One of the best minds in wrestling returned to Ring of Honor wrestling on Sunday June 26th after losing a match that would keep him exiled from ROH for what was to be for the rest of his career. The mere reference of Kevin Steen in the last six months in ROH would receive a pretty good pop from the crowd and chants of his moniker “Mr. Wrestling” to ring throughout the arena. It was pretty clear that despite the angle from Final Battle 2010 and it appearing that Steen & ROH definitely had parted ways, the fans of Ring of Honor wanted him back.
It wasn’t until the last two weeks on ROH’s website that it appeared Kevin Steen would show up at the iPPV in NYC, “Best in the World 2011.” The mention of Steve Corino calling out Kevin Steen for backup against “The House of Truth” in NYC created quite the stir amongst wrestling fans. It was apparent that Kevin Steen would be making, what many fans believed to be, and his long awaited return to Ring of Honor wrestling.
The use of the internet helped prompted quite a frenzy last couple of days before the event and even leading up to it as fans would lead a “We Want Steen” campaign for him to return to ROH despite ROH officials proclaiming that “Mr. Wrestling” would not be allowed in the building. Kevin Steen had the internet & the fans in the palm of his hand leading into the show on Sunday in NYC. The long awaited return of Kevin Steen was one of, if not the, most anticipating thing fans were looking forward to for the ROH iPPV.
The return of Kevin Steen to ROH led to what many fans of wrestling tend to do nowadays, something even myself have been caught doing in the past and that’s fantasy booking the angle. Fans were sold that when Kevin Steen would eventually step into the ring in NYC on Sunday that he’d receive a huge welcoming back reaction and that he’d align himself as a face to help Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs battle the House of Truth. After the feud Steen had last year with El Generico and how appreciated he was by the fans, it would be very hard not to make Steen a face when he returned, right?
You can’t blame the fans for thinking so because wrestling has lost it’s suspense over the years. The unpredictability has been lost in many wrestling organizations because how repetitive storylines are and how the internet tends to spoil most storylines nowadays. The unpredictability factor of wrestling as an entertainment form has been lost as time has gone on.
We’ve seen it in the WWE when fans expected to hear the “glass shattering” and Steve Austin to come down to the ring. We’ve seen it when internet sites leaked that Chris Jericho was returning in 2008. We knew Matt Hardy was going to show up at a TNA Wrestling PPV because backstage reports prior to the show told us such. The suspense, the surprise, the unpredictability was lost on a sport that used to generate it on such a constant basis.
That unpredictability was found once again this past Sunday in New York City when Kevin Steen made his return to Ring of Honor in the Hammerstein Ballroom. As no one saw his turn on Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs coming at all, his evil ways were supposed to be dead & buried, not renewed again. He literally flipped off Ring of Honor and got carried out of the arena like the Anti-Christ he proclaimed to be as he cursed out fans (including yours truly) as he made his tremendous & poignant exit from the Hammerstein.
Kevin Steen was back and despite not turning face, turning on Corino & Jacobs, flipping off Ring of Honor & its fans, the fans could not stop talking about the angle during intermission of the show. Why? Because Kevin Steen “got” the fans, he was able to manipulate the predictability that we see in wrestling today and captivate the emotional valve from the fans by showing that there is still an entertainment form to the unpredictability of wrestling.
While I’m sure all those wrestlers involved would have preferred a different reaction from the crowd in NYC to angle, the crowd ate it up because it was just so damn good. Credit should be given to everyone involved that helped put it together but the shining star of the entire thing was Kevin Steen himself.
Despite giving wrestling fans one of the most unpredictable year long angles/feuds with El Generico last year, the fans still believed the predictability of Steen’s return. He and those who booked the angle harped on that sentiment & took the fans on emotional roller coaster that left them wanting more when it was said & done.
They accomplished what they wanted to set as the foundation for the angle, the fans wanting more. They don’t know where the angle will go from here; will Steen be back in Ring of Honor after all? Was he actually shooting on the company and will never be brought back? It has the fans talking and it has them entertained, once again Kevin Steen has the fans in the palm of his hand.
What the fans have lost in wrestling over the years we have found time & time again with Kevin Steen in the last year & a half as we watch him perform & entertain. The moniker that Steen has adopted recently as “the Antichrist” of wrestling truly holds true to the way he molds & shapes the entertainment value you get watching him at any event, DVD or iPPV. His ideas for angles are so “out of the box” that it goes against all that we are left to believe in wrestling, it removes the predictability factor and for that we as wrestling fans should be thankful.
Steen leaves you with your jaw on the ground, your hand scratching your head and the joy of knowing that however amount of money you paid to watch the event live, on DVD or on iPPV, you were heavily entertained. While he currently dons the moniker of “The Antichrist of Wrestling,” he is certainly without a shadow of a doubt the reigning “Mr. Wrestling.”
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