Pruett's Blog: One Year In - My Thoughts on ROH including Davey Richards, the SBG TV show, the tag divison and more
By Will Pruett
Wednesday, February 29 - 12:00 P.M. (CT)
One year ago I began watching Ring of Honor. I know I jumped onto the bandwagon late (and way later than I should have), but I was extremely excited about the product right away. There was something really special going on. The tag team division was on fire and Roderick Strong was having a pretty nice run as world champion.
Of course, many of things changed with the sell of the company to the Sinclair Broadcast Group and a shift in the secretive direction. Here are a few thoughts on the product as it stands today.
- Davey Richards as ROH World Champion seemed like such a good idea one year ago. After an odd ending at Final Battle 2010 he was getting refocussed and ready for another shot. Now eight months into his title reign he is just stale. His entire attitude is just obnoxious. He is attempting to play a wrestler that is also an MMA fighter. It didn't work for Kama "The Supreme Fighting Machine" and it isn't working for Richards.
That said, Richards still has some of the best matches in the country today. What he lacks in finishing maneuvers, he has in talent and ability. While his psychology may be off, I never walk away from a Richards match feeling like he did not try.
The storytelling surrounding Davey Richards has not lived up to his in-ring performances. His feud with Eddie Edwards should have been a career highlight, but instead Dan Severn was brought in and the feud became about that more than their friendship dissolving.
His new tag team, named "Team Ambition" with Kyle O'Reilly feels like a cartoony version of MMA instead of two wrestlers aligning for a common purpose. Pro wrestling has always attempted to seem larger than life and Richards wants to be above that. Sadly, acting like it is small makes the whole company look and feel small.
- The TV show on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations and online has began and it is adequate, but not mind blowing. When it began, it was one of the worst wrestling products I've seen in the last 10 years. The lighting and sound were awful. The show was poorly paced. It was just boring.
Now, the show looks good, but not great. They are at least up to the standards we see on DVDs of WWE from 1992. They are starting to tell compelling stories and have fixed what was one of the major problems with the shows. They actually have major heels now. The Briscoes are a great act, but no one wanted to boo them. ROH fixed that.
They have settled into a nice groove with two matches a week that have been pretty entertaining and some backstage, interview and promotional segments. Now they need to mix that rhythm up.
I know that I can usually skip the middle of an episode because they open and close with matches. I know that Kevin Kelly will appear in three suits throughout one broadcast with backstage pretapes and in-arena segments. I know that iPPVs will be promoted, but will not be recapped until about a month after the show.
The reason to establish a format is to break it. There are special moments and deviations that can make going against the standard format really exciting. ROH has everything they need to do this, except for the willingness to do this.
- It seems that for a year Jim Cornette has been booking the show. In the last year, the show has become more of a throwback targeting men who take wrestling too seriously. His approach is not working. I don't want a comedy wrestling product. It is odd that the World Champion acts like wrestling doesn't matter and the booking says that nothing will ever be more important. They both need to meet in the middle just a little bit.
- The tag team scene saw the act that hooked me into Ring of Honor (Kings of Wrestling) depart, but they gained some strong teams. More than any other division in Ring of Honor this is the one to watch. I believe that this division is truly booked as the main event division of ROH. Despite what match goes on last, the tag division gets the most TV time and is the most memorable.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this blog and Ring of Honor! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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