July 10, 2011
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

ROH: Night of Champions
Philadelphia, PA
3/22/2003

From a promo sent by Steve Corino while he was backstage taking a shower after a Zero-One show in Japan dated from back at the last ROH show a week earlier, he says he’s got two words for Christopher Daniels – dare me.

Meanwhile back in Philadelphia, Jody Fleisch decides not to party with Mikey Whipwreck and the Special K tonight because he’s got his big match with Low-Ki. Whipwreck demands some rock n roll from the DJ and the Special K boys cover their ears. It’s harshing their mellow!

Interview with the Prophecy: Christopher Daniels says if Doug Williams can beat him for the FWA title, then he can start shaking hands again in ROH. Xavier tells Joe that he can’t beat him because Joe couldn’t beat Low-Ki, which Xavier could in order to win the ROH title. Tonight, Joe’s just going to be X’ed out like everybody before him. Oh yeah, and they are ready for Steve Corino. Off the mic but not really, Daniels tries to talk Xavier out of defending the belt against Joe, putting him over as the hardest hitting guy he’s ever faced.

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Lovey.

BJ Whitmer vs. Dixie (w/Hijink & Lit) vs. Matt Stryker vs. Alex Arion – Four Corner Survival Match
In case you’re thinking that I made a spelling error, this is the Matt Stryker from the indy scene with a unibrow. Not the Matt Striker from the WWE. I always seem to get the ROH shows with the four-way openers. Anyways, Whitmer and Stryker start the match. They trade some basic arm holds for a while. Both guys counter some stuff and they both try dropkicks to lead into a stalemate. In comes Dixie from Special K to take on Stryker. He gets fired up on Stryker by delivering a lucha armdrag. Stryker blocks a monkey flip and launches Dixie halfway across the ring. Alex Arion tags in to take over on Dixie. He gets a few sliding legdrops and a backbreaker for two. Whitmer gets a blind tag from Dixie as they try a double-team dropkick on Arion, but he moves and Whitmer gets nailed. Now Stryker blind tags Whitmer, but Arion sees it coming and nails him with a clothesline. Stryker reverses a whip and hits a scoop powerslam for two. Whitmer tags back in and works over Arion’s back with a back suplex and few swift kicks. Dixie tags Whitmer and ducks a bunch of swinging action from Arion only to fly into a crossbody attempt. Stryker and Whitmer receive tags and trade chops on each other. Stryker blocks an EXPLODER attempt with elbows and hits the STRYKER DRIVER! Cover, 1-2-NO! Dixie makes the save. He gives Stryker the Kryptonite Krunch across the knee, but Arion breaks up the pin attempt and delivers Splash Mountain to Dixie for two. Arion dumps out Whitmer, but takes a Sky High from Stryker to set up an anklelock. Arion crawls towards Dixie who is up on the top rope as he hurracanranas Stryker off him. Not as pretty looking as it should have been. With everybody else down, Whitmer hits the EXPLODER on Dixie for his first win in ROH. (11:26) This was a pretty uninspired four-way it seems. **¼

