Updates of Other CHampions
Currently, Ring of Honor Women's Champion Rox-C will have a busy first half of 2022 and will keep the Women's Championship in the public eye. One question that I mentioned in a previous article was with Rox-C keeping busy where does this leave the other Ring of Honor title holders. Well now have the answer at least for current World Champion Jonathan Gresham. Gresham won the World Title a few weeks ago at Final Battle: "End of an Era." At this point, it is likely that Gresham will end up remaining the champion until April when the company is scheduled to return.
According to reports it appears that not only will Gresham be included in the upcoming Battle of Los Angeles with PWG. Gresham will also be defending the Ring of Honor World Title on January 23, at the first Game Changer Wrestling event of 2022. Gresham had just retained the World Title on December 17 against AJ Gray and next year on January 23, he will defend the gold against Blake Christian. Christian is former WWE NXT star Trey Baxter who is looking to add his name to the list of ROH World Champions.
As for the current Ring of Honor Tag Team champions there have been a number of rumors surrounding "Dem Boys." Final Battle 2021, saw The Briscoes won the tag team titles for the 12th time which is insane. At the final PPV event current AEW stars FTR made a shocking appearance at the event, starting the conversation of a possible dream match. Seeing The Briscoe brothers and FTR possibly set the lock horns in the not too distant future is the reason why wrestling fans are in the midst of the craziest period of time we have ever seen. In my opinion, this is just another dream match that we never thought we'd get to see, but we will be seeing in 2022.
Virtuosa vs Prodigy
At this point it is clear that WWE struggles with the idea of figuring out the best way to push women's wrestlers and find new top stars for the division. Typically, WWE finds the core group of talent and builds around them only changing the core when it is necessary. This logic causes some talent to fall to the sands of time and a number of wrestlers end up leaving potential on the table. Last year, WWE released a number of stars, one of which was Deonna Purrazzo. After 343 days, Deonna has shown that not only WWE missed the boat with another potential star, but also another star that could carry a division.
Earlier points aside, it was interesting to see how Ring of Honor decided to put together Final Battle as it seems like they set the stage to keep the company going. It seems like The Briscoe Brothers may have opened the door to move All Elite, but the question is where the "Prodigy" will make another move. At Final Battle, Deonna Purrazzo appeared to challenge Ring of Honor Women's Champion Rox-C. Currently she (being Deonna) is the Women's champion for AAA in Mexico and has a rematch set for Hard to Kill against Mickie James to recapture the Impact Knockouts Championship. Deonna is making an attempt to become a belt collector.
It is unclear at this point right now when and where the championship match will take place, but it is clear that the match will take place at some point next year while Ring of Honor is on hiatus. I think that this is the best thing that could happen for ROH in keeping the legacy going while they're gone, but this doesn't mean that ROH is 100% returning in April. Rox-C has taken the wrestling world by storm in the last twelve months and is able to feud with a top star like "The Virtuosa." It is official now that Ring of Honor is on a hiatus, but with the champions still able to defend their gold it is clear that ROH's legacy hasn't ended; it just started it's next chapter. Potential is the story here and it is refreshing to see some wrestlers who otherwise wouldn't have been given an opportunity.
This match will be the money match and one that fans will be paying attention to especially if Deonna is able to recapture the Impact Wrestling Knockouts title next month at Hard to Kill. Purrazzo has become a reliable money draw since joining the independents from WWE and proving her the juggernaut wrong. Rox-C is showing that age is just a number and that she will do her best to keep the legacy of ROH going and doing the promotion proud, especially competing against Miranda Gordy on January 21 for MLW in Dallas. This rivalry is far from over; it's just a matter of when the next chapter will be written.
Ring of Honor Story Continues
As we've spoke about many times in the last few days and weeks all of Ring of Honor's contracted wrestlers will be free and clear of their contracts following Final Battle in December. Ring of Honor will be taking a brief hiatus from being an active promotion for the first part of 2022 schedule to return in April 2022 for Supercard of Honor.
Taken from a report on f4wonline.com it is noted that Sinclair hasn't cancelled the ROH TV show as the company does have another TV Taping set for the year which will take them to Final Battle. Once the footage from the November tapings are used up, they will use old footage for their weekly TV product until their presumed return in April.
A quote taken directly from the previously referenced f4wonline.com article "Assuming they return, Meltzer said the plan will be to "essentially be an indie promotion" where they book top available talent on nights they have shows and TV tapings, leaving themselves open to issues if a champion gets signed to a deal elsewhere." Also some talent will be under contract until early 2022 specifically the end of March and will be paid in full until their contracts expire. However, outside of the expected commitments to Ring of Honor those being the final round of TV tapings and Final Battle any and all talent is free to work elsewhere in the meantime.
