Welcome to another ROH Wednesday!
Today we’ve got the second half of Glory By Honour II, with the big matches being CM Punk against Terry Funk and Samoa Joe defending the ROH World Title against Christopher Daniels!
The event is emanating from Philly, PA on the 20th of September 2003
Calling the action are “Chris Lovey” and CM Punk
Dan Maff is on the phone to Allison Danger. Maff gets an update on the Field of Honour, as well as Xavier’s actions when he seemed to ditch The Prophecy in favour of Lollipop. He tells Danger that they are not taking him out of the Field of Honour due to his injury and that he will be at the next show in Baltimore.
Our next Murphy Rec memory is Michael Shane Vs Paul London from September 2002.
Gary Michael Cappetta is backstage with Colt Cabana, who won a Four Corner Survival match back in Part One. He has something big planned for later, but before he can reveal what it is CM Punk interrupts the promo to talk about his match with Terry Funk. He also teases issues with Steve Corino down the line. His goal isn’t to win tonight, but rather cripple Terry Funk for good. Good promo.
Gauntlet match for vacant ROH Tag Team Titles
Special K (Angel Dust, Deranged and Hydro) Vs Carnage Crew (DeVito, Loc and Credible)
AJ Styles and The Amazing Red had to vacate the belts due to an injury to Red, hence we have this match. For some reason they’re starting this one out with a trios match and it will then turn into tag matches from that point onwards. Apparently they want to try and settle the issue between Special K and Carnage Crew first before then focusing on the Tag Title stuff.
Punk’s bemusement at all the Special K guys is pretty funny, as he reacts how a first time viewer of ROH might do to these ridiculous spot monkeys and their wacky names. It really does feel like Gabe Sapolsky was working through some real life disconcertment with this Special K group sometimes, kind of like how Vince McMahon created the Right To Censor because he hated the Parent Teacher Counsel so much.
This is spotty (I mean, just look who’s involved) but it’s decent enough, with The Carnage Crew working a shine until Credible gets cut off for the heat. Credible does a good job selling that and does a lot to make the Special K lads look like credible opponents (No pun intended). Eventually it’s hot tag Loc and he runs wild on the Special K lads, with them all taking impressive big bumps for him. The Carnage Crew have it won, but decide to inflict more punishment and that leads to them getting DQ’ed when they start whipping the Special K lads.
The Carnage Crew are eliminated by DQ
Special K (Deranged and Hydro) Vs Jay and Mark Briscoe
Angel Dust has fled to the back, so I guess that means Deranged and Hydro will advance onward. This section is all action, with it almost being worked like a Tornado bout as all four guys go at it. The Briscoe’s eventually catch Hydro with a Spiked Jay-Driller for the three count.
Special K eliminated via pin fall
Jay and Mark Briscoe Vs Dunn & Marcos
Things continue to be worked like a Tornado match, with all four guys in the ring. It keeps the action flowing at least. Marcos ends up eating a DOOMsday Device and he’s outta there.
Dunn & Marcos eliminated
Jay And Mark Briscoe Vs Special K (Izzy and Dixie)
Izzy and Dixie are the main tag team unit of Special K. Things finally settle into tag match rules now, whilst Punk gets angry on commentary about “Lovey” continually mentioning Lucy, leading to Ray Murrow stepping in for the rest of the show. The crowd is kind of flat for this to be honest, although the work is fine and they work the formula well with Special K working some heat on Mark. Jay gets the hot tag and looks good, but the crowd doesn’t really care. Special K end up cheating to pick up the win, but the timing was way off and it looked really sloppy.
Jay and Mark Briscoe eliminated
Special K (Izzy and Dixie) Vs The Backseat Boyz (Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere)
Winner of this fall will win the belts. The Backseat’s run wild to start and manage to wake the crowd up a bit. The action is fun and working this kind of quick tempo match works for The Backseat’s. This is a decent finishing stretch actually, and probably the best bit of the match since the trios section that opened it. There are moments of sloppiness here and there, which can happen in a spot based match, as we’re back to the Tornado set up again now.
Honestly the lack of consistent rules has hurt this one a little bit, and the spotty crowd heat hasn’t helped either. Some of the action in the ring has been a bit off at points too, although when the spots have hit it’s been fun for the most part. Special K try to hit The Backseat’s with their own T-Gimmick finisher, but The Backseat’s fend them off and hit the genuine article to win the belts.
