets 2. Boogalou quickly gives him a wrist clutch brainbuster and tags out. Homicide gets the hot tag and takes out both Knights. LARIAT/HALF NELSON SUPLEX COMBO! That should be it, but Homicide grabs a rubber chicken and starts smacking Drake and Tobin about with it. Loc calls from the bell and disqualifies them at 07:34. The Sinners aren’t impressed naturally, and he gets STABBED WITH A SPIKE! COP KILLA by Homicide.
Rating – ** – I completely forgot about this match, but wound up really enjoying it. It’s a total squash but did an awesome job of making the Sinners look like absolute killers. Boogalou wrestled like a machine on the mat, and Homicide provided some brutal high-spots. The Lariat/Half Nelson combo is a great finish too. Plus, unlike the majority of the roster at this early stage, they’ve got an identifiable gimmick which sets them apart. It’s actually a shame they didn’t get to do more with this team – Boogalou quit the company in favour of XPW (??) at Unscripted in September. Not the best career move I’d suggest…
The Christopher Street Connection are still feeling the effects of their beating from earlier. Spanky dances past them and gets perved on by Buff E.
Quiet Storm vs Chris Divine vs Brian XL vs Jose Maximo vs Joel Maximo vs Amazing Red
Elimination rules apply for this one. Mikey Whipwreck is special guest referee and he trained all but Brian XL. It’s him that adds Red to the match even though he’s already wrestled once. The Maximos make up the SAT team, who pretty much do nothing but spots. Quiet Storm and Chris Divine make up the team Divine Storm, and they’re slightly better, if only because QS’s STORM…CRADLE…DRIVER finisher is one of my favourite things about early ROH!
Brian XL looks like Bradley from S Club 7. Storm starts with Joel Maximo – the fat one – and gets sent out with a rana. Divine dropkicks Joel out, then takes an armdrag from Jose. XL slips but manages to hit a messy springboard flying headscissors. Red hits Brian with a springboard dropkick then whips Quiet Storm to the floor. Everyone hits missile dropkicks with varying degrees of cleanliness. Storm with a tope con hilo as the action spills to the floor. Tope suicida by Jose. Divine takes ages stalling before hitting a tope suicida of his own. SPRINGBOARD SWANTON from Red! Brian botches something else but again quickly recovers for a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT! XL and Red trade moonsault press attempts then both get scooped up by the SAT. Running neckbreakers by Divine Storm to complete a royal carwreck in the middle of the ring. Joel is already winded. Brian stands on top of him and hits a standing moonsault for 2. Inexplicably they decide it’s time to trade submission holds until Storm breaks it up. Rolling northern lights suplexes on Joel, but Jose turns up to be swung into an assisted senton. Joel powerbombs Red onto Storm as well as all three members of the SAT start triple teaming. They’ve run out of things to do and are now very obviously trying to come up with stuff on the spot. XL hits a Code Red on Red for 2. Capture suplex by Jose Maximo, before he backslides Red to score the first elimination at 10:00. SPINAL SHOCK from Storm to XL, and he’s eliminated 30 seconds later. Divine almost eliminates Joel with the Real Deal. SPANISH FLY on Divine! But Storm is back to hit a bridging German on Jose. Divine and Jose Maximo are eliminated meaning it’s down to Storm and Fat Joel. Maximo puts an armbreaker on Storm, probably because he’s fat and out of breath. Quiet Storm calls for it, but the Storm Cradle Driver is blocked. HEAD DROP BLUE THUNDER by Joel gets 2. Storm counters the Maximo Explosion into a modified STORM CRADLE DRIVER! He wins at a manic 14:55.
Rating – ** – At times it was exciting, at times it was messy, at times it was flat-out appalling. The fans stopped caring after 5 minutes because they threw out so much stuff that it stopped making any sense. Joel Maximo spent most of the match absolutely exhausted. Brian XL is a walking botch machine. Divine and Jose are just so bland. I like Quiet Storm because he wants so badly to wrestle like Misawa or a Masato Tanaka, but he’s a midget, whilst Amazing Red was very clearly in a class of his own.
The Natural Born Sinners are pissed off about being DQ’d, but they chase off the camera man. Prince Nana demands some competition from Rob Feinstein (this was back when Nana was a wrestler) and marches to the ring to what would, in later years, become the Embassy theme. Feinstein finds ‘Towel Boy’ Eric Tuttle and tells him he’s got a great body. Rob would say that – he looks about 14. Anyway, he sends Tuttle out to fight Nana.
