Until late last year there were two prominent stables in Ring of Honor. The Embassy, headed by Prince Nana, had been a part of the company for most of its history. The most recent line-up had been built around Tommaso Ciampa, a solid but currently injured grappler. The group’s lengthy history meant that it was always going to be an accepted part of the ROH landscape.
The other stable was the House of Truth. Lead by Truth Martini the HOT had actually supplanted the Embassy as ROH’s lead heel unit across 2011 and 2012. It had a larger roster and had attained greater success. Having company stalwart Roderick Strong and fan-favourite-in-waiting Michael Elgin on the books certainly didn’t hurt the HOT.
As things stand now it looks as though we may have seen the last of both factions, at least for now. SCUM, consisting of Kevin Steen, Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino are still active but they are less of a stable and more of a trio. The Embassy could very possibly return at some point in the future. The group has been absent for lengthy periods before and then been revived. The House of Truth is more likely to be permanently gone though. Truth Martini, the manager, mouthpiece and namesake of the faction, looks to be done with ROH at least for the time being.
Let’s assume for a moment that we have definitely seen the last of both stables. It strikes me as unlikely that ROH would go without a heel faction for long. It’s probably only a matter of time until we see the formation of a new group to inherit the spot of the Embassy and the House. Who could be put into such a group?
RD Evans and QT Marshall are possibilities. They are the remnants of the Embassy, which would make their use a little unimaginative, but they were in the group for a reason. Evans is strictly a mouthpiece in ROH (not so elsewhere) and Marshall is not yet viewed as capable of working without an experienced hand guiding him.
If they’re staying in ROH then the Headbangers could make sense as an addition. They’d bulk up the numbers and work as expendable bump fodder. This is about the only use I can think of for the Attitude Era cast-offs.
Tadarius Thomas is another option. He hasn’t really been given anything to do since becoming a semi-regular for ROH. Membership in a heel unit would raise his profile and allow him to rub shoulders with some of the company’s bigger stars, both as partners and opponents. Used as a second string member it could be a route to the top for the man from Detroit.
None of the above names would be a suitable centrepiece for a hypothetical group. Every good wrestling stable needs a leader, the guy at the centre of all the storylines and the group’s chosen representative in all matters involving the world championship. The perfect candidate from ROH’s existing roster is, to my mind, Kyle O’Reilly.
O’Reilly has the status as a rising star to pull off being the driving force of a stable. He also has the sort of character that one could believe would resort to forming a unit in order to keep moving up the card. It would add a twist to his burgeoning feud with Davey Richards, which is currently looking as though it will be fairly standard ROH fare. He also has an on-screen relationship already established with Bobby Fish, a partnership that could be used to form the basis of a larger group.
I haven’t even touched on wrestlers like Jay Lethal and Homicide. Either man would be a sensible choice to head up a crew. They have the status as headline stars to lend a faction credibility and to help elevate members, and opponents, lower down the card that they come into contact with. They are both also realistic opponents for Kevin Steen.
Whether all or none of these men were to form a heel stable is irrelevant. The point is that Ring of Honor would be well served by having a group of villains available for storylines. Factions are a useful tool for prolonging rivalries and giving a boost to newcomers. They can also help to reinvent wrestlers stuck in a shallow talent pool. That’s definitely something ROH should bear in mind.