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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Last Of The World Titles
June 4, 2007 by David Barker


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On April 6, 2005 my first column was posted on Online World of Wrestling. That column was entitled "Why World Titles Mean Nothing." From there, I wrote one other column, but have taken almost a year off from column writing. In that time, I have come to believe that there is only one World Title left, only one title worthy of being called a World Championship. That title is currently held by "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson. The Ring of Honor World Title.

Ring of Honor is a wrestling company that has been capturing the minds of wrestling audiences since it's inception on February 23, 2002. Their first show was aptly titled "The Era of Honor" begins, and featured a tremendous three way dance with Low Ki defeating Christopher Daniels and Bryan Danielson. They continued to run shows once a month, and on July 27, 2002, Low Ki defeated Christopher Daniels, Spanky, and Doug Williams in a four way Iron man match to win the ROH Title. This match is, in my opinion, the second greatest four way match of all time (I'll get to the best later.)

First thing ROH did right" They made winning their title really mean something. They established their company, then they had a full show devoted to deciding who would get to be in the match for the crown the first champion, and then the match itself was a difficult match. A wrestler couldn't just steal a win. They'd have to outlast three other wrestlers for a full hour to become champion.

Low Ki didn't hold the title long, He lost it on September 21, 2002 to Xavier. Though he lost it to Xavier so quickly, Low Ki did have a nice title defense against AJ Styles. Xavier defeated Jay Briscoe, AJ Styles, and Paul London on two different occasions during his title reign. His reign ended on March 3, 2003 when Samoa Joe defeated him to win the ROH Title. Xavier had four successful defenses.

It was Samoa Joe's reign that made the ROH Title the ROH World Title. His second defense was against Zebra Kid, in London, England. His eighth defense was against Ares and took place in Germany. He defended against Balls Mahoney, against Ahmed Chaer in Germany, against Shinya Makable, against Chris Hero, none of whom were regular ROH performers.

These defenses go hand in hand with numerous defenses against regular ROH wrestlers, including two spectacular one hour draws with CM Punk, great matches against each of the Briscoe's, some good matches against Homicide, among many others. What Samoa Joe did for the ROH World Title is irreplaceable. He took the title to other countries and defended it. He defended it against guys who were not regular ROH wrestlers. When was the last time John Cena or Rey Mysterio took on non-WWE wrestlers for their respective Championships" Now, while tradition should show that the NWA Title should be defended in any NWA affiliated company, and that anyone from the NWA should have a legitimate chance at holding it, since the birth of TNA, no non-TNA wrestler has held the NWA title.

Back to ROH, Samoa Joe lost the ROH World Title to Austin Aries in what was considered a huge upset. Before his loss to Aries, Samoa Joe had twenty-nine successful title defenses. Aries was yet to have held a title. He had only been in ROH since April of 2004, and won the title in December of 2004. Aries did not disappoint though, he continued to defend the title against anyone who wanted a shot. He took the title to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to defend against Kevin Steen, then to Florida, ROH does not run shows in Florida, to defend against Vordell Walker, Insane Dragon, and Roderick Strong. He went over seas to defend against Marc Roudin in Switzerland, then to Austria to battle Ares and Steve Douglas. He also went to Mexico to defend against Super Crazy and Ricky Marvin. Those defenses are combined with his regular ROH defenses. Aries lost the title on June 18, 2005 to CM Punk. Aries has sixteen title defenses.

CM Punk's title reign was something different all together. When CM Punk won the ROH Title, it was publicized to be his last night in ROH. He was a face on that night. The moment he won the title, he turned heel with a very well preformed promo. His whole attitude became that he was going to leave ROH with the title, and each show after that was supposed to be his last. Finally, after four successful title defenses, CM Punk lost the title in what is, in my opinion, the greatest four way match of all time.

The date was August 12, 2006, it was in Dayton, Ohio. The show was Redemption. CM Punk cut a promo during the show about how he was leaving with the ROH World Title. Now, Dayton was a place where CM Punk and Samoa Joe went to their first one hour draw, a match that was given five stars by the Wrestling Observer. Samoa Joe was one of Punk's opponents. Another one of his opponents, James Gibson, was coming in with something to prove. He had three previous shots at the ROH World Title, and had failed to win. The final opponent, Christopher Daniels, also had something to prove, something to fulfil- his destiny. The match itself was fantastic. It was a fatal four way elimination match. James Gibson was taken to the back due to blood loss, he had not been eliminated. Christopher Daniels was the first to be eliminated, via submission by Samoa Joe. CM Punk then rolled up Samoa Joe, pinning his shoulders to the mat. CM Punk celebrated, until Gibson came back out, since he had not been eliminated, he was still eligible to win. Which is what he did.

