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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor — Final Battle 2002

May 26, 2006 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor — Final Battle 2002  

First, thanks to all your e-mails — some nice, some not so nice — regarding whether it’s “Chris Levy” or “Chris Lovey” on commentary. To be honest, it always did sound like “Lovey,” but I chalked that up to his voice. Gabe always sounds like he has a cold (kinda like Kathleen Turner, only not nearly as sexy). Quick, hold your nose closed and say “Eugene Levy.” See? Anyway, I’ll go with “Lovey” from now on until Gabe himself comes down from on high and corrects me.

Second, this was a much-sought after show because it’s been out of print for so long, but Rohwrestling.com decided to re-release it in a remastered version just last week. Good thing too, because I didn’t really want to skip it in my reviews and move on to 2003 without detailing the important stuff here.

Third, I can now finally plug Stu Carapola’s Recap of Ring of Honor 2002. I would have plugged it before now, but I didn’t want to give away spoilers if you were reading these in sequence. Good work, Stuart. Also, you can check out my Ring of Honor Summary for 2002

Fourth, (just to recap) the Prophecy has been making life hell for the Ring of Honor faithful. They have an undeserving world champion in Xavier, two tag champs who refuse to defend their titles in Prophecy leader Christopher Daniels and Donovan Morgan, and a manager in Simply Luscious who isn’t afraid to break to the Code of Honor and interfere in matches. To top it all off, Daniels brought in hired gun Samoa Joe to take out anyone who gets in their way. So far, AJ Styles and Jay Briscoe have both failed at taking that RoH Title away from Xavier. Tonight, Paul London gets his shot.

Meanwhile, Steve Corino made his return to the ring, but promptly wound up pissing off Homicide when they teamed up against the Backseat Boys. Corino was talkin’ that trash, so Homicide pulled his card and stabbed him in the eye with a fork.

That’s where we stand with all the important stuff.

Ring of Honor — Final Battle 2002 (12.28.02)

  • From Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Lovey.

  • We open with a funny clip of CM Punk, Colt Cabana and Ace Steel arriving at the arena. Colt is particularly funny, talking about all the moves he’s going to do tonight and what the stewardesses will be like on flights from now on. Punk is not amused.
  • Gary Michael Capetta stands by with Steve Corino. Steve objects to the nickname “the King of Old School.” He was given that name by ECW to get him over, but it didn’t get him paid. He says he’s a true wrestler now because he went to Zero-One. Capetta asks him about the group he’s forming. Alison Danger (Corino’s real-life sister) interrupts and says she got a message from home. Wow! She looks different in civvies. Very Lisa Loeb. I like. Anyway, Corino gets mad at her for interrupting and storms off. This was the first real mention of Corino and Danger’s real-life relationship.
  • RoH TV Tapings Highlights – Homicide destroys newcomer Jay Lethal.
  • Opening Match: CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana.
    Punk came in with much hype, but he lost to Michael Shane and then again to Cabana last time out. Cabana gets the advantage early by crotching Punk on the ropewalk. He hits a stiff lariat and faceplants Punk. Punk avoids a charge but gets driven back into the turnbuckle. Cabana hits another lariat, this time in the corner. Cabana tries to yank him out of the corner, but Punk sunset flips him for two. Cabana blocks the Shining Wizard and hits a Gutwrench Powerbomb to stay on top. Punk Flair Flips to the apron off a corner whip and snaps Cabana’s neck off the ropes. The announcers put over Punk’s straight-edge lifestyle (no drugs, no alcohol) as he hits a tope to the outside. Back in, Cabana catches Punk on top and delivers a Reverse Superplex! It only gets two. Cabana goes up, but Punk returns the favor and catches him with a super belly-to-belly suplex. Punk gets an Airplane Spin and a Rolling Cradle Slam into a split-legged moonsault. The crowd chants “RVD.” Cabana blocks a reverse huracanrana but gets hit with the Shining Wizard. It gets two, and Punk follows up with the Facewash. They fight on top, and Punk debuts the PEPSI PLUNGE (top-rope Pedigree) for the win at 9:24. Punk tells the camera “It’s just the start.” **3/4

