In September of 2010, Roderick Strong became ROH World Champion by defeating soon to be departing Tyler Black. Putting the belt on Strong was about getting it on someone who wasn’t going to leave any time soon and also to reward a long running member of the roster. It was believed the belt would soon go to Davey Richards, the biggest babyface left in the company. Richards had been branching out of the tag team division where he and Eddie Edwards were the most dominant and well decorated tag team in quite possibly all of North American pro wrestling at the time. However, Richards couldn’t beat Strong.
At Manhattan Mayhem IV, ROH had Richards tag partner in Eddie Edwards face Strong instead. To the shock of the audience, Edwards defeated Strong to become the first triple crown champion in ROH history (Tag, TV, World). As the company was now sold to Sinclair Broadcasting, the fans embraced Edwards as the hard working underdog he was. Edwards sat in Richards’ shadow as the younger of the two, missing the polarizing intensity of Davey Richards. Edwards was less about brazillian jiu-jitsu and more about being a complete pro wrestler. His soft spoken personality worked well as a babyface. While his reign only lasted 99 days, at no point were the Ring of Honor audiences turning on him.
At Best in the World 2011, Davey Richards challenged and successfully defeated Eddie Edwards. The match was great but the finish was a bit of a letdown. Edwards had nothing left in the gas tank and Richards ended him with a kick. This lead to Richards holding the title for 321 days and ending just about every match the same way. Edwards was no longer champion but still in the running for the title. The company played up the two men’s past and brought in Richard’s students in Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly to the fray. O’Reilly was especially involved in getting in Edwards face.
Come Final Battle 2011, ROH set up the rematch between Richards and Edwards. The angle was that Davey Richards always wanted to train with Dan Severn but Edwards instead convinced the Beast to work with him. Richards talked about Edwards being different now. Unfortunately, none of these details came through. Neither did O’Reilly and Edwards coming to fruition. They had a perfect build for Edwards to show a sadistic, killer style that breaks the honor the two men once had. They could have also had O’Reilly turn on Richards to work with a “real martial artist” like Edwards and Severn. The build-up was all about Edwards becoming something different but… nothing changed. The match was almost a mirror of Best in the World, complete with Edwards just going down. No progression. No turn. No wonder ROH fans started to boo Davey Richards.
Edwards has since floundered from being in the top program and has since reunited with Davey Richards in the American Wolves. Edwards at 30 seems to just be stuck in a pattern in ROH. Yet Edwards proved something in his 99 day reign with the ROH World Title that Ring of Honor seems to forget. Edwards was a fan favourite, the people’s choice and a true underdog. The fans supported Edwards and Edwards gave back. Nobody on the roster aside from El Generico (now in WWE) had the connection that Edwards had with the ROH fans. They took advantage of this for a mere three months and then dropped it for the “golden boy” in Davey Richards. Even after destroying Edwards’ main event credibility in the feud with Richards and pushing him down the card, Edwards is still a wild card that ROH controls in their hand.
All it would take, better late than ever, would be to finally show a fresh side of Eddie Edwards. There are multiple ways they could try. Being a wrestler from Boston, why not call him the Boston Strangler? Okay, strangling is unpopular in the WWE but this is Ring of Honor. Works much better than Die Hard. Edwards could turn heel and gain a good manager (NOT TRUTH MARTINI). Edwards could also just change up his personal look and stay babyface. He connected with the fans at the top once and he could easily do it again. ROH has a lot of opportunities but again, Edwards is 30. Has the ship sailed for him in ROH? Should he try his hand in WWE or TNA?
Fact is, if Edwards is going to float in the ROH midcard he might as well leave. But if ROH recognizes their lack of babyfaces (especially after Jay Briscoe proved he has trouble watching his mouth and Jay Lethal has trouble connecting at the top) and recognizes they have a guy who their fans will truly get behind is being under-utilized, ROH can solve a major problem that has been infecting the company since Sinclair Broadcasting came in. They can have a top babyface star that has proven he can keep their support.
Time for Eddie Edwards 2: Die Harder.
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