James Gibson did not hold the title for that long, barely over a month, but in that month he packed in four title defenses, and on the fifth one he lost to a man who wrestled in the main event of the very first Ring of Honor show, Bryan Danielson. Bryan Danielson has been a defending champion, though he has not yet defended over-seas. He's put on some great title defenses, while developing a solid character. The night Danielson first won the ROH World Title, Glory by Honor IV, he said that the ROH World Title represents Wrestling Freedom. Perhaps it does. In this author's humble opinion, the ROH World Title is the only World Title left. The WWE defends its Heavyweight Titles all over the world as well, but the defenses are against other WWE wrestlers, which of course, only a WWE wrestler should hold the WWE Titles, but in this author's humble opinion, to be a true World Title, any wrestler should be able to get a shot at the title. Ring of Honor gives that aura, that is why I say it is the only World Title left.

by David Barker ..


Adam Stubbings wrote:
Good column, nice view of the ROH World Title, but i believe that it is not the only true world title left. Lets look at the titles that deserve to be World Titles, and rightfully carry the name: WWE Championship, unfortunately, gone totally downhill and lost status since the band extension, World Heavyweight: WWEs b show belt, unfortunately never had much prestige once it left RAW, NWA World: TNAs title, but is not often defended on foreign soil. Watch out though, for the AWA World Title, still defended worldwide by stars such as Steve Corino, Takao Omori and more. I consider this title to be the ONLY remaining true 'World Title' as the ROH belt isnt defended worldwide often enough in my opinion.
Lance Crucifixx wrote:
Decent column, but I have to disagree. The RoH world championship is a respectable world championship. But it pales in comparison to the WWE/World or NWA Heavyweight championships. The WWE world champion has to many years behind it to actually say that the RoH world title is more respected.I'd Garuntee, if WWE offered American Dragon a chance at the world Championship, he'd drop the RoH gold and defect immediatly, as any of us would. Same goes for the NWA title.
"Bowles" wrote:
The column, "The Last of the World Titles", is one of the best columns I have read in awhile, it brings up a problem I have had with the WWE and other promotions that try to call a title, a world title. Im not going to rant on the WWE because its safe to say that there product is not on par with what the fans want to see at this time. I just want to let it be known, that the ROH world title has more meaning and credibility than any title out there in the United States and possibly the world today. As a follower of Ring of Honor and many other Independent Promtions throughout the US, i have observed many champions and seen the quality of their matches and I have yet to see a promotion beat the match quality of Ring of Honor and the champions that hold the ROH World Title. So in conclusion, ROH continues to be the top United States Independent Promotion and if you have not seen Ring of Honor for yourself, i recommend you do so immediately. When you watch ROH, you feel like your a part of something that is meaningful and that is something most fans do not get when watching televised companies like TNA and WWE.
Gus Davis wrote:
No offense buddy, but the ROH title is nothing compared to the wwe and world heavyweight titles. Just think of the great names that have held those two titles, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Rick Steamboat, Stone Cold, The Rock, Shawn Michaels (the best there is), Triple H. Shall I list more" Hell, if you ask a normal wrestling fan what ROH is, the person would not know what to say. So in conclusion, I STRONGLY disagree that the ROH title is the only pointful world title.
Brad W. wrote:
You put it perfectly. I look at WWE and John Cena holds the "World" title. Why is it called the world title" But WWE likes to do weird things. They put the heavyweight title on a non heavyweight, but that's beside the point.

ROH calls there's the world title because the title holder will go to other countries to defend the title, though Bryan Danielson sends contracts and those wrestlers come to America to challenge. I still consider that part of legitimately making it a world title cause foreigners are coming to try to take it from him.