Prince Nana vs Eric Tuttle
Quite why either one of these two is booked is up for debate. Years before Nana became an awesome/hilarious manager he was a terrible wrestler, working the Ghanaian prince thing to the death. I think Towel Boy did the same towelling the ropes thing in ECW. That’s probably why he’s booked here. The RFVideo crew seem to book a lot of the old ECW guys out of loyalty to be honest.
Nana decimates Tuttle with a clothesline as he goofs off wiping the ropes again. Running ass to the face officially decimates him. Nana’s singlet is far too revealing. DOUBLE ARM IMPLANT DDT! Nana wins a total squash in…I forgot to start my timer. Less than a minute anyway.
Rating – DUD – I’m not really sure what the point of this was. Still, I guess it’s historically significant as it’s Prince Nana’s debut.
Michael Shane/Oz vs Spanky/Ikaika Loa
These are all students from the Texas Wrestling Academy, the school which took over from the Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy. The winner of this tag match gets an ROH contract. You can tell where the talent is in this match. Spanky has gone on from here to become a former WWE Tag Champion, as well as stand-out in ROH and Zero-ONE. Michael Shane is Shawn Michael’s cousin and has had a moderately successful career in TNA. Oz and Loa are big guys and to be honest, I haven’t heard of them before or since. It’s somewhat strange to see Spanky playing the cocky heel to Michael Shane’s wholesome babyface. Apparently Loa has delayed back surgery to appear on this show so – kudos to him.
Spanky looks crisp in his opening stuff with Oz. He counters an armwrench with a quebrada wristlock, but walks into a reverse heel kick from his powerful opponent. A thrust kick takes him out again, and Loa invades the ring to walk right into an exploder suplex. Spanky and Shane trade off strikes, with Spanky still playing the cocky/fun-loving jerk. Shane catches him going for a leapfrog and powerslams him for 2. They even take time to cheap shot each other’s partners in their attempts to get at each other. Shane misses a somersault plancha from the top rope and Ikaika gets the tag. His offence is quite generic but he’s wrestling with herniated discs. Spanky tags back and puts Shane in a bow and arrow stretch. He blocks a superkick, but they rock each other with simultaneous clotheslines and both go down. The Spanky/Loa team have been working over Michael Shane’s back, and the Hawaiian continues that with suplexes and some big clubbering shots. Back superplex blocked for Shane to hit a missile dropkick. He gets the hot tag to Oz who dominates Spanky then launches Loa over the ropes. PICTURE PERFECT ELBOW from Shane! Ikaika breaks the pin to save the match. Sayama moonsault kick by Spanky to Shane, but he starts dancing and eats a German suplex from Oz. Double flapjack on Loa, then a double Crossface which Spanky breaks with a double boot. Sliced Bread #2 on Oz blocked by a Shane superkick. Loa and Shane brawl to the floor. SLICED BREAD #2 ON OZ! Spanky wins and gets the contract at 12:31.
Rating – *** – Pure formula match but a lot of the work here is much improved on numerous other matches on the card so it nudges into 3* territory. Spanky looked amazing here, and you can really see why he’s gone a long way in pro-wrestling since 2002. His comedy asshole act worked well throughout and he deserved the win. Shane was a good foil for a lot of his stuff but his best stuff also comes as an arrogant heel. We’ll see that in a few shows time when he starts feuding with another TWA graduate – a young Paul London. Oz was semi-decent for a power guy, and I liked the way he worked a number of kicks into his moveset. Loa was pretty dreadful, and his mobility was noticeably limited by his injury. Quite why he worked this match at all is beyond me. There must have been another TWA guy who could’ve stepped in.
In the back all of Mikey Whipwreck’s students are arguing with each other as a result of all the inter-team pinning in their match. Mikey calls in Super Crazy to yell at (presumably the SAT) in Spanish.
HC Loc on the world’s biggest cellphone. He’s pissed off that he’s stuck being booked as a referee again, rather than a wrestler. Whoever he’s on the phone too is coming to ROH and together they’ll make their own spots.
Super Crazy vs Eddie Guerrero – IWA-Puerto Rico Intercontinental Title Match
In truth this match is why the majority of fans have turned up tonight. Officially it’s the final of the IWA-PR tournament for their Intercontinental title so neither man is defending. This is during Eddie’s late 2001/early 2002 independent run where he proved to the world he was clean and clear of drug problems and back to something approaching his best wrestling form. In a shoot interview he said a dream match for him would be against Super Crazy – and thus it was booked for ROH show 1. Both guys get big pops because they’re back in their old ECW stomping grounds of Philadelphia. Crazy is a lot slimmer here than he is on WWE TV these days, but still bigger than he was in the old ECdub.
