On December 17, 2011 in Clarksburg, West Virginia, former ROH Pure and World Champion Nigel McGuinness retired from professional wrestling, it made me reminisce on his career. On what could have been had he signed with WWE and where he would go in the future.
The Last of McGuinness didn’t make me cry but it did make me pity McGuinness’ journey, until the end when he detailed how his documentary had progressed with the help of the fans which created a bittersweet ending. Yes his career ended in a pretty disastrous manner, but the fans he performed for recognize his ambition, determination and effort – he is truly befitting of the word “legend” as it pertains to Ring of Honor.
The documentary revealed why he stopped wrestling and what it would take to make him lace those boots one final time, and in a way most Ring of Honor fans felt disappointed. In a company so enamoured these days with being appealing to a television audience isn’t Nigel McGuinness the perfect person to have leading your product?
Nigel continued his color commentary role until being promoted on-screen into an authority role as matchmaker – pretty self-explanatory really, Nigel makes matches. Since this, and in some instances before it, Nigel has been embroiled in a war of words and power with Steve Corino, whether it be at the commentary or in the ring on television, everything Nigel says Steve seems to have an answer for and vice versa.
For four months Ring of Honor gradually built the tension between McGuinness and the former ECW World Heavyweight Champion, whether it be through promos, newswires or McGuinness chasing Steve from ringside, it was all bound to culminate in something and it did. At ‘Border Wars’ with Corino hung on the top turnbuckle McGuinness seized the opportunity and delivered his first Tower of London since returning to Ring of Honor over two years ago, a moment which brought many including myself from their seats.
However, in the world of professional wrestling isn’t this what matches are made for? Now I’m not stating this as a definitive fact, but I’m of the opinion Ring of Honor have booked themselves into a corner.
The moment McGuinness laid a hand on Corino is the moment there is now reason for Corino to react. At last weekend’s live event in Richmond, WV, the animosity continued building as Steve challenged four men to represent ROH and take on four members of SCUM, if SCUM were to win Steve gets Nigel’s job, if Team ROH were to win it would be the end of SCUM forever.
If Corino were to take Nigel’s job whenever this eight-man tag team match goes down, what does McGuinness do then? Corino is already at the commentary table, he can’t return there. Does he manage someone? Is that an effective position to have Nigel in? Does he disappear altogether not to be seen until the SCUM angle ends? Surely if that were the case unless it’s on Nigel’s request, it’d be stupid.
At some point Nigel McGuinness will have to return and fight for his job, and what better way to do it than to step back inside the squared circle? The SCUM angle has been entertaining, it’s working and the booking is good, but it’s missing that something special. It’s missing that thing that should make people want to tune in and watch. If McGuinness were to return for an official match to fend off SCUM it’d gain interest.
I know Nigel said his career was over, but having recently re-watched The Last of McGuinness, he very clearly states in the DVD, “I can’t say I’ll never wrestle again, I might,” before simply stopping. He says numerous times he’d only wrestle if WWE came calling but surely one match when it calls isn’t totally out of the question, especially since if done at the right time it will equal good business. Say, Final Battle?
The building tension between the former ROH World Champion and “The King of Old School” has led me to believe maybe we might not have seen “The Last of McGuinness,” and instead maybe, there is one more stand?