The 11th Anniversary Show saw SCUM transform into a supergroup. Prior to that it had consisted of just four men: Steve Corino, Jimmy Jacobs, Rhino and ROH world champion Kevin Steen. Not only were the new additions a great surprise ending to a strong pay-per-view but they also started what is likely to be the lead storyline in the promotion throughout the rest of 2013.
Already we’ve had a tease that ‘Mr Wrestling’ is somewhat at odds with the new direction of his troupe. He didn’t participate in the beatings administered to the ROH stalwarts who filled the ring during the closing moments of the 11th Anniversary iPPV, nor has he commented on the increased aggression in the group’s activities. He was a bystander while the ranks were swelled, at it seemed as much a surprise to him as it did to anyone else.
Steen leaving SCUM would be an interesting development. It would put him in direct opposition to the group but also set him up as a man apart from the loyal members of the Ring of Honor locker room. It would be an interesting dynamic and one that would play to the strengths of the Steen character.
But that’s in the future, if it happens at all. There’s plenty to enjoy about the new look SCUM before a Steen separation occurs.
The group is now comprised of guys who all have a legitimate reason to hate ROH and want the company brought down. That’s exactly the reason SCUM was formed in the first place: Steen, Jacobs and Corino all had an axe to grind against the company. Three men waging a war against a promotion by wrestling matches is not the most engaging or believable feud.
Adding guys to the stable is an idea that was toyed with when Rhino became a member at Final Battle. Last month’s development is just building on that idea. Having the group act as an unpredictable force works much better than three guys wrestling and cutting promos. It’s how this sort of thing should be booked in 2013. It makes suspension of disbelief a lot easier.
The new members all make a great deal of sense. The return of Jimmy Rave is a highlight for me personally. He’s one of the most effective bad guys to ever work for ROH. His work with Prince Nana and The Embassy, which saw him dubbed ‘The Crown Jewel’ and hearing vicious “Die, Jimmy, die!” chants on a regular basis, was some of the greatest work anyone has ever done in the company’s history.
In addition to being an established and hated name Rave is also a great wrestler and has a completely understandable reason to hate ROH. He’s had a rocky relationship with the company in the past, leaving and get fired on various occasions (sometimes as part of a storyline and sometimes not). Who wouldn’t want to target a company that has fans that have expressed their wish for you to die?
Matt Hardy’s a good addition too. His signing has not been met kindly by fans. He’d already been turned into a heel, sticking him in a stable of bad guys is the next logical step. Associating him with a group will only make that group more disliked. He’s that unpopular.
Rhett Titus’ turn was yet another logical move. Since his long-time tag partner Kenny King jumped to TNA last summer Titus has been constantly overlooked. He was stripped of the tag team titles because of King’s move, being forced to enter a tournament alongside his enemy Charlie Haas just to get a rematch. Then he was lumped into a worthless unit with BJ Whitmer. I’d have joined SCUM in his situation.
Why Cliff Compton would want to bring down ROH is a mystery. Perhaps he’s upset at never being signed by the company? Maybe he’s just good mates with Steve Corino. Whatever the case he makes a nice addition: by the standards of the Ring of Honor roster he’s a pretty big guy. It’ll create some new match dynamics.
There are plenty of matches that can be booked as part of this feud, including some pretty big singles matches. Rave and Hardy in particular can be booked against pretty much anyone in ROH and give us something new to watch. It’s a good way of keeping ROH’s undercard performers relevant to plots too.
Long-term we’re likely to see the likes of the American Wolves, Jay Lethal, and Michael Elgin become more heavily involved in the feud. Their involvement has to be built up to. Making us wait for their matches against SCUM is what will keep the programme going. The same is not necessarily true of the Steen split: I have a feeling that will happen sooner rather than later. When it does we’ll have Steen title defences against Rave, Jacobs, Hardy and Corino to look forward to.
This is the best thing to happen to ROH in a long time.