ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

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Big Red Machine
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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by Big Red Machine » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:35 pm

maxx_powerz wrote:SBG really lucked out by the incredible group of talent that came in late 2010 and early 2011 right before their purchase (Cole, O'Reilly, Ciampa and Elgin). Then they lucked out that NJPW wanted to expand their presence, giving ROH regular access to AJ, the Bucks, etc. For the first couple years their reputation survived, giving them access to more good talent (Cedric, ACH). I'd argue that not much has changed booking wise, there is just less talent to hide it now. If you go back and read McXal's reviews, he's been ripping the booking going back to 2012. I tend to agree.
I'd disagree with this. It wasn't, like, peak Gabe or anything in that the stories weren't super-great, but I thought that they retained the ROH-reputation of not doing f*ck finishes into about 2015 or so.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by Big Red Machine » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:47 pm

supersonic wrote:The company's booking has largely sucked for about a decade now.
I definitely disagree with this. I don't get why people are so down on the end of Gabe's run. He made one big screw-up in botching Necro's push at Glory By Honor VII and made one or two smaller mistakes with the the likes of NRC's first tag title run, but I thought it was still mostly good. Pearce definitely took some time to figure things out but I thought he started to turn things around by March 2009 and ROH was back in full swing by April. I thought everything from about Steen's heel turn until the SBG tapings started to get into full swing in Oct. 2011 was excellent (that's mostly Pearce and Delirious). I didn't like most of Cornette's stuff, but I thought the two main problems with it were too many f*ck finishes and things developing too slowly. Cornette's booking logic was sound, but it just wasn't what ROH in 2012 needed to be. From the time Delirious took over again through Elgin's title win I thought was pretty good, although I had some issues with too many tag title switches and I wasn't fond of vacating the title, and from then on (or, I guess, really, the end of Elgin's reign) until the time Cole turned back heel at ASE the next year I thought things were very good aside from some of the booking in the world title picture, mostly during Briscoe II. There was a point in there where I thought ROH put on a TV show that was, at the very least great almost every week for about eighteen straight months. To say that the booking has stunk for a decade is, in my opinion, crazy. Just because it's not at the level it was during it's absolute peak doesn't mean that it was terrible.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by supersonic » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:36 pm

I've continued detailing how Sapolsky fell after Glory By Honor V weekend in my thread. It wasn't a mistake or two - it was a combination compiled shitty decisions that led to the PPV experiment bombing and his firing. And I haven't even reached 2008 yet.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by Big Red Machine » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:50 pm

supersonic wrote:I've continued detailing how Sapolsky fell after Glory By Honor V weekend in my thread. It wasn't a mistake or two - it was a combination compiled shitty decisions that led to the PPV experiment bombing and his firing. And I haven't even reached 2008 yet.
I'll have to read it to find out what you mean by the PPV experiment bombing because I thought it worked rather well. I have never seen a set of shows that manages to mesh both giving the pre-existing fanbase the excellent they want with the necessary friendliness to the new fans you're hoping to attract.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by McXal » Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:28 pm

The original post is utterly fantastic, and succinctly explains everything I've been feeling about ROH for a long time far better than I ever could.

Thank you for contributing it. I get asked a lot why the regularity of reviews over on my review site, and this article is pretty much a perfect summation of why.

It's such a draining experience watching ROH these days. And there are so many companies out there now who entertain in a way ROH used to so much better. It becomes harder and harder to justify following this promotion.

So much about ROH needs overhauled. I really feel like they are losing the Young Bucks (and arguably Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe) away from total and complete conservative corporate irrelevance.

I sometimes wonder whether the problems lie with Delirious (sorry, he must be partly at fault right?) or the evident straightjacket the priorities of SBG place upon ROH.

Just my thoughts. Thanks again for a superb articles!

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by ROHfan2002 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:53 am

I enjoy the weekly TV show. The matches are almost always good (the last TV match I can remember hating was a Kingdom v. Karl Anderson/Doc Gallows abomination from several years back). I got every VOD in 2016 and the through April in 2017. I've gotten every PPV/iPPV since Death Before Dishonor in 2015. I got the annual Ringside membership back in January.

