The ROHbot Report: The 4th Annual ROHbot Year End Awards, "Final Battle 2011" Fallout, Main Event For ROH "Homecoming", And More
By James Bullock
Dec 31, 2011 - 8:58 AM
Hello one and all to the final ROHbot Report of 2011. And you know what that means? That’s right, today is the ROHbot Year End Awards ceremony. Historic things made 2011 an incredible year for ROH, and the awards definitely show that. So, lets get to the news coming from last weekend’s “Final Battle 2011” event, announcements for the first shows in 2012, and, of course, the awards.
There were no reported injuries at Final Battle 2011. Jay Briscoe did get cut during the Tag Team Title match, and despite the chair shots, there were no concussions.
That’s some incredible news after seeing what Jay, Kevin Steen, and Steve Corino put themselves through. And for those who don’t know, Jay’s head was not only cut, but also swollen from those repeated chair shots. While entertaining due to the sheer brutality of it all, ROH needs to avoid moments like what happened at “Final Battle” going forward.
There were many production issues backstage during the show, and Jim Cornette was said to be very frustrated. This was the first show that Dan Bynum directed and the company had everyone wearing headsets so Bynum could communicate with the production crew and cameramen.
I honestly don’t blame Jim Cornette for being upset. It’s understandable to have problems, but when you can’t even get a simple replay shown when they wanted, you know you’re in trouble. It’s amazing to think that ROH has been doing iPPVs for over two years now, and elementary audio and visual problems are still occurring. Now compare that to CHIKARA who had their first iPPV outing just last month go off without a single hitch, and it just makes ROH look worse. Hopefully they’ve learned from their mistakes and problems so things like what happened last Friday won’t happen again.
ROH has stated that if Chris Hero ultimately does not sign with WWE, they would love to have him. Hero kept his appearance quiet from everyone. Despite not signing with ROH, he has an open door to work with the company.
I would love for Hero to stay with ROH for the simple reason I always wanted to see him as ROH World champion. The man has become one of the best out there by reinventing himself during the past three years, and seeing him become World champion would be a marvelous moment. But if The Kings can go to WWE and take their rightful throne as the top tag team in the world then here’s to Hero becoming a WWE superstar.
At this time, the loss to Kevin Steen at the iPPV is Steve Corino's last scheduled appearance for the company. He has not signed a new contract with the promotion.
Hopefully this isn’t the last time we’ve seen Corino in an ROH ring. “The King of Old School” has had a career revitalization, and had some of his best work in an ROH ring and on the microphone in his entire tenure as an ROH competitor this year.
Ring of Honor hits Baltimore on Saturday January 7, 2012 to tape its first “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV of the New Year! It will be ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay & Mark Briscoe versus Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin in a Grudge Tag Team Match.
Not noted here is Jay Briscoe’s reason for this challenge. Dem Boys blame Strong and Elgin for not pulling their weight in that historic tag match from “Northern Aggression” where the winning team would get $10,000. To make up for the monetary loss, Jay wants both teams to put up their purses for the evening. The winning team gets the losers’ money. As for the match itself - it should be very interesting as who could win. Elgin is red-hot right, and a win over either Briscoe would do wonders for him. The Briscoes are fresh off a Tag title win, and a loss here wouldn’t do them any favors unless it’s because of interference from someone like Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team. And that leaves Roderick. And you know you can never count out Roderick Strong. This should be undeniably fun, and could give us an early glimpse of what ROH has in mind for their favorite tag team, their most reliable hand, and their hottest rising project.
The promotion is planning to bring in some outside talent for their taping in Baltimore, MD on January 7, 2012. This will be under the guise of an open door policy, where anyone can challenge the ROH champions.
This ties into the rumors spreading a few months ago about ROH bringing in “veteran” wrestlers to put over their established, rising, and champion talents. We’ll see in a week what ROH has in mind, and if it will lead to anything beyond open challenges. Who knows, it might connect well with this little bit of news that hit earlier this week.
