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Opinion

What’s the endgame for Ring of Honor?

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This past weekend was a big one for me as I took in my first Ring of Honor pay per view show.  (You can see what I thought about it here.)  While I was impressed with a few guys on the show, and thought the action was pretty good in general, I was left with some questions about what exactly they’re trying to do as a company going forward.  On the one hand they seem to be in a pretty good place now having built in TV coverage (they’re owned by the Sinclair Broadcasting Company) working with New Japan and featuring the hottest non-WWE wrestling act in the Bullet Club, some of their decisions sure look like they’re not really trying to get any bigger than they are, while other decisions suggest they might be.  While I don’t think they would ever overtake WWE if they tried and got a little lucky they could definitely cement their position as the number two company in the U.S.  So what is it that I’m perplexed about?  A few things:

The Bullet Club

The 800 pound gorilla in the ROH room is indeed the Bullet Club.  Any given week on ROH television you’re bound to get a main event featuring Cody, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page or Marty Scurll.  The just finished pay per view Best in the World, had all five of them spread across the top three matches all of which were title matches.  Cody and Scurll are regular challengers for the World Title (Cody held the title last year), the Bucks are perennial Tag Team champions or number one contenders, and Page is in the TV title picture.  The Bucks have also held the Six Man Tag Team Titles with Kenny Omega (a former leader of the Club), and current NXT North American Champion Adam Cole was a former Club member and ROH World Champion.  Bullet may or may not be fine but they’re definitely a dominant force.  But are they taking up too much space?  And what happens if the key members opt to secure the bag by going to the WWE?

The answer to the first question is a resounding yes in my opinion.  The ROH World Champion since December, Dalton Castle, was relegated to an afterthought every week on TV as we went were subjected to all things Bullet Club up and down the card from the proliferation across the various title scenes to the feud with Omega.  Castle’s title victory was hailed as a big deal when it happened but after a while you wouldn’t guess he was the champion if you had to pick someone.  He’s not the only casualty; Jay Lethal has been pushed down to a redemption angle against all the ROH regulars who’d beaten him over the past year.   Castle’s character/persona scream ‘Please sign me Vince McMahon!’ so if this de facto relegation continues and such an offer is made he may very well take it.  And speaking of signings, it’s no secret that Vince is ready to throw buckets of cash towards Kenny and the Bucks.  While they’ve been content to stay where they are and have been doing fine financially, they might be willing to go for one steady paycheck over several smaller ones.  And if ROH doesn’t find the space to properly boost it’s regular guys they could find themselves holding a different kind of bag.

The Women’s Division 

Kudos to ROH for starting up a Women’s division, but what in the hell are they doing?  You wouldn’t know who the Women’s champion even if they told you, there doesn’t seem to be any consistent roster and it took several months for them to make it higher than the pre-show on a pay per view.   And even that was an eight woman tag match like the WWE used to throw the Diva’s division into all the time.  I’m all for them having a women’s division but are any of the women here benefiting?  Impact Wrestling has had a better women’s division for some time; theirs was often better than what WWE was offering up.  This one is real bootleg right now and I can’t name any one that stands to come out with a higher profile by being in it.  Right now if you’re a woman wrestler and you’re not in WWE I’d advise you to go anywhere other than ROH.

But it doesn’t have to stay that way.  Showcase your champion on TV some, maybe do some title matches, and get some number of women to consistently work on TV and they can make some headway

NJPW

Right now all appears to be well between the two companies.  New Japan has been sending guys over here to work with, and ultimately do jobs for, ROH guys and some of the ROH guys have been working in Japan for a while themselves.  They’ve also both sent guys to some of these quasi-indie shows and will be doing the same on September 1 for All In.  But this can’t go on forever.  New Japan is trying to make serious inroads into the U.S. and at some point there can only be one second place company.  At least that’s what I’m thinking.  I could be wrong, but right given a choice of serious wrestling companies to watch I gather more people would pick New Japan so with that in mind do you keep up the same level of cooperation if you’re ROH or do you strike out on your own at some point?  Partnerships between wrestling promotions are not built to last as eventually one company or the other turns sour on how things are going.

The turning point will likely be what happens with the Bullet Club and Omega.  Without them there isn’t much justification to keep the talent sharing going between the companies so ROH may try to lock down Hangman Page and Marty Scurrl to preserve what’s left and not bother with the NJPW they import periodically.  On the flip side I don’t see New Japan putting a whole lot of value in Cody and as good as Scurrl and Page are NJPW can get by without them dropping in from time to time.  The question is whether or not ROH would want to get out before having a choice forced on them by circumstances or just ride it out as long as possible.  If they’re interested in real growth then that’s a matter they need to tackle and not have thrust upon them later.

Now I know it looks like I’m taking a dump on the company, but I’m really not.  They have lots of talented guys there and put on a pretty decent show with some great matches sprinkled throughout.  But they have a real unclear, schizophrenic way of doing things that both helps and hinders them at the same time.  Whether they choose to change that and how will go a long way towards determining just how far they can go.

 


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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