Ring of Honor. Fantasy Book. Continuation. Here we go.
- Colt Cabana – I don’t like Cabana as much as some people do. I mean, he’s okay, but I don’t think he is super. He uses too much comedy in his matches and his moves don’t seem that devastating. ROH seems to be using him as a color commentator a little more often. He is okay in that role, but not great. I would suggest we let Cabana challenge for the world title or the TV title. I am not sure people would buy that he could win, but he could get a couple good matches out of the current champs. After that, maybe use him to help some new talent over.
- Dalton Castle – Castle had his shot at the World Title just recently and it didn’t go that well. Castle is great and a lot of fun. I would consider him to be a top talent but not necessarily a main event talent. However, I think a short program with Marty Scrull for the TV title would be excellent. After that, I could see a nice little feud against The Kingdom’s Matt Taven. I just have a feeling that these two could really go at it.
- Delirious – I know Delirious has a lot on his plate, with booking everything and all. But since I am handling the booking for the moment, I would have Delirious wrestle more often. Against anyone. Delirious could have comedy matches with Dalton Castle, Colt Cabana, Cheeseburger, Caprice Coleman, or even Christopher Daniels. He would be a good addition to the weekly television program and would probably be good fodder for talents on the rise.
- Frankie Kazarian – I think Kazarian has grown quite a lot in the past couple years. I used to think he was talented, but sloppy or distracted in the ring. Almost like an athlete who overthinks his/her assignment instead of just reacting. His moves seemed to be just slightly delayed and off-rhythm. He was getting better. Much better, in fact. And I am looking forward to his battles with Hangman Page. But then he almost killed Marty Scurll with a botched DDT which missed the ring apron entirely. I suggested a Daniels/Kazarian match before and I still think that would be a nice little TV main event match. After that, maybe he can get a new partner or something and have some matches with Rappongi Vice.
- War Machine (Hansen and Ray Rowe) – First and foremost, they need to stop having the members of War Machine lose. Their whole gimmick is that they are tough sons-of-bitches who dish out punishment. They held the tag titles for roughly 45 minutes, but since then they have been used very poorly. Maybe ROH was worried they were going to jump ship, but still, their feud with Shane Taylor and Keith Lee was very one-sided. And both men have been losing singles matches recently too. I am a little concerned that maybe they have been diminished too much. If I were to fantasy book War Machine, I would have them jump ship to NXT and take it to the Authors of Pain. They’d be fresh in a new environment and I have a feeling the Full Sail crowd would eat their gimmick up. If nothing else, maybe they could teach the AOP a few things. If I were going to have War Machine stay in Ring of Honor, I would do something drastic to rebuild their aura. I would have War Machine come out one week at the end of a Young Bucks match and just have them annihilate the Jackson brothers. Seriously, absolute destruction which just leaves the champs laying. This would probably turn them heel, but that is not the worst thing. Eventually this could lead to a title match, but it would definitely re-establish War Machine as a monster team to be feared.
- Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe – I am going to separate the Briscoe brothers for this exercise. I can see them continuing to team together and have some great matches with a loaded tag team division, but I think a lot of good from Jay and Mark in singles competition. Jay Briscoe is still hanging on to some glory from his world title and unbeaten run and is one of the top guys in the promotion. I am not sure I would have him in a main event feud immediately, however. In fact, this could be a little placeholder until he gets back in the title picture. How’s this? While still teaming together, Mark starts doing a little more color commentary. During his commentary, he begins dropping jokes about Jay, teasing his brother, etc. One day, Jay can confront him about this and Mark will just play it off as having some fun. Jay will “demand” that Mark stops making jokes about him since he is the older brother. This can start a little sibling rivalry storyline where they still team together and stuff, but they will eventually build to a big brother versus little brother fisticuffs. A big match between them at this point in their career could actually be awesome. Further fantasy booking would include Mark handling most of the color commentary duties for ROH or maybe starting an in-ring interview segment in the vein of Piper’s Pit. I would also have Mark be a serious contender for the TV title when Jay eventually goes after the World title.
- Jay Lethal – Okay, here we go. As most of you might know, or have figured out, I am a huge Jay Lethal mark. He is without a doubt my favorite wrestler in ROH. He may be my favorite wrestler in all of wrestling at the moment. So if you think I would fantasy book him weakly, you are sorely mistaken. I would not have Lethal win the World Title at War of the Worlds. I would have Daniels pin Cody, leaving a one-on-one match with Lethal down the line. Then, I would focus on Lethal’s determination and road to getting another shot at the title. Lethal would pull out excellent matches against everyone he faces, building some additional stars in the process. Eventually he would get his one-on-one match against Christopher Daniels at a big event and take the title off him, putting himself back at the top where he belongs.
- Jay White – I mentioned last week that I thought a couple matches with Adam Cole could be a big boost for Jay White’s future. Other than that, I would like to see White simply do what he is doing – having pretty good matches with a wide variety of people. I don’t know how much longer White will be stateside before he heads back to New Japan, so let’s just let him wrestle and not get too involved in any big storylines.