According to Pwinsider.com, here is the latest on the relationship between Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling NOAH. Several younger undercard performers for Ring of Honor will be travel to Japan next year to live and train at the Pro Wrestling NOAH dojos. At this time, the Bravado Brothers are set to tour with NOAH, so they are likely the first confirmed talents for this arrangement. Also, ROH is working on bringing some NOAH regulars, Japanese and American, over for big shows in early 2012.
This is huge news for both sides as ROH has the opportunity to let their youngest rookies get the chance to improve their skills under the watchful eyes of some of puroresu’s best and men who know how to entertain an ROH crowd better than most Americans. While it’s sad that The Bravado’s won’t be gracing ROH TV screens or live events any time soon, this will be a great time to get away and improve during this time while ROH’s Tag Team division is too loaded up top for them to make a name for themselves. If and when they come back, it’s almost guaranteed that a lot of pessimistic fans will be jumping on the Bravado Bandwagon.
But that’s only one side of the story. With NOAH and ROH repairing their working relationship, we have a chance to see some of ROH’s favorite imports possibly return (KENTA, Marifuji, Morishima) to the states, and the American ROH debuts of men like Ricky Marvin. If ROH can put together some dream matches for their upcoming pay-per-views with imports like KENTA, expect record-breaking orders and attendances to top off excellent matches while exposing new fans to incredible wrestlers beyond the U.S.
ROH's January 20th show, Homecoming 2012, will be main evented by Davey Richards vs. Jay Lethal in a champion vs. champion match. Lethal earned the title shot when he won the Honor Rumble at the promotion's Spartanburg, South Carolina show several weeks ago.
According to the recent ROH Newswire, Michael Elgin was supposed to be in Jay’s spot, but Truth Martini wiggled his boy out of the match so he could have his title match at a later date (which is great for Elgin as they build him up on TV for the possible iPPV title shot). No matter the reason, this is probably ROH’s best bet for its return to Philly. Longtime ROH fans see Lethal as a prodigal son of sorts. Jay was looked upon as the future of ROH before heading to TNA. Now that he’s come back better than ever, having Jay take on the face of ROH for the World title should have the old school ROH fans bumping. It should be nothing short of a fun, engaging athletic battle of wills that could be the testing of the waters for a Jay Lethal coming of age story if they ever decide to put the ROH World title on him for even a short period of time (hey, we’ve seen stranger things with people who just couldn’t hack it).
The ROH Television Championship was discussed by officials and it has been determined that the title will only be defended on television and iPPV. This has been the unwritten rule for sometime but officials have now confirmed this regulation with proper documentation.
That just makes sense. I mean seriously, it’s a television championship. Why would it be defended on anything other than shows being broadcasted?
Rhett Titus' surgery for a torn meniscus was successful and he's expected back in a few months. Titus has been working on the injured knee for months, and the angle shot at the iPPV was done to put heat on the Young Bucks.
Here’s to a speedy recovery for “Addicted To Love”.
On February 17th, ROH debuts in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Taft Masonic Center. Tickets will go on sale on December 30th.
With no word on a Dayton return, ROH might’ve found a new home in Cincinnati. Being the great wrestling town that it is, Cincinnati is a perfect place for ROH to stake its claim in Ohio while, hopefully, capitalizing on some of the new fans made in the area thanks to the TV show.
ROH will present their tenth anniversary event on March 4, 2012 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. It will start at 5:00 pm EST.
While this is a huge show for ROH, and not taking place in the smaller Manhattan Ballroom, with the date being so close to their Wrestlemania weekend shows, there’s no way this will be an iPPV. It will be interesting to see what ROH has in store for such a monumental show only weeks before two of their biggest events of the year.
As you know, the end of the year means various lists and awards start popping up. We at WWI definitely get in on the action, and provide the readers a chance to have their voice heard (as you all have seen over the past week). Lets see how many people agree with me this year? Welcome to the fourth annual ROHbot Year End Awards. The winners will receive the coveted Honor Sprocket (the Honor Sprocket is not real. It only exists in my mind, and only can be obtained there. The winners can request a piece of paper with a crude drawing of the trophy if they want).
