I’m going to go a bit “off topic” in this article, and speak about something that caught my attention a few weeks ago. Now, as I mentioned before, I’m watching all the ROH Shows in order from the very beginning to get a good following and understanding of the entirety of R.O.H. and its evolution. As I write this article, I’ve started watching the July 23rd, 2004 show “Death Before Dishonor 2 – Part 1”. Therefore I still have eight years of DVDs collect and watch, before getting up to date with today’s R.O.H., and of course taking into account that when I get to 2012, it will probably be 2016 thus four more years to collect, but that’s a different story. I am subscribed to R.O.H.’s YouTube account, and will watch some videos from them. I do check their website from time to time to look at stuff. However, I avoid watching results, reviews or any other type of “Spoilers” so that I can watch the current shows with as much “ignorance” as possible.
People say that today’s R.O.H. product has nothing to do with the “glory years”. I’m not going to go into much depth on all the reasons I understand of why today’s R.O.H. product is considered not as great, because I have not watched it. However, from what I read there was one reason of this argument that captured my attention that I would like to talk about in this article, and this reason being the buildup of the wrestlers. Now I can’t give an opinion about how wrestlers are being built up today, because all I know is that Kevin Steen is being built up to being the anti-face of R.O.H.. However, from what I know of the current product I’m watching, I can understand this argument to a certain extent.
The main point brought up in this argument is how R.O.H. used to have a cycle for building up wrestlers, consisting in, building up nobodies into recognizable stars, and converting them to main event stars and faces of the company, to later have new nobodies brought in, and build these new guys into main event situations to take down the current main eventers and restart the cycle. Seems logical, makes sense, but tell that to W.W.E. or T.N.A.. So I decided that in this article I will mention how each superstar up until 2004 was correctly built by R.O.H. to demonstrate how wrestling is simpler than it’s made out to be.
When I started watch R.O.H. I didn’t know any of the wrestlers in R.O.H.. I had heard of Christopher Daniels and A.J. Styles from T.N.A. and heard of Samoa Joe from some IWC videos I’ve seen. So I was going in ignorant and with an open mind. With 3 years of R.O.H. watching, I know the R.O.H. Roster along with the strengths and weaknesses of each wrestler, all this starting from zero.
So in this article I am going to list some of the top wrestlers from the federation from 2004, and how they slowly got built to be main parts of the roster by R.O.H., mention some other cases of superstars that were pushed well but lost some steam, and finally mention the newer stars who are starting the new part of the cycle to be the future stars of the company.
Christopher Daniels – From the main event of the first show, he proved his in ring skills and his ability as a performer, putting on that five star classic with Low Ki and American Dragon. From there, apart from putting on great matches, he created the stable “The Prophecy” to fight against the Code of Honor input by R.O.H. which was the main storyline of the company during its first year of its existence. He won the tag titles, had a feud with Steve Corino’s Group (signing his Steve Corino’s Sister), and The Second City Saints where he would eventually be “injured” and “put out of action” by C.M. Punk (to explain his leaving for T.N.A.).
Samoa Joe – During the Prophecy – Steve Corino Feud, Christopher Daniels brought in Samoa Joe from Zero-One as a bodyguard. Joe made it clear that he sided with Daniels for the money. Samoa Joe was in a couple of tag matches that continued the feud. However he had a match with Low Ki, which pushed Samoa Joe up the ranks of popularity of R.O.H., and where the fans started to get behind him. The fallout was Samoa Joe starting to have dissension with The Prophecy eventually going solo and winning the World Title, holding it for more than a year, by being a fighting and honorable champion.
