New Year’s is a time of reflection and new beginnings. It’s a time to evaluate what was accomplished the previous year. It’s also a time to look ahead and try to make improvements to make the new year even better than the previous one. Although Ring of Honor did a lot of things right in 2011, there are areas in which the company can improve in 2012. Here are my five Ring of Honor New Year’s resolutions for 2012:
1. Kevin Steen wins the ROH World Title
Kevin Steen was arguably the biggest name in independent wrestling throughout 2011, and Ring of Honor needs to capitalize on that momentum now that he is back in the company after defeating Steve Corino at “Final Battle 2011.” Steen has one of the most interesting characters in all of professional wrestling and has the ability to carry a company. He is the most over wrestler on the current roster and was the wrestler fans talked about after the events he appeared on. Ring of Honor needs to put the belt on Kevin Steen and have him hold the company hostage. The possibilities of interesting feuds and storylines with Steen as champion are almost limitless because of his character, which is something that can’t be said of the current champion. Steen as the ROH World Champion would only mean good things for everyone involved.
2. Elevate Talent
Ring of Honor has always been asked to continuously elevate talent because of its biggest stars leaving for other companies. Ring of Honor has to continue doing so in 2012. The company began elevating talent more frequently in the second half of 2011 with Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal earning future title matches. The same needs to continue to happen in 2012 to get more wrestlers into the main event scene.
Elevating talent does not only mean moving wrestlers into the main event, but it also means making wrestlers more important on the roster. Ring of Honor has a few wrestlers who are just floating around without much to do, and because of that they aren’t perceived as well as they should be. Tommaso Ciampa is one of those wrestlers. Ciampa has compiled an impressive winning streak during his time in Ring of Honor, but the majority of those victories came against jobbers or wrestlers low on the card. A good midcard feud would elevate Ciampa’s status in the company. Having Ciampa go over in a feud against a wrestler such as TJ Perkins or Steve Corino would do more for his status in the company than beating jobbers would do. Ring of Honor not only needs to elevate wrestlers to the main event, they also need to give the other wrestlers who are not quite at that level yet something to do to elevate their standing in the company as well.
3. Add depth to the roster
Ring of Honor has been left with a fairly thin roster after the departures of wrestlers like Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli in 2011. The exit of Hero of Castagnoli has left a void on the roster that will be tough to fill. Ring of Honor is going to need to add depth to the roster, in addition to elevating talent, to help fill that void and to make the roster more exciting as a whole moving forward. They do not have to bring in the top names in the industry to add depth. Ring of Honor should bring in good young wrestlers who are fairly cheap to fill out the roster. They could continue to gain experience in the ring while Ring of Honor gets the depth it needs from its roster. If the wrestlers are good enough, then they could continue to wrestle for the company. If they are not up to par, then they could be released without much harm done.
Ring of Honor also needs to establish a relationship with another wrestling company that would allow a talent exchange. This appears to be happening once again with Pro Wrestling NOAH with the Bravados being sent to train in their dojo. Ring of Honor could use the Japanese wrestlers to fill out the cards and provide exciting matches. It may not be a long-term fix since they would only be brought in by a show by show basis, but it would help patch the thin roster until Ring of Honor is able to sign a group of good young wrestlers that would take them into the future.
4. Quicker DVD releases of house shows
Many people have been saying that DVDs are no longer a viable way for wrestling companies to make money to remain afloat. While it may be true that DVD sales won’t singlehandedly make enough money to keep Ring of Honor operating, they are an additional source of income that was not capitalized properly during the second half of 2011. The last event that was released on DVD was “Death Before Dishonor IX,” which took place Sept. 2. Although Ring of Honor has released a number of DVDs that focused on a specific wrestler’s matches, not releasing a DVD of an actual event from the final three months of the year is inexcusable. There have been five house shows since “Death Before Dishonor IX” in November and December, some of which involved important or record-setting matches. There hasn’t even been a preorder announced for any of these events, and that is money Ring of Honor is leaving on the table. Although DVD sales may not be what they once were, many people would still buy the shows. For Ring of Honor to take so long to release the shows just doesn’t make much sense.
5. Improve Production
I have been told by several people that they tried to watch Ring of Honor but couldn’t get into to it due to the poor production values. Although they’ll never be on the same level as WWE or TNA when it comes to production values, there is no reason why they couldn’t be better. The production during “Final Battle 2012” was especially bad with the cameras missing several spots and the replays not working properly. If Ring of Honor wants to be perceived as the best wrestling product, it has to present itself better. The best way to do that is to improve the production of the show and make it look more professional.
If Ring of Honor is able to keep up with these five resolutions, which is usually easier said than done, then they will have a better 2012 than 2011. I am excited for what the new year brings for Ring of Honor and its fans.