Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ring of Honor Do or Die May 31st, 2003

May 31, 2003

From the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, PA

Your hosts are Chris Levy and CM Punk



Homicide is with Julius Smokes as he cuts a promo about how ten years ago he was a fuck up by selling drugs and even pissed away his chance at a football scholarship from Miami University but when he gave birth to his son, he sacrificed everything to raise his son right and is putting everything on the line and declares that he will be the next RoH World Champion. Good stuff and the Homicide character in general has been built up well.



We now get a look at Deranged's "R U Hizigh Cam" as he shows Special K partying in the locker room. They get sick of that then decide to head down to the ring but the production crew refuse to let them do so as they get pissed.



BJ Whitmer vs. Dan Maff w/ Allison Danger

Match starts with some back and forth action as Punk is asked about concussing Whitmer at the "Epic Encounter" show. Punk talks himself up as Maff chops Whitmer down. Whitmer comes back with an Exploder but Maff ducks outside to avoid a high knee. Whitmer follows Maff outside and roughs him as the fans start banging on the sheet metal RoH banners that have been placed on the guardrails for added noise. Back inside, Maff takes Whitmer down with an elbow smash then targets the back. Senton gets two as Whitmer's hand is bloodied. Maff puts on a chinlock then takes Whitmer down with a clothesline. Punk is asked about competing in two matches tonight as Maff face washes Whitmer in the corner. Whitmer fights back but gets caught with a half nelson suplex. Maff calls for the Burning Hammer but Whitmer escapes and hits a German suplex as both men are down. Whitmer heads up top but Maff distracts the ref allowing Danger to cut him off. Maff then takes Whitmer on his shoulders and hits the Burning Hammer for the win (9:11) **1/2.

Thoughts: Decent match. Maff has come a long way since the beginning of RoH as he got himself into shape and is more than just a lame ECW knock-off type wrestler. Never really cared for Whitmer but he okay in the ring back then.



After the match, Julius Smokes comes out to confront Maff about turning his back on Homicide. Smokes then calls Maff a "Nigga" as Low Ki comes out with his arm in a sling due to an injury at the RoH/FWA "Frontiers of Honor" joint show. Maff ducks out as Ki grabs the mic and tells him to watch out. Ki then tells Smokes that he is in the ring with athletes, not thugs, as Smokes does a strut. Ki says that neither the "streets" or Smokes belong in RoH. Smokes takes off his shirt but Homicide comes in to stop a potential fight. Ki even takes off his sling then says that tonight is a very important night for Homicide and that he will become the new RoH World Champion. Trent Acid then runs in and kicks Homicide down from behind as we are told it is due to their feud in Japan.



We get clips of a match between Dunn & Marcos and Slugga & Hydro.



Tony Mamaluke vs. Jason Cross

Both guys were wrestling in TNA at the time. Cross had his Shooting Star Press leg drop finisher called the "Crossfire." He looked like a miniature AJ Styles. And half of his talent too. Match starts with Mamaluke working the arm of Cross. Mamaluke gets taken off of the apron with a basement dropkick then Cross flies out with a corkscrew plancha. Cross then climbs back in only to hit Mamaluke with a somersault plancha and rolls him in for two. Mamaluke floats over and hits a Saito Suplex then follows that with a draping DDT that gets two. Mamaluke works on the neck for a bit then gets two with a Northern Lights suplex. Mamaluke locks on a Horse Collar off of a dragon screw but Cross comes back with an enziguiri. Cross gets two with a top rope corkscrew neckbreaker as Punk wonders why Cross isn't hooking the leg on his pin attempts. Mamaluke then locks on a guillotine but Cross ends up suplexing him into the corner. Cross then hits a pair of brainbusters but only gets two. Another brainbuster gets two then Cross heads up top but misses the Crossfire as both men are down. Cross is up first and hits a Dragon Suplex then heads up top but Mamaluke shoves the ref into the ropes then takes Cross down with a superplex and locks on the Guillotine for the win (8:48) **1/4.

Thoughts: A lot of cool moves but there was no flow or even selling in this match. Mamaluke wasn't that bad of a worker at all, really. He just had a terrible look.



