The Embassy used to be such a dominant faction in Ring of Honor. Times have changed.
After forming in 2004 the stable quickly became one of the most reliable heel acts in the company. This was in large part thanks to Prince Nana, who was an incredibly effective force at ringside and would ensure that any wrestler he represented was met with blistering heat.
Never was this illustrated better than with Jimmy Rave, who was for many years billed as the Embassy’s ‘Crown Jewel’. He would be met with chants of “Die, Jimmy, die!” and find himself showered in toilet paper before matches, an inversion of sorts on fans’ tendency to through streamers before a highly anticipated bouts.
The group had a high membership turnover during its early years, with genuine stars such as Rave and Alex Shelley being joined by no-name ringside bump fodder such as the Outcast Killers and men who’d made their names in other companies such as Abyss. The large numbers helped provide the faction with some variety and allowed for whacky booking routines reminiscent of Raven and Dudley Boys matches in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
The group enjoyed a fair amount of success, although championship victories were rare, and was easily considered one of the most successful aspects of Ring of Honor for many years. It’s safe to say that that’s a description that doesn’t fit the current Embassy now. So what exactly has changed?
In 2006 Nana gave his notice to ROH officials. That meant an end to the Embassy. He returned and reformed the group in 2009 but a diminished roster and a different booking team meant that the heights that had previously been enjoyed by Nana and his boys were not reached. When not presented as a large group of disparate characters the unit loses its uniqueness and much of its appeal.
As things stand now the Embassy Inc. is structured around Tommaso Ciampa, the sole active wrestler to be a member. Until a few months ago he was being given a simple but effective winning streak gimmick. Had that continued for longer then he could have been considered as a prospective world champion. Instead of suffering his first loss to a headline talent like Davey Richards or Eddie Edwards, Ciampa suffered his first defeat on a random show against Jay Lethal.
More should have been made of that loss. A lengthy bout in which Ciampa threw everything he had at a Richards or Edwards would have allowed him to go down fighting and tell a story. It would also have shown the calibre of individual that is needed to keep him down for a three count. This is nothing against the former ‘Black Machismo’, he just seemed an odd choice for the role and nothing has been done with him since.
It was a wasted opportunity.
While he’s lost momentum and some of his allure by losing the undefeated streak Ciampa could still help the Embassy reach its old heights. A reign as TV champion would help there, if he is permitted to establish another lengthy winning streak and the commentary team push the fact that only Lethal has been able to defeat him. That would give the television gold a point too, which would be no bad thing.
The rest of the gang I have mixed feelings on. Nana is still an effective heat magnet but RD Evans (an alleged barrister who helps Nana guide the group) and Ernie Osiris (some sort of manservant for Nana) seem pointless. If Osiris, a trained wrestler, took bumps more frequently and Evans were allowed to get on the mic in front of audiences more then they may have some merit.
That doesn’t happen though, which is odd considering how good Nana is at provoking boos. It would take very little effort to make the Embassy effective again: a fresh feud, one or two new members, and some time to make people hate them again is all it would take, and Ring of Honor could organise all of that with very little effort.