Greetings of the season to you and yours. The third part of the Fantasy Book gift-giving event is upon us. Today, we shall focus our attention on the guys and gals from Ring of Honor.
There have been a few shakeups within ROH over the past week, however. A few people have decided to move on in their careers and that is great. But they may just be missing out on presents, and they will just have to deal with that.
- Adam Cole – The two-time former Heavyweight champion is still the de facto leader of the Bullet Club in the United States. I’d like to see Cole move away from the main title scene for a little while though. I know he is considered a top guy, but I feel he is a bit overexposed at the moment. After his rematch with Kyle O’Reilly, let’s have him act as the power-hungry leader of the Bullet Club, eventually getting into a dispute with Kenny Omega over the group’s direction. A big match between those two could happen at one of the joint events between ROH and NJPW and effectively turn one face.
- Alex Shelley – I like Alex Shelley and think he is very underutilized. The person I used to compare him to the most was a young Chris Jericho. He was great in the ring, funny in his facial expressions, and very good on the mic. I just don’t like the direction he seems to be going in ROH at the moment. My gift would be a big heel turn, effectively ending the Motor City Machine Guns team with Chris Sabin, and using the heel turn to catapult himself into a main event level star.
- BJ Whitmer – My gift to myself would be to get Whitmer off my TV screen. But if he is going to be on the show, he might as well keep acting as Punishment Martinez’ handler. Teaming with Martinez is inoffensive enough, and having Whitmer order around a monster like that isn’t the worst thing. So, let’s do this – my gift to BJ Whitmer is to fire Kevin Sullivan.
- Roppongi Vice (Baretta and Rocky Romero) – I know they are doing lots of tours which take them away from ROH television for long periods of time, but I would like to see a protracted challenge for the ROH tag titles from these guys. I also think an extended feud against the All Night Express would be aces.
- Bob Evans – I would gift this guy a hug to cheer him up. I’d also give him an angle with the newer wrestlers on the roster, possibly testing those in the next Top Prospect tournament.
- Bobby Fish – I have to give Bobby Fish credit. I always knew he was good, but he really showed himself to be the tough guy in ROH, with several very hard hitting matches for the ROH TV title. Of course, he can remain in Kyle O’Reilly’s corner as part of reDRagon, but I would also like to see him challenge O’Reilly for the World Title at some point, in a respect battle. Let’s keep him up towards the top of the card. Possibly even have Adam Cole make him a target for the Bullet Club or something.
- Caprice Coleman – I must admit that I have been enjoying Coleman a lot recently. He seems to be connected to the All Night Express these days as part of The Revolution. While I hate that name, I still think the three of them work as a good 6-man team. And Coleman could be a great mouthpiece for ANX in tag competition. I say let’s give Coleman one of those trendy wrestler interview show segments. I think that would help the product overall while keeping Coleman relevant.
- Cheeseburger – A job at the merchandise table? No, just because I don’t like watching him doesn’t mean other people don’t. Let’s keep him on the undercard wrestling against new talent or local talent, keeping the live crowds happy.
- Christopher Daniels – I hate to say it, but Daniels is on the back slope of his career. And while he can still outwrestle 96% of the current roster, eventually he will have to hang it up. Time is undefeated after all. My gift to Daniels would be an ROH World Title run (even if it is brief) and then retire to the color commentary position for ROH.
- Chris Sabin – I would say that Sabin could get a high profile feud with a turned Alex Shelley and then move on to continue as the leader/mentor to the young pups in ROH.
- Colt Cabana – I am not sure what to expect from Colt Cabana, but I do approve of his recent heel turn at Dalton Castle’s expense. I feel he could be a respectable challenger to both the World title and the TV title over the next few months. But he needs to keep pushing the heel persona, as so much of his work is based on a fan-friendly moveset.
- Dalton Castle – Castle has truly been a star in Ring of Honor this past year. My gift for him for the upcoming year would be for Ring of Honor to get behind Castle big time. Get him into the title hunt the second half of 2017. Put most of the marketing budget and team behind promoting him. Go all in on the peacock persona while emphasizing his impressive amateur-based ring work. Don’t fear any backlash, just go all-in on Dalton Castle.
- Delirious – This is a personal gift than practical, but I would like to see Delirious wrestle more often. I know he has other responsibilities, like booking the product, but I enjoy his in-ring work and persona and would like to see it a little more.
- Donovan Dijak – The odd face turn for Dijak seems quite forced to me. Most people know I would like to see Dijak fully embrace his inner douchbaggery, but that doesn’t seem to be the direction they are going. Obviously, I would say work Dijak into as many high profile spots as possible, maybe even giving him a TV Title run this year as a test.
- Frankie Kazarian – Since I am gifting Christopher Daniels some singles success and then retirement, that leaves his Addiction partner out in the cold. Kazarian has definitely gotten better and doesn’t seem to botch as much stuff these days. But he still looks like he is thinking too much in there. I say, get Kazarian into the TV Title picture, maybe even feuding with Dijak or have some sort of blood war against Chris Sabin or something.