  • In the back, Homicide runs into Backseat Boys. The apologize for the way things went down last time they were in RoH. Homicide tells them it’s all good in the hood and wishes them luck against Special K.
  • Gary Capetta welcomes Christopher Daniels and Simply Luscious. He’s here to address an injustice. At “Night of the Butcher,” Alexis Laree cowardly attacked Luscious from behind. Alexis Laree comes out to accept the challenge for a match.
  • Alexis Laree vs. Simply Luscious.
    Laree wants to go right now, so Luscious attacks her from behind. Laree spears her to come back, but Luscious fakes an eye injury to draw the ref’s attention. Daniels sneaks in and gives Laree the Last Rites. The Luscious win is academic after that. (0:51) 1/4*

  • Steve Corino interrupts the celebration to put himself over. ECW ran him into the ground financially, but Zero-One has allowed him to earn more money than Paul Heyman ever owed him. He blames the fans for not being there when he needed financial help. He also puts Daniels on notice that he and his group are coming after the RoH Titles. Oh, and since he can’t have Luscious telling Daniels all his secrets, he dumps her in the middle of the ring. She runs off crying. Daniels and Corino each dare each other to throw the first punch, but nothing happens. (A theme that will repeat for the next several shows). Daniels clears out because he has a lot to do tonight. But Corino isn’t done. He calls out Homicide and calls him a “disrespectful, young boy.” Homicide comes down with his fork and chases Corino to the back.
  • RoH TV Taping Highlights — The Prophecy dismantles Dunn & Marcos (The Ringcrew Express).
  • Da Hit Squad is frothing at the chance to get at Special K and Backseat Boyz.
  • Not featured on the disc is Konnan’s debut in which he gets booed out of the building. Fans chant “don’t come back.”
  • Scramble Match: Deranged & Angel Dust (w/Special K) vs. The Backseat Boyz vs. Da Hit Squad.
    Da Hit Squad has issues with the Backseats because they picked up the win when Corino turned on Homicide (the Squad’s friend and mentor). Trent Acid starts with Deranged, and they do a nice little martial arts duel. Not Ki/Red nice, but still good. You’d think Acid would be a perfect fit for Special K. Kashmere comes in and spears Angel Dust in midair. These scrawny little raver kids make such great bumpers. Mafia gives Angel Dust a Dragon Suplex and ties him in the tree-of-woe. Deranged tries to help out, but Mafia suplex him into Angel Dust while he’s in the tree-of-woe. Brutal. Things get more brutal as the Boyz climb in and go toe-to-toe with DHS. The Squad winds up powerbombing one on top of the other. Things spill to the floor where Angel Dust moonsaults from the top onto the pile. Deranged follows up with a springboard corkscrew plancha. Hydro (Jay Lethal) of Special K tries to interfere, but Mack gives him the Razor’s Edge onto the pile of wrestlers outside. The Backseat Boyz get a stereo somersault plancha (better in theory). Back in, the Backseats bust out the Dream Sequence on Special K. M-PRO, baby! KICK IT! Da Hit Squad climbs back in. Mack presses Angel Dust into Deranged’s arms, and then Mafia German Suplexes them both! DHS hits their figure-four/Frogsplash. Mafia goes for the Burning Hammer, but Hydro, Izzy and Yeyo clip his legs out from under him. Deranged and Angel Dust cover for the upset win at 10:22. It was certainly innovative, and that’s the point of these scramble matches. **1/2

