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DVD Review: Burgan reviews ROH The Conclusion - CM Punk, Raven, Briscoe Bros.

Apr 20, 2004 - 3:34:00 AM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY


Derek Burgan, Torch Team Contributor

Torch DVD Review
ROH The Conclusion
November 28, 2003
Fairfield, CT at Sacred Heart University


This show follows Empire State Showdown.

After reviewing the beginning of ROH over the past couple weeks it is time to start watching some of their more recently released shows and we are starting with The Conclusion which is the first half of ROHs historic first-ever double shot weekend. Thats right, until this point ROH had never run more than one show on any weekend and until December, 2002 had never run more than one show a month. Compare this to the heyday of the then-WWF when Vince McMahon was running three separate shows on any given weekend night. Some wrestlers would actually work one show in the afternoon and fly to another show that night. Someone really needs to write a book about that era because not only would it be fascinating to discover how insane the business was during a time when it was exploding, but it would really help to understand why so many guys from that time are either dead or completely unable to function in the Real World.

On to the show!

***Dear God, Michael Capetta is in the ring to start the show. The Conclusion already has to dig itself out of hole in my book. There was a referee in the ring as well holding three envelopes, each containing a different stipulation for the main event match between C.M. Punk and Raven. This looks like a poor mans version of Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal but if Capetta picks out Coal Miners Glove Match Im gonna scream. Capetta chose an envelope and said it would be, an old fashioned steel cage match. This brought out C.M. Punk who yelled at Capetta to, GET LOST!

***Punk was holding a picture of Lucy, the girl who hasnt been seen since being attacked at Wrath of the Racket. Punk talkeda bout all the sacrifices he has made to become a wrestler including, driving long distances for little or no money just to get ring time. Punk said he had missed friends weddings and graduations due to being on the road every weekend for years. I wonder if I can use that as an excuse to get out of this years Torch Annual Summer Outing? Sorry Wade, but me and Lipinski already booked that weekend for a show in Maine against Legion Freakin Cage and the Lobsterman. Punk was getting heckled by some guy in the crowd and responded with, Im talking about something youll never understand. Im talking about a girl. ZING! Punk then talked about his relationship with Lucy and how she was the first girl he could share his passion of wrestling with. (FYI: You should wait a minimum of three dates before telling any girl you are interested in that you are a wrestling fan. The hotter the girl, the more dates you have before unloading that bombshell. You may might want to wean them into this slowly, start by saying you are a fan of things slightly higher on the dork scale like say Comic Books or Japanese Anime.) Punk said he didnt care if he had to interrupt every single match or promo on the show, he was going to find out what happened to Lucy.

***Live from Chicago - the home of the Koz Zone - Its time for another installment of Good Times.Great Memories with your host, Colt Cabana. Cabana started off by talking about his upcoming semi final match in the Field of Honor and how it will make him a, Superstar! Cabana then brought out Good Times first ever musical guest, Julius Smokes a.k.a. J-Train. Cabana had a mock CD case and said J-Train was here to sing his newest song, Where all the white women at? Funny stuff. Cabana played some harmonica as J-Train did his thing and eventually Cabana started singing Ebony and Ivory.

(1) The Backseat Boyz (Johnny Kashmere & Trent Acid) beat The OutCast Killaz. I gotta tell you that before I ever saw my first Backseat Boyz match I was convinced that I was going to hate them. Ive only read about them in the PWTorch Newsletter over the years and I first thought they were some sort of 3 Count ripoff group and then when I found out they did a male stripper gimmick I just KNEW they would suck. Turns out I was wrong. Not only are the Boyz a great tag team, but Trent Acid has had some incredible singles matches with Homicide. Did I mention they have KICK ASS theme song? It is either the old Midnight Express theme or a slightly remixed version, but it is cool none-the-less. The Killaz took an immediate advantage after the handshake, but a quick match saw the Boyz hit their trademark double team moves (including the phat Dream Sequence) ending with Oman Tortuga getting nailed with the T-gimmick.

***C.M. Punk entered the ring and confronted the Backseat Boyz. He said, Im not here to cause problems, Im here to fix em. Punk said he knew the boys were in Dayton, Ohio where all the shit went down and wanted to know if they saw anything. The Boyz pretty much blew him off.

***John Walters came to the ring for the next match and was immediately confronted by C.M. Punk. The crowd chanted, Walters! which caused Punk to remark, Im glad you enjoy chanting his name because I honestly didnt know who he was. Classic! Walters said he didnt know what happened to Lucy and as Punk left the ring he ran into Homicide, who all but laughed in Punks face when asked the same question.

