– Former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness posted a blog on his website nigelwrestling.com and in it talks about people who criticize Ring of Honor’s style. You can read the whole blog by clicking here, or the excerpt below.
This weekend Ring of Honor had shows in Cincinnati and Detroit, and I, as ever, felt blessed to have a place on the show. I won’t reiterate the wonder of family I share with the guys and girls there, the fun times on the road, or perhaps even the arduous Saturday night six of us spent in our rental van after some fuckers slashed the tires.
Instead I wanna talk about the essence, at least to me, of what ROH is. Because I truly saw again this weekend, what perhaps I had taken for granted about what, artistically, we have all created in the company. As long as I can remember I’ve heard people in pro wrestling denigrate the product, saying it’s all high spots, has no psychology, how everyone needs to slow down, that somehow what we do is less or easier than other products.
But I’m gonna call a spade a spade and say they didn’t take the time to pay attention to the whole. It’s like going to the circus and only commenting on the clowns piling into a car, or the girl swinging through the air on the trapeze. ROH, like the circus, has a bit of everything. Maybe in ROH the differences perhaps aren’t quite so glaring to the untrained eye, but if you watch they are undoubtedly there.
And besides, it’s no different than any other show in the pro wrestling world now, or in the past. There were comedy matches, freak shows, silly storylines. I can’t comment on the current product as I haven’t watched it in many years but back when I was wrestling, and I can’t imagine it’s changed much since then, there was a ton of nonsense in both major companies that the world could’ve done without too.
But wrestling isn’t like a cake recipe. Some people watch for the acrobats; some for the realism; some for the spectacle. And unfortunately wrestling has yet to find a perfect mix that endures. So instead we all try to give a bit of something that will appeal to everyone.
But I do want to say this about ROH. In ring, the art form, we have almost always been the evolution of pro wrestling. And anyone who has wrestled on both levels will tell you the same thing. Getting over in ROH is harder than anywhere else. Not because you have to do more, but because there is less to hide behind. To go out in the main event when the crowd has seen so much already, has popped so much already, and try to do something different, to draw them in with a story, but also a spectacle, that is as hard a thing as anywhere in pro wrestling. And that is why, almost without fail, the top guys who leave here go on to such success in the “bigger” leagues.
On Friday I sat in the stands of the beautiful old Taft Masonic Center and watched Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin go out last, in front of a crowd that had quieted considerably, some of whom would even disrespect them by trying to chant random things during the match, but Roddy and Mike didn’t let up. And by the end, on a small house show where they could have done immensely less, they gave as if it were a PPV to get the crowd and a standing ovation. That is dedication. That is the art form.
And I will submit ROH to the Pepsi taste challenge when it comes to that. It came from the guys like Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Austin Aries, Low Ki, and Bryan Danielson, who revolutionized the style alongside similar products in Japan, and I think the true effect on the industry has yet to be truly appreciated or understood. Now that a lot of these guys are starting to even slightly introduce what they’ve learnt in ROH on the big stage, however, maybe by the next generation that will have changed.
The following night in Michigan I was lucky enough to be at ringside to watch Kevin Steen’s last match in ROH against Steve Corino. I’ve seen so many last matches in the company, every one full of true emotion, homages to the spirit with which we all endured the injuries to develop the art form. I’m not gonna lie, since returning to ROH after my own last match, the joy of seeing my friends rightfully move on to worldwide fame, year-round world travel, and financial security, was at first tinged with a shred of jealousy, knowing I’d never take that trip myself.
With time, however, as I said I have found acceptance and perspective. And as I look into the future I find myself feeling very hopeful and excited, hoping to continue to be a part of the company where I made the majority of my legacy. I feel honored, no pun intended, to have the opportunities I do. Whether it is touching your childhood dream, or simply having a cup of tea, they are opportunities so many millions of others born to the world in the exact same way as we, never had the chance to.
– The following is a preview for this coming weekends Ring of Honor Wrestling, featuring a Four Corner Survival main event as The Briscoes take on Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, War Machine (Hanson and Rowe) and The DECADE’s Jimmy Jacobs and Roderick Strong, with the winner getting a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Championships.