I was ready to leave you. After 11 years and all the ups & downs, I was ready to throw in the towel once and for all. That wouldn’t have necessarily been my choice–the way you’ve treated me in the last couple of months made it this way. But I can’t…i just can’t. Despite the fact that I haven’t talked about you recently, I’ve been watching you from a distance. You’ve figured out how to make me come back to you, so here I am. Just don’t hurt me again, Ring of Honor.
We’ve seen some of your worst in the last few months–a homophobic outburst from your World champion, iPPV woes, baffling booking decisions, the apparent holes and flaws in your managing infrastructure. There’s been many a reason for me to just walk away and not come back. I’ve already written before on my feelings about Jay Briscoe’s comments, so there’s no need to rehash those now. However, I’d like to ask your parent company how they didn’t catch wind of what your World champion had to say until 2 months later? This is according to them, so I’ll take it with a grain of salt, but how is the company being run if management misses something like that which created this backlash? Didn’t Jay make a public “apology” at a live event and donate some paychecks to a charity over this? How could you not have known? Doesn’t really seem to make a lot of sense to me but I suppose I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on that one.
This is the point that really pushed me away from you–the debacle that happened at what turned out to be your final iPPV, ‘Best in the World’. Mind you, this is an event that I ordered for the sole purpose of watching LIVE and as of this writing, I still have not watched the show. Granted, with a medium as tricky as iPPV there are bound to be some technical issues. But the stream was entirely unwatchable. As a matter of fact, I saw about 10 minutes total of the show due to freezing and buffering issues. The worst part of this–YOU NEVER TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THE PAYING CUSTOMERS. There was a half-hearted “sorry” a few days later and then you announced that you would no longer be doing live iPPV’s. Huh? THAT’S the solution?! Forget the fact about the issues with BITW for a second–you’re scrapping the idea of doing these live iPPV’s entirely? I was stunned when I heard this. I’ve said in the subsequent radio shows that 4CR did after the fallout that ROH is too big to be small and too small to be big. You needed to find your ground and either decide to be a big time promotion or fall back and just be a small indy again. Killing off your live iPPV’s is a step in the wrong direction, and offering them 24 hours or so later on-demand is going to be a detriment. Spoilers will keep potential customers-outside of the loyalists-from buying these shows. Now, you’re losing viewers and most importantly, money. Many fans, such as myself, thought that this move was your way out of apologizing for the issues that we had with the live show. I must say, “kudos” to Michael Elgin for coming onto Twitter during the show and trying to keep the angry fans at bay. He certainly didn’t have to do it, and it was a cool move on his part to do so. Also, thanks to ACH who came on a podcast for us and also encouraged fans to stick it out. While I tried to heed the advice, I just couldn’t. I needed to hold my ground here and see this through, no matter how long it took. I, like many others, felt betrayed & dejected by this company that I had watched grow into one of wrestling’s more recognizable promotions. So, I still turned away from you…
Curiosity did however get the best of me, and I had to see what you had done at the TV tapings following the iPPV. In all honesty, I checked the spoilers mostly in the hopes that you had made some form of public statement and/or apology about what happened during the show. That was not the case, but the events did leave me scratching my head. You hotshotted the end of your biggest storyline during the TV tapings, and even now I’m not sure why. SCUM, which had been the focal point of the promotion since its inception, had been defeated, dismantled and dismembered in one fell swoop. Jay Briscoe defeated Matt Hardy (which I’ll discuss in just a minute) and Team ROH took out SCUM in ‘Steel Cage Warfare’ to cause the disbanding of the group. Truly baffling when I read the results, almost to the point where I was going to write these off as falsely reported. Not only did you rush the end of the angle, but you gave it away for FREE. The kicker–it still hasn’t aired on TV yet! More puzzling is the fact that Jay Briscoe retained considering what was brought to light in the coming days following the tapings. Your ROH World Champion was leaving the company as he, along with brother Mark, hadn’t been under contract for a while. No deal was reached so your champion walked away with the ROH title belt. Huh? So, you knew all of this going in and the best solution that you could think of was to let the injured champion who was leaving the company defeat the number 1 contender–who, despite my disdain for I actually made a case for him to be ROH World champ–and just walk away? By now, the story has been analyzed and discussed over and over, but it just baffles me that everything transpired that way.
So with all of that, why am I here now? What is it that brought me back to you? Well, truth be told, it was an email that got me thinking about you again…an email informing me that my order of the ‘Best in the World 2013’ DVD had been shipped. Now, the reason I’m getting this DVD is because when I bought PPVs I always add the “Buy DVD” option with it. So, it got me thinking. I had written this article a few times already in the last few weeks, only to delete it because I didn’t want to talk about you. I just didn’t have the energy or the interest in rehashing the negative, so I ignored you. I had found other things to watch and occupy my time, but when I got that email it was almost like a sign. Like I said earlier, I’ve been watching what you’ve been doing lately. I know that you did what was probably the smartest thing and stripped Jay Briscoe of the ROH World title. Here’s what got me though: I’ve been watching you put this tournament together to crown a new champion and it almost felt like you were telling us “hey, I messed up. Let’s start over.” Ring of Honor’s first champion was crowned by a tournament and this is sort of a hearkening back to that–a new beginning, you could say. I found myself searching for news, visiting the website again, even watching some clips of things I had missed since my hiatus from you. Not long after that, I knew that I needed to sit down and get this off my chest. I’m here–yeah, you hurt me but I’m sticking with you. Truth be told, I’ve missed you. But I’m willing to give it another try and make this thing work. Let’s see if you’re ready to make that commitment too.
A different ‘CoH’ this time around as you can tell from above. Next week, we’ll be back into the swing of things with the latest ROH news, the #4CRROH TV review and more! But I still only know one way to end the ‘Corner of Honor’…
This week’s ‘Classic Match of the Week’ is from Supercard of Honor II–a great card and available in the #4CRVideoVault. The match features Dragon Gate/DGUSA standout Yamato taking on Claudio Castagnoli! Remember, back to our regular format next week. Until then, just have fun with wrestling and thanks for reading the column where ‘Honor Lives’!