The Wrestling Time Machine: The Round Robin Challenge
The Wrestling Time Machine Audio
The Round Robin Challenge
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania inside The Murphy Recreational Center
Christopher Daniels opens the show with a promo, saying that Ring of Honor isn’t different from anywhere else he’s been. He’s the top star that everybody wants on their shows, and Ring of Honor knows that. Also, he’s not shaking anybody’s hands either. Clearly, he ain’t got time for no Code of Honor. He brings up the main event match from “The Era of Honor Begins” against Bryan Danielson and Low-Ki. Tonight, they all face each other in singles match, and you better believe Daniels will prove that he’s the best.
CUE THE TECHNO INTRO PACKAGE!
Da Hit Squad decide to keep the tradition alive of hyping up the crowd before the show outside of the arena like they did last time. GET HYPED PEOPLE!!!
In case you’ve forgotten the Code of Honor, we get this handy graphic.
Quiet Storm has a move he wants to try on Chris Divine. Divine eventually acquiesces. Bryan Danielson walks past, and says that ain’t how you do it, and stretches the hell out of Divine.
Match 1 of The Round Robin Challenge!
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (0-0) vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels (0-0)
Winner: Christopher Daniels via Crossface
They open with a quick pace, and then quickly begin working the ground game. It’s so fun watching a young Bryan Danielson. He’s so ground focused, and even at this stage of his career, he’s so smooth with his transitions. We even get to see the Yes Lock after a while. Daniels is already a veteran of eleven years, and keeps the pace from getting too slow. After Dragon dominates most of the beginning of the match with holds and strikes, Daniels finally turns it around with a big back suplex, where Danielson seems to injure his neck. The two trade a whole bunch of stiff chops, and Daniels get his turn to work the ground game after winning out in the exchange.
The two continue to exchange all sorts of awesome offense, and neither man wants to lose early in the Challenge. Danielson eventually goes to lock in the Cattle Mutilation, but he’s neck is too injured, and has to give up on it. Daniels takes advantage of the injury, and makes Bryan tap out. This is one hack of an opener, and really smartly worked between both guys, just as you would expect from both of these wonderful wrestlers. *** and ½ *
Daniels grabs the microphone, and runs down the Code of Honor. However, he wants Danielson to shake his hand seeing as he just made him tap out. Bryan says he’s gonna show some class, and follows through with the Code of Honor.
Backstage, Prince Nana has “The Towel Boy” Eric Tuttle shine his shoes as he tells him that there is only way to get ahead in life, and that seems to be serving on Nana hand and foot.
CW Anderson gets some time to talk about his upcoming match with Christian York and Joey Matthews. He wanted a handicap match because he doesn’t team up with anybody, but seeing as Ring of Honor doesn’t hold handicap matches, he’s been forced to find a partner. Anderson says he’ll take anybody, and picks out some kid from the ring crew.
Tag Team Match!
Prince Nana & “The Towel Boy” Eric Tuttle w/ Simply Luscious vs. Da Hit Squad (Mafia and Monsta Mack)
Winners: Da Hit Squad via Burning Hammer
Nana gets some promo time to run down the fans for their lack of respect they have for him. He informs us that, Eric however, knows his place as he shines Nana’s shoes once again. He starts running down the Code of Honor, saying he’s above it. HERE COMES DA HIT SQUAD! They level Nana with a figure four/frog splash combination. Tuttle gets snapped in half with a spear, and then destroyed with another double team move. Mafia drags Tuttle’s limp body up, and flattens him once again. The murder finally ends. SQUASH
Well, here comes the Christopher Street Connection. Mase and Buff-E got beat down by Da Hit Squad at the last show. Nana runs into them in the entry way, and they start arguing. Da Hit Squad decide to toss The Towel Boy at them, but he goes splat on the floor pretty hard. Luscious hops into the ring, and Da Hit Squad argue over how to beat her up. They eventually decide to toss her onto the pile of people on the outside, and the crowd eats it all up. Nana drags Luscious away, Da Hit Squad shake hands with everybody still left in the aisle way, and the CSC carry Tuttle off to the back because gay jokes. They attempt to administer mouth to mouth to Tuttle, but Nana interrupts, so they decide to practice on each other. Oh boy…
The Boogie Knights talk about their “win” over The Natural Born Sinners last month. They decide to steal their chainsaw, but when they open the case, they find the rubber chicken. The chainsaw revs up in the background, and they make a run for it.
