Ring Of Honor heads into Final Battle with many top talents finishing up their contracts, pushing the company towards a crossroads. Should you be worried? Or is a swerve coming? Greg DeMarco has the answer!
Ring Of Honor is set to deliver another huge Final Battle event in two weeks, but it could be an event that represents a major turning point for the company. Several top talents are set to depart after the event, potentially leaving a massive void in the roster.
Just take a look at the talents who could be gone after this show:
- Cody Rhodes
- The Young Bucks
- Adam Page
- Christopher Daniels
- Frankie Kazarian
This is a massive list of talent that only represents those we know about. The company has already re-signed current World Champion Jay Lethal, and Silas Young is rumored to be close to signing a new 3-year deal (if he hasn’t already).
Cody, The Young Bucks, and Hangman Page all represent The Elite, who along with Kenny Omega have vowed to stay together in their next move. That’s a proposition that has to have Ring Of Honor fans (and officials) worried, as losing them is a major blow. Marty Scurll is also a part of The Elite, but his status seems more up in the air, and that likely explains why he–and none of the others–was a focal part of the marketing for April’s G1 Supercard event that sold out Madison Square Garden.
When representing Bullet Club, Cody and The Bucks brought ROH some of it’s most biggest successes to date, the stars have also (smartly) created their own brand that is positioned to outshine Bullet Club and ROH in the end. The Elite was instrumental in the success of ALL IN, and moves have been made to form All Elite Wrestling, the company that is likely set to put on any follow-up event for the Labor Day Weekend event from Chicago.
But the big question remains: Should you be worried about ROH?
I believe the answer is NO.
Think about it… are those guys really leaving ROH? I can’t be 100% sure that they are.
Ring Of Honor sees the value in The Elite, and has given them the freedom (and assistance) to do things like put on ALL IN. While the trademark filings linked above seem to indicate multiple follow-up events to Chicago’s big event, it doesn’t mean that a brand new, week-to-week promotion is starting up. In fact, that seems counter intuitive to the success of the first one.
ALL IN was special, and the follow-up events can be even more special. But it’s a super show, an all-star show, that you can’t do weekly or even monthly. You can easily go 3-4 per year and be successful, but that’s it. I think there is a lot of hopeful rhetoric on the internet because hardcore fans are tired of the WWE product, and are begging for an alternative (several exist, including those with weekly television like ROH and MLW).
Sticking with ROH would allow Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Adam Page to put on All Elite Wrestling events outside of the ROH schedule, while still getting their platform to perform (and sell merchandise) on a consistent basis.
So what about Final Battle?
Despite being at the end of their ROH deals, The Elite and SoCal Uncensored are in the top four matches on the Final Battle card:
- Cody Rhodes challenging for the ROH World Championship held by Jay Lethal
- The Young Bucks joining The Briscoes in challenging for the ROH World Tag Team Championships held by SoCal Uncensored in a Ladder War
- Hangman Page challenging for the ROH World Television Championship held by Jeff Cobb
It’s easy to question the logic in putting four matches on top that provide little doubt to the outcome. While this could be a statement show for ROH, showcasing Lethal, The Briscoes, and Cobb as the stars to carry the brand, it’s entirely possible things swing a different way and everyone is talking about Ring Of Honor when Final Battle weekend is said and done.
The Elite wants freedom, and working with Ring Of Honor offers that freedom, along with the security of a steady paycheck and a global platform. The contractual status of all Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Hangman Page is a great story to tell, when done with subtlety–and that’s what ROH is doing.
Personally, I think the swerve is in, and The Elite are sticking around the one company that will let them do what they want to do, Ring Of Honor. And pro wrestling in 2019 and beyond will be better for it.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (5/20/19)
Big night on Raw — who stood out?
WWE Raw returned stateside this week, and we got ourselves a new championship. Who stood out?
The Third Star for WWE Raw: Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman knows how to deliver, and he delivered big time during Raw. He made the show feel like a big deal, and it did. He made both champions feel important, but put Brock Lesnar over in the process. Lesnar is so much more comfortable with Paul Heyman around, and the job done to make this briefcase situation feel unique was really solidified by Paul Heyman. Plus, his line about Rollins sitting through 7 hours of WrestleMania waiting for his girlfriend to main event the show he’s always dreamed of main eventing was clutch.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!
