A Modest Blog on Current Ring of Honor

Current ROH has certainly split opinions among fans. I’ve liked some, but most of it feels like a huge step back from where they were in terms of both storylines and in ring product. Their television show is pretty consistent, at least around on par with ECW, but its carried on few enough providers that it can’t really be doing all that much for business.

I used to bring a huge group of people, often over-packing two and occasionally three cars to most ROH shows. Lately, I barely go to most and literally none of my usual group of friends except occasionally Andy Mac still have any use for the promotion. Huge expenditures like Flair and Bret Hart are keeping business alive, but business was previously good enough to do this without the huge expenditures just based on wrestling and storylines.

The stories and characters are finding their way, as a truly talented roster usually will (unless your TNA, even dying WCW had plenty of good stuff), but the in ring action fails to be consistently blow-away. That’s a killer as I can just read up on a storyline and get all the pertinent information to keep up, but there is no substitute for seeing a great match. That, in turn, drives me to be less willing to travel for shows or pick up DVDs. I owned all but about 6 DVDs when Gabe was booking. I’ve tried four or five under the new group, but am consistently disappointed and fail to pick up more. I’m about to watch Supercard of Honor IV, my latest hope that they have an amazing show, but at this point I’m going to need more than one great show to be spending hundreds of dollars on gas and DVDs again. I really like the workers and management of the company, but not enough to spend where I don’t feel I’m getting my moneys worth. Shows matches don’t feel like they have the same importance and results of the undercard often come to naught, leaving the main event with added importance. Because of this, main events can’t get away with being merely good, they must be astounding since the rest of the card isn’t allowed the in ring awesomeness to make up for it. A few guys are capable of astounding in the title picture, but very few are capable of it usually and at this point, certainly not Jerry Lynn, so while he might draw new fans, those fans are accustomed to seeing him for free. There is no guarantee after over a decade of free Jerry Lynn they’ll start paying for his matches, which is what the company needs to survive. In turn, the paying customer, not getting the show quality they used to, stops paying and you have a company in peril, losing money.

Of everyone on the roster, only one man is assured an amazing match every night- Bryan Danielson. Of course, many of those that do try paying for ROH do so because of the hype surround the American Dragon, but unfortunately in the time of the company’s great need, he’s got a smaller role than ever and I’m unsure why. Those who approach Danielson in the ring, notably Aries, Strong, Nigel and Generico all lack something to bring them up to his level. Aries doesn’t make opponents look as good and never has the hype, though he’s easily the next best thing to Danielson. Strong can’t talk and doesn’t get the crowd support usually until during his matches. Nigel already ran through everyone and really is a bit injury prone to remain on top long term again, while Generico simply looks ridiculous and doesn’t present the image of a serious company. That, of course, leaves the young guys of Davey Richards, Tyler Black and Kenny Omega. Omega isn’t good enough and doesn’t have enough hype, so he should likely not be a centerpiece yet, while Tyler has had so many stop and starts that its absolutely near impossible that he becomes what he would have been had he dethroned Nigel. He’s still flashy enough and with enough hype that he’s the best shot at being a top guy besides Danielson, but I sincerely doubt with his lack of promos and intensity, along with his inability to brawl, that he’s truly what the company needs. That leaves Davey. He looks like an insane bulldog, oozes personality and flat out gets it in the ring, combining flashiness, crispness and intelligent wrestling. He’d have to be built and hyped, but given a bit more time, besides Danielson, he’s the only one I see having consistently amazing enough matches to generate interest and re-win a fanbases hard earned money.

Still, ROH must face the hard truth that many of those driven off will take a “fool me once” philosophy and simply not come back. One match shows, mostly what fans are being asked to pay for, are far easier to just pirate and currently, all of ROH’s new dream matches which people might pay to see are being run out by PWG (see PWG 99 and 100 for more), so they lose that curiosity and first time match up appeal. For this, ROH must be extremely smart and build loyalty, difficult when the face of the company was shown no loyalty when kicked out the door. There is no answer and many of those who have turned on ROH simply won’t look hard enough to come back- a lot of my friends are angry at the company or have chosen to go to MMA- but a concerted and well-planned effort must be made if the company is going to survive their current situation. As is, even as one of the company’s biggest marks, I’ll hold on for occasional glimmers of the amazing as I fear I’m watching the company die.

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