  • RoH TV Taping Highlights — Jay Briscoe beats Ace Steel with the JayDriller.
  • RoH Tag Team Titles, 2/3 Falls: Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan vs. The Spanish Announce Team.
    First Fall: The Prophecy actually went through the SAT in the tournament to crown the tag champions, so there is a bit of history. The SAT earned this shot in a Scramble Match at “Night of the Butcher.” Morgan grounds Joel early and outwrestles him on the mat. Jose comes in and speeds things up to more success. Daniels tags in and doesn’t fare much better. Daniels goes to the mind games, offering a handshake, but the Maximos don’t fall for it. The Maximos manage to isolate Daniels. Surprisingly, they keep things at a more traditional pace. Morgan comes in, but the Prophecy can’t get anything going in there. The Maximos try a modified version of the Taffy Machine with a chinlock and Boston Crab combo. The Prophecy takes over as Daniels crotches Jose in the corner, and Morgan dropkicks him in the face. Morgan drags Jose to the floor and whips him into the railing. That’s been a Morgan specialty in his RoH tenure. Back in, Daniels gets a slingshot moonsault (Arabian Press) for two. Jose catches Daniels in a small package, but Morgan has the ref distracted. This is so R&R vs. Andersons. Finally, Jose hits Daniels with a Tornado DDT and gets the HOT TAG TO GIBSON! I mean, HOT TAG TO JOEL! Joel cleans house, including a springboard crossbody on Daniels. Morgan dumps him to the floor, however. Jose tries valiantly, but the Prophecy swarms him and hits Revelations (Rude Awakening & Powerbomb) for the first-fall win 14:00.

    Second Fall: The ref actually counted down the illegal man there, but then that’s also a part of the classic formula. Referee Gary Moyer replaces Paul Turner (whose pants split during the first fall). Morgan and Daniels isolate Joel now. Jose is forced to make the save on a cross-armlock and the Koji Clutch. Joel fires up, and he and Daniels double clothesline each other for the Double KO. Daniels is a little fresher, though, so he’s able to tag out. Morgan cuts off the tag. Finally, Joel gets out of trouble with the double Neckbreaker Drop. HOT TAG TO JOSE! Jose goes low on Morgan, and the SAT hit a Doomsday Tornado DDT. Daniels breaks up the pinfall attempt, though. The SAT put Daniels on top and hit SPANISH FLY! That’s enough for the win at 20:43.

    Third Fall: Jose goes after another quick fall, but Morgan makes the save. The SAT toss the Prophecy to the floor, and Jose spectacularly messes up a move where he tries to springboard off of Joel’s back. That looked horrible. Back in, Morgan takes over with the Golden Gate Swing on Joel. Jose breaks up the pin with a Frogsplash but falls victim to the Angel’s Wings. Joel makes the save. Daniels misses the Best Moonsault Ever and gets dropped with the Maximo Explosion. The SAT goes for the Doomsday DDT again, but Morgan counters to a Spinebuster in mid-air! It gets two. Daniels grabs Joel and hits the Last Rites for the win at 24:47. This had just about everything you could want out of a traditional tag match. With the exception of a few botched moves by the Maximos, they really kept things rooted in a more old school NWA style rather than just cutting loose. The only big problem with the match is that the Philly fans don’t have any particular allegiance to Maximos the way a Charlotte crowd might have with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. The result is that the crowd was intellectually involved (“I like what they did there) rather than emotionally involved (“C’mon, Joel! Make the tag!). ***3/4

  • RoH TV Taping Highlights — Samoa Joe decimates the Outcast Killas. Joe was incredibly over, leading to his push.
  • In the back, Special K offers to party with Jody Fleisch.
  • The Carnage Crew vs. The New Christopher Street Connection (w/Alison Danger).
    This is a clipped version. Buff E quit/was fired/no-showed, so we get the New CSC with 50% less gay as “Guapo” joins Mace. It’s mostly comedy until the CC gets pissed off and destroys them with hubcaps for the DQ. This probably qualifies as a hate crime as the CC calls them “faggots” as they leave them broken and bloody. Only about 2 minutes shown. [NR]

  • In the back, Homicide talks about being on parole and how he wants to make more money to give his kid a better life.
  • Jody Fleisch vs. The Amazing Red.
    Lots of flippy flop stuff to start. Fleisch misses a Stinger Splash, and Red gets a spinning kick to the chest. To the outside, Red hits a somersault plancha. Back in, Fleisch avoids the 718 and hits an enzuigiri. Red heads to the outside, and Jody follows with a Springboard Shooting Star Plancha! They fight on top, and both men throw each other back into a faceplant. Special K comes down to observe as Red and Jody slug it out. Red gets a sort of Inverted Styles Clash. Jody comes back with a Quebrada for two. Red goes up for Infrared, but the Special K guys pull Fleisch to safety. Jody finishes the 720 DDT at 6:14. After the match, Special K attacks Red until Jody pulls them back. Oh, but he just wanted to dance. The Maximos, Devine Storm, Da Hit Squad and JT Smith make the save. The large black guy from the crowd seems to side with JT before turning on him. Special K lays out everyone else. Lousy punk kids with their techno music. Fleisch calls Special K the future of RoH. That kinda misses the point. The idea is that they have no ambition other than to get high and party. *1/4