The SAT & Quiet Storm vs. Special K (w/Mikey Whipwreck) – Scramble Match
All of a sudden, the Special K boys attack the SAT and Quiet Storm while they’re in the ring to kickstart this one. Scramble rules means no tags. It’s basically everybody just hits spots with no real psychology to anything of it. We’ve got Angeldust, Deranged and Izzy from Special K against the Maximo brothers and one half of Divine Storm. All I can do is list the major spots in these types of matches because there’s no story to it. They start off with triple topes from Special K. Storm hits the Spinal Shock on Deranged. Izzy lucha armdrags Jose out to Whipwreck who drops him on the guardrail. After Joel slows down Izzy with an enziguri, the SAT and Quiet Storm regroup to deliver a triple-team ‘powerbomb/wheelbarrow suplex/double-foot launch onto some knees’ move. From there, Angeldust attacks and attempts a torso rollup from the middle rope on Joel and gets it blocked and countered with a springboard ace crusher by Jose! Wow, Angeldust landed on his neck so wrong. Deranged gets caught off when he tries a springboard by the SAT for a possible double powerbomb, but Deranged flips them over anyway. Deranged and Izzy follow up on Joel with a moonsault kick into a standing sliced bread #2. Quiet Storm gets dominated with a bunch of quick kicks from Special K as they look to finish him off with a springboard 450 splash that lands Izzy’s knees right onto Storm’s chest! Terrible! Jose delivers a pair of brainbusters and looks to finish off Deranged with a suplex into a sitout powerbomb for 1-2-NO! STORM CRADLE DRIVER to Angeldust! That gets two. Izzy saves and hits a tornado DDT on Storm. Joel hits FIVE powerbombs on Izzy in a row before dropping him down hard on the neck. Other members of Special K run down to distract the ref while Whipwreck delivers WHIPPER SNAPPERS to the SAT and Quiet Storm. The other Special K boys clear out as Angeldust covers Quiet Storm for the win. (6:24) As expected, lots of action with a ton of missed spots that could have dangerously went wrong. Afterwards, Slugga attacks the losers and goes face-to-face with another very large black man with sunglasses. And no, it’s not Mr. Hughes. **

The Backseat Boyz vs. Dunn & Marcos
The Ring Crew Express were the ‘little tag team that could’ in the early days of ROH while the Backseat Boyz were arguably the most popular tag team on the US indy circuit back then. Dunn and Marcos mock the Backseat Boyz double cross corner whip reversal spot and pay for it with the exact same spot. The Backseat Boyz strut while holding onto a double Russian Legsweep on Marcos. Dunn and Kashmere go to the floor where Dunn gives him a looong hourglass suplex on the gym floor. Back in the ring, Marcos hits a standing Sliced Bread #2 on Trent Acid. Flying elbow from Dunn gets 1-2-NO! Kashmere staggers back in the ring and takes a Gory Bomb. Instead of covering anybody, Dunn and Marcos high five each other. The Backseat Boyz dump out Marcos and go for the Dream Sequence on Dunn, which fails. Marcos flies into a Backseat Driver and then gets Dunn’s face slammed into his balls. Marcos helps Dunn avoid the T-GIMMICK for stereo school boy rollups for 1-2-NO! Marcos hits Dunn by accident with a flying forearm and takes the T-GIMMICK for his mistake. That’ll do it. (5:19) Very fun glorified squash. After they announce that they want an ROH tag titles shot, Da Hit Squad meets the Backseat Boyz backstage and gets in their faces about it. **½

