It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to really dive into the Ring of Honor product. Quite frankly, that's not due to being turned off from the product, but just from the fact that there are so many options right now in pro wrestling (a good problem to be honest). ROH, for me, was unfortunately the product to fall through the cracks. I've tended to be really into TNA, NXT, and Lucha Underground (I really like Lucha!) as of late, with the occasional WWE browse because of Wrestlemania season. I know, I know. Because of my childhood, the WWE will always own a piece of my wrestling fandom, regardless of how bad they are.
Nonethelss, this pay-per-view was my chance to dive in to ROH again, and I have to admit, I was thoroughly pleased. Actually, ROH's 13th Anniversary celebration pulled me back into the overall product and forced me to make more of an effort to catch it more often. With that said, here are some thoughts on the celebratory pay-per-view:
- The look of the building was a really nice set-up. From the hard camera facing the aisle and the big screen (visuals really do make a difference), to the overall lighting and feel of the space (inside of a casino), ROH selected a really nice venue for this event.
- ROH having a Spanish announce team caused several thoughts for me when they were shown, 1) ROH is growing beyond our borders, and 2) someone is going through that very table tonight. If you were with me on the second thought, shockingly we were wrong.
- Matt Sydal, another name ROH has benefited from the WWE and TNA both going with younger and more home grown talents moving forward, showed that he is still a very exciting wrestler. The guy is still insanely agile, and could offer a lot to a company if he keeps his personal issues in check. Sydal and Alexander was the perfect type of match for the ROH-niche crowd to get going early.
- Moose vs. Mark Briscoe was a good contest and did what I'm guessing it was for, to further show-off the prime talent that is Moose. That standing drop kick he pulled off was very, very impressive. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest to see Moose become the latest pluck by the WWE from the ROH talent tree. He's very much "their type".
As for Mark Briscoe, I continue to wonder if Mark is content in playing the silly "Red-neck" Kung-Fu role while Jay reigns as the company's leading man. Is Mark forever stuck in mid-card purgatory?
- I liked the honesty from ROH in telling us that Doc Gallows would not be part of the show due to travels and inclement weather. In today's internet-age, there really is no way around these issues without telling the truth. If you make an angle out of it, it just looks really bad. Almost insulting.
In regards to Matt Taven, it was good to see him as part of The Kingdom with Bennett. Ever since leaving The House of Truth, he seemed to be aimless and lacking any kind of interest as a babyface.
|Anyone else thinks this seems weird, knowing it's an ROH show?|
Also, I hate to say it, but the former "Bad Influence", now known as "The Addiction", are not nearly as entertaining as they were than when they were in TNA. But it was odd to see the reunion of TNA originals in ROH. Ahhh....memories. Weird to think these guys were - WERE - the future of TNA. Time flies.
And oh yeah, how over is the Bullet Club worldwide?
- One thing ROH does really well is present their product to the true, hardcore wrestling fan. They know their niche and they cater to them. From the "tale of the tape" graphics, to the old-school promos of wrestlers simply talking into cameras (a favorite of mine), ROH sometimes captures some of that old-school flavor of wrestling being a sport, and not entertainment. It's one thing the company really has made it's own. Just a throwback style of presentation and overall feel.
- I've never been a huge B.J. Whitmer fan, but I'm a fan of Roderick Strong's in-ring work. I'm not sure what it is, but I've always been a big fan. From the innovative backbreakers, to the Dean Malenko-esque vibe he has, Mr ROH always delivers. Nonetheless, this was alright, and really wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.
Maria is a better promo than most guys on the roster. #ROH13
— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) March 2, 2015
- Maria Kanellis is a damn good promo. She's incredibly hot (don't tell my wife!), she's talented, and truly adds to the whole Bennett and Maria package. ROH deserves a lot of credit in developing Maria among other talent, noticeably, Jay Lethal (more on that in a bit).
Seeing ODB in an ROH ring is a bit weird, but once again, ROH really is benefiting from picking up a lot of the free agents being let go from WWE and TNA. Some who regurgitate the internet fan-customs won't say it or accept it, and truly, there isn't anything wrong with it, but the influx of free agents recently has helped strengthen and deepen the ROH roster.
