At first I didn't think I'd be writing about this topic because when the show was canceled I didn't really think there was anything to write about. However, late last week a shocking announcement was made late last week that the planned Ring of Honor show will happen over Wrestlemania weekend as planned but with a twist as New Japan has joined in. This brings about an interesting idea as I don't think New Japan has ever come this far into the United States let alone to New York.
It is honestly nuts to think about how far ROH has come in the last few years as I've been going to Final Battle on and off since around 2010 right across the street from MSG at the Manhattan Center. Now they will be in the "World's Most Famous" arena, I for one can say that I am very proud to be a fan of ROH & to see how far they have come.
One friend always says how healthy the wrestling business is right now and how different things are and this is complete proof of that idea. For the last 58 years no other wrestling promotion has held an event at Madison Square Garden other the WWE and on April 9, 2019 all that will change as New Japan and Ring of Honor will open the door for a new era. Overall though think about seeing the likes of Okada, Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito and others in MSG is something I never thought would happen and am looking forward to it.
Last December Ring of Honor shocked the world when Dalton Castle defeated Cody to gain the Ring of Honor World title. Now don't get me wrong Castle had a ton of momentum and it seemed like he finally hit his stride as a top flight competitor. But it was still a shock to see really the only true gimmick wrestler in the sport gain the top prize in a known American promotion. However, as everyone knew his run had to come to an end and that happened last weekend when Jay Lethal became the new World Champion.
In the past Jay was not only the World Champion, but at the time was also the face of the company having just held the Television title for over year and holding both titles at the same time. It has been a while since the last time we saw Lethal in the top spot with ROH and though I don't think it's possible for him to have gotten better it will be interesting to see if this run will be half as good as his last. Take a look at the match below:
On paper this seems like an underrated match but I attended the show and don't remember seeing this match. Though this doesn't speak to anything other than the match being uneventful and more or less filler but I think it was a solid opener from what I remember. However, Matt Taven is a perfect indication as to what I like about wrestling as he has not only gotten better in recent years but has always found a role. At this point I don't think that I need to elaborate on Will Osprey and just how great he is in the ring.
Recently a lot of WWE stars have been succeed in their second runs with the company and I am specifically looking at one former ROH star and my pick for "Stars of the Past." Now his first run in WWE didn't end very well and he ended up back in the company returning at the end of Final Battle in December 2013 attacking Adam Cole & Matt Hardy. Funny how things change over the course of a few years but this is where our story begins as something was different Hero in his second ROH run. In his second run it was almost like he didn't belong in the company anymore for whatever reason it just felt like the company and Hero didn't fit anymore. However, after his extensively long run with the company it wasn't surprising that the feeling was there and that maybe it was time for both parties to just move on.
Looking back at the beginning of his run with the company it saw Hero along with Nerco Butcher portray invaders from Combat Zone Wrestling and feuding with the entire ROH Roster. This was an incredible way to make an entrance into a company and really set Hero up for an amazing run with the company as the feud was masterfully booked. From there Hero would transition to singles competition with Larry Sweeny as his manager and would actually be the top member of his stable Sweet N Sour Inc.
Near the end of 2009 we would see the return of the Kings of Wrestling and this would be the run that allowed them to become the top team in the world of wrestling and in many ways how they got signed by WWE. Now don't get me wrong Hero was good enough to carry himself as a singles competitor, but just hit a new level in a tag team. Hero has always been a throwback to the stars of the old days and not just cause of his in ring skills and how he typically is very hard hitting like many older stars. One of the more interesting things about Chris Hero is that even that he is under contract with the WWE the big company still let's him compete in smaller companies from time to time which is something they never did.
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.
Your place to find all things Ring of Honor. History, facts and opinions on the company that focuses on wrestling.