  • Ring of Honor Championship: Xavier vs. Paul London.
    Before the match, Xavier complains about the crowd not respecting him. Xavier jumps London as he gets in the ring. London armdrags his way back. Xavier bails to think things over, but London stays on top with a headlock. Xavier blocks a Satellite Headscissors and drops London on his face. They chop it out, and Xavier goes to the eyes. Xavier takes over and goes after the back and neck with a bow-and-arrow and gutwrench suplex. The crowd is literally booing every move from Xavier. The X man busts out a necksnap over the top rope. Sick. The Philly fans chant “Move to Jersey” and a small Jersey contingent chants back “We don’t want him!” Funny stuff. London and Xavier fight on top, and Xavier smashes London’s head into the buckle. London crotches him on the top rope, and they battle back and forth. The announcer actually says Xavier “crotches his throat on the top rope.” If he could do that, he’d be in porno movies. London hits the dropsault for two. London drops him with a powerbomb and goes up for the SSP. Xavier rolls out of the ring to huge boos, but London just turns around and follows him out with the SSP to the floor! Back in, London misses the SSP, and Xavier rolls him up! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! London surprises him with a version of a Shiranui for two. London fakes him out by pretending to run into the turnbuckle and then hitting his DDT. ONE, TWO, THREE! Oh, but Paul Turner decides he saw Xavier’s foot on the ropes. Xavier locks in the Cobra Clutch. London walks up the ropes (a la Bret Hart) and rolls over into a cover. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Xavier just got the shoulder up. Xavier delivers the Cobra Clutch Suplex and finishes with the X-Breaker (Neckbreaker) at 17:05. Going back to what I said about the tag title match, the crowd was just the opposite here. They loved Paul London and absolutely despised Xavier, so the closer London got to winning the title, the more people you saw jumping out of their seats and screaming. They even chanted, “Bullshit!” when the ref reversed his own three count. That’s the difference between being appreciative and being involved. ***1/4

