Doomsday for Ring of Honor…I don’t think so
Some crushing blows have been dealt our favorite indie wrestling company this week. Oddly enough not the ones talked about in our last soiree together a fortnight ago. Three wrestlers will, at least for the time being, no longer be competing in a RoH ring. These wrestlers are Milano Collection AT, Abyss, and Low Ki. Is this the beginning of the end of Ring of Honor? Absolutely not. Is it bad news, though? Yeah, it is.
Losing Milano Collection AT is not horrible news. He was a very good wrestler, and had lots of potential in RoH, especially in the Pure Wrestling division. He had missed a few shows due to “injuries” having wrestled without complication the previous night. These injuries could have been sustained at the previous show, but it seems moderately unlikely. Rumors have circulated that his departure is due to Ring of Honor’s recent negotiations with Dragon Gate. Additional rumors suggest that he did not get along with the front office of this innovative Japanese wrestling company. Either way, his name has been removed from the upcoming shows, and will most likely not be seen again.
He may be a very entertaining worker, but he was not going to be main eventing in the near future, nor was he even involved in a prominent storyline. His time stateside was limited, as the story goes he was only going to spend a year or so here before heading back to his native Japan. Fans dying for a little bit of the Italian model can see him in many other Northeast indies. He is teaming up with Toryumon trainer Skayde in the final edition of the Chikara Tag World Grand Prix which will be contested in and around Philadelphia at the end of the month. Go to www.chikarapro.com for more information.
Let us move on to speaking of a wrestler’s departure that makes a little more of an impact, no pun intended. That is the loss of the monster Abyss. Abyss had been booked very well in Ring of Honor. He certainly was not typical of the wrestlers showcased by this company. He was a heavyweight, and a heavyweight over three hundred pounds to match. He had a very gimmicked look. Some people referred to him as Kane-kind of Man-Kane at various points. His style did not emphasize the technical side either. Some viewed this as a breath of fresh air in Ring of Honor, as he was providing an alternative style within the alternative style presented by RoH. He was the monster of the Embassy, easily the most entertaining heel faction in RoH. The Embassy recently won this year’s version of the Trios tournament and the spoils of their victory was the ability to book any match of their choosing. Many fans wanted to see Abyss get a title shot, but sadly it is not to be.
The rumor mill says that Abyss’s departure is due to his role in TNA which would seem unlikely given the large number of TNA wrestlers that compete on a regular basis in Ring of Honor. RoH booker Gabe Sapolsky is rumored to have said that, although he was a fan of Abyss’s work he did not want to give a prominent TNA wrestler who did not gain most of his notoriety in RoH a top spot in his company. If this is true it is certainly his prerogative to do so. It has been explained within storylines that Prince Nana has suspended the monster due to some recent transgressions at the Trio’s tournament. He almost attacked fellow Embassy member Alex Shelley. This leaves the chance Abyss will someday soon grace a Ring of Honor ring once again.
Abyss’s loss is a bigger blow to the RoH roster because there seemed to be a few storyline possibilities that were imminent for the monster, unlike Milano’s possibilities which were much more on the side of conjecture and hope than actual possibility. Abyss’s departure however is not crushing the future of Ring of Honor. He was not near the main event or any title picture other than in an enforcer role with the Embassy. The role did suit him well, and he was entertaining, but life will go on, and you can always see Abyss on TNA.
The biggest loss to the Ring of Honor faithful is the loss of Low Ki…again. This is not the first time that Low Ki has made his egress from the RoH locker room. RoH reported this news almost a week ago much to the chagrin of this columnist and countless RoH fans. Low Ki has always been a top draw in RoH. He put on many memorable matches in 2005 with his feud with Jay Lethal, and in a tag match with Samoa Joe against Homicide and Kenta Kobashi. He also stole the show in Final Battle 2005 against KENTA in one of the best matches of the year.
Low Ki has been taken off all future Ring of Honor dates. They did not bother with a storyline explanation of his departure, they simply announced that he and RoH had a negotiation breakdown, and would be parting ways. The biggest effect of his departure is the planned main event for Ring of Honor’s 100th show. Ring of Honor hoped to rekindle the magic of their very first show with a rematch of that show’s main event: a triple threat match between American Dragon, Christopher Daniels, and Ki. Sadly this will not happen.
Low Ki’s departure also puts a damper on this weekend event in Long Island. He was set to take on Roderick Strong in a budding Generation Next vs. Rottweilers feud which has certainly lost a lot of its thunder due to the lack of Ki’s presence. Ring of Honor has responded in curious fashion to this. They have essentially thrown out the format of the show, and have only kept the two title matches on the card. Ring of Honor has promised an event that will be talked about Sunday morning. Some have projected that it will be a return of Mick Foley or CM Punk, if only for one night. I for one am not making predictions; I am just upset that I will miss the show.
In conclusion, these departures will all hurt Ring of Honor, some more than others, but it is far from the death of this company. Some are saying that it is a sign of things to come, that more will start leaving, and TNA will tighten their hold on talent in the future. Ring of Honor will survive.
I’ll see you next time.
Comments and questions are always welcomed. Direct all e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org