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DVD Review: Burgan reviews ROH WrestleRave '03 with Styles, Punk, Homicide...

Feb 18, 2004 - 5:38:00 PM
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By Derek Burgan, Torch Team Contributor

Torch DVD Review
Ring of Honor's "WrestleRave '03"
June 28, 2003
Philadelphia, Pa. at the Rec Center


***Show starts off with a promo by Low Ki backstage. His arm is in a sling and talks about inviting FWA's Flash Barker to ROH. Apparently Low Ki hurt his shoulder against Baker in a match in FWA. After Happy Gilmore, I'd like to see a shoot fight with Low Ki against Bob Barker instead Ki then delivers an intense rant against the Prophecy and in particular Dan Maff by saying, "The Prophecy will not lead you to the promised land, but they will lead you to me." Low Ki disses Julius Smokes and also says he wants a shot a Samoa Joe.

***Rob Feinstein is in the middle of telling one of his jokes. This one's punchline was, "See the arrow? I didn't even see the Indians!" I don't think George Carlin, or even Carrot Top, is losing any sleep. Rob is interrupted by the King of Old School's girlfriend Simply Luscious. She asks Rob if Corino bought any shoot interviews off of RF Video using checks from her account. Luscious then asks for work seeing as how on the last ROH show The Group (which included Steve Corino, CW Anderson and Michael Shane) were sent packing courtesy of the Prophecy. Feinstein told her he was always looking for people to sell T-shirts and take tickets. ZING~!

(1) The Ring Crew Express beat Prince Nana and Jimmy Cash. I'm so not into Prince Nana. Considering his physical shape he must come from the monarchy ruled the Burger King and Dairy Queen. Jimmy Cash reminds me of Simon Diamond. Nana grabbed the mic before the match and said he and Cash were a new tag team to be reckoned with to which Dunn and Marcos countered with, "we will rock you like a Hurricane~!" Decent enough match between the four which had an awesome Gory Bomb by Dunn. Nana also does a move that is set up like Rikishi's stink face in that the opponent is sitting "Raven-like" in the corner, but Nana flies across the ring and nails the opponent with his ass which makes it 100 times more tolerable than The Kish's move. Finisher came with a unique double team Sliced Bread #2 from the Ring Crew Express for the win. For the entire match the announcers sold it as if Nana and Cash were going to destroy Dunn and Marcos and that this was just a "warm up". In fact it was hyped so much that the win by the Ring Crew Express came at almost no surprise. This was however Dunn and Marcos' first win in ROH.

(2) Alexis Larree beat Sumie Sakai. It is still almost impossible to believe how long Larree has been on the WWE roster and they have yet to do ANYTHING meaningful with her. Yet That Thing They Call Shaniqua gets a prime television role. Go figure. Something tells me the Bashams would have been a thousand times more over right from the start if Larree had been their dominatrix, but that's neither here nor there I guess. The match was definitely above average for women's fare and had a really cool sequence in which the two keep reversing a small package and were rolling all around the ring. Sakai hit a great looking Northern Lights Suplex which I can't believe I just saw in a women's match. Finish came after Sakai missed a moonsault and Larree hit her with the inverted DDT for the 1..2..3. Pretty fast match and never boring.

***Backstage, The Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels is with fellow Prophecy members Allison Danger and Dan Maff. Daniels wants to make two points. The first is that he wants the ROH Championship and the second is to team with Raven to stop the Second City Saints before they even become a threat. The camera cuts to Raven, sitting nearby, as he gives an evil grin. Maff then talked about beating Samoa Joe in their last encounter and tonight he was taking the strap.

