The Delco Elbow Drop

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America - What you need to know

With Ring of Honor premiering on Destination America, ROH is now being exposed to a large, brand new audience. The weekly ROH show is shown on Saturdays in markets which feature Sinclair Broadcasting but now that it is on Destination America, the company has a home on a cable channel for the first time.

But it occurred to me that the first episode of Ring of Honor on Destination America isn’t going to be a brand new product, designed to inform potential new fans of the company, the characters and current storylines. Rather it’s going to be the same weekly show that ROH produces for Sinclair and is also shown on their website,

To help new fans who might not be familiar with what’s happening in ROH right now, I’ve decided to take a look at the roster and current storylines to help convey what’s going in the company right now so that, going forward, you’ll be able to better enjoy and understand the product.
(I don’t watch ROH every week and basically wrote this article from memory so there may be some storylines I’m missing or elements I left out, but right now, these are some of the biggest things going in ROH.)

Partnership with NJPW
Over the past few years, ROH has had a working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling, the largest and most popular Japanese pro wrestling company. New Japan has several championship titles divided into the Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight classes and they are governed by the fictional International Wrestling Gran Prix, which is why New Japan wrestlers compete for IWGP belts.
Recently, the two companies have been sharing talents back and forth, resulting in reDRagon winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag titles and the Kingdom winning the IWGP Heavyweight title belts. reDRagon eventually lost the titles and are competing in the Best of Super Juniors tournament in Japan though the Kingdom still hold the tag titles.

Annual events
Top Prospect Tournament – Just created in the past few years and won by Matt Taven and Hanson but the most recent winner is House of Truth member Donovan Dijack. The TPT showcases up-and-coming wrestlers new to ROH and the winners have gone on to be mainstays in the company.

Survival of the Fittest – A storied annual event where wrestlers compete for a spot in the Survival of the Fittest match and the winner gets a World title shot. But winning is not so easy – wrestlers need to qualify for the bout and the match itself is a 6-man elimination match.

War of the Worlds/Global Wars – Since partnering with New Japan, ROH has held these annual shows where stars from NJPW visit America for several shows where the NJPW talent takes on ROH talent for unique matches. Big stars like Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada and Shinsuke Nakamura have been mainstays of these tours.

Also, there are non-storyline, more light-hearted shows like “Michael Bennett’s Bachelor Party” or “Night of Hoopla” occasionally, but these shows are infrequent and happen maybe once a year.

Jay Briscoe – The current World Champ since Sept. 2014 but also holds another impressive record in that he hasn’t been pinned in over two years. He’s only the second two-time ROH Champ (after Austin Aries) with his first reign being from Apr. 2013-July 2013 and vacated the belt due to injury. Jay has been in ROH since its very first show and he and his brother Mark are 8-time tag team champions. Currently, many wrestlers are vying for the World title such as newcomer Moose and former champions Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong. But his next opponent will be his toughest test yet, current TV Champ Jay Lethal at Best in the World on June 19 in NYC. (Some have started to turn on Briscoe’s long run, since he almost always wins and hasn’t been pinned in 2 years, similar to why people hate Cena)

Jay Lethal – The current TV Champion and only two-time TV Champion in ROH history. Lethal has become the most illustrious TV Champ in ROH history, owning every record associated with the title (most reigns; most defense [36, next closest is 11] ; and longest reign [combined days as champ 657+, 426 in current run]). Lethal calls himself “The greatest first generation wrestler” and views the TV Championship as the most prestigious title in ROH. He’s aligned with the House of Truth and manager Truth Martini, which also employs Top Prospect winner Donovan Dijack and J. Diesel.

The Addiction – World Tag Team Champions of the World, Christopher Daniels (former TV champ in 2010) and Frankie Kazarian, came in as faces but recently revealed themselves to be aligned with Chris Sabin and the KRD (Knights of the Rising Dawn) who have been interfering in matches for months. The Addiction defeated reDRagon for the tag team titles in Apr. 2015 ending O’Reilly and Fish’s third reign.

The Kingdom – Led by Maria Kanellis, The Kingdom is former ROH World Champ Adam Cole and current IWGP Heavyweight tag team champs Michael Bennett and Matt Taven. Currently, The Kingdom is feuding with Bullet Club and have met several times in ROH and New Japan. Cole seems to have issues with Bullet Club leader AJ Styles while Bennett and Taven have been clashing with former IWGP tag champs Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson and Doc Gallows.