- Hangman Page – I can’t believe I didn’t type Adam Page. Page, I gift you back your first name. You are now Adam “Hangman” Page. Also, my gift would be to act as the Bullet Club enforcer through the year. Being Arn Anderson is not a bad thing.
- War Machine (Hansen and Ray Rowe) – Yes, I am a big fan of War Machine. I thought their title run this year was a joke that was cut way too short. I have enjoyed their battles with Keith Lee and Shane Taylor, but as a gift to War Machine, I would like to see them defeat Lee and Taylor (finally) and move on from that feud. They are a threat to the tag team titles whenever they want to be.
- Jax Dane – Wikipedia says he is wrestling for ROH, but he isn’t on their official roster page, and I can’t recall seeing him. But, if Wikipedia says it’s true, it must be. However about some recognition for Mr. Dane as a gift.
- Jay Briscoe – The Briscoes are funny subjects. It seems that ROH keeps going back to them as a tag team when they have nothing else for them to do. Personally, I think that Jay’s singles run was very successful and could probably be replicated easily. Briscoe could make for a very difficult challenger for Kyle O’Reilly’s title in the early part of 2017. Then he can slip into an ROH ambassador role in NJPW and CMLL, being a big star coming into those promotions, etc.
- Jay Lethal – Jay Lethal is my wrestling savior. I still think he should be ROH champion and not jobbing to Cody Rhodes. As a gift, I would like to see Jay Lethal leave ROH and go to the WWE. I wish he would go straight to the Smackdown Live! roster and immediately start a feud with AJ Styles over the World title. Then let those two tear down every arena in the world for months on end, eventually having Lethal take the belt off Styles. He deserves it.
- Joey Daddiego – I’m dislike the personal trainer/dietician gimmick Daddiego has with Will Ferrara and Cheeseburger, but if ROH is going that route, let’s have Daddiego become that dick trainer you always meet in the gym. Let him recruit a bunch of strong guys and pit them against the pure wrestlers in ROH. That’s money.
- All Night Express/The Revolution (Kenny King and Rhett Titus) – The ANX are a solid team and can work with any of the teams in ROH. I don’t particularly care for the Revolution gimmick, but I would gift them with multiple tag title opportunities and six-man title opportunities.
- Kyle O’Reilly – The new ROH World champion. I am not sure how long his title reign should last, but I think he could work through a couple feuds before dropping it. My gift to O’Reilly would be a video library of some of the best talkers in the business, in particular William Regal, as a way to come across as a vicious badass.
- Lio Rush – How about some weighted boots to keep you from flipping around like a damn fool. I’d also like to give him a year’s supply of Weight Gain 4000. I just don’t want to see him broken in thirds. http://southpark.cc.com/clips/149639/beefcake-beefcake
- Mark Briscoe – Earlier this year, I truly thought Mark Briscoe deserved a good run with the TV title. But then he cut his hair. No, just kidding. I still think he could be a good TV champ for a while. But I think I would rather see him as a rotating color commentator for the Ring of Honor TV and PPV events. An announce team of Kevin Kelly, Christopher Daniels, and Mark Briscoe on occasion would be fantastic.
- Marty Scurll – Tons and tons more exposure for Scurll. This dude is the future of Ring of Honor, so my gift to him is that Ring of Honor keeps him happy and around for a long while.
- The Young Bucks (Mark and Nick Jackson) – I know fans love them but they are part of a hated group in the Bullet Club. My present for them would be a mean streak. Have them give a super Indydriver to someone on the concrete floor and put them out of action for a couple months. Have them brutalize another fan favorite team with cheap shots and weapon attacks. And finally, have them refuse to superkick anyone, just to troll the fans. Get the fans to hate them instead of loving them.
- Matt Sydal – Hey, dude, where have you been? Let’s get you back on TV. Maybe even have a little mid-card feud with Kazarian for a while. How does that sound?
- The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia) – O’Ryan and Marseglia have still yet to distinguish themselves to me. I would suggest some individualized wrestling trunks or boots or something to have those guys stand out. As for Taven, the six-man title is a good use for him for now, and I would also be a fan of him being part of a color commentary rotation.
- Punishment Martinez – See BJ Whitmer above. Let Martinez be Whitmer’s instrument of destruction for a while. This could, and should, all lead up to a battle against Donovan Dijak (especially if they keep Dijak a face), which could be a marquee match of a couple of young, big, and impressive guys.
- Silas Young – Young just recently re-upped for another year of ROH and I like his spot right now. My only wish for him is to alter the reasoning a bit behind some of his feuds. They can be based on his Last Real Man gimmick, but use bits and pieces of it. For example, during his abbreviated feud with ACH, Young could have railed against video game culture, the short attention span of millennials, etc. Let’s get a little more depth with Young’s overarching gimmick.
