When I first got into Ring of Honor, I expected it to be all great wrestling matches. Each one better than the last, with almost all four star matches. However the first years of R.O.H. were far from that. Now, at the end of 2004, it’s a rarity that there’s a bad match on the card, but back in 2002, during the first year of existence, it was a rarity to see a good match besides the main event. This was partly due to the talent that was brought in for the mid-card, which was not even close to being good, and that R.O.H. seemed to have a clear idea of who they wanted to push from the start. They had set their main-eventers from the start, with a surprise entrant, although very temporary.
During the first year, the R.O.H. shows were focused on Low Ki, Bryan Danielson and Low Ki, the surprise entry being Doug Williams (although I imagine he was pushed for storyline purposes). Bryan Danielson was the in ring work horse who was able to put great matches. Low Ki was the charismatic shoot-style wrestler. Christopher Daniels was the anti-system main event heel. When Low Ki won the title, it seemed obvious the title would be fought between these three wrestlers. However, after the great four way match for the Championship, a new cowboy heads into town, who currently plays a “Sting-like” character in T.N.A.. That’s right I’m talking about A.J. Styles. Besides being in the company before, at “Honor Invades Boston” he put on a hell of a match with Low Ki, that put him over with the R.O.H. Crowd. Therefore, as I did with the four way title match at “Road To The Title”, I’m going to dictate this great match, as I did in the four way for the Ring of Honor Title.
It is a title match for the R.O.H. Title. Of course Low Ki is currently (and at this point the first) the champion. The two shake hands, following the code of honor. They lock up, but break it after a while. A.J. Styles controls Low Ki on the ground, but Low Ki puts a type of chin lock on, which A.J. Styles turns into a small package for the two. A.J. Styles follows it up with a leg lock. Low Ki grabs A.J. Styles legs and stretches it all over the place. A.J, Styles finally reverses it into an Inverted S.T.O. Low Ki rolls out of it and kicks A.J. Styles in the face. They separate.
Test of strength, initially won by A.J. Styles, and Low Ki reveres it bytwisting A.J. Styles’ arms and kicks A.J. in the thighs. A.J. captures his breath and as Low Ki gets close A.J. kicks Low Ki in the thigh., starting a back and forth battle of thigh kicks, until Low Ki gives A.J. and inziguri to the head. Both men back up.
They lock up and A.J. turns it into an arm bar. A.J. goes for the pin and gets a two.
Low Ki crawls towards A.J. looking to somehow kick him from a sitting position. Low Ki goes for a kick to the head, A.J. ducks and kicks Low Ki in the back of the head.
Low Ki gets up, they lock up and Low Ki tosses him with a hip toss into a mat headlock. A.J. breaks it up with elbows to the head of Low Ki, and turning it into a head scissors. Low Ki breaks it up with a kick to the head. Low Ki gets up and nails A.J. with an overhead chop. Low Ki follows with a European Upper Cut. Low Ki chops A.J. and nails an elbow after an irish whip-in. Low Ki gets a two count.
Low Ki picks A.J. up, hits another overhead chop, dropping A.J. to the floor. A.J. Styles then grabs Low Ki’s head in a Frankensteiner type fashion but Low Ki nails a kick to A.J.’s back dropping him to the ground.
Low Ki picks up A.J. and hits a series of chops to A.J. styles in the corner. Low Ki tries the irish-whip to the other corner, but A.J. reverses it but Low Ki stops at the corner, A.J. runs at him and Low Ki nails a huge thrust kick to A.J. style.
Low Ki walks up to A.J. after gloating to the crowd and A.J. tries the frakensteiner he tried before and hurls Low Ki into the corner. A.J. runs into Low Ki with a high knee and begins nailing Low Ki with a series of forearms. Irish Whip and A.J. nails a back mule kick for the two.
Another whip in by A.J. but Low Ki blocks it and drop kicks A.J.’s knee. As A.J. tries to get to his feet, Low Ki hits A.J. with vicious round house kicks to the chest, but as he goes for the third one, A.J. trips him up with a leg sweep.
Loe Ki goes for the Frankensteiner type move that A.J. did earlier, and A.J. turns it into a styles clash, but Low Ki kicks A.J. in the mouth.
