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Opinion

What’s Next For Ring of Honor?

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Now that we know Tony Khan is the new owner of Ring of Honor Wrestling, it’s time to ask some serious questions about the future.  Tony is saying all the right things so far, that he intends on keeping it alive as a brand and all, but the existing circumstances sure paint a less rosy picture than the one he is painting.  As someone who was a fan of ROH until the end and attended Final Battle last December, call me skeptical unless he can answer these questions the right way.

Who will work there?

ROH has let every wrestler contract expire, so they literally do not have a roster right now.  The champions who were holding the belts at the end of Final Battle have been allowed to defend them in other promotions, but that’s all.  The rumors going around have been that when they restarted it would be with short term, limited contracts instead of longer term deals.  But now that no one is under contract, will they try to bring any of the participants from Final Battle back or will they aim to populate the space current AEW wrestlers?  I imagine that some of the most recent ROH roster members would be open to coming back under Khan’s banner, but others may not be.

Developmental or not?

One of the other big rumors going around is that Khan may use it as a developmental territory of sorts, and sprinkle current AEW wrestlers in with whoever comes back into the fold from ROH proper.  There are also AEW guys like Jay Lethal who were just recently in ROH and could slide back over with no problem.  This is an interesting proposal but then what happens with Dark and Dark: Elevation, the two YouTube shows?  Those have been serving as de facto developmental programming with veteran talent mixed in, but with a TV show available do you keep those going or just fold them?  I would imagine the latter because that’s an awfully big ask to expect people to watch Dynamite, Rampage, Dark and Dark Elevation along with whatever this ROH show would be.

What about the tape library?

The most sure thing seems to be the video library, with footage of current AEW wrestlers like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, the Elite, Christopher Daniels, Scorpio Sky, Adam Cole, ReDragon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly), Jay Lethal, Keith Lee, and some others. What we don’t know about is the video quality of some of the earlier footage and how they’ll go about dealing with any music licensing issues that may come up.  The other thing is that the ROH tape library is supposedly going to be a missing piece in the puzzle of AEW making a streaming service deal of some kind, but that begs the question of just how much of an audience is there for that?  For all the archived footage on Peacock the most viewed programming tends to be the current WWE pay per views.

In short, the tape library isn’t quite the bonanza that it’s made out to be.  Can it be put to good use to beef up the bios of current talent?  Sure.  But who does that appeal to outside the current AEW fan bubble?  Will the ROH tape library bring anyone on board who wasn’t already there?  And will it actually be that attractive to an outfit like HBO Max?  Who knows?  The big prize out of this is that Tony Khan and the Elite finally have rights to the video for All In.  (One day you kids should ask just why Ring of Honor had the video rights to what was sold to you guys as an indie show.)  All In of course is the point of origin for what would eventually become AEW.  That is the prize of the video library and not any ROH PPVs from days gone by.

What about TV?

Ring of Honor has been broadcast on syndicated television through Sinclair Broadcasting for several years now, mainly because they were owned by Sinclair Broadcasting.  Sinclair owned and operated them as cheap television programming to run on weekends, and now that they no longer own it will they continue to carry them?  I’m no TV executive but if I was I do not think that I’d be out here paying to run Ring of Honor Wrestling on my television station(s).  Unless Tony Khan has made some kind of deal to keep the show on television then I don’t see how it survives as a promotion going forward.

Likely outcomes

Here’s what I think is most likely to happen.  Tony makes All In available for purchase, and eventually finds a home for the archived footage.  Ring of Honor ceases to exist as it once did, barring some miracle where it stays on TV.  A few people who worked there at the end come over to AEW while the rest find employment where they can be it in Impact, WWE, or somewhere else.  Khan may very well have the best intentions for Ring of Honor but reality likely has a different take.


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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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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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Opinion

DeMarco’s Things I Learned From WWE Smackdown On FOX (June 17, 2022)

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

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WWE Smackdown Riddle Reigns

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

WWE presented Smackdown on Friday night, June 17, 2022, from “Moneyapolis” featuring the “big fight feel” main event between Roman Reigns and Matt Riddle, with The Tribal Chief’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line. We also continued down the road to Money In The Bank in Vegas.

RK-Bro Is Effectively Done

The video package and all of Matt Riddle’s tributes to Randy Orton are just a little bit too much. Riddle does “too much” very well–in fact, it’s his character. But the amount of tribute being played to Randy Orton seems to be a set-up for Orton’s eventual return (whenever that might be) OPPOSITE Riddle. Maybe it’s in the Royal Rumble, maybe after.

Regardless of how it happens (and much of that has to do with his surgery and rehabilitation process), I think we are closer than ever to a heel Randy Orton opposing the babyface Matt Riddle.

Madcap Moss Is Undeniably Over

“Madcap just might be a guy.” – Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee knows what he’s talking about on this one–Madcap is indeed a guy. Riddick Moss always had the tools, just had injury issues. Since making his return to competition as Baron “Happy” Corbin’s sidekick, all Moss has done is prove his worth to WWE. He’s got a good look. He can cut a good promo. He’s vastly a underrated in-ring storyteller. And above all else, he has “it.”

WWE is always looking to add to the main event rotation, but it seems harder to crack that right now. But Madcap Moss has what it takes to do just that.

Montez Ford Is Gonna Be A (Solo) Star

The Street Profits are a fantastic act, and are insanely over. But Montez is a guy–a guy who the company can build around. While I feel bad for Angelo Dawkins, I (along with so many others) see Ford being a solo star.

We’re Getting Baron Corbin vs. Pat McAfee At SummerSlam

It’s the perfect set-up:

  • Baron Corbin is highly regarded within the organization as one of the safest workers around, a point that has been made by Randy Orton himself.
  • Pat McAfee is a big-moment superstar, and SummerSlam is the moment for him.

And for the record, I love it. While I an a big time purveyor of “Baron Corbin Sucks,” I know what he can do in the ring. And him vs. Pat McAfee would have Nashville rocking–and that is what McAfee in the ring is all about.

Vince McMahon Is Literally A Man Of Steel

If you have listened to any of Bruce Prichard’s podcasts, you know Vince McMahon believes you “don’t sell.” Not in the ring, but whenever the world has turned against you in any way–including lawsuits and investigations–you don’t sell it. You hold your head high, and live above it all.

That’s exactly what the boss did when opening up WWE Smackdown On FOX. It’s entirely possible that the plan changed along the way, and we were going to get “Mr. McMahon” at some point–but what happened is trademark Vince. Not the character, but the man. And if we expected anything else, we haven’t been paying attention.

Matt Riddle Is Now A Made Man

Matt Riddle and Roman Reigns delivered a pay per view (or premium live event…pick your poison) quality main event on WWE Smackdown on FOX, on a night where the world was likely watching. Tonight was his moment, and even in a loss, he delivered.

With a singular world champion–and one who likely isn’t losing anytime soon–it’s hard to say when Riddle could become a world champ. But the stipulation added to tonight’s match (which wasn’t discussed enough on air) means that Matt Riddle now cannot challenge Roman Reigns again (that’s how the graphic showed it). That screams a Money In The Bank or Royal Rumble win to me.

It’s also highly possible that a Seth Rollins wins the Money In The Bank briefcase, and his cash in splits the titles back up, opening the door for Riddle come next spring.

Either way–one fact remains true: Matt Riddle is now a made man, and doing it on his own.


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