Confessions of an Indy Virgin
Tag Team wrestling is NOT dead
As someone raised on the polished product of World Wrestling Entertainment, my transition to the independents has not been an easy one. There are no gaudy sets, pyrotechnics, or jam-packed arenas. The Frontier Fieldhouse outside of Chicago isn’t the Allstate Arena, and the 9th Anniversary iPPV wasn’t WrestleMania. But I can’t stress enough how great it was to experience a Ring of Honor show. Every man or woman that claims to be a wrestling fan needs to check out a live ROH event, and see first-hand what real professional wrestling is all about.
Now, before people get all up-in-arms and tell me that WWE invented professional wrestling, let me just clarify: I am not knocking the the WWE product. There is a huge difference between Vince McMahon’s label of sports entertainment and what companies like Ring of Honor produce. They stem from the same idea, but unlike TNA, you won’t find ROH trying to BE the WWE. They have their own style. WWE’s main goal is to entertain by any means necessary, throw in enough wrestling to pacify the fans, and make a truck-load of cash along the way. ROH is pure, straight up action. They have some of the best grapplers in the world, and they have capitalized on the art of in-ring story-telling. For proof of how that comes across in the Michael Cole-proclaimed “big leagues”, look at CM Punk. Look at Daniel Bryan. Hell, look at every TNA star with an ounce of wrestling talent – they all spent time in Ring of Honor (it makes me wonder how I avoided looking into ROH for so long…). I’m trying hard to be objective and not praise the ground Cary Silkin walks on, but I’m still in the “honeymoon phase” of my first Ring of Honor event. I will admit, yesterday I re-watched the iPPV to see how they come across online, and was a little less impressed. But like I said, it’s professional wrestling without all the pomp and circumstance. It’s not that ROH isn’t a legitimate company, it’s that I have to change my perspective as a fan.
The following are a few specific notes I took at the event:
-Colt Cabana vs. Davey Richards was a great opening match-up. From what I’ve seen both of these guys are great athletes and a lot of fun to watch in the ring. Obviously the crowd was hot for the hometown boy, but I’m really surprised at the reaction for BOTH men. The dueling chants were a blast, and Davey Richards getting the semi-upset win with a beautiful Falcon Arrow/Cross Arm Bar combo was an interesting twist. Having a lot of fun so far!
-Really good decision to move the main event World Title match to the middle of the show. I think the Dream Tag Match is definitely the more anticipated bout. As for this match…it’s good. Not phenomenal, but better than every WWE match I’ve seen since Chris Jericho left. To be honest I’ve never been the biggest Homicide fan, and from what I’ve seen I’m not all too impressed by Rodrick Strong. I think they’re both great workers, but if Strong spent some time working on his confidence and mic ability his title feuds would get a much needed shot in the arm. Still, regardless of my opinion I respect ROH’s confidence in the man. Making somebody World Champion is an investment, and I think both the WWE and TNA could learn something. See your pushes through to fruition!
-Oh hey…women’s wrestling does still exist…
-The Kings of Wrestling vs. The All Night Express. I have died and gone to heaven. Just last week I was ranting and raving about John Cena winning the WWE Tag titles for the fourth time, and burying the art of team wrestling in the process. The iPPV could have started and ended with this match and I would have been a happy paying customer. Personally, I was pulling for the Express. Kenny King is one of the most athletic and enjoyable wrestlers in the world today. Both of these teams blew my mind twice over, but King was the star of the match. I know too little about Ring of Honor to say much more than that, but from what I saw out of this match they have the best tag team division in the United States right now.
-Christopher Daniels and Eddie Edwards just left a story in the ring. After all was said and done, Edwards was right: nobody can beat him twice in one night. Unfortunately for him, Christopher Daniels will be the one facing Strong for the ROH World Title next month…
-Our final main event was the “Dream Tag Team match” between the Briscoe Brothers and Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team. The fact that a wrestling company would main event their anniversary event with a tag team bout says a lot to me. Mainly it shows that they’re serious about what they do, and they are not willing to throw an entire style of wrestling out the window to push a mega star.
Getting to see two fantastic tag matches in one night was a dream come true for me. I fell in love with wrestling during the era where teams were everything. You came in to the business together, and you lived and died together. If you split up it was a big deal, and every time you won the gold it was a life changing experience. Or at least that was the impression the wrestlers gave off every time they stepped in between the ropes. In 2011 the WWE can barely scratch together one team for WrestleMania, and TNA’s division is only held together because MCMG is brilliant and Robert Roode is one of the best prospects for the future of pro wrestling (mark my words).
Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is for wrestling fans to check out Ring of Honor. It’s a breath of fresh air in a era where Monday Night Raw has 10-15 minutes of actual in-ring action in a two hour broadcast. I have one tip for any higher-ups in ROH that may be reading this article… Watch Jon and Josh Fatu like a hawk. When their contracts are getting close to expiration, have the Briscoes give them a call and show them a taste of tag team wrestling. If they have any Samoan blood left in their veins, they’ll come running. And when they do, make them stars.
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