Due to ongoing issues for Sinclair after a recent ransomware attack a few weeks ago Ring of Honor's Halloween episode was aired on the promotion's YouTube channel. For more information on the ransomware attack click here!
It is unquestionable that there has been a lot to unpack here with everything that has happened recently in the proceeding days and weeks since the announcement about the hiatus. I did research and tried to put together as accurate of a story as I possibly could on this very delicate situation. The last two articles have been a mixture of information from a variety of sources and my opinion on the situation. I put aside sharing exclusively my opinion on the matter to make sure the facts were given the spotlight and not just my opinion.
In my opinion, this is still a delicate situation as we don't have all the information and will not likely have everything in front of us until after Final Battle or early next year. Either way though we can all collectively hope the best for all of those wrestlers that have been let go from their contracts. It doesn't matter if ROH is or isn't coming back, because either way a high number of extremely talented pro-wrestlers are now with a job. I wish the best for all Ring of Honor employees and know that they will catch somewhere and at some point.
For the full write up from Dave Meltzer click here
Ring of Honor Hiatus Part 2
In May 2011, the wrestling world changed when the announcement came down the pike that Ring of Honor had been sold to Sinclair Broadcasting Group:
"Ring of Honor Wrestling owner, Cary Silkin, announced today the sale of the promotion to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., one of the largest television broadcasters in the country and which owns and operates, programs, or provides sales services to 58 television stations in 35 markets across the United States." "ROH, currently the third largest wrestling promotion in the country, just celebrated its ninth anniversary, and Mr. Silkin is excited about taking the next step towards increasing the company’s visibility and expanding its operations."
Click here for the full article!!
Prior to being sold to Sinclair the promotion was back to running monthly events as their once weekly program ended in April 2011 after the contract with HDNET had come to an end. HDNET was the embodiment of a regional broadcasting network only available in certain areas of the country. In September 2011, Ring of Honor returned to weekly television with a brand new program and a lot more exposure. For most in the world of wrestling the period between 2009-2012 was a very weak time for any major promotion in the United States excluding Ring of Honor.
At Final Battle 2009, Kevin Steen turned on his best friend El Generico sparking the hottest rivalry in wrestling, a rivalry that still burns to this day. Steen was turned off by failing over and over and then decided to align with Steve Corino against Generico and Colt Cabana which paved the way for the most violent feud in wrestling at the time. The feud would last two years culminating at Final Battle 2012 in a Ladder Match between Steen and Generico. Alongside The Briscoes, American Wolves, Kings of Wrestling, World's Greatest Tag Team, the list goes on and on Ring of Honor had hit their golden era. Think about the talent Shelton Benjamin, Kevin Steen, El Generico, Claudio Castanogli, Chris Hero, Eddie Edwards, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, and various others all called Ring of Honor home during this period of time. Slowly though that foundation would be chipped away and every single name mentioned above would be gone within five years.
Fast forward to 2018, rumors are flying about a mass exodus from Ring of Honor including Kenny Omega, Cody, Adam Page, Young Bucks, and others. This exodus would leave a gaping whole within the ROH roster that even the working agreement with New Japan wouldn't be able to fill. Those men would leave in early 2019 to form All Elite Wrestling. Ring of Honor tried to fill the void left by those men, but well it's hard to fill such a tremendous void. Think about this: ROH and Impact Wrestling have been around since 2002. The same amount of time give or take a few months. Now think about the history of ROH and the history of Impact Wrestling. Totally different histories for two companies that have been both around 19 years.
Impact struggled to find an identity for the better part of fifteen years and has just recently found stable ground in the last few years. Ring of Honor has been fortunate they haven't had a tough go for the most part in the last 19 years, but hard times come for us all it's how you bounce back that matters. In my opinion, if Sinclair is still committed to Ring of Honor then seriously take the time and invest in a direction and come back bigger and better than ever in April 2022 to show this was worth it or sell the promotion to the highest bidder and move on. I don't want this to be the end of Ring of Honor and I want to see them return in April 2022, but the main question is does Sinclair want them to return in April 2022.
