Ring of Honor Weekly


Get Ready Mr. Wheeler, the ROH board speaks out!

News of Honor

Follow the links (they open in new windows) for all the news on ROH this week.

Check last weekend’s ROH Results here

The Hero Holdout and more

Joey Mercury’s ROH return dates and more

ROH Making big, scary seeming cutbacks, but THEN

Oh, wait…ROH’s cutbacks aren’t as bad as they seem

Check the Video Wire out.

This Week on Inside Pulse

Vin on Undeniable and Glory by Honor VI Night 2 in an opus of a review.

Paul Marshall hits the night before, Glory by Honor VI Night 1.

Ollie awesomely introduces Chikara with New Star Navigation.

Jake Mulligan is all about Puro

Kirschner has Chikara Results and come back later for the PWG Chikarticles

Jesse McGurk does TNA live coverage weekly. Check it out!

Clark does his awards.

Brock is debuting in UFC and I’m getting it!

Smackdown spoilers in the Mark Allen column on the Elimination Chamber. I was at the first of those.

I review Comics and games.

Fool in the Stands

Andy Wheeler had this to say about ROH winning Promotion of the Year in his column of pet peeves:

1) ROH is promotion of the year

Seriously? Ring of Honor is promotion of the year? You know what, I give up. I do. ROH-bots have taken over and I surrender. How in the hell can anyone truly justify Ring of Honor as THE promotion of the year? They are a regional promotion that isn’t close to being as big as ECW was yet they get the top honor after a lackluster year? Ring of Honor has been around for many years now and while they did break out in 2005 and maybe even 2006, their act got stale in 2007. By this point in ECW’s history, they were a legit threat to WCW as the number 2 company in the world. They had TV deals with what is now the Fox Sports affiliate system and were on PPV doing live monthly shows. ECW was selling out a lot of major cities despite their top talent always being raided. Oh, and by the way, ECW did this without the invention of true high-speed internet and YouTube and torrents and DVD sales. What’s ROH’s excuse? You know, I planned on doing this before their financial woes came public, and I decided not to pull it after it came out because it just magnifies my point. Sure, Ring of Honor put on three or four “great” matches in 2007. Of course they did. They are not under the constraint of the WWE or even TNA. They can hold a three hour show and allow their guys to go out there and do whatever. If the WWE wanted to, they could have Shawn Michaels and C.M. Punk do a Broadway on RAW every single week and draw the love of ROH marks, but they don’t because that’s not good business. Business, ladies and gentlemen, is key. Promotion of the Year doesn’t mean a small company that puts out grainy video of two guys aping Steamboat/Savage. Promotion of the Year shouldn’t be a company you can only watch if you’re willing to pay to order their stuff online based on blind faith. Being an ROH fan is like being a drug addict because they hook you and you keep paying despite the fact that you can never reach that initial high. I watched their first PPV and I wrote a column pointing out the good and the bad. Did ROH learn from their first show? Nope. They still don’t do live PPVs. They don’t have a weekly TV show (which, by the way, Women Extreme Wrestling does). They finally just announced that they are going to put out DVDs like ECW did highlighting the fact that the guy who just got squashed by Mister Kennedy used to wrestle for them. Hey, I wish Ring of Honor would succeed so that they would expand and put on national shows. I wish I would be in town for all of Wrestlemania weekend to see them live for the first time. But 2007 Promotion of the Year? As far as I’m concerned, if they are not even up to their own standards that to just blindly hand them this title makes our site look like a bunch of blind marks. You might hate the WWE, but they are still the default champions until someone proves otherwise.

Oh, and I’m expecting the feedback and I’m sure it’ll be intelligent and thought provoking, so I’ll clear room in the mailbox for it: awheeler316@yahoo.com.