- Joey “Diesel” Daddiego – Is he still around? He’s a jobber to the stars, but maybe we can get a little comedy out of him. Let’s have Daddiego become Cheeseburger’s bodyguard. Let Cheeseburger’s popularity get to his head and he can hire Daddiego to be his personal security. If nothing else, it might keep Cheeseburger out of the ring a little more.
- Jonathan Gresham – Now that Gresham is on the ROH roster full time, here is the plan – go after Will Ospreay. Or Dragon Lee. Or Nick Jackson. Or Matt Jackson. Basically, become a badass wrestler whose mission is to ground the high fliers. Tie up the flippy-floppers. Stretch those spot monkeys on the mat. Don’t let them hit any of their high impact flippy moves. This will turn Gresham into a hated wrestler because the fans love that flippy shit. But it will also help Gresham grow into a big star. He already has the arrogant act in the ring pretty well developed.
- Kenny King – Remember when I said Jay Lethal would have a bunch of excellent matches in his run-up to the World Title? And that he would probably establish some stars in the process? Well, Kenny King is one that I think would benefit greatly by having a match or two against Lethal where he looks like a solid contender. However, if we are going to have Kenny King focus on singles wrestling for a while, he needs more than just looking good in the ring. He is going to have to win some matches, and a big feud. I could see that working against one of the NJPW stars or maybe Frankie Kazarian after he is done with Hangman Page. A Kazarian/King feud could be pretty entertaining. We could also try to turn King into a babyface and have him fight against his former Rebellion friends and partners. Kenny King versus Rhett Titus would be a solid mid-level match and could potentially boost one or both men into title opportunities.
- LSG and Shaheem Ali (Coast 2 Coast) – Coast 2 Coast is still a relatively new tag team on the scene. They have a few good moves and some good energy, but they are a bit bland and haven’t been able to really shine. I would fantasy book them as tag team jobbers to the stars for a while. Then, in about six months to a year, have them pick up a fluke victory over someone big (maybe The Briscoes) and that fluke victory could start the ball rolling for C2C to start being taken seriously.
- Marty Scurll – Scurll is my new favorite. In fact, he is rapidly approaching Jay Lethal status. I would fantasy book Scurll to keep the TV title around his waist for quite a while. I would have him continue to defend the belt against anyone and everyone. I think he beats Matt Sydal at War of the Worlds and then beats Kushida a few days later in a great match. I would have Scurll beat all kinds of challengers, including people like Jonathan Gresham, Will Ospreay, Jay White, Rocky Romero, Dalton Castle, BJ Whitmer, and more. I would book Scurll as a dominant champion in much the same way Jay Lethal was with the TV title. In fact, I would have Scurll hold the belt until Lethal wins the World Title. Then I would have Scurll come after Lethal, calling back to when Lethal had the TV belt and challenged Jay Briscoe for the World Title. This would build and build until the two tore down the house at a huge event, maybe the next Anniversary show even. I think I would have Lethal win, but I am not 100% sure of that. The match itself would be amazing.
- Matt and Nick Jackson (The Young Bucks) – I wish I could just have the Young Bucks go full heel in Ring of Honor, but they seem intent to be faces here. I mentioned a good feud between the Bucks and a heel MCMG earlier, and that could work nicely. There are plenty of good tag teams for the Bucks to wrestle, and I can see them having a good run with the ROH Tag Titles. When they eventually lose the belts, I think it could help if it was a combination of The Kingdom winning. I would probably say Marseglia and O’Ryan, once he recovers, but maybe a surprise return by Maria and Matt Bennett could come into play.
- Matt Taven – I think Taven is a little more valuable as a singles competitor for a while. He can still team with his Kingdom partners, but if he can re-establish himself as a singles star, that would be great. One thing we can book quickly is have him get to Adam Cole. Cole and Taven have never settled their differences after the dissolution of the Kingdom and I think Taven and Cole could put on a couple good matches before Cole moves on. Taven would also be a good opponent for Dalton Castle, which I think I mentioned above.
- Prince Nana – I am not sure what his current role is in ROH after the weird mystery envelope storyline where he might have been recruiting people? If he is going to be a heel manager, that’s fine, we just need to attach him to someone. My initial thought is for him to take on Punishment Martinez and try to help him climb the ladder.
- Punishment Damien Martinez – Speaking of which, here is Mr. Martinez himself. Martinez is a big and athletic freak. He has a good look, can appear genuinely scary, and is good, not great, in the ring. He is still green and looks like he doesn’t quite know how to handle his massive frame in the ring at times, but he’ll get there. ROH likes to have a huge, strong, and agile guy on their roster (see Moose, Donovan Dijak, etc) and Martinez is the next in that line. Getting him away from BJ Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan was a very, VERY smart move. Now, with the guidance of Prince Nana, he can be a freight train, barreling through opponents until eventually going after the World Champion. I wouldn’t put the belt on him, but he could make a great monster challenger in short order.