Backstage, Rob Feinstein welcomes Iceberg, who has "RoH" spelled out on his forehead with thumbtacks. After Iceberg leaves, the Outkast Killaz come out and asks why they don't get a spot as Feinstein offers Tortuga a chance to wrestle Iceberg and if he wins, he can tell Iceberg that he no longer wrestlers for the promotion.



Oman Tortuga w/ Diablo Santiago vs. Iceberg

Iceberg is a big, sloppy fat guy. Tortuga uses his speed to elude Iceberg at first but gets clotheslined. Iceberg hits a running powerslam for two as Levy tries to tell us that he is 600lbs. Iceberg hits a DDT for two as the crowd shits all over him. Tortuga avoids an Avalanche and hits a few strikes. He takes him down then stupidly tries a monkey flip but gets caught as Iceberg hits the Kryptonite Krunch then finishes him off with a senton (3:00) 1/4*. After the match the crowd starts a "don't come back" chant aimed at Iceberg, who then hits Santiago with a suplex. Iceberg then pulls out what appears to be a prison shank but Dunn & Marcos run in for the save.

Thoughts: Iceberg would not return to RoH and did a few shows with TNA shortly after this as "Edward Chastain" as an associate of Don Callis. He sucked there too. Really nothing more to add other than this.



Highlights from the Alexis Laree vs. Persephonie match prior to the show.



Matt Stryker vs. Tom Carter

Punk is asked about wrestling Carter when he was "Reckless Youth" a while back. Match starts on the mat with neither guy gaining an advantage. The crowd starts a dueling chant as Carter works the arm. Punk talks about his opponents in the upcoming scramble match and looks down upon who use substances as Carter gets two with a senton. Dropkick gets two then Carter puts on a leg lock that eventually gets broken up. Carter puts on a chinlock as the announcers mention how Stryker has a pulled muscle in his ribcage. Stryker then catches Carter with a powerslam for two. Stryker gets a nearfall after some European uppercuts then puts on a chinlock. Carter breaks the hold but gets knocked off of the apron then Strykers takes him out with a plancha. Carter then hits Stryker with a half-assed DDT on the apron and drags him back into the ring. He climbs up top but Stryker climbs up and suplexes him off as both men are down. Punk leaves to get ready for his match then promises us a surprise as Ray Murrow replaces him. Stryker hits a leg lariat then fires up but gets hit with a brainbuster. Carter then hits a frog splash for two as both men are down. They both get up and engage in a pinfall reversal sequence that the crowd applauds as they are both down on the mat due to exhaustion. Stryker hits a Death Valley Driver after rolling through a crucifix attempt by Carter but only gets two as the crowd goes back to the dueling chants. Stryker places Carter up top for a Death Calley Driver but Carter counters hit to an inverted DDT in midair and that gets two as the crowd goes nuts. Carter takes him down with a dragon screw then locks on an inverted Texas Cloverleaf but Stryker is able to reach the ropes. Carter tries a shinbreaker but Stryker floats over for a sunset flip then Carter locks on the inverted Texas Cloverleaf but Stryker reverses that with a rollup and gets the win (18:23) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Awesome match. Carter reinventing himself as a more mat-based wrestler was something else. Stryker was a solid worker as well but his height and unibrow were not doing him any favors as far as having a chance to get a decent gig.



After the match, Carter refuses to shake hands so Gary Michael Cappetta tries to get him to do that but Carter grabs the mic and says that Stryker beat him with a cheap pin and almost beat him by submission then says that he is the former "King of the Independents," Recklesss Youth and how the other "marks" in the locker room copied his junior heavyweight style. Carter says he was cheated out of his submission victory and lets everyone from "smart marks" to the workers that he will reinvent "pure" wrestling  and challenges Stryker to a "tapout" match. Stryker grabs the mic and says that he is now in the "Top 5" rankings and accepts the challenge but only if Carter shakes his hand. Allison Danger comes out and we can barely hear her but she offers Carter a spot in the Prophecy but Carter instead shakes Stryker's hand to set up their match. Carter was not very good on the mic and the segment died as a result. But the pure wrestling comment would play into RoH as the year developed.



