#RingOfHonor Is The Second Worst

usmilitary.about.com

usmilitary.about.com

Since TNA/Impact Wrestling has wrestled the crown of worst promotion from the very incapable hands of Ring of Honor, I wasn’t sure if I could continue doing this column. I will try to talk about the positives  but I already know it’s not going to last long. Simple solution. When they do more than 50% positive in a show, I’ll call it “ROH is Second Worst”, if not it will resume it’s former name of “ROH is the Worst.”

Tomasso Ciampa had a quality match with Roderick Strong, who continues to look better than he had for the last year and a half. 2014 has been sharp for him from what I’ve seen aside from not knowing how to take the Styles Clash. ROH has highlighted the ongoing feud between Cedric Alexander and The Decade, which consists of Strong, Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer and lackey Adam Page. Alexander interfered in Strong’s match and cost him the victory. They ended up fighting after the match which I’m not a big fan of since they are fighting at the next pay per view. On a positive note, they have fought recently (last week if memory serves) so they weren’t giving away anything we haven’t seen before. Having people cost their adversary a victory is in the Booking 101 hand book. Good on ROH.

Silas Young versus The Romantic Touch was good for what it is. The Romantic Touch is mildly amusing character so he lost to the more serious Young. Silas isn’t going to be moving up the ladder any time soon but he had a quality feud with Mark Briscoe early this year. He should and did get the win over the comedy act. ROH is 2 for 2.

Kevin Steen‘s claim for the World Title is a very valid one since he never got a rematch for his title. Playing a video package to recap this feud is what you should be doing. I never said wrestling was rocket science.

Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly cut a quality promo against the Young Bucks. I could have used without Kyle O’Reilly drinking casually out of a coffee mug but he was fine when he spoke. Bobby Fish really delivered and made me like this short promo.

Jimmy Jacobs taking on Corey Hollis was another example of The Decade going after younger wrestlers and disrespecting them. Jacobs did his part by not shaking hands with Hollis. The Decade also debuted a new lackey, Tadarius Thomas. I’m not sure that ROH needed to add anyone else to the ranks of the Decade because four seems to be a good limit. I’m also not sure what they have in mind so I’ll give the angle some time. Jacobs ended up winning the match without interference, which is another good choice by ROH. If The Decade wants to maintain their disdain of younger wrestlers, they need to beat them first so that the crowd rallies behind Cedric Alexander and whoever else they have help to dismantle The Decade.

Michael Elgin versus Rocky Romero was a good quality main event. It wasn’t anything special but much like the Touch vs Young match, the correct person won in Michael Elgin, which isn’t a given in ROH. They gave Romero enough offense to not look bad but had Elgin win fairly handily. Quality show for ROH all around. Maybe I’ll start calling them Second Best if this keeps up. – Kevin

@RingOfHonor Is The Worst

gimmicks.se

gimmicks.se

From time to time, I’m unobservant. That was my lesson from the first round of the the Top Prospects Tournament. I am unobservant because I noticed the same problem with the second semi-final as the first. Hanson, he of the Scottish Highlander gimmick, started wrestling in 2002. Adam Everett was the younger of the duo but he started wrestling in 2007. That is also stretching the term “prospect”. I’m expecting much younger than that. That wasn’t the only similarity to the other semifinal. Hanson won this match in a virtual squash. Everett got in more offense than Corey Hollis and is more polished than him too. But the big man with the gimmick won. So the Top Prospects Tournament Finals pits Raymond Rowe, who started wrestling in 2003 probably with a biker gimmick, against another who started in 2002. A combined twenty three years in ring experience. I should have know ROH would be the worst at picking Top Prospects. Prince Nana would have the worst stable ever if he started the Embassy 7.0.

Mike Bennett is not on TV enough to warrant the treatment he gets. After winning a match against Cedric Alexander, Bennett said he was going back to Japan. Thanks for making my point for me. It’s one thing to take a tour over there it’s another to be there so often that the last time I had material to make fun of you was back in September of 2013.

Everyone knows how the end of the match between AJ Styles and Roderick Strong went, right? Botched Styles Clash and poor Roderick is laid up for a while. So let’s take a look at what happened before that bad spot. I’m not good with Styles continuing the new crotch rocket look. I make fun of people in TNA & ROH for not developing so making fun of his new look would seem to contradict that stance. It doesn’t when the new look is worse than the old one. I noticed during this match that Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino had head sets on. Congratulations on being in modern TV production guys. For some reason, the announcers pretend like AJ Styles isn’t used to wrestling longer matches. One step forward, one step back. Styles may not have been in thirty minute matches but they’re not even that common in ROH. Styles was in plenty of fifteen to twenty minute matches. He’ll be just fine. As much as I’ve made of Roderick Strong’s legendary fitness, I do enjoy his matches. I’m not the biggest Styles fan in the ring but I think he’s plenty good. The match was a lot of fun. Styles had a botched spring board attempt that hurt himself and Strong. It took them a moment to get things rolling again but they did. The view on TV of the botched Styles Clash has you looking square in Strong’s face which I think is a poor choice for the director. The further out shot from behind didn’t look quite that bad and didn’t show the pain in Strong’s face. Not a great start for Styles from where he began his career. – Kevin