Joey Matthews and Christian York say they’re gonna be in full effect tonight in their match against CW Anderson and the jobber he picked out.
In Full Effect!
Christian York & Joey Matthews vs. CW Anderson & Elax
Winners: York & Matthews via Problem Solver.
Three of the four are ECW alums. At the time, CW Anderson runs with the Extreme Horseman over in Major League Wrestling. York and Matthews found some popularity in ECW, with Matthews eventually making his way to the WWE. Anderson essentially uses Elax to take punishment, and take a few short breathers. I’ve always been a fan of CW’s work, and you get a great picture of it here.
Matthews spends most of the match getting his butt handed to him, and finally tags out to Christian York. Elax and CW’s inexperience together eventually costs them the match, as CW runs head long into his partner, and York & Matthews put him away. Perfectly fine match with Matthews and CW in the ring together, but it gets a bit sloppy here and there with York. I think they used Elax well, as you know he had to be green as all get out. * and ½ *
Post match, Elax pays the penalty for costing CW his match by getting a beat down.
Xavier gets a promo where he informs us that due to Scoot Andrews breaking his leg, he’ll be facing “The Sicilian Shooter” James Maritato, better known as Little Guido in ECW and Nunzio in WWE. Also, Maritato gets some time to rebuttal and introduce himself. Xavier’s promo leaves a lot to be desired.
Xavier vs. “The Sicilian Shooter” James Maritato
Winner: Xavier via Bridging Jackknife Pin
Maritato has dropped the comedy of the FBI from ECW, and starts his cup of coffee with RoH before he gets signed up by the WWE. Xavier is clearly being groomed to be something here in Ring of Honor, as he goes hold for hold with Maritato on the mat. Xavier takes advantage with his striking, but Maritato stays game throughout the entire match. I often forget how good Maritato is in the ring, and he hits some beautiful moves throughout the match, chiefly a tornado DDT that floors Xavier. They start trading some holds near the end, and Xavier catches Maritato by surprise to get the win. Commentary puts the win over huge. A little dull at times, but technically fine. **
Spanky mocks some guys from the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission while they’re giving a speech about not cursing and not using blood.
The Natural Born Sinners are gonna kill The Boogie Knights. Hell, I believe them.
Tag Team Rematch!
The Natural Born Sinners (Homicide & Boogalou) vs. The Boogie Knights (Mike Tobin & Danny Drake)
Winners: The Natural Born Sinners via Lariat/Half and Half Suplex Combo.
Boogalou distracts the referee early, and Homicide lays into Tobin with the rubber chicken. Tobin tags in Drake, who wants to go hold for hold with Boogalou. Drake gets tossed around by both Boogalou, and Homicide. Drake gets murdered with a double stomp, Tobin takes a powerbomb onto Homicide’s knee, and finds himself looking at the lights a few minutes later. SQUASH
Low-Ki runs down Christopher Daniel’s claims that he’s the best athlete in Ring of Honor. When Low-Ki finishes with him tonight, Daniels will respect Low-Ki!
Match 2 of The Round Robin Challenge!
“The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels (1-0) vs. Low-Ki (0-0)
Winner: Low-Ki via Dragon Clutch
Daniels refuses the handshake and slaps Ki’s hand away. Low-Ki goes on the attack like a man possessed, and destroys Daniels with some kicks. Then, he works over Daniel’s back with a stretch, but Daniels rolls Ki over into a pinfall. Low-Ki comes firing back with some kicks, and well…
Mistakes were made. Low-Ki continues the onslaught of offense, until Daniels catches him with a couple of STOs to finally start his run of offense. Daniels works over Low-Ki’s neck similar to the earlier match, but this time around, he misses the Best Moonsault Ever, and opens a gap that Low-Ki jumps on. The two trade the big moves back and forth with both guys connecting with their finishers to no avail. Daniels sets Low Ki up for what looks like a reverse DDT, but Low-Ki spins out of it, and makes Daniels tap! Just as great as the earlier match in a completely different way. Low-Ki looked near untouchable in this match, and Daniels could work with anybody. *** and ½ *
Daniels grab the microphone once again, and says that he made Daniels tap earlier, and he made him shake his hand. He just tapped to Low-Ki, but it proves nothing because he’s already wrestled once, and was tired. Daniels then refuses to wrestle for Ring of Honor again until they create a Ring of Honor title. He runs into Xavier in the back, who seems to congratulate him. Daniels runs into Da Hit Squad in the back, who are all pissed about him not following the Code of Honor. Daniels takes a hike, and the camera keeps following him. However, the run past Spanky, who decides to sing, karaoke style, into the camera.
