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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor — Retribution: Round Robin Challenge II

May 21, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor — Retribution: Round Robin Challenge II  

Ring of Honor — Retribution: Round Robin Challenge II
by J.D. Dunn

I should note that a lot of the remastered DVD versions of this show (like mine!) have audio problems during the four-way tag and Punk/Homicide matches. Contact ROHwrestling.com for a replacement.

To give you an idea where we are, Paul London is hot off a Match of the Year performance against Bryan Danielson. He still has a problem with AJ Styles for dumping him in favor of the Amazing Red, though. AJ and Red went on to win the ROH Tag Team titles, leaving London out in the cold.

The Prophecy is in chaos, having lost the tag titles and ROH Title earlier in the year. Despite their earlier success, they are on a long losing streak. Not helping matters is the rise of The Group, Steve Corino’s rival stable.

Samoa Joe helped the Group get on track by taking the ROH Title from Xavier and starting his epic title reign in convincing fashion.

That leads into…

  • April 26, 2003
  • From West Mifflin, Pa.
  • Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Lovey.

  • Christopher Daniels and The Prophecy claim they are now the hunters instead of the hunted. Daniels says they’re turning their focus on “The Group,” and he introduces the Prophecy’s newest member Danny Maff as their enforcer.
  • Opening Match, Round Robin: The Amazing Red vs. Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger).
    Red was one-half of the tag champs at this point along with AJ Styles, having defeated Daniels and surrogate champ Xavier. Daniels is looking to worm his way into ROH’s top five contenders, which includes Paul London. Daniels cockily dominates until Red hits an armdrag and slingshot huracanrana out of nowhere. Danger interferes from the floor, choking Red out on the ropes. Red comes back with a sloppy rana and a sloppier DDT (which I thought was a Daniels uranage). Red hits the inverted DDT and 718 to set up the springboard sloppycanrana for two. An enzuigiri gets two more, but Daniels hits the STO. That sets up the Best Moonsault Ever for two. Red comes back with the Code Red for two. Red goes up, but Daniels resourcefully shoves the ref into the ropes to crotch Red. That sets up the Last Rites at 11:08. Red was a one-man botching machine out there. Daniels carried things nicely, though. **3/4

  • Colt Cabana & Ace Steel vs. Da Hit Squad (w/Allison Danger).
    Da Hit Squad were already broken up, but they signed the contract to wrestle here before the break-up so they have to honor it. Colt thinks he’s being stiff with Monsta Mack until he gets a taste of forearm. Colt tags out quickly. Steel is a house of fire… until he takes a Dragon Suplex from Maff. Finally, Maff misses a big boot and gets caught in the ropes. Steel hits a dropkick, and Cabana adds running knees. Cabana misses a second attempt, allowing Maff to tag in Mack. Mack hits an Orange Crush, but Steel makes the save. Mack and Cabana brawl to the top rope, but Steel sneaks in with a powerbomb attempt. Mack blocks until Cabana comes back and turns it into a Colt .45/powerbomb combo. That gets the win at 8:13. One the one hand, I miss the fact that ROH used to have a more varied roster than they do today. On the other, it reminds me that Maff and Mack used to use moves like the Orange Crush and Dragon Suplex as set-up moves. ***

  • After the match, Allison Danger drags Maff off, telling him not to worry about the result because he’s with the Prophecy now.
  • Dunn & Marcos get some mic time, so the Outcast Killaz demand their own mic time.
  • The Spanish Announce Team vs. Dunn & Marcos vs. EZ Money & Sterling James Keenan vs. Special K.
    Keenan looks different every time I see him. Here, he looks like Edge and John Morrison had a kid. The match is, in a word, a spotfest. Duh. I won’t bother with the play-by-play because it would practically read something like “move, move, move, move, reversal of move, botched move, sloppy move, tower of doom spot.” Plus, the fact that there’s no sound just amplifies how few transitions there are. The fans certainly dig the wild action, though. Angel Dust and Hydro (Jay Lethal) seem to be representing Special K. EZ Money sets up Dunn on the top rope but decides to dive off onto Special K instead. The SAT swoop in and hit Spanish Fly for the win at 9:11. **

