It’s a weird feeling, watching four weeks of pro wrestling, waiting for the big match that you’ve known the results of for a month now. Strangely, in one sense, nothing’s happened for a month, but on the other hand, everything happened. Just to get this out of the way, after several blunders during iPPVs, ROH has stopped doing those events, with all future PPVs set to be On Demand. In some circles, fans would be distraught, but in the narrow world of Ring of Honor, it’s only one more sign that this we’re entering a new era for the company.

Now, onto the main results and it’s not like they could keep them secret if they tried. Even on their website, there’s been announcements about what’s already happened and what’ll happen next. Steel Cage Warfare, their version of WarGames, ended with Kevin Steen saving R.O.H. and eliminating S.C.U.M. for good. So that main storyline, which lasted almost a year, is officially over. Before that, the R.O.H. World Title was successfully defended by Jay Briscoe – first against his brother Mark at Best in the World in a brutal match that led to both of them suffering serious injuries, and then he defeated Matt Hardy the night after at these historic TV tapings. After the match, S.C.U.M. obliterated him, and destroyed what was left of his mangled shoulder.
Kevin Steen - Ring Of Honor's Savior?

Kevin Steen – Ring Of Honor’s Savior?

Supposedly, this was done to give the Briscoes’ an out, as their contracts were expiring, and rumors were abound that they’d be heading elsewhere, but it seems like they’ve re-signed, at least for now, even despite some occasional tweeting controversy with Jay. However, matchmaker Nigel McGuiness made the difficult decision to strip Jay Briscoe of the ROH World Title, as he’s not healthy enough to compete for the next several months. Now, according to ROH rules, when the World Title is vacated, the #1 Contender is automatically awarded the title. That #1 Contender is “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin, but Elgin informed McGuiness before he made the official decision, that he would not accept the belt without earning it in a match. So, for the first time since Low-Ki won the inaugural ROH World Title Tournament, the world title is vacant, and it’s going to be vacant for months. A 16-man Tournament has been announced, and the first matches will be airing on TV in the coming weeks, and naturally Michael Elgin, was announced as the first entrant and is essentially the favorite and number one seed.
Each subsequent day, a new entry was named for the tournament on; let’s go through them one-by-one and then check out the full bracket.

The second entry went to Brian Kendrick, who’s returning to ROH after three years absent. An ROH original once known as Spanky, he was one of the participants in the first ROH World Title Tournament and has since become a worldwide-respected wrestler who’s excelled for multiple organizations.The third entry was Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson. A member of the BULLET CLUB in New Japan, his few recent appearances onROH have been impressive including wins over Triple-Crown Winner Roderick Strong, and #1 Contender, “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin.Fourth, “Mr. Wrestling” himself, Kevin Steen. He may have started S.C.U.M., but he also ended it, and with the 10-month reign as World Champion, only ending a few months ago, he’s now refocused on regaining the belt, this time, with Honor.

Paul London, “The Intrepid Traveler” is fifth entrant, another respected ROH Original who’s succeeded elsewhere. He recently returned to ROH after ten years, and is coming off that brutal concussion he got in his first-match back against Davey Richards. His second match back, will be in this tournament.
No surprise here, the sixth entry is former World Champ, and one of only two Triple-Crown Winners in ROH history, Roderick Strong.Number 7, is the young, Former TV Champ, Adam Cole. He lost a recent World Title Match against Jay Briscoe. That said, this choice is somewhat controversial, especially given his recent actions, particularly in matches against Roderick Strong, where he not only forgot the Code of Honor, but often bent the rules to win. He was never a part of S.C.U.M., but his close relationship with Steve Corino has raised eyebrows, and might’ve contributed to his recent personality change. On top of the tournament, he and Roderick Strong will compete in a Ringmaster’s Challenge match at Death Before Dishonor, which is a 2 out of 3 falls match, where the first victory, has to come by pinfall, the second by submission, and then the third, if necessary, is a 15-minute Iron Man Match, which goes to Sudden Death rules in case of a tie. It’s a very grueling match that combines all technical aspects of wrestling. There hasn’t been a Ringmaster’s Challenge Match in two years, for good reason. That will be tough to train for, especially with Cole and Strong also having to focus on the World Title Tournament.
Another returning former ROH star, Sonjay Dutt, has the eighth spot in the tournament. He’s had memorable wars with Bryan Danielson, Delirious, and El Generico, and played a big role in the CZW war, and now he’s in the tournament for the title.

