News of Honor
MsChif is the new Shimmer Champion
As she is recognized by ROH, sheâ€™ll be on more ROH shows now.
Human Tornado is out for a year with a knee injury
This is a shame and we wish Tornado a speedy recovery.
ROH is in talks with TNA for more of the Murder City Machine Guns later in the Summer
The return of the Guns is great news and hopefully they will face Steen and Generico next time.
Ring of Honor has two major angles going on, along with two heel champions being chased. Today weâ€™ll be taking a look at each angle and the champions, how their being booked, and the different ways they can go.
Take No Prisoners, the Sixth PPV will debut May 30
I canâ€™t fathom why this one is taking so long! I wish it were debuting sooner, as the show was great.
The Fool in the Stands
The Age of the Fall
Age of the Fall are the revolutionary stable that debuted at ROHâ€™s Man Up Pay Per View attacking the Briscoes, trying to destroy everything ROH represents. Since then, though still feuding with the Briscoes and even dethroning them for the tag titles, they have basically become just another stable. Still, they are likely the most compelling stable, wherein each member has a distinct role and something to do.
Jimmy Jacobs is the evil, driven leader. Tyler Black is the up and coming stud who can take it to the best in the company and is a singles and tag threat. Necro Butcher is the brawling wildcard and Joey Matthews is the former star, doing whatâ€™s needed. Jacobs and Black are battling for the tag titles, while Black is on a one man war with the upper card, having faced Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson, and Austin Aries already. The Necro Butcher is mostly busy chasing Roderick Strongâ€™s FIP Title, while Matthews is content to slot in where he might.
What has recently made the AOTF so compelling lately is that Lacey, Jimmy Jacobs inspiration in starting the group, has left to be with Austin Aries. This has lead Jacobs to insanity, mutilating himself and anyone around him. Adding to the drama, Mark Briscoe was recently badly hurt by Jacobs and when Jay had to choose a new partner and tag champion, he chose Austin Aries. Jacobs is not pleased and has a shot at the tag champions next weekend in the Hammerstein Ballroom along with partner Tyler Black.
There are numerous ways this shot could go. First is most simple and likely: Tyler and Jacobs prove they again have Briscoeâ€™s number, defeating and attacking Aries and Jay brutally while claiming the tag titles. This would set up a title chase that the AOTF would not run from since now both their enemies, Aries and Jay, would be chasing them.
The next option would set Age of the Fall up as the most dangerous stable. This option sees Jacobs as a master manipulator, having Aries be a secret member of the Age of the Fall fold and cost Jay the tag titles. This is my favorite scenario and though it would require for Jacobs to have accounted for a lot, it falls within the realm of reason that this could be a giant set up. This would add Aries to the Age of the Fall fold and make them easily the biggest and most dangerous stable in ROH.
The final option for the Hammerstein match, my least favorite, sees Jacobs go so insane that he costs his team the tag title shot. That is certainly possible and will extend a hot feud, but really slows down the feud. Many of ROHâ€™s feuds have taken months for anything of substance to occur. This feud is hot and itâ€™d be nice to see ROH buck the recent trend by striking before it has a chance to cool.
The future of the stable and Jacobs is in the air after the Hammerstein, but two of its members seem on fairly set courses either way. Tyler Black, whether a tag champion or not, will continue his rise up the singles ladder. Heâ€™s one of the few new talents people badly want to see and with continued great matches, itâ€™s a matter of time before he gets another shot at Nigel McGuinness and, as we will see, is one of the major contenders for the World Title. Necro Butcher is distancing himself a bit from the rest of the group, sometimes not emerging for beatdowns, but is one of the most over member of the roster and seems the perfect fit for the â€œChampion makes the Rulesâ€ FIP Title.
Age of the Fall have a ton of possibilities. Which are likelihoods will become clearer after the Hammerstein, but just about every possibility holds some interesting outcomes, including a legitimate shot at title dominance.
Sweet nâ€™ Sour Incâ€™s Takeover
Larry Sweeney has decided that his group will takeover ROH by signing away all the best talent and shipping them off to the highest bidder, just like Sweeney sold Matt Sydal to the WWE. This angle has a ton of tendrils reaching around ROH that begin with the buyout of the Hangmen 3.
The Hangmen 3 of Adam Pearce, Shane Hagadorn, BJ Whitmer and Brent Albright were a very low tier stable, feuding with Delirious and Generico over their wearing masks. When Sweeney bought them out, it was for a mysterious suitcase. No one knows whatâ€™s in it, but surely, this will be a major plot point in the future. Pearce and Hagadorn still toil in the undercard, now protecting their precious cargo. Whitmer meanwhile, refused SnS, Inc and was beat up by his former stablemates and kicked out of ROH. Albright accepted the offer, but is becoming increasingly confrontational with Sweeney. Heâ€™ll likely stick with the group for a bit, before leaving and joining what will surely be a large group of those that despise the self proclaimed super agent.
Chris Hero, the main talent of SnS since its inception, has recently decided to ditch his comedy routine and become a serious contender. Brawling Hero is a top talent and monster at drawing heel heat. Just returning to ROH from NOAH, heâ€™s currently without a major feud, though the enemies of SnS will soon be lining up at his door. Heâ€™s also begun teaming with new acquisition Eddie Edwards, a very good wrestler from the northeast independent scene.