Tape Library for Sale
It is hard to believe that I haven't posted in this section in two years, but it's like I mentioned previously it was hard at the time to cover each promotion and give all companies proper time in the spotlight. Unfortunately, I do wish it was under better circumstances that we would get back to talking about Ring of Honor then these circumstances. Right now there is still news and conversations happening with more information appearing to come out about this subject matter and I'm sure more information will appear this is what we know so far thought.
In the research I've been doing about this matter I noticed that the Ring of Honor Tape Library had been getting shopped around in privacy for the last year and now it is not private anymore. A lot of information about this subject is still unknown though with a lot of questions still remaining. For example, last fall Ring of Honor announced the "Best on the Planet Network." In quote taken the wrestlinginc.com article talking about the launch about the new streaming service it read "the new digital-first 24/7 linear network will allow fans to view ROH content around the clock. New and past episodes of ROH TV will air, as well past On Tour and pay-per-view events."
This gave ROH it's first access to the steaming market which further expanded the possibilities for the promotion to regain exposure in a market where wrestling fans are seemingly always craving more wrestling. The question I wonder is how does the streaming service fit into the tape library sale and why have this service start-up if you were shopping around the tape library at the time.
According to my research it is unclear if the entire ROH tape library is up for sale or just the archives from the time the promotion was under Sinclair control which would only go back to 2012. This would still include current stars like Adam Cole, Kenny Omega, Young Bucks, Keith Lee, Tomasso Ciampa, and various others early days in wrestling. Though it seems likely the entire 19 year history of ROH would be included if the tape library does end up being sold it is just another question.
I will not be jumping to a conclusion about these events and will be researching each piece of this subject before expressing my opinion on these matters. A number of former Ring of Honor stars are under contract with All Elite Wrestling at this point and with rumors of a streaming service in the works it is possible that AEW could be suitors. Currently, the asking price is well above market price which is another question as who values what a tape library is worth especially one with nearly 20 years of programming.
For the article from the quote mentioned above click here
Glory by Honor: Fade to Black
It is hard to believe that it has been almost a decade since Tyler Black had left Ring of Honor for the big company in Connecticut. I was very fortunate enough to be able to attend this event and it was one of my earliest wrestling events to be in the crowd. I remember following the Tyler Black to WWE rumors very closely, because it was basically a repeat of when CM Punk got signed by WWE. I remember being one of those fans that was frustrated and annoyed that Tyler was leaving, because I didn't think the WWE should be stealing talent. Ignorance was bliss at the time and I for one am happy that Seth "Tyler Black" Rollins has been able to have the career he has in the WWE.
As for the other names that stick out Roderick Strong, Kevin Steen (Owens), El Generico, Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, and even Steve Corino call WWE home right now. This event took place very early on in the greatest feud in Ring of Honor history between Kevin Steen and El Generico. At this point Eddie Edwards had just won the TV Title back in May and was very early on in his singles push that would bring him the Ring of Honor World Title in early 2011 after winning Survival of the Fittest before 2010 was out. Looking ahead to today who would've thought that Eddie Edwards would've become a poster boy for Impact Wrestling. By far the one that jumps out at me the most is the fact that Christopher Daniels is currently a wrestler/executive for All Elite Wrestling even still now over twenty years into his in ring career. Overall it is surreal to see how much these men have accomplished in the years that have passed since this event took place on this day 9 years ago.
ROH Glory by Honor IX
Kenny King Def. (Pin) Jay Briscoe
Mark Briscoe Def. (Pin) Rhett Titus
Erick Stevens & Necro Butcher Def. (Pin) Balls Mahoney & Grizzly Redwood
Colt Cabana & El Generico Def. (Sub) Kevin Steen & Steve Corino Double Chain Tag
Eddie Edwards (C) Def. (Sub) Shawn Daivari ROH World Television Title
Christopher Daniels Def. (Pin) Austin Aries
Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli Def. (Pin) Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Roderick Strong Def. (Pin) Tyler Black (C) No Disqualification ROH World Heavyweight Title
Match of the Week: Claudio Castagnoli vs Colt Cabana vs D'Lo Brown vs Bryan Danielson
Let's go for the trifecta of different matches from Bryan Danielson during his career in Ring of Honor. We started with a singles match between he and AJ Styles then moved to a tag team match that involved Samoa Joe & Bryan vs KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji finally we landed on a fatal four way. For the most part I have ignored the Ring of Honor career of Claudio, but that discount the impact he had during his time in the company especially as a member of the Kings of Wrestling. At one point, he and Chris Hero were in a league of their own and were far none the best tag team in the world.