The SAT, Amazing Red, and Quiet Storm play some basketball very poorly. Red scores on the SAT, and they get all pissy as Red gloats about being better.
Break A Leg Kid!
Chris Marvel w/ MASADA vs. Paul London w/ Rudy Boy Gonzalez
Winner: Paul London via stoppage
The two trade some waist locks, and some other moves that end in a stalemate. London ends up sending Marvel to the outside of the ring, and hits an asai moonsault onto Marvel. However, Chris breaks his leg underneath the weight of the catch! Jeepers mister, that’s painful. Would rating this as a squash be insensitive? Probably. Not Rated
Jay Briscoe talks about how he’s facing Spanky tonight. Mark says it doesn’t matter, he just wants to know if Jay will win. Jay gets all pissed, shoves him away, and walks away from the camera.
One on One!
Jay Briscoe w/ Mark Briscoe vs. Spanky
Winner: Spanky via Sliced Bread #2
I’m pretty sure Spanky’s personality is just me in real life. They lock up a whole bunch in the opening minutes. The duo continue to trade holds and moves, but some of it looks a little rough. Spanky’s had enough of that though, and stops Jay from doing something on the top rope by flapjacking him face first into the mat. Spanky continues to stay a couple steps ahead of Briscoe for a while, stopping any attempts at offense from Briscoe before they can go anywhere.
Spanky goes head first into the steel that holds the turnbuckles to the post, and gets busted open. Briscoe finally gets going, and the camera pans to Mark for Jay to finish Spanky off. Spanky fights off Jay, and hits a nice double jump top rope splash. Spanky keeps on rolling from there, and puts Jay away to get another victory. ** and ¾ *
Mark Briscoe yells at Jay for losing twice now as they make their exit.
Bryan Danielson wins a fan vote for the best trainee of the Texas Wrestling Academy by a landslide.
Three Way Tag Team Elimination Match!
Divine Storm (Chris Divine & Quiet Storm) vs. SAT (Jose & Joel Maximo) vs. Amazing Red & Brian XL
Winners: SAT via distraction roll-up
Divine Storm are eliminated via assisted Shooting Star Press by Amazing Red
Well folks, if you liked the elimination match from the show, or you like spotfests, you get some more of that here. Some of it looks good, some of it looks really rough. Amazing Red gets a good ovation when he gets tagged in. Quiet Storm hits a nice somersault tope to start the dive fest to the outside. Brian XL hits a seated senton, and Amazing Red blows the first attempt, but nails the second attempt at a top rope springboard corkscrew senton. Mid-match now, and they just bring up that this match has lucha tag rules. So, no need to physically tag your partner.
After the first elimination, the match slows down a little bit. The SAT go on a run of hitting a bunch of big slams onto both Red and Brian. Red ducks out of a corner move from one of the Maximo’s, and kicks him low. Red completely misses a top rope corkscrew splash, XL “hits” a somersault senton, and both go for the cover. They shove each other as both attempt to get the pinfall, which works against them as The SAT capitalize, and get the win. Not nearly as fun as the previous outing between these guys, and more blown spots. *
Low-Ki talks about how he made Christopher Daniels respect him after making him tap out. Now, he’s going to prove he’s the best in Ring of Honor after he beats American Dragon.
Match 3 of The Round Robin Challenge!
“American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (0-1) vs. Low-Ki (1-0)
Winner: Bryan Danielson via Cattle Mutilation
Before the match starts, Ken Shamrock comes out and shakes both guys hands. He’s impressed with both of these guys, and he wants to referee the match. The referee hands him his referee shirt, and away we go.
They lock up early, and work the mat game in shoot fight style. I feel like I’ve said that a lot in this review, but it’s worth mentioning that each of the Round Robin challenge matches make it feel different each time, which is much appreciated. There are some other shows this year, and since then when that isn’t the case. Both Low-Ki and Danielson hit each other with some super stiff strikes as they continue to exchange control. We get a bit of break after Danielson slams Ki into the mat to get out of an arm hold, and then we’re right back to the fight.
