Tuesday, 22 May 2012

State of the stars, Part Three : ROH, DGUSA & NJPW

State of Ring of Honor

Ring of Honor has expanded its outreach through TV and capitalising on the online streaming concept with internet PPV’s. So what can the current stars do to make ROH stand stronger against competition?


Current champion has earned his right, however has neglected fans with holding the title after he gave his speech causing defragmentation between the audience claiming there was no competition, and possibly doing a ‘CM Punk’.

It also highlighted the issue that Richards, claiming there were not competitors to “outwrestle” him, cast a dreary eye on ROH and its future.

Richards himself needs to now create opponent for himself, or he will have no further options, even if he is at the top wearing the title, while visiting Japan, England and the rest of the world, as potential substitutes.

Is now sidelined in an unfortunate, impromptu accident causing injury (further article to come soon.) Best wishes from WW go out to you. X

The little man won the big title, only to lose it and seem inferior. Edwards was ROH’s only other title challenger after the destruction of Roderick Strong as a result.

Edwards, winner in the WW 2011 awards for Most Improved and Match of the Year (with Richards), proved he has the potential to carry the company and gain audience along with that. Now back into his old position before the title was held, Eddie is stuck. He now needs to be built further and pushed hard as competition along with two or possibly three others, in order to create a pool of selection all battling at one time.


Sacrificed to Edwards for the world title, Strong became the guy who now has no role and is jobber-esq, after being raised as World champion, which is shambolic.

Strong should have remained in the background as title contender. This is what ROH must re-invoke in order to maintain someone who stood at the top, then dropped for a maximum impact collision between two friends, in hindsight, forgetting about all else in the company.


One man fully neglected by ROH over the course of 2011 with a string of losses, still delivered when required and made #43 in the WW Pro 50.

Cole shortly after, broke partnership with Kyle O’Reilley as a tag team, which was gathering intense momentum with the masses. Both Cole and O’Reilley were booked to support world title options and develop other superstars stories to coming PPV’s than their own.

ROH need to give Cole a solid push, as the fan base is there for him.  Cole is someone with a fresh, new and intriguing style. With a ladies man look and some taking a fancy to him also, Cole is one to pursue. Needs to be earmarked to TV title level at least.


Split from partner Adam Cole as Future Shock causing ripples in the ROH tag division.

Either needs to re-join with Cole to rip the tag division apart, or be rebuilt as a buff stud with the green tights and sweaty beefcake who can go with length in matches. O’Reilley needs a strong backstory to why he is in a match with a challenger and the reason be crystal clear to audience to emotionally invest.


The stronghold of ROH, coming into his own with leaps and bounds, should definitely be given a further future in three months’ time or so. Big matches with stipulations to build his character and level in the company will not go a miss. Is the one to watch.


Everyone’s cutey pie with a potential mean streak has brought his first lady of ROH, Maria Kanellis along with him. Together there are many options, though many claim Bennett does not fully respect the sport, company or its journey in deliverance on screen with values. Bennett will need to learn how to control, respect and deliver if he is to go further. Though from last year’s record, Bennett, at #37 in WW Pro 50, has been given more than enough respect from ROH in order to do this.

Losing Steen for the best part of a year was a bad slump for Honor. Time was there to create a few stars in order for Steen’s impending return to set the stage ablaze for audience.

Upon his return, Steen was stuffed in the middle of Edwards and Richards after their world title match at Final Battle in December.

Most fans only watch for Kevin Steen, which now says much about the promotion, and what it needs to achieve in order to drive audience back in.

Steen reinvigorates fans, though most instances are of “Hardcore” value. Steen needs to add the wrestling more fluently with that if he is to become a potential, serious contender, which he clearly can attain.

As you may see, Kevin Steen is now the new ROH Champion.  (See further article in couple of days.)


The flying Luchador s classed as never having one bad match in ROH. While this may be true, Generico is not viewed by the company, who must acknowledge that to have sterling matches in everyone he enters, should be respected for being able to deliver and be over with fans.

Generico should be supportive in TV title and tag matches, before eventually winning one with further style, in which he can add his own character onto it, and done in a way where Genny wont be obvious to which title/she could be lined up to capture. An air of mystery in matches can add to the style of the flying superhero.


Forming the ANX, Titus and King have clearly created their place in tag wrestling. This team are talented, strong and have longevity if done correctly.

The pairing must remain for a while. Like Haas and Benjamin (see below) if either or both went separate ways, there would be no place for them a singles competitors right now, as the roster is overwhelmed with that.

Though neither need to part from one another. No other company has a strong tag division, and ROH have that strength in these two teams.


Both support the tag team division perfectly. While both are able to hold their own in singles, for now, the pair are needed in the tag team line.

Feeding off one another with sheer grandeur, Haas and Benji bring back wrestling and tag principals that create a division of numerous tag teams in the sport and indeed company where all else have failed to create a division.