Instead of responding personally, I thought the impassioned fans of the ROH Board should have their say. I’ll change up the colors and styles to differentiate between posters. Here’s a sampling of their posts:

Regular reader Aaron Rund had this to say:

I don’t pretend to know what Mr. Wheeler is thinking. I am not a mind reader. I respect the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. That said, I have to disagree with Mr. Wheeler that ROH should not have received the number one spot for promotion of the year and that it should have gone to WWE. I have prepared several counter arguments to Mr. Wheeler’s arguments. I don’t know what Mr. Wheeler’s defenition of Regional is but my definition for regional is that you only run your shows in one region. For example, a promotion like UWA-Hardcore which to my knowledge only runs shows in Toronto would be a regional promotion. Or if you want an American example, Chikara Pro, which only runs shows in the Northeast (Philly to be exact with one show in New England) would be an American example. Since ROH runs shows not only in the Northeast but they have ventured out into the Midwest (holding regular shows in Dayton, Chicago and Detroit) as well as running shows in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Tokyo Japan, Osaka Japan and Liverpool England. I would venture to say that ROH is much more than a Regional promotion.

As for the comparisons with the original ECW. Yes, ECW did have TV deals, but it was not with Sportchannel (which is currently Fox Sports Net) itself. It was with the individual stations, therefore not everyone who had Sportschannel on their cable systems received ECW. Therefore your argument that ECW had a national TV deal is moot because it was more of a regional deal. As far as ECW having a national television deal, ECW tried to run before they could walk and they were out of business within a year of receiving a national TV deal. It is my oppinion that ROH is not stepping over the current bounds that it has set and they are following the natural progression in their growth.

Mr. Wheeler also goes on to compare the WWE style matches to ROH style matches. When you have a national television show (or multiple national shows as the WWE does) as well as Live PPVs, you have something to build towards. The reason you don’t see WWE wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels and CM Punk going out and “doing a Broadway” every week is not feasable. Why give something away for free when you could have your audience go out and buy the match on PPV. With ROH since there is no Live PPV to build towards, the performers have to go out there and have great matches for several reasons. One of these reasons is that they are not on TV and they do not draw between 6000-10,000 fans to each one of their shows. ROH’s performers want to give it their all so their audience can go and say, that was a great match and word of mouth spreads. Also, ROH uses their live shows as a way to build up their taped PPVs. Do you think the average wrestling fan who may want to check out something new is going to buy a PPV of this seemingly new company if he keeps hearing how terrible the live shows are? Neither do I.

As for your complaint about ROH not doing a Live PPV, I think you overestimate the amount of capital ROH has, as compared to the amount it would cost to produce a live PPV. ROH is promoted by one person. Now this person while he does help fund this company he does not have the capital or the resources of a Vince McMahon who at one point in time was a Billonaire (ask him he’ll remind you). Production Trucks, Satelite Feeds, television lighting rigs and everything else that the bigger companies use to produce Live PPVs all cost money. Now, could ROH rent all this stuff and put on a PPV? The answer is yes, however that would put them in debt. Also, you have to remeber that it does take a while to receive the final buyrates for your ppvs and it takes even longer to receive the money that you make for people buying the PPVs. So, I do not believe it woud have been feasible for ROH to run a live PPV after only one PPV airing.

As for Mr. Wheeler’s comment about ROH not having a weekly TV show and Women Extreme Wrestling having one. This is ROH’s decision. I am willing to bet that in most cases the time slot for this show on most channels are very late at night on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You have to remember that just because something is on TV does not necessarily mean that it is beneficial to the company.

Wrestleholic 08 had this to say:

One of the few things I’ll say is that if a promotion CAN get people to do that(Pay for what they watch), that’s kind of a good thing, IMO.

And I’m sorry but the guy seems to not understand the financial constraints on doing the things that would equal the “Promotion of the Year” for him. Ring of Honor doesn’t want to do live PPVs and a TV show because it’ll be too costly. It’s more or less smart business. Lord knows I don’t want Ring of Honor to over-extend itself and end up shooting itself in the foot like ECW did, thus allowing it to close down.

Yes, ECW was doing live PPVs and was getting a weekly TV show on TNN around this point in their history. That marked the high water mark of the company (LD 98) and the TV show spelled doom for the company. I mean, just watch the WWE documentary on ECW and you’ll see that Heyman pretty much killed it when they got the TV show because they had nowhere to go. Why the hell would Ring of Honor want to follow in their footsteps? Gabe worked for Heyman, so he knows what happened and how to avoid it. Cary is a smart man (I mean, he’s a promoter that always thanks you for coming on your way out of the building, thus building trust).

And hey, if the retail DVDs that highlight the company and intice some people into checking things out work, why not utilize your history? It makes sense.