  • In the back, Special K harasses Gary Michael Capetta until he gives up his interview aspirations. The big black guy shoves the cameraman out and cuts off Da Hit Squad when they try to get into the locker room. He introduces himself as “Slugger” (FINALLY!) and says they’ll need a VIP pass to get into the locker room.
  • Corino comes back out ready to wrestle. The fans chant, “Who booked this crap?” to which Corino responds, “Hey, we already got your money.” He sits down in the middle of the ring and dares someone to come down and shut him up. When in doubt, rip off Sho’ Nuff. He knows it’s main event time, and you can’t have a main event without Steve Corino. Homicide comes down, but Corino is ready for him with a fork. Corino gives him the Northern Lights Bomb and a trio of piledrivers. Samoa Joe walks down but just stands by. Low Ki comes down and sees what’s going on. He stops to check on Homicide and then has words for Corino. Rob Feinstein comes out and puts Corino in the match to replace Homicide.
  • #1 Contender’s Trophy Four-Way: Bryan Danielson vs. Low Ki vs. Samoa Joe vs. Steve Corino.
    Ki is pissed about Corino attacking Homicide. Of course, Samoa Joe and Corino are homies, so they have a bit of an advantage over the other two. Danielson and Ki knock the other two to the floor and start. This is the first time they’ve met since their MOTYC at “Round Robin Challenge.” They take it to the mat early, with Ki trying to cramp up Danielson’s leg with kicks. Danielson jaws with Samoa Joe, setting up their match next month. Corino and Joe get tagged in. Corino tries to get condescending, so Joe just slaps him in the face and hits the Kawada paintbrush. So, the basic aspects of the match are that Danielson and Ki respect each other, Danielson and Joe are vying for position before they face off next month, Ki is pissed at Corino for the Homicide attack, and Joe and Corino are friends but won’t go easy on one another. Sick spot as Dragon snaps Low Ki across the ring by his neck. Corino slows down the match by working over Low Ki. Ki comes back with kicks, but Joe helps Corino maintain the advantage. Danielson makes the blind tag on Low Ki, but Ki hits him with the Tidal Krush. Joe lays in chops to Danielson, but Danielson gets up defiantly every time. Finally, Joe just chops him down and drags him to Ki’s corner to let Ki pick him over. Fast-forward to the mid-point as Corino DDTs his way out of a Butterfly Lock from Low Ki. Great spot as Danielson gets Cattle Mutilation on Joe, and Low Ki steps on Danielson’s chest, but Danielson maintains his bridge! Danielson gets caught in between Joe and Low Ki as they trade him off, wearing him out bit by bit. Dragon rolls his way out of a Dragon Sleeper but gets hit with a Brainbuster. This is just brutal as Danielson has taken nearly ten straight minutes of punishment from the three other guys (but mostly Joe and Ki). The fans get on Corino, so he slaps on a chinlock to Danielson just to stick it to them. Ki kicks him in the head. Danielson finally gets out of trouble and tags Low Ki in. Ki gets a Hanging Armlock and a Tidal Krush, but he falls to the floor before he can capitalize. Joe goes for the Facewash, but Ki catches him and Dragon Screws him into a figure-four by Corino. Ki and Danielson break it up with double headbutts. Joe powerbombs Corino into an STF. He sees Ki coming and returns the Dragon Screw. This time, Joe puts Dragon in the STF, but he doesn’t see Low Ki. Ki sanps off a seated dropkick. Danielson and Ki trade blows, and Danielson gets two off the Roaring Elbow. Ki and Joe go at it next, taking their pads off and laying in forearms to one another. Corino and Danielson break it up to huge boos. Corino, Dragon, and Joe fight on the top rope, and Joe hits a Top-Rope Ace Crusher on Corino off the top rope. Danielson makes the save, though. All four guys go into a convoluted series of suplexes and finishers, ending with Ki holding Corino in the Dragon Clutch. Corino appears to tap out, but not before time runs out at 45:00. The crowd is not impressed with the draw. After the match, everyone shakes hands and puts their differences behind them. This match demonstrated what I like to call the Passive Face and Active Face. The Passive Face (in this case, Danielson) is there to garner our sympathy, but we can’t really get behind him because we know he’s going to get kicked around even though we respect what he stands for. The Active Face (Low Ki), on the other hand, just kicks ass and takes names even though you might not like his methods. It’s kind of a repeated theme in storytelling, but this was one of the better displays of it. Of course, the antithesis would be the Cowardly Heel (Corino) and the Monster Heel (Joe). There was nothing particularly wrong with the match outside of the extended beatdown on Danielson, but it never really felt like it was going anywhere until the last ten minutes. ***1/4

  • In the back, Da Hit Squad brings Devin Storm, the Maximos, and Amazing Red with them to storm the locker room and reclaim it from Special K and Slugger.
  • Elsewhere, the Carnage Crew talk about how much their lives suck and how violence is the only thing that takes their minds off their troubles.
  • Low Ki puts over Ring of Honor and talks about his goals for 2003. 1) He wants to hurt Xavier. 2) He wants to destroy the Prophecy. 3) He wants to reclaim the RoH Title.
  • Steve Corino reveals the first member of the Group — his girlfriend Simply Luscious.
  • The 411: 2002 ends with a bang as the Prophecy is still on top. While there were a number of fine matches, the real crux of the show was the introduction of Corino's "Group" to RoH. In the long run, it didn't mean that much, but it certainly kept the Prophecy on their toes. The tag match was a nicely worked piece of art, but I could have done without the screwjob in the main event. As we near the end of the Prophecy 1.0's reign atop Ring of Honor, things keep rolling right along though.

    Very mild thumbs up.

    Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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