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DVD Review: Burgan reviews ROH Final Battle 2003 - Great Muta, Satoshi Kojima, CM Punk

May 4, 2004 - 6:12:00 PM
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Derek Burgan, Torch Team Contributor

Torch DVD Review
ROH Final Battle 2003
December 27, 2002
Philadelphia, PA


This show follows War of the Wire.

***Gary Michael Capetta started off the show asking who his guest will be for intermission. When told his guests would be the Briscoe Brothers Capetta goes into this story about how their manager Jim Cornette was upset with him because of stuff Capetta wrote in his book BodySlams. All of a sudden Loc and DeVito of the Carnage Crew burst in and are DEMANDING to know where Special K is. DeVito yelled, Where the F--- are those little bastards?! Capetta, in one of those things that only Capetta would say went, You guys are usually angry but Ive never seen you like this. For Gods sake Jack Kirby comics back in the 70s like Prez and Devil Dinosaur had more realistic dialogue. DeVito said the battle between the Crew and the K kids has just become, personal.

***Welcome to a new feature called Samoa Joes Ring. Why is it my ring? asked Joe, Because this is the Ring of Honor ring and it belongs to me. Im the champ. One of the things I like most about Joe is that he seems to really want to get the ROH Title over as much as -if not more than himself. I think Joe would rather you spit in his face than on his belt and thats just awesome. Oman Tortuga from the Outcast Killaz jumped into the ring and was excited to be Joes first guest. Tortuga thought it was going to be a Q&A type deal but Joe let him know this feature was to explain wrestling holds. Oman said, Wait. You want to do things to me? Funny stuff. Joe then stretched out Oman and Tortuga bailed out of the ring like his ass was on fire before Joe could move on to other holds.

***Our announcers are Chris Lovey and C.M. Punk.

(1)The American Dragon beat Jay Briscoe. Jesus, when your opening match is Dragon versus Jay Briscoe I think its safe to say you have a deep card. I think it was Main Event Spectacles where the font used on the screen to display the wrestlers names was completely unreadable. Well, that same font is back except instead of being outlined in red it is in blue and is even more unreadable if that was at all possible. American Dragon did an extremely long airplane spin on Briscoe and Punk said, I hope he sends Al Perez a 25 cent royalty. You know, the Ali-Copter. Now thats obscure. I cant tell you the amount of days I would come home and watch World Class wrestling on ESPN and see guys like Al Perez, Gino Hernandez, Chris Adams and the Von Erichs. Anyhoo, back in the match the two wrestlers were having a stiff as hell mat classic. Can you imagine a match between Dragon and Chris Benoit? It would be so stiff I imagine it would look more realistic than a MMA shoot fight from PRIDE. The airplane spin actually led to a Benoit-like flying headbutt, but Bricoe kicked out at two. Jay went for a Jay Driller but Dragon slipped out and nailed Briscoe with a Dragon Suplex. Jay kicked out but was soon fell victim to the Cattle Mutilation and tapped. (13:35) Tremendous match.

Oh did you see that? (13:35) Thats the time of the match in minutes and seconds. Yes, for three years I fought tooth and nail against this in fact vowing to never keep track of match times. One, because they have never interested me as a fan and more importantly because they are a pain in the ASS to keep track of. I have gotten hundreds of emails from Wade Keller over the course of my recapping here at the Torch all telling me to add match times. I have done a masterful job in no-selling each and every one of them but finally the Head Honcho gave an ultimatum. Either I start doing match times or hell switch me and Miller around so that I have to start recapping TNA. I thought about this for a while and other alternatives such as slicing my wrists, debating the pros and cons of each. Eventually I decided to cave in only because I have gotten an inordinate amount of readers who have asked me to do match times. So even though I am doing it for you, Dear Reader, I will totally understand if you break out into a giant chant:

You sold out! You sold out! You sold out!

***Backstage Trent Acid was waiting for Jay Briscoe to come through the curtain and immediately told Jay, Great job losing to American Dragon. Acid said he thought it was time for a return match between the Backseat Boyz and the Briscoe Brothers. Jay said, We do what Jim Cornette tells us to do and walks off.