  • After the match, Slugger and “the other big black guy that we never go a name for” destroy everyone until Mysterious Black Guy #2 wants to go after Hydro. Slugger gives MBG2 a sitout spinebuster.
  • CM Punk gets in the face of a Ravenite and allows Lucy Fer (Daffnee Unger) to take him out with a DDT.
  • #1 Contender’s Trophy: Homicide (w/Julius Smokes) vs. CM Punk (w/Lucy).
    Winner here presumably gets Samoa Joe or Doug Williams at some point in the future. An armdrag battle goes to a standstill until Homicide crunches Punk in the corner and hits a t-bone suplex. Punk blocks an atomic drop, though, and turns it into the Shining Wizard. Back in, the Pepsi Twist gets two. Lucy seems to like it. He misses a slingshot senton, though, and Homicide peppers him with kicks to the back. That sets up a Mexican Surfboard, but Punk reverses to an STF. Homicide makes the ropes, knocks Punk to the floor, and hits the rolling suicida. The Blair Witch camerawork is really disorienting, I should point out. Back in, Homicide misses a corner charge and takes THE PEPSI PLUNGE! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Punk sets up for a lariat, but Homicide counters to the Ace Crusher. LARIAT BY HOMICIDE! ONE, TWO, TH-NO! He tries another, but Punk blocks and counters to a Hammerlock DDT. Homicide drops Punk on his head with a Michinoku Driver. Punk blocks the Cop Killer and turns it into (eventually) a Death Valley Driver. Homicide takes him down into the modified STF for the tap out at 15:29. It was going along fine, but they started getting sloppy down the stretch. It didn’t help that they just started hitting finishers with no transition. Good action for about 13 minutes, though. ***

  • No DQ: The Carnage Crew vs. Hotstuff Hernandez, Don Juan & Fast Eddie (w/Rudy Boy Gonzalez).
    Hernandez, Juan and Eddie are part of the Texas Wrestling Academy. You know Hernandez from LAX. The Carnage Crew are Loc, Devito (who had one segment in the new ECW), and Masada. This is just a chaotic brawl that goes from spot to spot. HC Loc gets cut open pretty badly. Hernandez Border Tosses Masada as Lovey professes that he can smell the blood. Whatever, Michael Cole. Murrow isn’t much better, offering, “And those chairs hurt.” Devito screams, “I love this shit.” He also said that during the 2003 New York riot, making it the worst catchphrase since “How do you like my new suit?” Hernandez Border Tosses Eddie onto the Crew and goes for his over-the-top suicida. Devito hits him in the face with the chair, though, knocking him silly. Loc and Devito hit the Carnageplex on Eddie. That sets up the spiked piledriver at 9:13. Lots of blood, gore, and violence. If you ever complained about the Briscoes lacking psychology or transitions between their spots, you should check this out. That’s not to say it wasn’t entertaining in a sick way. There just wasn’t a lot of “art” to it. **3/4

  • After the match, the Carnage Crew finds Scott from Tough Enough sitting at ringside and assault him for being Scott from Tough Enough.
  • Round Robin: Paul London vs. The Amazing Red.
    London was inching towards heel status as he was supposed to form a tag team with AJ Styles, but London was knocked out of their tag match by emergency surgery. Red stepped in and won the tag titles, becoming AJ’s new regular partner. London apparently thinks AJ should have waited for him. These two met in a gauntlet at All-Star Extravaganza. This goes as you might expect with Red using his speed and martial arts kicks to keep London off balance. London plays the smarmy heel, hitting a butterfly suplex into a headscissors. London shows that he can work heel pretty effectively, but then he’s working against a smaller guy. Unless the WWE books him against Hornswoggle, it would be hard for him to transition that to the big time. Red hits a Super Code Red, but it only gets two. The Red Star Press only gets two as well. Red goes out for the springboard rana, but London catches him and powerbombs him then lifts him up and gives him the Styles Clash at 10:11. Ha ha! What a dick. That leaves Red at 0-2, and London and Daniels to battle for the Round Robin title. London was on fire here, and the match reflected that. ***1/4

  • Matt Stryker puts over his opponents in the four-way. Chad Collyer interrupts and tells him not to run his mouth, which is pretty funny because Stryker was being so conciliatory.
  • Michael Shane catches Gary Michael Capetta and tells him The Group is going to cause havoc later tonight. Simply Luscious just stands around and looks pretty.
  • Alexis Laree vs. Persephonie.
    You know Laree as Mickie James. This match shows that, as good as the men’s action in ROH was from 2002-2005, the women never really impressed until the advent of SHIMMER in late 2005. Persephonie looks like a pissed-off Fergie. Lovey works in his Lawler routine, fawning over Alexis rather than calling the match. It’s Diva-level action anyway, so it’s not like he’s missing anything. Alexis finishes with the reverse DDT at 5:23. *