(3) Chad Collyer beat Matt Stryker in a Tap Out Match. In a good bit to open the match, announcer Chris Lovie said that Tom Carter was originally supposed to be facing Stryker in this match. Lovie went on to say that Carter's wife was having a baby and, "ROH officials said, the kid's not gonna remember if you are there or not' but Tom still didn't show up." I can actually picture just about every wrestling promoter on Earth saying that to a wrestler. Later the announcers went completely off on the WWE for introducing Lance Storm's "boring" gimmick from last year. Oh My~! The match was as mat-based as anything you will ever see. Both wrestlers completely worked over their opponents legs to set up their submission (Collyer was trying for the Cloverleaf while Stryker went for the Kurt Angle Ankle Lock). Pretty stiff match here and I was wondering how the hell these two could walk afterward. Finish came after Collyer hit Stryker with an awesome looking Dragon Screw and then forced a tap via the Cloverleaf. This wasn't up to the caliber of matches I've seen Stryker have with BJ Whitmer, but it wasn't bad either.

(4) The Carnage Crew beat Special K. Justin Credible is introduced as the newest member of the Carnage Crew before the match. Huge ovation from the crowd including a, "Welcome Back!" chant. Deranged, Dizzy and Dixie were the representatives for Special K and in a good bit, they looked scared shitless when Justin came out. Now if you remember, I made an ass out of myself by commenting how much I enjoyed Deranged in Wrath of the Racket and couldn't wait to see him when I go to Chicago on 4/24 to see ROH. I was quickly informed that Deranged doesn't work for ROH anymore. Well, when I reviewed Bitter Friends/ Stiffer Enemies, I called Deranged the "white version of Rey Mysterio." I was quickly informed by an astute Torch VIP Member that Deranged was in fact not-white, but rather Latino. Reason #421 of Why I wouldn't make a good racist'. Another crazy match between the Carnage Crew and Special K and I look forward to these teams going at each other like I used to enjoy the Gangsta's against the Eliminator's in ECW back in the day or Edge & Christian versus the Hardyz in the WWE Attitude Era. My first impression of the Carnage Crew was that they were a complete waste, but after four shows they have really grown on me. I think Justin Credible really adds to the team dynamic and brings them to the next level. It must be the night for Sliced Bread #2's as Izzy hit one on Loc and DeVito. Finish came when JC hit That's Incredible on Dixie for the win.

(5) Samoa Joe beat Dan Maff to retain the ROH Championship. As Maff made his way to the ring the announcers brought up that his father died the night before. I know some people grieve in different ways, but it's amazing that Maff is able to go through with this match. Maybe even more amazing when you consider the ridiculous reasons guys like X-Pac and Scott Hall among others have given for not showing up at events. Anyhoo, this was another stiff one which had the best looking OLE OLE OLE kicks I've seen from Joe yet. He actually gave Maff a second one and The Assassin took it like a cruiserweight wood and just flopped down to ground. Incredible selling. They really tried to set up that the match would end if Maff connected with his Burning Hammer, and while he attempted the move several times, it was always countered by Joe. The end of the match came when Joe slipped out of the Hammer, gave this sick kick to Maff's head and then a brain busting Dragon Suplex for the victory. Wow. After the match the crowd gave Maff an ovation that was like small scale version of the one Chris Benoit got after his match with Kurt Angle at the 2003 Royal Rumble. Nice touch.

***Backstage Tool Capetta is with Homicide and Julius Smokes. Homicide talks about a match with Trent Acid from six years ago in which he busted Acid over the head with a VCR which forced the Backseat Boy to require 26 stitches. Capetta brings up that Low Ki blamed Smokes for Homicide's loss to Samoa Joe and Julius goes off on a rant which requires some sort of English/Smokes Smokes/English translator. I did catch that he called Low Ki "Monkyman" and said to, "stop singin' and star swingin'." I honestly can not fathom how Monday Night Football can go from Melissa Stark to Suzie Kolber without missing a beat whereas ROH and WWE can't seem to find anyone better than Mark Lloyd, Jonathon Coachman and Gary Michael Capetta. Inconceivable!