Its also worthwhile to note what a difference there is in the quality of the presentation between recent ROH shows and ones from just a year and a half ago. This is seriously like comparing Monday Night RAW now compared to 1994 when it was being taped from the Manhattan Center. On a shoestring budget, thats quite a remarkable transformation.

(2) Homicide (w/Julius Smokes) beat John Walters. Announcer Chris Lovey said this was the first of three Present versus Future matches. This is comparable to WCW Monday Nitros Present versus Past matches during its last two years. This was quite the battle though and after the two went back and forth for a bit, Walters extended his hand as if to say, nothing personal. Homicide kicked the hand away. The back and forth match had an interesting finishing sequence that started when Homicide went for the Cop Killa (I hope youre all happy that I stopped using Vertibreaker) but Walters reversed it into that neat move where he puts both knees into his opponents back and falls to the mat. That move seriously needs a name. Walters then immediately hit a Dragon Suplex, but couldnt keep Homicide pinned because of the match-long storyline of his neck and back being worked on. In a really neat move, Homicide then went behind Walters and put his head directly in Walters neck area, grabbed Walters and then dropped to his knees. This looked pretty painful to Walters neck and it immediately got worse for him as Homicide ran off the ropes with a wicked lariat followed by applying the STF. Walters had to tap out at this point. My favorite John Walters singles match to date and further convinces me that Homicide could carry Elax or the WWEs Sylvain Grenier to an above average match.

***Homicide grabbed a mic and yelled out, CORINO! I know you are back there you piece of shit. Homicide said he will not follow the Code of Honor during their match at War of the Wire and that he will retire Corino. Homicide closed with, Have your son kiss you on the cheek because its the last time hell see you. OH~!

So get this, as Im writing this recap it is April 19 which means that in less than a week Ill be in Chicago to see ROH: Reborn Stage II live and in living color. Im trying to talk Torch ROH historian Keith Lipinski, who is also going into the show, into bringing a rubber chicken and Ill make up a giant cardboard ghetto fork to bring to the show. Shockingly, Lipinski hates this idea and asked me, How many signs do you see at ROH shows? If some kid creates the ghetto fork at another ROH show in the future Im gonna kill Lipinski. Email keith and tell him hes full of crap! If enough of you write him we may see the Ghetto Fork in Chicago when all is said and done.

***Matt Stryker shot a promo talking about his upcoming match against Xavier in the semi finals of the Field of Honor. Get This, Matt says, Its simple mathematics. You need to step aside and let the new stars shine. What type of mathematics is that? Must be trigonometry or something. Any math nerds out there who can disprove my theory of Matt Stryker being a f---ing goof? Anyhoo, Stryker said it was time for him to show everyone hes the best.

(3) The Spanish Announce Team beat The Carnage Crew and HotStuff Hernandez & Fast Eddie and Dixie & Cloudy (w/the rest of Special K) in a Scramble Match. Fast Eddie and HotStuff both work out of the Texas Wrestling Academy and believe it or not, Eddie was the guy who was washing John Bradshaw Layfields car on a recent WWE SmackDown skit. Something tells me I dont want a blind guy detailing my car. Fred the Elephant the Boy from the Howard Stern Show accompanied Special K to the ring. I have no idea why on that one other than Fred is a long time wrestling fan and maybe ROH was hoping to get a plug on the Stern show. Morrow called Fred, the poster child for birth control. This was another excellent Scramble match and HotStuff Hernandez really shined in my book. At one point Dixie flew off the top rope with a flying bodypress but was caught by HotStuff who immediately hit a sit out powerbomb. Nasty. This was followed by a really weird double team move in which HotStuff laid on his back in front of his turnbuckles and brought his feet straight up. This was like something out of an ROH Winsor Pilates tape or something. Anyhoo, Fast Eddie then stood on HotStuffs feet and was catapulted over onto Dixie. This might read like a lame move but it looked really cool. Cloudy tried to hit the S.A.T. with a double missile dropkick but was caught and put straight into that kickass Pendulum move THAT I WILL NEVER CALL The Washing Machine. While most of the wrestlers were outside the ring HotStuff picked up his teammate Fast Eddie into a Splash Mountain type move and tossed him onto the crowd on the floor. Wow. HotStuff, who really resembles Kane by the way, then ran the ring and did a crazy dive onto the crowd as well. While all this madness was going on outside, Hydro climbed to the top rope but was stopped by the S.A.T. and given the Spanish Fly. Hydro was then pinned even though Dixie & Cloudy were the Special Kers in the match. WTF? Am I watching TNA? Check your brain at the door. Bryan Alvarez

***B.J. Whitmer shot a promo talking about how he had a taste of the high life in his match against Samoa Joe at Wrath of the Racket. BJ said tonight would be the biggest of his career and he, will not walk out of this match a loser. Whitmer said the only way he will lose is if he is knocked out and acknowledged that Dan Maff might be able to do that, but Colt Cabana was too much of a comedian.

