Far too often you read a column like this and it is bashing or praising WWE or TNA. If it isn’t mentioning those two groups then chances are you are hearing about the latest in the career of a performer that may have honed their craft there once upon a time. This week I want to do something that I won’t call different because I have in fact done it before but a bit out of the ordinary. I want to talk about Ring of Honor and why you should consider ordering Final Battle 2010…you’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
I’ve been following the Ring of Honor product pretty much since day one; admittedly I own every single Ring of Honor show including the TV shows. Plus I’ve been to many, many shows including several that have been on PPV and IPPV. So while I will never accept the label of being a “ROHbot” I will freely admit to being a Ring of Honor fan. Now with that being said there are a ton of things I have been critical about in this very column over the years watching Ring of Honor. I’ve been critical of the style which while it hasn’t changed completely has changed just enough that I think it’s been to the benefit of those involved, to them being on PPV to the company even having the HD Net show. In spite of all that criticism ROH continues on and has really been one of the bright spots content wise for me throughout 2010. Why? You ask, keep reading.
First things first, I have never been to or saw a Ring of Honor show that intentionally insulted my intelligence. I’ve seen this past year both WWE and TNA come up with stipulations that may have generated some interest to buy a show only to for lack of a better word piss all over said stipulation and basically the paying customer. I can’t ever recall seeing Ring of Honor come up with some sort of stipulation that wasn’t adhered to. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this as it is so much easier to invest yourself in a product that’s honest with you. When you hear that Kevin Steen and El Generico who have been in what is in my opinion the best feud in wrestling all year are going to wrestle their final match at Final Battle, rest assured that’s what you’re going to see. You are either going to see Generico unmask or you are going to see Kevin Steen leave Ring of Honor. You are not going to have Steen come back immediately at the next HD Net tapings as if he never left or have Generico stooge on the stip. When I think of John Cena not missing a single edition of Raw upon being “fired” by Wade Barrett or Kurt Angle randomly returning on Impact since promising to “retire” if failing to win the world title it’s kind of nice to know that something is going to get advertised and it is going to actually happen.
Let’s talk about that Kevin Steen/El Generico feud a little further. This was a tag team that had a run as tag team champions but after that was really sort of stuck in the middle of the pack and I don’t think many fans were initially interested in the angle but somehow it’s become such a strong angle that it’s going to close out this IPPV Saturday night, somehow it’s been a staple of every major Ring of Honor show this year. Can you think of the last time you ever saw an angle between just two wrestlers that went a full 12 months that held your interest? Somehow Ring of Honor has done such a good job of developing this angle that I’m actually sad to see it end. It’s been said that the mark of a great storyteller is to leave the person who the story is being told to wanting more. I have no problem admitting that when this is over I am going to want more. I’m not going to get it but I like I would imagine many others am very curious to see what’s next for these combatants.
This Saturday I will be a guest on “The Teachers Lounge” talking up this IPPV. One of the things that were bought up during my segment was the role of the Ring of Honor Championship. David Stephens and I had a spirited debate on the role of that title holder. David Stephens as young as he is came in with the old school mindset that the Ring of Honor Champion should be the guy who is selling tickets. I don’t necessarily agree with that and I would think that fans who follow the product would understand where I was coming from during the course of the segment. First off I don’t think anyone goes to a show anymore in any company just because of whom the champion is. I think angles go a long way to selling tickets but I don’t think it’s like the late 70’s or early 80’s where the champion was the one responsible for drawing you the gate. When WWE and even TNA sells there tickets months in advance I think that’s a point that really can’t be argued because you oftentimes have no idea of who the champion is when you are buying these tickets. Bringing this back to Ring of Honor and there championship I don’t think I have seen a company where I honestly feel the championship itself was the draw and not necessarily the person holding the title. Let me further clarify when you look at the Ring of Honor Championship and its match history I don’t think there has ever been a horrible match that has been held for that title. Think about it, that title has now been in play for nearly 9 years and has been defended hundreds of times and literally never had a match that fans would crap on. Can you say that about the WWE Heavyweight, WWE World, or TNA Heavyweight Championships? When I was a child it used to be oftentimes said that the then WWF Intercontinental Championship was the workers championship and you knew that the guys who held it were going to always have awesome matches. Still even during that span you had the Honky Tonk Man hold the title who let’s face it, while he was entertaining he wasn’t a great worker. Now let’s look at the Ring of Honor Heavyweight Title’s lineage you have guys like Low Ki (Kaval), Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Nigel McGuinness, Tyler Black (FCW’s Seth Rollins), and well I could keep going the point is all those guys may not have been the most flamboyant but they could work there assess off. These are guys that could have a good match with almost anyone if they are put under the right conditions. It’s to the point where in my opinion that the Ring of Honor Championship became the draw more so than the title holder. I don’t need to know who is the champion going into a card because I know no matter whom the champion is I am guaranteed a solid contest. What other championship in wrestling can you say that about?