Special K eliminated
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: THE BACKSEAT BOYZ
This was a bit of a mess at points, although the result popped the crowd at least
Special K attack and lay out the new Champs following that to keep this issue cooking. The Briscoe’s return to make the save though in order to get some revenge for Special K costing them earlier. Ted Hart gets involved too, setting up an infamous cage match where he ended up stealing the show and then essentially getting himself blackballed all in one night, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. The Backseat’s finally get to celebrate with their belts following that.
More Murphy Rec memories. This time it’s Low Ki and Samoa Joe beating the absolute Christmas Morning out of one another at the first Glory By Honour.
We get a promo from Homicide, who is currently over in Japan. He wishes he was there and implores Julius Smokes to kick some butt. He also addresses Low Ki, saying Ki has disrespected him and they can go at it. Samoa Joe is also targeted, with Homicide saying he wants another match, with the belt not even needing to be on the line. It can be just for pride. This was a good promo and kept a number of plates spinning.
It’s Alexis Laree’s last night in ROH before going into the WWE development system, so she comes out for some promo time with Cappetta in the ring. She gets a great reception from the crowd, which is a marked difference from how the ECW fans used to behave back in the day. Laree cuts a very nice promo, thanking the fans for their support during her time in the company. Special K ends up interrupting though and circle Laree. Before they can beat her up, Joey Matthews returns to ROH to rescue her. Laree drops a smooch on him for that, which leads to him laying her out in our Russo styled SWERVE of the evening. Slugger ends up coming down to make the real save though, chasing off his former stablemates, leading to Julius Smokes coming down to ref a match between Laree and Hijinx.
Guest Referee: Julius Smokes
Hijinx Vs Alexis Laree
Laree quickly gets a reverse DDT to win.
WINNER: ALEXIS LAREE
This was just something to send Laree off with a win over a guy where it wouldn’t matter if he lost
Jim Cornette cuts a promo on Christopher Daniels and Dan Maff for having the temerity to embarrass him at The Wrath of the Racket show. He’ll be coming back and they best be worried.
CM Punk Vs Terry Funk
Punk cuts another great promo before the start of the match, referencing Funk’s famous “forever” retirement speech from All Japan Pro Wrestling in the 80’s. That’s the sort of attention to detail stuff that other guys would miss. The gist of the promo is that everyone has said they’re going to be the one to finally take Funk out, but Punk is the one who is actually going to do it.
Funk was still capable of having an entertaining match at this stage in his career due to his excellent selling and character work, but physically he wasn’t really up to doing much outside of brawling and getting beaten up, so that’s what they mostly focus on here. Punk actually demands that this become a hardcore match, which ends up backfiring somewhat as Funk clobbers him around ringside and even in the crowd for a bit.
Punk is clearly being very careful with Funk here, making sure not to hit him too hard with weapons and not trying to make him look bad by getting him to do things he physically can’t. Punk is also happy to take all kinds of big bumps in order to get the match over, including a suplex from inside the ring to a table on the floor. Funk thankfully didn’t come off the apron as well there, instead just standing on it whilst doing the suplex, which I fully support.
Funk teases going up for the moonsault at one stage, and actually does come off the top with it, but Punk moves and Funk hits nothing but mat on the way down. It’s genuinely amazing that Terry Funk was able to do that at his age with all the physical wear and tear he’d suffered over the years. Funk injures his knee on that, which leads to Punk working the body part over with the goal of injuring Funk once and for all. Funk of course sells that incredibly well, cursing Punk whilst trying to get back to his feet.
The commentators are selling this as a horrible disrespectful act by Punk here, but it’s a perfectly valid tactic on his part and it’s not like he’s hitting the leg with weapons or anything. He’s just working holds like the Figure Four. If Funk’s knee is as bad as the commentators are implying then he shouldn’t be wrestling anyway. Funk’s excellent selling keeps the crowd in the match and they get behind him so that he can make the ropes to break the Figure Four.
Punk finally does finally cross the line somewhat by hitting the knee with a chair, which is at least something beyond the realms of a normal wrestling match that makes him look like more of a jerk. I continue to be in awe of Funk’s selling, as he manages to mix agony, fear and defiance in a way few others can. Funk manages to briefly lock in the spinning toe-hold, but Punk is able to power him back down into the Figure Four again for another good submission tease.
The finish is pretty lame though, as Funk makes the ropes and Punk just refuses to release the hold, leading to a DQ. I’m fine with that as a finish, but they were acting like this was a hardcore match up to this point and they did brawling in the crowd followed by some chair shots to the leg. Why was that okay but Punk not releasing the hold was a DQ? It’s a shame as they were having a decent match there until the weird ending.
