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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor – Night of Appreciation

March 24, 2006 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor – Night of Appreciation  

As we saw previously, Low Ki won a Triple Threat Match of the Year Candidate at Ring of Honor’s first ever show “The Era of Honor Begins” against Christopher Daniels and the American Dragon. Neither Dragon nor Daniels were satisfied with the outcome, so they challenged him to singles matches. Daniels even went so far as to ignore RoH’s “code of honor,” which specified that you must shake your opponent’s hand. A month later, at “Round Robin Challenge,” the three men faced off in a series of singles matches to determine who was best. Daniels beat Dragon, Ki beat Daniels, and Dragon beat Ki in another stellar match. The whole thing was a wash, but Daniels still didn’t have respect for his opponents. So that’s where we are now.

The concept of this show is that it’s a night of appreciation for Eddy Guerrero, who is already back in the WWE at this point.

  • Ring of Honor — “A Night of Appreciation” (04.27.02)
  • From Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Your hosts are Donnie B. and Steve Corino.

  • Da Hit Squad runs down and calls out the Christopher Street Connection. The word “fag” and “faggot” gets bandied around quite a bit for a promotion that prides itself on manhood. The CSC answers the call and catches a beating. Allison Danger runs down and announces that it will be a 3-way dance.
  • Opening MatcH: Three-Way Dance: Da Hit Squad vs. The Christopher Street Connection (w/Allison Danger) vs. Prince Nana & Elax (w/Simply Luscious).
    Nana hits Monsta Mack with an avalanche and lets one of the CSC do a broncobuster on him. Wow, that’s a lot of crotch grinding. Nana tosses Elax aside and decides that Luscious will be his partner instead. She dropkicks Mack in the nuts. Allison starts flirting with Luscious, triggering a bizarre objection from the CSC. Da Squad jumps everyone from behind. One of the CSC (I still can’t tell them apart) gets belly-to-bellied. Mack drops Luscious with a Miracle Ecstasy Bomb and finishes her with a Burning Hammer (while copping a feel) at 4:00. Da Hit Squad sets up a table and puts Elax through it with a butt splash. I find it odd that such a blatant ripoff of the Dudleyz would get over with the Philly crowd. I realize the Dudz were popular in ECW, but the cynical Philly fans don’t normally cotton to capitalizing on WWE ideas. 1/2*

  • Jay Briscoe (w/Mark Briscoe) vs. Tony Mamaluke.
    Mamaluke was briefly in WCW before finding a bit of fame as a human pinball in ECW. Mark is immediately on Jay’s back about being 0-2. The announcers make a big deal about James Maritato (the WWE’s Nunzio) deriding the FBI gimmick and wanting to be known as a wrestler, not a sports entertainer. This is significant because Mamaluke comes to the ring in full FBI gimmick. They trade counters back and forth until Jay hits a legline and grinds Mamaluke’s face. Mamaluke comes back with a sort of Mr. Salty. Mamaluke sets him on top, but Jay counters to a super gourdbuster. Mamaluke comes back with a Victory Roll for two, but Jay reverses to the Jaydriller for his first win at 7:20. *1/2

  • 3-Way Dance: Scoot Andrews vs. James Maritato vs. Xavier.
    Xavier has wins over both men, so he takes a powder early on and waits for an opening. That opening comes as Scoot whips Maritato into his dropkick. Scoot makes him pay, though, with a sitout tilt-o-whirl facebuster. A contrived spot follows as James comes back in and flips Xavier into a DDT on Andrews. Xavier hits Maritato with a flying forearm to the head but pays with a missile dropkick. Scoot powerbombs Xavier off the top as Xavier is giving Maritato a fallaway suplex. Scoot was way late getting over on that one. Xavier and Maritato exchange chops until Scott sneaks in and drops Xavier on his head with the Force of Nature. Scoot reverses Maritato’s sunset flip into a reverse DDT for two. They fight on the turnbuckle where Maritato gives Scoot a Russian Legsweep back into the ring. Xavier tries to catch Maritato off guard, but the shooter rides him down into a wakigatame (Reverse Armbreaker) for the win at 6:25. Short and disappointing. **

