ROH Honorable Mention: Road to Best in the World

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ROH Honorable Mention: Road to Best in the World

This weekend was a one the may have righted the ship in terms of the Ring of Honor product. With three consecutive nights of action, Ring of Honor developed storylines and ignited many feuds as it heads towards the Best in the World PPV on June 24th. The company has done an excellent job and establishing its own stars and making matches meaningful.

Back in January after Wrestle Kingdom 10, I wrote about how Ring of Honor was made to look strong at the New Japan Pro Wrestling event and that the showing would translate to future success with the company. The two companies did indeed partner up, but it was more to the detriment of the ROH product and did more to elevate NJPW than anything else. Ishii winning the Television title and then not being available for more frequent and tapings devalued the belt which had been used as a measure of the hardest working stars in ROH.

The Global Wars tour produced shows that displayed both NJPW and ROH’s talent, but at the sake of putting ROH’s product on the back burner. The television tapings airing on Comet, Sinclair broadcasting and ROH’s online streaming service suffered as a result as well. Colt Cabana’s return was not given the appropriate attention, and as such the fervor that should have surrounded the event that featured a returning prodigal son like Colt lacked the fanfare it should have received.

This week’s episode of ROH features backstage vignettes to start the show that remind the viewing audience of the backstory behind Donovan Dijak and Jay Lethal. This was a great way to jog everyone’s memory and explain Truth Martini’s absence, while also giving both men some time to cut a promo and develop the story in their own words. WWE’s recap videos are a sight to behold and they are quite effective in adding gravitas to a match, but nothing adds real emotion more than a well cut promo.

ACH vs. Silas Young

Continuing with the notion of creating real enemies and feuds, the viewing audience this week is privy to promos from both the “Last Real Man” Silas Young and ACH. Last week’s episode saw Young bad mouth ACH during commentary and then run in to send a physical message in the form of his finisher Misery.  Despite not wrestling this week, some well delivered promos from both men intensified the issues between the two, with both men calling out each other based on their different definition of what a “real man” is. Young has taken such a simple idea and run with it, creating a true heel character with nothing to root for. His demeanor and in-ring work can make a fan favorite out of anyone he works with, as he did with Dalton Castle.  If this is done correctly, ACH should come out of this with a great deal of steam and contention for the ROH Television title in the near future.

Steve Corino vs BJ Whitmer

The blow off for this lengthy feud is finally upon us, in the form of a match without honor at Best in the World. Due to injuries to both men have sustained, there have been many twists, turns and delays in the meandering journey the two have taken to finally settle their disputes in the ring. As of late, BJ Whitmer has taken to social media to add fuel to the fire, taunting Steve Corino with pictures of Whitmer and Corino’s wife and child. The crowd seems to really despise Whitmer, in a way that is reminiscent of X-Pac or Eva Marie. Both have done a good job of keeping this simmering, but it seems everyone wants Whitmer to move on now that his knee is healed. With Adam Page now aligned with the Bullet Club, their own issues have cooled off a bit after their San Antonio Street fight during the Conquest Tour. The match will not be a gem, but it shouldn’t be. The match should be an all out brawl between the men, with Whitmer getting his comeuppance.

Jay Lethal vs Jay Briscoe

When this match was first announced it came off as a filler for a main event. Jay Briscoe has been tagging with his brother Mark Briscoe as of late and Jay Lethal just came off a match with Cabana that was a one and done. Lethal would seem to have more of a reason to be defending against Adam Cole at this point due to the attack by The Elite of the Bullet Club during his match with Colt. However, there has been a real investment in building this rematch into a bout with substance to it. Every wrestler on the roster should show a desire to wrestle for the World Heavyweight championship, but simply having great matches will not grow the company.

This week’s episode had the Bullet Club attack Lethal during and after the main event, only to have the Briscoes run down and stand with lethal against a common enemy. The very NWO/WCW feeling to the stand-off adds a layer of intrigue to this match up. Now, whether or not Briscoe wins does not matter as much with the looming threat of the Bullet Club running roughshod over the ROH roster. After half a year of making connections with another company, the next few weeks are shaping up to be a time during which ROH works to establish and cultivate the talent it has signed. With rumors that Roderick Strong and Moose may jump ship when their contracts expire in a few weeks, it is all the more imperative that the current course of action is not a fluke, but the blueprint that ROH adheres to after Best in the World as well.

(Main Photo Source: rohwrestling.com)