To me, 2007 ROH wasn’t as good as 2004-06. Though it was a step up from every other North American promotion.

As far as I’m concerned, if they are not up to this guy’s lofty standards of what the WWE is, to just blindly give this to the WWE because they have a TV show and monthly PPVs and have built a reptuation makes him look like a cynic. Cause that’s how it comes out: WWE has this stuff and until someone else does, they can’t be beat. Really? They can’t?

Downriver Drew chimed in with this:

Wrestleholic hit the proverbial nail on the head when it comes to the ECW comparisons. Gabe knows that ECW grew too quick too fast. Sure they were on TV and had live PPV, but they were only around for a couple more years after they got the major TV deal.

Also, it’s funny that he said ROH had “three or four “great” matches in 2007.” I guess it’s his opinion and personal taste but to me it seems like three or four could easily be an underestimation.

This guy talks about ROH-bots taking over when it seems from his comments that he’s a WWE-bot just blindly saying that WWE should win promotion of the year basically because they’re the biggest. The biggest doesn’t always mean the best and you should be able to see why WWE isn’t the best. They put the same few guys (Cena, HHH, Taker, Batista) in main events for every PPV. The WWE fans are obviously sick of Cena by the boos he gets all the time and they want someone else in the main event slot (as seen by their tremendous backing of Jeff Hardy). ROH had many different guys in main event slots in 2007. ROH offers more diversity than WWE. I mean when was the last time a tag title match main evented any WWE show. Gabe knows what the fans want and gives it to them more so than does Vince who only cares about what he wants.

One last comment I’d really like to point out is his comment about ROH not being up to their own standards. When was the last time WWE was reaching their standards? Their PPV buy rates last year had to be lower than their own standard (except for maybe Mania) and their live show attendance has been relatively low compared to several years ago.

Mno joined with this:

I don’t know what the criteria are for this “promotion of the year” award, but it seems like the writer is fixated on the company’s level of business and its position in the mainstream wrestling world. (For instance: “[ROH] isn’t close to being as big as ECW was … Business, ladies and gentlemen, is key …. They still don’t do live PPVs. They don’t have a weekly TV show….”) I don’t think any fan would claim that ROH was the biggest and most money-making promotion around— so in that sense I don’t really disagree.

I’m assuming most voters in the poll didn’t care all that much about evaluating “business performance” and focused more on what company put on the shows they liked best— and, in that sense, ROH delivered strongly in 2007.

The writer’s criticisms of ROH’s wrestling seem a little bit dated and off the mark. What’s an example of a recent ROH match of guys “aping Steamboat/Savage”? And his lines about the “constraints” of WWE/TNA and the theoretical Punk-Michaels broadway seem to suggest that ROH is relying on long matches— when, in fact, just about all the most talked-about ROH matches in 2007 were no longer than your average WWE PPV main event.

ROH in 2007 had its faults— some staleness on the undercards, certain feuds not delivering on expectations, a lack of great talkers, certain types of matches falling into formulas or becoming predictable, etc. But this guy is overlooking the fact that ROH branched out in the last year, built a number of strong angles and new characters, and delivered good-to-great matches in a variety of styles.

I think there’s a strong case to be made for ROH as promotion of the year.

Teenwolf makes a great analogy with his reply:

The guy is basically saying, WWE should have won cos its the biggest therefore, the best.

It seems to me he is bashing ROH and it certainly sounds like he doesn’t watch enough of it to bash it. He is afraid of change I guess.
Yes, WWE can be entertaining, like the Royal Rumble often is, but it can also be extremely embarrassing and silly which ROH very rarely is.

If you use a ‘movie’ analogy like I am about to, maybe he will see more sense.
Ok, so I Am Legend may have been the more mainstream and popular movie, it certainly made a lot of cash, but was it better than No Country For Old Men?
No, I bet some people have never heard of that film but when it wins a Best Picture Oscar I can’t see Will Smith complaining really. Bigger isn’t always better.

Four or Five ‘great’ matches, well, lets see, the Dragon/Aries trilogy, Steen & Generico vs. The Briscoe’s feud, Morishima vs. Dragon, KENTA vs. Dragon, Nigel vs. Dragon, Nigel vs. Aries, KENTA vs. Misawa, Claudio vs. Matt Sidal, Claudio vs. Morishima, Jacobs vs. Whitmer cage match, DG matches, that seems like a lot more than 4 or 5 to me, which proves, he doesn’t watch enough ROH to comment.

