As always wrestling gives us both great memories and memories we try and forget, but with the amount of moments worth remembering that have happened we are bound to forget some. The same could be said about some talent that were very much underrated during their career or never at the top of a company during a run this unfortunately makes it easier for fans to forget certain talent. These two are very different talent and had two very different careers while they worked in this great business. Also sometimes we encounter those that deserve to be remembered and acknowledged. I would like to wish a very big Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating their special day today and especially to the one featured below.
The working agreement with ROH & New Japan takes another step forward as they will be holding their yearly co-promoted event in May. The only difference this year is that it won't be in the United States or Japan, but instead it will be held in the United Kingdom. According to ROHWrestling.com this event will feature stars from both New Japan and Ring of Honor as ROH bring the "Best Wrestling on the planet" to the UK. Thus far talent like such as The Kingdom, Cody, Jay Lethal, Young Bucks, Adam Page, Bully Ray, and various others have been confirmed with more likely to be added.
After drawing a record crowd over Wrestlemania Weekend it is clear that ROH is the hottest they have ever been and I would guess this means these shows have all the making of being the biggest yet. In all likely the expense is what prevents ROH from visiting the UK more but starting on May 24 Ring of Honor will make their highly anticipated return with the start of the Honor United Tour. Though American fans can be special it is always the case that when an American company heads overseas the fans show just how "different" they are and excited they can be to see wrestling they don't always get live. Overall this might not seem like a big deal, but in reality when a company with a smaller budget like ROH makes the trip overseas it is always a big deal as it shows they are confident enough to try and expand more.
Though the former "Fallen Angel" is now remembered as one of the top names on the Indies never to be given a run with the WWE that isn't entirely true. As if we look back to the late 1990's specifically 1998 the WWE actually signed Daniels to a developmental deal and would keep Chris around an enhancement talent. However, a story that not many fans know is that during his stay in developmental his training was going well & WWE management was impressed with him enough at the time to consider giving him a push. The main roster spot that Daniels was up for is a spot in the stable led by Gangrel & the stable would also include Edge.
However, based on input from Edge the WWE selected Christian instead to be the third member of The Brood and the rest as they say is history. But one can't help but wonder how different Daniels career would've been had he stayed with the WWE and got this main roster spot. Hindsight I think the WWE made the right decision as Edge & Christian had the track record of already established chemistry to build off and they wouldn't have had to start from square one like Daniels & Edge. Now it is very known that The Brood was designed to be a springboard for Edge so I don't know if Daniels would've been given the opportunity to succeed in WWE either way.
Looking the career Daniels has put together for himself though especially his success in the tag team division, I don't think this should be looked at as anything more than another what if situation. The one thing I will point out is that honestly had Daniels remained with WWE I don't think he would've become as big a star in TNA & ROH like he has become. In reality I guess that is the blessing in a sea of "what ifs."
The series continues as we once again look on the long list of names that have at one time or another fought for ROH. In the past we looked back at two former World Champions in Nigel McGuinness & Xavier. But now we are going to look back at one of the names that was a World Champion in ROH but just not the ROH World Champion. Early on in his career Brent Albright became a often hired local jobber for the company to use on the many B-Shows they would have and this later led to Brent getting a contract. In 2003, Albright was signed to a developmental deal with WWE and was sent to the then main developmental territory in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
During his time in OVW he would become the first person ever win all three of the active OVW titles at some point holding the Heavyweight title, Southern Tag Team, and Television. Albright would engage in competitive feuds with CM Punk, Ken Doane, and Johnny Jeter while working down in OVW before getting the call to join WWE. Though the initial plan for Albright was really good as he would slowly become the mentor of Chris Benoit and would likely get a push, but for whatever reason his original plan was scrapped and he would leave WWE within the year of being called up. The man once known as Gunner Scott would be back on the Indies by the fall of 2006 and it was then when he found a home away from home in ROH. It didn't take long for Albright to not only become a fixture in various companies but also associated with top heels of the time in ROH like Jimmy Jacobs, Larry Sweeney, and Lacey.
Though his accomplishments in ROH are more merit based and many cases of the skills that Albright had to show he would be a staple of Ring of Honor from 2006 until 2009. Remaining with the company to their first taster of national TV expansion showing everyone the amount of potential that he had, but if only he could put the package together. However, the biggest moment of Albright's career did actually happen in a ROH ring back in August 2008 when Brent Albright made Adam Pearce submit to win the NWA World Title. Now even though at the time the NWA wasn't the brand it was in the past or what it has become today, but winning the title still did mean something, and though Albright didn't hold it too long it was a great accomplishment none the less. There is no doubt that Albright was a very skilled in ring competitor, but had something missing from his game that if he was able to find could've been something special. Either way though he is one of those names we remember from the past of Ring of Honor.