But heading into BITW Friday, I wasn't excited at all about the show. I purchased it, and watched live. There wasn't really a bad match on the show (although the main event teetered on being a bad match). A lot of action in almost every bout. However, when it was done I was very blasé about the PPV. Thinking hard about it, I had gotten a bit blasé about watching the TV every week.

Nothing bad, but nothing great either. It's just a good promotion right now that is seemingly happy chugging along at being good but not great. They lost a lot of talent in the last 8 months. The booking is now at the point for me of being stale. Not enough new talent brought in and given something to do to get me excited. For example, Evolve lost a lot of talent in 2016. Evolve stunk to me for the last six months of 2016. But Gabe went out and got about ten new names, pushed them well, integrated them into the roster quickly, and 2017 (outside of last night) has been great in Evolve.

So I made a decision to take a break from Ring of Honor. I notice that they have no PPV events until DBD in late September. I will not watch any current ROH until at least then. If I miss it, I may get the PPV and give them one last shot. If not, I might skip it.

For me, SBG right now seems content to just have a slightly above average TV show, a PPV with great work but nothing compelling story wise, and attendance that isn't dropping that much. They are OK with it. NO major talent turnover. No booking change. NO real change to the TV show. It is OK with SBG, but not that interesting to me right now as a long time fan of ROH. So I'm taking a break for three months from the current product.

For all the Cornette hate here, I think you would admit that he worked hard at making a weekly TV show that built up the talent, and the storylines, to build at a iPPV event people would want to see. Now the TV show seems to just be there, and often times has almost no real relation to what is happening at the PPV events. NOt good enough for me right now.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by maxx_powerz » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:58 pm

Nah, Cornette was the shits. I can't comment on his weekly TV since I didn't watch it but his iPPV shows were only interesting because of Steen, who he featured against his (Cornette's; pronouns, pal) will. Death Before Dishonor 2012 was one of the worst "major" ROH shows ever and he was rightly replaced right after. I think Delirious has gotten burnt out, but I think Glory By Honor 2012 is proof he could at least deliver better big shows using the same talent Cornette couldn't deliver with.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by supersonic » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am

Big Red Machine wrote:
Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:50 pm
supersonic wrote:I've continued detailing how Sapolsky fell after Glory By Honor V weekend in my thread. It wasn't a mistake or two - it was a combination compiled shitty decisions that led to the PPV experiment bombing and his firing. And I haven't even reached 2008 yet.
I'll have to read it to find out what you mean by the PPV experiment bombing because I thought it worked rather well. I have never seen a set of shows that manages to mesh both giving the pre-existing fanbase the excellent they want with the necessary friendliness to the new fans you're hoping to attract.
If the PPV experiment had been a success, then Sapolsky is kept around, the creative remains fresh, and the PPV contract gets extended. None of those happened.

In the 9 months following Glory By Honor V, these are the flaws off the top of my head:

Cheap imitations of the PPV multiple locations on Driven 2007 first used by Starrcade 1985 (more thorough critiquing in my Domination and Driven 2007 reviews)
Putting the Tag Titles on Sydal & Daniels instead of going directly to the Briscoes when Castagnoli had one foot out the door
Failing to use the easy KOW reunion storyline, with Sweeney's reason being "You know what? I admit I made a mistake, Hero's been pestering me, and Claudio, I'd be happy to be the super agent for the best tag team in the world."
Breaking up KOW and Aries & Strong just a couple months apart, BOTH before Steen & Generico becoming part of the picture, and thus creating a weak tag division
Thinking anyone would give a shit about Konnan as a foil to Jim Cornette
Giving a major push to Jimmy Rave... AFTER Prince Nana had fucked off
Trying to turn Cross & Stevens into the new Evans & Strong
Morishima losing his debut against the departing Joe
McGuinness losing in the UK against the departing Joe
Failing to crown McGuinness in the UK and then putting him on the creative treadmill for another 7-8 months while Morishima was champion
Failing to replenish Cabana's comedy void (a key component in the variety that defined the 2004-06 golden age,) instead trying to make Delirious a serious business upper-midcarder and also not bringing in Human Tornado
Not cutting the dead weight that'd later be known as the Hangmen Three after Good Times, Great Memories
Roderick Strong losing a trios match clean the night before challening Morishima for the ROH Title, without any kind of creative justification for it like at least Morishima had being humbled in his debut the night before challenging Homicide
Speaking of Homicide, loved that there was no farewell match to put over Romero and pay off their angle too

