Hello and welcome to the first ever ROH World Q&A. It does exactly what it says on the tin, we have had questions submitted to us by our followers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/ROH_World) and we have given our views below. Answering the questions are Co-Owner of ROH World and a big ROH UK supporter – Steven. Steven’s first ROH show was ‘Death Before Dishonor VIII’ and he has been a massive fan since. His favourite current ROH wrestlers are El Generico and Roderick Strong. Our other contributor will be Macklin. Macklin is from Boston, MA and has been an ROH fan since ‘Death Before Dishonor VI’, his current favourite ROH wrestler is Davey Richards. So now you know a bit about us, on to the questions:
What are your thoughts on Delirious as booker thus far. Do you think he’s managed to turn around the lacklustre Pearce run yet?
Macklin: I think Delirious has done a decent job of booking. The one notable disaster that sticks out like a sore thumb is the horrible match that was place in the middle of the “9th Anniversary Show” between Homicide and Strong. Well, I take that back, it wasn’t as horrible as other Homicide matches have been lately but no one believed that the most prestigious championship in wrestling was going to change hands in the middle of the card. Matches such as Davey vs. TJ Perkins and Edwards vs. Daniels 2 out of 3 falls make me love his bookings. Bennett vs. Corino and anything involving Grizzly Redwood or the Bravados make me think that Pearce’s influence may not have been lost even though he’s gone.
Steven: So far, so good for Delirious in my opinion. I wasn’t a big fan of Pearce’s reign at all and was glad when I heard that they had replaced him. I was a bit apprehensive at first when I heard Delirious had been given the book but that apprehension has totally gone now. The main thing with Pearce was the lack of good undercard matches. I know your main event is the priority but it seemed the rest of the show with Pearce was always a bit lacklustre. The Embassy was awful under Pearce and some of the guys he brought in (Necro Butcher for example) added nothing. Under Delirious there don’t seem to be any throwaway matches on the card which is a good thing. Even The Bravados are getting heat so he must be doing something right!
Do you think that ROH, being a niche product within today’s wrestling landscape, has a long-term future? Is the niche keeping it alive?
Macklin: I think ROH is being kept alive by other wrestling organizations. To be honest, WWE and TNA both tell the fans what they should like and who to cheer and boo for. ROH doesn’t do that. I remember Davey Richards late 2009 run. He acted and presented himself as a heel, yet after all his matches, he cut a babyface promo. They blur the line. I think people like that. Most of a Monday Night Raw or and Impact show is 60% talk. No one gives a damn. Just shut up and wrestle. ROH will be around for a long time. I don’t know how long but as long as its an escape from the 2 big promotions, I can see it surviving on being the alternative alone.
Steven: Well, ROH has lasted over nine years and are getting stronger and stronger so why not? Sports Entertainment is pretty well covered by WWE and TNA, I don’t care how much TNA claim to be wrestling, they’re not. TNA is nothing more than WWE Lite. A lot of people have been getting sick and tired of the top two and have looked at other promotions to fill their wrestling needs. ROH fill the hole better than any other promotion in the world, as an Independent promotion, I think you need a niche otherwise, why would people watch you over WWE? ROH is for people who like watching great wrestling. I feel ROH doesn’t get all the credit it deserves, a lot of people who don’t know the product think it’s all wrestling and no storylines but as we saw last year with the Steen/Generico feud, ROH can put on some of the most intense, storyline driven matches in the world. Does ROH have a long-term future? As long as people support it (and why shouldn’t they?), of course it will.
Do you think ROH would benefit from another overseas tour?
Macklin: I can’t tell you how many people comment on message boards and on Facebook groups about ROH coming back to the UK or going to Europe. I think expanding your product is never a bad idea. There are some hardcore fans that love wrestling overseas. Living in the USA it is easy for us fans to see ROH, wither it be DVDs or live events. For people in the UK and other countries, shipping costs to get DVD’s aren’t exactly cheap, so I would say that another tour overseas would be beneficial to ROH and very profitable.
