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2011 Ring of Honor Review

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Howdy, so this is my first blog on the site and I definitely wanted to just switch things up a bit. Rather then ranting and raving about Cody Rhodes or the top 5 whatevers in wrestling. I wanted to write this for fans of Ring of Honor. 2011, an interesting year for this company, coming off what I felt was arguably the second best year in the company’s history, being 2010
The Purchase of Ring of Honor: ROH production aint pretty. Its dark arenas, it’s bare bones, it’s terrible sound and lighting and it’s old rings and barricades. Since the beginning, this is pretty well how it always looked (save the Hammerstein ballroom shows). This along with really zero advertising partners just goes to show you that the company has never really been that prosperous. With the dissolution of the HDNet relationship and what I’m sure would have had to have been financial concerns, Ring of Honor was purchased by the SBG. This could be an entire blog of it’s own, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet. Ring of Honor is now on PLENTY of stations throughout the US and Canada and people who have not seen it EVER, are now seeing it. The show needs work but bottom line, this is exposure this company has never seen before. Definitely a GREAT thing.
ANX vs. The Bricoes: In a year that saw really no feuds in ROH (following a year LOADED with feuds), this one was insane. I did have two small issues with this feud, that being, I saw this match A LOT this year as any ROH follower did and the other issue being that feud didn’t really come from anything at all. It just seemed like all of sudden, these guys hated eachother. However it happened though, it led to a killer feud with some great matches and even a Bret Hart/Steve Austin’esque switch of the heels and babyfaces thanks to the crowd reactions. This feud did what it needed, kept fans interested with various match types at different events, it put the ANX into an upper echelon they just couldn’t get to for years and transformed the Briscoes into what is going to be a sick, sick team in 2012. Sadistic Rednecks! Amazing. I thought Jay Briscoe was going to die at the Center Stage show from the blood pouring out of his head, the likes of which I don’t think I have ever seen. Amazing feud, amazing matches. Though I do feel it’s time to break up the Briscoes, as great as Mark is, I think Jay is a star waiting to happen. Follow him on Twitter if you haven’t, its classic.
CORINO/KEVIN STEEN: After Steen had to “leave the company” his accomplice, Steve Corino has been playing a really interesting character. One who is going through rehabilitation for being an evil person. In a company with no characters this year (NONE), Corino I thought was awesome in his role. Then with Steen showing up at various events, “crashing the message forum” and having a TERRIBLE segment on SBG with those “lawyers”, they have found a way to bring him back and into a feud with Corino for Final Battle. While people were ready to see him gone by Final Battle 2010, I believe he’ll be welcomed with open arms by the fans, I think we kinda missed the big insane lug. He’s great on twitter too, add him.
COMINGS AND GOINGS: I think for the most part ROH made some good moves in terms of the roster. This is obviously all my opinion. They have added: Generation ME (tho code of honor could pose a threat, lol), Tommaso Ciampa (who I feel has a ton of promise, even though he is jacked which is never really looked at in high regard by ROH fans). TJ Perkins (Puma) who is SICK and trained by Bryan Danielson and could even be the next Bryan Danielson. Michael Elgin is also a great addition I feel (tho he joined late 2010) the guy is Steve Williams but amped to that next level and modernized. As bad as ROH fans wanted to crap on him, they just couldn’t and he tends to have 2nd-3rd best match of the night. Also the team of Caprice Coleman/Cedric Alexander is a nice addition to the nearly stale tag team scene. With these, this year we bid adieu to Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana and Claudio Castagnoli. While I was hoping for more time from Daniels, I am not disappointed that Cabana and Claudio are gone. Cabana is a great wrestler, he really is but his matches tended to always be in the first half of shows and thus maybe 10 minutes in length, always entertaining, but getting stale. Id love to see him go back to “The E”, he deserves it. While Claudio leaving ends a pretty long career with ROH and his matches were always pretty good and his personality was awesome and I am sad to see him go but happy for him at the same time, this gives a HUGE opening for another HUGE star for ROH, provided he doesn’t go anywhere – Chris Hero. Hero has gotta be singles and I would love to see him dethrone Davey (by cheating) to have a nice lengthy heel ROH title reign. To date, I feel he had match of the year with Eddie Edwards in Toronto this year. Amazing stuff and his transformation from 2 years ago is mind-blowing.
