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Is Jim Cornette hurting Ring of Honor? – Inside The Wheelhouse

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog about how Ring of Honor wrestling was not our “grandfather’s” independent promotion anymore. That since Sinclair Broadcasting Group (SBG) took over in May 2011 things were starting to change in ROH. The roster of talent had changed drastically over the last couple of months, the promotion went away from the loyal areas and it was becoming more of a “televised product” rather then the “underground product” that people loved for over nine years. The changes, while all under the SBG reign, I believe can be pinpointed to one particular person, Jim Cornette.

When Ring of Honor was owned and ran by Cary Silkin all ideas had to be presented to him for the product. Now that Sinclair Broadcasting Group is running the promotion all ideas and presented to Jim Cornette, who despite not being the “head booker,” is still overseeing the product as a whole. The promotion since going to television has slowly gotten away from its initial drawing as a promotion and flipped over to a more televised promotion with a throw back feel to it.

As wrestling history tells us, change is not accepted well by the wrestling fan community. When WCW “rebooted” back in the 2000s it was meant with a refreshing aspect that died within weeks and WCW resulted back to their old ways again before they closed the doors for good. Change is hard to come by in wrestling especially change that while is generated over time; makes a product look completely different.

Obviously the current climate of Ring of Honor wrestling is not just Jim Cornette’s vision and his alone but he has a lot of say of what’s going on. Something that I believe has showcased his weakness as of late when it comes to a modern day wrestling product. Let’s not forget what Ring of Honor was all about when it debuted in 2002.

ROH for all things considered, was a by-product of Paul Heyman’s style of booking in ECW. Gabe Sapolsky was one of Paul Heyman’s confidants in ECW and someone who was mentored by one of the greatest regarded bookers in the history of wrestling. The product showcased similar Paul Heyman like abilities when Gabe Sapolsky booked ROH and it was a representation as the “alternative” to wrestling that fans weren’t getting from the WWE or TNA.

Fast forward to today and despite changes in booking over the last couple of years, ROH would survive as that alternative product for wrestling fans. It showcased terrific wrestling, great storylines and left fans wanting more when they left an event or turned off a DVD/iPPV. It was giving wrestling fans what they wanted; pure wrestling at it’s finest.

While the product continues to give amazing in-ring action, the product is no longer looked at as an “alternative” for wrestling fans. It has become another edition of a Jim Cornette ran promotion whether it be the way he booked Smokey Mountain Wrestling (SMW), Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) or even Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling. ROH since May 2011, when SBG took over as owners, has lost it’s “edge.”

The reason for that is because Jim Cornette does not book “edgy” or “alternative” style of wrestling and while he has been in ROH for a year or two now, he has never received more power then he does now in Ring of Honor wrestling. The product is reflecting that more and more lately, especially since the ROH fans are starting to get louder with their groans about the product. Something that was a minority at best throughout ROH’s tenure as it was well respected amongst the wrestling fans.

Since ROH was sold to SBG and Jim Cornette gained more power in the product the roster has changed overtime as well. Cornette has brought in talent from OVW to come work the road with Ring of Honor while some longtime ROH talent have not been used in recent months. It is bringing in a style of wrestling that could be hurting the product in the long run since the appeal to ROH all this time was being an “alternative” first and foremost.

Is Jim Cornette possibly out of touch with today’s wrestling standards? It’s quite possible.

Is it still to early to pull the trigger of blame on someone for the change in direction in Ring of Honor? It’s certainly getting closer to that trigger being pulled.

Is Ring of Honor getting hurt in the long run? I believe so and I’ve been a fan of the product for quite sometime, going to shows and staying on top of things. In recent months I have found myself drawn away from the product, something I never personally thought I’d do as a wrestling fan since it was that great alternative all fans look for in a product.

As time goes on and SBG & Cornette try to make ROH something it is not it will hurt the product. Continue to benefit off of the fact that it is an “alternative” wrestling product and the fans will come in droves on a national level. Making it just another WWE or TNA is going to leave fans not wanting more and turning off ROH TV once it comes on.

ECW never changed the way they were once they got to television or become more national. ROH shouldn’t do the same either. If they continue to change it to something it is not Jim Cornette will be left to blame and the product will continue to hurt because of it.

For more on this topic join us for the Thursday March 22nd edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net.

If you would like to subscribe to “The Wheelhouse” on iTunes simply subscribe for free at iTunes by typing in “Wheelhouse Radio!”

You can follow “The Champ Jeff Peck” on Twitter at www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck you can also follow Wheelhouse Radio on twitter at www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse and you can e-mail them @ [email protected]

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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Welcome to the Camel Clutch Blog. The CCB was born in 2007 and features blogs from over 50 different writers. Articles from the Camel Clutch Blog have been featured by some of the world's most respected websites including; CNNSI.com, Foxsports.com, Yahoo News, Business Insider, MSNBC, NBCsports.com, and more.

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