Every so often I get an email from a fan who complains about the art of tag team wrestling being dead in mainstream wrestling. I will tell those same fans to go and get you some Ring of Honor DVD’s and go watch Ring of Honor on HD Net wherever you can catch it because Ring of Honor has kept that art alive throughout its existence with its tag team division which is the absolute best in the business today bar none. Whether it is The Kings of Wrestling, The Briscoes, The World’s Greatest Tag Team, The All Night Express, or any other tandem competing on the card chances are you are going to see the kind of tag team match that you just don’t see with the other two companies anymore. Think Tag Team wrestling is dead? The last ROH IPPV had 3 tag team matches out of 8 on its show and 2 of the 5 remaining singles matches spotlighted 2 tag teams and well many were applauding that show as one of the best in wrestling all year. Not Ring of Honor but Professional Wrestling, I’d say that is one hell of a tag team division Ring of Honor has going where it was able to accomplish that.
What about the secondary titles? Ring of Honor has spent the better part of the year trying to establish a TV Champion and well I’ll say that the Ring of Honor TV Champion has been better portrayed all year long than the WWE United States, WWE Intercontinental or TNA TV title has and I personally respect the title never mind the titleholder more than any of those titlists. How is that possible? How about by having the champion go out and defend it whenever he can, and not lose non title matches? It’s not a hard formula but it seems to be one that TNA and WWE have forgotten as titles seem unimportant in those promotions as personal issues are the ones that take root only for them to eventually not mean anything as well. In Ring of Honor all the titles are respected, the champions themselves respected and every title is openly sought after. There is no squashing a champion because you’re seen as a level above him. No defeating the champion in a non title match without wanting and receiving a shot at the champion. The title is always the major focus, being the champion the primary goal of any star in the company.
So why should you order Final Battle 2010? Because you’re going to see wrestling, not the latest installments of a TV show, or a bait and switch to order the next PPV. You’re going to be satisfied with the outcomes. You’re not going to feel like you’re getting the latest meaningless chapter of a soap opera but at times you will feel like you’re watching a sporting event with meaning. You won’t be watching “Sports Entertainment” but “Professional Wrestling”, and most importantly at $14.99 (actually $12.99 to those fans who type “Holiday” in the checkout section when ordering the IPPV) it’s worth every cent.
OK time to wrap this up but of course I have to give you all something to do for the weekend. Have you not paid attention to this column? Go ahead and order the ROH Final Battle 2010 IPPV I guarantee you will enjoy the show. As for me? I will be in attendance live with a report for Wrestleview.com and well the show will be taking place on the same night as my birthday and all I can say is Happy Birthday to me. Wrestleview.com will be holding a post show with Anthony Valvo, David Stephens and “A Mystery Host” and well you never know who will be crashing in so check that out as well and call in if you saw the show and share your thoughts on Final Battle 2010. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention WWE TLC this Sunday as well. Let’s support all wrestling guys, 2010 wasn’t the best year for wrestling but let’s send it out with a bang as 2011 can only get better.
Of course for those of you who want to email me on this or any other topic I answer any and all email at firstname.lastname@example.org and please I ask, let’s keep the emails intelligent. I have seen far too much nonsensical emails and posts this week on well pretty much everything on this site and well you guys are better than that. Whether you like this column, or any other column on the site bear in mind we all sacrifice a lot of our time to inform and entertain all of you and I don’t think any of us do it for your abuse or your smarky comments. If you don’t like something that is actually wrestling related to the column by all means express it but don’t be personally insulting to the columnists, reporters and radio hosts who provide content to you. As for those of you who just seem to hate everything what are you sticking around for? Negativity never fixed anything. This is a bad segue but I want to end this column by acknowledging Anthony “Mr. V” Valvo for completing his 100th column here on Wrestleview. I make no bones when I say this but Anthony is my absolute best friend on this site. When I have a bad week whether it be with a reader or anything wrestling related Anthony can usually change my perspective on things in a hurry. I mentioned during my 100th column a few weeks ago being the longest running column currently on Wrestleview, Anthony’s is right behind me. It is my privilege to welcome him to the 100th column club. Hopefully we will be scratching out 100 more side by side. I may have jokingly told you once that I was “The Gold Standard” but don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not “The Gold Star”. Anyway that’s it for this week, next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.