Right after the introductions for the scramble match, Samoa Joe, wearing his "Ribera Steakhouse" jacket, is backstage talking to Gary Michael Cappetta and tells him that a thug like Homicide is not going to take his table then gives Cappetta a scoop as he makes the cameraman follow him into the Prophecy's locker room as Joe then beats down Maff as Cappetta screams for someone to help.



Scramble Match
Izzy & Dixie  w/Slugga vs. Carnage Crew vs. CM Punk & Colt Cabana w/ Lucy vs. The Briscoes

The match is joined in progress with Jay and Cabana going back and forth. They didn't work all that well together. Jay takes him off of the ring with a stunner then hits him with a pescado. In the ring, Devito drops Dixie with a clothesline but eventually comes back with a swinging DDT. Dixie charges and gets sent into the corner with a suplex. The match breaks down with one member of each team in the ring until the Carnage Crew takes control until Izzy takes them both down with a moonsault kick. Izzy hits Mark with the Sliced Bread #2 after a reversal sequence but that just gets two. Mark comes back with an Exploder then CM Punk comes in as the fans boo but the match breaks down and is just a clusterfuck as it develops into an awful choreographed dive spot. Holy shit was that bad and the crowd was silent the entire time. Izzy goes up to Punk and motions that they should share a join and gets clotheslined as a result. Jay and Punk have an intense forearm exchange then the match breaks down again as Punk and Cabana are now in control. Izzy botches a top rope move as this match is just the shits right now. Levy covering for him by playing up the drug gimmick was a nice crush. Cabana puts Izzy on his shoulders but as Punk comes off the top with a dropkick, Izzy takes Cabana down with a rana that plants him on his head. Devito beats on Punk then the match breaks down with the Briscoes and the Carnage Crew  go back and forth in the only decent segment so far this match. The crowd starts a chant for the Briscoes but the Carnage crew regains control. They try to hit Izzy with the spike piledriver but Dixie breaks that up and that triggers a dive sequence. Punk then cuts Izzy off of the top rope as Cabana hits Dixie with the Colt 45, Punk comes off the top and hits Izzy with the Pepsi Plunge right on his partner and gets the win (11:05) *1/2.

Thoughts: Way too long and disorganized. Izzy was horrendous out there too but other than that everyone else just blended in together. The crowd was hot for the Briscoe Brothers though.



After the match, Punk grabs the mic and declares Izzy & Dixie the first two casualties of his revolution and shakes their hands as the lay on the mat to tell them that "Straight edge means that I am better than you." Punk the rips into the Philly crowd by calling them weak for depending on substances then rips into Raven. Cabana then stops Punk as he goes on a tirade and gets Lucy to join him in his own revolution. Cabana then asks Lucy to be his girlfriend but she said that she can't. Punk was awesome here and had the crowd in the palm of his hands. He always brought the goods on the mic.



Backstage, Cappetta is with BJ Whitmer, who is pissed over interference costing him a match tonight. Christopher Daniels then interrupts them to say that Maff had to be taken to the hospital. Daniels and Whitmer get into a very brief verbal altercation until Daniels tells Whitmer about the hypocrisy in RoH and when his luck changes, he will think about bringing him into the Prophecy. Daniels then wants Cappetta to tell Samoa Joe that he wants to fight him in an Empty Arena match after the show.



"Lone Wolf" Andy Anderson vs. John Walters

Anderson is from the IWA Puerto Rico promotion. He is from Canada and did a few dark matches for the WWE prior to this. Walters currently wrestles as RJ Brewer for Lucha Libre USA in a role that is a more extreme version of what Jack Swagger/Zeb Coulter were doing in the WWE. He also had the gimmick before them. Match starts with both guys fighting over a lockup. They then have a slap battle before going back and forth on the mat. Decent back and forth action here that gets a mild applause from the crowd as Punk joins on commentary to talk about how he won the scramble match and that the revolution has begun. Anderson hits Walters with an Alabama Slam and a delayed Falcon Arrow that gets two. Anderson is now chopping Walters in the corner but gets powerbombed off of the second rope after a reversal sequence. Walters works the leg until Anderson reaches the ropes but misses a top rope splash. Anderson comes back with a Splash Mountain but that only gets two. He tries it again but Walters floats over and that leads to Walters taking Anderson off of the top rope with a lungblower as both men are down. They get up and have a pinfall reversal sequence until Walters gets two with a DDT-type move. Both guys are now trading forearms then Anderson hits him with a helicopter slam for the win (6:45) **.

