Saturday, May 14, 2016

On DVD: Ring Of Honor Year One (2012)

Vince McMahon would like you to believe that WWE is the only wrestling promotion that matters. He couldn't be more wrong, and he's been wrong for the last several years.

Ring of Honor, you can say, rose from the ashes of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), in that the promotion was based in Philadelphia in its infancy. In 2012, to mark their 10th anniversary, Ring of Honor (ROH) released a Year One DVD compilation that collected some of the best matches from 2002, featuring some top shelf talent that eventually found its way into----wait for it----WWE.

Low-Ki, the first ROH champ, spent several months in WWE in 2010 under the name Kaval, and won NXT's second season competition that summer. However, WWE's much maligned creative staff, predictably, misused him, and he eventually left, later returning to TNA for a few months last year. ROH was home to a number of men who'd been trained by eventual WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, including Michaels' nephew, Michael Shane, and Paul London, who met in a memorable street fight match in September 2002.

If Vince McMahon believes there's no competition for WWE, then why is he signing guys away from ROH like CM Punk (2005-14), Bryan Danielson, another protege of Michaels (2010-16), Tyler Black (now known as Seth Rollins), Claudio Castagnoli (now known simply as Cesaro), and guys like Austin Aries and Samoa Joe, who went to TNA and made their names before returning to ROH briefly over the last year? I should point out that men like Joe, like AJ Styles, Eric Young, and Bobby Roode all were used as enhancement talents more than a decade ago in WWE. Young & Roode would eventually establish themselves in TNA before leaving earlier this year. Joe is the current NXT champ, and should be up with the big club before the year is out.

The DVD gives you an early look at Styles, who came to ROH from WCW, Joe, Low-Ki, London, and Christopher Daniels, among others. The production values weren't that great, and would improve in time. The current weekly television program represents how much ROH has grown.

Rating: A-.

No comments: