Ring of Honor’s Hard Lesson Learned: It’s A One-Promotion Nation!


Ring Of Honor is learning a hard lesson that anyone with even a smidgen of wrestling knowledge saw coming quite some time ago: If youâ<80><99>re not on TV, you donâ<80><99>t count.

ROH, like ECW and Smoky Mountain before it, was the niche promotion du jour. But now du jour is over. Witness the removal of Gabe Sapolsky, yesterdayâ<80><99>s genius, as head booker and the appointment of indie nobody Adam Pearce in his place. Pearce was chosen over Bushwhacker Luke, so his credentials are impeccable, needless to say. ROH is now going to adopt â<80>~70s-style wrestling, whatever that means.

Sapolsky wouldnâ<80><99>t have been canned if ROH was succeeding, so letâ<80><99>s watch ROH continue its decline while we prepare for the NEXT BIG THING, and then can we watch it fall apart, too.

Itâ<80><99>s a one-promotion nation, gang. TNA exists only because Dixie Carter is the proverbial money mark, not because itâ<80><99>s self-sufficient. Rick Rubin grew tired of underwriting Smoky Mountain; the same thing will happen with Carter and TNA. Either that, or sheâ<80><99>ll move in with one of the boys.

Donâ<80><99>t you ROH marks feel stupid now? You so enthusiastically stamped your Siskel & Ebert Tasterâ<80><99>s Choice Internet geek seal of approval on ROH only to see it become passé, then collapse.

Like every other promotion that appealed to dirt-sheet readers and on-line goons, ROH saw its credibility erode when WWE siphoned off its top talent, then saw its credibility erode further when said talent became jobbers in the big time (see London, Paul and Cabana, Colt). Vince McMahon knows how to tighten that noose, and he has fun doing it. Itâ<80><99>s a deadly combination.

A promotion like ROH will never be able to keep top talent. A promotion like ROH needs to find quality performers on the fringes of the wrestling business way more often than possible. Eventually, the well runs dry and the promotion starts coughing and gasping. You canâ<80><99>t replenish indefinitely.

By the way, ROH fans â<80>” if â<80><9c>American Dragonâ<80> Bryan Danielson is the best worker in the world, how the heck could something like this happen?

That purpose of this column isnâ<80><99>t to gloat in â<80><9c>I told you soâ<80> fashion. Well, not the ONLY purpose, anyway. Itâ<80><99>s also to point out how hard it is to build and maintain a pro wrestling company in America in this day and age. Guys like Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman â<80>” guys with FAR more experience and knowledge than Sapolsky â<80>” got their respective companies to a certain level of achievement, then stalled

You can only succeed so long as the little promotion that could. You can draw some big crowds as the little promotion that could. You can build a cult following as the little promotion that could.

But after you do all that, you have to turn the corner and become big-league or you fade away. It happened to Smoky Mountain, it happened to the original ECW, and now itâ<80><99>s happening to ROH.

Companies like this come with an expiration date. ROH was no exception. Itâ<80><99>s going to get worse before it gets any better. Except it wonâ<80><99>t get any better. When you get right down to it, ROH was never anything more than just another slice of indie wrestling.

Itâ<80><99>s not a matter of changing styles, or importing top-flight Japanese workers, or relying more on storylines than 5-star matches, or even getting TV. The fact is, you just canâ<80><99>t do what ROH is trying to do. In fact, give ROH credit, because theyâ<80><99>ve given it a better run than most. But in the long run, it wonâ<80><99>t be remembered any more than Hulk Hoganâ<80><99>s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, dude.

Thatâ<80><99>s because Hogan has TV.

ROHâ<80><99>s biggest legacy may be Matt Sydal, who has been amazing since arriving in WWE. WWE changed Sydalâ<80><99>s name to Evan Bourne. That way, nobody will remember who he used to be.

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