@RingOfHonor Is The Worst

From funnyjunk.com

From funnyjunk.com

The Top Prospects Tournament got to the semifinals on TV on January 25. I didn’t watch it until it became abundantly clear that Peyton Manning had staked his claim on the “All Choke Team” during the Super Bowl. I’m in no hurry to watch ROH. They introduced Raymond Rowe as the first combatant. Corey Hollis was his opponent. ROH always does a tale of the tape before each match up which I like. The problem came along with the tale of the tape though. It noted that Rowe had debuted in 2003. Is he really a top prospect if his career has already spanned a decade? My vote is absolutely no. You’re a career minor leaguer. Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino should be using like “wily veteran move” to describe what Rowe is doing. Hollis was noted as debuting in 2009, which is the cut off for me to be a prospect. One needs some seasoning in a smaller league then you move on to bigger and better things. ROH is a good stepping stone after being seasoned in a local independent company.

Last column, I noted that I hated the size differential between Hanson and Cheeseburger. We had a similar problem this episode because Rowe is 6′-1″ and 247 pounds and Hollis is 5′-8″ and 192 pounds. That is a 55 pound swing. This discrepancy would not happen in the UFC or any other fighting league. This is professional wrestling though and you can do that. It sounds like I am countering my point I made previously but I am refining the thought. These participants, especially after the first round, should be somewhat evenly match in the skills department. They’re both desperate to get a contract with ROH and get a shot at the TV Title. They should be scrapping even if there is a size differential. Unfortunately, this match only went 5 minutes.

On the ROH management front, wouldn’t you be pissed if your talent evaluator Prince Nana has whiffed on Kongo, Cheeseburger, “The Benchmark” Bill Daly and Corey Hollis, who got into the second round? Nana may have also let in a current member of the ROH roster in the form of The Romantic Touch aka Rhett Titus even if he lost his match. A scout doesn’t get every pick right but Prince Nana has brought in a full half of bad tournament plus a fraud. That’s not just missing a prospect, that’s missing the iceberg you’re about to hit.

I have an ongoing problem with “ROH fans.” Considering that roughly 75% of their fans have TNA or WWE shirts on, they are just wrestling fans. But you consistently hear from people that they enjoy ROH because of the relative lack of story lines and concentration on wrestling. So it really got my goat that the crowd cheered quite loudly for “The Barrister” RD Evans, who is accompanied by the lovely Veda Scott. Evans is a fantastic character and quite entertaining. Scott plays her role well as taking over Evans law firm. I’ve got no problem with them at all. Evans & Scott are touting his imaginary thirteen match winning streak which grew to fourteen after the end of his match. If you enjoy wrestling and the story line “free” ROH, why do you enjoy a character that is complete story line? ROH fans are the worst. – Kevin

@RingOfHonor Is The Worst

Veda Scott ROH

Two of these four people are relevant to the topic. Screenshot courtesy of ROHWrestling.com

The Top Prospects is still going on so I’m going to try and write about a positive idea that ROH have. Unfortunately, they tested my patience with the opening match to this week’s show. Adam Everett, who Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino and Prince Nana talked about glowingly, got stuck in a match with an angle. His opponent was “The Romantic Touch“, who the announcers knew next to nothing about him including Prince Nana who organized the tournament. Veda Scott came down to call out Rhett Titus who was under the mask. Corino and Nana being misogynistic to her made some sense in that it was inline with their characters except for one small problem, she’s a heel and so are they! When Kevin Kelly joined in on the misogyny line of questioning, it became down right weird. Kelly is the baby face announcer who shouldn’t want to see a damsel in distress. The whole situation was made stranger by Scott herself making a very valid and baby face in nature point that Rhett Titus is not a top prospect hence compromising the competition. The Romantic Touch then played to Veda Scott who called him Rhett Titus. Touch got in another move or two but then played to Scott again. Everett took advantage of the distraction and rolls up Touch for the win. The Romantic Touch would not have played to her if he weren’t Rhett Titus. The last I checked, Rhett Titus was a heel. So Veda Scott, a heel, was calling out a heel in The Romantic Touch while all the announcers played doggie pile on the woman. Fantastic booking guys. To make matters worse, this Everett kid looked like he had a solid aerial arsenal but because the match was based around the angle, Everett didn’t get to show off much. He has at least one more round but I feel ripped off in the quality wrestling department.