  • AJ Styles vs. Low Ki.
    This is AJ’s Ring of Honor debut after spending a year building up a reputation as one of the most exciting indy wrestlers in North America. AJ wins a test of strength, but Low Ki kicks his way out of it. They trade kicks until Ki takes him down for some mat wrestling. AJ reverses a cross armlock into a front facelock, and they exchange counter for counter until Ki gets sick of it and kicks him in the face. AJ whiffs badly on a doubleleg takedown attempt, and Ki kicks him in the back of the head. AJ kips up into a huracanrana for two. A brainbuster gets two more. AJ charges in and absolutely gets MURDERED with a thrust kick to the jaw. Ki follows up with an echoing chop to which AJ responds with an enzuigiri that sends Ki to the floor. Back in, another brainbuster gets two. The announcers talk religion as Ki comes back with a Koppou kick and sends AJ to the floor with a straight boot to the mush. Ki tries to hit the Ki Krusher from the apron to the floor, but AJ blocks it. Ki settles for a Dragon Sleeper in the ropes instead. Ki sets up for the Ki Krusher, but AJ rolls into a Tornado DDT drawing “AJ” chants. It’s weird hearing the announcers talking about AJ as an unknown quantity. Ki rolls Styles up into the Dragon Clutch, but AJ makes the ropes and delivers the Quebrada DDT. The crowd LOVES IT! Ki catches him with a Jackknife Powerbomb for two and starts spraying Styles with kicks all over his head and chest. It’s like a Christening but really hard and with a boot. Ki catches AJ again, this time with a Tiger Suplex. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! AJ hits him with a lariat to catch a breather and follows up with a German Suplex with a roll through to a facebuster. Ki blocks a suplex and drops AJ with a gourdbuster for two. TIDAL WAVE! Ki rejects the pin and goes for the Phoenix Splash, but AJ gets his knees up. AJ with an modified Fire Thunder Driver! ONE, TWO, THR-NO! That really should have been it. Instead, Styles goes up and misses a twisting senton. Low Ki goes for the Ki Krusher, but AJ slips out of it. Ki rolls through *that* and picks up a win with a bit of a quick count at 18:12. Crowd chants “bullshit!” but AJ accepts it and shakes Ki’s hand. Lots of headdropping, but neither of these guys were at the point where they could put together a story in the ring without someone else to help them. That’s not to say it wasn’t exciting and without its share of jawdropping athleticism. ***1/4

  • Christopher Daniels is glad they brought in someone to class up the place in the form of Donovan Morgan. He says that Morgan actually deserves to be in the ring with him because he knows him from wrestling on the West Coast.
  • Donovan Morgan promises to show everyone what he’s made of.

  • Christopher Daniels vs. Donovan Morgan.
    Although Daniels showed respect in the pre-match interview, he doesn’t offer a handshake. Lots of counter wrestling to start, and it’s pretty good as opposed to the usual blowjob flippy flop stuff we get. Morgan CLAMPS down on a side headlock and squeezes Daniels’ head like a boa constrictor. Daniels tries a number of methods to get out of it before finally just delivering a backdrop suplex. Another backdrop suplex gets two. They exchange counters with Morgan winding up with a swinging neckbreaker. Morgan wrenches Daniels’ neck against the ropes and gets two off a snap suplex. Morgan works Daniels’ necks with a series of elbows on the apron. For some reason, the ref is counting despite the RoH no countout rules. They run through that sunset flip reversal sequence that’s been so popular since 1998. Morgan winds up with a cross kneelock, but Daniels squirts out of it. A uranage gets two for Morgan, but he runs into an elbow and German Suplex. Daniels fakes him out with a swing and then hits the reverse bulldog and an STO. That’s enough to set up the BME for two. Morgan takes a Shoryuken in the corner, but he blocks the Iconoslam and counters to an Impaler DDT off the second rope. Morgan slips over his knee into a schoolboy rollup, but Daniels counters to the Crippler Crossface! Morgan gets to the ropes, though. Morgan sunset flips him, but Daniels counters once again. This time, though, Morgan hits a Golden Gate Suplex (Fisherman’s Suplex but with a twist). Daniels gets his hand on the rope, but Morgan brings him back to the center and hits another Golden Gate Spin for the win at 13:10. Daniels admits that Morgan beat him fairly, but he refuses to shake his hand. Instead, he offers to watch Morgan’s back when evil guys like Low Ki or the American Dragon come after him. ***

  • TWA Gauntlet: John Hope vs. Paul London vs. Michael Shane vs. Spanky vs. American Dragon.

    All of the participants are members of Shawn Michaels’ Texas Wrestling Academy. The Hope vs. London opener is clipped on the VHS and non-existent on the DVD, but Paul London wins so we get…

    Paul London vs. Michael Shane.
    London tries a powerbomb, but Shane counters to a facebuster. Shane hits a WICKED spinning enzuigiri to London’s face. That gets two, but London comes back with a huracanrana and a dropsault for two. A Northern Lights Bridge gets two more. Shane comes back with a spear for two and twists London into an Inverted Figure-Four Bridge (Haas of Pain). London makes the ropes and drops Shane with a double chickenwing facebuster. He takes too much time going for an SSP, so Shane drops an HBK elbow for the win at 3:42. *3/4

