Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
by Jason X
Disclaimer: I know this article will receive negative comments, so I will preface this with a statement. I was a die-hard ECW fan, so much so that I didn't see that it was on life support in 2000 until years later, I also was a die-hard ROH fan from the very first show until after the CZW Vs. ROH feud. I got away from the promotion for a few months and then was sucked back in with the Age Of The Fall, and started watching it religiously when I first had access to HDNet. Finally, with the news that Sinclair Broadcasting just purchased two of my local stations I look forward to watching the current TV show when it starts airing this winter here in Harrisburg, PA. Now with all of that said, I will not pull punches and I will be brutally honest.
Ring Of Honor has grown by leaps and bounds in its ten years of existence, it went from a small gym in South Philly only a few blocks away from the ECW Arena, to small and mid-size arena's. The ROH World title was just a name for the belt, until guys like Samoa Joe, Nigel McGuiness, Takeshi Morishima, and Davey Richards, help get the name out there.
ROH also, has helped bring back the emphasis on in ring wrestling back to America, and with guys who were meaningful to ROH's history being big names in TNA and WWE, the reach of the ROH style is only now becoming much more prevalent in mainstream pro wrestling.
However, for the good things that ROH has done for pro wrestling, for the way it has help to reeducated the pro wrestling fan in the new millennium. ROH is still just a modern day version of ECW, and here are the reasons why I stand by that statement.
The Fans: the one thing that has kept ROH alive is the one thing that will kill it. Their fans are passionate about the promotion. ROH can do no wrong in their eyes, but when they do wrong. Those same fans turn their back on ROH to show them that the promotion needs them far more than they need the promotion. Much like ECW fans, ROH fans are also too blind to see the forest for the trees. Their jadedness leaves a lasting impression on people who go to ROH shows for the first time, to the point that some fans never come back. They have wreaked havoc on top names who one month they feel should be the next top guy and when that guy gets the nod they turn their back on him. They are obnoxious with their constant trying to outdo the next fan with wrestling knowledge. Plus they hold the promotion back from reaching a wider audience. Because they have made it known that the promotion is selling out the moment they reach out to anything in the world of mainstream wrestling. For ROH to not die, they need to find a way to please both their core die-hard fans and reach mainstream fans at the same time. Sadly, the line they have to walk to make that happen is a tight rope and they aren't the Wallendas
The Mind Of A Burned Out Genius: ECW in its dying days weren't just suffering financially, but they were suffering creatively. Paul E. gave that promotion his heart and soul, but he gave so much that he had nothing left to give and what you saw towards the end booking wise was a shell of the amazing shows that existed before. The same can be said for ROH, when Gabe Sapolsky was let go he needed time away from the business to recharge. Adam Pearce was crucified for no good reason other than he was the guy replacing Gabe...and finally we go to Delirious and Cornette. Now don't get me wrong I am a huge fan of Corny, however, I have to be critical, it is why I write these articles. Corny's ideas are dated and somewhat forced, for all the things he accuses TNA and WWE of, he is doing the same thing with ROH. The fans are solidly behind Kevin Steen, but Corny is so adamant about Steen being a heel that they are doing whatever they can to make the fans boo him. Add in that the show is starting to feel dated in terms of how the matches are booked and the way it is presented is doing nothing to help ROH. That idea that ROH should present something closer to MMA is just beyond comprehension. While wrestling fans can be MMA fans...they enjoy each for what each is. Wrestling is the ultimate battle of the immovable object and the irresistible force, you know that the person who is built up the most will win. MMA while the is ultimate showcase of self-discipline, determination, and combat, sometimes the guy who is built up the most to fans is not the one that wins. Because MMA is not pro wrestling, and that is something that Cornette and Delirious are failing to realize. By booking the way they are they are insulting the fan base, and insulting the new fans they are trying to reach. Thus, stopping ROH from reaching its true potential.
Talent: the talent pool in ROH is at its weakest since its inception. outside of Steen, Jacobs, Corino, Rhino and Edwards you have a main roster that is not very good. The World's Greatest Tag Team should be sent out to pasture, the Briscoes are in my opinion the most over hyped tag team ever. Dave Richards is not a main event caliber wrestler, and should not have been put in that position. Roderick Strong has had more than enough time to break out and he continually doesn't, he is a guy who has all the potential in the world to be a superstar and he for whatever reason, be it mental or be it bad booking can't reach the heights he should have. Adam Cole is probably the biggest prospect in the promotion, and I don't doubt that it won't be long until he is signed to a WWE deal, because he has that much talent and heart. But outside of that...this roster is essentially as weak as the ECW roster was in its dying days. Can anyone fault Kenny King for leaving and going to place where his future is a little brighter. Until ROH can get more well-rounded talent, I'm afraid this trend will continue. It is one thing to have a great match, but if that is all you can do, you are only doing a fraction to captivate the audience. I hate to go back to the time when Samoa Joe, Homicide, CM Punk, Austin Aries, and Cabana were the top guys in the promotion, but when they were the top guys. They weren't just putting on great matches, but they could cut good to great promos and draw the fans in emotionally. And to me there is a disconnect because of the lack of good promo cutters...and when your top heels are the best guys on the mic in your promotion...no wonder the fans rally behind them.
That my friends are the X-Factors that make Ring Of Honor in 2012 just like ECW in 2000, something will have to change in order for the promotion to continue to survive. While I think putting the belt on Steen is a great idea, until he has credible wrestlers to face him both in the ring and on the mic his run with the belt will not be as memorable as it should be. Don't take what I am saying pure negativity...because believe me I want to see ROH continue on. Because for my generation this is the promotion most of us can call our own as a fan. We have seen it grow so much in the last ten years, that it has not only out lived ECW, but it has the foundation to last longer. But right now is a bad time for the promotion, between production issues that are causing people to lose their feeds for iPPV's they are paying hard earned money for, to canceling shows, and to talent leaving. ROH needs to find a way out, can it happen I hope
For now...this is see ya later.
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