I have spoken about Bryan Danielson enough in previous articles that talking about him more would be overkill. But before I saw this match I had no idea that D'Lo Brown had ever even wrestled for Ring of Honor and it was a sight seeing him in the ring with the future of wrestling at the time. To offer a comparison for those who never watched Colt Cabana during this time he was basically the upper card talent that the company could rely on for a good match when they needed him. Overall this is a hidden gem from Ring of Honor and one I would suggest watching.
Keeping up with the match that I found last month between Bryan Danielson & AJ Styles we shift gears to another current WWE Superstar. In my opinion, right now Samoa Joe has hit the prime of his career in the WWE and puts that on display every time he is on camera as he is gold every single night. During his early career he stood right with Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, Christopher Daniels, and other to build the foundation of Ring of Honor. Think about this Jay Lethal held the ROH World title for an astounding 427 days and was second on the list to only Samoa Joe who still holds the record for the longest title reign at 645 days.
I don't feel like I need to explain how good Bryan Danielson is or the fact that he is absolutely one of the greatest to step foot in the ring. The amount of passion that Bryan has for the wrestling business is amazing and we see that every night is in the ring. As for the other two KENTA has recently returned to his home country after a stint with WWE and we will have to see how he does in this years G1 Climax. Last but not least Marufuji has competed in All-Japan, New Japan and is still active in Pro-Wrestling NOAH where he has become a massive star. The appearances of both KENTA and Marufuji came thanks to a foreign excursion between Pro-Wrestling NOAH and Ring of Honor which shows how beneficial these working agreements are for both promotions. However, they are only beneficial when the promotion makes the incoming/unknown stars seem like a huge deal which is exactly what ROH did for each of the three men that appeared which included KENTA, Marufuji, and Kenta Kobashi.
It is incredible to think about how far these two have come in the last decade. Based on the former reputation that plagued the WWE a few years ago where they basically jobbed out any talent that was under a certain height or weight. Even though during the Next Generation the company was lead by Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels. Early on in their careers both Styles and Danielson were the founding fathers of Ring of Honor planting the foundation for the company for years to come.
In the years following the end of WCW and ECW we saw an extreme influx of talent into the WWE, but it also lead to some stars being forced to find their way on independent circuit. This is actually allowed talent like Bryan, Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and others to set the wrestling world on fire and grab the attention of fans and will never ever let it go.
Card Update: G1 Supercard
We are closing in on the biggest event in Ring of Honor and the biggest American show for New Japan. It is hard to put into words the significance of the event for ROH and its continued expansion as a promotion in the United States. For the first time in over 50 years a promotion not called WWE will be running the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden which is an amazing accomplishment in itself, but also the fact that the show sold out is just another in a long list of reasons why this event is special.
Two matches that caught my eye are the British Heavyweight & ROH World Championship matches, but for two different reasons. The reason the ladder match caught my eye is that I don't remember the company having many or any triple threat ladder matches so this could be the first. The other reason is that if Marty can pull out the win then it could be Champion vs. Champion at the Crockett Cup when he meets Nick Aldis for the NWA Worlds Title which would add an interesting layer to an anticipated match-up.
In my opinion, if someone looked at the match between champion Zack Sabre Jr. and challenger Hiroshi Tanahashi and was anything other than excited they should be checked out because there is something wrong with them. The former "Ace" of New Japan is like a fine wine bypassing the issues that have plagued other veterans of New Japan. Sabre Jr is by far one of the best wrestlers in the world; also just think about the possibility of Tanahashi winning a British Heavyweight Title and traveling to the UK for the first time before he hangs up his boots. Overall there are so many layers to this event it will be just another reason why Wrestlemania weekend will be incredibly special and monumental for everyone.
ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard
Honor Rumble (Pre-Show)
Will Ospreay vs. Jeff Cobb (Never Openweight Champ vs. ROH World TV Champ)
Dalton Castle vs. Rush
Women of Honor Championship
Mayu Iwatani vs. Kelly Klein (WOH World Championship)
Bully Ray vs. ??? (NYC Street Fight Open Challenge)
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match:
Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. Dragon Lee vs. Bandido (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship)
Champion vs Champion Match
Evil & Sanada vs. G.O.D. (c) vs. Villain Enterprises (c) vs. The Briscoes (IWGP & ROH Tag Championship)
British Heavyweight Championship Match:
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (British Heavyweight Championship)
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match:
Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi (IWGP Intercontinental Championship)
ROH World Championship Match:
Jay Lethal (c) vs. Matt Taven vs. Marty Scurll (ROH World Championship Ladder Match)
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match:
Jay White (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Championship)
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