Though everyone raves of them, the Briscoe’s have done it all in ROH. Seen as outlandish thugs or daredevil nutcases, that is the only real angle they have left to play out. Singles cannot be supported by either of the two, though Mark is actually the unconsidered one of the two that would be most successful.
The Marty Jannetty/Miz concept applies. Of the Miz/John Morrison team, Miz became the Shawn Michaels of the two.

Constantly kept as a structured support system, Honor hasn’t got someone to best him on level, example being the US TV title, though Lethal will not move above mid-tier. This is fine, because Lethal is making a consistent level of mid-tier. While Lethal may want higher, as proven in TNA, fans don’t see him a viable upward option, while disheartening for him, he can be left to shape the division he is in very well. Companies need all areas taken care of, and this makes for an integral cog in the wheel. At some point, however, ROH will have to drop Lethal to competitors, while allowing Lethal to work a challenge (and feud) with them.

ROH's state is interesting. It could have the potential to add altenative dimensions. It has the potential to stand strong above, next to and eventually over TNA IF ROH decide how to move forward with bold decisions than easy ones. This takes more than placing a title onto a new star. ROH need to add a further dimension to it's edge, as currently, it is a alternative movement that provokes a rebel cause to WWE, but after a PPV or month long run, most are drawn back to the big league by default because ROH drops its ball in how to function fully. Again, though, it has potential to stand up if it can make decisions, but with its limited independant capital, Honor may need to branch out on a business and investment level, as it has cpabale talent and now needs to move further up the pecking order if it is to be something more than just on the sidelines.


CIMA is the staple of DG USA. The main focal point is for a reason. He knows how to wrestle, lead from the front and command the situation involved in, and though unfortunatley sidelined with a neck injury, this now gives a chance for two factors - CIMA's hungry return, as well as having new stars leading at the front to initiate a return on impactful reclaiming of the top dog position with a well structured feud to further to the company.


Continual improvement, high flying daredevil manoeuvres and a passion for the business, ‘ochet has years ahead in the sport. One of the key standpoints for the company, adding youth and skill with such expert deliverance, the young breed has placed its promotion worked for in a very supportive state of positivity gaining ticket sales and narrative design with in ring style. Has more to learn, meaning his potential, and for the company also, could eventually become explosive in many more years down the line.
Kicking out former stable mate and leader of the Blood Warriors, CIMA, Hulk could be stepped up to a leadership/virtuous advisor role with serious technique in ring to back this up. Feuding with company favourite CIMA is not out of the question. Both could have a lengthy series that would deliver prestige, intent and structured design with a tint of mayhem to create an explosive standpoint in the industry and create a feud of the year, which would also gain DG USA further notoriety and mainstream coverage as an entity in wrestling’s walls of ‘American-ism or ‘Hollywood-isation.’
Sheer aggression, attack and mat expertise make Gargano an interesting addition to the squadron of DGUSA. Able to stand among the Japanese factions of wrestlers there and add a continental American flavour proves Gargano is more than just a demographic to please, and is supported by the rest of the roster on their own merits also.
As recent champion, Gargy holds the title with a certain level of maturity and company projection that draws and audience further into emotional investment. Company made a careful and solid choice to place the championship onto him with an insight to a future. Has not been a disappointment since. Cutting the ponytail also, and those snazzy tights add volumes evermore.
With his goon character coming over towards then of late last year, Callahan has impressed the pro wrestling world for what he can do. At his smaller size of 5’5”, Sami has devised an interesting style, partnered with working stiff and able to gain severe emotion in his match outings.
Has made the wrestling industry look up at what he can deliver. How he maintains this over a year or more will be maintaining his heat generously, slowly and tentatively to give a little, and get a lot. Rushing would ruin.
The comparison to Ezekiel Jackson and Bobby Lashley may be there, however Uhaa is the big bulked behemoth who can move swiftly in parts, and knows how to launch himself over the top rope accurately onto opponents to back up the dominant attack/s.
With a power monger who can learn, in time, to become fairly fluid and keep up with the rest of its roster, Uhaa won’t seem to be perceived as behind the times and on equal standing.
How he adapts to retain both together is down to him.
Serious intent and immense potential as a performer on all levels is able, with and without partner Gargano to deliver sweet, fun and powerful promos that connect to the audience. Taylor has a level of style that penetrates opponents to deliver a quality match, filled with unpredictable design, yet enthusing through the match time scale.
Taylor gained #39 in the WW Pro Wrestling 50
An aerial astronaut who commands the air, with fair vocals, always improving and a connective level of crowd interaction, DG USA has earmarked a powerful addition to the roster for further overall company growth.
Surprised fans don’t support him; there is no social investment into the character of Davis. Most view him as bland, a bore or just there to prop up the company walls as a bookend. If he wants to become a pillar to that community, Davis needs to project a style rather than a routine.
Cannon’s brawler and Hardcore ethics have been fused together with basic timing and short match participation, in terms of overall appeal, however, has his place to structure the company in doing so.
While it is minimal compared to all on the roster, how Cannon can improve is to gradually add further intensity to a few ground holds to add a handful of areas of wrestling/Hardcore/brawling behaviour, that will eventually open up eyes further to him.
Taking slow time to grow overall will benefit Cannon, rather than throwing everything at him to develop in one year, which is not possible for anyone.
Another high flyer, though not the typical fit able to adapt and continue with wrestling levels to create fair to solid matches in formation. Daredevil he may be, though Fox is slowly becoming a name in singles matches.  Able to encorporate those swift moves with height and devastation in sell, Fox has certainly gained an interest from fans. Being capable to turn those connective shots with a power manoeuver.
With a Japanese style and training supporting his motion, Swann has quickly become one of the company’s most intriguing stars. With his agile line and ability to irk fans with cowardice while maintaining star aura building a level of story and match outings to compliment his repertoire add motion to his presentation as a force to possibly be reckoned with. Could add stability to mid card levels.
Dragon Gate may now lose one of its stars to count on, after WWE have pursued interest.
Veteran unshy to commit, Mochizuki epitomises wrestling values. With the look, style and in ring capabilities Masaki is one that can still go, help others and get himself over in roles he portrays well that connect with audience on certain levels.
The best highflyer in the business adds differentiation to the sport and match prowress. Able to wrestle credibly also, PAC has been in title races and continued success with the promotion. PAC needs, however to combine the flying with ground work more fluently to establish a further basis to the company, and then PAC can become a major player in the business.
Back as Low Ki, has regained his fallen respect that WWE tore off of him. Options in WWE there were, but unutilised correctly allowed him to be snapped up by the promotion who have secured his assets that audience receptiveness latches onto. Respecting Ki’s momentum, maturity in wrestling and his all-round passion for the work, Ki has risen highly to gain a following that creates a place for DG and its audience to shape the format.
Surprising delight in change over the last year for the industry, Tozawa bcame a maniacal monster that provided a tough backbone instead of his favoured comedy performances in the past. Tozawa proved he can re-define his role upon command and make it look expert. 2012 could be interesting for him once again, though currently is in a strong position all round.

Recently gaining title success, Gamma has received a nod of appreciation. DG respects its workers and Gamma creates a different, entertaining and heartfelt standpoint to the sport. Gamma has potential to rise atop in his own level, whilst also supporting tag groupings whether leading or a part of.
As a former leader, Gamma can lead others as well as himself. Having stars who know roughtly where they can go off script adds to the way forward for any wrestler re-creating a place in a small knit community.
Ever developing and growing in name and appearance, Dragon Kid is slowly but surely climbing ranks. Again, though, this one should not be rushed and allowed his time to go along slowly, yet always has pace when carrying out his lines of action and storyline feuds.

Both supporting the tag division fruitfully, both are able to rebuild this area successfully with guided direction and written procedure. Changing the script in the ring, allowed by them, will add to both in unison.

YAMATO is an all rounder. He can use submission, be a part of a group and pair in tag matches. YAMATO is able to fit anywhere DG need him. While this is helpful to the company to rise above, work together and become competition to others, while creating DG’s own exclamation point is key. Though it does not mean YAMATO needs to take a lesser role. Though for now, if DG want to become a promotion that can challenge other’s well, it may need its lieutenants in place to work together and YAMATO proves he is one of many who can support roles and create an outstanding display while doing so.
The State?
Dragon Gate USA, to everyone’s surprise, is the only true contender to adding competition to WWE. While it is in ‘small’ stages currently, DG has powerful points to deliver. With wrestlers that can fly, submit, add power and define story and key vignettes, this promotion has the level of magnitude to break out through WWE’s stale downplay and typical repetitive angles.
One ‘problem’ DG does need to consider as to why it isn’t fully as high as it could be is for one reason. DG has quality Japanese or Eastern wrestlers, while they add to the design, fans are fickle. Most have also grown up accustomed to the WWE way. How you get the organisation over without seeming to be overly ‘Japanese orientated’ and add in touches of Western culture to fuse the two together, more wrestling fans will join the movement, which will then become a statement, following to a standpoint. Fans can only take so much in visual aspects.
DG can easily stand strong among ROH and possibly work up to the number two promotion over TNA, which is lacking organisational direction.
If Dragon Gate get it ‘right’ they will be on course to make a statement for wrestling in the coming years as a promotion filled with interesting and must see, exceptional talent.

