Monday, March 10, 2014

Can ROH Be Number Two In Wrestling?

I admit that I totally forgot to watch TNA Lockdown. The first TNA PPV in a long time as TNA has been undergoing yet another face lift. I have too admit with all the doom and gloom talk I have not bothered to tune into TNA at all. I keep up with what is going on there but don’t feel compelled to watch. Based on the reviews of Lockdown that I have sought out I am not regretting passing on it.

What I have been a huge fan of is ROH and what they have been doing. On the same weekend as TNA returned to PPV the folks at ROH brought back the Young Bucks and had them go over on Red Dragon that had held the Tag-Team straps since the summer. It is just the latest thing that ROH has done that has caught my attention.



TNA’s PPV featured Japanese talent from wrestle one promotion that is run by the Great Muta. Who was actually on the Lockdown show and is no shock showing his age. ROH recently announced they have a promotion deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling where ROH and NPJW talent will appear at shows in Toronto and NYC in May.

I admit my wrestling fandom has never got to the point of being into the Japanese product. I have got the impression from people that do that New Japan is definitely the bigger deal. It is just one example of maybe ROH being ahead of the curve in relation to TNA. Just imagine if TNA was unable to stay on Spike-TV because of the WWE getting a deal done with Viacom.

Would you not than be forced to consider ROH as clear number two promotion in North America?  There is no comparing TNA to WCW or ROH to ECW but both to a lesser extent have played those rolls. ROH is becoming the one independent promotion that is consistently getting talent into the WWE. It has got to the point that even the WWE is acknowledging that fact in the start of February with an article on WWE.com

Wrestling rumour mill has been saying both Kevin Steen former ROH Champion and current ROH and PWG Champion Adam Cole will be getting a look down in Florida at the performance center. They are just two of the many stars on a roster that has got even bigger. Former WWE Developmental Talent Chris Hero has returned to ROH and left Ono behind him.

While TNA failed to come to an agreement A.J Styles he also returned to his former home of Ring of Honour Wrestling. Styles and Hero just add more legitimacy to a roster that already is filled with talent.  Former WWE Diva Maria joined ROH back in 2011 pairing with actual real life boyfriend Michael Bennett who has always been a guy rumoured to be making a jump to WWE a number of times. Jay Lethal another long term ROH guy that had a run in TNA. You could go on and on with the talent on this roster Michael Elgin, Matt Taven, Tommaso Ciampa, Roderick Strong and Independent scene favourite of late ACH.

Even former WWE talent Matt Hardy has been working in the Promotion for some time. His recent legal issues make you wonder about his status with the promotion going forward.  He had been paired with Adam Cole as his mentor. Recently on ROH Bennett has been paired with Cole and seem to be creating a threesome with Maria.

The thing I like most about ROH is it has an old school base to it. Everything in ROH focuses about people wanting to be the World Champion. Jay Briscoe was the champion and was stripped of it due to an injury and carries around his own title he calls the Real ROH World Championship. Cole has challengers coming at him from all sides. Steen has declared his desire to regain the championship again. Michael Elgin also as a legit claim to the championship as well.  In addition a returning Chris Hero and I am sure an additional contender will be made of A.J Styles.

It is something that wrestling hasn’t done in a long time with having strong titles and having that being the main focus that all of the individual feuds get based on. Same is true of their T.V title and Tag-Team Belts. They all matter and Champions have legitimate runs with the belts.

Even behind the scenes ROH has added someone like Court Bauer that was part of the WWE Creative team and has experience running his own MLW promotion as well as a great background in television in general. ROH has never attempted to be WWE and in reality no one can be at this point. WWE Stock price is at an all-time high. Vince McMahon made a list of the most wealthy people in America being pegged as having an estimated worth of 1.2 Billion dollars. Increases in television rights fees expected and the recent launch of the WWE Network seem to all be signs that WWE has never had a larger gap to being number one than they do today.

While that gap is massive the gap to being number two might be in reach for ROH to catch TNA. It isn’t going to happen over night unless TNA completely falls apart. Still if ROH could slowly build and find a way to get back into some form of PPV business it might help. ROH’s struggles with I-PPV’s were a huge problem and caused them to back away from the concept. That is one of the huge concerns for the WWE Network with all the PPV’s being offered on there. If the technology improves over the next few years maybe ROH will give it another go.

As for now they are producing a compelling product that really has got me interested in the promotion.