So that’s SCUM done with. As a faction they’ve been around since Border Wars 2012, when Kevin Steen defeated Davey Richards to become the ROH champion. The post-match embrace between the new champion, Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino signalled the group’s formation.
From the beginning the reason the SCUM faction existed was to bring down Ring of Honor from within. As a trio they made little headway with their task, as was predictable. They managed to add the ROH tag team titles to their haul but winning belts wasn’t and never will be enough to bring a wrestling company to its knees. Adding Rhino to their faction didn’t get them any closer either.
It wasn’t until the 11th Anniversary Show back in March that their fortunes would change. In the closing moments of that show SCUM grew to contain Cliff Compton, Rhett Titus, and Matt Hardy. Jimmy Rave was involved too but he ended up leaving after doing nothing of note. Which is a shame: Rave is one of the greatest bad guys to have ever worked for Ring of Honor. He could have been of tremendous benefit. But it wasn’t to be.
SCUM lost control of the ROH title, their greatest bargaining chip, when Jay Briscoe shockingly defeated Steen at Supercard of Honor VII. ‘Mr Wrestling’ congratulated Briscoe and got kicked out of SCUM the following evening. Matt Hardy was declared the group’s new centrepiece.
From there SCUM interfered and competed in matches against loyalist ROH talent, most notably Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal and BJ Whitmer. Steen continued his own war against the gang apart from the ROH roster, because he wasn’t trusted. He notably suffered his first pinfall loss in ROH in two years (to Jimmy Jacobs in a tag match at Border Wars), which granted a SCUM member a shot at the ROH championship. To prove his loyalty Steen requested and received singles matches against every member of the faction. He beat everyone except Matt Hardy.
As Steen was ploughing through its members in singles action SCUM announced, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, that Matt Hardy would be the man to receive a shot at the ROH championship. He lost that match on the same night that Rhino, Jacobs, Compton and Titus lost a cage match that meant they had to disband as a group.
The dream was over. SCUM had failed in their quest, vanquished by the might and valiant ways of ROH. It was inevitable really.
I’d expected the SCUM programme to run until this year’s Final Battle but I’m pleased to be wrong. The group had been a large part of ROH programming for the first half of the year. Had it stuck around for another five months it would have lost steam and the interest of fans. Going out when it did ensured the group left on top before it outstayed its welcome. A certain other wrestling company could learn a lot from ROH about how to book a group of outsiders trying to bring down a company.
It’s not clear what’s in store for the former SCUM members now. Rhino has already reappeared in ROH, attacking Tommaso Ciampa and acknowledging that he’s been hired by someone new. Rhett Titus has shown up on RAW, meaning there’s a chance he’s done with ROH. That’s not been confirmed though. If it turns out not to be the case I expect he’ll begin a run as an unimpressive mid-card heel.
Cliff Compton, the only man with no history with ROH prior to joining SCUM, may simply be cut loose. There’s no logical way or reason to bring him back to TV. Unless they have Titus win him a contract in a match so they can resume their tag run together. But I can do without that. I imagine most of you can too.
A face turn has been teased for ‘The Zombie Princess’. He was frustrated at his loss in a TV championship match at Best in the World, which the audience sympathised with, and he got a positive reaction when singing Gypsy Soul at A Night of Hoopla. Yes, really!
It’s Corino and Hardy who have the biggest question marks over their Ring of Honor futures. The promotion has continually found roles for Corino over the last several years, which indicates he’ll resurface sooner or later. He’d begun to court Adam Cole for SCUM membership before the group was dissolved. It would surprise nobody if ‘The King of Old School’ returned as a Cole ally.
Things don’t seem as clear for Hardy. He’s not a natural fit on the ROH roster and without SCUM to provide him with support and focus he doesn’t really have anything to do. He stole the championship belt, yes, but that could be quietly dropped without ‘The Icon’ gracing our screens again. As he’s not been used since the June 23rd tapings it’s possible Hardy’s already moved on and we’ve yet to realise it.
Personally I hope that’s not the case. I’m not a fan of Hardy and believe he has very little to offer Ring of Honor from an in-ring perspective but he has proven that when used right he can be a phenomenally effective heel. Very few men in the company’s history have managed to work crowds up into the sort of frenzies Hardy’s had them in over the last nine months or so. Used correctly I think Hardy could be a massive asset to ROH. I’d like to see him stick around to continue riling audiences.