The Top Five ROH Wrestlers To Look Out For In 2009

05. Tyler Black

Many people will agree that the ship has sailed with Black’s inability to take the strap from Nigel. Apart from being a very athletic wrestler, Black just has a very vanilla quality about him. The key problem I have with Black is that his promos are about as memorable as Chris Masters ringwork. I just saw the Ring of Honor TV debut and Durden’s interview with Black nearly put me to sleep. It was just soooo generic. Until Black resolves this problem with public speaking and acting classes, he has no business being the champion of a company on national television. He also needs time to put together a quality match because his face in peril act stunk up New York City this past Saturday at the company’s “7th Anniversary Show”. Maybe I should just blame Jacobs for that instead.

04. Colt Cabana

Cabana got a hero’s welcome this past Saturday in New York City and rightfully so. Colt showed that he hasn’t lost a step and was as entertaining as he has even been. I’m specifically looking forward to a Nigel McGuiness/Colt Cabana feud for the ROH World Title in the upcoming summer months. Whether Cabana takes the belt or not, I think its about time that Nigel had a genuine feud with someone over the belt and I don’t think anyone would complain about Cabana being that guy. The two had intense chemistry with each other in the past and I have no doubt that it still exists.

03. Kenny King

A relative youngblood to Ring of Honor, Kenny King stole the show (with some help from Sami Callihan) on Ring of Honor’s TV debut. He’s got the look. He’s got the attitude. He’s got the moves. He’s got the style. Although a little inconsistent, King is looking to have a breakout year in 2009. There’s a lot of fresh match-ups he can have and all of them have the potential to be outstanding. In addition, his ability to actually talk on the mic helps to get me behind him. I’m really looking forward to what kind of matches King can put together with guys like Nigel, Dragon, Aries, Generico, and Cabana. Unfortunately he’s being sandbagged right now by Rhett Titus but once he loses that talentless hack, the sky is the limit for King.

02. Austin Aries

Austin Aries is the key reason all of you should be buying tickets to Ring of Honor live events. I swear to god, Ring of Honor needs to do a video wire that consists only of Aries jaw-jacking with the fans. The guy has reinvented himself to be the most awesomely, hilarious goofy heel in the industry and no one can compare. And I literally mean that. Austin Aries is the most awesome heel in the professional wrestling industry. His act is undeniably compelling, entertaining, and just a joy to watch. Watching him is like watching no other in the industry.

Let me try to explain. Normal heels draw heat. You’re drawn to boo them. You feel genuine dislike for them. You want to see them lose. Jimmy Rave and Nigel McGuinness are good examples of this. That’s not what you feel when you see Austin Aries. He doesn’t draw heat. He draws mockery. I know that’s a strange way to put it but it’s genuinely true. His ‘stache. His exaggerated movements. His laughable facial expressions. You’re just drawn to make fun of him and it’s actually pretty freakin’ remarkable because there’s nothing like it in the current industry. In fact sitting here right now, I’m genuinely looking forward to watching Austin Aries moreso than any other current wrestler in Ring of Honor, TNA, or the WWE.

Austin Aries’ take on the professional wrestling heel is about as unique as Heath Ledger’s take on the comic book villain and I just can’t get enough. Alot of people are having a hard time getting their head around it because they’re so used to Aries being a super serious personality but once they get over that, they’ll see standing before them the most entertaining wrestler in Ring of Honor.

And his theme song kicks ass.

01. Davey Richards

Even Gabe Sapolsky mentioned in his tell-all shoot interview that Davey Richards was going to be one of the two men (Tyler Black being the other) that he would be centered Ring of Honor around in 2009 should he have still been around. I don’t know how many of you have been seen Richards in his recent video wire promos but he is slowly but naturally showcasing a display of easygoing gravitas in his promos not seen since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in his heyday. I know that promo ability isn’t considered to be very vital to the ROH product, but now that the company is actively on television, they’re going to need someone that can draw viewers with not only their wrestling skills but their overall personality. Davey Richards is THAT guy. Used properly Richards has the potential to reach Randy Orton-esque levels of promo delivery and is quite frankly the most valuable asset in the Ring of Honor locker room.

Davey Richards is an amazing wrestler that simply hasn’t been unleashed in the Ring of Honor landscape. Just watch his match with Naomichi Marufuji to get a small hint of what the man is capable of. Hopefully the company can raise the money to lock Richards down for the long term because I can see the WWE making a grab for Richards in a few years time and breaking him out as their own ala Evan Bourne. I’m really looking forward to what Richards does with the Wolves in his current feud with Steenerico because it feels like this is the first step in a long hard push for him. The first step in creating interest is creating awareness and that’s what this feud is doing for Richards. Although I don’t see him as being the one to take the strap from Nigel, I do see him being an inevitable Ring of Honor World Champion.

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