Don’t be scared to give ROH a try, you will probably like it if you understand it.

Elementary Z wants to discuss production value:

The guy complaining about production quality is kind of ridiculous, maybe he doesn’t realize that Vince has a little bit more funds than ROH does. What he is pretty much saying is that ONLY a promotion on T.V. is promotion of the year. Say WWE has their worst year ever in 2007, that means that TNA would be the best promotion of the year by default and the thought of that just makes my head hurt. ROH was the best promotion of the year, lie someone already said because it had the best balance of matches/storylines/angles/shows than anyone else.

There isn’t much left to be said that anybody else already did, but…

Cena was voted the best wrestler of 2007 because he was the best wrestler in 2007, not just because he brought in the most money. Oh ya he doesn’t have as money moves as Dragon I forgot.

and the WWE put the same people in the main event every show…Briscoes…Dragon? 6th Ann. show.

Ryan Faulconer makes a great point about ECW:

The writer sounds like he’s twelve. All he’s doing is pushing buttons with his points and he knows he will get a reaction. The guy would probably be just as dumbfounded if CMLL won. It doesn’t really look like the results give us much of a variety to begin with. Where are the promotions from Japan and Mexico? Its hard to rail against voters being myopic and single minded by voting for their home team (ROH) and then the voting from the staff shows that WWE is actually grouped as three different promotions out of the five that received votes by the staff. The writer has the perspective and insight of a world weary junior high school student.

Comparing any company to the ECW business model is a really bad idea as well. ECW, the one that was only subsidized by the WWF for several years and not the current one which is 100% run by that same company, probably never made money. They MAY have broke even at one point but I can’t really see how that happened. All their DVD distribution, TV deals, action figures and PPVs only led to them losing dollars pretty much and over fist. Without Vince McMahon throwing them a bone from time to time the company would not have lasted even half as long as they did.

Regular reader Kyle Sparks and all around great guy makes the following point:

A lot of other guys on the board here really hit it on the head; Andy is looking at a “biggest = best” philosophy, and it’s just not a valid recognition of what’s going on in the world around us.

Part of it can be seen in the Rise & Fall of ECW feature (if you want to bring ECW into play). When ECW tried to make the transition to television as Vince pointed out, they had to serve many more masters than they were accustomed to in the past, and they were not prepared for that. When you get right down to it, the crux of the ECW failure becomes a litany of instances of poor (or absent) preparation. ECW was not prepared to bow to some of the masters they would have to please to generate solid network TV, in part due to Paul Heyman’s perfectionism (or so I’ve been lead to believe), and in addition, they were not careful about the choices they made in the rush to do so. The deal with TNN was, by all accounts, abysmal, and really sped up the company’s descent into oblivion. More careful planning (in the vein that ROH is espousing at this juncture) may have been able to save ECW, or at least prolong things another couple of years.

Another part of the problem in Andy’s apparent assertion that WWE should have won Promtion of the Year is the way the promotions were broken down for voting. Raw, SmackDown and ECW are apparently considered three separate promotions for the purposes of the awards. If they were unified, a fairly strong case could be made for WWE because each brand has done some really solid, interesting stuff, but very rarely at the same time, so it makes for a fairly complete year.

HookandLadder of 411 replies:

Technically, I guess you could say I work for the enemy at 411mania, but we’ve had similar arguments and debates since ROH won promotion of the year there as well. To me, the criteria for any of the awards has nothing to do with the amount of money drawn, but whether or not they are the best or worst. This is why I also voted Man Up as a PPV of the year instead of Wrestlemania.

ROH had a better year then WWE from a quality standpoint during the entire 2007. It’s why I voted for them. Looking at the month of January, I’ll be honest and say WWE had a better month. To me, fans should respect the other companies that are out there. WWE and ROH are very different from each other. They have different goals. WWE is a corporate entity trying to entertain their fans and make millions of dollars on PPVs and merchandise.