FWA British Heavyweight Champion Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger) vs. Doug Williams – #1 Contenders Trophy Match
Man I love me some Doug Williams. This is a rematch from the first Glory By Honor show back in October 2002 where Daniels got the win over Williams. According to the pre-match stipulation, Williams couldn’t shake hands with anybody in ROH anymore! OH NOES! Tonight, everything that Christopher Daniels has gained is on the line – Williams’s ban on shaking hands, the FWA heavyweight title, and the #1 contenders trophy. To start off, Williams gets a bunch of nearfalls on Daniels with some fancy rolls like he’s British or something. Oh wait, HE IS. Daniels takes a hike up the aisleway to collect himself. Back in, Daniels tries to somersault out of a wristlock and gets caught in a quick two-count by Williams. Fantastic. Daniels knees out of the wristlock and corners Williams with a barrage of forearms and an eyerake. He clamps on a headlock until Williams powers out with a back suplex. Now Williams changes strategy and goes after the neck. Daniels slows down the neckwork by dumping Williams out to the floor. He fires Williams over ribs-first into the apron and heads back into the ring for an old-fashioned gutbuster for two. Slingshot elbow drop to the ribs gets another two-count. Daniels hangs Williams out to dry and dropkicks him off the apron to the floor where they exchange forearms. Back in, Daniels catapults Williams sternum first on the bottom rope. Williams avoids a corner charge and tries to come back with his Jumping Knee in the corner followed by the High Knee off the ropes, but Daniels puts the kibosh on that with the kitchen sink. Cover gets two. Abdominal stretch is applied. Williams manages to hiptoss out (imagine that!) and hits Daniels with a jumping knee kick to set up his Flying Knee Drop. Daniels moves, but Williams lands on his feet and blasts him with a clothesline! I mean, DANG! Williams gets a belly-to-belly throw and a Fisherman’s Driver for 1-2-NO! Just as Williams goes for the British Revolution, Daniels blocks it and places Williams on the top turnbuckle for an open palm strike. Williams blocks the Fall From Grace and launches himself and gets the British Revolution after all. Slow cover gets 1-2-NO! Out of nowhere, Daniels delivers the Reverse STO for 1-2-NO! Daniels drags Williams around to set him up for a possible BME, but Williams pulls him down to the mat and applies a Crippler Crossface. Instead of putting Daniels’ arm between his legs like Benoit would do, Williams hyper extends the elbow by barring Daniels’ arm with his legs! Nasty stuff. Luckily for Daniels, he makes the ropes. Daniels stops Williams with another gutbuster and hits the BME! Cover, 1-2-NO! They exchange more blows, but its Williams running off the ropes into an STO for the Koji Clutch! The crowd is anticipating a submission! Williams won’t tap and instead grabs a cravate! They get to their feet where Williams knees Daniels in the head a bunch. They trade finisher attempts until Williams puts Daniels in a Swinging Cobra Clutch. Flying Knee Drop to the back of the head! That gets two for Williams. Daniels makes one last ditch effort to put away Williams by backing him into the corner and burying some shoulders. ANGELS WINGS! Nope. Williams backdrops out and delivers the CHAOS THEORY! That gets the win! (19:16) So now everything has been reversed for Christopher Daniels at the hands of Doug Williams. Loved all the psychology that factored into the entire match and led to a satisfying finish. ****

The Group beats on Julius Smokes and some other thugs in the crowd including an appearance from Jack Victory to help out with the VIOLENCE~! until Homicide and Da Hit Squad make the save for an impromptu six-man.

Homicide & Da Hit Squad vs. Samoa Joe, CW Anderson & Jack Victory (w/Simply Luscious)
Homicide unloads on CW Anderson and hits a Tope Con Hilo. Meanwhile in the ring, Samoa Joe and Monsta Mack are having a big man battle. Monsta Mack wins with a clothesline, but Joe fires back with palm strikes and an enziguri. Now he trades blows with Mafia. Release German suplex to Joe puts him down. Jack Victory catches Mafia to stop him for a moment. Now Homicide hits Anderson with a running facewash as this is more like a scramble match than any sort of tag match. Joe slows down Homicide with an STO. Da Hit Squad double-team Joe with their series of splashes in the corner. CW Anderson gets the AA Spinebuster on Mafia to put him on the floor as Joe hits him with a suicide dive. Meanwhile, Homicide hits an Ace Crusher on CW Anderson. Also, Joe is giving Mafia the running facewash into the guardrail. Simply Luscious pulls Becky Bayless over the guardrail to beat her up. Homicide has enough of that and pulls Luscious into the ring for a COP KILLA. Anderson goes after Homicide’s arm with the Anderson Tradition. Jack Victory brings a trashcan in, so Anderson delivers the AA Spinebuster to Homicide for the DQ. No honor! No honor! (7:09) Afterwards, a crazed Julius Smokes scares The Group away with a machete. That was a little much. Total garbage match. *½

During the intermission, Gary Michael Capetta gets a word from Doug Williams. Of course the guy’s pretty happy. Next time he comes back to the states, he’s going to get his ROH title match.