Low-Ki decides to kick Dragon in the side of the head from the mat, causing him to spill to the outside. However, they take it back to the mat once Danielson gets back into the ring. Low-Ki finally has enough of the mat game, and goes to town on Danielson with some Kawada kicks to the face. Yet, the go right back to the mat for another five minutes or so. We finally get some striking and suplexes from Dragon, and Ki soon follows up. I love watching mat work as much as the next guy, but it doesn’t need to go the first fifteen minutes of the match boys.
Low-Ki goes for a choke, and Bryan goes through the ropes, where both spill to the outside. Danielson has had enough after both men find their way into the ring, and goes off of Low-Ki with some more slams and suplexes. Then, both guys lock in their opponent’s submission holds. Now we’re in it! Strikes and big moves galore, and neither guy wants to give the other an inch.
Low-Ki hits the Ki Krusher, but Danielson kicks out! Ki decides to go for the Phoenix Splash, but eats Dragon’s knees. Super back suplex gets Danielson the near far! Danielson goes back to the well, but Low-Ki fights back, and destroys both Danielson and himself with a Super Ki Krusher! Low-Ki goes the Tidal Wave, but Danielson catches him, and absolutely destroys him with a cradle back suplex. AmDrag opts for the Cattle Mutilation, but Ki almost makes it to the ropes, so he readjusts and reapplies. Low-Ki passes out in the hold, and the crowd jumps to their feet. One heck of a match here folks. The opening mat work went on a little long for my taste, but once it gets going, it grabs you and never lets go. **** and ½ *
The crowd chants for everybody, the two shake hands, and Shamrock raises Danielson’s hand. Well, nothing was really settled between the three guys, as everybody won one. AmDrag gets the microphone, and thanks everybody for coming out.
We get a video package for Night of Appreciation for Eddie Guerrero, which is the next show.
Mikey Whipwreck’s boys are all arguing with each other backstage. He tosses Brian XL out, and says he’ll find Amazing Red a new partner.
Spanky congratulates Danielson on his match, and for winning the poll. Spanky says Danielson stuffed the ballot, and Danielson says he’s clearly better. Paul London says he wasn’t even on the ballot, or he would have won. Rudy Boy jumps in, and says he’ll get them a match next month to prove who the better guy is.
We get the recap techno music video to close it all out.
Overall Rating: 6.5 out of 10 The grade might seem a little rough, but that undercard just isn’t all that great. You get a couple of decent to good matches there, but without the Round Robin Challenge matches, this show would’ve been a stinker. All of those matches, however, were very good to great, and are completely worth you’re time to check out. Ring of Honor clearly has the right guys at the top of the card, now we’re just waiting to find some breakouts below them.
Ring of Honor’s Best!
What follows here are the very best that Ring of Honor will have put on in 2002. In case you ever feel like tracking any of these shows, or these specific matches down, you’ll know what the cream of the crop are. A quick note about the top matches, anything rated SQUASH will not make the list of obvious reasons.
Ring of Honor Top 10 Matches of 2002
1. “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. Low-Ki vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels @ The Era of Honor Begins. **** and ½ *
2. “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. Low-Ki @ The Round Robin Challenge. **** and ½ *
3. Low-Ki vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels @ The Round Robin Challenge. *** and ½ *
4. “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels @ The Round Robin Challenge *** and ½ *
5. Eddie Guerrero vs. Super Crazy for the IWA Intercontinental Title @ The Era of Honor Begins. *** and ½ *
6. Jay Briscoe vs. The Amazing Red @ The Era of Honor Begins. ***
7. Jay Brisoce vs. Spanky @ The Round Robin Challenge. ** and ¾ *
8. Chris Divine vs. Quiet Storm vs. Brian XL vs. Jose Maximo vs. Joel Maximo vs. Amazing Red w/ Special Guest Referee Mikey Whipwreck. ** and ¼ *
9. Xavier vs. “The Sicilian Shooter” James Maritato @ The Round Robin Challenge. **
10. Xavier vs. “The Black Nature Boy” Scoot Andrews. **
Ring of Honor’s Top 5 Shows of 2002
1. The Era of Honor Begins. 8 out of 10.
2. The Round Robin Challenge. 6.5 out of 10.