ROH also wants to make money, but they want to put a product that true wrestling fans want to see. They want to be seen as an alternative. I guess they are competition, but you’re not going to see Dave and Lenny take blatant cheap shots at WWE, something that I think is hugely important for continued growth.

I also voted John Cena for wrestler of the year. There are two reasons for this. The first is because I couldn’t vote for the Briscoes as a tag team and the other is because Bryan Danielson missed the first five months of the voting period while John Cena missed the last month and a half. I guess it’s semantics, but Cena wrestling for a longer period of time and having the quality of matches he did made him the best wrestler of 2007.

To me, fans of both ROH and WWE need to grow up. John Cena and Nigel McGuinness take way too much garbage from so-called smart marks. ROH fans need to accept that WWE is never going to be the king of in-ring product. WWE fans need to realize that just because WWE is the most popular company in North America, they don’t deserve promotion of the year.

Carl Ashby or, as many of you know him, ROHRecall, our ROH news guy, says this:

I always thought the promotion of the year is the promotion that has the highest quantity/quality of great matches, angles and storylines. WWE rarely has great top to bottom shows, rarely has genuine great matches or very rarely has a quality angle or storyline.

WWE does have those things (good matches/good angles) from time to time but not as much as ROH in the slightest. ROH has more of the criteria so deserves promotion of the year.

So by his understanding the bigger the promotion the better it is, or the more money you have the better it is. Its naive and written with a 10 year old attitude, filled with pure ignorance.

Also he clearly knows nothing about ECW so he must be one of the many thousand fans who think they now know ECW regardless of not watching it at the time by just watching WWE’s ECW DVDs. And you know who you are.

Jake Mulligan (JMULL), of Spotlight on Japan Fame, brings up this about business:

I definitely disagree with this. To be honest, I don’t even think ROH WAS the promotion of the year (NJPW was) but to disqualify them from a business sense is retarded. ROH continued their DVD business, stayed in the black, brought in new talent, expanded to new areas (In Japan, with great success), and widened their brand name. Then, PPV was a step. I don’t think it was the right step for what they wanted, to be honest, but it was a step. And ROH is on TV, in Canada, Europe, and Japan, so that comment is just close-minded. So, if you don’t like the product, whatever, but I’d say ROH’s business is one of the most consistent in the business right now, and to disqualify them on business is simply stupid.

Our own ROH DVD Reviewer Mark Buckledee (Sixteen Degrees) chimes in:

Did ROH have a bad year by their current standards? I suppose the answer to that is yes. My second question is, who didn’t have a bad year by their standards?

TNA has not had a big growth year, despite this being Kurt Angle’s first full year, Booker T debuting, Pacman Jones being bought in etc. Impact ratings have stayed fairly constant, going up slightly but not as much as they should for the number 2 US promotion with a two hour TV slot. Most PPVs have been poor, as have most of the Impact shows. Unfortunately, TNA is a shadow of itself during 2006, the year where the Styles/Daniels/Joe feud made it look like they were coming close to being as good as people thought they should be.

Chikara had a great year but if ROH can’t win Promotion of the year with average attendances of 500-1000, non live PPVs and 2 mass release DVDs, how can a promotion with an average attendance of 100, non live podcast PPVs and 1 mass release DVD.

In Japan Pro Wrestling NOAH had a bad year. No wheer near as good as 2005 or 2006, most shows weren’t well received even though some matchs were amazing. Dragon Gate did fairly well with the debut of New Hazard but they have had better years and at certain points the booking was quite suspect. All Japan is entertaining but it wasn’t the best promotion in Japan last year.

New Japan had probably the most improved year this year. With Tanahashi’s matchs against Nagata and Goto, an improved Jr Heavyweight showing and the unexpected rise of Goto combining with the likes of Makabe, Nakamura and Tanahashi getting pushed, they had a great year that put them on a whole new level. Yet, business wise they had a less well attended Tokyo Dome show (the 2008 one), have not regained as many fans as they have had in the past, and not seen as big a growth financially as they have in terms of product.

