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10 Reasons Why ROH is Better Than WWE
I am a big fan of professional wrestling; I have been since I was a little girl. It all started when I got to meet Olympic gold medalist, Jeff Blatnick at a charity event he attended for my cousin who was dying of leukemia at the time. I followed him around all day and tried to feed him peanuts. He seemed larger than life to me. I think I was 8 years old and I was completely hooked from that day on. I would watch Hulk Hogan on the television and yell and carry on just as loudly as the fans they showed on tv. I was one of two girls on the wrestling team in my elementary school. I loved everything about the sport. I think I was probably around 12 when I really took a closer look at what was going on in the WWE (then the WWF) universe. That was the first time I saw someone botch a move and the other performer still sell it. I was baffled and a little upset with myself for not catching on sooner. I wasn't as devout a fan after that, but I watched, nonetheless.
These days, I still really enjoy the sport side of professional wrestling; which is where Ring Of Honor comes in. For a real wrestling fan, they give you the total package. Yes, they have the storylines just like the WWE, but their stories make sense and follow normal human logic. Most importantly, they don't involve celebrity guest hosts or midgets dressed up like leprechauns.
A Little Background on the Companies-
ROH was founded in 2002 by Rob Feinstein to try to plug the void left by the end of the (original) ECW promotion. Feinstein ran into some legal trouble in 2004 and had to leave the company, selling his share to Doug Gentry, who in turn sold it to Cary Silkin. Silkin is the current owner and chairman. In ROH, the wrestlers follow the "code of honor" which entails shaking hands with your opponent at the beginning and end of each match as a show of respect, keeping the playing field level and respecting the officials. ROH just signed a television contract with HDNet last year.
WWE was founded in 1952 by Roderick McMahon and Toots Mondt. In the 80's, when Vince McMahon took over, he expanded and broke many "rules" that had been obeyed for many years by wrestling promotions across the country pertaining to territory. He basically took over other promotions' territory by syndicating WWF tv shows across the country. The WWE now has three separate brands, each with their own show on television; Raw, Smackdown and ECW.
So here are my ten reasons why I think Ring of Honor is better than WWE. I hope you enjoy reading it!
-The Owner- Cary Silkin is the owner of ROH. My favorite thing about Cary is that he knows he's not a wrestler. He knows the fans didn't come there to see him, they came to see some wrestling. I wish someone would tell this to Vince McMahon. I don't want to see him in the ring or hear him talking for ten minutes about nonsense. I want to see wrestling. That is why I lay down my money and tune in to the tv shows.
-Booking- ROH keeps things interesting. They don't beat us over the head with the same match twenty times in a three month span. WWE booking doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, honestly. Half the time, they start a storyline and don't let it develop, or they go in the opposite direction and they drag it out forever.
-Utilizing the Talent-ROH knows that the key to their success is in utilizing all the talent they have in the correct fashion. Not just focusing their whole card on the same four guys, but bringing up their younger talent and building them up as time goes on. In ROH, guys can start at the bottom of the card and with hard work, they can make it to the middle and top of the card. One great example of this in action is Rhett Titus, who was trained at the ROH Wrestling School by Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson, both champions at one point in the company. He started out by winning the ROH Top of The Class Trophy and now, two years later, can be seen teaming up with the current ROH champion, Austin Aries from time to time. WWE doesn't utilize all their talent. It seems they have all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. Their shows are continually fixated on Triple H, John Cena, Randy Orton, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Let's be honest, as great as I think Taker and HBK are, they are getting nearer to the end of their careers. What are they going to do when these guys retire?? I know that's not an immediate issue with Cena and Orton but with the others, it's a very real possibility. The majority of their "main event" guys are going to be gone and they haven't been building up backups to fill the vacancies. I think in order for them to remain relevant in the professional wrestling world, they really need to start focusing on their young talent and bring them in and not squash them repeatedly. Example, they have Ted Dibiase Jr in there being Randy Orton's stooge right now, and every time he starts to gain a little credibility with the fans, they drag him right back down again.
-Championship- In ROH, the World Championship is a big deal. In the seven years since the company was started the title has only changed hands twelve times and Austin Aries, the current champion, is the first two-time title holder. The WWE Championship means nothing at this point; since 2002, it has changed hands twenty-eight times. There are times when it changes hands on a weekly basis. John Cena, the current champ is in his fifth title reign. Randy Orton has held it five times, Triple H, four. Edge has also held the belt three times. There are several others who have only had it once, but I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.