Eddie slaps Crazy in the face to show he’s serious about this. He’s all over the Insane Luchador from the get-go, getting 2 with a nice suplex then repeatedly headlocking to keep Crazy grounded. He tries to throw some right hands but Guerrero chops him down with a European uppercut and a back suplex. Super escapes a chinlock and goes ultra-lucha with a series of armdrags from all over the shop. Mounted 10 punch in the corner, with Spanish counting from the Philly fans. Eddie goes to the floor and sweeps Crazy’s legs as he attempts an Asai moonsault. BRAINBUSTER ON THE WOODEN FLOOR! That was brutal, and an awesome show of power from Eddie. He gets 2 with his slingshot hilo, then again with a fallaway slam. Grounded abdominal stretch applied, Guerrero continuing to absolutely dominate Super Crazy and stop him flying around. Crazy rolls through a sunset flip and dropkicks Eddie in the back of the head. SLINGSHOT springboard moonsault gets 2. To the top rope he goes again, this time for a missile dropkick. He tries it once too often though and Guerrero catches him at the top with a super rana. Crazy wipes Latino Heat out with a spinning heel kick but Eddie knees him in the stomach and almost wins the match with a powerbomb. TWO AMIGOS BRAINBUSTERS! He looks set for the Frog Splash but Crazy rolls out of the way. Tilta-whirl small package from Crazy gets him the shock victory and the belt at 10:42.
Rating – *** – A big step up in quality compared to anything else on the card, and this was with two guys who were very noticeably keeping a lot back. I think a lot of people bought their tickets to tonight’s event expecting more from these two, but they did put on a solid match. Guerrero tried to control Super Crazy and prevent him flying around – and anytime Crazy did get to the top rope he took the offensive advantage. The brainbuster on the floor spot was brutal, and there were some glimpses of Eddie looking back at his very best. He was already well on the road back to the WWF by this point so it was natural he’d put Crazy over. Had they gone longer or been the main event you can guarantee they would’ve done a little more. They did the best with what time they had, and in doing so, proved themselves better pro-wrestlers doing fewer moves in 10 minutes than the SAT, Divine Storm, XL and Red made themselves look in 15 minutes of diving around all over the place.
Low Ki gets more promo time, this time talking about the triple threat main event. He says the winner will prove themselves the top athlete in the fledgling promotion.
American Dragon vs Low Ki vs Christopher Daniels
So while people may have paid their ticket money to see Crazy and Guerrero, it’s these three guys that Feinstein, Gabe and co. had in mind to be the top stars in ROH. They’ve used the big names to get the asses in the seats, and now it’ll be these three who get the chance to shine in the main event. Daniels has been on the indy scene for a long time. He’s had WWF developmental deals, been in the ECWA Super 8, pretty much done it all. American Dragon (who isn’t officially known as Bryan Danielson until the end of 2002) is perhaps the top graduate of Shawn Michaels wrestling school – being part of the original class taken by HBK, featuring Danielson, Lance Cade and Spanky. Low Ki, trained by Homicide (amongst others), impressed in the 2001 King Of The Indies tournament (which he won by beating Dragon in the final) and put on big matches last year with the likes of Xavier, Eddie Guerrero and others in a number of promotions in the northeast.
Dragon and Ki want to go at it with each other, but keep getting interrupted by Daniels. Big strikes from all three men before we get an indy-tastic first stand-off. Daniels takes the advantage, suplexing Dragon into a tree of woe then stepping aside for Ki to basement dropkick him. Low Ki capo kicks the Fallen Angel. AmDrag interrupts the Krush Kombo by attempting Cattle Mutilation but Daniels breaks it and starts slamming his opponents. He atomic drops Ki into a leg drop on Dragon. BOSTON CRAB/CAMEL CLUTCH combo on both men! Danielson goes after Daniels legs but Ki unleashes a BARRAGE of Kawada kicks. Daniels uses suplexes to keep both his opponents down but that can only last so long. Dragon chops both opponents then puts Daniels in a full nelson deathlock. He holds onto the deathlock…NORTHERN LIGHTS ON KI AT THE SAME TIME! That brings the crowd at the Murph to their feet. It’s Danielson working on the Fallen Angel’s arm again, but Ki breaks that with a brutal kick to the back. NO SOLD! He takes Ki down for a spine kick. NO SOLD! Daniels gets involved…DUELLING KICKS ON HIM! Daniels wants a time-out and gets a sandwich kick. They go for one too many and end up rattling shins instead though.
