The following article was sent to us by Jason Patrick from WrestleEngima.com
Last weekend, former WCW color commentator Mark Madden posted an editorial in-which he prophesised the demise of Ring of Honor Wrestling, backing his claims by making comparisons to the demise of Extreme Championship Wrestling when it was the number three promotion in North America, stating that the money isn’t there and that Davey Richards is the number one competitor in the company’s history – because Davey, “knows when to get out.”
I don’t read Mark Madden’s editorials, for those unfamiliar with him; Madden berates anything in professional wrestling he dislikes.
Madden believes that by him posting an editorial, that it somehow validates that he knows professional wrestling, what works and what doesn’t.
This article was brought to my attention by a former forum poster of mine I keep in contact with who knows it wouldn’t sit well with me.
For those unaware I’ve been a loyal fan of Ring of Honor since 2004, I’ve seen the rise of CM Punk, Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe etc, etc, and I’ve watched as they took their leave, and why wouldn’t they?
Where are CM Punk and Bryan Danielson now? One is WWE Champion, the other is challenging, and they’re two of the biggest names in the business.
Once I’d read the article, I decided to provoke Madden through Twitter – rather immature, I know, but sometimes you need to fight fire-with-fire – and eventually I gained a response.
Mark Madden became more hostile as the conversation progressed, eventually stating that I don’t know “F-all,” and that unlike him he has worked “8 years in the biz,” well as lovely as that is, allow me to give those unfamiliar with Mark Madden a small summary of his career, because chances are unless you frequent WrestleZone.com or seek poor sports analysis you’ll have forgotten he still exists.
Madden’s history with professional wrestling dates back to 1992, when he was a writer for Pro Wrestling Torch. Madden would somehow make it to the “promise land” as he was employed by World Championship Wrestling as a magazine writer and eventually color commentator, sadly for him though, he gained the spot during the dark days within World Championship Wrestling, when a slew of undeserving talents much like him were paid ridiculous amounts of money to do the most minimal of tasks.
Eventually Mark would be fired from World Championship Wrestling for disparaging remarks against the company and for divulging details of its inevitable sale – congratulations big guy, you did well for yourself – most would assume that would be the final time we’d hear from Mark Madden in-relation to professional wrestling, right? Wrong.
Somehow, WrestleZone and the brain boxes that run the main page gave this guy a medium in-which he could spout off about his feelings towards whatever WWE is doing at the moment. It seems he has a long standing grudge against the company; as he spews his vitriol through this column towards anyone who isn’t his buddy a.k.a. anybody who disagrees with his opinion.
Mark Madden has this platform to air his opinions, no matter how dense, moronic or otherwise they are, and so he decides that last weekend he was going to take aim at Ring of Honor, and then when Ring of Honor’s faithful and talent, such as Mike Bennett, Mike Mondo and Maria Kanellis take to Twitter in-order to defend the company they are employed by, Madden responds yet again, with another diatribe through his precious platform.
Now I realize Mark Madden has genuine experience, no matter how minimal or lacklustre it was, in the professional wrestling industry, and I am a realist, I’m not employed to write for Wrestle Enigma and chances are this site doesn’t garner half of what Mark Madden and WrestleZone.com do, but seeing as I too have a platform, allow me to respond to Mark Madden’s one noteworthy article because if I don’t It’ll continue eating away at me until I do.
ROH: The Decline and Fall
Opening words, “ROH came to Pittsburgh. I didn’t go.”
So as you can imagine from the outset, he has no qualifications to write an article in-relation to Ring of Honor considering he didn’t see the show. If he had seen the show and posted a review, based off his opinion, that I could allow slide, but he didn’t go to the show yet bases half an editorial around it. Congratulations, no wonder World Championship Wrestling went out of business.