WINNER BY DQ: TERRY FUNK
This was a solid bit of dramatic storytelling that was sadly undercut by the strange ending, as calling for a DQ in a hardcore match is just weird and didn’t work. Take out the hardcore part and just make it a normal match and then it would have worked better
Colt Cabana teases running down to stop Punk from beating up Funk any further, but he of course ends up helping Punk instead, leading to Raven running down to make the save. Tommy Dreamer joins us as well and throws Cabana into the ring so that the ECW guys can beat him up for a bit. Dreamer then cuts a promo once Funk and Raven leave, where he thanks Funk for everything he’s done for wrestling.
More Murphy Rec memories, this time American Dragon taking on AJ Styles in November of 2002.
ROH World Title
Champ: Samoa Joe Vs Christopher Daniels w/ Allison Danger
Joe and Daniels were former allies but have since fallen out and they’ve been building up Daniels’ quest for the belt ever since the first show, so this one has the “big match feel” to it and there are plenty of people in the crowd who would like to see Daniels finally win the belt, even though he’s ostensibly a Heel.
This one is worked at a pretty quick clip, and it’s mostly back and forth as well, with Daniels getting plenty of offence in. It’s interesting as they only go about 15 minutes but the match they wrestle totally works within that timeframe and the dynamic of Joe being the bigger heavy hitter against the quicker more cunning Daniels makes for a fun clash of styles.
They have a 15 minute match to fill 15 minutes, rather than stretching a 15 minute match to 20 or trying to cram it into 10, so it ends up being the veritable third bowl of porridge by giving the crowd a good match without overstaying it’s welcome, whilst also leaving the door open for more possible matches down the line.
The fight heads outside at one stage, where Joe gives Daniels the “Ole” Kick into the barricades before putting Daniels back inside for a rolling cradle that gets two. The commentary team pushes that Daniels might be trying the old rope-a-dope technique here by getting Joe to punch himself out, which is an interesting story to tell and plays into the idea of Daniels being a scheming wrestler who uses game plans and mental acumen just as much as his physical attributes.
Joe does start to tire a bit and that allows Daniels to get a German Suplex before firing up, getting the Best Moonsault Ever for two in a good near fall. Joe starts throwing some punishing knee strikes in reply, as this continues to be a mostly back and forth contest that shows that both men are on the others level and deserving of being in a Title match. The crowd does seem to mostly want Daniels to win here and it’s given the match a fun atmosphere.
They give Daniels a big near fall with The Angel’s Wings, as Joe only just kicks out and they actually ring the bell until the referee waves it off and reiterates that it was two. Daniels tries to put Joe away with the Last Rites following that, but Joe gets a last minute desperation choke hold to counter that. Daniels makes the ropes off of that, but he’s still groggy and that leads to Joe getting an Emerald Frosion for the three count.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: SAMOA JOE
This was an excellent Main Event, with them having a great match that didn’t overstay it’s welcome and still left more on the table if they ever want to do a rematch, such as Daniels not being able to get the Last Rites. Daniels lost but he looked like a deserving challenger and Joe looked like a strong Champion who will be hard to defeat. The crowd really added to it too, as they were in to Daniels and wanted the Title change, giving the match an exciting feel to it
Joe flips off Daniels following that, sowing the seeds for this to get cooking again at some point.
Another Murphy Rec memory is Paul London Vs Bryan Danielson from April 2003.
Dan Maff thinks Daniels will get Samoa Joe next time. He also plans on winning The Field of Honour, followed by revenge on Low Ki down the line.
The Carnage Crew cut a promo backstage where they complain about the DQ earlier, as they were only looking to get some payback. They’re going to kick Special K’s butts even more now.
New ROH Tag Champs The Backseat Boyz talk about winning the belts earlier and put the tag division over before stressing that they are the best.
Another Murphy Rec memory is Samoa Joe Vs Homicide at Do or Die in May 2003.
Colt Cabana’s surprise ends up being the debut of “Good Times, Great Memories”, his own personal talk show. Julius Smokes is the first guest and that leads to Smokes introducing The Rottweilers, Slugger and some other dude. The interview ends up falling apart a bit and we’re out.
The show kind of went off the boil a bit in the second half after a strong start, but the Main Event was excellent and provided a strong note to end on. There was a lot of good wrestling on the undercard and the angle advancement continues to be mostly good, with stories cooking along nicely and some new feuds being set up for down the line such as Punk/Corino and Xavier/Walters. Overall I’d say there was enough here for a thumbs up.