ROH also tested my patience in the second match. Cheeseburger, crowd favorite for reasons that still escape me, took on Hanson, who looked like a Highlander. Hanson dominated in a squash match which is good because that’s what should happen when he was twice Cheeseburger’s size. The problem to me is that same obvious fact. A squash match against someone closer to Hanson’s size seems impressive. Having him beat a man that the announcers called 144 is just expected. I don’t think it gives Hanson much of a preview similarly to Everett in the first match.

The match set up was very similar to that of last week. Kongo didn’t stand much of a chance in my estimation despite being much larger physically than Cheeseburger because a green fat man with a terrible look isn’t even going to cut it in ROH. There was also a match with an angle in Corey Hollis vs “The Benchmark” Bill Daly vs Mike Posey, his partner. Fortunately for the match, the angle took place before it started. We’ve had one quality match so far out of this tournament. Here was the point that I was going to say, there are X number of matches left so we’ll see how things go. But despite going to their website and Facebook page, I can’t find the Top Prospects Tournament bracket. I made fun of Kevin Kelly last year for wanting everyone to fill out their bracket for this tournament. Now I wish I had the opportunity to just look at a bracket. ROH made it worse than last year’s Worst. – Kevin

@RingOfHonor Is The Worst

USHL_top_prospectsWhen I was looking through the end of the year material, I noticed that ROH should be getting ready for it’s annual Top Prospects Tournament. I wasn’t surprised at the beginning of 2013 when Matt Taven won the tournament against Tadarius Thomas. Both of them got some television during the previous year. I had no idea who they were going to have in it because they have no television time for prospects. Or at least they didn’t make time for them. On this past week’s edition of ROH, I was relieved to find out that they didn’t try to recycle some of the younger names on their roster. I like the idea of bringing a new face to television and giving them a jump start. I loved King of the Ring and this is it for lower members on the totem pole. ROH does get some things right. Now let’s look at who they brought in.

The first man out of the back was Raymond Rowe, who looks like he was brought in from Sons of Anarchy without the leather fetish. His opponent was Kongo, a tall and fat man who hailed from South America. I’m really surprised that the biker gimmick doesn’t get used more often. Aces & Eights filled our TV screens for the past year on TNA. The previous time before that that I can think of was Undertaker’s short stint as “The American Badass” with his Kid Rock lead in. Then prior to that, I can think of was the Disciples of the Apocalypse (DOA). Considering that I can name just as many Samoan gimmicks in recent history (3 Minute Warning, The Usos, Rikishi), I’m surprised this gimmick doesn’t come around more often. Rowe has a good look and wrestled well.

Rowe was pitted against a fairly agile man for his size in Kongo. Steve Corino called attention to a problem right off the bat, Kongo is from “South America” which is incredibly dumb in this day and age. You could at least put a country in there. No one is going to call you out for him looking more Peruvian than Bolivian. I’ve been talking about it recently with Chris Hero, body shape does matter. I don’t think everyone in professional wrestling needs to have a cookie cutter body builder look, but any wrestler needs to lift weights. Kongo’s arms looked smaller than mine despite him being three times my weight. I can’t say the same thing about Brodus Clay who has the closest build I can think of. I was glad that Raymond Rowe ended up winning the match. He’s a much more viable candidate for ROH not to look any more bush league.

The next match started with Corey Hollis and his partner Mike Posey in the ring. “The Benchmark” Bill Daly was supposed to be Hollis’s opponent but he had a high ankle sprain. Since he was a heel (I guess), Kevin Kelly wondered if he was really hurt or if he was exaggerating the injury. Steve Corino defended him, again reinforcing the fact that Daly is supposed to be a heel. This line of questioning made Kelly sound stupid to me. This injury is common in the NFL which requires 4-6 weeks of rest and rehab. Daly had claimed that he sustained the injury the previous weekend so not wrestling makes sense. Since Daly’s character hasn’t been on TV, it is a secondary reason why Kelly shouldn’t tell the fans what kind of character he is. Let Daly establish himself.

Posey took advantage of Daly bowing out of the competition. He talked his partner into a match up. The main problem was that it was never established as to whether Hollis’s spot in the Tournament was on the line. Kelly, Corino and “talent evaluator” Prince Nana all had no clue. I think GMs are over used these days. But this situation called for Nigel McGuinness, the match maker which is so different than being called a GM, to come out and clarify before the match started. ROH didn’t think to close this simple plot hole. At the end of the match, we find out in the Land of a 1001 Finishers that Corey Hollis’s finishing maneuver is a running back elbow. You mean to tell me that a package pile driver through a table may not pin someone but a running back elbow will? ROH is the worst. – Kevin

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