Welcome to this week’s edition of Four on Four. We have a Ring of Honor theme – Hooray! As always, we’ve chosen four of the most entertaining and intelligent wrestling fans on Twitter and decided to peer into their minds four questions at a time. Now let’s meet the panel:
Mark Smith: Known as podjohnnyringo to most. Kevin Steen put him over on a SmartMarkVideo shoot. Needs to know if you wore JNCO’s. Wants Steve Blackman in Evolve!
You can find podcasts with him on Free Admission and follow his Twitter.
Ben Turpen: Atlanta’s #1 sports fan. Kevin Steen also put him over on a SmartMarkVideo shoot. Dubbed “Ben Truthpen” by Brad Ward.
He podcasts/writes/runs Free Admission (our fav site!) and be sure to follow his Twitter.
1. What are your predictions for the ROH title tournament?
Having no clue if there are brackets out there that could completely nullify this, I’m just basing this off a combination of what I would like to see/think we will see. Final Four in the tournament will be Michael Elgin, Adam Cole, Karl Anderson and Tommaso Ciampa.
I think Elgin and Cole are locks, so I picked Anderson and Ciampa based off how ROH has used both men recently. I’d have Cole go over Ciampa (in a match that should be really great and solidify Ciampa, who gets better with every match he has) and Elgin over Anderson to get his win back.
Finals of Adam Cole against Michael Elgin, with Cole winning the belt and turning full blown “suck my dick” heel. That result would probably be for the best as just about everyone assumes Elgin has this in the bag. Plus it would lead to Elgin chasing Cole for the ROH title, which should be blown off at Final Battle.
Adam Cole def. Tommaso Ciampa – Michael Elgin def. Kevin Steen
Michael Elgin def. Adam Cole
Predictability is ok, and I just can’t picture the tournament playing out any other way. The only area where I see potential for a surprise is the top half of the bracket, more specifically the section of Ciampa/Young/Bennett/Whitmer, but I feel it’s unlikely any of those guys have a chance to make the finals. While I find that bracket to be the wildcard, I do think there’s an outside chance Lethal advances past Cole this Saturday, which will determine Elgin’s opponent in Philadelphia. That would be quite coincidental considering Elgin defeated Lethal to earn a shot at the ROH World Title in April. The bottom half of the bracket is set up perfectly to give Elgin his big return wins over Karl Anderson and Kevin Steen.
My only hesitation with Cole is that ROH seems as though they want to genuinely restore the “Honor” aspect of the promotion, getting away from the perception of the previous regime and finally moving into a new era. With Cole in the finals, you have to anticipate a lot of the heel tendencies and shenanigans he has increasingly brought on the past few months. Do you want that in your big, almost restart, World Title finale? With that said, ROH in its origin always had the rebel, the one guy who was against the Code of Honor and did his own thing. Recent memory most definitely dictates that’s the direction Cole is heading.
If they don’t pull the trigger on Elgin here, he’s entered that point of no return. That point all too many ROH World Title holders have fallen to over the years. That point when a majority of the internet wrestling community cries “They waited too long,” “He’s ruined~!” “They didn’t capitalize on the momentum,” and the live crowds usually let them know it as well. With that said, the ROH audience and product is much different now, and if he were to lose in this scenario, or anyone in a similar position current day, he isn’t going to be effected near as severely.
Michael Elgin should win the ROH World Title and have great main event title defenses for the next year plus.
I have been going back and forth on this topic. The consensus winner seems to be either Michael Elgin or Adam Cole. I feel the need to point out that PWG ran the same tourney and main event that everyone is predicting one year ago. Either ROH is late on the ball or PWG isn’t afraid to push what they already know to be the future.
I think if Michael Elgin does not win he may be slotted into the Tyler Black/Davey Richards category of “they gave him the belt too late”. He says he is on a mission to get his match with London, avenge his loss to Karl Andersen, and win the ROH Title. And certainly…ROH seems to be on track to doing just that with the way the tourney is set up.
ROH needs great wrestling now more than ever so I think the best move is to give the belt to Elgin. In my opinion he is the best worker on the roster and will deliver on every main event he’s put in. So I will say he will win. I guess I’ll pick Adam Cole to go to the finals opposite him only really because I can’t see Lethal, Young, Ciampa, Bennett, or Whitmer going to the finals. If they hadn’t already done Elgin/Ciampa at Best in the World I would say that would be the finals but that is not the case.
