Jay Briscoe is the new ROH World Champion.
But you never got to see him win.
In what could quite possibly be the most embarrassing technical error for a wrestling event on pay per view since WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 when WCW had to replay the entire DDP vs. Goldberg match on Nitro due to the feed cutting out on time restraints, five minutes of Jay Briscoe’s main event against Kevin Steen for the ROH Championship was lost. Not during entrances. Not during opening lock-ups. Not even during the post-match celebration, but the entire finish. SCUM ran to the ring, the feed cut out and when everyone was back, Jay Briscoe was the new ROH World Champion. Kevin Kelly called it the greatest moment in Ring of Honor history but everyone who paid $14.95 on an already expensive and busy Wrestlemania weekend (click here to see other events taking place this weekend) missed not only a title changing hands, but a title that was held for the better part of a year.
And unlike the “WCW Ruins Everything” of the DDP/Goldberg match, that was the first and only time a WCW PPV broadcast got cut. This is not the first problem for Ring of Honor since Sinclair Broadcasting took over. It actually goes back to last year at Showdown in the Sun where the feed had countless problems and ROH decided to leave Go Fight Live and start broadcasting their pay per views internally. I actually received a refund for the show personally. Subsequent ROH iPPVs continued to have problems yet they had some strong streams for the past two iPPV events. This one not only screws the paying fans out of a steady stream but screws them out of seeing Jay Briscoe make it to the top of the mountain. It would be inexcusable for the ROH Tag Team Championship, inexcusable for the (incredibly disappointing) ROH Television Championship but it’s certainly a travesty to happen for the ROH World Championship.
What’s worse is that ROH is supposed to be the top of the mountain themselves for independent wrestling. They are the technical number three in North America. Yet on a weekend where countless wresting promotions expect you to pay between $9.99 and $14.99 for their events when people might already be purchasing Wrestlemania 29 for Sunday, those companies can deliver an online stream of their show without interruption or technical difficulties. Nobody had major issues watching through Highspots. WWNLive.com has a strong reputation for delivering as strong of a feed as your modem can handle. ROH, on the other hand, will toss every excuse under the sun. The venue had a bad connection. They didn’t expect such a demand on their servers. Whatever the case may be, Ring of Honor will be more than happy to look bush league than be reliable. New Japan Pro Wrestling delivers a pay per view from Japan for $24.99 through UStream.tv and it never fails you no matter where you live. It’s unacceptable.
Jay Briscoe winning should have been a major moment. Here’s a tag team wrestler his entire life always associated with his brother Mark. When you search them on Wikipedia, you get “Briscoe Brothers” instead of individual pages. Jay was 17 when he broke into the business and now he saves the ROH World Title from the hands of Kevin Steen who vowed to destroy the company. SCUM, Steen’s faction has been running wild over the company taking cues from every invading/evil faction in the business and here Jay Briscoe does what nobody expected him to do. This should be important. This should be powerful. This should be, as Kevin Kelly said, the most important moment in ROH history.
Instead? Nobody saw it. $14.99 wasted because of one technical screw up.
The hardest part is wanting to support the company because of the talent. From Kevin Steen to Adam Cole to Mike Elgin, you want to pay the money so these guys continue to be paid. But nowadays, you just want to do in hopes they transition to WWE, TNA or New Japan. You want them to move on and ROH to be their stepping stone instead of its own strong wrestling promotion with national television. ROH used to be something special. What’s so special now? Even worse is it holds people back from paying for any independent wrestling because ROH should be the standard bearer. The standard it is setting is pathetic.
The next ROH iPPV will be Border Wars in May, featuring some amazing talents from NOAH in Japan and will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. After Friday night, I have a hard time justifying why I should pay ROH another dime, whether live or on their iPPV service. And it’s truly unfortunate. There’s nobody to blame but yourselves, Ring of Honor. Not SCUM, not Jim Cornette, not Charlie Haas. Just you as a company. For shame.