Since I have no clue about lucha, this leaves WWE. Have they improved over 2006? Maybe. The Benoit incident, subsequent wellness test failures and WWEs bad luck with injuries held them back and really caused some damage. A fair few storylines (the New Hart Foundation, Kennedy’s push, a sustained push for HHH vs Cena) were canned for various reasons. WWE had some great matchs and some lousy matchs, same with the TV and PPVs. Business wise though, how was 2007? Did PPV buys and attendance go up? No, it didn’t. Did they move to a bigger stage in terms of TV networks or timeslots for ECW? No, they didn’t. WWE had a decent year, not a good one. They are still not as good as they were in 2000, they don’t have as many big names and, to be honest, the system there prevents people from becoming big names.

The situation is this:
-New Japan had a much improved year in terms of quality but business didn’t improve in terms of attendance. Plus, they are a puro promotion who are not on (US) TV.
-ROH didn’t improve on their brilliant 2005 and 2006. They had good storylines, matchs and shows. They also had bad shows and matches and storylines that petered out or nearly collapsed. They tried to expand with taped PPV’s and waited till 2008 to release nationwide DVDs, with many critics complaining about the match choices. Business didn’t improve and the problems on the West Coast didn’t help.
-WWE stayed fairly stable, improving a little in some areas and regressing in others. Like ROH, there was a mix of good and bad, maybe less good matches (for wrestling fans, not casual WWE viewers) then ROH, and arguably lower quality matches on the PPVs. Business didn’t go up in terms of PPV buys this year.

So, who should have got Promotion of the year; a re-emerging Japanese promotion not on US TV, An upstart promotion known for good matches but with a very low nationwide profile or the Industry Giant, who hasn’t reached the heights he once had seven years ago and who hadn’t improved much over the previous year?

ROH won, arguably for the same reason you claim WWE should have won, Mr. Wheeler. It won by default. I admit that there are reasons for either side to be claimed as the default victor. It’s just that voting ROH is seen as rebellion against WWE. People often don’t rebel to replace that which they protest against, the rebel in order to change it.

For the Best Reply in the World, here’s new Tuesday ROH Columnist John Wiswell, better known to many of you as Riren, who is quite upset with Mr. Wheeler:

I’ve seen a lot of people called Andy Wheeler “retarded” for his comments. I disagree. I have several retarded friends and they are all pleasant to listen to. Mr. Wheeler’s vitriol made his arguments difficult to read. My retarded friends might stutter and get lost trying to make an argument, but they would be respectful about it.

Pulse Glazer asked for responses to Mr. Wheeler’s arguments, so I’ll respond. My preference is to make a case rather than to attack a case, but this is supposed to be a direct response.

I disagree with Mr. Wheeler’s argument that Ring of Honor shouldn’t be the “promotion of the year” for 2007. Firstly, I feel such accolades are shallow at best and aren’t worth getting angry over, and Mr. Wheeler evidenced the shallowness of this particular award by suggesting that to vote for the company that most entertained is an act of “blind faith.” Instead “promotion of the year” should go to the company that grew the most, or made the most money, or in some other arbitrary fashion was the biggest. If this were the case then Peyton Manning would deserve Player of the Year for all the money he’s made off of the companies he’s licensed himself out to – a great idea for DirecTV and MasterCard, but not for quality performance.

In this vacuum where how a voter feels doesn’t matter, what exactly did WWE do? They announced plans to expand internationally, but did not. They released a theatrical failure. They lost the Italian television market. After one of their employees murdered his family, they sent other employees to defend the company in public embarrassment after public embarrassment. WWE became the center of attention and scrutiny for the worst year in U.S. professional wrestling history, and it was only the ambivalence of senators that kept Congress from sacking them. They employed an anti-drug policy that made them a laughing stock. But they sure made a lot of money. To say that WWE did a better job this year than ROH, which went to Japan and PPV but didn’t particularly expand in DVD sales or live attendance, is a joke. It’s not even comparing apples and oranges; it’s comparing a rotten grapefruit to a raspberry.

TNA is a bigger company than ROH. They have more money, even if they lost more than ROH. They’re on TV. They’re got a million viewers a week. They’ve got hundreds of thousands of viewers on youtube. More people buy their PPV’s than buy any ROH DVD. So shouldn’t they get “promotion of the year” over ROH, even if I can’t sit through their weekly show and any given half hour of TNA TV makes me embarrassed to be a pro wrestling fan?