(2) John Walters beat Xavier in a Fight Without Honor. Walters actually jumped Xavier as Xavier made his way to the ring which really surprised me as I would have thought it would be the other way around. The storyline is Walters is fed up with Xaviers bullshit and was on the receiving end of a post-match chairshot at War of the Wire, so I guess I can see why he would be pissed. This match quickly became crazy as Walters brought a chair into the ring but Xavier got control of it and laid it across Walters head before laying some knee shots into it. I liked this spot because Xavier really sold the impact of the move on his knee as well. At this point Prince Nana came out to ringside. Maybe he can tell us what happened to Lollipop or the Towel Boy Eric Tuttle. A ladder was brought into the ring and all hell broke loose. Xavier laid Walters on the ladder and then climbed to the top rope to deliver a slingshot Arabian press. OUCH! Later Walters stumbled outside the ring and a baseball slide from Xavier sent him onto a table. Get This, Xavier then hit springboard 450 splash onto Walters, destroying the table.

This just in: Xavier is F---ing insane.

Its a total bloodbath at this point and Xavier grabbed a larger ladder from under the ring and Nana helped him put it inside the ring. Either Xavier was truly f---ed up or is one helluva great seller as he totally put over he couldnt get this ladder into the ring due to all the abuse he had taken. Xavier climbed the ladder but was caught by Walters who hit a devastating double knees to the back. OH~! Nana pulled out the referee during the pin and the crowd was going nuts. Walters had Xavier on the top rope set up for a superplex, but instead Xavier fought back and hit a top rope Kiss Your X Goodbye. Xavier was too out of it to make a pin. Xavier set up the smaller ladder horizontally on the second turnbuckle and the larger ladder right next to it and both men climbed to the top. In a true HOLY SHIT moment, Walters hit a sunset powerbomb in which Xaviers neck looked like it literally snapped in half. Not Gorilla Monsoon the fans are literally hanging from the rafters but I cant believe Xavier is still alive. Walters made the pin and this was without a doubt both the best John Walters match I have ever seen AND the best Xavier match. In fact, Im slowly warming up to John Walters finally. (18:25)

***After the match John Walters grabbed the mic and said he had been chasing Xaviers respect for four months. Walters said, Do the right thing and shake my hand! Prince Nana grabbed the mic and tonight was a new beginning as The Embassy was being formed and Xavier was the first member recruited. Nana tells Xavier to shake Walters hand and Xavier said, Youre on tough son of a bitch. Shaking your hand means Im out of The Prophecy, but it also means you did earn my respect. The two shake hands to end a fantastic angle. Every bit as good as the Michael Shane Paul London stuff from 2002 ROH DVDs.

(3) Matt Stryker beat B.J. Whitmer to win the Field of Honor. Throughout the match Chris Lovey put over that Whitmer was struggling with a fever of over 100 degrees and that Stryker had separated his shoulder the night before. Im not sure if those were legit or if Lovey was trying to justify why this match just didnt have it. Punk had the line of the match by saying, Look at Matt Stryker. He looks like hes been sleeping under somebodys car. In fact throughout the match Punk kept referring to how ugly both guys were. Lovey brings up a former match by reminding Punk of, That German you hit on Whitmer at Epic Encounter that knocked both of you out. And Punk hilariously replied, I have never hit a German. Ive never even been to Germany! In a sequence I did enjoy, Stryker ripped off Whitmers knee brace and I always wondered why wrestlers didnt do that more often. The brace is showing a weakness so why not take advantage of it? The match was filled with a ton of submission-like maneuvers and seemingly 1000 rope breaks. Stryker continually worked on Whitmers knee including a figure four in which Whitmer was inside the ring and Stryker outside with the ring post in-between them. You dont see that too much anymore. Eventually Stryker hit the Stryker Lock and Whitmer held out as long as he could before tapping. (18:08 but seemed much longer) Surprisingly, after the match there was nothing. No speech. No presentation. WTF?! Not that I especially wanted to see it, but this tourney has been going on for a while and theres finally a winner, cmon, throw the guy a bone or at least a trophy.

