Steve Corino in RoH: Is he Worth It?
One of the curses of independent wrestling is inconsistent talent rosters. Ring of Honor has been afflicted with this as much as any other independent promotion. Many wrestlers will go where the bigger paycheck is. Luckily for RoH, they have had the drawing ability and quality roster to get indie wrestlers from around the country to make RoH their priority. And, for the most part, Ring of Honor has not been burned on too many occasions by guys canceling Ring of Honor dates. The one major exception to this has been Steve Corino.
I want to preface the remainder of this article by saying that, on the whole, I am not a Steve Corino fan. He can be extremely entertaining and has put on great matches, but for whatever reason, he just does not do it for me. I am not going to use this column to rehash Corino’s career outside of RoH, but suffice it to say, he has had an impressive career in ECW, MLW, other NWA feds, and especially in Japan most notably with the Zero-One promotion.
His Ring of Honor work began as a color commentator, and an extremely entertaining one at that. In my humble opinion he has been RoH’s best color commentator outside of CM Punk, but that is another column. He brought in the Group, made up of Samoa Joe, Michael (Shane) and CW Anderson. They had a huge feud with Chris Daniels’ Prophecy that, due to other bookings; he could not be an adequate part of. The blowoff to the feud did not even involve him. This is just the first of many instances that he was unfortunately unable to deliver on due to outside bookings.
This happened again several months later as he developed issues with CM Punk and seemed to be building towards a feud with Samoa Joe over the world title. This time, however, the payoff was not directly killed by Corino’s outside bookings, but by a vicious, violent feud with the Notorious 187 Homicide. (side note: Even though it isn’t, wouldn’t be funny if Homicide’s real name was Thomas Hyde, say it quickly now…aaaaaannnyyyway.) With the exception of Raven vs. CM Punk this has been one of the best feuds in the history of RoH. The blow-off was the amazingly brutal no-ropes barbed wire match at “War of the Wire.” This match was made to seem extra special, because Ring of Honor put over the fact that they would never do a match like this, but it seemed the only way to settle the score between these two.
Corino won the match after Julius Smokes threw in the towel on behalf of Homicide. In the aftermath Corino said there was nothing left for him in RoH…er um, what about the world title? Either way he left, seemingly for good. His stateside focus became the Zero-One offshoot World One, which unfortunately did not pan out the way that anyone expected. Zero-One is still a very viable promotion in Japan and a favorite of many tape traders. Corino did, however, eventually make his RoH return in a huge shocker coming to the aid of former rival CM Punk during his match against Austin Aries at Glory by Honor III. He and Punk then had an alliance of one-upmans-ship that saw them compete in an extremely entertaining tag team match against Roderick Strong and Alex Shelley at Final Battle 2004. During this feud, Corino’s inability to make a show actually ended up for the better. He was slated to face Samoe Joe for the World Title. His absence led to Joe vs. Punk II and one of the best matches of the year in any wrestling promotion.
In an interview with Gabe Sapolsky, he stated that he wished he could do more with Corino, and had the chance to use him every show. This would be great for everyone involved. Corino even showed his true toughness, a quality even Gabe said he is underrated for, when he battled Roderick Strong just days after having hand surgery, no easy task. He also competed with the Second City Saints at the Trios tourney earlier this month. Then at last weekend’s show, for whatever reason he could not make the event and Spanky took his place.
The question, now, is: Is booking Corino worth it despite all of his inconsistencies? Now, the answer is a resounding yes. Corino, especially his ridiculously over the top ring entrance complete with his own ring announcer, young boys and all the accoutrements that go along with it. While I am not a fan of his, many people are, and as a result they should get to see him whenever they can. The biggest downside is that he is not the best choice to build involved angles around.
Corino’s biggest strength is probably his ability to carry angles and cut intense, meaningful promos. Unfortunately, His irregular stateside schedule prevents him from doing that. While he cannot be used to his greatest strength, he can still be and has been used very effectively during his limited RoH dates. If you look at his most successful angle in Ring of Honor, his feud with Homicide, you can see that they only met one on one in the ring twice, and it was called one of the hottest feuds of the year. That alone should indicate that he is just as valuable in small doses as in large ones.
I, personally, would not miss him if he never got booked in RoH again, but that is obviously no reason to stop booking him. He has enough clout and name recognition to put over new workers and be added in to additional angles to give them the heat that they need. So, I say, book Corino whenever he is available. While he is not my favorite wrestler, he is nothing but good news for a promotion whose biggest weakness, and it is still a very small weakness at that, is the storylines.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may be on hiatus for the next week or so do to some vacation time, but I will be forthcoming with columns in the coming weeks, about the loss of RoH’s main venue, the Best of the American Super Juniors Tournament, and some of the other issues facing the best independent promotion in the United States today.