Creative Direction: Steen/Richards

If you’ve been reading since we began in February of last year, you might recognise ‘Creative Direction’. For those who don’t and newer readers in particular, ‘Creative Direction’ is where I share my thoughts on what I’d like to see, storyline-wise, to various members of the roster and here’s the latest instalment!

When Ring of Honor returns to Canada on May 12, Davey Richards will defend his ROH World Championship against Kevin Steen.

This is the match on every ROH fan’s lips; a match that has been over six months in the making. Steen, after winning his job back at ‘Final Battle 2011′ has beaten everybody Jim Cornette has put in front of him. The list of defeated men includes both Richards’ former and current tag team partners, Eddie Edwards and Kyle O’Reilly.

At various points, Steen has reminded Richards that he is still after ‘The American Wolf’. He attacked the champion at ‘Glory by Honor X’ after Richards had beaten El Generico. After beating Steve Corino at ‘Final Battle 2011′, Steen mocked Richards at the end of the show after Davey’s win against Edwards. He did the same thing again after the ’10th Anniversary Show’ main event where Richards was pinned by Adam Cole.

In a recent ‘private’ press conference, it was announced that Steen would get his shot – that he has been asking for – at ‘Border Wars’ live on iPPV at the Ted Reeve arena in Toronto, Ontario in Steen’s home country.

Fans were, on the whole, delighted with the news and that they’d be able to see this momentous match live worldwide. However, I must admit that I think they have pulled the trigger too much on this one. As I mentioned earlier, this is probably the most anticipated match in ROH for quite some time. I completely understand the logic behind Steen getting the shot in Canada, it should make for quite an atmosphere, but I think this has come too soon.

With Jimmy Jacobs turning heel and joining forces with Steen at ‘Showdown in the Sun’ and in turn helping the Canadian defeat nemesis El Generico, it opened a variety of new options to keep Steen busy until his eventual match with Richards.

Initially, I thought ROH would hold off until ‘Final Battle 2012’ to have the match but ‘Best in the World 2012′ would also work, Steen could use the event name to mock Richards after winning and it would also mark 12 months since Richards originally won the belt.

I also feel that it has come at the wrong time for Richards’ title run. I think fans were underwhelmed with his reign for the first six or so months, and rightly so. That was, on the whole, of no fault of Richards himself but because of the repetitive, stagnant booking. Richards was facing the same opponents such as Edwards and Roderick Strong on a regular basis and while that led to some great matches, fans had seen it all before. That’s why the clash with Steen is so anticipated, they are desperate to see Steen challenge ‘The American Wolf’ and win the title.

In the past couple of months, Davey has really solidified his run with a number of great title defences. At ‘Showdown in the Sun’, he beat Michael Elgin in what is already being marked down as match of the year. Add that to a solid showing against Jay Lethal at ‘Homecoming 2012′ and the upcoming match against Adam Cole and Richards’ run is becoming more and more interesting. That is yet another reason, in my opinion, why Steen’s shot should have been held off for a bit longer.

Of course, a lot of this article has been written with the thinking that Steen will win the belt at ‘Border Wars’. That is by no means a foregone conclusion but one which would seem likely at this stage.

I always said that Steen had to win the title at the first attempt, especially with ROH’s track record of holding off on new champions until the crowd burn out (Tyler Black, anybody?). However, I can see ROH using Jim Cornette as a key figure in the match in Toronto. A potential screwjob where Cornette helps Richards retain the title (and maybe even completing a double turn for Steen, Richards and Cornette) is a distinct possibility but doesn’t quite scream Ring of Honor but another ‘wrestling’ promotion based in Orlando. That sort of finish could garner quite a reaction from Steen’s countrymen but maybe not the sort of one that ROH would be aiming for.

I can see Steen winning the match against Richards in Toronto with the piledriver (which Richards claimed Steen could use) and Cornette using his power to either overturn the decision or to strip Steen of the title altogether. Of course, Richards retaining the belt clean could also happen but I feel that would be the wrong decision here and would kill Steen’s obvious momentum.

So, how do you all think the match will conclude? With this being one of the most anticipated matches in recent history in ROH, I’m sure it will deliver but will the finish leave a bad taste in people’s minds?

Let me know by tweeting us @ROH_World. By posting on our Facebook wall: or by posting on our forum!

Steven Coney

"Stuff Pants" Steven is the co-owner and editor of He founded the website in February 2011 with Harry. Last spotted trying to take down ROHCast with his SCUM faction.