-Tag Teams- ROH has an awesome tag team division, they leave WWE in the dust. ROH Tag Teams will sometimes main event a card and when they do, they bring the house down. Their tag team roster includes great teams such as the American Wolves (the current World Tag Team Champs), Kevin Steen and El Generico, Rhett Titus and Kenny King, the Dark City Fight Club and The Briscoe Brothers. WWE doesn't really have a tag division anymore, they have Chris Jericho carrying the Big Show as their Unified Tag Champs. Other than Mark Henry and MVP, there really isn't any competition there for them. And when they do give them a match where the titles are on the line, they make the Big Show out to be this monster who can't be beaten. Are we watching the same guy in the ring?? Whatever happened to the greatness that was the tag division in the days of Edge and Christian vs The Hardy Boys?? I keep hoping that WWE will wake up and realize that they were downright stupid to let Paul London and Brian Kendrick go when they could've used them to really revamp their tag division in a big way.
-Creative Team- ROH lets their talent play to their strengths. They also listen to the creative input from their performers, trusting them to know what will get them over with the fans. It pays off really well for them. Colt Cabana is a classic example of the success of this tactic. He is a great wrestler, but he knows himself well enough to know that he's better in the middle of the card as quasi-comic relief. It works for him, he makes it look effortless. WWE is all about Vince McMahon. From what the announcers say during the matches to the promos the wrestlers cut during the show, it's all straight from Vince's mouth. With very few exceptions, like Chris Jericho and CM Punk. CM Punk actually came from ROH and told WWE when he signed the contract that they couldn't change him. He would only go there if he could be himself. Thankfully, they listened to him and now, he's finally breaking into the upper card on the WWE shows.
Which Promotion Do You Feel Gives More to Their Fans?
-Actual Wrestling- ROH jam packs their one hour weekly television program with fast-paced action. Wrestling, can you believe it? Yes, they have some story lines, but they take a backseat to the actual wrestling. WWE needs to take a look at that, in my opinion. There's way too much talking. ROH puts more action into their one show than WWE does into all three of their shows. More wrestling, less talking, this is what the fans want to see! We don't want to see the owner/chairman in the ring listening to himself talk. We don't want to listen to the same other three guys talk about nothing endlessly. We want wrestling, is that so hard to believe? I know they changed to being "sports entertainment" but there has to be some limit to the depths they'll sink to. At least I hope so.
-More Bang For Your Buck-Ticket prices are pretty reasonable to go to an ROH event, whether it's a tv taping or a "house show". You can sit in the front row at an ROH show for the same price you'd pay to sit twenty or thirty rows back at a WWE show. And you get more for your money with ROH. Three solid hours of wrestling, plain and simple, and sometimes you get even more.
-Accessibility-ROH wrestlers are accessible to the fans. They will take pictures, sign autographs, or just sit and converse with their fans after the shows, at no extra charge. They are very personable and I've never had a bad experience with any ROH talent. If you want to meet a WWE "Superstar", you'd have to win some kind of contest that gets you backstage for a ten minute meet and greet with one or two entertainers. (I know, I've done it) At ROH shows, if you want to hang around a little, you can get a chance to meet your favorite wrestler.
-Fan Appreciation-ROH cares about their fans. They know we spend our hard-earned money to come and see their shows and they care whether we get our money's worth or not. For example, a few months ago, right before a show in Edison, NJ several ROH wrestlers were injured and could not perform. They had to drastically change the card several days before it was set to happen. To make it up to the fans (even though they still put on an amazing show) they arranged a meet and greet during intermission for the fans. You got to meet the (then) Champion, Jerry Lynn, and four other top talents. They posed for pictures and signed autographs and joked with the fans. Jerry Lynn actually put the ROH World Championship over fans' shoulders for pictures. My husband was beside himself with glee. Most importantly, though, they each thanked us for coming. Not just the talent, but Adam Pearce, the booker and Cary Silkin, the owner, too. This impressed me beyond anything else I've ever experienced at a show. They may be a "small" company but they seem to know what they're doing and I wouldn't be surprised to see them gather a larger fan base over the next few years.
Some of you may be wondering why TNA Wrestling never entered into this discussion. They, in my mind, are the middle ground between WWE and ROH. I just can't take them seriously with Vince Russo having any kind of creative control. Hello, do you not remember when he ran WCW into the ground? I do.