***Dan Maff was up next and asked, Who is the BADDEST man in the Field of Honor?! I think that was a rhetorical question. Maff said The Prophecy is the elite force in ROH and, piss on the Second City Saints. Maff then goes off the deep end and compares him winning the Field of Honor to a dog marking its territory. Maff said that he hoped to win the match by beating Whitmer because, I cant stand you the most.

(4) The Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger) beat Jimmy Rave. This is the 2nd match in the Present versus Future series. In another example of just why Christopher Daniels is that damn good, at one point he had Jimmy on the mat in a headlock as the crowd chanted, F--- him up Daniels, F--- him up! When the crowd clapped twice after the last line Daniels hit the mat with his boot completely in sync with them. Rave actually had quite a bit of offense here and really worked over Daniels arm to start the match. This was actually cool in a storyline way because for months now A.J. Styles has been getting on Rave to work over his opponents arm to setup his crossface finisher. Allison Danger hopped up onto the ring apron to distract Rave and this almost gave Chris Lovey a stroke but this gave Daniels the momentum in the match and he began to destroy Raves back including a really neat spear to the back. Never seen that before. Rave really sold his beating well and couldnt even lift up Daniels in a suplex spot. The finish came when Daniels hit his triple jump moonsault, Best. Moonsault. Ever! and nailed Jimmy with the Last Rites.

***Punk was immediately in the ring after the match and got right in Christopher Daniels face. Punk said that Daniels has been afraid of Punk ever since Do or Die but Daniels responded by saying the Second City Saints were below his radar since they hadnt done anything in ROH, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it! Daniels said that Punk should take Corinos words with a grain of salt as you can only trust the King of Old School as far as you can throw him and as everyone knows, hes not built like a javelin. Daniels said that Punk will find out the truth of who attacked Lucy but claimed, You cant HANDLE the truth.

***Xavier shot a quick promo basically saying hell be the Field of Honor champion and when he finished he turned around to find a very pissed off John Walters standing next to him. Walters said he had no respect for Xavier because, you poked me in the balls, you raked my eyes and you beat me in a tag match. Walters proposes one more match between the two and Xavier responded with, How about in your hometown, Boston? You didnt have to tell this twice to Walters but he told Xavier to, shake my hand. Xavier just walked off.

(5) Josh Daniels beat Steve Corino (w/Guillotine LeGrande and TeamCorino). To set up Corinos ring entrance, you have to understand that Josh Daniels isnt the tallest wrestler on the ROH roster and in fact is quite noticeably short. Corinos personal ring announcer Bobby Cruz started by saying, Greetings wrestling fans, internet message board losers and ROH fans alike. Zing~! Cruz then went into a list of all the famous midgets in wrestling history including Little Tokyo, Tom Thumb, Lord Little Brook, The Haiti Kid, Tazz, Dink the Clown and Mini Mankind. The Tazz line still kills me. Cruz then announced Corino as, standing in at a Godzilla-like six foot one inch I LOVE STEVE CORINOS ENTRANCES. Allison Danger joined commentary earlier on and the announcers brought up that Steve Corino is her brother. Allison was only slightly better than Simply Luscious was when she joined the announcers booth way back in the day and if you remember, that was the worst guest commentary, ever. Im not even sure of the entire point of her coming on commentary other than for her to say she was mad at C.M. Punk confronting Christopher Daniels. Back in the ring, Josh Daniels went for a cross body block off the top rope while Steve Corino just stepped out of the way. For some reason my girlfriend couldnt stop laughing at this. Corino then went to the top rope and twice Josh Daniels ran up but was pushed off. The third time Daniels hit a superplex. The storyline of the match was that Corino wasnt taking Daniels seriously at all and would do things like allow him to challenge a move. One point I really liked was when the ref wouldnt make the count after Corino hit a move on Daniels after Guillotine tripped Josh. Corino then went to the top rope to hit a move on Josh while Guillotine argued with the ref. Out of nowhere HOMOCIDE hit the ring and jumped up to the top rope, hitting Corino with an Ace Crusher! Daniels then hit the fallen Corino with a flying headbutt. 1..2..3!! Crowd went absolutely apeshit for this finish.

***After the match Corino made a beeline for the back and the camera followed him the whole way. He found Homocide and the two had a quick brawl but were quickly pulled apart. Corino was going ballistic and shouting, Same bullshit all the time Gabe. Bullshit! Corino eventually just walks out of the building as the camera follows him. Corino and Guillotine get into it a verbal pissing match with the cameraman Doug, who sounds exactly like announcer Ray Morrow. This was TREMENDOUS stuff all around and had a true shoot-like feel.

And please, you dont need to write me and tell me that Ray Morrow IS cameraman (now ROH owner) Doug Gentry.

***Its Intermission with Gary Michael Capetta and hes at the door of A.J. Styles locker room. For reason this reminded me of that Simpsons episode where newsman Kent Brockman was covering a trial and said, Now in this state cameras arent allowed in the courtroom, so well have to be real quiet. Capetta finds Styles in the middle of brow beating Jimmy Rave. Capetta told Styles he was being a bit harsh but Styles said harsh would be him kicking Raves ass. Well, hes gotta point there. As Capetta said we were going back to the show C.M. Punk arrived and said, We arent going anywhere Jimmy Olsen. Punk confronts Styles and asked him if he saw anything to Lucy. Styles had me rolling when he said, Let me see that picture again? Punk was livid and said, What, are you trying to be funny? Im not laughing. AJ said he wasnt laughing either and walked off. Punk then turned to Capetta and said, What about you Jimmy Olsen? Youre supposed to be ROHs star reporter. Capetta used his most logical defense, ignorance. Punk closed by asking Capetaa, How can you have such a big head and nothing in it? Gold!

(6) Matt Stryker beat Xavier in a Field of Honor semi final match. A decent back and forth match that just didnt grab me. It was like watching Billy Kidman versus Val Venis. The finish came when Xavier went for his Kiss Your X Goodbye finisher, but paused for a second to throw a cocky smile. This gave Stryker a chance to worm his way out and hit Xavier with the Death Valley Driver for the win.

(7) B.J. Whitmer beat Colt Cabana and Dan Maff (w/Allison Danger) in a Field of Honor semi final match. I love how Colt Cabana comes to the ring acting ultra goofy to Barry Manilows Copa Cabana until a fan pats him on the back, at which point he immediately turns into an Im-Going-To-Kill-You psychotic character. The match started off with Whitmer and Maff tiring of Cabanas shtick and working together to beat him down and toss him out of the ring. Later - as Maff and Whitmer were battling outside Cabana hit an AWESOME Asai moonsault onto the two of them and Colt might have been the largest guy I have ever seen do that move. The match really took advantage of the third man in the ring including one neat spot which had BJ hitting an Exploder suplex on Cabana while Maff hit a German suplex on Whitmer at the same time! The finish came after Whitmer gave some stiff forearms to Maff, sending him to the mat which gave BJ time to hit Cabana with the Wrist Clutch Exploder, which Im sure you know by now is the

The Most DANGEOUS Exploder of Them All! Chris Lovey

A tremendous match and afterwards C.M. Punk got into the ring and confronted Dan Maff by saying he knew The Prophecy was behind the attack and asked Maff to just come clean. Maff said, Man to man, Im gonna tell you this. I dont like you and I know you dont like me. The Prophecy dont like the Saints and the Saints aint got no love for The Prophecy. As far as personal garbageokay, I said it once to that goofball right there (points at Cabana), I swear on my fathers grave that me or any member of The Prophecy had anything to do with your girl. Maff then shoved the mic into Punks chest but it was immediately grabbed by BJ Whitmer who was pissed that Punk was interrupting his moment in the sun. Whitmer said that no one in the back and none of the fans, give a crap about your girl! Whitmer left the ring disgusted and yelled, Steal my f---ing thunder?! F--- YOU! Punk said, Jeesh, looks like somebodys juices are flowing. Punk then dropped the mic and said, That was a steroid joke to the camera.

That was a steroid joke.

That was a steroid joke.

That was a steroid joke.

God I love C.M. Punk.

(8) The Briscoe Brothers beat A.J. Styles & Samoa Joe to retain the ROH Tag Team Titles. This is almost like a dream match and reminds me of the Shawn Michaels & Stone Cold Steve Austin versus then WWE tag champs Owen Hart & The British Bulldog on the Monday Night Wars DVD. I know you are going to find this hard to believe, but this match tore the roof off the joint. I think you can probably make the case that the Briscoes are the best tag team in wrestling right now and if they stay in wrestling there is no doubt in my mind they will be seen as the best ever. The two did a great blind tag spot in which Mark slapped Jays back after Samoa Joe threw Jay into the ropes. Jay then slid around Joe and went outside the ring and as Joe turned around to see what was going on he was NAILED by a springboard knee to the back in which Mark flew the way across the ring to hit. Shortly afterward Mark threw Joe into the corner and charged him only to run straight into a chokeslam that seemed to break Mark in half. Later Joe had Mark in a headlock and Jay came in to throw some punches at Joe to break the hold, Styles then ran across the ring and jumped off of Marks back (who was still in the headlock) and hit Jay with a DDT! Outside the ring Samoa Joe did his OLE OLE OLE kicks and challenged AJ Styles to do one, which AJ did to a huge pop.