What perplexes me is that for about two paragraphs he almost seems to be giving Ring of Honor and those within it credit for achieving as much as they have. Ring of Honor is basically the little league company that went above any and all expectations set for it by “professional” analyses such as Madden himself, so it’s nice to see he recognizes it as the “legit third promotion,” now somebody ought to inform him it arrived as the legit third promotion back when Samoa Joe reigned as ROH World Champion and we’ll have made some progress.
Things get interesting when he makes the Extreme Championship Wrestling/Ring of Honor comparisons. “…the Extreme version of ECW lasted between 1994 – 2001.”
Mark is correct, it did. Extreme Championship Wrestling lasted for seven years before going bankrupt. Ring of Honor has lasted ten years and despite my admiration for his abilities in booking, performing and such, Paul Heyman had poor financial management and that is the reasoning for Extreme Championship Wrestling going bankrupt.
Paul Heyman believes that TNN cancelling Extreme Championship Wrestling was the ultimate reason for death to his brand. They were unable to find another national syndicated platform and struggled until their ultimate demise. ECW had no corporate backing and Paul attempted to expand his company at a rapid pace, it all created a fatal implosion and severe debt.
Ring of Honor has a corporate owner, much like Total Nonstop Wrestling has Panda Energy, Ring of Honor is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Have they guided Ring of Honor into the heavens like some fans envisioned? No they haven’t. Would it be safe to say that the product has somewhat deteriorated since their purchase of the company? Yes it would.
I’m not going to state Ring of Honor is graced with perfection, because it isn’t. It has a niche target audience, one that works, one that is loyal and one that appreciates every performer that enters the black canvas which covers the ring mind you, but their perspective and direction is somewhat alarming.
Ring of Honor has attempted to create a fusion between professional wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts and despite what they themselves assume, I can tell you, that it isn’t working.
Ring of Honor didn’t gain notoriety off being some hybrid promotion. It gained its reputation; it created its stars such as CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe and Austin Aries off exciting, pure wrestling. If professional wrestling fans want Mixed Martial Arts they’d watch Ultimate Fighting Championship, but they don’t. They watch Ring of Honor “Wrestling,” for professional wrestling.
Mark Madden makes light of the fact Davey Richards will be leaving Ring of Honor soon to pursue other interests, when what he hasn’t researched is that Richards has spoken about retirement for years. Davey has contributed to Ring of Honor, he has done all that there is to do. He has wrestled, stolen shows, created a name for himself despite the fact he works for the third promotion “in danger.”
Madden bases this off the fact five-hundred fans turned out for a show, for what is still an independent wrestling promotion, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Newsflash for Mark Madden, since acquiring their television deal Ring of Honor have made an effort to expand their markets in regions and areas, not typical for Ring of Honor to perform in.
Watch a Ring of Honor perform in a sold-out Hammerstein Ballroom. Next time they’re in Chicago, doing an internet Pay-Per-View give me the heads up and I’ll purchase the damn thing for you, and you can sit and watch as they perform in-front of another sold-out arena, which for an independent promotion is admirable.
Madden obviously doesn’t know much about independent wrestling, and is basing everything from a larger mainstream wrestling sized scale, which ROH is NOT on.
Ring of Honor has tried this past year; they’ve had their setbacks as a result of trying. They cancelled two shows in the Carolinas because of lack of ticket sales, again, the Carolinas haven’t been a regular stop, they were testing the waters and eventually, it has to be done.
Every professional wrestling promotion who has had a decent time of existence has cancelled a show before, Vince McMahon and his global juggernaut have cancelled shows before, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling have cancelled shows before, when Mark Madden was working for World Championship Wrestling, not only did the show get cancelled but the entire promotion went defunct.
The only thing that will kill Ring of Honor is if they try to spend like they are bigger than whom they actually are. Otherwise, if they are smart with their money, if it means staying in the strong markets until somewhere else proves itself, there is nothing wrong with that. That comes with a company trying to grow.
Mark Madden states that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were the ones that made Ring of Honor, when in all actuality you could create a larger argument for the contrast, being Ring of Honor created Bryan Danielson and CM Punk.