I’ll predict a Cole/Ciampa Semi’s and an Elgin/Taven Semi’s with an Elgin/Cole finals. Matt Taven is my dark horse pick over Kevin Steen in the second round only because ROH seems to really like the dude. Nonetheless, Michael Elgin is your new ROH World Champion.
I have been thinking about this since I got a glimpse of the bracket. I think it’s a safe bet Tomasso Ciampa faces Adam Cole and Kevin Steen (though, I did have to think twice after reading BigRat’s answer regarding Matt Taven upsetting Steen) faces Michael Elgin in the semi-finals leading to a Cole vs Elgin finals in Philly.
I predict Elgin wins the title. The road for him is full of redemption match after redemption match. Of course the chances of Cole sneaking out a dirty heel win are there and I will be delighted if that happens.
However, my main rooting interest will be for Tomasso Ciampa. I have been captivated by him since his return a few months ago and in the slight chance it happens, it would be my perfect situation. (No relation to Weezer‘s Make Believe album)
2. Who is the best ROH champion of all time?
In all seriousness there’s only one answer to this, and it’s Samoa Joe. Anyone who says different is letting personal bias get in the way of facts. I enjoyed Nigel as champ because of personal investment in him, but when it comes down to who had the best reign it was Joe by leaps and bounds. During his reign he was the face of ROH, and had so much impact on keeping that company alive in the darkest days of the Rob Feinstein issue and TNA pulling their contracted talent (the first time).
If not for Joe, ROH would have been dead in the water. You can’t say that about any other person who held the belt, no matter how much they brought to the table (specifically Austin Aries, CM Punk, Nigel McGuinness and my best friend Kevin Steen).
Nigel McGuinness was the best overall champion. It’s unfortunate that a booking change led to a less than spectacular conclusion, but there is no denying what he was able to accomplish over the course of his 545 day reign. He was even a victim of the aforementioned “Point of no return,” but it didn’t matter. Through his passion and performance, he was able to win over the fans every single time. I would say for a majority of his reign, he personified everything that made me love ROH.
Bryan Danielson. Had a year in 2006 similar to HBK in 1996 and Ric Flair in 1989. Consistent great matches on every show.
I made up the questions and worded this carefully so the choice of the Briscoes were allowed. My favorite champion in ROH history is clearly Bryan Danielson followed by Nigel McGuinness but I have to go with Jay and Mark Briscoe as the tag champions.
While a variety of amazing wrestlers had incredible world title runs, the Briscoes were always doing the same with the tag titles during just about every time period. I probably wouldn’t be a ROH fan if not for them as their matches are what kept me attending ROH shows in 2007, which made the (typical) ROH fan I am today.
3. What are the top 3 ROH matches of all time?
- Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA, Glory by Honor V.
Being there live for this match I find it hard to believe I will ever see another match quite like this one, ever again. It’s so hard for me to believe that match took place seven years ago this September, because I remember it like it was just yesterday. The atmosphere, the match itself, and two of the best in the world made for something really special. If you haven’t seen this, stop reading and go find it now.
- Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi, Joe vs. Kobashi.
Not a phenomenal match work wise, but holy shit this match is awesome. The crowd pops for the littlest of moves, eating out of Kobashi’s palm and making it what I like to call a spectacle match. Another match people need to see if they weren’t around to watch ROH during its hottest stretch.
- (Blood Generation) CIMA, Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino vs. (Do Fixer) Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito and Genki Horiguchi, Supercard of Honor.
The first Dragon Gate six man tag, and without a doubt the best, sparked a lot for ROH and Gabe Sapolsky (also my best friend). ROH had run a show on Wrestlemania weekend in 2004, but skipped 2005 since WM was in LA. After this Ring of Honor running shows in the same city as WM was a given, and it also brought a lot of American interest into the Dragon Gate talent. It’s a true shame ROH/DG had a falling out, because this match is a testament to how great that relationship could have been. The tradition continues with DGUSA, but no six man has come close to the original.
- AJ Styles vs. Bryan Danielson – Main Event Spectacles 11/01/03
On top of being a fantastic match, it’s the one that introduced me to the concept of no commentary.
- B. Brent Albright v. Adam Pearce – Death Before Dishonor VI 08/02/08
“The Miracle Match”
- Jay & Mark Briscoe v. Kenny King & Rhett Titus – Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter Two 04/02/11
If you talk ROH with me to any considerably degree, you know I absolutely adore this match. One of, if not the most underrated match in the history of the promotion. It’s the perfect brawl, it has the moment, ANX have their breakout performance, The Briscoes solidify the double turn… OMG I fucking love this match.