News has just been broke that around 3 weeks after Ring of Honor turns 13, ROH will see a legend make his return to the company for the first time since the NJPW and ROH co-promoted show in May of last year. So live in Redwood City, California the site of ROH Supercard of Honor IX will also be the site of Jushin "Thunder" Liger's next US appearance.
That's Right!! Jushin Liger is not just back in the United States, but he is back in Ring of Honor this appearance seems like it is only a one and done type thing. However, there is also still a little more than a month until the card happens and that leaves a lot of time for details regarding Liger's stay in ROH to be announced. As we prepare for the Japanese legend's next trip to the US let us look back at his past trips to the US for ROH.
For those who know about what Jushin Liger has done for the business outside of just time within the ranks of companies in the United States. They would tell you that Liger coming stateside is not only very special because of how rare it is, but also how great it is for the company that was able to bring him stateside because of the meaning and credibility Liger's name carries for whatever show he's on or company he works for. Liger has worked for ROH on three occasions in the past like I mentioned previously he was a part of the co-promoted show in May of last year. Liger also worked for ROH in 2010 and in late 2004; in 2010 he worked one match against ROH World Champion Austin Aries and came up short. In 2004, ROH delivered to its fans a dream match that fans had wanted to see Bryan Danielson vs Jushin "Thunder" Liger. In a shocking turn of events Liger defeated Danielson, in the match and then again the following night in a "dream tag team match" when Liger teamed with Samoa Joe vs Danielson & Low-Ki.
Liger brings in more fans to tune into the show and a proven track record for ROH to use in promoting the show. On March 27th, The "Thunder" Returns to Ring of Honor.
If you could pick certain names that helped build the current promotion and moved the company forward. With names like Samoa Joe, Nigel, Danielson, Punk, Briscoe's, and various others the company has absolutely had amazing luck with finding talent that has the ability to carry the company. Following the departure of Danielson, Joe, Styles, and Punk the company was looking for someone to carry the load and Nigel did that to a tee and if you don't believe me just like at his World Title reign. Over his 545 days as champion he would defend his title 38 different which both are good enough to be the second all time behind Samoa Joe as in away of being the greatest champion in history.
During his career in ROH, Nigel fit extremely well on the companies roster and would always give in some of the best matches in the history of the company. From his feuds with Bryan Danielson, Jerry Lynn, Austin Aries, Chris Hero and others to just his desire even in the face of gruesome injuries to always compete there is no doubt that Nigel is one of the best ever to be in ROH. However, in many respect the torn biceps, concussions and other injuries sustained during his time as champion lead to his mysterious and very early retirement from Wrestling. Which in a way would lead some to wonder was the risks he took worth the shortening of his career even though he did become a very good announcer.
Overall at this point Nigel has carved out a nice career for himself as an announcer in both ROH and now WWE which is crazy when you think about him starting back in ROH and how green he was. Either way though their is no doubting the legacy that Nigel has left behind within the hallowed halls of ROH.
For the last few weeks I have been trying to figure out the best way to add some new content to this section of the site. With the companies all having a very deep history and a very long list of alumni for the company and this opened the door for a new series very similar to the New Japan series I started last month. Taking a look back in time at ROH in the past I think that there might be few people that fit the description of "Star of the Past" more than Xavier. The reason I think that Xavier fits this description is simply due to how much of a major star he was at the start of the company and how his stock would fall fairly quick.
For those who have never heard of Xavier then let me explain as he was the star who defeated Low-Ki for the Ring of Honor World Title. Soon after winning the title he would join Christopher Daniels in the heel stable known as The Prophecy with mates including Michael Modest. The Prophecy group did help the champion retain his title over the course of his run until he dropped his title to Samoa Joe. For the remainder of his run in ROH he would never reach the status of champion ever again and would normally just become minor member of the roster.
At this point in ROH history I don't think that most fans are likely remember the impact that Xavier had on ROH in it's early days especially knowing that he even fought Scoot Andrews at the ROH first event. Around 2004 the second ever World Champion in ROH had left the company to return on sporadic occasions, but never for more than just one time appearances. However, not to forget the past or one of the earliest top heels of company that is still reaching out to the ball of expansion and running away with it.