(6)BJ Whitmer beat Alex Shelley & Jimmy Jacobs & Tony Mamaluke. How can you not like Jimmy Jacobs being a 150 version of Bruiser Brody? This kid is gold~! The announcers talk about Shelley and Jacobs driving in from Michigan and bring up another guy from MI, "That one legged guy in the WWE." ROH four way matches are generally about 1000 times more fun to watch than when the WWE or TNA tries the same thing and this was no exception. At one point Whitmer hit a Double Exploder on Jacobs and Shelley that was incredible. The wild finish came when Shelley was tapping out to Mamaluke, but Whitmer hit an Exploder on Jacobs that looked like it killed him and got the 1..2..3. I think I really enjoy Mamaluke in the Purists tag team than seeing him in singles action.

(7) C.M. Punk & Colt Cabana (w/Lucy) beat Raven & Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger). The Second City Saints were being kicked away from the ring to star, which caused Punk to grab a mic and shout, "Screw you Raven and screw you Philly!" Punk challenged Raven to let the better team into the ring and he would show him, "whose revolution is better!" A total brawl which started out with the oldest of old school moves, the Row Boat. This was followed up with a great move that had Cabana getting a bulldog right into Punk's crotch. Things really heated up when some of the most insane chair shots you will see started to fly. Punk grabbed a chair to hit Raven, but as soon as he turned around he was nailed by Daniels, who was also wielding a chair. Punk got his revenge shortly after with a chair across The Fallen Angel's head as he was next to the ring post. By this point Punk was bleeding for 3 men. It was surreal seeing the ultimate evil in ROH, The Fallen Angel, get "Let's go Daniels!" chants. The finish had the entire kitchen sink thrown in as Cabana took the Raven Effect and Raven turned around to battle Punk. This brought in Lucy, who jumped on Raven but was taken down by Allison Danger. In an unbelievable move, Punk superkicked Allison Danger. He was rewarded with an Angel's Wings courtesy of Christopher Daniels. The Fallen Angel turned around to get nailed with a Colt. 45. Cabana danced right into another Raven Effect! While this was going on, Punk grabbed a chain from Lucy's purse and beat the hell out of Raven with it. A revived ref made the three count.

***A bloodied Punk stumbles outside the ring screaming, "Nothings stops me!!" God I love CM Punk. Inside the ring, Raven grabs a mic and says he wants Punk in a dog collar match at Death Before Dishonor. This was even better because Raven was really selling a throat injury during this right after he was choked out with the chain. It's the small things that really count. Backstage the camera cuts to the Second City Saints and Punk goes OFF on Raven and brings up his childhood. Punk brings up that he didn't know any better when his dad would come home drunk, he just thought that's how it was. Now he's older and he hates Raven fro everything he pissed away. Punk vowed to become a monster to fight a monster and closed with, "This is real! This is STRAIGHT EDGE!" An off the charts promo by Punk.

(8) A.J. Styles beat Chris Sabin to retain the NWA Title. Styles came out Ric Flair's Theme from 2001 music. The ring announcer doing the shows in a t-shirt and sweats really has to go. DeAngelis looks like a bum off the streets. It's during this match that Chris Lovie goes through the Code Of Honor. Maybe ROH should just do a quick thing before the beginning of every tape/DVD explaining The Code. You can even start doing it in different ways like movie chains have begun to mix up how they deliver the "do not talk, do not smoke, turn off cellphones" ads. A good back and forth match that had a really neat finish with Sabin hitting AJ with a huracanrana, but Styles rolled through it and latched onto the Styles Clash~! It's really amazing the way Styles segues into that move at times. After the match Styles grabbed a mic and talked about the NWA Title belt and brought up the moment in which ECW started and Shane Douglas threw the belt into the trash. AJ asked the crowd if the belt deserved to be in the trash and they screamed, "No!" Styles said he hoped the crowd cold respect him and the belt with the same respect AJ gives the fans. Awwwwwwwwww.

***Tool Capetta goes into Low Ki's dressing room (Low Ki wearing a hat? WTF?) and says that Julius Smokes wants to me Ki. How can Capetta understand what Smokes said? Is he bi-lingual? "I'm bi in many areas Derek, but Lingual isn't one of them."- Tool Capetta Low Ki says, "ok" and leaves.

