Many will agree that the current Ring of Honor product is one of the best out there. In particular the tag team bouts taking place over the last year or so have been some of the best in the world. However, there may be a problem on the horizon, particularly if complacency sets in. This issue may arise due to a lack of depth in the current roster which will negatively affect the title scenes.
Michael Elgin’s recent tenure as world champion may not have been the most popular but at least it opened up possibilities for new matches at the top of the card. The mistake was having Elgin compete against and defeat all of the midcarders in sight in such a short period of time. Sure some of the matches were good but none of the men involved were shot to superstardom. Now Jay Briscoe is holding the belt again, and he appears to have little to no real competition. All of the midcarders who were defeated by Elgin have no reason to be given another title shot so soon. They were used to build Elgin up as a fighting champion anyway, whereas Briscoe needs no such help.
Elgin will get his rematch(es) but then who is there left to beat? It seems to me that there are two main options. The first being Adam Cole, a nemesis of Briscoe’s who never got a one-on-one rematch for the belt, and who beat Jay not too long ago at Supercard of Honor VIII with the title on the line. There is certainly reason for a feud. On the other hand, Cole has been on somewhat of a losing streak and seems to be being pushed away from the main event for the time-being, perhaps in order to build a tag team with Michael Bennett.
Current IWGP champion AJ Styles is the other main option, and by far the most worthy challenger, but with his principal focus being New Japan an extended feud between the two seems unlikely. Even if the two were to meet one on one in the squared circle there is no doubt NJPW would have a problem with Styles taking the clean loss considering his status as champion. The RoH title may benefit from a tour of Japan around Styles’ waist though if that is the way the company chooses to go. However at the same time the RoH champion being away for an extended time may cause problems. Big events may have to go ahead without the champions’ presence which is never a positive.
What is also important to note is that with Jay’s recent title win, the Briscoes will no longer be as active in the tag team division. This could cause problems for the booking team in the near future. RoH have showcased some of the best tag team wrestling on the planet recently but it appears only three teams currently prop up a hugely precariously placed division. These may well be three of the top teams in the world (The Addiction, ReDragon and The Young Bucks) but how long can they possibly compete against each other before it becomes stale? Will this happen before or after up and coming tag teams such as War Machine and Monster Mafia are established as real threats?
Also, the Young Bucks have commitments elsewhere, and it looks like reDRagon may be following them to Japan in the near future. The Addiction and lesser established teams will then be forced to make the best of a bad situation. The Kingdom, who could have possibly stepped up to the plate, despite being singles competitors first and foremost, seem to be on NJPW’s radar too. Even If they don’t make the move East for a tour or two, despite his current absence from the title scene, it’s still hard to imagine Adam Cole staying away from the main event for too long.
Obviously though, at this point all of this is only speculation. Ring of Honor continues to put on entertaining shows week after week and has done for an extended period at this point. This does not mean the company has not got things to analyse before issues arise. As a pre-emptive strike they may have to make a slight change and take a chance on the new generation of stars who are currently slowly climbing up the ladder. If War Machine, Monster Mafia, Cedric Alexander, and Silas Young are anything to go by then this should prove to be at no disadvantage to RoH, and they can go on into the next few years safe in the knowledge that they showcase some of the best wrestling on the planet.