It’s fairly customary now, bordering on canon, that Tony Khan will spit out an incredible pay-per-view each time he must. And now it’s with a number of corporations. Final Saturday, it was Ring of Honor’s flip, with “Dying Earlier than Dishonor.” And by any measure, it was a banger. Not good — hardly ever is a present ever good — however actually extremely entertaining with some basic matches. You realize you’ve gotten one thing when Claudio Castagnoli, doubtless essentially the most beloved “underdog” within the business — you’d be onerous pressed to discover a fan who thinks he’s ever been used to his potential — profitable his first singles title opens the present. However when you’ve gotten a second FTR vs. The Briscoes tag crew match in your holster, that’s at all times going to shut the present.
Even the 2 “filler” matches — Dalton Fort and The Boys vs. The Righteous and Wheeler Yuta vs. Daniel Garcia — rocked, although the latter suffered a bit of from what the Castagnoli-Jonathan Gresham match did in that it merely didn’t go lengthy sufficient. However a sense of wanting extra is at all times preferable to the sensation of one thing dragging on. Tony Khan-produced reveals nearly by no means have a match that feels too lengthy, and therefore by no means do the reveals even after they rise up to round 4 hours as typically AEW’s PPVs do.
However watching Dying Earlier than Dishonor — and within the aftermath — one couldn’t assist however surprise what precisely the plan for ROH is. As a result of watching the PPV, it didn’t really feel all that completely different from an AEW PPV. However is ROH simply going to be a distinct arm of AEW or is it going to be one thing that has its personal explicit really feel and magnificence?
It’s vital to recollect what ROH was earlier than it began its downturn that ultimately led to its folding and availability for Khan to buy. It was the corporate, again when Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Kenny Omega, and even Seth Rollins had been there, that was concerning the in-ring work, or work charge. It was the place the place smaller guys may flourish; the sort that may by no means get the time of day from WWE (at the least earlier than HHH remade NXT). It was centered on guys who may simply placed on nice matches at first, and fear concerning the different stuff later.
It was the corporate that had wrestlers from Japan and Mexico and in all places coming in to indicate followers all of the kinds of wrestling that had been on the market. It was capable of keep its recognition for some time by being the American wing of Bullet Membership when Bullet Membership turned ubiquitous, the place Omega, The Younger Bucks, and Finn Balor would wash up on these shores after making all their headlines in Japan.
Besides…AEW is all of these issues now, and it’s all of these issues with a serious TV deal that the previous ROH by no means had. ROH began to expire of oxygen when all the blokes it may depend on to maintain it related as a substitute had been a part of the AEW roster. AEW’s attraction is that it’s the work charge firm; it’s the corporate that’s solely involved with placing on nice matches and telling clear tales. It’s that various. The place does that depart ROH?
It’s onerous to know what it is going to be after we don’t know what precisely its schedule shall be. Khan continues to be looking for a TV deal for the corporate. He has dominated out making it AEW’s model of the previous NXT, claiming that “Darkish” and “Darkish: Elevation” on the corporate’s YouTube channel function that. Nevertheless it’s onerous to see how a sequence of squash matches — principally what these two reveals are comprised of — work actually as developmental. That concept shouldn’t be actually dominated out, as it is going to give ROH a novel id alongside its sibling AEW. On the opposite facet, it’s onerous to try this when Samoa Joe and Castagnoli are operating round with the 2 largest titles. They’re not going to anchor a developmental present.
That stated, Khan saved each of ROH’s reveals in 2022 beneath the three-hour mark, and Dying Earlier than Dishonor solely had seven matches on the primary card, which did ring of previous NXT that was well-known for maintaining issues quick and tight when it got here to its largest reveals. It made the matches and feuds that obtained to a PPV really feel even larger.
If Khan simply sees ROH as a spot to run the identical matches and tales with completely different names and completely different labels and completely different titles, there’s an opportunity of simply being an excessive amount of. If it’s basically the identical product as AEW, and does type out some type of TV or streaming deal, Khan dangers the issue that almost all of his followers chortle at WWE for — filling 4 or 5 hours of tv per week as a substitute of the three he can overstuff now. Whereas FTR-Briscoes II was certainly a basic and a match that followers will speak about for a very long time, it wasn’t an excessive amount of completely different than Younger Bucks-Lucha Brothers from All Out or the triple menace simply a few weeks in the past that noticed Swerve In Our Glory take the AEW tag titles. They’re all in the identical genus. Which is okay when all of them are at that stratospheric stage, however is that every one ROH goes to be and must be?
Then once more, perhaps followers will take as many nice matches as they’ll get. Perhaps there could be two work-rate corporations and people who find it irresistible will love as a lot as they’ll get of that. It’s all coming from one man in any case, so it’s not an enormous shock that it would look the identical. Will followers need another person to run ROH simply to have a way of selection? Do we all know if Khan can delegate?
He’s already erred in that he’s misplaced Jonathan Gresham, who requested for his launch after main off the present and dropping to Castagnoli. It’s not that Gresham isn’t the kind of performer we see on AEW — extremely technical whereas being small however surprisingly highly effective — however he was decidedly ROH. He saved that high title alive whereas ROH was within the wilderness, going anyplace he may to defend it. After which as soon as ROH got here alive once more, he was pushed to the facet. We didn’t even see him on AEW TV almost as a lot as Jay Deadly or Satnam Singh or Sonjay Dutt, and all these guys are as fascinating as an ironing board. It doesn’t appear truthful.
There’s nonetheless loads of time, and a TV deal to seek out for Khan to outline ROH. It’ll be curious to see what different playing cards he has to play, or if he does in any respect.