ROH celebrated its 15th Anniversary on Friday and it marked the culmination of many big angles and a fitting milestone event. As the show closed, I came away feeling satisfied with ROH’s direction in spite of a number of challenges. Here are my 4 Best/4 Worst of ROH 15th Anniversary.
ROH doesn’t have a massive women’s division like some of its competitors, but it seems like a mistake to ignore that demographic totally. It took WWE forever to have more than one women’s match on a show, but ROH should move quicker by having one Women of Honor match on the main show. And that’s not entirely because Mandy Leon needs screen time every week on ROH.
I barely tuned in to TNA Impact last year, but when I did, it was 100 percent due to some craziness from the Broken Hardys. Now TNA has ordered a cease and desist letter preventing ROH and The Hardys from using any of the Broken Hardys gimmick. Granted, WWE is real petty on stuff like this all the time too (see: Bully Ray Dudley, Cody
Rhodes), but with TNA it just comes across weak. TNA had no buzz last year save The Hardys. While legally it’s within their rights to retain the creative elements of the Broken Hardys, it seems unnecessarily petty. And TNA doesn’t need its fanbase to resent them from not resigning The Hardys and jump ship out of spite.
I feel for The Hardys here as they worked hard to reinvent themselves with a gimmick that was the hottest act of 2016. Now they’re basically the Hindered Hardys unable to pull off the lighting fast tag team work of their prime or use the gimmick that helped hide their present day weaknesses.
The fall of The Kingdom
Matt Taven’s revamped Kingdom was steadily making progress as a force in ROH. Maybe it wasn’t the same as the Triple H-led DX, but it was building steam. That came crashing down with TK ORyan’s devastating injury. I hated this for several reasons, but the biggest one was definitely the uncertainty of ORyan’s career.
That moonsault to the guardrail did not look good. But it’s also an indictment on how often the ROH stars do these needless high risk moves to wake up the fans. No one was going to remember the 15th Anniversary for that moonsault spot had ORyan nailed it. Hopefully, ROH management will use it as an example for the talent to tone down the high risk moves. ROH can’t afford to have too many of its bright, promising talent on the shelf at this point.
Saying Bye Bye to Adam Cole Bay Bay
The roster bleeding continues for ROH. After being the focal point of the promotion since Final Battle, it’s widely believed Adam Cole is the latest prominent star to depart the company. This is on the heels of ROH losing Roderick Strong, Mike Bennett & Maria Kanelis, Steve Corino, Michael Elgin, Nigel McGuiness, Kyle O’Reilly and Donovan Dijak.
Losing Cole really hurts as he was not only the main heel for ROH, but the centerpiece of the promotion’s Bullet Club faction. ROH has long been viewed as the training ground for future WWE and WWE stars, but at this rate it’s going to be harder for the promotion to crank out the next generation superstars before they’re plucked for WWE, NXT and New Japan.
A Real Milestone feel
TNA was pretty horrible every Slammiversary for patting itself on the back for defying the odds to survive another year. ROH didn’t feel the need for a prolonged self-congratulatory session. Instead, it focused on the present and paving the way for the future by showcasing its current stars.
Sure, the roster might not be as deep as it was in 2015, but ROH still has enough talent to put on a really solid show. There weren’t any objectively bad matches at the 15th Anniversary show. And getting Kevin Kelly back to commentate was a very nice touch.
Young Bucks/Hardy booking
The Three-Way match with The Young Bucks, Roppongi Vice and The Hardys was smartly laid out. RPG Vice refused to be ignored even while the Bucks and Hardys wanted to devote their attention on beating the other. This provided a nice dynamic where further Hardy/Bucks interaction kept being teased and interrupted by RPG Vice. In the end, Berretta ate a mouthful of thumbtacks and a senton through a table in order to keep the interest high for more Hardys/Bucks. The Hardys also nabbed the Bucks’ Superkick Champions belt in a subtle heelish move. That makes sense seeing as how the fans treat the Bucks like the biggest babyface act on the roster.
This Villain is a Hero
Beyond that awesome theme music that constantly gets stuck in my head, Marty Scurll is on the fast track to be ROH’s main attraction. He could be that guy folks start tuning in to see. He’s got a great character, unique wrestling style and he’s a heel that’s not afraid to act like a heel. His match with Lio Rush was one of the 15th Anniversary highlights. With more of the ROH big guns like Jay Lethal, Jay Briscoe and Kazarian awaiting, 2017 is poised to be a major breakout year for The Villain.
The Addiction is bullet proof
When I read the spoilers about Kazarian joining Bullet Club, I was super annoyed. The Biz Cliz is in its Horace Hogan, Stevie Ray, Bryan Adams nWo phase. And Kazarian is better than being the 3rd string guy in Bullet Club. But give credit to ROH booking here for letting The Addiction finally be the group to get one over on Bullet Club. Kazarian infiltrated the BC, cozying up just long enough to get Adam Page’s help to secure a #1 contender’s slot for the TV title, only to sucker Cole in the end.
While that was great, I appreciated Christopher Daniels getting the clean pin without his pal’s interference. The story was laid out for Daniels to win the title and I wouldn’t have complained if a belt shot from Kazarian helped Daniels claim the title. But it was so much sweeter that Daniels did it without interference. ROH has always been pretty good about not always breaking up teams when one member gets a title. Friends can be happy for each others’ success.
I loved that Daniels was also presented with the old school ROH title. That was a nice anniversary call out. The only thing that took away from this big moment was that Kyle O’Reilly just beat Cole to wrap up what was another huge ROH angle before his departure. Hopefully Cole will stick around long enough to lose a few rematches to Daniels to solidify his reign.
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) March 11, 2017
I’m not sure what the future holds for ROH, but the 15th Anniversary show left me a lot more optimistic than I’ve been in a while. Hopefully, ROH can build on this show and keep the momentum rolling.
Photo Credit: ROHwrestling.com