“Buzzsaw” BJ Whitmer, is number 9. Coming off of Steel Cage Warfare, and wrestling with heart above all else, he’s more over and bigger than ever, and considering his own neck injuries, this might be his last shot at the belt.

Number 10, is the impressive and also recently-returning, although in this case, from a severe knee injury, “The Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa. He’s gotten his revenge on QT Marshall and his former manager, the Barrister, RD Evans, and after coming close to winning the TV Title last year, he’s clearly on the road to winning the World Title. Sooner or later, it’ll happen, might be sooner.

Jay Lethal is number 11, and after coming close to winning the title a few months back against Steen a couple times, the former TV Champ and fan favorite, can now focus his attention back onto the World Title. Jim Cornette once said he lacked the “Killer Instinct” to be the Champion, but he’ll need it to go through this group.

No longer, “The Prodigy”, and also no longer Mike, Michael Bennett, along as always, with Maria Kanellis, dumped his longtime trainer Brutal Bob Evans recently. While the free agent is still being scouted by all major wrestling organizations, he’s still currently on the ROH roster, and he is the #12 Entrant in the tourney.

The 13th Entry Spot is up-for-grabs, as it will go to the winner, of the latest match between ROH’s newest wrestler, the very-recently-signed Adam Page, the impressive young prospect who was raised on a tobacco farm, and Silas Young, a rough-old veteran, who’s old-fashioned in his rugged appearance, and attitude. He’s usually pissed about having to follow the Women’s match on the card, that kind of stuck-in-the-fifties persona that wasn’t new when Andy Kaufman was doing it. (BTW, the MsChif vs.Veda Scott match recently on ROH TV, earned its spot on the card, a really impressive Women of Honor match.) Page and Young have fought twice, first in the Top Prospects Tournament a couple months back, and again at a TV taping in a great match that stole the show, and earned Adam Page his ROH contract, and a victory. They’ve split the series; the rubber match will earn the winner a shot at the World Title.The Winner of that Top Prospects Tournament, and current ROH TV Champion, Matt Taven is the 14th Entrant, and he’ll be representing the House of Truth (HoT) and he comes with Truth Martini and the Hoopla Hotties, Scarlet Bourdeaux and, Syleezia. (An “oh boy” sigh) While Taven’s an unproven but talented youngster, god knows what crazy antics will happen with everyone else around. (I hope I spelled Syleez-, actually I don’t care whether I spelled that right or not)
The 15th Spot, was chosen on the internet. ACH of Adrenaline Rush, the young high-flyer got voted into the Tourney by the ROHfans. (More on him, later)The final spot, surprising everybody, went to Mark Briscoe, Jay’s younger brother, and the 8-time tag team Champ. While Jay’s shoulder injury is keeping him out of action, Mark will recover and be medically cleared to compete in the ring, in time for the tournament, and a shot at bringing the World Title, back to the Briscoes. (Another sign, that they are staying in ROH). BTW, the concussion he’s recovering from was given to him by his brother Jay at Best in the World.
Those are the entrants, and here’s the official ROH Tournament bracket, and the dates of the first round matches. (Notice by the time this post, some of the matches would have occurred, the Aug. 27 matches, will air on ROH TV, within the next few weeks.)
Since the ROH World Title is vacant, the prominent position of the company will, for the immediate future, be the Tag Team Division, so there’s no better time to take an overall look at the division, especially the complex rivalry between The American Wolves and the current Champs, reDRagon.
To fully get the complexities of the rivalry, we have to go back to the origins of the American Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, who became tag team champions back in ’09, by defeating Kevin Steen and El Generico. They were a team then, but after losing the titles, they amicably went their separate ways, both of them, becoming ROH World Champions themselves, and they even faced each other in three Match of the Year candidate-level matches for the world title. Richards famously defeated Edwards to win the title, just two years ago.
In the time between those title matches and their Tag Team run, Richards had taken under his wing, Kyle O’Reilly, a young up-and-coming talent, with lots of potential, and they were briefly anointed the New American Wolves. O’Reilly also started a highly-successful solo career as well.Now, shortly after Richards lost his ROH World Title last year to Kevin Steen, he took some time off, at around the same time that Edwards was competing in Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH, which both of them are known to do, Richards and O’Reilly had a falling out, and late last year, O’Reilly teamed up with the newly-debuted Bobby Fish, and attacked Davey Richards.