(9) Trent Acid beat Homicide (w/Julius Smokes) in a Fight Without Honor. I can't believe I just wrote that not only is Trent Acid in the main event, but he won. That is exactly why ROH is so fun to watch. This all stems from a feud over the Big Japan Jr. Title, whatever the hell that is. This was chaos that got even crazier when Homicide went for the Vertebreaker, but was stopped when Acid's partner Johnny Kashmere hit the ring and two nailed Homocide with a T Gimmick. This, and I shit-you-not, brought Julius Smokes into the ring and he dropkicked Kashmere! Seriously! Kashmere and Smokes then battled to the back. Homicide went on to hit an Ace Crusher OFF THE TOP ROPE through a table OUTSIDE THE RING. Wow! This was great as he brought Acid back in the ring as half the crowd was chanting, "Let's go Homicide!" while the other half was chanting "Let's go Acid!" and The Notorious 187 was flipping off the Acid chanters. That's fantastic stuff right there. In a psycho move, Acid threw Homicide onto a ladder outside the ring and then did a suicide Tope Heelo (at least I think that's what Chris Lovie called it) through the second ropes but Homicide was long gone. Totally nuts. The finish came when Homicide again went for the Vertebreaker, but Trent countered it with a roll up for the victory. Now that was unexpected.

***After the match Homicide was about to shake Acid's hand when the lights went out. Special K's music began and a rave started. When the lights came on, the Backseat Boys were knocked out on a table in the ring and they were then crushed by flying K members off the top rope! A rave then begins in the ring as the "Special K Sluts" along with Deranged, Hydro and the rest of K begin to dance.

***Jim Cornette has a promo and says he has seen many Next Big Things. He saw Ric Flair in the 70's. He saw the Midnight Express in the 80's. Cornette saw Smokey Mountain Wrestling in the 90's. I swear I thought he was going to say he was kidding on the last one, but he wasn't I guess. He then brought up OVW for the new millennium. Cornette said he has heard ROH is the next big thing and he was going to make an impact at the Dayton, OH show.

***The rave is still going on in the ring and the Special K Sluts begin to enter the crowd.

***Loc and DeVito of the Carnage Crew talk about their upcoming match against the Texas Wrestling Academy at Death Before Dishonor. The two talk about what hardcore is all about including, "Hardcore is Justin Credible, former ECW World Champion to being kicked around for two years." Loc does a great promo on how he took tickets, ring announced, ref'd, sold t-shirts and everything else for a chance to join Team Extreme and the company went bankrupt before he got his shot. Great stuff here that really established where these blue collar guys were coming from.

***Back to the rave and we see that Colt Cabana is even dancing with the Special K Sluts. Say what you want about the man, he has taste~!

***Brief Samoa Joe promo in which he tries to convince Paul London to reconsider his match at DBD. "Fear is staring across the ring at me." And you can belie'e dat, playah.

***Tool Capetta hears shouting behind a door, but before he can see what it is, out comes Benny From the Bronx who yells, "I want you to get the f--- out of here!" I was thinking the same thing Benny.

DVD Extras: Wow! This disc actually has three bonus Showcase matches. Unfortunately they have no announcing whatsoever. There's a big difference between being at a live event and watching a match with no commentary and another thing altogether when the match is on TV.

(1) Benny From the Bronx beat Lit.
(2) Hydro beat Angeldust
(3) The Christopher St. Connection beat the Outcast Killaz


I definitely shouldn't have liked the last match as much as I did. Warning to anyone that is even remotely homophobic, skip match #3. However, for the rest of us it is quite goofy and a blast to watch. You've seen Bret Hart give a young fan his sunglasses. You've seen the Hurricane give a young fan a cheap mask. But you haven't lived until you've seen Buffy give a young fan his pink visor, his boa, and a French kiss. OH MY~!

Overall thoughts: Top to bottom a strong DVD that is highlighted by another great CM Punk/Raven encounter and a surprisingly good main event with Trent Acid of all people.
You can get this DVD by Clicking Here or by going to ROHwrestling.com and checking out everything they have.


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