If I could just leave one comment. When you talked about Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk's two one hour draws, the first one got 4.5 stars. The second one in Chicago received 5 stars.
Erkka Järvinen wrote:
ooook, lets start from the obvious fact that WWE and ROH are two different companys. There is NO chance in hell that WWE can have the same possibilities that ROH has and that goes the other way too. While John Cena is busy like 5 days of the week WITH that one company how in the hell he would have time to travel in...eeh lets say japan and defend it against Jushin Liger" Another point you got to see is that WWE is a major promotion and they got A LOT of what we internet whores like to call "regular" fans, well a regular fan doesnt want to see John Cena or Mysterio come to UK to defend their titles against a local name. ROH is an indy, WWE is pro...simple.
Noel (Australia) wrote:
yer i have to agree worlds titles have changes significaly since i was a kid. Back in the old WCW days we used to be happy seeing someone take the title from "Hollywood Hogan" such as Sting. Now days in the WWE be have a champ that can never lose (John Cena) and a champ were he doent derseve the title (Mysterio). I am happy that TNA gave their worl title to Christian Cage because TNA was still starting and they were getting new faces and they got a famous face from the WWE which was what they needed. If someone were to have a title they should not have it for too long because that just gets way too boring, they shouldn't have it for a short time either (Edge) who was a great champ. Basically wreslting is getting much more boring, we need to see WWE do some of the things WCW did.
Jose Aguirre wrote:
You have a pretty good column except for 2 things. First ROH isn't that big of a company, so if a non ROH wrestler gets a shot at the title no one really cares because it's not mainstream yet, I hope it will be though. Second, I read your first column and you bashed Brock Lesnar for winning it so fast yet Austin Aries won it pretty quickly as well and you praised him. I'm going to defend Brock Lesnar even though this isn't relevant to this column. Brock Lesnar was a good wrestler. He made the Big Show look good. He had the best match on SmackDown to date which was his iron man match. He had amazing matches with the Undertaker, and he even pinned him cleanly which is something not many men are given the opputunity to do. Other than that I have to agree with your column.
Richard wrote:
That is why Rey Mysterio is known as the World Champion and not the World Heavyweight Champion. But I would not use the word weird to describe the actions of the WWE. The words I would use are sheer stupidity............. What would Harley Race say about Rey Mysterio holding the World Heavyweight, exucse me, World Title"
andrew irving wrote:
Just on a side note, I find it incomprehensible that people objected to Rey Mysterio as champion (at the time of writing he is no longer "world champ"). I know that it all seemed a touch unrealistic that, in spite of Rey's obvious talent, he could come out on top against guys who are twice his size, nevertheless I felt he was deserving of such recognition.

Personally (and I know this isn't rocket science!) but I think that there should be only one heavyweight or "world" title in WWE and that they could have PPVs as the time that the 3 brands engage in intercompetition for this title. This would make the PPVs more of an event as well and in fact, WWE is soon to hold an event called Cyber Sunday I think (today is 14th October 2006), where they are having a champions of champions match between the WWE champion, the World Champion and the ECW champion. I don't know what meaning this will have, but in recent times WWE has taken great joy in creating new title belts and this is an obvious opportunity so to do. This title would have great meaning in my opinion (assuming Booker doesn't lose to Batista this coming week on Smackdown, thus making the champions of champions match; Batista vs. Cena vs. Big Show).

As for ROH, I really like it but I think it's unfair to dismiss all other titles just because they are not defended internationally. I love Bryan Danielson and I know he did the whole "accept any challengers" with the open contracts, but I don't believe he has ever wrestled any of the WWE guys (nor do I think this would be allowed by the WWE) so I don't think that this can truely be considered THE world title either. I think the author has missed the point in a way too - it doesn't matter that it's not the world title, it's the Ring of Honor title and right now, that means it's everything (a rose by any other name..).
Andrew Irving wrote:
Just on a side note, I find it incomprehensible that people objected to Rey Mysterio as champion (at the time of writing he is no longer "world champ"). I know that it all seemed a touch unrealistic that, in spite of Rey's obvious talent, he could come out on top against guys who are twice his size, nevertheless I felt he was deserving of such recognition.

Personally (and I know this isn't rocket science!) I think that there should be only one heavyweight or "world" title in WWE and that they could have PPVs as the time that the 3 brands engage in intercompetition for this title. This would make the PPVs more of an event as well and in fact, WWE is soon to hold an event called Cyber Sunday I think (today is 14th October 2006), where they are having a champion of champions match between the WWE champion, the World Champion and the ECW champion. I don't know what meaning this will have, but in recent times WWE has taken great joy in creating new title belts and this is an obvious opportunity so to do. This title would have great meaning in my opinion (assuming Booker doesn't lose to Batista this coming week on Smackdown, thus making the champions of champions match; Batista vs. Cena vs. Big Show).

As for ROH, I really like it but I think it's unfair to dismiss all other titles just because they are not defended internationally. I love Bryan Danielson and I know he did the whole "accept any challengers" with the open contracts, but I don't believe he has ever wrestled any of the WWE guys (nor do I think this would be allowed by the WWE) so I don't this can truely be considered THE world title either. I think the author has missed the point in a way too - it doesn't matter that it's not the world title, it's the Ring of Honor title and right now, that's enough (a rose by any other name..).
wrote:

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