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Heel Turns: Ring of Honor clearly No. 2

Posted by Achilles Heel On October 17

Achilles HeelThe Bullet Club generated a lot of publicity by taking shots at WWE during Ring of Honor’s Global Wars tour.

The goal may be to get under WWE’s skin – Roman Reigns responded to a tweet from Cody Rhodes – but, unless WWE is secretly cooperating with Ring of Honor to promote a feud between Ring of Honor and NXT, the comparisons are sort of ridiculous. WWE is the No. 1 wrestling organization. And it’s not even close.

But the comparisons between WWE and Ring of Honor obscure the important point: Ring of Honor is clearly the No. 2 wrestling promotion in North America.

Although Global Force Wrestling has a national television contract (on POP TV), Ring or Honor, which is syndicated nationally, has passed GFW by every other measure.

Compare the champions. GFW’s world champion is Eli Drake. Ring of Honor’s world champion is Cody Rhodes. With no offense intended toward Drake, he could walk through Wells Fargo Center in his wrestling gear and with the GFW World Championship belt and few people would know his name. Rhodes would probably draw a crowd – even in civilian clothes.

Similarly, Jake and Dave Crist, whom I praised in Heel Turns for becoming GFW tag team champions, probably wouldn’t even be in the championship picture in Ring of Honor. The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) are the Ring of Honor Tag Team champions. Contenders include War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe), The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian.

Most importantly, Ring of Honor is able to attract a crowd. Coming off the successful Global Wars tour, Ring of Honor will return to Philadelphia on Friday before a sellout crowd at 2300 Arena. By contrast, GFW’s attempts to take its show on the road have resulted in failure. One summer show was canceled and the others weren’t well-attended.

The Greek God of Wrestling isn’t from the school that believes everything Ring of Honor does is awesome, but its matches are generally better than the matches in GFW. There aren’t many matches in GFW that can set a crowd on fire. Ring of Honor can do that several times a night.

The only real challenger to Ring of Honor’s status as the No. 2 wrestling organization in North America is NXT. Whether to consider NXT, which is owned and operated by WWE, as a separate organization is a question we don’t need to answer right now.

We can simply agree that Ring of Honor is the top non-WWE wrestling organization in North America.

And it’s not even a close call.


HONOR IN PHILLY: Ring of Honor has added a meet-and-greet autograph session before Friday’s sold-out Philly Excellence television taping at 2300 Arena. Schedule to appear at the autograph signing (6 p.m.) are Ring of Honor World champion Cody Rhodes; Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team champions Adam Page and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson); Ring of Honor World TV champion Kenny King; Will Ospreay; Jon Gresham; Silas Young and Mandy Leon. For $20, you get an autograph and a posed photo. The rate is $30 for a tag team (The Young Bucks).

The Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship will be on the line, with The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) defending the titles against War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe). In another announced match, Punishment Martinez will battle Josh Woods.


FAREWELL FOR BULLY RAY? Based on what he did during the Global Wars tour, expect Bully Ray to give an emotional speech Friday during Ring of Honor’s television taping at 2300 Arena, the building in which Bully Ray (then Bubba Ray Dudley) rose to fame in ECW.


TLC MAIN EVENT: WWE has created a blockbuster main event for TLC on Sunday. The Shield is reuniting to take on The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus in a 5-on-3 Tables, Ladders and Chairs handicap match. The Shield reuniting, with Raw Tag Team champions Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose teaming with Roman Reigns, is enough of a reason to watch this match. But the 5-on-3 stipulation, with Strowman as the fourth member of the opposing team, and then Kane added as the fifth member on Raw, casts doubt about whether The Shield’s reunion will be successful.

At this point, TLC looks like a one-match card. The only other compelling match is Finn “the Demon” Balor vs. Bray “Sister Abigail” Wyatt. It will be exciting to see Asuka make her main roster debut against Emma, and Alexa Bliss’ defense of the Raw Women’s Championship against Mickie James and Kalisto’s defense of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against former champion Enzo Amore might be decent matches, but few people are clamoring to see those particular matchups. The same goes for the cruiserweight tag team match between the team of Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann and the duo of Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher. Watch for my full TLC preview later this week.


HEAVEN AND HELL: Hell in a Cell lived up to its potential, making it the best Smackdown pay-per-view since the brand split. The main card was bookended by two Hell in a Cell matches.

In the first Hell in a Cell match, Jimmy and Jey Uso defeated The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods were the participants) in an outstanding match featuring numerous weapons.

The final match featured an insane leap by Shane McMahon off the top of the steel structure. Unfortunately for McMahon, Kevin Owens was pulled off the broadcast table by Sami Zayn, causing McMahon to crash through the table. Owens and McMahon told a terrific story, and the Zayn heel turn was a nice twist.

There weren’t any bad matches on the show. A.J. Styles was – of course – phenomenal while losing the United States Championship to Baron Corbin in a triple-threat match that also included Tye Dillinger. Randy Orton and Rusev deserve a lot of credit for producing a solid match that drew the crowd into it despite following the crazy tag team Hell in a Cell match. Orton won with an RKO in a clever sequence that saw Rusev nearly put Orton in the accolade.

In other matches, Jinder Mahal retained the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura, Natalya retained the Smackdown Women’s Championship because she was disqualified for applying a beatdown to Charlotte Flair with a steel chair, and Bobby Roode beat Dolph Ziggler in his WWE pay-per-view debut. In the kickoff match, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin defeated Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley.


MAKING SENSE: Sami Zayn’s explanation for why he helped Kevin Owens defeat Shane McMahon at Hell in a Cell made perfect sense. You don’t have to agree with it. But, as Mick Foley once clearly explained, you have to believe that the heel believes it. There was no doubt that Zayn believed that McMahon didn’t care about him and his career. Zayn and Owens, who have a long history together, should be an interesting pairing.


STRICKLAND RETURNS: Shane Strickland successfully defended his Combat Zone Wrestling World Champion against Ethan Page, who was making his return to CZW, on Saturday at The Wolf of Wrestling. Strickland’s next challenger will be Joe Gacy at Night of Infamy on Nov. 11.


MAKING AN IMPACT: Johnny Impact, the former John Morrison, defeated Garza Jr. on Impact Wrestling to earn a shot at Eli Drake and the Global Force Wrestling World Championship at Bound for Glory on Nov. 5.


NEVILLE LEAVES: Neville has apparently left WWE, just a few weeks after losing the Cruiserweight Championship to Enzo Amore. Neville reportedly walked out before last week’s Raw.


CHAMPION VS. CHAMPION: Survivor Series will reportedly feature a match between WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar and WWE champion Jinder Mahal. This indicates a Raw vs. Smackdown them for Survivor Series.


HARDCORE LIVE: Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore will stream events live, starting with House of Hardcore 35 on Sat., Nov. 18 at 2300 Arena. The main event will be a first blood match between Tommy Dreamer and Joey Mercury.

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