- Will Ferrara – Ferrara is right about where he should be, I think. Unless you team him up with a big power guy (like I suggested be done months ago with Michael Elgin), I think you keep him as the plucky underdog with skills always fighting against the odds. Maybe you get lucky and turn him into El Generico 2.
- Will Ospreay – See Marty Scurll above. Ospreay is the future of this company, so he needs to be seen and seen often by audiences. He probably doesn’t need a belt right now, just camera time.
- Amber Gallows, Britt Baker, Faye Jackson, Kennadi Brink, ODB, Solo Darling, and Sumie Sakai – More opportunities for the Women of Honor to wrestle in front of the great ROH crowds. Also, how about a Women of Honor special event (not necessarily a PPV) once every three months. You could build stories, grudges, etc. Which leads to…
- Kelly Klein – They have consistently promoted Kelly Klein as unstoppable. So let’s work off that and make her the first Woman of Honor champion. She could win a tournament where her main challengers could be upset before they got to her and she could be teased for having an easy run. Her first title feud would be against Candice LeRae.
- Candice LeRae – She would be the first major contender to Kelly Klein and would have a lot of promotional time to sell the match, possibly including a big UFC-style press conference. LeRae could probably rally most of the crowd to her side easily enough.
- Deonna Purrazzo – Aside from my inspired suggestion last week to have her adopt a Cat Woman-type gimmick (get it? PURRazzo?) I would have her work as someone driven to succeed and get better every time out. She can have some nice matches with several of the women on the roster, all the while, building herself up for an eventual shot at the title.
- Hania – I love this woman. And she and Mandy Leon had a great match a while back which I still talk about. I want to see a prolonged feud between Hania and Leon where they continue to make the Woman’s division look like a true equal to the Ring of Honor main roster. Also, I would like to see a match between those two on a ROH PPV proper.
- Mandy Leon – See what I said above about Hania. Also, let’s have Leon be on TV a little more often. I know WWE was sniffing around about her previously, so you better keep her happy enough to stay.
- Jessicka Havok – Havok does a very good job as coming across as the killer monster. While they have played up an alliance between her and Taeler Hendrix, I am not sure that is really necessary. Havok could work less as an Awesome Kong type, but more of an Abyss type. Someone who is unpredictable but scary dangerous. She would be good on a weekly basis letting the others in the division bounce off her. And a tease of a fight between her and Kelly Klein would be very fun.
- Taeler Hendrix – Since the House of Truth is gone, Hendrix can concentrate on her wrestling career. I miss her at ringside with Jay Lethal, but she is still a solid presence on the roster. While Mandy Leon and Hania tear down arenas throughout the country, I think Hendrix could have a nice little feud with Deonna Purrazzo. Eventually, when a face takes the title, Hendrix could be first in line for a shot.
- Kevin Kelly – I would like to gift Kevin Kelly some recognition for doing a really good job on Ring of Honor. A lot of people still remember him back when he was very green in the WWE, but his play-by-play skills and ability to sell a storyline are both very, very good. Ring of Honor is lucky to have him. His broadcast partner is now gone (Steve Corino), but I think he could work with a number of other color commentators, specifically Christopher Daniels or Mark Briscoe. As a gift, let’s give him a broadcasting award.
- Scarlett Bordeaux – How about a little more screen time for Ms. Bordeaux?
- Bobby Cruise – Continued success as not being compared to Howard Finkelman.
- Ian Riccaboni – Let’s get you just a bit of personality so I can remember your name.
- Prince Nana – Okay, either develop and keep a strong stable, or get out of the management business. You could be part of the color commentary rotation, but I think you could probably take a few top prospects and mold them into a six-man tag team contender.
Even though these guys just left ROH, here are their presents anyway:
- Steve Corino – Success as a trainer in WWE and possibly as a second-level show announcer.
- Michael Elgin – A successful career over in NJPW (if that is where you wish to stay). NJPW seems to really respond to your style, so take advantage of it and try to become more Steve Williams and less Prince Albert.
- Nigel McGuinness – I liked your authority role in ROH as the official matchmaker. I would love to see you be able to do something like that over in WWE, however they already have William Regal doing a similar thing in NXT. Perhaps you could become the Commissioner of the WWE UK push or something, acting as not only announcer/commissioner/etc, but also as a “diplomat” to the WWE US brands of Raw and Smackdown Live!
- ACH – I am not positive of your status with the company, but if you are truly gone, then I would like to present to you continued health. I am so afraid you are going to tear apart your knee one day and have nothing. Also, maybe I will ask Santa to get you a cape so you can go all-in on the wrestling superhero thing.
And with that, I am out of wrapping paper for ROH. Next week, I will try my hand at delivering presents for the people in NXT. Until then…
Tags: ach, Adam Cole, Alex Shelley, Christopher Daniels, Dalton Castle, Delirious, Donovan Dijak, Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, kevin kelly, Kyle O'Reilly, Mandy Leon, Marty Scurll, Michael Elgin, Nigel McGuinness, Steve Corino, The Kingdom, The Young Bucks, War Machine, Will Ospreay