This is a hard one to write admittedly but it has to be done I suppose.. Tonight Ring of Honor (ROH) will come onto our screens for one final time.
WCW and ECW were long gone by this point and in 2002 out came this promotion, founded by Rob Feinstein and the rest as they say is history. Their pool of talent was fantastic from the early offset and it also allowed for many, including myself to discover new professional wrestlers to admire.
It took me THREE years to watch my first ROH show and that of course wasn’t because I didn’t want to but only because I didn’t have The Wrestling Channel. That is how I discovered it and became a sporadic fan of the promotion and it got me hooked even if I wasn’t watching it as religiously as I was with WWE and later TNA,
Coming into the scene and using a variety of free agents as well as some of independent wrestling’s hottest stars, ROH seemed to know what they wanted to achieve and at times and as evident in their early shows, they weren’t going against WWE or trying to be direct competition but they certainly did flourish and catch the eye of many, especially those who were fortunate to be able to follow them from day one.
I won’t get into it but an unfortunate incident resulted in TNA pulling some of their talent to also appear on ROH programming. For those not aware, TNA Superstars had open contracts and were eligible to appear on other promotions and weren’t tied down to exclusive contracts. I don’t know how ROH have been able to do it but every negative or most negatives they have gone through, they always seemed to have an ace up their sleeves and were for lack of a better word, replace those who signed full time contracts to TNA Wrestling. Their roster was simply very good, I mean you had Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Homicide and who could forget the likes of Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, Spanky (Brian Kendrick) and more.
There were also the “little things” that made it great and once I got into it in 2005 and as mentioned above on a more sporadic level, I became a HUGE fan of someone who I wish had made it to WWE but glad he didn’t in a way and I mean that in a good way; Nigel McGuinness. Nigel is a Brit like me and his cocky attitude, skills and overall presence was enough to make me a fan.
In some ways I believe ROH became WWE’s farm and it was from ROH where many of their biggest superstars in the last ten years have come from and that is not a coincidence, ROH always used the slogan Creating Excellence and it couldn’t be more appropriate for them, they still survived though and created other big stars including Dalton Castle, Michael Elgin and others.
Their Global Wars events were always favourites of mine and similar to those on their roster, I discovered a whole new pool of others: Shinsuke Nakamura was one of those and rightfully so, he truly was and is a special talent. The new crop that followed helped me became more of a fan and it helped me know what they were all about before they moved on.
One special thing also in my eyes and ears was their announce teams, fans were able to see a better version of Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino and now with Ian Riccaboni.
It is definitely a sad day for professional wrestling and I will miss ROH a lot, even if I wasn’t one to follow them as religiously as I should have. They really did have the tools to maybe end up where TNA did, or even where AEW are now BUT no matter how high they rank on your scale, ROH as their slogan says are responsible for Creating Excellence and the world of professional wrestling should be FOREVER in debt to them for the creation, resurrection and success of many stars.