Bullet Club – The Bullet Club is one of the hottest stables in pro wrestling right now. Go to a wrestling show at any level of the sport today and you’ll probably see a few Bullet Club t-shirts in the crowd. The BC is currently comprised of AJ Styles (IWGP Heavyweight Champ), Kenny Omega (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champ), The Young Bucks, Anderson, Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi and Cody Hall. Styles and the Bucks have been appearing in ROH regularly but Gallows and Anderson have made a few appearances as well. They’ve been clashing with the Kingdom lately over IWGP tag team titles and now that Cole has returned from injury, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go after Styles’ IWGP title.

The Decade – The Decade formed in 2014 and was originally BJ Whitmer, Roderick Strong and Jimmy Jacobs. They formed the group on the basis that they had all been in ROH for at least a decade and were sick of younger wrestlers acting like big shots and taking opportunities from vets. Adam Page and Tadarius Thomas were added to group as “young boys,” not necessarily managers but basically indentured servants who accompanied Decade members to the ring under the guise of learning from the vets and paying their dues. There have been several changes to the group since its creation – Page and Thomas feuded briefly over their treatment, with Thomas leaving and Page deciding to stay; Strong being kicked out of the group and Page taking his place; and Jimmy Jacobs realizing that Whitmer had lost sight of their original goals and left the group/company. Most recently, The Decade recruited a new young boy, Colby Corino, the son of commentator Steve Corino. Corino has always been very critical of Whitmer and now Whitmer is messing with Corino by making Colby the group’s young boy and putting him into situations over his head, like his recent match against Moose.

reDRagon – The three-time ROH tag team champions Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are one of the hottest tag teams in pro wrestling right now. Though they only have held the titles three times, their combined days as champions (673) are nearing the Briscoe Brothers’ records (who have 8 total reigns and 807 combined days). O’Reilly and Fish bring a unique style to their matches, utilizing an MMA style which includes stiff strikes and submissions, but combined with a traditional pro wrestling style to make their matches very fluid and exciting. Currently, reDRagon is competing in singles competition in the New Japan Best of Super Juniors tournament.

War Machine – A tag team comprised of Raymond Rowe and former Top Prospect tournament winner Hanson, War Machine is one of the most brutal teams in ROH. Hanson and Rowe and massive bruisers who seem poised to break out as the next top team in the company. War Machine was on the verge of beginning a feud with the Briscoe Brothers last year before Rowe suffered a badly broken arm in a motorcycle accident. Now Rowe is back and there are few teams who can go toe-to-toe with War Machine in terms of size and power.

Michael Elgin – A former world champion with a chip on his shoulder, Elgin uses his impressive strength to dominate opponents and dictate the pace of his match ups. Has had a public feud with ROH management and nearly quit the company after last year when he had issues with his American work visa.

Moose – Very new to ROH and pro wrestling but made a big splash and has been very well received by fans. Managed by Veda Scott and Stokely Hathaway, Moose is undefeated in singles competition and has his sights set on the ROH World title.

Roderick Strong – Known as Mr. ROH, Strong has done it all in the company. He won the tag team titles with Austin Aries in 2005, the World title from Tyler Black in 2010 and the TV title from Jay Lethal in 2012, as well as winning Survival of the Fittest in 2005. Though he isn’t directly involved in any storylines at the moment, Strong is one of the best competitors in ROH (and in wrestling in general) and always puts on great matches no matter the opponent. (His match against Hiroshi Tanahashi from Night 2 of War of the Worlds in Philadelphia was nothing short of incredible)

Samoa Joe – Since leaving TNA, Joe has worked ROH shows off and on, wrestling Kyle O’Reilly and ACH and challenging Jay Briscoe (in a losing effort) for the ROH World title at Supercard of Honor IX in March 2015. Joe is a former World champion (defeating Xavier in March 2003) and though he is headed to WWE and NXT full time soon (according to the dirt sheets), Joe is scheduled to work an upcoming TV taping for ROH, teaming with AJ Styles to take on The Addiction.

