Guess what? It already happened. A long time ago.
Punk beat Aries seven years ago for the Ring of Honor World Championship. Aries had won the Ring of Honor title nearly seven months earlier in Philadelphia, where he defeated Samoa Joe. Aries had a second reign as Ring of Honor’s world champion, holding the title from June of 2009 until February of 2010, when he lost to Tyler Black, who wrestles as Seth Rollins in WWE’s developmental territory. Earlier this month, Rollins became the first NXT champion.
An examination of Ring of Honor’s champions reveals more than a few talented wrestlers who later excelled with larger promotions. Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) both held the Ring of Honor World Championship for more than a year. Joe is a TNA mainstay. Bryan has developed into a top star in WWE. Antonio Cesaro, who defeated Santino Marella on SummerSlam’s pre-show to win the United States Championship, was a championship contender (as Claudio Castagnoli) in Ring of Honor and appeared at CHIKARA events.
That’s one reason to check out independent promotions. You might see the next Aries, Punk or Bryan.
Even if you don’t see a future WWE or TNA star, you might find yourself having a great time. Independent shows such as Ring of Honor and CHIKARA have a different atmosphere than the big boys. For many fans, the more intimate atmosphere enhances their experience rather than detracts from it.
I encourage you to check out Ring of Honor on television or online. The next Ring of Honor shows within reasonable driving distance of Philadelphia are the television tapings in Baltimore on Sept. 22 and a live card in Rahway, N.J., on Oct. 6. The only match announced for the Rahway event is a tag team match pitting the Briscoes against Eddie Edwards and TV champion Adam Cole.
When you support Ring of Honor, CHIKARA and other independent promotions, you are literally supporting the future of wrestling.
(See the final note in this edition of Heel Turns if you’d like to become part of Ring of Honor. Most of you spineless couch potatoes shouldn’t even consider this offer, but a select few of you may have what it takes to break into the business and follow in the Greek god of wrestling’s footsteps. You won’t be as good as Achilles Heel, but should consider it an honor to be involved in the same profession.)
NOT A SLAM DUNK: SummerSlam was a good show that could have been a very good show with better promotion. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but I don’t understand why WWE doesn’t do a better job of promoting the matches on its undercards.
The more time fans have to watch a rivalry build toward a pay-per-view match, the more they would care when that pay-per-view takes place. Instead, with the exception of its main events, WWE seems to throw the undercard together in the final 7-10 days before the pay-per-view.
There wasn’t a bad match at SummerSlam. The Brock Lesnar-Triple H main event was very good, the World Heavyweight Championship match between Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio actually intensifies their feud, and the WWE Championship match between C.M. Punk and challengers John Cena and Big Show was good. Chris Jericho’s victory over Dolph Ziggler was also very good, with a surprising winner.
The rest of the card, including Daniel Bryan vs. Kane and a pair of championship matches, didn’t generate much excitement. The WWE can fix that by announcing pay-per-view matches further in advance and building them up for the fans. With three hours of RAW every week, there’s no excuse for WWE not properly promoting every match at a pay-per-view event.
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: After defeating Triple H at SummerSlam via submission, Brock Lesnar announced that he is leaving WWE. I have a feeling Lesnar will be back before too long. And Triple H will be there waiting for him.
FORGOTTEN, BUT NOT GONE: WWE Superstars this past week had matches featuring Jack Swagger, Justin Gabriel and, in one match, Alex Riley and Drew McIntyre. Yoshi Tatsu was also on Superstars, where he faced Damien Sandow. If Michael McGillicutty had been on the show, this may have been one of my favorite collections of underutilized wrestlers.
McGillicutty deserves more of an opportunity than he’s received. After losing on television for a year, Swagger needs time to rehabilitate his reputation. I remain befuddled by the ongoing burial of the talented McIntyre. With RAW lasting three hours every week, there is no excuse for not getting some of these wrestlers more exposure.
IS THIS SURRENDER? WWE isn’t the only wrestling company that doesn’t announce its pay-per-view matches far enough in advance. TNA’s “No Surrender” pay-per-view takes place on Sept. 9. We know the Bound for Glory Series semifinals and final will take place at No Surrender, but, two weeks before the show, no matches have been announced yet.
BAD TIMING: Did anyone at TNA look at the TV schedule and realize that Sept. 9 is the first full day of NFL action? The Sunday night game features Peyton Manning’s first regular-season game as a Denver Bronco – against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s not a good time to hold a pay-per-view.
LION-HEARTED: Speaking of football, congratulations to “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti, who won CHIKARA’s Young Lions Cup last weekend. Angelosetti defeated Anthony Stone in the semifinals in Milwaukee, then topped ACH the next day in Indianapolis to capture the crown.
WINNING MATTERS: I was troubled by the actions of Brodus Clay after a recent loss to Damien Sandow. After losing the match, Clay got some revenge on Sandow and then he … danced.
Wrestlers who lose matches shouldn’t be dancing. They should be pissed off. They should be annoyed, upset or angry at losing. They should not be laughing, smiling and dancing.
This isn’t intended to be a shot at Clay. He’s not the one who decides to dance after losing a match. WWE should make winning and losing seem more important, as it did during the tag team title situation discussed on Smackdown, where Eve presented general manager Booker T with won-loss records for tag teams during the past six months. WWE should make it seem as if the wrestlers care whether they win or lose.
TEAMWORK: Combat Zone Wrestling and EVOLVE are teaming up for a doubleheader on Sept. 8 at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. EVOLVE kicks off the action at 5 p.m. The main event of the CZW show (8 p.m.) features CZW world champion Masada defending his title against El Generico, and CZW World Junior Heavyweight champion A.R. Fox battling CZW Wired TV champion Dave Crist in a Chri$ Ca$h Memorial Ladder match to unify the titles.
Although separate tickets will be required for the shows, some wrestlers will appear on both shows. Fox will battle Ricochet during EVOLVE, which will also feature El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol. Masada will also be in action, taking on Sami Callihan.
GOING TO SCHOOL: Ring of Honor will start new classes on Oct. 22 at its “Dojo” in Bristol, Pa. The training program is designed to be six months, with a total cost of $3,000. The school is open to individuals with varying levels of experience. If you want to start a career in wrestling or enhance a career that has already started, Ring of Honor is looking for you.
The school requires a down payment of $900. That ensures that you are serious. But if you’re not serious about a career in wrestling, you’ll never last anyway. Trust me.
For more information, go to Ring of Honor’s Web site.