Shore's Blog: Ring of Honor Glory by Honor XI Hitlist and Blog combo platter
By Chris Shore
Sunday, October 14 - 3:30 P.M. CT
Normally after anyone covers a broadcasted show here on Dot Net, we follow it up with a Hitlist, looking at what worked and what didn't. I promised one last night for ROH's Glory by Honor XI. When I sat down to write it today, I realized the format would not work for what I needed to say because the show was primarily an even mix of hits and misses, often in the same matches.
Take the Jay Lethal vs. Davey Richards match, for example. Looking at in ring work alone, this was a Hit. I didn't find it to be the breathtaking great match that some did, but considering I have never been a fan of either guy's in-ring work, I was impressed that the match was as logical as it was.
But I also had a very hard time keeping my attention on the match, a major Miss, because there was no reason to. It didn't matter who won or lost. Lethal is suddenly crazy, but that story needs Kevin Steen to work as Lethal isn't compelling alone. Davey has been mostly incognito for a while, so there was no reason to care what happened to him either. This match had to rely on great wrestling to get over, but great wrestling is never going to be enough. This is the crux of ROH's problem right now.
ROH's fans have always been rabid when they see the product live. There's a good reason for that: ROH brings good wrestling. When you are in that room, were those two guys just a few feet away are putting their bodies on the line and performing amazing feats of athleticism, it's easy to get caught up and go crazy. I have been known to get swept up myself at times.
While that is great for the live crowd, those watching on TV and iPPV don't get the same excitement at home. They need stories and characters to make them care because crazy moves quickly become mundane when watching on TV, especially on a three and a half to four hour show. When all you have is the wrestling, and it gets mundane, then everything is mundane.
So that's why I couldn't just do a standard Hitlist for this show. There was a lot of good wrestling that became mundane very quickly, and that led to a lot of "ho-hum" feelings at the end of most of the matches. I don’t want to disparage what the guys did in the ring, but the truth is I was bored by most of the show. Had I been there live, I have no doubt my opinion of many things would be different.
Let me make my point by bringing up the match of the night. From all the comments I have seen, the main event of Kevin Steen vs. Mike Elgin is what most are calling the match of the night. Besides being a major Hit, it was the only match on the show that featured solid wrestling and a storyline worth following, especially when you add in the House of Truth intrigue.
Was it the best wrestled match? Nope. I would argue that the Eddie Edwards vs. Adam Cole match was the best wrestled. Others might say it was Richards vs. Lethal. So how come the best match on the show wasn't the best wrestled if wrestling is what matters in ROH? Because it has always been about more than just great wrestling. We need great stories first. Then when you add in great wrestling, you get magic.
Now little to none of this criticism falls at the feet of new booker Hunter Johnston, a/k/a Delirious. While he has been writing a lot of the show recently, none of us really know how free he was to make decisions. So even if he booked several of these matches, I don't think it is fair to blame him. That said, I hope he sees what a mess he had for iPPV with this show and makes the correct changes. Give us good characters and good storylines again, and ROH will make the comeback of comebacks.
I don't ever want to see another Lethal vs. Richards, Edwards vs. Cole, or Bravados vs. Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman again where there is no meaning. All three of these matches were spectacles in the ring, but ultimately felt flat because of lack of investment in any character. Contrast that with The Briscoes vs. SCUM who had a brawl instead of a match, yet kept my interest some because both teams are at least compelling characters, even if the story behind them is thin.
No one was more surprised than I was when Mike Bennett vs. Mike Mondo impressed me. I have been a fan of Bennett's for some time now, but Mondo has never looked good to me. I still hate his character, and this is the only match that he has entertained me in, but I thought this was a real Hit. Hopefully he can build off this success, but he needs a character overhaul in a serious way.
Tadarius Thomas vs. Rhyno was a miss for me. I was looking forward to Thomas working with Strong. Thomas is as green as goose shit (to borrow an old phrase), but I thought Strong might be able to carry him to a good match. As it was, he gets a fluky win over Rhyno which means so much less than even a hard fought loss to Strong. Oh, prayers and good wishes to Truth Martini's hip. I nearly cried after Rhyno tried to impale him on the barricades.
Rhett Titus and BJ Whitmer vs. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin was the miss of the night for me. Here we had a story to fall back on, but the characters have absolutely no juice, so nobody still cared. Haas and Benjamin need to split up or something. Their act is staler than day old bread. Whitmer has never gotten near the reactions he had in his last ROH run, and it would appear that Kenny King managed to kill both his and Rhett's careers on his way out the door as neither has been impressive since.
This is not the time to panic in ROH, nor is it the time to slack off. ROH is in real danger of folding up. They managed to pull the broadcast off with only a few small glitches, and they have great talent on the roster. Hunter needs to make his moves now, and then get back to basics. Give us a babyface to cheer and a heel to boo. Give them a logical reason to interact and fight, and then get the hell out of the way.
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at email@example.com or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
And read my first work of fiction: The Following Contest is a Dark Match available exclusively on ebook for all eReaders, smartphones, tablets, and PCs for only 99 cents.
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