Be like Elisa and get yours at:
The Second Star: The IIconics
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce really are national treasures. America, Australia, it doesn’t matter. They are the best, and they’ve crafted characters that don’t need to win or lose, they just need to perform their act. That’s what it takes in WWE, regardless of what we want it to be. Their promo during A Moment Of Bliss (full of people perfectly playing their characters, by the way), was outstanding. Hats off to both ladies for getting themselves to this place.
Honorable Mention: Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, the entire 24/7 crew, The Usos, The Revival, Baron Corbin (yup), Bobby Lashley (I miss Lio), Drew McIntyre, and Shane McMahon
So many great performances tonight, and I am positive I’m leaving deserving folks out.
The First Star for WWE Raw: The Miz
The Miz is on fire right now, and it comes at a time where both world champions are babyfaces. He’s world champion caliber, and needs something to sink his teeth into if the issue with Shane truly is done. Drew McIntyre is a fine option, but I really want a top flight program for Miz. Maybe he’s the guy to elevate Drew? I’m not sure. I don’t feel like we turn Miz, but the best options for him (to me) are AJ Styles and Seth Rollins.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
7 Best Candidates To Win New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Who is the front runner?
Abe takes a look at the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament and who is on pace to pick up the overall win.
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament kicked off just last week and plenty of quality wrestling has already taken place. For the first time ever, twenty total men make up the tournament field. That means a few more sleeper candidates could potentially sneak their way into the finals.
Best Chance of Winning The New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors
At the time of this being written, Takagi is still undefeated since making his debut in NJPW. That includes the matches he’s already competed in during this year’s tournament. I don’t believe they’ll pull the trigger on him going the whole tournament without a loss but it’s definitely something to monitor. He’s been an incredible addition to Los Ingobernables de Japan as well as to the company as a whole.
Takagi has already taken shots at current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Dragon Lee for overlooking the field and only thinking about impending return of Hiromu Takahashi. Dragon Lee and Shingo are the favorites in their block. Takagi’s reason for winning the block could be that Lee was too focused on the future.
After winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, there is nobody in the tournament with more momentum. The current champion winning the tournament is very uncommon but there is already a story in place as I mentioned. If the current champion wins the entire BOSJ tournament, he will get to select who challenges him for the championship at Dominion. Hiromu Takahashi is the man he wont stop talking about. Almost a year ago, Dragon Lee was the guy that put his biggest rival on the shelf. Hiromu had to vacate the title as a result of the injury suffered in that match. If Takahashi is cleared to compete, there is no better person to accept the challenge.
Who Else Has A Chance?
He hasn’t won the tournament in three years and is competing with the heavyweights more and more. Among the current field, Ospreay almost certainly has the most high-profile matches under his belt. He’s the clear betting favorite to make it to the finals in his block. If there’s anything that’ll stop him, it’s that NJPW may already be trying to transition him into a heavyweight.
Ishimori made it to the finals of the BOSJ tournament last year but only finished as the runner-up. He was also the most recent IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Since his official rebranding as Bullet Club’s “Bone Soldier” last year, he’s maintained a spot near the top of the junior division. If they want to continue his recently-formed feud with Dragon Lee, the opportunity is right there.
The newest member of the NJPW roster is in a similar position to the one Taiji Ishimori was in last year. El Phantasmo was introduced as the newest member of the Bullet Club mere days before BOSJ. The aforementioned Ishimori did actually end up going all the finals and Phantasmo is off to a 3-0 start this year. The only man in the B Block that’s a real threat to his path there is Will Ospreay but that’s going to be a tough ask.
Most fans think of him as a comedy wrestler but if you’ve seen him in longer, more competitive matches, you know that he’s one of the most talented guys New Japan has. It’s rare to find someone that can balance entertainment with in-ring skill the way he does. Taguchi is a two-time Junior Heavyweight Champion, former BOSJ winner, leader of his own faction, and one of the veterans of the locker room. It sounds strange but I wouldn’t put my money on Ospreay or Phantasmo as long as Taguchi is hovering near the top of the standings. He’s my dark horse in this year’s tournament.
This definitely wont happen but he is worth mentioning. SHO isn’t going to win the tournament as long as he’s attached to YOH and Rocky Romero as a part of Roppongi 3K. However, with three matches in, SHO has already wrestled the two longest and best matches of the tournament. He’s only 1-2 so far but that could make things more interesting. Watching him storm back and go on a serious winning streak would be something amazing to see.