Steven: Of course they would, the increased exposure would be brilliant. It was a shame that they didn’t get the HDNet show out to other countries as I was only aware of Italy getting it in Europe which is pretty poor. Europe is a hotbed for wrestling and is lacking in brilliant touring wrestling. Japan is obviously another big area but they’re well covered over there so another European tour would be great, especially seeing as I’m from the UK! I’m sure ROH would love to do this but at the end of the day, it has to be cost effective and I’m not sure if it is at this moment in time.
What are you thoughts on Mike Bennett?
Macklin: I’m torn on Bennett. Being from Boston, Ma. I always have to root for the hometown boy, as I did in his unsuccessful TV Title match against Daniels when I was front row at “Defy or Deny” in March. He has the potential, I’d like to see him get better but I don’t know if he is going to. I always give people the benefit of the doubt,but he does not fit the typical ROH style. I’m willing to give him a bit more time to get his stuff together but not much. I hate to say it and it pains me but I don’t see Mike Bennett with ROH at this time next year.
Steven: It seems that the majority of people either love or hate Bennett but I’m really not sure on the guy. He’s definitely the sort of character that is a lot easier to get over on TV than he is at live events. He plays the whole ‘sports entertainer’ gimmick well but I’m not sure ROH fans are that interested in him or the gimmick. There’s a reason we’re watching ROH, it’s mainly to escape people like him. People expect to go to shows and see great matches but Bennett isn’t the greatest technical wrestler in the world and hasn’t had that many memorable matches so far. He seems to be getting a lot of heat from the crowd, unfortunately it looks as if it’s more X-Pac heat (people genuinely don’t like the guy) rather than heel heat. Only time will tell but I’m not sure Bennett will be around for much longer if ROH can’t secure another TV deal.
If you were given the book, who would be the next ROH World Champion and why?
Macklin: I know the typical answer would be Richards. My reason for being Davey would be because of something I would call the Tyler Black effect. Tyler, throughout 2008 and 2009 battled for the ROH title and came up just short on several occasions. People just assumed that he wasn’t going to win the title, especially after that 60 minute time limit draw with Aries at “Final Battle 2009”. I even think people stopped caring after that match so by the time “8th Anniversary Show” came around and he did win the title, people were just like “whatever”. I see the same thing happening with Richards. Although he hasn’t got as many title shots as Black did, I just feel like people are going to stop caring and I hate to see that happen to such a talented wrestler. I agree that he should not beat Edwards. I think people saw Eddie as, not so much the weak link in the American Wolves, but that Davey was the leader, the star of the group, I think there need to be a buffer between champions, meaning that I would have Edwards hold on to the title for at least the 4-5 months and have him drop it to Hero. Have Chris defend the title for 2-3 months, similar to the run Jerry Lynn had and have Davey win it at the “10th Anniversary Show. I couldn’t think of a better way for ROH to celebrate their 10th birthday then to see one of the best wrestlers in the world raise the title belt over his head.
Steven: This is a tough one. A lot of people will say that Davey Richards should be the next champion and I can’t really complain about that. He has consistently put on brilliant wrestling matches for years and definitely deserves a pat on the back with a title run. I love the way ROH put Edwards over, it was very easy for them to fall into the trap of giving Richards the TV Title and then have him win the World Title but he was much more over than Eddie and they did the right thing. I’d hate for all the hard work to be ripped to shreds by having Davey go over Eddie for the title. Davey vs. Eddie has to happen as everybody wants to see it and it’ll be an amazing match but like Macklin, I think Chris Hero should be the next World Champion. Hero has it all and is the most WWE friendly guy in ROH today in my opinion. He’d be great to run with the title for a few months and I also think giving Davey the title at the 10th Anniversary Show would be a brilliant idea. There are so many guys who could warrant a title run though so who knows? It’ll be interesting to see who they go with.