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WRESTLING COLUMNS

ROH IS Pro Wrestling
November 1, 2005 by Matt Kopp


The world of wrestling is a very strange organization. The entire business revolves around the fans' reaction to the wrestlers, match promos and storylines. Throughout the course of time, there have been many wrestling companies that have popped up across the continental United States and the world. Some have become successful and are still popular today. Some have had there 15 minutes of fame and died out. One consistent company that has stayed at the top, is World Wrestling Entertainment. Since the death of WCW and ECW, WWE has been the lone company out there, being the number one moneymaking wrestling industry in the world. However, as of 2002, two new wrestling companies have popped up that have caught World Wrestling Entertainment's attention.

I am talking about Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and Ring of Honor (ROH). WWE has noticed the growing popularity of these two shows, now that they are not the only professional wrestling business out there . WWE has been ripping off TNA a lot lately, whether it was the 5-Man suplex out of the corner, or the Coach yelling, "Gore! Gore!" when Edge hit his spear. It seems as though TNA has gotten WWE's attention.

I am going to focus on just one of the wrestling promotions today, that being Ring of Honor. For those of you who don't know much about Ring of Honor (I'm sure that there are very few of you that don't), it is a popular Northeastern Wrestling company that has a lot of great talent. I can proudly say that I had the privilege of attending the September 17th edition of Ring of Honor, where I was able to see American Dragon, Brian Danielson, take the Ring of Honor Title from James Gibson. I loved the show, and can honestly say I have never enjoyed a wrestling show, whether Independent or professional, as much in my life. There are so many things that make Ring of Honor a thrilling and entertaining show to watch, but I am just going to pick a few to list in this article.

Brian Danielson: The American Dragon is a perfect mix of limitless potential, blinding agility and pure unmediated athleticism. Trained by some of the best wrestlers out there, (William Regal, Shawn Michaels, Masato Tanaka and Tracy Smothers), Brian Danielson is a talented young man with an extremely bright future ahead of him. Danielson has a wide variety of innovative and technical moves that can leave a crowd stunned. The Cattle Mutilation, or Arms over America as he now calls it, is one of (in my opinion) the coolest and innovative submission moves out there. When Brian quit Ring of Honor, I was disappointed, but did know that he'd be back sooner or later. You just can't keep a wrestler from the ring, and I was so happy to hear his entrance music blaring through the Sports Arena, and to see that he had grown the hair back on his head. The chants of "Welcome Back" were deafening. Athleticism, Charisma, Ability, Endurance, Power, Passion, Brian Danielson is the complete package.

Samoa Joe: Samoa Joe is one of the most talented big men I've ever seen. At 6'3, 280 pounds, Samoa Joe is one of the biggest men on the roster in ROH. Although he's a big guy, Samoa Joe isn't some ripped big man like Batista or Kevin Nash or Goldberg, he doesn't need to be. Samoa Joe is an amazing competitor whose style is an amazing mix of wrestling and martial arts. There is a reason that the ROH Title was around his waist for 2 years. The reason is because he's GOOD. He's not only a good wrestler, but good on the mic as well. His muscle-buster finisher; amazingly powerful and breath taking and just crazy. Samoa Joe is a natural, and it is his talent that gives him a right to say that he IS pro wrestling.

Low-Ki: This karate master has been lighting up ROH with his master of martial arts. He sees wrestling as honor, respect and dignity, and has gone toe-to-toe with all of the greatest that ROH has to offer. He is my pick to take the ROH belt off American Dragon in about 3 months time. I especially like his move when he puts his opponent in a version of the Tree Of Woe, in the corner, then jumps off and lands on his face. Also, I think his manager, Julius Smokes, is one of the best managers out there. Julius can cut the funniest promos, be a great distraction at ringside and come on, who doesn't love that gold-toothed smile he always does" During Low-Ki's first match with Jay Lethal, Julius interfered, so Jay put him in the Full-Nelson. Instead of selling the move and looking afraid, he looked right over at our section and gave us that gold-toothed beam that he always does. I will never forget how funny that was.

A.J Styles: " A.J Styles is one of those athletes that comes along once in a lifetime, the one guy that just supercedes everyone else." -Jeremy Borash.

Although A.J is more of a TNA guy now, he's had some classic matches and moments in ROH. A.J is a born athlete. He could have been an Olympian, but left that dream to pursue another inside the squared circle. He can do pretty much anything inside of a ring, whether four sided or six sided, and is as his name states, Phenomenal. His match with Jimmy Rave was a classic, and had a great ending with A.J. putting Rave through a table with a Styles Clash. I liked the Rave Clash better , I don't know, it just had a nice ring to it, but what are you going to do"

Generation Next: When you look at these wrestlers, there is a good chance you're looking at the future of wrestling. Austin Aries, the team leader, is one of my favorite stars in ROH. He is an amazing force in the ring. Austin Aries is young, athletic wrestler. His matches are very fun to watch, because he seem to be good at everything in the ring. He has an excellent looking Brainbuster, and he pulls off the 450 Splash so smoothly and easily that it seems that he's floating on air, and not even trying to do the move. Even though he's an amazing high flyer, he can still work a ground game very well, with a nice submission hold like the Rings of Saturn. Austin Aries has held the ROH Title once already, and I don't think it will be his last time.

Jack Evans, another member of Generation Next, is the craziest, high-flyer out here today. His breath-taking moves off the top rope can leave a person speechless, only to open their mouth to say, "HOLY SH*T". Reverse 450 Splashes, Flying Phoenix Sentons, Double Moonsaults, Standing 450 Splashes, Phoenix Splashes, and Springboard 450 Splashes, Jack Evans is taking the top rope to a whole new level.

