A lot of indy companies claim to be all about “wrestling”. Even TNA says they are about wrestling. It’s a good angle to take, as the WWE has shied away from the word “wrestling” for a long time now. So, if you can convince “wrestling” fans, that your company is where “wrestling” is, then you just might have something. As a fan of pro wrestling for over thirty years, and of all the indy promotions you’ve ever heard of, as well as several that you’ve not, I feel that I am pretty qualified to say that when “Ring of Honor” says that “they are wrestling”, that they’ve earned the right to say such a thing, and that it’s completely accurate.
Ring of Honor stepped up to take ECW’s place, and they’ve done just that. We could go on about the Gape Sapolsky situation, about the Cornette situation, about some poor booking throughout the years, but in the end, Ring of Honor is the indy company everyone else wants to be. If an indy company wants some recognition, they go out, and they sign a few ROH wrestlers to be on their card. Even an undercard, Ring of Honor wrestler, will get you a larger crowd. Ring of Honor was even recently featured in a WWE website article!
Adam Cole is the current king of the indy’s, holding not only Ring of Honor’s World title, but Pro Wrestling Guerilla’s as well. He’s one of the best, if not the best, indy wrestler out there today. He’s great on the mic, and in the ring. Cole can have a great match with anyone. Many ROH fans hate Matt Hardy, but his association with Cole, has allowed him to be fairly accepted by them. While a name like Matt Hardy would normally be used to get an indy wrestler, like Cole, more over, with an audience, I believe Cole is getting Hardy more over, with the indy wrestling audience.
Cole is poised to take on former champ, Jay Briscoe. While ROH is doing the tired old “I’m the real world champ” angle, with Jay, it’s won me over, because they are doing a slow burn with it. Jay is always there, with his “belt” insisting he’s the real champ, but it took weeks for Cole to ever respond to him. I really enjoyed that, they made it seem as if Cole didn’t take him seriously. Now that Cole finally responded, they aren’t rushing the match. Sure, this make Cole seem like the cowardly heel, that everyone is familiar with, but it’s more than that. Cole is actually doing a good job in making Jay seem like a pretender, refusing to let go.
In the meantime, powerhouse, Michael Elgin is doing a great job as the jilted loser. The guy who can take on the world, but just can’t win the big one. Often when you see this, you stop believing in, or hoping for, the guy in this situation to overcome. Elgin however, pulls it off nicely. Instead of coming off whiny, or cry-babyish, Elgin seems angrier, more determined, and a little bit of a loose cannon. He seems to be determined to destroy any, and every one, on his way to another shot at the ROH World title. You never know who Elgin is going to destroy next, as he doesn’t seem to care who it is. He’s going to go through anyone, to get a shot at that ROH title.
Kevin Steen, while seemingly happier to play a heel role, is a great face in ROH. I really see him as a more modern, and crass, Dusty Rhodes. He represents the “every-man” in ROH. He isn’t out there to impress anyone, he just wants to fight, and hurt anyone, that will dare challenge him. When a man can injure someone like Maria Kanellis, and the fans still support him, that’s saying something. He is set to feud with Cliff Compton, and I’m anxious to see that series. Both of these guys are hard hitters, and bring the best out of each other. Compton does an excellent job pointing out everything negative about Steen. The only thing that could make this better, would be if Jim Cornette, would come in to manage Compton. No, I don’t see that ever happening, by the way.
Tommaso Ciampa won his first ROH title, defeating Matt Taven for the TV title. He’s been in a very good feud with Taven, and Jay Lethal for that title. Ciampa is balls to the wall exciting, and will work like crazy to put on matches that the fans will never forget. Lethal has been a top star for years now, and Taven is really coming into his own. He’s separated from Truth Martini, and I can’t wait to see what he does now. It will be very interesting when Martini brings in a new charge, to take on Taven.
reDRagon has had a death grip on the ROH tag titles, defeating some of the greatest tag teams in the world along the way. Both Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish, are amazing singles wrestlers, but they are unstoppable as a tag team. I really don’t see who is on the horizon that can defeat them. I’d love to see The Young Bucks come in, and have a long feud with them for the titles, but it seems as if the Bucks just do guest spots, for ROH, here and there. If reDRagon is in the ring though, you are guaranteed an excellent tag team match.
The Decade, the new faction in ROH, is causing all kinds of waves, in the ROH Ocean. Jimmy Jacobs, Roderick Strong, and BJ Whitmer, seem to be everywhere. These guys are jaded, and very annoyed, that they’ve been the backbone of ROH for over ten years, while others keep coming, and going. They are not happy with guys like Chris Hero, and AJ Styles, who have recently returned to ROH from WWE, and TNA. They want no part of sending any current ROH star, off to the “big leagues” in a positive way either.
ROH has an amazing roster of talent. From guys like ACH, Adam Page, Michael Bennett, Silas Young, and with the awesome Veda Scott’s help, even RD Evans, you will never be disappointed in a ROH card. Admittedly, when I watch one of wrestling’s “big leagues” I fast forward way more than I sit and watch. When I turn on ROH TV, I only fast forward the commercials, so I can get back to the action…the WRESTLING action.