As some of you may have heard over the weekend, current Ring of Honor World Champion Tyler Black has signed a developmental contract with the WWE. He will be assigned to their Florida Championship Wrestling promotion starting in September.
As a huge ROH fan as well as the resident “ROH guy” here at camelclutchblog.com, this news struck me very hard. After thinking about it a little bit, I was compelled to sit down at the old laptop and put down my thoughts. In fact, I was so torn by my feelings that I wrote two separate articles, one pro and one con. While I am sad to see him leave ROH, I am also a realist. And if I look at this move with my head and not my heart, this is the best move Tyler Black could have made…for several reasons.
He Already Achieved All His Goals In ROH
At the very young age of 24, Black has already reached the top of the mountain in Ring of Honor. Since making his debut in 2007, Black has been on the fast track to success. He made his debut as part of Jimmy Jacobs’s heel faction The Age of the Fall. Along with Jacobs, Black won the ROH World Tag Team Championship on two occasions. After turning face and splitting from Jacobs, Black began to chase after the World title. He battled Nigel McGuinness (Desmond Wolfe), Bryan Danielson, and Austin Aries for the better part of a year in pursuit of the belt. Finally in February of this year he captured the ROH World Championship from Austin Aries and has successfully defended it ever since.
He Had Grown As Much As He Could In ROH
Being only in his early twenties, Black has used his limited time in ROH to hone and improve his skills. He has amazing natural athletic ability that he has used over the last few years to develop an ever growing array of innovative moves. His natural gifts have allowed him to stand toe to toe with some of the best that the independent circuit has to offer, and he has used those experiences to his advantage. He has learned from and heeded the advice of all who have crossed his path. His microphone skills have improved with his increased exposure and air time. Where he once seemed awkward and self conscience, he now comes across as steady and self confident. He is no Cena or Jericho on the mic yet, but that leads me to my next point.
The Sooner He Gets To The WWE The Sooner He Starts The “Clock”
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Very rarely does the WWE take a talent from another organization and just bring them right in. They need to be repackaged into the WWE mold. Perhaps a new gimmick, a new look, almost certainly a new name for merchandising reasons. Plus the new wrestler, excuse me WWE Superstar, needs to go down to FCW for some seasoning and to learn the WWE way of performing. They need to refine their promo skills and fine tune how they interact with the fans, excuse me WWE Universe. No matter how big a deal Tyler Black might be in ROH, there was no way he would step right onto WWE television. The sooner he gets into the WWE pipeline, the sooner he can get past this “initiation” phase of his career. For evidence, look no further then CM Punk. He was a former ROH World Champion as well as a two time ROH World Tag Team Champion, sound familiar. Yet he spent over a year in Ohio Valley Wrestling, winning every title they had I might add, before WWE Creative decided he was finally fit for prime time. And no, his cameo as one of Cena’s Chicago gangster henchmen from WrestleMania 22 doesn’t count in my opinion. The bottom line is that Black is going to have to pay his WWE dues sooner or later, so he might as well get started now.
It’s Better To Be A Small Fish In A Big Pond Than ROH Champion
Let’s face it, for all of its flaws, the WWE is where it’s at. Tyler Black owes it to himself to take the best offer out there. If this was baseball, the WWE would be the New York Yankees and ROH would be the Pittsburgh Pirates or Kansas City Royals. Once one of those teams develops a good young talent you know it’s just a matter of time before that player jumps at the chance to make the big money in the Big Apple. It’s no different in wrestling. I have been to ROH shows at The Arena in South Philly. It’s cramped, it’s hot, and there are about 300 people in attendance…on a good night. The weekly television show is on a channel that nobody gets. I personally have written 24 weekly blogs reviewing the ROH television program, and the next comment I get from a reader will be the first comment I get from a reader.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]The WWE gets 10,000 to 15,000 paying customers week after week. They probably sell more merchandise at one RAW taping then ROH sells in a month, maybe a year. They have top notch production values when it comes to sound and lighting. Plus all those flashy pyrotechnics. The WWE is also a stepping stone to other careers. If you make a name for yourself in the WWE, you can be an actor, you can be a television game show host, you can be in beef jerky commercials, or you can even become governor. In ROH, when you make a name for yourself, you can become a member of TNA Wrestling or the WWE. Just ask Samoa Joe, CM Punk, A.J. Styles, Evan Bourne, Desmond Wolfe, Bryan Danielson, Matt Stryker, Homicide, The Motor City Machine Guns, Kaval, and many others. And now you can ask Tyler Black too.
Vince DeHoratus lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. He has been a life long wrestling fan and he has passed that love onto his son. Though not quite yet “middle aged and crazy”, he is fast approaching it.
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