Both men lock up their fingers and A.J. hits a jumping knee to the head of Low Ki. A.J. goes for another one, but Low Ki hits him in the mid section. Low Ki starts hitting chops and forearms. Low Ki grabs A.J.’s head and nails a kick to the head. Low Ki tried a roundhouse kick, misses bounces off the ropes and A.J. nails him with a vicious clothesline, and Low Ki rolls out of the ring. (No countouts in R.O.H.).A.J. runs for a Topei attempt and is met with a Low Ki Spinwheel kick to the head.
Low Ki nails A.J.’s head to the mat and rolls him in. He grabs A.J. and begins a series of Towada kicks to the face. Brutal! Low Ki goes for a huge one, misses and A.J. grabs him from behind and attempts a German Suplex which Low Ki blocks, and turns it into a victory roll which A.J. quickly kicks out of.
Low Ki knife edge chops A.J., tries a jumping side kick off the ropes, misses amd A.J. turns into a German Suplex A.J. holds onto it and turns it into a front face driver, and gets a two.
A.J. is seen bleeding from Low Ki’s earlier kicks (his nose).
A.J. goes for the Styles Cash, but Low Ki turns it into a Hurracarana and gets a two.
Low Ki picks up A.J. and goes for a series of chops, leading to the corner. A battle of chops ensues between both men, which A.J. turns into a forearm, and charges at Low Ki, but Low Ki moves and A.J. dives into the corner head first. Low Ki scoops up A.J. from behind and places him on the corner. Low Ki climbs the topes, but A.J. knocks him down with some elbows, but Low Ki pulls A.J. upside down and nails a huge kick to the back. Low Ki climbs again and applies a Reverser Dragon Sleeper in the corner which he has to broken up at. Low Ki goes for the pin and gets a two.
Low Ki climbs the rope, but A.J. pushes him off and crotches Low Ki. A.J. punches Low Ki in the back, and tries a Razor’s Edge from the top rope, but Low Ki jumps off and chops A.J. Styles. Low Ki goes for the Irish-whip, but A.J. reverses it, puts Low Ki on his back, and turns it into a reverse front face driver, and gets a two.
A.J. picks Low Ki up, and nails a slap to the chest; body slams him and goes to the top. A.J. tries a corkscrew splash, and Low Ki moves, and A.J. falls on his head. Low Ki goes for the pin and gets a two.
Low Ki picks A.J. up, thrust kicks him in the back and goes for the Reverse Dragon Sleeper, and A.J. eventually reaches the ropes. Low Ki leads A.J. to the corner, and nails a huge chop. Low Ki tries an Irish-Whip, but A.J. blocks it and puts Low Ki on the top rope. A.J. punches Ki’s back and Low Ki falls upside down. A.J. hits a flying forearm to the face of Low Ki, getting a two.
Low Ki and A.J. hit chops back and forth on their knees tuntil Low Ki hits a kick to A.J.’s head. Low Ki picks A.J. up and hits a brain buster on A.J., getting a two.
Low Ki goes to the tope rope, and tries a Phoenix splash, but misses. A.J. grabs him, and hits a Brainbuster of his own and gets a two count.
A.J. throws Low Ki into the corner and hits thrust kicks to the chest of Low Ki. A.J. runs into the corner and Low Ki moves, as A.J. jumps into the corner and flip-falls backwards. Steve Corino, for some reason says “I think A.J. Styles just died in the ring”. Low Ki gets a two count.
Low Lo tries a Ki Crusher, and A.J. reverses it into a small package for the two.
Low Ki goes again with more kawada kicks to the face, but A.J. gets up and hits hard forearms and knees on Low Ki. A.J. Irish-whips Low Ki off the ropes, goes for the Hurracarana put Low Ki, powersbombs A.J. goes for the pin and gets a two.
The fans get up showing their appreciation for this match.
Low Ki goes for the Dragon Sleeper but A.J. is fighting it until A.J. tries for the piledriver, but Low Ki reverses it, into a Ki Crusher, getting the three.
Great match. A.J. got made, Low Ki gets more status as a great wrestler, and the prestige of the R.O.H. Title slightly builds.
The only problem with this time of R.O.H. is that usually only the main events are the only good matches in the shows, but that will eventually change (future articles).
— Jose Perez