ROH’s Premiere: The Good, The Bad (And Not So Much Ugly)

Nick Paglino

I watched Ring of Honor’s Pittsburgh TV premiere, and I feel very comfortable saying it’s better than Impact. WAY BETTER. Impact is wall-to-wall bull****. ROH makes sense. It hangs together.

Kevin Kelly is a very good announcer. Good detail, good knowledge, good fire. On this show – with no real stars, and viewership starting from scratch re: knowledge of the product – announcing is extremely important. Nigel McGuinness is subpar. They need better on color. Strange, because he does good promos. Then again, Arn Anderson is one of the best promos of all time, and he SUCKED when he attempted color commentary.

Fans were great. It was great to see legitimate, off-the-hook, non-choreographed crowd response. You knew it had to be legit good, because these were ticket-buyers, not freeloaders.

I liked the show’s construction. Only two matches, but showing highlights from recent big events helped establish ROH’s gravitas.

Everything was presented as a shoot. Fans were picking winners without a trace of irony. That’s smart. The marks know it’s a work. But they don’t want it rubbed in their faces. They venture behind the curtain as they please, and when they want – for example, via the Internet.

ROH will do localized promos. Smart. That’s one of the biggest things missing from WWE and TNA. You’ve got to find a way to reduce the national spectacle to a personalized, regional level without losing the big-time feel. Good localized promos do that. That’s how you sell tickets for house shows. Convince a town that it’s getting something different, something that MATTERS.

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