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.
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.
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