Thoughts: Decent action. This was Anderson's only RoH match. He had a look of someone who the WWE would give a Developmental Deal to but that never happened. Walters looked fine as well and the crowd reacted to them favorably but seemed surprised by the finish, which was out of nowhere.



Jimmy Rave vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. CM Punk w/ Lucy vs. "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels w/ Allison Danger

This is the RoH debut of both Rave and Kazarian. Punk and Rave start things off. Rave is only 20 years old here too. They go back and forth then Punk gets angry and tags in Kazarian, who would make his TNA debut a few days after this match. Kazarian works the leg then they battle over the arm until Daniels tags himself in and goes right after Kazarian. The fans are into Daniels tonight. Kazarian comes back with a boot to the face and a neckbreaker that has Daniels run over and tag Rave. Kazarian catches Rave with a dropkick and acts cocky for a minute then they both collide in the ring. Punk and Daniels tag as the crowd goes nuts and chants for Daniels. They start by playing mind games as some of the crowd start a "CM Sucks" chant. Punk works the arm then grabs a headlock. They have a standoff after colliding then tell each other to tag out and that leads to a shoving match. They trade working the arm as Daniels grabs the advantage. Punk returns the favor and slaps Daniels in the back of the head, They continue to go back and forth until Rave tags Punk but get hit. Punk sends Daniels to the floor then Rave sends him out and flies off the top with a crossbody onto Daniels. Punk grabs him but Kazarian takes him out with a pescado. In the ring, there are a lot of quick tags as whenever some gets into trouble they tag out. Decent action during this sequence that lasts a few minutes until everyone is down. Rave takes down everyone with forearms then takes Punk down with a crossface after a tilt-a-whirl. Kazarian breaks that up but gets hit with a bridging back suplex. Rave then heads up top but Daniels cuts him off then headbutts him to the floor. Punk climbs up and takes Daniels off with a superplex and gets two with that. He hits Daniels with a backbreaker but Danger trips him up. Lucy returns the favor and trips up Daniels as the girls are in the ring with the fans going nuts. They are grab by the opposing guys then Punk and Daniels go back and forth until Kazarian kicks them both down. Slingshot leg drop onto Punk gets two. Punk comes back with a legsweep DDT but that only gets two. Kazarian hits a Novocaine but Daniels breaks that up. Kazarian comes back with an Ocean Cyclone Suplex on Daniels for two. Springboard leg drop gets two. Daniels comes back with an STO then shortly after that gets the win with the Last Rites (20:13) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match. The Punk/Daniels dynamic was fun. Rave and Kazarian, who would not return to RoH until this year, also shined. However, the beginning was slow and the match itself never seemed to get fully out of second gear.



After the match, Daniels grabs the mic and tells Kazarian that he saw him at the Super 8 Tournament and was very impressive. He tells Rave that he came back to show fire and heart and that is impressive. However, he tells Punk that it is time to talk and that they are from the same city and both know how to "kick ass" before telling a heckler in the crowd that if he wants shit from him, he will "scrape his tongue" then offers Punk a spot in the Prophecy. Punk grabs the mic and tells Daniels he sees the fear in him or his Second City Saint surpassing his guys and he will join the Prophecy only if he shakes his hand. The crowd starts with a "just say no" chant and Daniels fakes out Punk and says it is off as Punk tells him that somewhere down the life, he is a deadman and will be begging him to join the Second City Saints. Daniels then tells Punk he will "drop him like a bag of dirt" in a singles match. Another tease of a stable feud.