- Honorable Mention: Austin Aries v. CM Punk – Death Before Dishonor III 06/18/05
I think it will be hard for any match to ever emotionally move me more than this, and the Punk promo that immediately followed.
I elected against the conventional choices, and rather went with three of my top favorites, or that attain “Best like” qualities for personal reasons.
- Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin ROH Showdown in the Sun Night Two 2012
Was there live front row….I’m biased
- Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. The Briscoes Ladder War Man Up 2007
- Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA Glory By Honor V Night Two 2006
- Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuiness at Unified
This match represents everything ROH is to me. It’s a work of art and I think every wrestling fan should watch it. One of the greatest wrestling matches of all time.
- Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA at Glory By Honor V Night 2
This match showcases the excellence that makes Bryan Danielson/Daniel Bryan the best wrestler I’ve ever seen. I <3 KENTA too. This is also my favorite ROH show ever.
- Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. The Briscoes at Death Before Dishonor V Night 1
I enjoyed this Boston Street Fight more than the Ladder War between these two teams. Match is full of jaw dropping moments and a rare time Steenerico got the win in this feud.
4. What is your worst ROH memory?
This one should be a simple answer as I attended Final Battle 2009, and had to drive home in a blizzard after the terrible finish of Austin Aries and Tyler Black (who actually had a good match). But as time has gone on and I made personal connections with people in the locker room, the worst memory I have of ROH is Jim Cornette. Not his original run because he was an onscreen talent with no input backstage, and that was fine. I’m talking about his latest trek.
Think what you will about him because he hates Russo, but that doesn’t make him a messiah. He turned ROH into a shitfest, booked people into terrible situations, held talent back and worst of all tried to use ROH as a platform to stay relevant in a business that passed him by years ago. He’s not a good person and him being gone is the best possible outcome, and you can prove that with the product put out since his departure. #NigelPose
Live: April 3, 2010. Charlotte, NC. The Big Bang. The night that I left while an ROH main event was ongoing. Trust me when I say Blue Demon, Jr. and Magno v. Super Parka and Misterioso was a really bad match. If I recall correctly, one of the participants in the match showed up very late into the show, thus resulting in the match getting pushed behind the two ROH Title matches on the card. It was honestly the best thing that could have happened. On the way back to my car, Prince Nana hustled me for $10 and took a picture on my flip phone, which didn’t even save!
Overall: There was no lower moment or feeling for me in the promotions history than the time proceeding when, he whom will not be named, had an… incident (WOE add in for ROH noobs: Feinstein) occur. The status and future of the company was never more in doubt, and considering that period was what I would consider the peak of my ROH fandom, it was a tough time.
Well the worst I have ever felt about ROH was the night of Death Before Dishonor X last year. When that iPPV failed….it legitimately seemed like the company was not going to make it. It legitimately seemed like the fans were done with all the issues. But I was not watching ROH that night (was at King of Trios instead!) so I won’t label it as my worst memory.
My worst memory would probably be during the “braun out” (sp?) at Showdown in the Sun Night Two. That happened right before the Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly match. I visibly remember seeing some fat guy in a white shirt and overalls running around the ring looking very nervous and giving instructions to the cameraman and to the commentators. He looked really freaked out.
At that moment I just had a feeling that ROH would have iPPV issues for a while to come. I had no other evidence for it. But seeing that man’s face of concern really got me worried about ROH’s future. The fact that when a show has one of the best ROH matches in history and all everyone can talk about is the technical difficulties…it did not look good for ROH’s future.
Mark alluded to it already – Final Battle 2009. A blizzard was in the forecast and people warned me not to attend this show. I didn’t want to miss seeing my guy Tyler Black FINALLY win the ROH title.
The first half of the show was fantastic. The second half was horrible. As the show got progressively worse, I told myself at least I get to see my favorite wrestler win the title! Looking at my watch and seeing it nearing midnight as the main event started, I hoped Black would get the win under 20 minutes so there can be a title victory celebration…….
Fifty nine minutes later, the match was still going. Yes, it was an hour long time limit draw. At the biggest show of the year. In Tyler’s 85th title shot. At 1AM. During a snowstorm. Drowned out by boos, Tyler tried to give the “rah rah ROH is the best in the world” promo.
The memory is dragging my feet home at 2:30 AM with snow to my knees wondering why I make these bad decisions. Basically the wrestling version of the “walk of shame.”
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A new wrestlers edition will be here soon. Thanksss.