(4) Samoa Joe beat Mark Brisoe (w/Jay Briscoe) to retain the ROH Title. Joe started off like a wild man from the start of the match and immediately threw Jay outside and set up the OLE OLE OLE kick. Mark jumped back in the ring before he could be hit though. Inside Joe continued his assault and the announcers brought up that Marks parents were at the show with Punk saying Joe was going to murder their son before their eyes. Mark got the advantage for a moment and started to throw Joe into the corners, following behind him with a lariat. On his third attempt though, Joe caught him with a STIFF palm strike which ended up sending Mark outside the ring and he was set up for another OLE OLE OLE kick. This time Jay pulled Mark out of harms way and the crowd was chanting, F--- him up Joe! F--- HIM UP!! Joe began to start making lazy covers on Mark until Briscoe tried to headbutt Joe. Never headbutt a Samoan said Punk, proving to be right as it almost knocked Mark out. Joe continued his assault, sending Mark out of the ring and finally destroying him with an OLE OLE OLE kick after previously taking Jay out of the equation by doing a suicide tope dive onto him. Joe, in a Joe Horn parody, pulled out a hidden cellphone under the ring and made a call. Lovey said that would be a, $30,000 fine in the NFL! Mark valiantly struggled back in the ring, but ended up falling victim to The Choke and the ref dropped his hand three times giving the match to Joe. (14:45) Another fantastic match.

***After the match Joe stood on Marks chest and condescendingly shook his hand in front of Jay Briscoe. This feud is great.

***Punk had left the booth and made his way to the ring. Punk had a mic and said he was going to ruin this show until he got some answers. Samoa Joe grabbed the mic and said, Punk, unless you came down to fight, shut the F--- up. Big crowd pop for that. Joe said Punk was disrespecting his belt and to Get. Out. Of. My. Ring. Oh man, this is great. Punk actually said, Why dont you leave my ring?! Joe and Punk then stood face to face. Joe stepped to the middle of the ring and laid down his belt and motioned for Punk to come, Get some. Punk went to leave the ring. The crowd was chanting C.M. Pussy!

Joe left the ring and immediately Punk jumped back in. That is an all time classic weasel move. I love it. Punk called out the Prophecy and as Joe was walking to the back he ran into Christopher Daniels, Dan Maff and Allison Danger. Its not long before all hell breaks loose and Joe fights Maff to the back as Daniels and Punk went at it in the ring. Daniels got the upperhand and was about to hit the Angel Wings when he was blindsided by Colt Cabana! Cabana then held Daniels as Punk went NUTS and began choking out Allison Danger with a towel. Punk told Daniels that this was, An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Daniels finally admits it was the Prophecy that attacked Lucy and at this point B.J. Whitmer came out and hit Cabana with a chair. Daniels introduced Whitmer as the newest member of the Prophecy. It took everything Cabana had to hold Punk back from attacking the group as the Second City Saints went to the back with Punk vowing revenge. Dan Maff made his way to the ring and Daniels said, Cmon Dan Maff, lets celebrate! But Maff was PISSED. Maff wanted to know what the hell was going on and said, On two occasions. TWO OCCASSIONS I swore on my fathers memory that the Prophecy had nothing to do with the attack.now what the HELL is that SCUMBAG doing here?! Whitmer wanted to know what Maffs problem was and Maff yelled, I cant stand you! Thats my problem! Daniels tried to play peacemaker as Maff asked Danger if she knew about this. Daniels finally got Maff calmed down enough to do the group hand signal and pose. Another incredible angle that tied up the months-long Lucy storyline while starting up a new one. My hat is off to Gabe on this one.

***Its Intermission and Gary Michael Capetta is with the Briscoe Brothers. Jay put over Jim Cornette and said as tag champs they will take on all comers. Jay also told Samoa Joe to get whoever he wanted as a partner, the Briscoes would still kick his ass. All of a sudden the Carnage Crew burst in and Mark is pissed. I really liked this as in the WWE interviews are interrupted all the time and the guys being interrupted are usually like, eh, whatever. Mark wanted to know what they were doing there and DeVito said this was about family and the Briscoes could relate to that. Capetta said that Special K were on their way to Chicago to appear on Colt Cabanas Good Times, Great Memories show. The Crew was pissed and said they knew that show was being taped in the building and would find out where.

