You know something? I’ve always prided myself on being original and coming up with my own shtick and putting a unique spin on things and with this being the last column of the year I think this should be no different. Everyone always does a year end awards column or a big news of the year column and well this will be mine except it will be both a year end awards column and a news column and there will be three separate year end columns that I hope to churn out between now and the end of next week which means bonus “Wrestling Rumblings”. You see I don’t think it’s fair to do cumulative awards so I am going to do awards and news for ROH, TNA and WWE and well this is the first. So I give you the biggest news and the year end awards for Ring of Honor….you’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
Big ROH News Story #1- Delirious replaces Adam Pearce as head booker
While it is not highly talked about on the internet it’s really not that much of a secret that ROH is not doing as well as can be expected financially at the moment. Sure we talk all the time of how enjoyable the ROH product is, and don’t misunderstand me the product is very enjoyable but at the same time it’s just been a hard year for promotions at the gate and ROH is no different. As a matter of fact while ROH touted there crowd at the Manhattan Center for Final Battle 2010 they did around 400 the night before for an event in Plymouth Massachusetts. With the use of torrents at an all time high for those who troll the internet and internet fans being ROH’s strongest fan base DVD sales have sunk also and well someone had to take the fall for that even though it is this writers opinion that nothing was really wrong with the product and that someone was Adam Pearce. Ring of Honor was Gabe Sapolskys baby for so long that many people didn’t think anyone could do a good job booking that promotion except Gabe and Adam proved everyone wrong and did a fantastic job at an inopportune time.
While there are rumors of Cary Silken putting more input into things and Adam and him having disagreement over a variety of things (one of which was putting the ROH title on Jerry Lynn a year ago) Adam would never publicly bash the company that he helped transition into the HD Net era. Adam is now booking for NWA Hollywood for their TV show which is available online and while it’s not ROH on HD Net it’s a hell of a show and I think it is one you should all check out. Delirious to his credit has done a bang-up job booking so far in my opinion but there are some who feel that this year will be the most trying for him yet as he moves past the storylines that Pearce had going and forges some of his own.
ROH Wrestler of the Year- Tyler Black
Yeah there are some that will argue that towards the end he became Ring of Honor’s version of John Cena and while that may be true he still was the MVP of that promotion during 2010. He won the ROH Heavyweight Championship in February at the 8th Anniversary show and held it strong for 7 months and up until this past Final Battle had headlined every IPPV to date each doing better numbers with him as champion. He deserves some of the credit for that. Whether it was having match of the year candidates with Davey Richards, enjoying a rivalry with Austin Aries or helping to bring Roderick Strong to another level Tyler Black shined and as so is my ROH Wrestler of the Year.
ROH Tag Team of the Year- The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castignoli)
Ever since reuniting last December the Kings of Wrestling have been on a colossal tear in Ring of Honor regaining the tag team titles from the Briscoes and having excellent matches against all who have come their way including The Motor City Machine Guns and The World’s Greatest Tag Team. Some may disagree with me but if I had to name a tag team of the year for wrestling never mind Ring of Honor The Kings of Wrestling would be it.
Big ROH News Story #2- Tyler Black in the middle of his run as ROH Heavyweight Champion signs with WWE
It’s never good to lose a good young star, especially when that star is your champion and the focal point of your promotion. As mentioned before 2010 was Tyler’s year and much of that year was spent building around him. I don’t think Ring of Honor has ever in its near 9 year history tried to push a star in the way that they tried with Tyler Black and the announcement that he was signing with WWE caught everyone off guard. The promotion had to rework plans and even more importantly decide who would replace Black as champion and with Davey Richards being more committed to New Japan these days than Ring of Honor the choice would wind up being Roderick Strong which has drew much criticism from fans. With Davey Richards looking to be out of the title picture for a while and Roderick Strong being booked to be more than just a transitional champion Tyler Black’s departure could be not just one of the biggest stories for ROH in 2010 but one of the biggest in company history.
ROH Match of the Year- Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards June 19th Death before Dishonor VIII
I know during my review of Final Battle 2010 I mentioned the El Generico vs. Kevin Steen match being my most favorite live match of the year but while that was spectacular it was a gimmick match and I have always been partisan to good old fashioned wrestling matches which is what this was. While Davey Richards was already on his way I felt this was the match that really cemented him as the next big thing in Ring of Honor and it really was a spectacular match and well if you get a chance go back and watch it.
ROH show of the Year- Death before Dishonor VIII
It had the aforementioned Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards match and also had Christopher Daniels vs. Kenny Omega, the first Kevin Steen vs. El Generico match and The Kings of Wrestling vs. The Briscoes. I can’t think of a single PPV I have seen all year that had better match caliber all the way through from any company much less Ring of Honor.
Big ROH News Story of the Year #3- iPPV business has been successful
When ROH announced their deal with Go Fight Live at the end of 2009 to basically pioneer the concept of IPPV it had many critics. After all Ring of Honor didn’t knock them dead during 2009 on regular PPV and there were many that figured fans wouldn’t want to sit in front of their computers for 3 to 4 hours to watch wrestling, especially a product like ROH which is not high on exposure but ROH is slowly gaining ground and other promotions such as Dragongate USA and WSU have followed suit and IPPV is seeming to be a big hit amongst wrestling fans. Sure Wrestlemania’s numbers are not going to be threatened anytime soon but it seems as if there is now another avenue of which to attract wrestling fans to purchase a product and well with the decline of house show attendance and DVD sales IPPV is a much welcome revenue stream right now for ROH.
ROH Feud/Angle of the Year- Kevin Steen vs. El Generico
It’s been years since I have seen a feud like this. One that literally spanned a year and seemed to just gain interest as it kept going. Anthony “Mr. V” Valvo probably put it best to me in a conversation when he proclaimed if they ever chronicled this feud as a book he would probably buy it. It was just that good and it was great for the promotion as we saw both Steen and El Generico really evolve as performers during this feud. Both guys showed what they were made of and while Steen is not with the company at the moment it should be very interesting to see where El Generico winds up moving forward from this feud as I feel he showed that with the right program he can be a player.
ROH Breakout Star of the Year- Kevin Steen
I’ll admit I am very biased with this award as the guy has really grown on me over the past year. Come on, who amongst you would have thought going into 2010 that we would have the feud of the year between Kevin Steen and El Generico? Much of it was due to the transformation of this guy as he definitely jacked up the volume and was in my opinion the most entertaining guy on the ROH roster. It is a pity that he is gone now and while he may never come back you can never say never in wrestling and if he did come back tomorrow he would be my pick to be a future ROH Heavyweight Champion. For right now though he is my ROH Breakout Star of 2010
So that’s it, remember I will be back at some point in the week with my TNA news and awards column and hope to finish up with WWE. Of course if anything else comes to mind I probably won’t be able to help myself and do an extra column on that subject as well or an “Outside Interference” on the Wrestleview V.I.P section which I admit I have been neglecting lately due to burnout. I also have a ton of things I want to review for “The Eye Gouge” so look for that also in coming weeks as I really want to step my game up in 2011 with columns and possibly even more of an audio presence. Of course I wish all of you a happy new year and well normally I would give you something to do like watch a wrestling show or an MMA card and this week I think I will just have you all spend New Year’s with the people you love and work on making 2011 your year. You can all email me with questions, comments, etc. at firstname.lastname@example.org and well that’s it for this week, next week I will try to do better, and until then I am out.