By Haydn Gleed
ROH presented their latest traditional pay-per-view offering on Sunday and overall it was a pretty solid show. In terms of the booking and matches, there were some moments I thought were OK to good and other moments that left me scratching my head, but as a standalone show it had some decent action. My biggest problem, and it’s been my biggest problem with ROH for some time, is it felt that nothing really mattered.
Global Wars to me felt like a preseason game in your favorite sport. Yes, I’m seeing the same players that I’m going to be seeing during the regular season, and the skills on display might be as good if not better than what you’ll see during the regular season, but ultimately the end result of the game doesn’t matter. That is how ROH has felt to me over the last twelve months. What you want is that feeling you get when you are watching a crucial game that has you anxious to see your team win – tfeeling that if my team, or in this case a wrestler loses, I will be hurting just as much as they are. ROH don’t currently give their viewers that feeling.
The only time I have felt that way with ROH recently is during the Dalton Castle vs. Silas Young feud, which in a strange way makes this all the more frustrating. It shows that they have the ability to tell great stories that culminate in a crescendo, but they either give no thought to a match before throwing it out there or they drag out a feud far beyond it’s expiration date (see BJ Whitmer vs Steve Corino even before Corino’s surgery) to the point that you just don’t care anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I enjoy the action that I see on either ROH television or pay-per-view, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Bobby Fish and Tomohiro Ishii TV title match on Sunday. Ultimately, though, I wasn’t given a reason to care about the outcome. From watching the build, I knew that Ishii had beaten Roderick Strong for the title, and Fish wanted the belt. Okay, but why should I want Ishii to retain or Fish to overcome and win the title? What reason was I given to care outside of the idea they are both good wrestlers and athletically it’s going to be exciting? I have more of an emotional attachment to my teapot than I did to the outcome of this match.
Darren Gutteridge and I have discussed our thoughts on the ROH TV audio review show that we do weekly for Dot Net members about this very topic. I have heard from some people who have essentially said ROH is about the wrestling not the storylines, and to that I agree, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some buildup to the matches. Look at the Castle vs. Young feud. The basic premise was I don’t like your way of life, and I’m going to knock some sense into you. Simple, effective, and it gives some context as to why the wrestlers were facing each other. We can decide as viewers who we want to cheer and who we want to see lose. The point is we care about the outcome.
If ROH wants to continue being a company that just produces excellent matches, more power to them and they are certainly on the right path to doing that. However, they will never grow beyond an above average promotion. What is frustrating to me is they have the platform with their weekly show to be more than they are and they don’t make the most of their opportunities. I want ROH to succeed not only because I want a successful profitable wrestling business with several companies doing well, but because I believe in the potential of the ROH product and feel that if more thought is put into the characters and and stirring the emotions of so they want to see two wrestlers lock up, they will be a better overall company.
ROH has the reputation amongst the more knowledgeable wrestling fans for delivering good quality wrestling. That’s what brings these fans back, but in order for the company to take the next step and grow beyond a niche audience, they need to attract more casual viewers by giving them reasons to care. Right now, they are simply not doing that.
As always, if you agree or disagree or simply want to know the name of my teapot, you can get in touch via twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org