Neckbreakers on both Low Ki and AmDrag, then Daniels applies a Lion Tamer on Ki. NECKBREAKER/DDT COMBO but both men kick out at 2. Daniels takes a double press slam off the top. Tilta-whirl on Low Ki INTO A DDT ON DRAGON! SPRINGBOARD ENZIGURI ON DANIELS! Ki takes Danielson to the top rope, where Daniels is waiting to apply a TOP ROPE ABDOMINAL STRETCH! Ki climbs up as well…HANGING DRAGON! Daniels almost hits Last Rites but Dragon is up and saves. Low Ki thanks him by kicking him in the head, and Daniels gets 2 on him with a blue thunder driver. Tidal Krush missed, but Ki blocks Daniels’ Fall From Grace. Dragon tries to give him a superplex, but Daniels climbs up…BACK SUPERPLEX ON DRAGON INTO A SUPERPLEX ON KI! Danielson hits a dragon suplex on Daniels. Ki Krusha blocked…DRAGON CLUTCH! Daniels breaks the hold and drops Low Ki with an STO. BEST MOONSAULT EVER…DRAGON SAVES! TIDAL KRUSH ON DANIELS! Corino and Gargulio are marking out like kids by now. Dragon takes Daniels into CATTLE MUTILATION! KI BREAKS IT WITH A GODDAMN PHOENIX SPLASH! HOLY SH*T! KI KRUSHA ON DANIELS! Low Ki wins the inaugural ROH main event at 20:05.
Rating – ****1/2 – This match probably still stands up today as the best triple threat match of all time. It avoids all the usual pitfalls and cliché’s of the standard 3-way and provides endless logical, intelligent and intriguing three-way spots. Things just keep getting more and more exciting until that crazy finish with the Phoenix Splash breaking the Cattle Mutilation then the Ki Krusha on Daniels. Sensational match that unmistakably and irrefutably put ROH on the map with a MOTYC on their debut show. A historic match that all Ring Of Honor fans should check out. Hell, wrestling fans in general will love this. I’ve shown it to WWE fans who have loved it, I’ve even shown it to people who don’t even watch wrestling and they found it an easy watch as well. Balls to the wall effort.
American Dragon points that whilst Low Ki won, he didn’t beat him. He challenges Ki to a singles match at the next show to decide who the best is. Daniels tells them both to go to hell. He claims he could beat either one of them in singles matches – even if they were both on the same day. Low Ki accepts both challenges and suggests a round robin tournament at the next challenge. Both Ki and Dragon extend hands to follow the Code Of Honor, but Daniels refuses and walks out. Thus establishing him as the top heel in the promotion.
Eddie Guerrero is frustrated after losing tonight. He says it was because he wasn’t as hungry for it as Super Crazy. He wants to wrestle in ROH because he sees potential and hunger in everyone in the locker room.
The show ends with Daniels walking out of the building looking pissed off…
Tape Rating – *** – By modern day ROH standards this just isn’t a good show. But, that’s true of all the 2002 events. Largely one-match cards with a lot of crap to sift through. But in truth, this one isn’t too bad. Only the 10 second Nana/Tuttle squash and the poor Xavier/Andrews match are actively bad. There are three different matches that hit the 3* mark, a memorable and historic MOTYC that put the fledgling promotion on the map from the very first night and lots of solid booking. The use of Guerrero and Crazy to bring the fans in and give exposure to the lesser known talent was a master-stroke. People may have came to see the Guerrero/Crazy match but they will have gone away raving about the triple threat match instead – thus excited about the promotion rather than two big name guests. The Natural Born Sinners were established as a dominant, fearsome midcard act. Spanky looked awesome in the TWA tag. The hot opening segment emphatically made the statement that ROH isn’t about gimmicks and sports-entertainment. The final angle sets Daniels up as the top heel. Whilst match quality wasn’t sensational, it’s a remarkable effort for a first ever show. Lets face it, if you’re a more recent fan of ROH you’re not going to rave about this. But it’s important to understand the impact this show and this main event had back in 2002. From a historical standpoint you should own this show – and Ki/Dragon/Daniels is something everyone should see.
Top 3 Matches
3) Spanky/Ikaika Loa vs Michael Shane/Oz (***)
2) Super Crazy vs Eddie Guerrero (***)
1) Low Ki vs Christopher Daniels vs American Dragon (****1/2)
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