Always looking for new recruits, Sweeney has targeted The No Remorse Corps of Roderick Strong, Rocky Romero and Davey Richards. Roderick has been adamant about not joining, but Richards and Romero seem to be considering it. With a confrontation likely, itâ€™d be surprising if at least one of the heels did not go with Sweeney. At first, Davey seemed most likely, as heâ€™s shown the most interest, however, he was a founding member of the NRC and is very similar to SnS member Eddie Edwards, so smart money has switched to Romero joining to work with Edwards. This would leave Strong and Davey in tweener or face roles to face the rest of SnS. Their matches with combinations of Albright, Hero, Edwards and Romero would certainly be great and Iâ€™m looking forward to these match-ups.
There is a growing contingent that already hates Larry Sweneey and his group. First among them is Claudio Castagnoli who still has not gotten his hands on Sweeney. Claudio is chasing the World Title, but as I see him falling short there, will likely turn back to battle the super agent shortly. Besides Claudio, Erick Stevens has an issue with Sweeney who sold away Daniel Puder before Stevens could get his hands on him. This adds an interesting twist as Stevens is a blood enemy of Roderick Strong with whom he has recently lost a feud (at least Iâ€™m assuming a Last Man Standing is a feud ender). This sets up an interesting dynamic in those who would be battling Sweeney as Davey Richards also broke Stevens arm and put him out for a while. All of the different dynamics and how they play out do nothing but help to keep this feud dynamic and interesting.
Sweeney has one more recent venture, that with Tammy Sytch in forming the Diva School. ROH takes pride in having its women be wrestlers first and foremost, while the Diva School will train them to be what the WWE would expect. This has drawn the ire of former Shimmer Champion Sara Del Rey, inarguably one of the finest womenâ€™s wrestlers in the world.
Sweeneyâ€™s army and the growing contingent that are opposing him create a ton of possibility along with, most interesting of all, constantly shifting alliances that will lead to compelling matchups.
The FIP Title
Thanks to the brilliant efforts of Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens, the FIP Title has become one of the most valued belts around. Long seen as a second rate title, the wars these men engaged in over the belt have added prestige and importance to the belt. Stevens has (hopefully) lost the feud for this title to Strong, who still has a litany of potential opponents.
The two most likely of these are the Age of the Fall stablemates Necro Butcher and Tyler Black. Tyler, the up and comer, has defeated Davey Richards on the most recent FIP show, seemingly earning himself another title shot at Strong. With the ROH Tag and World Titles on Blackâ€™s radar, itâ€™s unlikely heâ€™ll have the focus to get Strongâ€™s FIP Title. Heâ€™s still, at this moment, a serious contender.
The other likely contender is the man I believe most likely to dethrone Strong, the Necro Butcher. As over as nearly anyone on the roster, Necro is receiving a huge push, facing the GHC Champion Takeshi Morishima in the Hammerstein. Itâ€™s assured Necro will lose there, but his toughness should be well served as he continues to gain momentum to challenge for Strongâ€™s belt. He already has one controversial, No DQ win over the FIP Champion, and another, for the title seems likely. Necro with the FIP Title could be a major draw as the FIP Champion makes his own rules. Necro in major brawls for a title that matters sounds like a win-win proposition that fans would flock to.
Ring of Honor World Champion
With the ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness still in the early stages of his heel run, he is unlikely to be dethroned anytime soon. This means Claudio Castagnoliâ€™s title shot at the Hammerstein will likely be fruitless. Nigel, however, is the consummate heel champion, antagonizing the crowd, drawing great heat for great matches, and even, occasionally, winning cheaply. It is this that will make people pay to see top faces challenge Nigel and try and take his title.
There are any number of top challengers who can potentially dethrone Nigel. The first two are the two aces of ROH, Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson. Both have issues with Nigel and have come close to unseating him before. The problem is, the three, Nigel, Aries, and Danielson, are seen as the only three main eventers of ROH. What this means is that putting the title on them isnâ€™t getting them more over, nor is it creating a new draw. This is counterproductive and means that Aries and Danielson can likely be eliminated from those that will dethrone Nigel, although the future matches where they try will likely be fantastic.
The next major criteria is that the next champion has to be someone new fans can see on top and not immediately assume ROH is a joke promotion. With the stigmas on the indies, this is not to be underrated, even though it eliminates Kevin Steen and El Generico from contention.
The last major criteria is it cannot be someone who is already a draw and success in their own role. If someone is already hugely over and doesnâ€™t need the title, being successful in their own niche, they shouldnâ€™t be champion. Itâ€™s unnecessary and not a valuable use of resources. This means that Jay Briscoe, Jack Evans, Claudio Castagnoli, Roderick Strong, and Chris Hero are likely out of contention.
So, with that out of the way, besides the undercard hopeless cases, still left in contention are Davey Richards, Erick Stevens and Tyler Black.
Davey Richards, with the NRC and SnS battles behind him, has never faced Nigel McGuinness. Further with a face turn, his newfound intensity, and a working arm submission (the Kimura), perhaps no one would have more momentum and potential as the next ROH champion. The only problem here is the time it would take to set Davey up as the next major contender requiring a lot more time than Nigel would likely hold the belt.
Tyler and Stevens both have a lot going for them as nearly uncontested future stars. Both men have already wrestled Nigel, with Tyler taking him to the limit. Both men were defeated through somewhat nefarious means, having wrestling earlier in the evening and Tyler having his arm assaulted by Nigel pre-bell, while Stevens was assaulted by Roderick Strong on his way to the ring. Both have a bone to pick that they could beat Nigel on their best night. Personally, Iâ€™d go with Stevens as the standard bearer and next main eventer for the company since Tyler has several feuds going on, but Tyler is better set up and more currently accepted by the fans. Either man would work and become an instant main eventer as the next Ring of Honor World Champion.