(5) The Second City Saints (C.M. Punk & Colt Cabana) beat Tomiaoki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto. The Japanese guys are part of All Japan wrestling as the theme of the second half of this show is ROH versus All Japan in four inter-promotional matches. Thats pretty damn cool. I remember when the WWE tried their hand at the inter-promotional game with a ten man match that had the Rock on the WWEs side against a team from WCW and ECW that had Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Booker T and Shane McMahon.. Shockingly, fans left in droves afterward. Gee, I wonder why? Something tells me Eric Bischoff would have realized the nWo would have flopped had its first three members been Tatanka, Doink the Clown and Lex Luger. Anyhoo, before the match started Punks looks towards Cabanas goofy ring entrance were priceless. Punks gimmick of taking wrestling 100% seriously is fantastic. I am surprised however that the Cabanadana isnt for sale at the ROH gimmick table, how easy would that be to make? We were thrown to the back where Dunn and Marcos are trying to talk to the Great Muta, who looks like he was ripped straight out of a Troma film like Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, and I mean that in a good way. Muta starts talking gibberish (or Japanese for all I know) and began to grip his throat as if to spray the dreaded green mist but Dunn and Marcos hightailed it out of there. Good idea.

We then when back to the match and Ray Morrow joined Chris Lovey on commentary and started to talk about the scars on Tomiaoki Honmas back saying that Honma was not only one of the first King of the Death Match over in Japan, but also the first person to ever us a light tube as a weapon. That sound you hear is Thomas Edison spinning in his grave. Punk took Honma outside the ring threw him hard into the guardrail with Honma taking a fantastic bump. The Saints did their great double team move to Miyamoto when Cabana applied an inverse Boston Crab while Punk ran in to deliver a camel clutch. This was broken up when Honma flew across the ring and hit Punk with a dropkick that sent Punks head straight back into Cabanas. OUCH. I didnt notice this on the first half of the show, but there seems to be 100 guys surrounding the ring taking pictures. The announcers mentioned the Japanese press was at the show but how many wrestling magazines/dirtsheets are there over there anyway? I wonder if that idiot Zach Arnold from the PurorseuPower website is there? Late in the match Miyamoto did a lame looking front slam to Cabana but more than made up for it by climbing to the top and hitting a Swanton Bomb. You dont see that move every day and it will always look cool to me. Punk hit a Michinokou Driver on Honma but while running to jump outside the ring was speared in half by Miyamoto. Not long after Punk does a springboard dropkick and makes me wonder where the hell this move-set came from out of nowhere. The action became crazy hot near the end including a superplex by the All Japan guys to Punk in which Miyamoto was on Honmas shoulders like he would be for a chicken fight. Cabana lifted Honma up to Punk so he could deliver a devastating Pepsi Plunge for the win. (16:30) This was really fun to watch.

***After the match the crowd was roaring ROH! ROH! and then All Japan! All Japan! I gotta give the fans in Philly props as tonight they were as rabid as the Canadians were back at the legendary Calgary Stampede PPV.