I felt in a year that should have been very strong this is part 1 of 2 of what was wrong with Ring of Honor in 2011 and something I sincerely hope they can work on. This company has always been littered with wrestlers of different capabilities, styles, move sets and pacing. This year was tough. This was the year of the following: devil stomps, cross-arm breaker submissions, kicks to the leg and apron moves. I love Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards and Kyle O’reilly, they’re amazing talents and I am glad that they are there. I don’t want them to go anywhere but they are three babyfaces, with the exact same style, with no character really aside from just being guys looking for competition and that took up a lot of the card and lot of the main events this year. A far cry from the days of Punk/Colt/Joe/Daniels/Danielson/Homicide/Low Ki/Styles who all had very different styles and every match had such a different feel to it. Not the case this year. Matches seemed very repetitive. In addition to the “UFC pro-wrestling matches” I love WGTT and ROH NEEEEEEDS them. Because when newbies are watching ROH, they don’t know a lot of wrestlers on the show but they know WGTT. They do have decent matches and are great Tag champs however, their matches are literally 10 minutes of amateur wrestling and then 3 minutes of spots. Again, it’s passable but in ROH I think they need to step it up a bit. Them doing the amateur stuff with Future Shock or The Bravados is cool but with the Briscoes and ANX and The Kings, I think we needed a little more from these legends. All in all there just can’t be as much of the Amateur wrestling and MMA influence moving forward. We’re watching because we watch wrestling, not UFC. As if wrestling needed more people saying “yo that’s fake”, this style isn’t going to help that in the slightest. It looks so, so, so bad, I just saw the Future Shock vs. Wolves match from No Escape last night and while it was a SIIIICCCKK match, there were a few parts with Davey and O’reilly where they were dancing around like in an MMA fight and then a part where they came to blows after some take downs and they were slapping eachother intensely in the neck. It just looked ridiculous. Taking MMA moves – yes. Taking MMA spots and pacing – No.
MIKE BENNETT: This man must go. He can’t be in ROH, bless his heart he tries and I don’t blame him at all. Because he’s not bad in the ring but ROH caliber? Not a chance. He has TNA written all over him for sure but when I had to see Bennett beat Kyle Oreilly for the top prospect win, it was pitiful. O’Reilly clearly was moving at 30% less speed and intensity than usual only to go through motions and get pinned after that silly sideslam. To boot, at Tag Team Turmoil, anyone watching that got treated to TWO Bennett matches. If and when the time comes this guy has to throw down with Roderick or Davey or even Generico in say a main event, there’s going to be problems. There has been improvement but we’re far off.
MATCH DIVERSITY: This year, for whatever reason (could be lack of elevating talent) we saw A LOT of the same matches this year, over and over. ANX vs. Briscoes. Lethal vs. Bennett. Corino vs. Bennett. Edwards vs. Daniels. Roderick vs. Generico. And I think we saw Roderick vs. Richards no less than one million times. Hopefully a trend that disappears in 2012.
WORLD TITLE:The world title scene this year I feel could have been handled a lot differently. I think Eddie Edwards deserved it big time, as did Davey and Roderick. It was just how it went down. Fantasy booker time: Roderick Strong should have been the champion for the entire year. He deserved it more than anyone could’ve (save the Briscoes or Chris Daniels). He has been one of the top 3 performers in the company since 2007 and I feel that while they paired him with Truth Martini to win the title, I think they should have had him drop Martini and turn babyface early-mid year. This could have set up a neat little Davey vs. Eddie feud heading into Final Battle as baby face vs. baby face for the top contender spot. To which Eddie squeaks in perhaps through shenanigans and ends up turning heel at Final Battle, beating Roderick. Which could then start up a heel Edwards vs. babyface Richards world title feud next year. But instead, they hotshotted to Eddie in the spring with NO build-up via a RIDICULOUS ref stoppage call and then Eddie hotshotted over to Davey at Best in the World, again, no buildup. All I can hope for now is that Davey holds onto this for a long while.

I apologize for how long this blog is, perhaps this shows that I don’t have a lot of ppl to discuss ROH with. Lol. Regardless, if you’ve read it, I hope you enjoyed it. I thought it was an interesting year for ROH and hopefully more of a transitional one into what I hope is a strong 2012.

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