Before I start naming winners, I’d like to reiterate the validity of possible candidates in the “Event of the Year” and “Match of the Year” categories. Like last year, the candidates only encompass DVD releases and TV events. That means if a show or match hasn’t been released on DVD or shown on TV yet, it’s not eligible for this year’s awards; similar to last year’s “Final Battle” event and matches - which is eligible for nomination this year. That means the 2011 ROH event season for The ROHbot Report goes from “Survival of the Fittest 2010” to the most recent DVD release - “Death Before Dishonor IX”
Before I let you know the offical winners, lets see who and what long time reader Zach Levine thought deserved an Honor Sprocket this year.
Here are my picks for this year. Enjoy - Zach: Breakout Star of the Year - Michael Elgin; Event of the Year - Best in the World; Match of the Year - Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards (Best in the World); Biggest Story of the Year - Eddie wins the title; Tag Team of the Year - All Night Express; Wrestler of the Year - Eddie Edwards
I’ll just say right now that great minds think alike. Now, lets see our award recipients.
Breakout Star of the Year: Michael Elgin
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin returned to ROH in late 2010 as Truth Martini’s enforcer in The House of Truth stable after a many year absence when his tryouts on the big stage didn’t turn out too well, and Ring of Honor didn’t have a spot for a man of his stature. Elgin did well in his role for the first few months, but other than his look and a few power moves, he didn’t seem like anything special to a majority of ROHbots. Fast forward to ROH’s “9th Anniversary Show”. There, Elgin took on El Generico, and the beginning of what would be the best year of his career would begin.
While Elgin didn’t win, he participated in a David versus Goliath style fight that had a lot of people finally talking about the potential Elgin had to be more than some group’s enforcer; and that talk would continue throughout the year. Elgin followed up with a series of wins (one over Generico two months later in a match just as, if not better than the original) and memorable performances (including a star-making showing at “Tag Team Turmoil” alongside Roderick Strong against The American Wolves where a lot of people considered him the MVP of the match).
As the year came to a close, and “Unbreakable” passed his one year anniversary as a full-time ROH competitor, Elgin went from a solid enforcer who might do well in the company to a bona fide player in any match he’s in, and for any title he goes for. 2012 will be interesting for Elgin as he tries to attain World champion status in ROH. And for those who don’t, every person who has won this award (Tyler Black, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards) has gone on to become a ROH World champion. That’s pretty good odds for a guy who was supposed to be just an enforcer.
Event of the Year: “Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter One”
The men and women of Ring of Honor entered Atlanta’s famed Center Stage with the hope in mind of doing something special during wrestling’s biggest weekend of the year. Not only that, but ROH had to live up to legacy it’s created over the past six years. With a loaded card from top to bottom, some highly anticipated matches, and a raucous crowd, Ring of Honor had everything working in their favor.
The main event featured then-new ROH World champion Eddie Edwards defending the World title against the TV champion Christopher Daniels in a historic match as this was the first time since the creation of the TV title that a champion versus champion match was happening with a title on the line. Edwards and Daniels easily surpassed the hype by delivering a memorable battle that effectively put over Edwards tenacity to never say die, as well as spark the fire inside Daniels that would pay off the next night when he joined The House of Truth.
Following their dream match loss to The Kings of Wrestling at last year’s “Event of the Year” winner - “Glory By Honor IX”, Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin were looking to avenge that tainted loss and become the Tag Team champs. WGTT and The KOW’s third match in ROH produced a match that arguably surpassed their incredible first outing, and ended with The Kings near year long title reign ending to begin the latest era in ROH’s magnificent Tag division.
Another man looking for retribution in Atlanta was Davey Richards as he hoped to take that next step toward a World title match by defeating the man who ended his dream four months earlier in Roderick Strong. Like the Tag title match, an argument can easily be made that Richards-Strong here was their greatest battle ever in ROH that saw Davey also gain a measure of revenge against his greatest rival in the company.