In case you were wondering, Yes, you need to watch this match.

The Briscoes did a Basham Bros-like switch in the ring while the refs back was turned and Ray Morrow brought out how it reminded him of the WWFs Killer Bees back in the 80s. I marked out for that team in a MAJOR WAY back then. Up next came another I-cant-believe-I-just-saw-that sequence in which Joe had Jay in standing choke hold while Styles was trying to lock the Styles Clash onto Mark. Mark brought his arms to his chest like some sort of knight in a coffin which allowed Jay to superkick AJ while still being in Joes chokehold! God DAMN! The finish came after Styles accidentally hit Joe with a clothesline. This gave the Briscoes time to throw AJ outside of the ring and for Jay to superkick Samoa Joe in order to set up Marks Shooting Star Press for the win.

***After the match Joe and Styles got in each others grill in the ring. Joe pushed Styles and AJ responded by slapping Joe back. This ended when AJ walked away saying, Tomorrow that belts mine.

(9) C.M. Punk beat Raven in a Steel Cage Match. Punks entrance was off the hook and the lights were actually in rhythm with the theme music making it look even cooler. Punks theme by the way is the incredible Miseria Cantare (The Beginning) from AFIs 2003 Sing The Sorrow LP if were thinking of downloading buying it at an overpriced record store. Raven came out with Punk Sux painted on his chest in a Braveheart like way. Punk actually threw three steel chairs into the cage before the match and they were used right away including one spot where Raven went for his drop toe hold onto the chair but punk jumped off the chair - ala Sabu onto the top rope but as Punk was going to do a springboard move he was hit by another chair that Raven had thrown at him. The match became a total bloodbath and it wasnt long before Punks blonde hair become Jeff Hardy-like bright red. Late in the match Punk went to the top of the cage and attempted a top rope leg drop, but Raven had rolled out of the way. That looked amazing. The finish came when Punk said just leaving the ring out the door was too easy for him, so he climbed to the top of the cage but was caught by Raven. Punk was then crotched on the door itself but as Raven went down to exit, Punk stepped off the door and slammed it right into Raven ala Chyna nailing Mick Foley back in the day. Punk then dropped to the floor for the win. This match was approximately 32X better than their last cage match.

***A bloodied Punk crawled to the ring barrier and said, Cell phone bill to Lucy: $500 a month. Beating your arch-nemesis at his own game: Priceless. CLASSIC! Punk promised to find out what happened to Lucy at Final Battle 2003 in Boston.

***After the show Capetta was shown at a table with Matt Stryker and BJ Whitmer. This was supposed to be the press conference for the signing of their Field of Honor match. Capetta acknowledged the Observers Dave Meltzer along with Mike Johnson and a couple other guys I have never heard of. I think Wade Keller scheduled Pat McNeill to be at this to represent the Torch but Pat was sidetracked at an Outback Steakhouse on the way to the event. The two wrestlers jabberjawd for a bit with Stryker saying he cant lose and Whitmer saying this was his SuperBowl. The two then signed the contract.

***Special K is in the back and they stumble upon Raven, who is all alone in the locker room and looking dejected. The K kids know what will cheer Raven up and offer him some drugs. As they leave Raven said, Leave the girl. Becky Bayless was left with Raven as the show ended.

Overall Thoughts: This is a must buy for any C.M. Punk fan as he is literally all over the show including a red hot main event. Combined with a fantastic tag team title defense by the Briscoes, a solid three way dance to get into the Field of Honor finals and a spot fest filled Scramble match, this is one card youre gonna like the whole way through. Steve Corino and Homicide once again steal the show and the after match antics of Corino show exactly why he is, the F---ing GOD of wrestling. Bobby Cruz 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 School of Rock, reading Frank Millers Sin City and calling up the Puroresu Power Hour Radio Show and repeatedly ask if The Hurricane could defeat Tito Ortiz in a shoot fight until they hang up. If you have any questions, corrections, feedback, comments or ideas, he can be reached at: derek@gumgod.com



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