In the past few years the WWE has made a habit of picking off various ROH talent and bring them to NXT/FCW. Just to name some talent that WWE has taken: CM Punk, Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson), Kevin Owens (Kevin Steen), Sami Zayn (El Generico), and others. Now more talent seem to be on the radar of WWE and could be walking away from ROH following the expiration of their contracts.
Out of the three talent I will speak of only one is absolutely not going to WWE even though they did have interest in him and that person is Moose, as he just resigned a contract with ROH after month ago. But below I will talk about two major names that are on WWE's radar and maybe leaving ROH:
Adam Cole: The Former ROH TV & World Champion has been on WWE's radar for a few years now and nothing has come of it. But just remember Cole is one of the talents who was signed back when ROH was first bought by Sinclair in 2011 so it could be possible that his contract is expiring soon. In my opinion ROH has done a good job of moving Cole out of the World title picture and making him a part of The Kingdom. I think if Adam did walk away from ROH losing him wouldn't hurt as bad now as it once would have.
Jay Lethal: The Current ROH World Champion & Television Champion, Jay is currently the face of Ring of Honor and would be a huge loss for the WWE once his contract expires. As of this writing it seems as though Jay's contract is up within the next few months and some believe that Jay was given the World Title and such a big push as a way to try and get him to stay with the company. Right now I think a case could be made for Jay to go either way, because he has never been a World Champion before and is finally getting the opportunity. But he has also to my knowledge never been offered a contract by WWE. So in reality it's a double edged sword, and for once I can not stand firmly behind one side, because Jay would have a lot to gain with either choice.
As I countdown the top competitors in the wrestling world from 2017 we have reached the number seven wrestler on the list and that is the former Ring of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal. Anyone who knows about Jay Lethal's career knows that it him a while to find his footing and be given the opportunity to really show what he can do in the ring. When Jay made his way back to ROH for the second time he really should how was able to put the whole package together and become the face of the company. Following the departure of both El Generico & Kevin Steen the company need someone to step up and Jay did exactly that really changing how he was viewed among fans.
To look back at last year we have to check out how 2016 ended for Jay and that was with the start of a feud between him and Cody Rhodes. The company must really trust him to place him in a feud with Cody at the outset of his run with the company. But just in general every time he is in the ring it seems like Jay never falls to deliver and make his matches feel different. Now the veteran of the roster Jay is in the position that he could be moved into a title feud or carry the company at any time if needed.
Overall many fans think that the concept of wrestlers making a living outside of the WWE is something very new, but Jay Lethal has been doing it his whole career as he has never made his way to WWE. Even though Jay didn't really start leading the company until a few years ago he really put on display the exact reason that well not everyone needs to be in WWE at some point. Looking back I think that Jay is extremely reliable and it would tough not consider him to be among the Top 10 Wrestlers in the world.
With the biggest PPV event of the calendar year now in the rear view I thought it would be the right time to look back and see the state of the company. Last year I will admit that I was hype critical of certain aspects of Ring of Honor and still am not a fan of those aspect of the company. However, that doesn't keep from being a fan of the company and really want the best for the company which is the same thing I have said about the other companies. Don't get me wrong I would prefer to avoid this conversation as it could be me as a broken record. Below are two of the main prospects that I think should be focused on when looking at 2017 and Ring of Honor:
First of all it is hard not to mention the expanding working agreement that has formed between CMLL, NJPW, and Ring of Honor. The amount of talent that ROH has been able to have access to this year because of that agreement is incredible. Also the fact that ROH has given fans in the states another way to see the Bullet Club who are by far the hottest group in wrestling has helped to no end. This has also given ROH the ability to always have back up if a talent like Adam Cole is signed away because they know that NJPW & CMLL will work with them look at both KUSHIDA & Jay White as examples.
However, the one thing that still in my opinion needs to be addressed is the booking style of the company. The reason I say this is because watching Final Battle I still feel as though ROH still tries to make every match feel like the best match of the show or match of the year. In my opinion not every match needs to be looked at as the best match on the show and though this could be an old school mentality the main event should be the best match or at least a top match. The one thing though is that instead of giving every match enough time to feel like a big match every though shouldn't all feel that way. One reason that all the matches shouldn't be allowed a lot of time is because it makes it tough to allow fans to differentiate between the matches.
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