(6) A.J. Styles beat Kaz Hayashi. I remember Kaz from the latter days of WCW but I dont remember him being so JAKKED. Morrow brings up that Kaz was the first person ever to take the Styles Clash from A.J. I did not know that. Johnny Carson Kaz was part of the Jung Dragons (including Jamie-San Noble) and Im getting misty eyed thinking of the Dragons 3 Count feud. See, not everything in WCW sucked. C.M. Punk rejoins the commentary and Chris Lovey leaves instead of Morrow. Well, this should be interesting. Punk said about Lovey, That guys a jerk. A.J. was so great in this match but did the weirdest thing ever as he was thrown into the guardrail and hopped ever it like he usually does, but then disappeared into the crowd. Kaz was as confused as I was. A few moments later A.J. appears in a different section of the crowd. WTF? Back in the ring the two had a CHOP FEST and I could almost feel the Kazs chest as it was destroyed. Me want to see A.J. versus Chris Benoit, now. After Kaz is on the receiving end of a spinning heel kick he got right back in A.J.s face and Kaz yelled out, F--- YOU!! Kaz then gave Styles a wicked kick followed by a brainbuster. Wow! Throughout the match A.J. would keep trying to hit the Styles Clash and Kaz would always find a counter to it such as just kicking A.J. in the head and another time reversing the move into a hurracanrana. The finish came when Kaz slammed A.J. and went to the top rope but Styles was able to get up and crotch Kaz who fell back down straight into a Styles Clash giving the win to Styles! (14:45) This card is officially on a roll.

(7) Satoshi Kojima beat Homicide (w/Julius Smokes). Kojima came down wearing a PHAT Phantom of the Opera like get-up that was much cooler than how I described it. Homicide came down with not just Smokes, but also Monsta Mack and Low Ki.

Wait a second.

HOLY SHIT! ITS F---ING LOW KI!!

That was my actual response upon seeing the stiffest bastard in the world. Lovey came back on commentary and said earlier in the day Ki had made up with Homicide. Im really excited now. There was some great interaction between Kojima and Smokes throughout this match including Kojima doing a crotch chop to Smokes while Ray Morrow wondered, Did Kojima just tell Smokes to suck it? Later Kojima was hitting Homicide while Homicide was in the corner and the ref counted to five but Kojima said, I dont understand! meaning he didnt understand English but he said it in English and had me laughing my ass off. Im already a fan of Satoshi Kojima. The match went outside the ring and Kojima did a SICK belly to belly suplex on Homicide that looked like it knocked Homicide loopy. Kojima then grabbed an instant camera from a fan and took a picture of Homicide. Another fan offered a chair to Kojima but he passed and did a thank you very much bow. THIS IS THE GREATEST MATCH EVER. Homicide must have been legit f---ed up because the rest of the match he was John Heidenrich bad. He tried to climb the ropes once and fell straight off and even the announcers pointed out that he must have a concussion because so many things looked so bad. Hey, Ill give the guy straight up props for continuing to have a good of a match as he did. Kojima did a German suplex on Homicide that made me cringe when it whacked Homicides head against the match and immediately Homicide grabbed it like, Oh shit! Homicide kept kicking out of every pin attempt amazingly but eventually fell victim after he was crushed by two lariats. (13:10) I dont care that half this match was screwed up, this was incredible and one of the most fun matches I have ever seen. I cant even imagine what it would have been like if Homicide hadnt been knocked silly. I read people who write that the first Hell in the Cell match hasnt aged well and give the match like 1 star or at the most 2 stars and I want to say, F--- you. I watched that match live and everyone else who did saw something they will never forget. Thats what wrestling is all about not some arbitrary nit picking of the moves. That, in a nutshell, is why I cant give a star rating to matches because there are so many other factors that add in to why I enjoy a match.

***Super quick promo by PWTorch ROH Historian Keith Lipinskis favorite metalhead, Jerry Lynn, who basically says hes all about the Pure Wrestling Title. He said, Thats what Im made of. I guess thats better than being made of 75% male semen like Richard Simmons.

