We gave you, the ROH fans, the chance to give us your thoughts and opinions on the best Ring of Honor had to give in 2012. We’d like to thank all of you for voting on what you thought deserved praise in ROH and we’re delighted to announce the winners are…
Wrestler of the Year: Kevin Steen
After winning his Ring of Honor job back at ‘Final Battle 2011’, 2012 was always going to be a big year for Kevin Steen. And big it certainly has been. Steen enters 2013 as ROH World champion having won the belt from his arch nemesis Davey Richards at ‘Border Wars’ in his home country of Canada. Steen is undoubtedly one of the best wrestlers in independent wrestling and solidified himself as ROH’s main man with a number of impressive title defences including brilliant matches against Michael Elgin at ‘Glory By Honor XI’ and that crazy Ladder War against his old foe El Generico at ‘Final Battle 2012’. Whenever Steen is in the ring, greatness occurs. And that’s exactly why you have named him ROH’s Wrestler of the Year.
Tag Team of the Year: The Briscoes
When you think of Ring of Honor, you think of The Briscoes. ‘Dem Boys’ have been a key part of ROH for many, many years and they continue to be one of the most entertaining acts the company has to offer. Regardless of who they are put up against, the Briscoes always get a great reaction from the crowd and if anything, the pair from Sandy Fork are at their most popular right now. After becoming eight time ROH World Tag Team champions at ‘Final Battle 2012’ by defeating SCUM and Coleman & Alexander, 2013 looks set to be another big year for Jay and Mark. Jay wants honor to return to ROH and while the Briscoes are leading the tag team division, that is a given.
Breakout Star of the Year: Adam Cole
After making his name in ROH initially as a tag team wrestler, 2012 was indeed a breakout year for Cole as a singles star. After his tag team with Kyle O’Reilly broke up at the beginning of the year, Cole continued to push on and became one of ROH’s, and independent wrestling in general, brightest talents. Cole has it all; the look, the charisma and the in-ring skills – he is the complete package. Cole won his first title in ROH back in June after beating Roderick Strong for the ROH World TV title and 2012 also included that memorable ‘Hybrid Fighting Rules’ match against Kyle O’Reilly at ‘Best In The World 2012’. Cole has quickly become one of ROH’s biggest names and it won’t be long until he’s being discussed in the same sentence as the ROH World title.
Most Improved of the Year: Mike Bennett
Mike Bennett is a name that has had Ring of Honor fans heading for the message boards. Initially, Bennett was seen as not worthy of a place on the ROH roster. His ‘sports entertainment’ style of wrestling was deemed a bad fit for ROH. However, 2012 has seen Bennett prove his doubters wrong. Accompanied by the wonderful Maria, Bennett is one of the biggest heels in the company at the moment in terms of crowd reaction. Bennett has always been charismatic but his in-ring work has also taken a step up in the past 12 months and victories over Lance Storm and Jerry Lynn look set to propel ‘The Prodigy’ into the limelight.
Feud of the Year: Kevin Steen / SCUM vs. Ring of Honor
Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs began 2012 as men begging for forgiveness for their evil ways in the past. It wasn’t long, however, until they realised that being evil was what they did best. Jacobs joined Steen by helping him beat El Generico at ‘Showdown in the Sun’ before Corino reunited with the pair after Steen won the ROH World title at ‘Border Wars’. SCUM was born. Suffering, chaos, ugliness and mayhem was what they stood for. Jim Cornette couldn’t keep Steen away from the World title and SCUM began to dominate ROH. At ‘Death Before Dishonor X’, Jacobs and Corino captured the ROH World Tag Team titles and SCUM ruled the roost. Jacobs and Corino may have lost their belts at ‘Final Battle 2012’ but Steen remains on top. Who knows what 2013 holds for SCUM and ROH.
Show of the Year: Glory by Honor XI
After a raft of iPPV problems and what some fans thought was uninspiring booking, ROH was struggling ‘Glory By Honor XI’ came around and in one show, ROH regained that ‘buzz’ that had surrounded it almost constantly since its inception in 2002. The show included everything that ROH is about; it had something for everybody. Mike Bennett vs. Mike Mondo surprised people and included Mondo jumping off the entrance whilst injured. Jay Lethal defeated the returning Davey Richards in what was an old-school ROH classic. Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards had a fantastic bout before SCUM retained their titles. Steen’s successful defence against Michael Elgin was among the best matches of the year and was followed by quite the surprise which was voted your ‘Moment of the Year’.
Match of the Year: Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin at Showdown in the Sun – Night 2
Like any year, 2012 included many great matches in Ring of Honor. The aforementioned Steen v Elgin match at ‘Glory By Honor XI’ was a definite classic. Steen’s title match against the returning El Generico at ‘Final Battle 2012’ in an insane Ladder War will also last long in the memory. However, the match that you voted as ‘Match of the Year’ was one that put Michael Elgin on the map. Elgin challenged Davey Richards for the ROH World title on night two of the ‘Showdown in the Sun’ double header. Despite the iPPV problems that weekend, this match was more than enough to make up for it. This was the definition of a five star classic and ranks up there with the best matches in ROH history. This was the sort of match that made ROH a must-see promotion. One of the World’s best like Richards taking on an up-and-comer like Elgin. It made for a hard-hitting, fast paced match that any pro wrestling fan should go out of their way to see.
Moment of the Year: Kevin Steen receives an El Generico mask at GBH XI
Much like ROH was crammed with memorable matches in 2012, it also included plenty of memorable moments. The ‘Hybrid Fighting Rules’ match between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly had fans in attendance, and those watching on iPPV, going crazy as Cole bled profusely from his mouth. The end of the Ladder War between Kevin Steen and El Generico was something that can not be put into words. Steen winning the World title in his home country, Delirious taking full control of booking and Cole pinning then World champion Davey Richards at the ’10th Anniversary Show’ were all memorable. However, there was one moment that will be remembered for years to come. After a gruelling classic against Michael Elgin at ‘Glory By Honor XI’, Steen was handed a cardboard box by Nigel McGuinness. Steen opened the box to find the mask of his former best friend and enemy El Generico who had not been seen for months. An unexpected but very welcome moment that had fans going crazy and a moment that set up a fantastic match at ‘Final Battle 2012’. Some will say that ROH has lacked those type of moments over the past couple of years but 2012 was one that included many to remember. Here’s to a memorable 2013!