Slim J & Jody Fleisch vs. Backseat Boyz

Fleisch and Acid start off with a really fast-paced exchange of moves. Acid looked pretty good there and could go before drugs completely ruined his ability. They have a faster and sloppier "martial arts" sequence that ends in a standoff/ They tag out as Kashmere and the recently turned 18 years of age Slim J are now in the ring. Kashmere makes short work of him then Fleisch tags back in and works the arm until he match breaks down. The Backseat Boyz take down Slim J with a powerbomb/neckberaker combo then dive out and hit everyone, including Lit and Hydro. The Backseat Boyz take control in the ring as Acid beats the piss out of Slim J until Flesich comes in and they nearly break Acid's neck with a double-team move. Fleisch gets two with a crossbody then a standing SSP. Fleisch completely botches his 720 DDT then puts Acid on top but he gets shoved and Acid almost falls off as they botch another spot as this match is falling apart. Acid takes Fleisch of top with a reverse hurricarana as both men are down. Both men tag out but it is Kashmere who runs wild. Acid recovers as the hit Slim J with the Dream Sequence but Fleisch breaks that up. Slim hits Kashmere with a terrible springboard inverted DDT and that leads to a lot of sloppy highspots. It's amateur hour now, folks. Crowd is out of the match completely as Dixie and Hydro help up their guys as the camera follows them going out in the crowd but the camerawork is awful. Slim J and Fleisch wheel out a scaffold and climb up as the rest of Special K bring over the Backseat Boyz and they stereo Moonsaults as the crowd goes nuts. Well, that was quite the visual. Slugger carries Acid to the ring and Slim covers but Acid was able to kick out. Fleisch is selling his knee and needs to be held up and fails to climb up top. Slim heads up top now but Acid cuts him off and Kashmere climbs up and they both hit Slim with the T Gimmick for the win (15:50) *3/4.

Thoughts: The match started off okay but it just fell apart due to a plethora of botched spots. This would be the last of Fleisch in RoH until 2006 and he left wrestling altogether for a few years due to injuries and "personal issues" according to Wikipedia. The scaffold spot was insane though. Fleisch may have very well been injured on that.



RoH World Championship Match
Homicide w/ Julius Smokes vs. Samoa Joe

This match gets the boxing-style ring introductions. Both guys have an intense staredown during the handshake. This is now referred to as the "World" title as it was defended in England a few weeks prior at the Frontiers of Honor Show. Joe works the arm to start then they go back and forth on the mat. Homicide hits a few kicks then hits him with crossfaces on the mat until Joe reaches the ropes. Homicide hits a flying forearm that Joe no-sells but Homicide pokes him in the eye and then takes him down in the corner. Joe catches him with an uranage that flattens him as Joe is now in control as he lays in a bunch of stiff strikes. Homicide comes back with an T-Bone suplex that has Joe roll outside. Homicide flies out with a tope but Joe shoves him into the guardrail and the sheet metal makes it sound deadly. Joe then hits Homicide with a belly-to-belly on the floor in a sick move. Joe boots Homicide off of a chair and the fans chant him to do it one more time and he does as Homicide looks dead as his head went through the metal. Great visual. In the ring, Homicide is busted open as Joe hits rolling German suplexes as Smokes yells at Homicide to get up. They are now trading slaps as Homicide fights back and eventually hits a swinging DDT. Joe rolls outside and Homicide follows him out as Smokes pulls out a table from underneath the ring and lays it against he guardrail. Joe is in front of the table as Homicide goes inside and flies out with a tope as Joe smashes through the table. He rolls Joe inside and gets two as Joe looks dead. Joe ducks a backfist and flattens Homicide with a powerbomb then locks on the Coquina Clutch. The crowd goes nuts as Low Ki comes out with his arm in a sling and yells at Homicide to start fighting. Homicide reverses the hold and has Joe in a STF. Joe reaches the ropes and is able to knee down Homicide then yells "fuck you" to Ki. Joe destroys Homicide with a knee smash as Ki continues to yell at him. Homicide just beats the standing ten count on that. Ki yells at Homicide that it is his time and fires him up as Homicide gets up and floats over Joe and hits a suplex as the crowd goes mental. Homicide hits an Ace Crusher then hits a double stomp from the top that gets two. Homicide boots Joe in the face a few times then hits a brainbuster that looked deadly. Joe rolls outside and is on the floor as a few referees are checking on Joe. Homicide then comes out and rolls Joe in the ring as the match will continue. Homicide hits a few more kicks as Ki but Joe is getting back into the match. Homicide places Joe up top as Ki and Smokes are yelling at each other. Homicide is distracted as Joe picks him up and hits a Super Muscle Buster for the win (18:16) ****. After the match, Homicide is helped to his feet by Rob Feinstein and Ki as he is distraught over losing the match.

