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What The Heck Happened to ROH?


What the heck happened to Ring of Honor Wrestling? 

Seriously, ROH was once the renegade third national company in the United States that provided that pure wrestling product with a modern appealing flavor to the die hard fans of pro wrestling. The product never really appealed to kids and casuals the way the WWE and TNA does, however, many of their shows were well attended, usually topping 1,100 at many of the shows. And at times, ROH outdrew a few of TNA's events and house shows. 

However, lately, after following ROH closely through blogs, podcasts, DVD's, YouTube  and other avenues since it's beginning, my interest in the company has waned. In fact, it disappeared. After ROH left HDNet, it feels as if the company forgot about it's core fans (Northeast). And as one of those fans, I found myself swept away in the WWE's product (which has been pretty good in 2012) and TNA (Which has rebounded into great product after a disappointing 2011).

So much so that I haven't even thought of ROH until recently, which says a lot about he company.

I decided to catch the company's last two major events, internet pay-per-views (iPPV), and their latest shows available through their website. What I found was a company so diluted in talent, star power, and stuck in reverse that it was hard to watch. 

Don't get me wrong wrestling fans, I understand the pecking order, and that ROH provides a great opportunity for guys to hone their craft, but today's product proved that the days of CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Takeishi Morishima, Bryan Danielson (now WWE's Daniel Bryan), Claudio Castagnoli (now WWE's Antoni Cesaro), Austin Aries, and so much more, are now long gone. 

Today we get numerous guys on the roster that are so vanilla, they honestly all seem like the same guy. Truthfully speaking, the only talent that has truly impressed me and I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in a WWE or TNA ring soon is Mike Bennett.

Also gone is the modern approach that made the company unique. There was once a time when ROH understood what it was, and had an identity within the wrestling world.

Now it seems to be carrying itself as some type of flashback organization that operates like it was a territorial group in the 70's. Does the current ROH product remind anyone of the AWA? 

Gone are the edgy personalities and the larger-than-life figures than made for some of the best in-ring action we've seen in the industry. 

Today the product tries to pass itself off as some type of straightforward, almost MMA-like company with bland story lines (if any at all), boring promos from guys that simply yell, and overall bland characters. 

I mean, what's with the sudden overkill of nicknames? "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin. "No Fear" Mike Mondo. "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards.

Hybrid Rules Match - A dumb new ROH concept, but was an awesome match

It just comes across as uncreative, boring, and honestly makes the company look like an independent wrestling company rather than the heralded promotion it once was. 

Heck, has anyone taken a look at Kevin Steen, their champion? The guy once had promise, but has lately looked like a fan that they gave the title to. Such a poor look, its almost insulting. Steen has unbelievable ability and potential, but currently, nothing says champion about Steen.

The once progressive company has gone as far as bringing in past stars in the declining years of their career such as Rhino and Matt Hardy. 

And the company has some of the promos I watched...wow. I understand some of these guys are growing, and the promo is the hardest thing to do in pro wrestling, but some of them are really, really bad. Especially, Mike Mondo. 

Wrestling is about presentation, somewhere, ROH forgot that. 

The one thing I'll give ROH, is that some of their in-ring action is still top notch. 

Rumors are that ROH wrestlers aren't happy with the current product and its direction, and haven't been for a while. And that has been evident with many interviews popping up on YouTube. 

Whether it be the sale to Sinclair Broadcasting, or the lack of modern understanding by Jim Cornette, whose philosophy of wrestling is as outdated as cassette tapes, ROH is in dire need of a revamp. 

It would be a shame to see a company with such a cult-like following and a rich history of great matches and open opportunities, die a death as a second-rate version of something else, instead of the company we all know it as.

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