Before I get into the nitty gritty of presenting my Ring of Honor memories and moments in order to help get people follow R.O.H., I want to clarify and elaborate on some of the misconceptions and truths that I have heard people say about R.O.H. throughout the years. My opinion might be bias, but I will try to be as objective as possible.
R.O.H. does not have Storylines
This is a big misconception on part of wrestling fans never seen R.O.H.. It is true that most storylines are more wrestling orientated, but at the same time they try to be as realistic as possible and can b e very entertaining to watch.
As I might’ve mentioned before in a previous email, I’m started watching R.O.H. from the beginning of times (“Era of Honor Begins”) and will try to make it all the way to today’s R.O.H. . At the time of writing this article, I am watching “Survival of the Fittest” from 2004. Meaning, the company has been running for two years.
Without rewatching any of the older shows yet, to put together these articles, from the top of my head I can name some the main storylines that pop into my mind that were entertaining to watch as any WWE storyline (I will give a brief overview of each one, with further details to come into future articles):
In my first article, I mentioned the five laws of honor. This unto itself can be considered a storyline, because it dictated the way matches had to be, considering how much the commentators bashed the people who broke them.
Christopher Daniels was against the Code of Honor and what it stood for. So he created a stable of wrestlers to bring down the Code and Ring of Honor itself.
CM Punk couldn’t stand Raven’s life as an alcoholic-drug life, and Raven wanted to hurt CM Punk because Raven beat his demons.
Steve Corino hated Ring of Honor, because it was too American and gimmicky, when he wanted more a Japanese presentation. Homicide hated Steve Corino for what he stood for.
Another heated rival that turned Homicide into a mad man on the prowl. Homicide came so close to winning the world title on a couple of occasions, and he finally just snapped out of frustrating, and turned against the fans and hated Samoa Joe with a passion.
Carnage Crew hated their lives. Their nagging kids and ugly wives, and crappy jobs, and they used wrestling to get away from life. However, they couldn’t stand the stable of Special K, who were a bunch of kids who used their parents’ money to get through life and didn’t have to fight to get through in life.
With the increase of pure wrestlers in R.O.H., a Pure Title was created to determine the best one in the world. Samoa Joe hated the concept of the title and disrespected it, and considered the World Title to be the only true R.O.H. title and he wanted to prove it every night.
Roderick Strong, Alex Shelley, Jack Evans and Austin Aries, created this faction, and wanted to take the spot of the top guys whether it was in a nice way or a mean way (beatdowns). The storyline was interesting on the first show, however from there onto the “Survival of the Fittest” show I’m watching, it has gotten boring, but it has provided some great matches in the process.
What is true is that storylines are usually applied to the main event matches, meaning that most matches are put together and have no real meaning. However, despite this fact most matches are thrown together, most matches up and down the card, turn out to be great, and can create mini-storylines in themselves, thus making R.O.H. shows great to watch from top to bottom.
There are no gimmicks in R.O.H.
To a certain extent this is true, but also false. More than gimmicks, the wrestling have a type of persona applied to them that are evolved with time. Here are some examples:
A fighting champion, who dishes out punishment and is agile for a big man.
Latino who lived in the hood and later changed to a man possessed who is going through a rampage and is really pissed off.
Here is where the Straight Edge gimmick first started, evolving into a man who respects the wrestling business but disrespects legends.
A goof ball that likes to have fun, but likes to give out beatings
A young hungry team who had potential
A team who wanted to get away from their ugly wives and nagging kids just to beat up people and make money to go to the nudey bar.
A young Nord the Barbarian with his “Huss”
A young wrestler with potential who couldn’t get a break, via victory
So they are not gimmicks per say, but the wrestlers do have their own personality, and most wrestlers just for their wrestling skills on their own (Matt Striker, John Walters, etc).
This is true. The first year of R.O.H’s existence, the production was pretty bad. The commentary was perfectly heard during the match, and the visual quality is good enough but they were small cameras handled by crew on the outside thus the camera would move a lot and most of the shots were “close ups” on the action. So although it was watchable, it was somewhat annoying. Also, the first year of shows, hearing the microphone was absolutely impossible. Even if I rewinded the clip fifty times, and cut out all the noise around me, I still couldn’t understand anything it was so muffled. So it was impossible to follow some feuds or promos. Also, even though everyone knew that the shows are held in gyms, halls and rec-centers, R.O.H. made no effort to hide it, they looks like gyms.
If 2004 they made a big improvement to improve everything I mention above. They put fixed place cameras, to view all the matches better. They designed the arena to give a more professional feel to the show. And finally were the microphones were more understandable. It still difficult to catch stuff at times but it was a big difference with regards to the first year.
In any case, although I believe the back stage promos and the in-ring action are enough to make up for it all I do believe that R.O.H. could still improve its production even today, many people say it’s a big problem).
It’s all Spot Fests.
Also a big Misconception in my opinion, at least until half-way through 2004. It’s true that four-way and six-way matches, tend to have a lot of spots, however you have to analyze the whole show, to notice the variety of wrestling styles.
There’s pure wrestling, which is for a classic scientific and technical wrestling fan, which in its own right can be spectacular (back and forth wrestling holds to wear down your opponent to slowly escalate into the power moves).
There’s classic old school tag teams matches, that if done right can be awesome to watch.
Hard Hitting, meaning very stiff shots back and forth between both opponents. Homicide – Samoa Joe, Samoa Joe – Low Ki, etc.
All around Big Show match. This is the main event that “sells” the show, and has everything, from ring psychology to great wrestling, to hard hitting, to blood baths, to spot fests, to everything in between.
What you will not find, is five moves of doom, playing off the crowd, the same move match after match, tone down of the style etc. You will see a hard fought great wrestling match, between competitors.
So although, the overall show is totally different than what WWE brings to the table, I do believe, that any casual wrestling fan, should give R.O.H. one or two chances to see if they like, because I’m sure if they will, and I want R.O.H. to get that support.
— Jose Perez, guest columnist for OWW