Thoughts: Great stuff. The story of Homicide needing to win so he can provide for his kid and not be a thug was done to perfection. The crowd was into him a lot as well. The match itself was good but the backstory made it better. The finishing move was sick.



Joe is in the locker room and says that the RoH World Championship is the only belt that means anything anymore because its guys who live and die for wrestling and put it all for the line. The camera zooms in on his swollen eye and says that it means nothing as he is still the champ. He tells Daniels that he started the war and will do whatever it takes to finish it before kissing his belt.



Daniels is shown in the empty arena and sees Joe as he runs in and spears him down. Danger yells at them to stop as dozen or so guys run in to break it up. Then in the back, Daniels challenges Corino's group to a six-man tag at "Night of the Grudges."



Final Thoughts: Solid show. Not the best for wrestling but they are starting to put together solid storylines and build intriguing characters. Sure, not all of them worked and the scramble matches format was starting to wear thin and some of the characters (Special K) seemed to serve no purpose at all. But, Punk was coming into his own and Joe was starting an impressive reign as Champion so the positives were outweighing the negatives.



24 comments:

  1. Jimmy Rave is 20 here.

    You'd think that would mean he had a world of potential, but he peaked in 2005 as the CROWN JOOWEL and was washed up by 2008 at the age of 25. Poor guy.

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  2. Drugs did him in

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  3. Another good review, Bayless.


    It's funny to see both Stryker and John Walters well received by the ROH faithful here when they'd go on to absolutely loathe both guys just months later (maybe a little longer in Walters' case).

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  4. I had no idea Rave did drugs (no pun-ish thing intended).

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  5. I was never a Rave fan. I know that he was a heel and I wasn't supposed to like him, but it was more of a, "I skip your matches on DVDs and hate sitting through your matches because I'm bored as hell live) type of dislike.


    I will say that the ROH fans throwing toilet paper at him was a great little gimmick.

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  6. He was a really bad addict.

    http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2011/0827/543554/

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  7. Thanks, man.


    And yeah, Stryker was liked at first but he had nothing beyond solid matwork and when you got sick of that, there was nothing else to like.

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  8. I think the Field of Honor did him in. It wasn't really his fault but the fans hated that mess of a tournament and I think he became the poster child for it, fairly or unfairly.

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  9. Wow, that's shocking. Glad it seems as though he was able to turn his life around. Hope it works out for him.

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  10. If only Stu Hart had realized that all he needed to thrive in the business was in the basement of his own house.

    Dungeon of Honor could have been huge!

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  11. Iceberg getting don't come back chants was a huge controversy at the time

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  12. That and Stryker was winning way too many matches relative to his push. It was one of those things that only Gabe saw

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  13. He claimed to be sXe at the time. A lot of indie guys were (or at least claimed to be)

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  14. I remember that! It was ridiculous even back then. Yeah, a lot of indie guys claimed to be straight edge, but I never believed most of them. I didn't believe Punk for a while, either.

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  15. Nana is great, too. Weird, but great. He was also in his prime back then as well.

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  16. Really? Seemed like a fat guy with no talent to me.

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  17. Yes. Iceberg was big in NWA Wildside and people were really high on him. He went to ROH and got shit on and there was controversy over ROH fans being very elitist. ROHbots became popular.


    Of course this came after ROH fans said they didn't want super heavyweights.

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  18. Never knew of that. Thanks for the info.

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  19. This was one of my favorite shows back in 2003. I haven't seen it since then but reading this review it seems like this show hasn't aged well at all.


    Iceberg in ROH? Yikes, that guy was horrible in NWA Wildside.

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  20. I watched a lot of his NWA Wildside work and you're right, he was a fat guy with no talent but there were some people online who seriously thought the guy was good because roughly 97% of the Wildside roster was terrible and in their minds, a terrible fat guy was an improvement over a roster full of terrible small guys.

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  21. Nice review, Bayless.

    Do you know where I can go to see any of these older shows? ROH.com doesn't have any of the old events.

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  22. Highspots sells them

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