The Carnage Crew vs. Mase & Hotstuff Hernandez (w/Buff E)
Hernandez is subbing for Buff E because he’s got a sore fanny. That’s quite the replacement. Hernandez guerrilla press slams the Carnage Crew to start so Mase can rub his penis all over them. Don’t worry, it’s cover by his tights. Loc takes over with a back suplex on Mase. Devito tags in for a double spinebuster into a double Boston crab. When Devito tries a sunset flip, Mase drops to his knees for more penis rubbing. Hernandez tries to save, but the ref gets in his way. The Carnage Crew take him over with a double back suplex. Hernandez counters a double backdrop with a double DDT just like old times. Now he returns to the apron to get the hot tag, which doesn’t really make any sense. Devito receives a Canadian backbreaker and then gets dropped on his face! Loc dives off the top, but gets caught for a Spinning Sitout Powerbomb! Mase dumps out the Carnage Crew so Hernandez can do the Big Man Dive! Hernandez fires away on Devito. He then charges at Devito and gets dropped on the guardrail only to completely destroy it. SNAP! If that wasn’t enough, Devito kills Hernandez dead with a steel chair! That leaves Mase all alone for the CARNAGE DRIVER to give them the win. (6:23) What a freak of nature Hernandez is. Harmless fun. **

ROH Tag Team Champions AJ Styles & Amazing Red (w/Alexis Laree) vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe
AJ and Amazing Red captured the ROH tag belts from the Prophecy a week before at Expect the Unexpected. This is the first of many matches they would have with the Briscoes throughout their six-month long title reign. Alexis Laree is Mickie James back when he was kicking it with the indy guys instead of John Cena. The Briscoes concentrate on Amazing Red to start. Mark and Red battle back and forth with rollups to a stalemate. AJ tags in to scramble around on the mat with Mark until he fires him off with a release German suplex. Jay attacks AJ, but receives a superkick/German suplex combo from the champs. With the Briscoes regrouping on the floor, Styles and Red deliver STEREO DIVES! Back in, Mark gives Styles a Uranage and tags Jay. They double-team AJ down into the corner and wrap it up with stereo Yakuza Kicks! Oh those Briscoes. AJ comes back with a gutbuster, holds on for a backbreaker and then holds on some more with an overhead throw. Tag to Red, he flies in with an elbow drop for two. Blind tag to Mark. He levels Red with a springboard dropkick for two. Amazing Red blocks a wheelbarrow rollup from Mark and drops him on his head! AJ gets the tag and gives Mark a delayed brainbuster for two. Spine Breaker sets up a seated dropkick for another nearfall. Mark blocks a rana with a powerbomb, but gets his Springboard Ace Crusher countered into a back suplex! WHAT! AJ reaches Red for a tag, setting up a Red Star Press! That gets two. Jay staggers Red with a blow from the apron into a clothesline to shut him down. Red breaks loose from a chinlock, but runs into a Yakuza Kick from Jay. Mark tags back in and delivers a couple brainbusters for a pair of two-counts. We see a false tag spot, which I did not expect to see in ROH. Red fights off a double-team by catching Mark with a boot, rolling over Mark’s back, and meeting Jay on the other side of him with a kick! HOT TAG TO STYLES! He gives Mark a Side Backdrop Driver. You’ve seen him do it before. Jay and Styles end up punching each other out. Meanwhile, Red and Mark attempt Shining Wizards and collide into each other. Jay and AJ clothesline one another out to the floor. Red hits the Roundhouse Kick, but the Briscoes block the CODE RED with a DDT! Cover, 1-2-NO! AJ breaks up the pin. He grabs Mark and Jay for a double DDT off the Asai DDT attempt. AJ covers Jay for 1-2-NO! Styles and Jay exchange finisher attempts. Instead of the J-DRILLER, Jay catches Styles with a Falcon Arrow for 1-2-NO! Red gives Jay the SUPER CODE RED! That wipes out Jay. Now we reach the finish as AJ Styles launches Red off onto Mark on the top rope for a hurracanrana that sends Mark in AJ’s arms for the STYLES CLASH! So long, Mark. (16:43) That finish totally one-ups anything Edge and Rey Mysterio did together as a tag team. ***¾