(8) The Great Muta & Arashi beat The Prophecy (Dan Maff & Christopher Daniels w/Allison Danger) to retain the All Japan Tag Team Titles. The crowd was what we like to call hoss for the Great Muta. Dear lord did they go nuts and this was before he came out. I swear to God Muta arrived looking like the Super Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and you know what? He was cool. The crowd was eating everything up and anytime I read on the Torch about how the Hurricane or whoever cant get over because of their gimmick or look Im going to send a copy of this DVD to that writer with a note that says, Stick this up your ass. After Muta was announced a cascade of streamers flew into the ring for another great visual. This match is already rating a 10 on the Spectacle Scale. Arashi is apparently an ex Sumo wrestler and doesnt appear to have missed many meals and he immediately just started tossing around Dan Maff like he was Spike Dudley. Oh my. Daniels tagged in and said he wanted Muta and the crowd went apeshit when Muta tagged in. The two locked up for a bit and after Daniels started to get cocky Muta stepped back and let some Green Mist fly and this looked better than anything Tajiris ever done. Thats not a knock on the Japanese Buzzsaw, just trying to get across how awesome this looked visually. Muta did his driving elbow spot that Ive seen a thousand times and I marked out just like everyone in the crowd. Late in the match Arashi actually came into the ring and hit a dropkick. Can you imagine Rikishi doing a dropkick? I cant. Maff threw some crazy stiff forearms into the side of Arashis head and tagged in Daniels so the Prophecy could hit a cool move in which Daniels hit Arashi with the STO while Maff hit a shoulderblock at the same time. Muta comes into the ring and hits a dragon screw on Daniels and then applies the figure four as the crowd yelled WHHHOOOOOO! This crowd is going bananas. Maff made the save but was thrown out of the ring by Arashi. Outside, Maff grabbed a chair and nailed Muta in the back but when Maff got in the ring for another shot he was hit by the RED MIST~! This is unbelievable! Daniels attacked Muta, but missed his Best Moonsault Ever which set Daniels up for Mutas Shining Wizard for the pin. (16:05)

***LIVE from Chicago, its Good Times, Great Memories with your host Colt Cabana. Colts guest today are Special K and as the kids come in Cabana said, I got Izzy. I got Dixie. I got Dizzy. I got Sleepy. I got Floppy. I got Flippy. I got Flappy. Cmon in guys! Becky Bayless came in late and Colt gave her the chair while staring at her breasts an saying things like, Special K, you guys have gotten big. This just in: Colt Cabana is money. Dixie started to talk smack saying that it wasnt Ks fault their parents were rich and the Carnage Crew had to wait till the first of the month for their welfare check. Out of nowhere came DeVito and Loc who started to beat the hell out the K kids until they scattered like roaches when the light comes on. Cabana was upset at his show being ruined and said to the Crew, You guys flew all the way to Chicago to.. Loc cut him off by yelling, SHUT UP! DeVito then says this battle has gotten personal as his 13 year old daughter was slipped some X at a rave and ended up coming home at eight in the morning. I think thats what time James Guttman rolls into bed after finishing his RAW Insanity recaps every Monday night. Loc tells K, W are going to kill you!!

***Backstage we are shown The Prophecy before they shoot a promo and Maff is bitching about being kept in the dark and calls Whitmer a buffoon. Maff brought up that he vowed on his father memory that The Prophecy had nothing to do with the attack on Lucy and Daniels said, I didnt tell you to make any promises! I didnt tell you to swear on anyones grave! Daniels said they need to be on the same page and follow his play. The group then shot a promo which was great because as Daniels talked Maff was glaring at Whitmer and mouthing, F--- you. I hate you. Maff was so the man here. Daniels brought up that at Final Battle 2002 they held all of ROHs belts and were attacked by Steve Corinos The Grouip. Daniels said that at Final Battle 2004 they will hold the belts again and rid the company of the Second City Saints. A great skit to close the show.

Overall Thoughts: What a show to close out 2003 with as the Philly fans come through in a big way to make a good show that much better. There are so many good matches on this card it is impossible to pick a favorite as I was convinced the John Walters Xavier match couldnt be topped but the All Japan guys brought with them an electric atmosphere. One of those DVDs you need to see as a wrestling fan. Click Here to purchase the disc or head on over to www.ROHwrestling.com and check out all the other videos they have to offer.

ROH DVD Guy Derek Burgan has been writing for the PWTorch website for 3 years. His hobbies include watching the movie Gladiator, reading Jonathon Kellermans Private Eyes and calling up the Puroresu Power Hour Radio Show and repeatedly ask if The Hurricane could defeat Giant Baba in a shoot fight until they hang up. If you have any questions, corrections, feedback, comments and ideas, he can be reached at: derek@gumgod.com


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