As well as other stars (who may not be involved in an ongoing storyline) such as Mark Briscoe, ACH, Matt Sydal, Cedric Alexander, Alberto El Patron, Dalton Castle, Rocky Romero, Silas Young, Caprice Coleman, Romantic Touch, Will Ferrara, Cheeseburger and Brutal Bob Evans.

Nigel McGuinness – A former ROH World champ (defeating Takeshi Morishima in Oct. 2007 and holding it for 545 days), McGuinness is now the on-screen authority figure for ROH, in the role of the “matchmaker.”

Delirious – The head booker for ROH as well as the head trainer for ROH. Sometimes Delirious still gets into the ring for ROH (and other companies like Chikara) but these appearances are few and far between.

Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly – The announce team for ROH with Kelly covering the play-by-play duties and Corino acting as the color commentator.

Champion vs Champion
Jay Briscoe is the current ROH World Champion and only the second two-time champion in company history. Jay Lethal is the current TV Champion and holds every record associated with the title. Jay Briscoe hasn’t been pinned in two years while Jay Lethal claims he is the greatest first generation wrestler. With all the accolades surrounding his connection with the TV title, it isn’t hard to see why he makes that claim.
The two singles champions in ROH will face off in a “title for title” match at Best in the World on June 19 to determine who is the greatest champion in ROH and one man will leave with both belts. Briscoe has had an impressive run in ROH in the past few years and with his brother, Mark, by his side, the Briscoes are a force in ROH. But Lethal and the House of Truth are looking to take all the gold and become the most dominant faction in the company.

The Decade continues to grow
With Roderick Strong kicked out and Jimmy Jacobs leaving the company, BJ Whitmer promoted young boy Adam Page to full time member and they began looking for new blood to fill their ranks. To say that Whitmer and announcer Steve Corino have never gotten along would be an understatement but Whitmer sunk to new lows when he offered Corino’s son, Colby, a spot as the new young boy in The Decade, offering to be the father figure he never had.
Under Whitmer’s tutelage, Page has become one of the most disrespectful wrestlers in ROH and despite being treated like dirt, Colby Corino has stayed very loyal to the group. It remains to be seen whether the group will add any new members going forward or how long it will take before enough is enough for Steve Corino.

The Kingdom vs Bullet Club
With Adam Cole out due to a shoulder injury, Kingdom members Matt Taven and Michael Bennett, with Maria Kanellis, traveled to Japan to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships at Invasion Attack in Apr. 2015, defeating Doc Gallows and Machine Gun Anderson for the belts. Since then, Bennett and Taven have been clashing with Bullet Club but the Kingdom has managed to keep the titles.
When Adam Cole returned at War of the Worlds in Philadelphia, he faced Bullet Club leader AJ Styles on Night 1 and on Night 2, Cole, Taven and Bennett face Styles and The Young Bucks in a six-man match. With The Kingdom having a presence in New Japan and Bullet Club represented in ROH, this feud between two of the most powerful groups in NJPW and ROH has only just begun.

The Knights of the Rising Dawn
Over the past several months, masked men have interrupted and gotten involved in several matches in ROH and eventually, these men were revealed to be members of the KRD, the Knights of the Rising Dawn. No one knew for sure what their purpose was in ROH until April when one of the masked men was revealed to be Chris Sabin, who helped The Addiction defeat reDRagon for the ROH tag team titles. Sabin hasn’t been seen since but the revelation that Kaz and Daniels were a part of the KRD has brought on an attitude change for The Addiction. If the KRD was able to so easily obtain the tag titles, who knows what else they have in store for ROH.

Moose’s rise to the top
Since joining ROH in early 2014, Moose has been on a tear through the ROH roster. Despite being very new to professional wrestling, the former NFL lineman has taken to the sport with ease, utilizing his impressive athleticism to topple any foe in his path.
At Final Battle in Dec. 2014, Moose defeated former tag team partner R.D. Evans and forced him out of the company as Evans’ former managers Veda Scott and Stokely Hathaway (then known as Ramone) chose to back Moose. Since then, Moose has set his sights on the ROH World title and confronted Jay Briscoe, most recently at War of the Worlds Night 2 in Philadelphia. At Best in the World on June 19, Moose has a chance to become number one contender when he faces Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin in a triple threat match.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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