Moments Ago…da Return
Ladies and gentlemen, after many months away from the world of the internet wrestling community, Big Andy Mac has finally made his return with the awe inspiring column that is Moments Ago…
After finally having time in my schedule to once again pay attention to the sordid affairs of the professional wrestling industry, and more importantly having the time to rant (copyright Scott Keith/Dennis Miller) and rave about it in internet column for, I have returned.
Enough about me, however, on to more important material, namely my favorite independent wrestling promotion Ring of Honor. Since my departure from the IWC RoH has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of recognition both amongst die hard wrestling fans, and even casual fans are slowly starting to take notice. In the past six months plus Ring of Honor had the benefit of Matt Hardy bringing some name recognition to the shows, an RoH career culmination of a title win by CM Punk which turned into one of the most intriguing story lines of the year from any wrestling federation, James Gibson putting on stellar matches resulting in a successful title reign, and appearances from foreign legend Kenta Kobashi and current top stars KENTA and Naomichi Marafugi.
All of those things certainly raised the already lofty prestige of this independent wrestling giant, but perhaps the biggest contribution in bringing in casual wrestling fans, has been the growing popularity of TNA mostly on the shoulders of RoH regulars like Chris Daniels, Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and most importantly Samoa Joe. Fans have watched these guys on TNA and searched for where they could see more. These searches inevitably lead to Ring of Honor where all of these athletes compete with less restriction than even TNA puts on them. New fans are joining the already very large fan base all the time. Sean “The Mic” McCaffrey of www.declarationofindependents.net a website dedicated to independent wrestling news mostly in the northeast, but nationwide as well, said in a recent column, “I don’t even consider them (RoH) and indy anymore.
As strange as it may seem, this column is not about the growth in popularity of Ring of Honor. This column is actually about the main event of the upcoming Ring of Honor show this Saturday January 14th in Philadelphia, PA. For tickets at additional information go to www.rohwrestling.com
“American Dragon” Bryan Danielson ended James Gibson’s title reign and it appears is also adding additional stability to the Ring of Honor title, which it lost slightly in the very interesting year that was 2005. As a bit of a digression, the RoH title is still by far the most important and prestigious title in independent wrestling. It attained the pinnacle of consistency in 2003/4 with Samoa Joe’s mammoth reign. He was followed by an Austin Aries six month reign which is oft debated in terms of success, the title then spent short periods around the waists of CM Punk and James Gibson before which some argue devalued the title, but I feel it gave Ring of Honor an anything can happen feel that it had lacked at other times. It appears the belt is now settling for a long spell on the waist of the American Dragon.
Each title reign in Ring of Honor has had its own character. Low Ki’s was the first and memorable more for the matches leading up to the win than the reign itself, Xavier’s reign was characterized by the heel faction the Prophecy, and fans all wondered who would beat him for the belt. The man was Samoa Joe and his reign was defined not only by its length but by the amazing matches with CM Punk, current champ American Dragon and many others. Austin Aries’ run with the gold mostly featured Aries escaping with the belt by the skin of his teeth with a desperation cage match win in his first defense against Colt Cabana, a double pin against future champion James Gibson, and other such narrow escapes. He lost the belt to CM Punk which everyone thought was to be Punk’s last Ring of Honor Match before departing to WWE developmental territory OVW, but turned out to be Punk turning on the company that made him famous and battling the whole company for most of the summer. He lost the belt to James Gibson whose reign was punctuated by great matches, and was really more of a thank you for the dedication shown by Gibson in his hiatus from WWE. So finally….we get to the American Dragon.
Bryan Danielson’s title reign has no doubt had amazing matches already against Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and Naomichi Marafugi to name a few. The distinctive characteristic, however, has been that Dragon and RoH have sent title contracts to independent wrestlers and promotions all over the country and the world. This has led to title matches against Chris Sabin and more importantly this Saturday against the Savior of CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling, also based in Philadelphia), Chris Hero.
Chris Hero has an interesting story that leads him into the RoH ring this Saturday in Philadelphia. He has made a name for himself as one of the most accomplished independent wrestlers in the world wrestling all over the United States for promotions like Chikara, CZW, IWA: Mid South, and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, as well as all over the world in Europe and Japan. He is certainly one of the biggest names on the independent scene to never compete for Ring of Honor. There was always much talk on the Ring of Honor message boards on whether Hero should be in Ring of Honor or if he was an overrated piece of crap.
My opinion on that issue had always been that Hero would fit in nicely in RoH. He has the highly technical European style that many RoH fans appreciate, and has personality and charisma which is one of the complaints RoH haters have of many members on the Ring of Honor roster. He has had great matches with CM Punk, most notably a 90 plus minute match in IWA: Mid South and other great matches with many top Ring of Honor stars including his opponent Saturday.
I had the pleasure of seeing Chris Hero in action at a Chikara Pro Wrestling show this past October, and he was certainly impressive live in person. Regardless, he will finally be making his way into Ring of Honor to battle for the loftiest prize in independent wrestling, or in the opinion of many wrestling in general.
This angle has re-asserted the brilliance of the Ring of Honor booker Gabe Sapolsky. Fans are clamoring to see what is most likely a one off appearance by just another indy wrestler. Now, I know what you are thinking, why would this idiot spend so much time praising Chris Hero only to call him just another indy wrestler. In reality, that is what he is. Gabe Sapolsky has sparked interest in this match that certainly was not there for Danielson vs. Sabin which was almost the same scenario a few months ago. Sabin had competed in RoH before, but it had been a long time, and when many other TNA talent, Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles, made their Ring of Honor returns Sabin did not. The match did not have nearly the hype that this one does
This match does have a few other things going for it, though. In a way this match is the culmination of an RoH CZW “feud” that has been in the minds of many fans for the past few years. As an added bonus CZW is putting on a show Saturday afternoon before the Ring of Honor show in the evening. Many Ring of Honor fans who wouldn’t normally attend CZW shows will probably be in attendance, and likewise many CZW fans will attend RoH to hopefully see their “Savior” take the Ring of Honor title back to the bingo hall formally known as the ECW arena.
This is brilliant wrestling booking personified. Gabe Sapolsky and CZW have guaranteed increased ticket sales for both of their events, and Ring of Honor fans that enjoy Chris Hero finally get to see him in an RoH ring, and Ring of Honor fans who hate Chris Hero hope to see him get outclassed by the greatest wrestler in the world.
Ring of Honor is starting of 2006 in amazing fashion. With their fourth anniversary right around the corner, and a huge triple shot in Chicago the weekend of Wrestlemania, Ring of Honor is already on pace to have the biggest year in their company’s history. A few things could get in the way however, and that will be my topic when Moments Ago returns to the pulse every other Thursday.
Questions, Comments, and Concerns are always appreciated and they can be sent to email@example.com
Until then this is Big Andy Mac signing off, and…I’ll see you next time.