Low-Ki vs. Jody Fleisch
Low-Ki’s here to teach these Special K boys some respect because he is THAT serious. All the time. No fun and games for Low-Ki. We get some quick action to start with Fleisch going for the PHOENIX DDT early, but Low-Ki blocks it into a DRAGON CLUTCH. Fleisch flips him off for a face-to-face stalemate. Not bad. Fleisch escapes a headscissors and catches Low-Ki with a reverse hurracanrana that puts Low-Ki on the floor. Low-Ki avoids one fancy dive from Fleisch, but can’t avoid the second one as Fleisch hits Low-Ki with a springboard shooting star press on the floor! Back in, a Split-Legged Moonsault gets two. Fleisch starts slapping Low-Ki around and pays for it with the Tidal Wave (springboard enziguri). Low-Ki hits Dragon Wings on Fleisch, but eats a boot in the corner. Fleisch delivers a corkscrew crossbody block for two. Low-Ki catches a PHOENIX DDT, but Fleisch drops down into a triangle choke! Low-Ki powers Fleisch back up on his shoulders for the Krush Rush and connects with a Koppou Kick. Krush Combo gets two. Fleisch avoids the Tidal Krush and delivers a release German suplex out of the corner for two. They trade mafia kicks until Fleisch hits an enziguri that puts both men down. Fleisch counters a KI-KRUSHER into a small package for 1-2-NO! Fleisch tries some satellite headscissors, but Low-Ki spins Fleisch around right into the corner to break that up. Fleisch fights off a top-rope move, but gets caught with a Tidal Krush that sends him to the floor! They battle on the apron – ending with Fleisch attempting a springboard shooting star press piledriver, which naturally botches up real bad. Low-Ki rolls to the floor to regroup after that one. Fleisch brings him back in the ring for two. They fight to the top turnbuckle where Low-Ki kicks Fleisch into an oblivion and hits the SUPER KI-KRUSHER for the win. (19:35) When Fleisch calms down, he can have a good match. Some bad botches here and there though. ***¼

In the back, the Special K boys cheer up Jody Fleisch with some drugs. It seems to do the trick!

Raven & Colt Cabana vs. CM Punk & Ace Steele
CM Punk is on the stick! “That’s a real nice goatee you have there. I bet it’s a bull’s eye for your boyfriend!” He continues to spread more of his straight edge agenda. This one’s fought under Raven’s Rules, by the way. Punk spends most of the match running away from Raven. That means Steele takes the majority of the damage to start. Raven gives chase after Punk and receives a chair in the gut from Steele, followed by a Russian legsweep into the guardrail. With Raven hurting, Punk finally makes contact with him and beats Raven down in the corner. Punk applies one of his newer and more rare holds that he calls the Devil Lock. Punk looks to use one of Raven’s own signature moves against him with the drop toehold on the chair, but Raven reverses it on Punk real quick. Cabana gets the hot tag. Clotheslines for everybody! Punk gets tossed out to the floor and trips up Cabana, but then Raven and Steele go flying over the top rope to the floor. Punk goes for the Running Facewash, but Raven nails him with a chair from the floor into the COLT 45! Cover, 1-2-NO! Steele makes the save. Welcome to Chicago MFer connects for two. We see some team work from Punk and Steele as Punk gives Cabana the big swing into a flying legdrop! Cabana’s attempt to fight out of the corner fails, as Ace hits him with a running dropkick into a flipping cutter from Punk. That gets two. Colt catches Punk off the top for Cabanarama! YEAH! HOT TAG TO RAVEN WITH A TRASHCAN! After some trash can shots, he cleans house on the heels with his signature corner clothesline/bulldog moves. Ace charges at Raven and gets caught with a drop toehold that sends him flying out for a tope on Punk. Raven flies over the top rope to bowl Steele and Punk over as Cabana comes off the top with a moonsault press. Uh oh, Colt’s hurt his knee! In the ring, Raven’s got a table set up in the corner. He goes for the RAVEN EFFECT on Punk, but Ace breaks it up quickly with a missile dropkick. Ace sets the table up and puts Raven on it. Punk flies off the top for an elbow drop, but Raven moves and Punk goes crashing through for 1-2-NO! With Punk done, Raven gets the RAVEN EFFECT on Ace Steele and covers for 1-2-3. (17:10) Quite long for what was accomplished. They could have cut off about five minutes of this and had a better match. What matters most is what happens afterwards. Raven wants a handshake from Punk, but all he gets is a middle finger. Raven starts giving Ace Steele more Raven Effects to get Punk to shake his hand. Punk won’t budge and attacks Raven from behind. Instead of helping out his partner, Cabana joins in on the stomping because of his friendship with CM Punk. Drop toehold on the chair! Raven Effect on Raven! Cabana grabs the mic and confirms the obvious and calls Raven a washed up has-been. The Second City Saints are born! **½

