I know that part of the reason Eddie Kingston has been appearing for Ring of Honor over the past few months is that the promotion has a working relationship with CHIKARA. Kingston wrestles regularly for CHIKARA and is their current Grand champion so it makes sense that he is the man to lead the crossover with ROH.
Is this a good direction for Ring of Honor though? The company emphasises wrestling ability and athleticism over storylines and promos. Kingston is not really notable for his excellent conditioning or look. He’s a very good, well-conditioned wrestler but he doesn’t look like one. Giving him a prime spot harms the image the company has cultivated for so long.
Making matters worse is that Kingston is feuding with ‘Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare’ Kevin Steen. The ROH world champion is over with fans based on his charisma and work rate, he too fails to have the look of an athlete. The problem with a Kingston v Steen match headlining an ROH iPPV is that it harms the company’s carefully cultivated image.
Kingston can help attract new fans who are aware of his work in other promotions. Having him in a headline spot is too much too soon. Kingston would be better used tangling with a guy like Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, or Roderick Strong, all of whom have represented the promotion of honour as champion over the last few years but are not at the top of the mountain now. There are plenty of other men already on the ROH roster who would benefit form a shot at Steen’s belt and have earned the opportunity to headline a big show.
The first name that springs to mind here is Rhett Titus. With his chance to have a memorable tag team title run snatched from him by the departure of his ANX partner Kenny King now would be the perfect time to promote Titus to the role of featured singles performer. He has the look and ability to be a success at the highest level in ROH and the King situation would allow for a memorable storyline to be written for him.
Mike Bennett, TJ Perkins, Adam Cole or Kyle O’Reilly could have been prepared for a high profile title challenge had the booking unit been inclined to take the company in that direction. Any of them would have benefited from the spot. Even someone like Shelton Benjamin could have provided a match in keeping with the promotion’s style, even if he isn’t exactly a home-grown young star rising up the ranks.
We still haven’t seen much interaction between Steen and his former chief rival El Generico since the former returned to the company. Isn’t it about time ‘The Generic Luchador’ was given a title shot? A Fight Without Honor broadcast on internet pay-per-view with sufficient hype and a good undercard could help ROH do some strong business.
Using any of these men would not mean omitting Eddie Kingston from the show. I simply think his opponent should be someone that isn’t the ROH champ. I’m aware the feud between he and Steen has been running for some time but that doesn’t matter. In a business where everything is scripted it would have been easy to pit him against someone lower down the ROH ranks before moving him on to ‘Mr Wrestling’.