If I had to vote for a bigger company, I would sooner vote for New Japan Pro Wrestling than World Wrestling Entertainment. They aren’t in an economic renaissance, either, but between Yuji Nagata’s world-class performances as the veteran, the rise of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto, and something impressive going down on every show that I had the privilege to tune into, they have a serious, high-quality promotion with a broad fanbase. Their issues were willing up stadiums, not bungling a P.R. catastrophe or falling on their faces for a third straight vanity film. I’d still sooner pick up an NJPW DVD than a WWE one if I didn’t have foreknowledge of the shows. I think the reason NJPW didn’t rank higher on many “top promotion of 2007” lists is that very few American wrestling fans watch them.

This all comes from a regular WWE viewer that thinks of WWE in 2007 was fun. Yet WWE is responsible for a lot of programming. Raw had a great streak in early 2007 and Smackdown had moments of greatness, but ECW was atrocious for most of the year, and after Michaels left Raw, you were lucky to get a really good show out of them. WWE also put a lot of PPV’s that were not worth the money. The Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania 23 and Armageddon were great, but most of them weren’t. So even though WWE produced a lot of good wrestling shows this year, they were responsible for far more crap.

Mr. Wheeler provides the argument that Shawn Michaels and CM Punk could wrestle 60-minute matches every week and match the aesthetic and artistic success of the ROH product, as though this demeans ROH’s product. This is similarly a silly argument, as with Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, et. al., arguably TNA could put on such a performance. The reality remains that neither company does. And perhaps Dean Koontz could write like Seamus Heaney, but he does not. Perhaps Jessica Alba could act better than Kathy Bates, but she does not. The former in these cases having more financial success than the latter does not make them superior in any moral or meritorious way. It merely makes them richer. Henry David Thoreau sold very few copies of Walden in his century, yet every Literature professor I had in college heralded that book as the greatest piece of literary thought of Thoreau’s lifetime. These use of size as a measure of quality is a sign of either an idiot economist or a naive audience.

I liked WWE this year. I do not have an “ROH addiction,” as Mr. Wheeler puts it. ROH is my favorite company, yet I also deeply enjoy WWE, PWG, NJPW and Pro Wrestling NOAH. I thought WWE Raw from February to April was one of the best stretches of wrestling television this decade. The Umaga/Cena, Michaels/Cena and MVP/Hardy feuds were three of my favorite feuds this year. I go back and forth between MVP/Hardy and the Briscoes/Steen & Generico as my favorite for 2007. I think Edge is the best heel in U.S. wrestling. The Undertaker is one of my two favorite wrestlers of all time (the other being Kenta Kobashi). Yet month-to-month, I have no question that Ring of Honor puts on a better product than WWE. It is in part because ROH works within a smaller niche, and as many literary thinkers have suggested, perfection may only be possible in small things. ROH is imperfect, but it entertains more thoroughly and more regularly than any of my other favored promotions. That’s why it received my vote in 2007, and part of why it dominated my Riren 100.

I am a “match guy.” Sure, I love Santino Marella and Larry Sweeney’s promos, but I really tune in and pay to see matches. And ROH’s most cherished match, Danielson Vs. Morishima I, did not make my top 25 matches of the year. NJPW, NOAH and WWE all had at least one match in my top 10. My biggest mark out moment of the year was Kobashi’s return. If I could go back and experience anything from ROH or WWE over Wrestlemania weekend again, it would be the finish to the Undertaker/Batista match. I am not some blurred and blinded Ring of Honor junky. I am a pro wrestling fan, so being told that my preference is like unto illogical addiction, while his preference is somehow superior despite his largely irrational and even spiteful arguments, is offensive.

Remember, folks: maturity is usually in making your case, not attacking someone else’s. Mr. Wheeler might have been more successful at convincing intelligent people if he advocated the case of another company rather than trying to assault someone else’s. Of course contrarianism gets more attention, but that doesn’t make it efficient or meritous in any way. Rewarding the company you enjoyed the most with a vote for “promotion of the year” is fine. This is a hobby. Focus on your joy with it whenever you can. It’s most rewarding that way.

Perfect. That’s it for this week. Check back Monday for an article that attempts to answer the Cena question (in ring at least) once and for all, and be on the look out for several ROH DVD reviews, including one from me.

Glazer is a former senior editor at Pulse Wrestling and editor and reviewer at The Comics Nexus.