As for this match, it is what it was. What truly still bothers me about this match is Maria kicking out of a superkick from Bennett. It just really devalued Bennett and just never felt authentic when it happened. Definitely one of those moments where you scrunch your face a bit and go, "ehhhhhhhhh". Hard to believe.
- AJ Styles vs. ACH was everything a die hard fan would expect from it - awesomeness. AJ Styles really hasn't lost a step, in fact, he has looked really motivated since leaving TNA.
Touching base on the roster situation again, ROH also has padded and benefited from their relationship with New Japan. It really causes a fan to think about how alone TNA is in the marketplace (for better or worse). And no, Wrestle-1 hasn't been a great benefit to them. For ROH to have the opportunity to book Styles, Young Bucks, Karl Anderson, and even have joint shows with other Japanese talents sell shows is a major plus.
- This was my choice to steal the show, and quite honestly, it very much did. I've been a huge fan of both of these teams, and whenever they meet, it's just crazy. Absolutely crazy! Though, I didn't care much for the interference from MMA fighter, Shayna Baszler, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, especially the Indytaker driver on the outside. Crazy stuff.
- Has Jay Lethal blossomed under the ROH banner or what? His promos are great, and the whole quasi-Ric Flair deal he has going on is awesome. You just have to love the promo where he claims the TV Title as the top championship in ROH. "I don't want anyone else's hand-me-downs" [in reference to the world title] was just a fantastic line.
Again, Alberto El Patron on the ROH roster...just another one to the bunch.
Anyone else realize Samoa Joe is currently on TV for two promotions and so is Alberto El Patron? Pro Wrestling sure has changed...
— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) March 2, 2015
- Speaking of, Samoa Joe returned and cut a promo on going after the ROH World Champion. Pretty basic stuff here from Joe. Also, there were the expected anti-TNA chants when Joe stood in the ring. To be quite blunt, the chants are stupid. Actually, moronic. Whoever started the chant really did more damage in making the ROH product look more obsessed with attempting to take shots at TNA rather than welcoming home one of the ROH originals. Basically acknowledging his TNA ties to be stronger, which they are.
ROH die-hards need to chill with the hate on TNA. You have an absolutely great product on display with a great show. Support that. #ROH13
— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) March 2, 2015
The whole ROH/TNA feud is a rather silly one. On both sides of the coin. Both are companies birthed in the same year, and both are trying to continue to carve out their piece of the wrestling pie. You don't have to like both, but if you don't, why the need to tear the other down? Neither are direct competition, and truly, both could benefit more from working with one another than any other two companies in the marketplace.
And if we're being brutally honest, a lot of the "criticisms" ROH fans slung towards TNA in the past (e.g. signing other companies ex wrestlers) are exactly what they are doing at the moment. But again, in a perfect world, this shouldn't matter. Unfortunately, the wrestling fanbase can be very ignorant, and full of sheep and double standards at times. None of it makes sense. Just my opinion...just bloggin.
|If Ciampa wasn't crazy already...|
- It still amazes me how Michael Elgin gets zero acknowledgement when he hits the ring, until he starts wrestling. Speaking of entrances, Tomaso Ciampa's head gear was absolutely awesome in his entrance.
As for the match itself, this one really left me disappointed. There was wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much interference, and not the good kind. At one point it just fell like there was an awkward stall in the middle of it all. Again, not your typical ROH match, but it could have been worse.
The finish was also very awkward...but whatever. I never saw Brisoce losing the strap anyway.
And of course, it ended the show ended the way we expected it to, the way it should, with Samoa Joe going face to face with Jay Briscoe to close the show.
All in all, this has been my favorite pay-per-view/special events (not all big shows are paid shows now - crazy, huh?) of the year thus far. Though, it's still very early in 2015. Regardless, one thing is for sure, this show re-introduced me to this product. Yes, ROH, I'll try to no longer let you fall through the cracks. You have my attention now. I'll be watching.