- Rhett Titus – Dude, I can’t stand hearing you on the mic and your “Big Dog” gimmick is lame. However, you were a good part of the All Night Express, and have shown you can wrestle pretty darn well. In fact, your selling, especially during that 6-man match a while back during the Lio Rush story, has been excellent. It seems at this point you are carrying Shane Taylor in a tag team. That is a pretty good role for you at this point – the tag team specialist in the Rebellion. There are many worse things than being labeled a tag team specialist. I could see a singles feud with a babyface Kenny King, maybe a shot or two at a singles title on the weekly tv program even. But for the most part, I would have you be Rhett Titus, the Tag Team Man, and have you search for the perfect partner to go get the tag straps.
- Shane Taylor – See the Rhett Titus entry above. Work as a tag team for a while and occasionally squash some smaller dudes to keep your heat strong.
- Silas Young – In addition to being in a surprisingly good tag team with the Beer City Bruiser, I heaped praise on a potential feud with Bobby Fish. I still think that would be a great, hard hitting feud. After that, I would have Silas Young push for the World Title and possibly even start getting into it with guys like Mark or Jay Briscoe. I would work to have Young be a top tier guy, someone you can count on putting in incredible performances night in and night out. I would tweak his character a little to make him less one-note, but that’s a minor quibble. I could also see him being successful and begin to have followers, whether he wanted them or not. One of those followers I will get to in a minute.
- TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia (The Kingdom) – I still feel bad for TK O’Ryan and that freak injury. He never really had a chance to carve out his character before getting hurt. I could see him getting booted from The Kingdom by a returning Maria and Michael Bennett. There could be some dissension in The Kingdom after that with Marseglia mad about his friend getting thrown out of the group. The resolution could come with either Marseglia leaving as well and he and O’Ryan teaming up as a face tag team, or better yet, have Marseglia turn his back on O’Ryan and remain in The Kingdom. Marseglia has turned on the wild quite a bit lately, and it is working for him. The Kingdom needs a palace pet or a dragon around.
- Will Ferrara – It appears Ferrara has finally given up on Cheeseburger. He will probably have a little feud with the fast food item and then hopefully move on. But to what? Ferrara is good in the ring, but he is small as well. Lost and not sure where to turn, Ferrara sees in Silas Young someone he can look up to, someone he can emulate, someone to learn from and admire. Young may or may not like this development, but Ferrara will basically become Young’s follower/student. It gives Young a little bit of a barrier to protect his newly won top spot, and it gives Ferrara a higher profile in the company.
- Will Ospreay – Finally we get to the master of flipanomics. I have mentioned his name a few times in these two columns, and that is because I think he can be a good opponent for some people, but I am not sure I buy him as someone who can carry things himself. I think small feuds with Caprice Coleman and Jonathan Gresham will help him be considered a little more seriously than just a spot guy. A rematch with Marty Scurll for the TV Title would also be fantastic. I’m not saying Ospreay should become a jobber to the stars. I just want to see him a little more grounded so he can be seriously considered going forward.
- The Women of Honor – Acccording to the ROH website, the following women are actively competing in the Women of Honor division (even though there is no title): Deonna Purrazzo, Faye Jackson, Jenny Rose, Kelly Klein, Kennadi Brink, Mandy Leon, Scarlett Bordeaux, Solo Darling, and Sumie Sakai. This is not a very deep division, but they have a good amount of talent here. They seem to have been building Kelly Klein as an unstoppable talent, trained by BJ Whitmer and just unbeatable. That works. But the true star of this division is Mandy Leon. She is talented, hard working, and keeps getting better. The biggest fantasy booking of this division I would do is have more than one Women of Honor special a year. Maybe one big special a year, but have a women’s match every other week on TV. Just to remind everyone that they have some talented women there.
- Oddly, as I was typing this, Ring of Honor updated their roster page, adding Bully Ray. Here’s how I would book him – Give him a tryout as a color commentator. We know he can talk, let’s see what he can do calling matches. Let him wrestle on very rare occasions (like they did with Steve Corino) just to give the crowd some nostalgia.
And that ends my fantasy booking of the current Ring of Honor roster. Would you do something different? Let me know in the comments section.
Next week, I hope to have something special for you. Just a hint – you may want to keep these last two columns handy as a reference. Until then…
Tags: Bully Ray, Coast 2 Coast, colt cabana, Dalton Castle, Delirious, Frankie Kazarian, Hansen, Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, Jay White, Joey Daddiego, Jonathan Gresham, Kelly Klein, Kenny King, LSG, Mandy Leon, Maria, Mark Briscoe, Marty Scurll, matt taven, michael bennett, Prince Nana, Punishment Martinez, Ray Rowe, Rhett Titus, Shaheem Ali, Shane Taylor, silas young, The Kingdom, TK O'Ryan, Vinny Marseglia, War Machine, Will Ferrara, Will Ospreay, Women of Honor, Young Bucks