One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Or, in this instance, one organization’s loss is another organization’s gain.
One week after news leaked out that Destination America would be severing its relationship with TNA next fall, there was an announcement that Destination America will televise Ring of Honor’s weekly show for 26 weeks.
Ring of honor’s debut on Destination America will take place this Wednesday (June 3) at 8 p.m. Ring of Honor will be followed at 9 p.m. by TNA’s Impact Wrestling, which moves to Wednesday from its Friday night spot.
There are several interesting twists and potential repercussions in this story. First, it appears obvious to the Greek God of Wrestling that Destination America is grooming TNA’s replacement in its broadcast lineup.
What if, however, having Ring of Honor as a lead-in boosts TNA ratings? Would Destination America consider renewing TNA in order to have a three-hour wrestling block on Wednesday nights?
The wrestling doubleheader could also affect WWE’s NXT, which runs on WWE Network on Wednesday night (8 p.m.). Will some fans watch Ring of Honor and then watch NXT at a later time on WWE Network? If so, would this spur WWE to move NXT to Tuesday?
There are still a lot of moving pieces in this situation. The clear winner, though, is Ring of Honor. As Achilles Heel told you in last week’s Heel Turns, Ring of Honor recognized the need for a greater television presence. With Destination America, it has that presence.
Appearing on Destination America, which was a step down from Spike TV for TNA, is a major step up in television exposure for Ring of Honor. Its syndicated wrestling show was not available in many major markets – except by signing up to watch it on Ring of Honor’s Web site – and often was not broadcast in prime slots. Now, Ring of Honor will be available in prime time on a national cable network, exposing its product to potentially millions of more fans. More fans watching on television should lead to an increase in pay-per-view buy rates and more demand for Ring of Honor house shows across the country.
The Greek God of Wrestling’s only concern for Ring of Honor is how it will handle this opportunity. I do not have questions regarding the creative side. My concern is related to the logistics of running more events in a larger geographic area. Getting personnel and equipment to more places as the company expands requires more people and more money. Hopefully, Ring of Honor’s inevitable expansion won’t create more problems than it solves.
Ring of Honor appears to be in position to surpass TNA as the second-largest wrestling company in the United States.
To reverse what I wrote at the beginning of Heel Turns, one organization’s gain is another organization’s loss.
RING OF HONOR RETURNS: Following two sold-out shows that were co-promoted with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor will return to 2300 Arena on Fri., Aug. 21. Tickets are on sale now.
PROCESS OF ELIMINATION: WWE’s “Elimination Chamber” takes place Sunday (8 p.m.) on WWE Network. In a bit of irony, the two main events aren’t the elimination chamber matches.
Seth Rollins defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against former Shield teammate Dean Ambrose. Another highly anticipated match pits United States champion John Cena against NXT champion Kevin Owens.
The Rollins-Ambrose feud has been simmering off and on since Rollins turned on his Shield teammates a little more than a year ago. The heat has been turned up in recent weeks, elevating the feud to boil. Is it possible that Ambrose walks out of Elimination Chamber with the title? Yes. But it’s more likely that Rollins remains the champ, forcing Ambrose to enter Money in the Bank two weeks later to get another title opportunity. Having Ambrose lurking with the briefcase, haunting Rollins’ championship reign, would be a terrific way to extend this feud.
Achilles Heel may have jumped the gun before Payback in suggesting a Roman Reigns Heel Turn during the Fatal four-way with Rollins, Ambrose and Randy Orton. The commentary during this past week’s Smackdown, with several references to Reigns being Ambrose’s only friend in the world, indicates that heel turn might be coming Sunday. As I noted last week, Reigns and Orton are conspicuous by their absence from the Elimination Chamber card, so Reigns is likely to get involved in the championship match involving his two former Shield teammates.
Cena vs. Owens is another intriguing match. With neither the United States nor NXT title on the line, and with Owens about to move up to the main WWE roster, Owens should win. At the very least, if he loses, he should deliver a brutal beatdown of Cena after the match.
The elimination chamber match to crown a new Intercontinental Champion – Daniel Bryan, who will appear on “Miz TV” during the kickoff to Elimination Chamber, had to relinquish the title due to injuries – features six competitors. Sheamus, Rusev, King Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and R-Truth are scheduled to participate, although Rusev’s status is in doubt due to ankle injury suffered against Ryback on Smackdown from Wilkes-Barre.