    Michael Shane vs. Spanky.
    Simple Luscious joins Steve and Donnie to let us know this feud is, in fact, a “shoot.” I don’t really care. The idea is that Spanky and London are the class of the TWA, a fact that makes Michael Shane furious because he feels he is the rightful heir to the HBK throne by bloodline alone. Oddly, the announcers put them both over as heels. They exchange slaps off the handshake and then start chopping each other as hard as possible. Spanky misses something, and Shane delivers a Fireman’s Carry chinbreaker. Spanky catches Shane going up and gets crotched as Luscious bails because Steve is hitting on her. Shane gets busted open on the outside, and Spanky goes to work on the cut. The announcers talk about Spanky being a ticking timebomb. Shane comes back with a springboard cannonball body block, but Spanky goes after the cut again. Spanky tries to skin the cat, so Shane dropkicks him in the face and follows him out with a somersault plancha. Shane shoves Spanky off the top but starts to swoon from the blood loss. He just falls flat on his face off the top, which the fans don’t seem to get. He does hit a desperation superkick for two, prompting mocking “HBK” chants. A second superkick is (eventually) countered to Sliced Bread #2 for the win at 8:57. Sloppy and spotty. The blood loss spot was cool, but no one seemed to care besides me. **1/4

    Spanky vs. The American Dragon.
    Dragon finally has flashier tights. Spanky catches Dragon in a headscissors to keep them grounded and catch a breather. Dragon reverses to a Texas Cloverleaf, but Spanky is in the ropes. Basically, Spanky tries to keep with the sports entertainment comedy spots and athletic moves, but Dragon forces it into a wrestling match, which favors him, of course. . Dragon grounds him with a series of headlocks and headscissors. Spanky does that Randy Savage rope clothesline move, but slips off the ropes on a springboard and takes a hard shot. He forearms Dragon off the apron to buy time, though. Dragon simply tosses Spanky across the ring by his neck and delivers an enzuigiri. Spanky makes the comeback, but they start blowing move after move, possibly due to Spanky being blown up or from timing problems. Dragon starts going hard after the pinfalls with an enzuigiri, a Yakuza kick, and a stacked powerbomb. Spanky keeps kicking out and hits Sliced Bread #2. It only gets two, though. Dragon blocks a charge. ROLLING ELBOW! That leads to a DRAGON SUPLEX, but Spanky gets his foot on the ropes. Dragon sets him on the top rope, but Spanky elbows him in the face and finishes with a SUPER SLICED BREAD #2 at 13:40. These two didn’t mesh as well as you’d hope, and it just got sloppier as the match progressed. Spanky proves, once again, that he is the class of the TWA. **1/2

  • Eddy Guerrero & the Amazing Red vs. Los Maximos.
    Eddy wears his WWE Intercontinental Title to the ring. Red, you might remember, has a bit of a feud with the Maximos thanks to them pinning him at The Era of Honor Begins. He recruited Brian XL, but that partnership didn’t work out well at all, and they broke up at Round Robin Challenge. Enter Eddy Guerrero. Mucha lucha to start, and Eddy assists Red in a headscissors. Eddy and Jose trade counters as the announcers hype the tournament to crown the first champion. Eddy hits his slingshot senton and grounds Maximo, actually turning this into a much better match than I’m used to from the Maximos. The Maximos doubleteam Eddy with a Mexican Surfboard and dropkick. Eddy catches Jose going up and drops him with a superplex. Red gets the hot tag and spins into a DDT for two. The Red Star Press only gets two on Joel. Red gets caught in the wrong corner, though. Joel hits him with a seated dropkick, and the Maximos team up for an Ocean Cyclone Suplex for two. Joel puts Red into a Swinging Pendulum, and Jose slingshots into a legdrop on Red’s exposed neck. Red catches Joel coming off the top with a spinning kick and makes the HOT TAG TO EDDY! Eddy destroys Joel and drops him on his head with a brainbuster. Jose blocks the Splash Mountain Bomb with a huracanrana for two, though. The Maximos set up for the Spanish Fly, but Red knocks Jose to the floor and slingshots out on him. Joel blocks a huracanrana, but Eddy vaults Red up in to a huracanrana (a la Rey Mysterio). Red takes Jose out with a no-hands somersault plancha. The frogsplash misses, but Eddy finishes moments later with the Splash Mountain Bomb at 13:34. The match was much better than what you usually get from three of these guys. If nothing else, this match should show you that Eddy was *far* above the rest of the wrestlers in there. After the match, Eddy thanks the crowd as the RoH locker room looks on in, what else, appreciation. ***1/2

  • In the back, Low Ki and American Dragon find Spanky jamming out in the locker room and read him the riot act for not paying respect to Eddy. Christopher Daniels and Donovan Morgan happen upon the scene and accuse Ki and Dragon of marking out for Eddy. Of course, the word “mark” is a fighting word in Philly, so a huge brawl erupts. Everyone else pulls them apart as Spanky stirs up more crap and walks away. Logically, it should have set up a tag match, but it never happened. Instead, Daniels wound up with two separate feuds on his hands. But that’s another story.

    J.D. Dunn

  • The 411: The first real misstep from Ring of Honor, but hardly a fatal one. Too many early jobber matches and a disappointing gauntlet drag this one down. The usual suspects (Ki, Daniels, Eddy & AJ) put on a great show, and I do like the logical progression of the angles. It's just not quite enough to garner a solid recommendation unless you're a completist. Mild thumbs down.
     
    Final Score:  4.5   [ Poor ]  legend

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