Wrestling promotions need big names in order to survive and thrive. When it comes to acquiring those names there are really only two options available: create your own or hire stars from elsehwere. Ring of Honor has always prided itself on taking the former approach. Letting wrestlers establish a connection with the fans and getting themselves over has become one of the company’s hallmarks. It’s an approach that has served them, the business in general, and a lot of wrestlers, very well.
With its on-going attempt to expand into a larger organisation, ROH may have to ever so slightly reconsider this approach. I’m not saying they should attempt to enter bidding wars with other promotions over name talent, because that clearly isn’t an approach that would work for them. I’m advocating the signing of select names that leave WWE or TNA, either of their own volition or for other reasons. That’s how Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin came to be in ROH and I don’t think anyone would argue that they’re not tremendous wrestlers and fine additions to the roster.
Right now one man stands out as an obvious candidate for Ring of Honor to try this approach with: John Hennigan. Formerly John Morrison in WWE, he left that organisation late last year to give himself a break from hectic travel schedule working for that company necessitates and rest his battered body a little. He’s been active on the US independent scene since he left, which tells us that he’s still very much passionate about the wrestling business and being a part of it.
Were Ring of Honor to sign Hennigan, they would be getting a man who looks and carries himself like a star, which is exactly what they need if they’re going to continue growing and attracting new fans to their shows. He’s a ten-year veteran in great condition, which makes me pretty sure he’d be able to keep up with the ROH roster and deliver the company’s preferred style of match too.
If ‘The Shaman of Sexy’ were to turn up in Ring of Honor tomorrow, he’d have a complete roster of fresh opponents to work with (which is never a bad situation for a promotion or wrestler to be in), including potentially lucrative bouts with top stars Davey Richards, Kevin Steen and Eddie Edwards. Any of those three matches, particularly Hennigan v Richards, would be an excellent addition to an internet pay-per-view. ROH needs to reassure fans on the matter of its iPPVs after the debacle of Showdown in the Sun, signing Hennigan would help show that the company is trying to make things up to its fans. Meanwhile the TV show could be spiced up with matches putting Hennigan against the likes of Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong and Kenny King, all of which could be very entertaining matches.
Hennigan has displayed the ability to get over as both a heel and a face during his career but I think he’d be best off playing the bad guy were he to appear for Ring of Honor. Fans would not be inclined to cheer him to begin with anyway so the smart thing to do would be to embrace that and allow Hennigan to play the antagonist.
Adding John Hennigan to the roster may mean the promotion has to bring in a former WWE talent but that’s not without precedent and would be well worth doing for the fresh matches and potential increase in pay-per-views buys. A six month contract can’t be the worst idea for ROH management right now.
Does all of this mean they should sign Melina too? Let’s not go nuts…