Bobby Fish, is an incredibly talented veteran who’s spent the majority of his career wrestling in Japan, and was especially successful in the Tag Team Division, with his tag team partner,… EDDIE EDWARDS!
Yes, Edwards and Fish, not only used to be Tag Team partners in Japan, they still are! Somehow getting along overseas to cover dates, while meanwhile in the states, they’re rivals. You see, Fish and O’Reilly respect Eddie Edwards, as a man and a wrestler. Don’t get me wrong they don’t like him, but they really can’t stand Davey Richards, and they believe his good guy persona is an act. Even the way they spell their name, with the DR capitalize, is too exemplify their real feelings towards one, Davey Richards.
After the attack though, Richards e-mailed Edwards, who was in Japan at the time, but on the day he came back from his tour, at Final Battle, their rivalry with reDRagon, began. Since then, they’ve faced each other in singles and tag matches constantly over the past months, having some amazing matches. The rivalry amplified after reDRagon defeated the Briscoes earlier in the year to win the Tag Team Titles, a title match that reDRagon earned by winning a gauntlet match by pinning the American Wolves, who were the first of four teams to enter that match. reDRagon was the last, and therefore the freshest team.
This intense and complex rivalry, which isn’t simply blind hatred, but to some extent is beyond it, has led to some amazing matches tag team and singles matches over the recent months, as they are four of the best overall wrestlers in the company. They have Championship level abilities and always have the capabilities to have a great match with anyone at anytime, especially each other. The rivalry just continues as both Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards are determined to take back the Tag Team titles from reDRagon, even going so far as rejecting entries in the ROH World Title tournament, which both Edwards and Richards would’ve gotten easily if they wanted.
That all said, that’s only two major teams at the top of the Tag Team Division at the moment, and there’s no shortage of good teams btw. C&C Wrestling Factory, has come close to winning the Tag Team Titles on multiple occasions, but the team of the veteran and Baptist Preacher, Caprice Coleman, and young upstart with unlimited potential Cedric Alexander, are definitely always in the discussion.
An even younger high-flying team is quickly becoming their main competition though. Recently dubbed “Adrenaline Rush”, the team of Dallas-born standout ACH, whose raw skills and athleticism can match anybody’s at his young age, and the unpredictable and impossible-to-plan-against capoeira-expert Tadarius Thomas, have both already been extremely impressive in singles competition, but they really gel in the Tag Team division.
Now, with S.C.U.M. over, there’s huge question marks regarding the future all of their members, including the recent tag team of Jimmy Jacobs and Cliff Compton, who’ve been quite impressive with, slightly-tainted but impressive wins over top-level competition. Also, Rhett Titus, was a former Tag Team Champ with Kenny King as the All-Night Express, as one of the most talented and skilled tag teamers on the roster, can he find a partner and change himself quickly enough to become relevant in ROH again?
Also, just announced, making their ROH return, is the Young Bucks. The brother team of Matt and Nick Jackson are a young but very experienced tag team, who’ve traveled the world, mastering their unusual, slow-paced high-flying style. They may still be coming into their own, but they’re getting closer every day, and they will enter ROH, as a dominant force in an already crowded tag-team division.
And I haven’t even mentioned the Forever Hooligans! Currently the Junior Heavyweight Tag Champs in IWGP, the team of Rocky Romero, (himself, a former ROH Tag Champ with Davey Richards) and Alex Koslov are just as likely to damn-near clobber each other as they are their opponents, but they’re a worldwide force in the Tag Team division, and they’ve just signed for a Proving Ground match on ROH TV against reDRagon, so not that they need it, but they can also, immediately jump to the top of the Tag Team ranks, with a TV Taping victory, in the near future. They’ve already been Tag Team champs in both Mexico and Japan, and they’re not to be taken lightly by anyone.
And I still haven’t gotten to team the returning 3.0, the tag team of Scott “Jagged” Parker and “Big Mac” Shane Matthews”, or the newly-formed team of, party rockers Mike Sydel and Zizou Middoux, they damn-near beat the American Wolves in a match on TV recently. Well, they’re definitely focusing on the Tag Teams, for good reason; it’s a loaded division in ROH, and it will most likely be, even after a World Champ is crowned.
So, that’s what to look forward to in the next couple months on Ring of Honor, as a new era begins, with pretty literally, a clean slate. Who knows what booker Hunter Johnson, (aka Delirious) will be coming up with, but with this company already a distant 3rd place, these next decisions will determine the future and survival of Ring of Honor.