It’s time once again for the greatest columnist in history…no wait, it’s just me. ROH Ringside is back for 2014.
Storylines. Few fans understand them, lots of fans hate them, and most fans want them. I don’t know what the hell I just said, but one of the things I read about on the Internet, is that the reason Ring of Honor, will not reach T.N.A. or W.W.E.’s level, is because it is too wrestling orientated and does not have many storylines.
I would like to know what people consider storylines. Does it have to be about someone’s wife? Does it have to involve stuff they do outside the ring? Is it personal stories? Gimmick related? In my opinion, a storyline is any minimal addition to a match, to make it have meaning. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be a focus point, but it has to make a match purposeful.
At the time of writing this article I finished watching “Nowhere To Run” from May 14th, 2005. I can guarantee you, that there are many storylines that are being developed, many that are ongoing and many that have finished. So I decided to write this article for all those people, who don’t think that Ring of Honor has storylines and thinks it’s just wrestling for nothing. I want to show a list of storylines that have happened between 2002 and 2005 (from what my mind can remember) to prove my point. Hey, don’t get me wrong, sometimes Ring of Honor will have the tendency of throwing matches together out of the blue, but they know how to make a story out of that match. So here’s the list of storylines that I can remember, that helped make Ring of Honor, just a little bit better.
Hardcore Wrestling vs. Pure Wrestling. Ricky Steamboat and Mick Foley came into Ring of Honor, and out of their appearances they had a mini-feud that stretched through some shows to know if what mattered more was Hardcore Wrestling or Pure Wrestling. After a series of matches (not between them, but by wrestlers adopted by them) if I remember correctly, both agree that they can both styles can live with each other. What I did find funny was that it seemed that the crowd sided more with Mick Foley, despite Ring of Honor fans appreciate Ring of Honor, as a “pure wrestling” company.
Samoa Joe’s Title Reign. The length of the title reign was sort of converted into a storyline, similar to the way Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak was. Who would be the man to take it off of him? How long will the reign last? Finally, Austin Aries took it from him, in a spectacular match. During this title reign, there were some mini storylines around the title as well. Samoa Joe’s hatred for the R.O.H. Pure Title, calling it secondary and not as great as the World Title. After having two or three intense matches with Homicide, the R.O.H. booking committee decided that Homicide cannot go for the World Title as long as Samoa Joe is champion.
C.M. Punk had three memorable feuds and one memorable series of matches, which I really wouldn’t consider a feud.
The first feud was with Raven. Here C.M. Punk expresses his hated for Raven for his past life of drugs and alcohol. C.M. Punk breaks one of the best promos I’ve ever seen, after a match with Raven, with blood pouring down his face, as he explains why he’s straight edge. C.M. Punk won the feud in a steel cage match. For me the feud was very intense, but the matches didn’t live up to the feud.
The second feud was with Ricky Steamboat. Basically the feud was a “you’re old and I’m young” type of feud. There were some “controversial” Steamboat referee calls, during C.M. Punk matches. I don’t remember if they had a match, or if the end result of the feud, but I do remember what didn’t make sense, is that during the Mick Foley-Ricky Steamboat feud, C.M. Punk took Ricky Steamboat’s side, and I was like, “Huh”?
The third feud is one that finished in this last show I mentioned that I saw, between C.M. Punk and Jimmy Rave. I don’t really remember how the feud started, but Jimmy Rave was a guy who got under C.M. Punk’s skin. Jimmy tried to shred C.M. Punk’s tattoo off, Prince Nana (Jimmy Rave’s manager) sprayed Bug Spray in C.M. Punk’s eyes. Jimmy Rave and the Embassy almost choked C.M. Punk out with a chain. Jimmy Rave beat C.M. Punk night in and night out, by cheating. The pay off for C.M. Punk was in a steel cage match at “Nowhere to Run”, in where despite interference from Prince Nana and others; he won with a superplex off the top of the cage.
The series of matches, in which I refer to, is against Samoa Joe. Twice C.M. Punk and Samoa Joe went to a sixty minute time limit draw, in two awesome matches that I recommend to any pro wrestling fan. They have a third match in which C.M. Punk says there will be a winner…and it was Samoa Joe. These three matches almost made C.M. Punk a superstar in Ring of Honor (I said almost because he was pretty much established at that point).
Generation Next. At the show “Generation Next” a stable with Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Jack Evans debuted. Their goal was to get the spot of the main eventers at that time. At each show, they asked wrestlers to step aside so they can grab their spot. It was your basic stable takes over, storyline, but it worked. Alex Shelley was away from Ring of Honor for a few shows, and after Austin Aries won the R.O.H. title, he returned, and wanted leadership back from Austin Aries, but Austin will not have any of it, and Roderick Strong and Austin Aries attacked Alex Shelley. At this time, they are in the middle of their feud.
The break-up of Special K. Jay Lethal was the first wrestler to leave the group after Samoa Joe took him under his wing (a storyline unto itself). After a year or so, the members of Special K, would be more affectionate or close to one of two lady members. This lead to jealousy between the group members and playing the blame game when losses occurred. Eventually, both sides of Special K, would have a match for the rights to the name, which was won by Dixie and Azrieal, who decided to throw the name away, while the losers (Izzy and Deranged) stayed with Lacey changing their name to Lacey’s Angels.
Austin Aries is using his current title reign to “bring back the territories”. Austin Aries is taking the title to Mexico, Canada, Europe and other American feds, to make it more prestigious than Samoa Joe ever made it. Although this doesn’t have direct influence in the matches or anything, it is something to take into account when you watch Austin Aries wrestler.
This is just a few of the examples, of storylines in Ring of Honor. There are many more, and many exciting ones to watch. So believe me, Ring of Honor can make storylines. They aren’t over the top, or done outside of the ring, but they make Ring of Honor just that much more interesting.
— Jose Perez