Holding the heavyweight title for a record 404 days has only helped Tanahashi prove his core strength, all round talent and heavyweight diffinity. New Japan have allowed him to shape, define and add prestige to the title, the company and his talent, while also supporting others, in what has been instant classics and long-time memories for the company to proudly speak of.
Tanahashi proved his finest work over 2011, earning he #1 wrestler in the WW Pro 50 – WW Pro Wrestling 50 and Wrestler of the year in the WW 2011 Awards
Tanahashi is set in NJPW walls as a strong and esteemed rival that can work well in any capacity and shine the wrestling business as beautifully as his talent.
New Japan made sure it put Devitt at the top of its priorities list, and that priority has payed off. Devitt commands the arena, supports in tags and upheld the honour of the IWJP Jr heavyweight championship. Now without it, Devitt is stronger than ever thanks to his style, deliverance and respect for the business. Dev is one of the top players in the company AND the industry, and now holds high value to anyone he works for, with and against. One of the toughest to defeat on a level, NJPW gave him the correct time and support in achieving this global representation. He got NJPW noticed.
Now without Giant Bernard (Lord Tensai), Anderson has disbanded with his former Bad Intentions partner, both who won tag team of the year at WW Awards, 2011.
Will have a tough test to remain over, though as a built bulky bear who is beefy and mighty, New Japan should focus on Anderson favourably, to regain some Western culture to infuse with the eastern area in order to build bigger audience and reputation. Gaining more followers who appreciate wrestling will benefit all involved in the long haul.
Was the man who claimed the win and gold over Hiroshi Tanahashi, now credited with destroying his impressive streak no one else could do. Increasing his weight size to enter the heavyweight division proved successful. Not only wearing the most prized and respected trinket in the promotion, has taken ‘Hashi’s streak away and now has a high playing field to set his superstardom on.
Supporting the mid level tier honourably while on standby for the heavyweight division is pleasing for direction. Given a chance, Goto can elicit emotional response, regardless of good or bad decisions enforced by Goto as a character.

Maintained the best comeback of his time leaving WWE to gain further experience and respect his dreams in Japan.
Seeing MVP in the cup challenges and coming out of them in  further knowledge with revernance in prolific standing, whether a win or a loss, MVP can support the walls of NJ’s infrastructure.
KUSHIDA is another guy NJ can capitalise on. While growing ever more everyday in roles given to him, he is able to deliver great matches with the correct opponents. Being the supportive shield for now, KUSHIDA could eventually in a couple of years work higher up the card with an augmented place among the talent on the roster to add his own placing on any card. Till then, should support and grow the brand further.
Supports the tag team scene and occasional junior heavyweight division. Needs further star power to get across, however and needs to be given a strengthened new angle to characterisation to relate to his wrestling skill set he chooses to use. Both must flow together to gain further fan base.
Taguchi compliments tag wrestling well, allowing NJ to hold on to the division if they can deliver quality match booking and angles that influence and encourage fans elsewhere to stand up and look in. Along with Devitt, Taguchi becomes ever more powerful with him by his side. Though when without Taguchi can support on his own to form a good match with others.
Must learn to work less stiff and protect opponents from injury than shelve them unintentionally. Nagata should remain in tournaments and build the roster up, while gaining some momentum himself, whilst learning to work fluently and capable with the rest to enhance them all.
Pushed into and propping up around the heavyweight title scene is encouraging for him. Naito can deliver a new outlook to the company as a challenger to the Japanese market, while casting minimal eyes from the West, though it is a small start that creates the biggest opportunities.
The New Japan legend continues to draw audiences in. While humorous, and having a unique look and style, Liger knows how to wrestle fluently and get over while encouraging audience response for or against. Always a joy to watch with intrigue.

Wasted in WWE whilst an chance to do well as Vance, Archer now heads up the tag team areas once more in NJ. Alongside colleagues who can work with him and learn further enhancement to wrestling, Archer has options to grow over time, where NJ should slowly but steadily do so if they want a tag team option for the future.
Propping up the Intercontinental side whilst participating in the tourneys and some tag matches proves this thirty-nine year old veteran has no chance off playing down any time soon.
Embodied with working others to great matches and keep company faith, Tanaka holds a profile that categorises class and value to the honour of the sport.

The State? - New Japan hosts incredible wrestling with some of the most productive and powerful grapplers in wrestling principals, however fails to catch the wider audience West-side.

In order to cpture those fans, NJPW needs to branch out, which is is trying to encorporate with the tours of America, Mexico and Britain. Though a greater step of faith is needed, NJ have managed to delegate stars correctly in prjection, the struggle it faces, again, is to captivte the fickle western, hollywood-ised, consumeristic style defining their culture. When an alternative is provded, fans wake up and take notice.

Parts 1 and 2 are below (click the links) -

State of the Stars, Part One: WWE

State of the Stars, Part Two: TNA

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Max  X
© Max Waltham 22nd May 2012

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