Carnage Crew – I mentioned their rise a bit in the last article. Loc was a ref in R.O.H. and got beat up by Homicide and Boogalu, thus getting pissed off and calling in Tony Devito to help him let out his frustration on the R.O.H. Roster and get away from their nagging kids and ugly wives. They got into a feud with Special K because they considered Special K to be a bunch of spoiled rich kids who got everything in life handed to them on a silver platter. This culminated to their highest moment in R.O.H. which was the Scramble Cage Match against Special K in the main event of the show. Their dream was to be the main event. The outcome though was someone shitting in their gym bags in the locker room during the match. It turned out to be their own partner Masada with the help of Danny Daniels, out of jealousy. This lead to a match which won by the Carnage Crew, leading the New Carnage Crew (Daniels and Masada) to break up. What will be in the future of the Carnage Crew? Time and viewing will tell.
C.M. Punk – He started as a loud mouth rookie who wanted attention. He then prophesized his straight edge lifestyle saying how he was better than everyone, because of it. He had a brutal feud with Raven, bringing up Raven’s personal demons (the matches were not great, I have to say but the feud was awesome). He went on to have a great feud with the Prophecy, he considered he was ripped off in both R.O.H. Pure Title Tournaments, had a mini-feud with Ricky Steamboat and had a spectacular one hour draw with R.O.H. Title Match with Samoa Joe. At this time he’s one of the most over guys in the company, and from the current show, seems to have started a feud, with Generation Next.
These are the good pushes by R.O.H., however there is a series of wrestlers who had good pushes, are recognizable but for some reason then don’t get the status they should or aren’t at their top potential; At least in my opinion.
Matt Striker – This is not the W.W.E. Matt Striker. I had never heard of him before, but he came into R.O.H. and put on spectacular technical performances. He was a great mat wrestler. I knew he was not the type of guy who could make it to a T.N.A. or a W.W.E. but R.O.H. was the perfect fit for him. He won the first Field of Honor tournament, and things looked up for him. However, he had two matches with Samoa Joe, and both were not great and he they were basically squash matches for Samoa Joe. R.O.H. introduced the Pure Title which I believed would be a good way for Striker to showcase himself, however he didn’t go far into the Pure Title tournaments. He has looked weak against Generation Next which is the current feud he has, and in general seems to be going nowhere.
Doug Williams – This wrestler impressed me the first time that I saw him. His British style of mat and technical wrestling was so different and so spectacular, that I was captivated by him. I loved this guy in every match he was in. However in the first R.O.H. Pure Title Tournament, I believe he was kind of not given his potential, and deserved to advance further. Although he did win the second tournament, I believe people do not appreciate his talent as they should (or maybe it’s just my personal taste of liking Doug Williams). The same can be said about his T.N.A. run. Maybe he’ll get his due with the Pure Title Run, but I’m not too optimistic.
Now, let’s go to the start of the new cycle of stars that will get a push to “substitute” or “overtake” the main guys I’ve mentioned above.
Generation Next – Out of nowhere, they came out during the “Generation Next” show and just wreaked havoc with all the upper mid-cards to get there spot in R.O.H.. The way they are doing it is a bit cliché, and old, but they are getting a heavy push, and being one of the main focuses of each show.
Delirious – He hasn’t won a match yet, but he is starting to get over. He’s known as the wrestler who has a lizard face, and that is why he wears a mask. I’ve just seen his fourth match for the company, but before his introduction to R.O.H. I saw him many times on YouTube, and he’s my idol.
The Briscoes – They were R.O.H. Originators, and left R.O.H. for a while, but returned and are being built as the top team in R.O.H., and we know where they are now.
Colt Cabana – C.M. Punk has helped him get pushed, however he’s a hilarious persona and a great wrestler, and getting a push due to his own skills.
Dan Maff and B.J. Whitmer – They were part of the prophecy and weren’t really the main focus of the group, however with Christopher Daniels out of the pictures, they have made a name for themselves and parted ways with the Prophecy.
So the cycle is there in 2004, and I see green pastures for the immediate future for R.O.H. entertainment wise. When I get to 2012 shows, I can give a clearer opinion of why people don’t think don’t think the same.
On a final side note, who said R.O.H. didn’t have storylines?