After pinning Davey Richards, who was then ROH World Champion, at the ’10th Anniversary Show: Young Wolves Rising’ event it looked as if Adam Cole was going to be the next top dog. However, that hasn’t happened and the big question is, why not?
Cole is arguably one of the brightest young talents in professional wrestling today. At only 22 years of age and with just over four years worth of wrestling experience, he has defied the odds and become one of the most talked about guys on the independent scene.
Since entering ROH as part of Future Shock, Cole has wowed Ring of Honor fans with some fantastic matches and performances. He and O’Reilly were looking like the next big tag team until they were forced apart. That decision was made far too early in my opinion, Future Shock had not been around for long and were slowly creeping up the ranks. Unfortunately, the split did indeed happen and it looked as if it would lead to a feud between Cole and O’Reilly. Cole temporarily sided with Eddie Edwards after he deemed that O’Reilly focused too much on Davey Richards and not enough on them as a team.
This led to the main event of the ’10th Anniversary Show’. In what was a very good match, Cole managed to pin Richards after a crossbody to shock the live crowd as well as the fans watching live on iPPV. The match itself, as well as the finish, seemed to usher in two new stars who would be gracing ROH’s main event scene for a long time. It was needed, too, as ROH was just leaving the Richards/Edwards/Strong era of main events and needed new blood to step in. However, since then, both guys have failed to do much at all.
Granted, Cole was given a World Title shot against Richards in Dayton at the end of April which was said to be a fantastic match. That came a month after Cole and O’Reilly had faced off at ‘Showdown in the Sun’. However, the match failed to live up to expectations, mainly because it was not shown on the live iPPV and thus wasn’t seen by many people.
O’Reilly has not featured much in recent months and it is very strange indeed that both of these guys have failed to receive much of a push considering the headline match at the ’10th Anniversary Show’. Cole faced Michael Elgin at ‘Border Wars’ and lost in a great match before losing to Tommaso Ciampa in Richmond. ROH’s booking philosophy doesn’t seem to benefit guys who need to be pushed higher up the card.
If you look at the TV title for instance, both Mike Bennett and Tommaso Ciampa looked as if they were going to take the title off Jay Lethal. Both men were on their way up the card and a TV title run would have really benefited that. However, ROH played it safe like they have been doing too much recently and gave Roderick Strong the belt. You can also look at both TJ Perkins and Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander. TJP has been given the summer off but had received no help whatsoever from the booking team. They failed to put him in important matches despite the crowd being behind him. The fact that he hardly ever won a match also didn’t help his chances. C&C, similarly, have put on good showings but if a wrestler loses every single match, why will fans still support them?
Back to Cole and I feel ROH really missed the boat. They had the chance to really push him as a main event calibre star after the ’10th Anniversary Show’. The fact that Richards had to lobby to turn the Dayton match into a title match from a Proving Ground contest tells you everything really. Both Cole & O’Reilly have the talent, Cole especially, and could easily fit into the top of the ROH card to give it some much needed new blood and exciting matches.
However, it seems that the booking philosophy has once again negatively affected talent through no fault of their own. A Cole vs O’Reilly rematch has finally been signed for the near future and hopefully these two guys can go out there and steal the show. After all, that’s all they have control over.