Roderick Strong is the third and final member of Generation Next. He has completely mastered the backbreaker. One thing that really is appealing about Roderick Strong is the fact that he's extremely innovative and thinks well on his feet. You can put him in almost any predicament, and lock him in almost any move, and chances are he will somehow find a way to turn it into a backbreaker. Roderick Strong is my pick to win the Pure Title.

Pure Title Rules: The ROH Pure Title, as the name states, is defended under pure wrestling rules. Each wrestler is allowed three rope breaks. Once a wrestler uses up all of his rope breaks, his opponent can use the ropes to his advantage. Unlike normally, there is a strict 20-count outside of the ring. The belt can change hands by count out. You are not allowed to punch with a closed fist, and the first time you do it, you get a warning, the second time you lose a rope break, and the third you are disqualified. It's a very nice change of pace for fans of pure wrestling, like myself.

EVERYONE'S A SMARK!!: As fun as it is to watch ROH on DVD or video, you have to actually attend a show to get the full effect of ROH. There is just this aura there that I can't quite explain that just makes the show so much more entertaining. One thing I love about attending an ROH show is that everyone there is a smark. I'm not bashing marks or anything here, it's just fun to have a conversation with someone at a wrestling show who knows about all that's going on behind the scenes, and not having to act like you don't have any clue about what's going on in the storylines. One example of this was when I met this kid sitting three seats down from me who was a wrestling GENIUS, in every term of the word. He could tell you about the deals going on in Japan a year before they actually happened. After talking to him for just five minutes, I was sitting there with my mouth open like the mark I truly am as he explained to me all the finishing moves I didn't know. I loved being able to have an intelligent conversation with other people who are as addicted to wrestling as I am, without having to explain myself like I have to with my friends.

Wrestler Interaction: One of the things I loved the most about ROH is that it was very easy to meet the wrestlers. Before the show even started, I was washing my hand in the public bathroom when JIMMY RAVE walked in and used the sink next to me! I was so dumbstruck that I just stood there, perplexed for a while, like I couldn't believe what had just happened. As he turned to leave, I wished him good luck and he thanked me as he left. I had just had a conversation, however brief it was, with the man who was going to be in the main event of the show I was watching. I was stunned. Then once again during the intermission, I was next to the dressing rooms when Nigel McGuinnes walked out! The crowd behind me started to boo him, and I extended my hand and said, " That was a great match out there, man." He shook my hand with a smile and departed to his dressing room. Okay, at this point, I'm out on my feet. I had just shaken hands with a man who I had just watched retain the Pure Title, while I was simply at the end of the line for a drink. I was in wrestling bliss. I had also heard that Mick Foley was actually walking around in the hallway signing autographs during the Four Corners match, and was disappointed that I hadn't gotten to tell him that I had written an article on him. I strongly recommend that all wrestling fans come to a live ROH event, it's a lot of fun.

Little Guys Finally Have A Chance!: This is the last, but certainly not least reason, why ROH is so entertaining. Unlike in WWE or TNA, you don't have to be 6"0 and be 230 pounds to be able to fight for the World Title in your business. ROH takes all comers, big or small, so there is hope for people like me who are probably going to grow up top be 5"9, 175 pounds. Let's have a little history lesson shall we" Champion #1: Low-Ki: 5'8, 170 pounds, followed up by Xavier: 6'0, 215 pounds. Next comes Samoa Joe, who is the only one on this list who would qualify as a heavyweight anywhere else. 6'3, 280 pounds. Austin Aries: 5'9, 202 pounds, C.M Punk: 6'1 200 pounds ( okay, so I lied, he would also be considered a heavyweight, but just barely) James Gibson: 5'8, 170 pounds. And finally our current champ, American Dragon, standing 5'10, 190 pounds. As you can see, all these men who have held the top prize in ROH, with the exception of Samoa Joe and C.M Punk would be doomed to a life in the Cruiserweight Division and X-Division anywhere else.

All of these different factors have come together to make a great company. It's all these great things about ROH that give me the right to say, ROH IS PRO WRESTLING!!!!!!!!

by Matt Kopp..


Ike Eisen wrote:
RoH seems to have inherited ECW's mantle as the smart fan's choice. The question is whether their version of pro wrestling will remain profitable enough for them to survive the inevitable talent raids and stealing of ideas from WWE and TNA. ECW had a rabid following for years, but some of the causes of their undoing were that WWE and WCW kept signing away their big names and copied many of their concepts.

And even if RoH manages to reach a level where they can get a national TV deal (the Holy Grail of wrestling promotions everywhere), how much do they have to change - or are willing to change - to achieve this" Will RoH be able to attract casual fans to its brand of wrestling, or will there have to be compromises made to achieve this"
Tony Bruce wrote:
Nice ROH ad I hope they paid you for that. Calling Brian Danielson charismatic is the overstatement of the year. he's a total drip, but an excellent worker, anyway don't think i'm knocking ROH coz I think it kicks ass. just found it amusing you used Danielson and Charismatic in the same sentence.
Paul Glantz wrote:
ok, just to be fair on this one, CZW is the new ECW. They are in teh ECW arena, they identify them selves with ECW, they are basicly just mini ECW. But they are missing those special guys that make a promotion, ie: Raven, Dreamer, Sandman, Sabu.

As of late i have been watching tons of ROH and i have to say that i love every second of it. I think that in a few years we will see TNA ans ROH really making runs at WWE, who seem to be lack luster at every turn. When you think about it, ROH has produced many of todays major stars. Guys like Paul London(I can never forgive WWE for burrying him), who is realy ROH only home grown star, They brought out Aj Styles, They brought out Low Ki, Amazing Red, do i even need to continue..............

If you ask me WWE is not pro wrestling, ROH is pro wrestling, TNA is pro wrestling, we the fans are pro wrestling.
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