  • After the match, Simply Luscious jumps both women and gives them Death Valley Drivers. Michael Shane hijacks the ring, but we cut to…
  • The Second City Saints. CM Punk claims that his greatest weapon is his mind. Cabana is hilarious, turning to Steel and mouthing, “What’s he talking about?” Punk introduces his girlfriend Lucy Fer. After the promo, Punk tells Lucy that the Saints obey the Code of Honor so she shouldn’t interfere. Cabana also lays out a few rules as only Colt Cabana can. That triggers a debate between Ace Steel and Cabana on what’s better to listen to in the car, Black Label Society or the soundtrack from Grease. Punk can only shake his head in disgust at the goofballs surrounding him.
  • Matt Stryker vs. Chad Collyer vs. Michael Shane (w/Simply Luscious) vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Donovan Morgan.
    To placate Shane, ROH let him into this match. We nearly get the Prophecy versus the Group early, but Shane ducks out before Morgan can get his hands on him. Morgan wrestles like the next generation of Scott Steiner, which makes it all the more puzzling why there doesn’t seem to be any interest in giving him a high-profile above the U.S.. He spends most of his time going after Shane and Luscious. Collyer and Stryker renew acquaintances after their memorable series of technical matches in early 2003. Whitmer is actually the odd man out as far as feuds go. Everyone takes turns working over Collyer’s leg. That goes on for a long time before Collyer avoids a kneedrop from Shane. Morgan gets the hot tag. Good booking there because Shane and Morgan had been kept apart for the most part. Morgan pummels him and then hits BJ with Sayonara. Collyer returns, gives Stryker the Dragon Screw, and locks in the Texas Cloverleaf. Shane makes the save with a superkick. BJ wipes out Morgan with the Exploder but then takes a German Suplex/flying kick combo from Stryker and Collyer. That leaves Stryker and Collyer alone with one another, and Stryker takes advantage of Collyer’s injured knee, finishing him with the Strykerlock at 19:11. Pretty good booking here as Stryker and Collyer were getting over based on their wrestling while Shane and Morgan were opposing faction members so they didn’t really need to figure into the finish. Whitmer kind of meandered around for a while, as he would until late 2003 when he joined the second version of the Prophecy. ***1/2

  • Round Robin: Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger) vs. Paul London.
    This is a weird one because both guys are essentially heels… except not. Daniels is a heel, but the presence of the Group makes him a babyface by comparison. London is a babyface in the process of turning heel. Daniels stalls for a while and gets pissed because London isn’t taking the match seriously. London tells him that if Daniels really took ROH seriously, he’d shake hands. Daniels offers a handshake and, of course, double-crosses London. Daniels takes over and works London’s ribs. Nice spot as he pinpoints London’s ribs with a dropkick instead of getting fully height on it. London makes a mini-comeback but gets caught with the Angel’s Wings for two. Daniels can’t believe that wasn’t the finish. London hits a spinning wheel kick and a dropkick, but he misses a quebrada. Daniels takes over again and hits the Iconoslam for two. La Majestral gets two. They exchange rollups for several nearfalls. London blocks a superplex and hits the Shooting Star Press. Allison Danger has the ref, though. London grabs her and kisses her, causing the crowd interest to drop right off. If there’s something ROH fans detest, it’s clichés. Daniels charges but gets backdropped on Danger. London follows him out with a tope. Back in, London sets up for another SSP, but Daniels gets his knees up into London’s ribs. Nice psychology there. That sets up the Flatliner and Best Moonsault Ever to finish off London at 24:53. Daniels breaks the Prophecy’s losing streak emphatically (assuming you don’t count his earlier victory over Red) and vaults himself back into contention. The psychology and storyline lifts this above the other two matches even if it was a bit counterproductive for London’s character. ***3/4

  • ROH Title: Samoa Joe vs. Doug Williams.
    This is Joe’s first real title defense. Williams is an excellent European-style wrestler. Joe tries to wrestle with him early and then decides he probably better just run through his usual power spots. Williams takes a Facewash before going back to his bread and butter and zeroing in on Joe’s shoulder. Joe goes back to his usual moves, powerbombing Williams and turning him over into the STF. Williams makes the ropes and goes back to the arm. He hits the knee combo, but it only gets two. Joe finally has enough and starts driving knees into Williams’ head to knock him silly. That sets up the Coquina Clutch at 11:46. Pretty disappointing in that Williams didn’t provide much offense. His armwork was mostly defensive, and he never really had a serious moment where it looked like he’d win. Joe looked dominant, though. **3/4

  • After the match, Dan Maff and Donovan Morgan hit the ring to attack Joe. Michael Shane tries to make the save, but Christopher Daniels gives the Prophecy the advantage, and they leave the Group boys laying.
  • In the back, the Carnage Crew talk about their miserable wives and kids. I like that they work that back into their feuds with the Briscoes and Second City Saints – the Briscoes actually have bright futures, and CM Punk looks down on drinkers – but that doesn’t mean I really want to see their matches.
  • The Prophecy gloats about laying out Samoa Joe.
  • Samoa Joe is pissed off now. Eeep!
  • The 411: This was a far cry from the original Round Robin Challenge. It was more story-driven than the original, so it fits in with the big picture, but the wrestling can't match the MOTYCs of that show. I'm not a big fan of the remastered shows either. The camerawork from the guys on the floor is horrible, and it's made all the more obvious by the editing (or lack thereof).

    Mild thumbs down here unless you're a big fan of Paul London.

     
    Final Score:  5.5   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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