Let’s look at the match using, appropriately, the process of elimination. R-Truth isn’t going to win. Barrett just lost the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 31, so it’s unlikely he’ll win it Sunday. Rusev is hurt, and Achilles Heel can’t think of a replacement (Luke Harper?) who would win the title. That leaves Ryback, Sheamus and Ziggler. I don’t think Ryback’s matches have the consistency required of an Intercontinental champion, so that narrows it down to Ziggler and Sheamus. Given his budding relationship with Lana, Achilles Heel predicts Ziggler will replace Bryan at Intercontinental champion.
The Greek God of Wrestling is somewhat befuddled by the Elimination Chamber match for the tag team titles. The Elimination Chamber is a physically brutal match supposedly reserved for high-stakes matches. Quite frankly, this collection of tag teams (The New Day, The Ascension, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, Los Matadores, The Lucha Dragons, The Prime Time Players) doesn’t rise to the level required for an Elimination Chamber match. This leads me to conclude that the chamber will be the true star of the match.
Quite frankly, the only reason to have this match is for the cool spots they can execute with multiple teams inside the chamber. One other possibility is to have Harper and Erick Rowan, a team left out of the chamber match, break into the chamber and destroy a bunch of other tag teams, with the match resulting in a no-contest.
Nikki Bella defends the Divas Championship in a triple threat match involving Paige and Naomi. Naomi, with some help from Tamina, may emerge as champion. The outcome of Adrian Neville’s match with Bo Dallas should be determined by the status of Neville’s knee. If he needs to be out of action for an extended period of time, Dallas should either win or injure Neville after the match. Otherwise, Neville should prevail.
WWE COMES TO TOWN: WWE will be coming to Southeastern Pennsylvania for a few shows during the next six weeks. There will be a house show in Reading at the Santander Arena on Sun., June 28. Two days later, WWE will tape Smackdown at the Giant Center in Hershey. WWE will be at Wells Fargo Center for a house show on Fri., July 10.
MR. PERFECT: Two more of the Greek God of Wrestling’s predictions for 2015 came true this past week. Kevin Owens was signed to WWE’s main roster, as I predicted would happen this year, and Ring of Honor’s television show will be available in the Delaware Valley.
Technically, I wrote that Ring of Honor would find a local television outlet, but I’m chalking that up as a correct prediction because Philly-area fans will be able to watch Ring of Honor’s weekly show. When announcing the new television deal, Ring of Honor Chief Operating Officer Joe Koff specifically mentioned Philadelphia as a place in which the show wasn’t airing through syndication but would be seen on Destination America.
WICKED DEFENSE: Hallowicked successfully defended the CHIKARA Grand Championship against Ashley Remington during the Anniversario 2015 show last weekend in Easton.
DEATH WATCH: Combat Zone Wrestling will host Tournament of Death 14 on Sat., June 13, at Ultraviolent Underground in Townsend, Del. In addition to the tournament, there will be a scaffold match and a ladder match.
OLD SCHOOL: While watching an old match between Tony Garea and Dean Ho and the Valiant brothers, who were the tag team champions, Achilles Heel was reminded of how big a reaction wrestlers could get with a simple move.
When Garea ducked a punch by Jimmy Valiant, causing Valiant to be launched over the top rope, the crowd reacted as if Garea had done a 450 splash off the top of the cage. When Garea punched Captain Lou Albano, the Valiants’ manager, later in the match, the roof almost blew off the building.
One negative to the athleticism and high-flying in today’s professional wrestling is it takes much more to get a reaction out of the crowd than it did in the old days, when big spots were used more judiciously and, I would argue, more effectively.
MUST-SEE TV: Don’t forget that Monday, the night after Elimination Chamber, Stone Cold Steve Austin will interview Paul Heyman on WWE Network. That should be a fascinating interview featuring two of the best talkers in the business.
LESNAR RETURNING: Heyman’s interview may be connected to the return of Brock Lesnar, who is scheduled to return after Money in the Bank. Lesnar is scheduled for RAW, a match in Japan on July 4 and the Battleground pay-per-view in July. Lesnar has not appeared with WWE since taking out the broadcast team, including delivering an F-5 to Michael Cole, the night after WrestleMania 31.