Both men helped gain Ring of Honor attention, in the process gaining attention for themselves, but don’t sell guys like Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles short, because each of them helped the promotion along the way.
But you know what the irony is?
Mark Madden is the same guy that once stated the now Daniel Bryan could never draw big money, yet on the biggest night in the history of professional wrestling, a show Mark Madden has never had even a fingernail of involvement with asides from maybe attending, all the fans could chant was “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Ring of Honor lost a lot of talent, the likes of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Tyler Black, Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli can be seen in World Wrestling Entertainment, while Austin Aries, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe and now Kenny King can be seen on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling – but that is what each man listed above is recognized for, as products of Ring of Honor.
For every talent gone a new one is made, which is what they are trying to do now with the likes of Adam Cole, Eddie Edwards, Michael Elgin and Kyle O’Reilly.
If you’re not familiar with those names, they sound the same way they did years back if you weren’t familiar with the names CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries, Chris Hero, Nigel McGuinness and Tyler Black.
If you weren’t familiar with those names back in 2002 to 2009, they sound like today’s names if you’re not familiar with Ring of Honor… unknown, but getting their chance to make something of themselves.
“It is not incorrect to say that I was A BIGGER WRESTLING STAR than almost everybody in ROH is. I can out-talk ‘em all, that’s for sure.”
And this is the portion of the article where things get somewhat informal.
When somebody asked me on Twitter about my back and forth with Mark Madden, someone interjected asking “Who?” It is not incorrect to say they should have reason to know of Mark Madden.
But I guarantee they know the name Shelton Benjamin, or even Kevin Steen. Oh, and Mark, Kevin may not have the look you have – wait, what? – but unlike you he has actually achieved something in his profession; what do WrestleZone pay you, Burger King?
Now I’m a realist, I’ve not appeared as a commentator on a plummeting professional wrestling show, I’ve not wrote an article for WrestleZone.com in an attempt to gain attention, and yes via this article I’m sure Madden will gain a few extra hits which will bring a smug smirk to his underachieving face.
He may reply to me and with the grace of God he will, saying how I’m a nobody, I don’t earn a paycheck for writing, he’s eaten more hamburgers than Wrestle Enigma has paid me money and more unoriginal retorts – but much like the Ring of Honor talent, I’m the unknown guy who outshines those undeserving of their spot.
Despite my lack of experience in professional wrestling it’s safe to say I’ve made a better argument against Madden in-defence of Ring of Honor than he did against it. Correct me if I’m wrong.
As a Ring of Honor fan I must also bring to attention the manner of defence by talents such as Mike Bennett, Brutal Bob Evans, Mike Mondo and Maria Kanellis. And Mark, unlike you, the Mike’s have actual talent, you’d know something about that if you could fit through the ropes – immature, but somewhat soothing.
Since both articles publication, Kevin Kelly, who also writes articles for WrestleZone.com responded, and as a fan all I can say is, I was disappointed in Kevin’s response, I feel as though if Mark were blasting him he’d have responded in a contrasting tone instead of being so “understanding,” Kevin didn’t stick up for the company people like I pay to watch, and that is rather disappointing.
Mark Madden is a local sports DJ in Pittsburgh who did commentary for WCW toward the end.
His whole schtick on radio and in writing is being as offensive as possible, calling people names constantly, and getting a reaction based on that rather than actual content. WrestleZone pay him because despite his lazy diatribes he does gain attention – a terrorist bomber blows people up, but gains attention.
Ring of Honor’s end isn’t near, but there is room for improvement, there is always room for improvement.
I implore any and all Twitter users to forward the following article to Mark Madden, forward it to @RingofHonor forward it to your friends and all those invested in professional wrestling.
I may not earn money writing, but I earn a great deal of satisfaction from putting those with “8 years in the biz” in their place, in Mark Madden’s case, the toilet bowl, aside his pathetic career in professional wrestling.
From Ring of Honor fans everywhere, and yours truly, go f*** yourself Mark Madden.