It looks like B.J. Whitmer will be OK. Thank God.
So let’s ask the obvious: Why on earth did Whitmer and Mike Bennett try a piledriver on the ring apron at a show that had 1,100 people in attendance? WWE wouldn’t let that be attempted at WrestleMania in front of an audience of millions.
Use of that move, let alone in that situation, shows an incredible level of stupidity on the part of Bennett, Whitmer and Ring of Honor management.
That risk is inexcusable for great reward, let alone zero reward.
Risk like that doesn’t make ROH “special.” ROH ISN’T SPECIAL. No one watches, and it’s hardly a cult phenomenon like the original ECW.
There’s no good reason to do a piledriver on the ring apron. Not any place. Not any time. Define a circumstance where chancing paralysis is proper.
The whole conundrum is symptomatic of a bigger problem: A lot of wrestlers don’t know how to work, and don’t want to learn how.
I remember one night in WCW where two cruiserweights had a dazzling spot-fest. They were backstage receiving kudos when Scott Hall said, “Nice match. Now I’m going to go out there and get a bigger pop with a headlock.”
In his inimitable way, Scott was trying to teach.
The biggest stars in wrestling aren’t spot monkeys. It’s about engaging the audience, maximizing your character, and developing in-ring timing that tugs on the marks’ emotion. It’s about knowing when to do what.
Give the spectators something they can imitate, too. Look what YES! has done for Daniel Bryan. More than any 5-star match he might have had in ROH.
Too many wrestlers have lost the plot. They want to execute some big spot that will get them on YouTube, or earn them praise from the IWC.
That’s not the idea. The idea is to come up with a consistency of work and character that gets you on Raw.
No one sells big spots at those small-time shows, anyway. Everyone pops up in seven seconds. Time it. No matter how devastating or concussive the move, everyone pops up in seven seconds.
A piledriver on the ring apron should end any match. But I guarantee Bennett and Whitmer were using it as just another spot. As transition. It only ended that match because of Whitmer’s injury.
Follow Mark Madden on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX