Ring Of Honor held their annual Best In The World event in Maryland with the promotion in a bit of a state of flux.
Controversial at a corporate level, they pretty much embarrassed themselves on a grand stage at G1 Supercard with poor booking, trying to introduce nZo & CasXL to the roster (it didn’t go well), and All Elite Wrestling all shoving them further down the pecking order.
They still have a number of marquee players, and the potential to make some headlines with what they have, but did they capitalise on this and show that they are one of the ‘Best In The World’? Here’s five things we learned from Friday night.
1. Rush is being not used well enough
One of Mexico’s biggest stars, a founder of Los Ingobernables, a charistmatic showman that has traversed the difficult path of moving from lucha libre to American wrestling and…. he’s on the pre-show. Rush was relegated to the kick-off show, seeing off Flip Gordon in a passable match and whereas you could argue it’s a big name to lure in any potential buyers, it is beneath a man of his stature to be there. He should be challenging for the Television title, if not higher and with the likes of Bully Ray being used in a prominent role ahead of him they need to start pushing him higher up the card or risk losing him to more ‘Elite’ competitors.
2. ROH are not trying with their women’s division
I am a huge fan of women’s wrestling and it is maddening how much Ring Of Honor have half-arsed their women’s division. They’ve lost a number of big names (Purrazzo, Brandi, Madison Rayne) and replaced them with Angelina Love, Velvet Sky (who seemingly is unable to wrestle) and a returning Mandy Leon, with a rebadging of The Beautiful People. They also have one decent face in Kelly Klein, another one who is injured then a gaggle of lower card/jobbers underneath her.
The Allure defeated Klein and Jenny Rose in a forgettable match, and then we saw the debut of Maria Manic who scared off the aforementioned Allure and destroyed several members of security. Manic is a different addition to the roster, adding a monster dynamic that WOH has never had. However when her opposition is Angelina Love and Velvet Sky before it’s just the main face – that’s not a division.
They should of just furthered their relationship with STARDOM or brought in SHIMMER and had guest title matches as their womens division because if you’re not going do it right, why bother doing it at all.
3. They ruined a perfectly good storyline
One of the highlights of Ring Of Honor television has been the feud of Silas Young and Jonathan Gresham, with Silas lauding his tainted win over ‘The Octopus’ by declaring himself ‘The Technican of Honor’, battering trainees dressed as squids, mocking Gresham’s wrestling style.
This led to a pure rules match, a throwback to Ring Of Honor’s Pure Title days between the two, and many were expecting that Gresham would merely outclass Young to push him further up the card. However, Gresham decided to low blow Young before locking in the octopus hold for the submission victory.
So the final chapter of this story is that Gresham had to stoop to Silas’ level to win, essentially turning him heel. Gresham was one of the fastest-rising faces Ring Of Honor had, and they’ve stunted him massively with a finish that makes no sense. This actually angered me, as we did not get the satisfying conclusion to a feud that many enjoyed.
4. Flip Gordon was an unexpected, but brilliant choice
Flip Gordon was the shocking fourth member of Villain Enterprises, betraying Lifeblood who had offered him a spot with their team and destroying both Bandido, Tracy Williams and himself in the process (Gordon dislocated his elbow hitting a 450 splash through a table on the outside).
On a list of potential new employees, Flip was nowhere near that but it actually could be the rocket that propels Flip to superstardom. He came out a changed man post-Bully Ray feud and a spate of injuries that had left him spinning his wheels, especially after losing his Sea Of Honor title shot against Matt Taven. Also, Scurll and Flip have previous which many fans from ‘Being The Elite’ will know, so it’s not exactly a stretch to see these two partnered up.
Finally, it gives Flip Gordon a chance a try out his heel chops and a prominent spot on television with what is probably the biggest group in the promotion. I can only see upside for Flip on this and the inevitable face turn back will make him a bigger good guy that he was before.
5. Matt Taven is the right choice for champion
The decision to put the title on Matt Taven at G1 Supercard was one that was met with mixed opinions. For my money, he is the right choice to be at the top of the card. A Ring Of Honor lifer, who worked his way up from the lower card, all through every championship to the main event scene and has the presence, mic skills and in-ring talent to carry the company on his shoulders.
In his title match with Jeff Cobb, he made Cobb look like an absolute beast but at the same time showed the savvy and cunning that a heel champion should have, chopping down the monster by working the shoulder, negating any throws before hitting Climax for the win.
Line them up for Matt Taven, because he is pulling this company along at a great pace.
Overall, it was an okay Ring Of Honor show but they are now paying for the years of relying on the Bullet Club to pull the punters in. They went from having five megastars to three superstars at best and a relatively new roster they have to get over in short order.
It could be trying time for ROH fans in 2019, but there are still a few green shoots of hope that could grow into something more.