Homicide and Julius Smokes wipe the Bunkhouse Brawl with the Group at the next ROH show. Dusty Rhodes will be joining in on the fun too! Low-Ki comes by and says he wants nothing of where he came from in ROH. He buggin’, dawg.

ROH Champion Xavier (w/The Prophecy) vs. Samoa Joe
Part of the storyline (or possibly even real life) is that Xavier suffered a concussion at Expect the Unexpected. The Group’s Michael Shane and CW Anderson get rid of Daniels and Danger real quick to keep this one-on-one. Joe works the concussed head to start with back elbows and turnbuckle smashes – basically anything that would suck if you had a concussion. Joe NO-SELLS some chops and tosses Xavier over the top rope. He tries to skin-the-cat, but Joe stops him by grabbing a leg and punting Xavier down. Out on the floor, Joe gives Xavier the Running Facewash into the guardrail. Oh geez. Back in, Joe unloads with kicks and goes for the ISLAND DRIVER, but Xavier slips out and hits a backcracker! Belly to belly suplex on Joe gets two. Joe takes a breather on the floor after a dropkick, so Xavier seizes the moment and flies through the ropes for a suicide dive into a swinging DDT! Awesome. Joe is dead weight, but Xavier gets him back in the ring anyway. He starts talking trash and slapping Joe around. We hear some Joe chants when Xavier applies a chinlock. Xavier keeps kicking and pounding Joe while he’s down, but now he’s on his knees and getting fired up. He absorbs a pair of running clotheslines and then turns Xavier inside out with a clothesline of his own. CHIMERA PLEX! That gets 1-2-NO! Joe reverses an X BREAKER into a suplex, but Xavier counters out by driving his knee into Joe’s head while he’s up in the air! Cover, 1-2-NO! Xavier hits the X BREAKER! 450 SPLASH hits knees Joe starts driving his knees into Xavier’s head to set up the COQUINA CLUTCH! Xavier’s arms drop once, twice, and three times does the trick. (11:54) We’ve got a new ROH champion! Enjoyable match and its good they didn’t just squash Xavier out like he was nothing – they gave him a good sendoff. His ROH career would never reach to these main event heights again. Many people disliked Xavier immensely, but I personally didn’t think he was worse than anybody else in ROH at the time. But with that out of the way, now the era of Joe can begin. ***

Raven and Christopher Daniels cut separate but equally good promos concerning their current plights in ROH.

Steve Corino’s sitting at an American Online screen on a laptop and responds to Simply Luscious taking the Cop Killa from Homicide. He says that’s pretty low, but he’s got two words for him – dare me. So is giving your girlfriend a Cop Killa not a dare?

Final Thoughts: I’ll give this a thumbs up if only for being a Samoa Joe fan. Besides that, there’s nothing downright bad on the show. The undercard doesn’t really shine, but the uppercard more than makes up for it with a few solid matches. Mild thumbs up overall for ROH’s Night of Champions.

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