Not to be forgotten was the other two tag matches of the show. First was the women of SHIMMER delivering one of the best women’s matches in ROH history, and a match that put any women’s match to shame on various other companies’ pay-per-views. Then The Briscoes took on Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly. What seemed to be a squash match on paper turned into a showcase not only for The Briscoes’ new, more ruthless personas, but also the talent of Future Shock as they did everything to hang with the future seven time ROH World Tag Team champions. When the match was over a lot of fans in attendance and watching from home finally understood how much talent Cole and O’Reilly have.
Now add a very good opener between El Generico and Michael Elgin where Elgin got his win back following a tough loss two months earlier to the masked man, and a fun Four Corner Survival match that was more enjoyable than it should’ve been thanks to Homicide just having a blast, and expressing it throughout the match, and you can see why Ring of Honor’s “Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter One” was simply one of the greatest shows in ROH history. Ring of Honor came to Wrestlemania weekend with an event that trumped everything any company could and did deliver. This show is the definition of Ring of Honor, and what pro wrestling should be.
Match of the Year: Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards (“Best in the World”, 6/26/11)
I honestly don’t know if I could say anything here better than I did when I recapped the event shortly after it aired. This is from the July 2nd edition The ROHbot Report:
Last week, I used the famous Jim Ross quote, “It don’t get no bigger than this.” This week, I have to quote the famous announcer once more. Truly, this is what our business is all about. Over the past several years, the belief that storylines should build to matches has switched completely. Now, the storylines are the main focus. The matches are just used to advance those character conflicts, and progress the even bigger storyline moment. In Ring of Honor, however, the old way of presenting pro wrestling is alive and well. And there was no better example of that then the main event of “Best In The World”.
In the ring stood The American Wolves, but not side by side. Across from each other, ROH World champion Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards surged with anticipation - as did the fans. The opening bell sounded and the two friends clashed. Better yet, they painted. Before the viewing public, in that 18x18 ring and beyond, Edwards and Richards created a masterpiece the likes of which I’ve never seen my twenty-two years of being a wrestling fan. The battle of two individuals who knew each other better than anyone saw them unleash ear-splitting chops; sternum-crushing kicks; painful submission struggles; a will to never say die - it’s the American Wolves’ way.
No matter if Eddie Edwards almost blew out his knee performing a tope, or Davey being double stomped through the timekeeper’s table, neither could accept the fact their bodies couldn’t take anymore. And even after nearly thirty minutes of fighting, Davey still held something back. Not because Richards was saving some energy for the homestretch. In his heart, Richards still didn’t want to end Eddie’s dream of being the man in ROH. Just like he demanded Richards accept his challenge, Eddie ordered Davey not to hold back; even when Eddie accidentally found himself stuck in position for the dragon screw leg whip in the ropes. The fans went from roaring with each near fall to waiting in buzzing silence. With each combination and following two count, the Hammerstein Ballroom crowd watched for the end. They knew that the next big blow would be the last, and they wanted to unleash all of their emotions when that attack happened.
Barely able to stand, Davey Richards hoisted Eddie Edwards off that mat after two buzz saw kicks that almost turned his fellow Wolf’s head backwards. Once more, Davey stared at Edwards, telling him, “You asked for this. But no matter what, you’re still my brother.” No, Davey, Eddie needed this. Edwards needed to prove that he could beat Davey with the ROH World title on the line. Sadly for Eddie Edwards, a man who proved everyone wrong, was wrong in thinking he had Richards’ number on June 26, 2011. After taking a spinning back kick to the abdomen, a barely conscious Edwards collapsed to the mat. In front of Edwards stood a seething Davey Richards. In front of Davey sat the last roadblock in his way to finally become the ROH World champion. With an explosive, field goal of a kick to Edwards’ head, Richards obliterated his final roadblock. Three seconds later, the dream of one man who many proclaimed for over a year as the “best in the world” finally came into fruition.
The crowd that sat in anticipation during the match’s closing minutes exploded when the referee’s hand hit the mat for that pin fall. The final ten minutes of “Best In The World 2011” saw Davey Richards express himself like never before in a wrestling ring. The written word can’t do the emotion shown, not only by Richards, but also Eddie Edwards and the fans, justice. But there is something that can be typed out, and that’s the final shot of everyone in the ring. At “Manhattan Mayhem IV”, an enthusiastic Davey Richards sat on the bottom turnbuckle as Eddie Edwards celebrated the greatest moment of his career. Three months later, in the same city, the now former ROH World champion took his seat on that same bottom turnbuckle, dejected at the sight before him. Eddie Edwards needed this match with the thought that his dream wouldn’t end at Richards’ hands. Davey Richards accepted this match knowing he’d end Edwards’ dream while realizing his own. One man had to be right following an absolute classic.
Biggest Story of the Year: Ring of Honor Becomes Sinclair Broadcasting Group Property
Ring of Honor was in a very perilous position this time last year going into the first half of 2011. With their DVD revenue waning, stagnate live events attendance at some of ROH’s best markets, major stars wrestlers leaving for bigger and better things elsewhere, and the loss of their TV show on HDNet, things were looking horrible for the number three wrestling promotion in the country. As May arrived, rumors started circulating that something big was about to happen in ROH. Many wondered if ROH was being bought out or shutting down. Some believed it was the announcement of a new television show. Others thought it could mark the arrival of a big name in the company. Ring of Honor had a little something for everyone. On May 21st, Sinclair Broadcasting Group announced the purchase of Ring of Honor.
For the first time in the company’s history, ROH was an intellectual property of a large multimedia conglomerate. With the announcement of ROH being SBG owned came the debut of a new TV show in SBG markets running up and down the east coast and the Midwest with the probability of more stations picking up the show after it aired (and it has). The promise of upped production values, greater pay for everyone in the company, and a chance to garner a larger audience than ever were just a part of SBG’s plans for ROH as they took Ring of Honor from the top Indy company in the world to a national wrestling organization. 2012 will become a do or die year for ROH under the SBG banner, but 2011 was the year ROH finally found relief in its campaign to deliver the best wrestling in the world.
Tag Team of the Year: The Briscoes
Since day one, these men have been in ROH. In a lot of ways, Mark and Jay Briscoe is Ring of Honor. Their approach to wrestling is only matched by their genuine, yet, as Johnny Ace said, not “cosmetically pleasing” personalities and looks make them stand out in and out of the ring. But being in ROH for so long can see the fickle ROH fanbase become disinterested in you if you don’t change it up. The Briscoes not only changed their approach in the ring by forgoing the tendency to rely on tag team moves, and just brawl like Papa Briscoe taught them, but also embraced their roots. Years ago, when The Briscoes were in a funk, Mark told his brother, “We need to go back to our roots.” And that’s exactly what Dem Boys did in 2011.
It didn’t take long for The Briscoes to make ROH headlines. Following a number one contender loss to Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team at ROH’s “9th Anniversary Show”, and The All Night Express pulling off a huge upset over them a month later, The Briscoes broke loose and decided that being honorable and holding themselves back to please everyone else wasn’t the way to go anymore. From that point on, The Briscoes went on a rampage. Defeating Future Shock and The All Night Express on iPPV and television prior to and following one of the most disturbing tag feuds in ROH history, The Briscoes gained another ROH World Tag title shot at the last event of the year on the ROH calendar. Taking a horrible beating at the hands of the team they assaulted on a monthly basis in WGTT, Jay and Mark capped off a memorable year by making history in becoming the seven time ROH Tag Team champions.
While WGTT ended The Kings of Wrestling’s nearly year long title reign, and held onto the ROH World Tag Team title for a majority of the year, it was The Briscoes that got everyone talking about the ROH Tag Team division, and ROH as a whole with their outrageous promos and excellent matches. Add that to the fact The Briscoes helped build for the future. Their blood feud with The All Night Express turned King and Titus from a midcard comedy duo looking to solidifying themselves as real up and coming talent into legitimate main eventers that could be placed in a ring with The American Wolves and the fans wouldn’t bat an eye. And Future Shock’s iPPV match with The Briscoes was pretty much their coming out party against any legitimate stars.
There’s no doubt that Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team had a great year in ROH, but it was The Briscoes who turned a corner, and helped the interest in ROH do the same by delivering in the ring, out of the ring, and even on the chicken farm.
And here we are, the biggest award of them all for a single Ring of Honor wrestler. This year was an impressive one for this man as he gained a great deal of credibility by producing matches worth remembering. In 2011, this man took his game to a whole new level. Ladies and gentlemen, the Honor Sprocket for Wrestler of the Year goes to….
Wrestler of the Year: Eddie Edwards
How many people expected to see Eddie Edwards’ name in the list of ROH World champions at the end of 2011. Don’t all of you raise your hands at once. 2011 was only three months deep when it was announced Eddie Edwards would get the ROH World title shot he earned by winning the 2010 “Survival of the Fittest” tournament at ROH’s “Manhattan Mayhem IV” event against the man who stopped Eddie’s fellow American Wolf, Roderick Strong. With all eyes on Davey Richards’ quest to attain the ROH World title, no one in their right mind expected Eddie to win even though he was the sentimental favorite. After nearly thirty minutes of incredible action, Eddie rolled Strong up. Three seconds later, Eddie Edwards did the seemingly impossible once again by becoming the fifteenth ROH World champion in history. Remember, this is the same guy who worked a Ladder match with a broken arm in 2009, and separated his shoulder in one match and wrestled again an hour later in 2010. In the world of Eddie Edwards, “impossible” doesn’t exist.
Following his title victory, Eddie went on a tear of incredible title defenses. From Christopher Daniels, to Chris Hero, to his rematch with Roderick Strong, every ROH World title match involving Eddie Edwards was heralded the “Match of the Night” by everyone in attendance, and those who watched the DVDs. Yet, there was one match still looming on the horizon - the inevitable clash between Edwards and Davey Richards. While Eddie lost his title to Davey three months after attaining it, Edwards crafted a legacy with that match.
So why Eddie, and not Davey, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. No man on the roster has consistently performed on a main event level as well as Eddie Edwards did this year in ROH. Not mentioning the title matches, you have Eddie Edwards’ great Two out of Three falls battle with Roderick Strong from “Death Before Dishonor IX”, his showcase against Michael Elgin at “Defy or Deny” a day before his title win and on TV, his character growth from “the other American Wolf” to “‘Die Hard’, the possible Richards killer”, and being one of the most reliable wrestlers on the roster (even more than the World champ himself).
While Davey Richards is the face of ROH, Eddie Edwards has become the epitome of the company; a company branded as an alternative for the hard working wrestler who breathes, eats, sleep this sport. And no one fits the criteria of “Ring of Honor” better than Eddie Edward thanks to the year he had in ROH in 2011.
And there you have it, the final ROHbot Report of 2011. I really want to thank each and every one of you for making 2011 the best year I’ve had since becoming a part of this wonderful site. No better showing of that support of my work occurred during this past week by looking at the results from the Insanity Awards on this site (specifically the “Tag Team” and “Match of the Year categories).
If you want to continue to show that love, or like, for
The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page.
Also, if you ClubWWI members haven’t heard the latest “Honor Nation”, make sure you check it out (
). I talked about some of the biggest stories that made ROH’s 2011 one of the most memorable year’s in the company’s history before giving my predictions for 2012. And for non-members, an exclusive preview is available on my Youtube channel (youtube.com/fasjab). And don’t forget to send those questions in for the next “Honor Nation either through the comments section below, on Facebook (
The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page)
, on Twitter (@fasjab), in the Honor Nation thread on the WWI message board (
), or by e-mailing me at
Once again, thank you for a marveous year, and here’s to a great New Year for you, yours, and pro wrestling.
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