Ring of Honor can certainly be credited with using the internet to their fullest advantage. Their business was initially as a means to sell tapes for an internet distributor, and when RoH split with that company maintained that business model and has brought it to great success today. In addition to the sales portion of their website is Ring of Honor’s notorious message board. Without this entity the passion of the thousands of Ring of Honor fans would have nowhere to vent. They would have nowhere to plan their gatherings before and after shows. They would have nowhere to show their talents creating movies, artwork, and other things pertaining to the RoH product. Their foremost foray into the World Wide Web was yet to come though.
Not long ago Ring of Honor launched RoHvideos.com and took advantage of the youtube addicted internet fans by creating their own brand of internet exclusive videos. The site offers matches, roster videos, and the ever popular Video Wires which usually serve to show highlights of recent live event and advance the myriad storylines going on in RoH at any given moment.
The wrestler that has probably benefited most from RoHvideos.com is the emo warrior himself, Jimmy Jacobs. The popularity of his character is almost completely attributable to his “music videosÃ¢â‚¬Â for songs like “The Ballad of LaceyÃ¢â‚¬Â and “Kiss 2 Kill.Ã¢â‚¬Â His total immersion in this character and gimmick has been stunning. He has also capitalized on his considerable in ring skills to have some of the best matches of 2007, but the price he paid in those encounters resulted in missing teeth and more importantly a knee injury that will keep him out of action for six to nine months. Ring of Honor has shown their commitment to Jacobs by making sure that he is not forgotten by the fickle nature of wrestling fans, and he has produced four amazing videos chronicling his series of dates with the lovely Lacey.
After defeating BJ Whitmer in the best Steel Cage Match in Ring of Honor history, Lacey promised him that she would give him a shot and it was via these videos that we got to see that shot. This week’s “Moments AgoÃ¢â‚¬Â will take a look at these videos and explain just how much of a step forward this is for everyone involved.
Episode 1:Love to Spare
This is Jimmy’s first attempt at wooing the object of his affection. He picks her up at the airport and decides that the best idea for a first date is that spot of middle school innocence and middle aged inebriation: the Bowling Alley.
Lacey is not exactly thrilled with the idea of bowling and the expression of dejection on Jimmy’s face is priceless. Jacobs still tries to put a good face on things and shows off his bowling skills or lack thereof. Later they decide to tie one on at the alley’s bar. Jacobs leaves his lady love alone for a minute only to have her become the target of some local sleaze. Jacobs returns and defends Lacey very much earning her respect. The date comes to a close back at Lacey’s hotel, and poor Jimmy does not get invited in, he must settle for the good old handshake.
This set the stage for many great things to come. Jimmy’s puppy dog attempts at romance are truly middle school in nature and reflect the fact that the majority of emo kids do in fact reside between the grades of six and ten. Trust me, I was working security at a Fallout Boy concert earlier in the week, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Jacobs’ character has captured the zeitgeist of the emo movement and is truly brilliant. More importantly this reads like the first act in a romantic comedy. Jacobs scored points but is still way behind achieving his goal.
Episode 2: Can’t Buy Me Love
With Jimmy’s previous failure behind him on date #2 he tries to use the almighty dollar to win Lavey’s affection. On a cold day in downtown Chicago he takes Lacey into some of the high class stores that one finds on the streets of a bustling metropolis and buys her a fur coat to deal with the cold winds that gave the Windy City its name. This is an entirely new angle to the bowling idea and makes some progress impressing Lacey by flashing the cash. He later talks of the beauty of credit cards and the unfortunate side effect of colossal debt. He doesn’t get a kiss or an invite inside this time either, but he ends the episode optimistic about his chances of future success.
This video was the next logical step. Jacobs plays his role to perfection and the reality TV style interviews spliced into the scene add to the entertainment of the whole saga. Jacobs proves he is willing to do anything to earn Lacey’s love, and she is starting to realize that there is more to Jimmy than just a lapdog who will lay down his life. There is a real person there.
Episode 3: Falun Apart
Episode 3 begins in a park on Falun Dafa day. Jacobs has fun in the park like a little boy while Lacey looks on. Lacey finds it cute, but Jimmy is not earning any points in the romance department. He does show that research pays off and scores big by bringing Lacey to a giant Ferris Wheel. He reveals, again showing how in touch his gimmick is with the times, that he discovered this bit of info from her myspace page. When all seems to be going well after a walk on the beach, Jimmy makes a comment that almost ruins his chances. He says he wants to take care of Lacey, which is innocent enough, but then he adds that he wants her to be able to stay home and be safe. Lacey is by definition a working woman, and a top businesswoman as leader of Lacey’s Angels. She is not the type who has any interest in being a hausfrau. She ends the date right there and Jimmy appears defeated with just one more inning to hit that home run.
One of the biggest things this series of videos has is relatability. Wrestling fans are not known for their prowess with the ladies, but most have tried at one time or another to woo the object of their affection. Some have succeeded, but most at one time or another have failed. Many have probably come within a hair’s breadth of winning their love’s heart, and made some colossal blunder and seemingly ruined all chances. Jacob’s is down but not out.
Episode 4: Behind Closed Doors
The final installment of the “Jimmy loves LaceyÃ¢â‚¬Â saga starts with Jacobs outside her hotel room. After the travails of day three, Jimmy knows it is time to come in full force. He gives Lacey a ring to show how much he loves her. Lacey responds by asking Jimmy to wait outside saying she had a gift she was saving but decided now would be the time. She goes back into her hotel room and returns in a skimpy bit of red lingerie inviting Jacobs in. They tell the camera man to leave only to have him pretend to do so and resume filming Jacobs and Lacey in the early stages of passion. He eventually does make his egress, but returns to see Lacey and Jimmy snuggled under the covers while Lacey enjoys what can only be a post coital cigarette. Jimmy does not seem to be relishing in the afterglow, though. There is a look of near disgust on his face as the final episode fades to black.
Why could Jacobs be so upset? Could it be because it did not live up to his expectations? Could it be that things went too easily and it seemed like he bought her? Either way, the angle now has new life after the physical altercations have ended. Now Jimmy has won the heart of the woman of his dreams, but maybe he is wondering if it is all worth it.
This is the epitome of a well executed wrestling storyline. It has been going on for well over a year at this point and while the new direction of this storyline may have no in ring payoff, which is why now it is a storyline and not an angle, but it is still intriguing and has me wondering what will happen next.
Ring of Honor really gets it, and while they still may have an eternity to go before gaining the casual fan it is angle and storylines like this one that show they are taking the correct steps to do so. It is unrealistic to assume that Ring of Honor will be direct competition to WWE, it is not even one of their immediate goals, but still the groundwork has been laid, and more development like this will send them well on their path.