There's still plenty more to unpack for 2007, including the misfired pick to break the Briscoes sweeping gimmick in 2/3 falls matches, the Vulture Squad, and the nWo 2002 style nonexistent disbandment of the Resilience. Then there's the business-killing year that was 2008.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by Big Red Machine » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:33 pm

supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am


If the PPV experiment had been a success, then Sapolsky is kept around, the creative remains fresh, and the PPV contract gets extended. None of those happened.
Fair point, but I'm not sure that it's necessarily that PPV not working as well as they hoped that led to Gabe's firing so much as it is that if it had worked better Gabe's job would have been saved.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
In the 9 months following Glory By Honor V, these are the flaws off the top of my head:

Cheap imitations of the PPV multiple locations on Driven 2007 first used by Starrcade 1985 (more thorough critiquing in my Domination and Driven 2007 reviews)
This whole thing never bothered me much. I actually thought it was an interesting way to try to turn the fact that the PPVs are taped well in advance into an advantage, although I will fully admit that the idea doesn't seem as good if Nigel and Dragon don't put on a killer match. I think what happened is that Gabe thought that KENTA an Marufuji would overload the card (and I think he wanted to avoid putting them against each other in a singles match) so he booked this one in Philly instead. I also think that you are overlooking United We Stand as a factor in all of this. I think Gabe liked the idea of having both Sydal & Claudio and Dragon & Nigel team up the night before (or, in Dragon & Nigel's case. "before") going one-on-one. I think Gabe saw this as a bit of an experiment. He was getting his artsy thing in on the DVD continuity while in the "lihe had Nigel lose the #1 contendership but then get a huge win over Morishima in his very next match to rehab him. I certainly don't think the way Gabe did it was good, but I really don't think it hurt anything, either.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Putting the Tag Titles on Sydal & Daniels instead of going directly to the Briscoes when Castagnoli had one foot out the door
The timing doesn't work out, though, for a few reasons:
1. The Briscoes were still heel at that point, and I think they needed Homicide to win the title- thus dissipating any specter that something they did might have cost him the title- before being able to be fully babyface again.
2. Gabe needed something for Sydal to be concentrating on so as to keep him out of the Gen. Next split. The tag titles not only served that purpose, but also allowed him to start getting over the cockier personality that would eventually lead to him signing with Sweeney before the split started, so as to give yet another reason why Sydal wouldn't care about his best buddies breaking up.
3. The grand plan for the Briscoes was to finally regain the belts after two and a half years, then shockingly lose the belts in their first defense, fight each other to toughen up, get the belts right back and go on to have the most dominant run we had ever seen up to that point. I think Gabe specifically wanted to do the title changes on the exact shows he did because A) He liked the artsy-ness of the Briscoes finally winning the belts 365 days after their big return
B) He wanted to give the UK fans a major surprise (which the title change definitely qualified as)
C) He wanted to throw Dragon Gate a bone, and letting their guys winning the tag titles and hold them on a DG tour accomplished that (and the weekends where the title changes happened were the only ones where they had multiple Dragon Gate guys two weekends in a row, and Claudio would have theoretically been long gone by them).
D) Having the Dragon Gate guys be the ones to trade the titles with the Briscoes also meant that whoever the Briscoes dropped the belts to then won them right back from wouldn't be a second ROH team in the same position as the Briscoes, who would then look bad because the Briscoes would bounce back from this by being extremely successful while this team would not.
(Also, Daniels & Sydal not getting a rematch played into the promo where Daniels quit at Good Times, Great Memories. My gut says that that whole thing was probably conceived after the title change happened, but if it was part of some grand plan all along, then Daniels & Sydal needed the belts, and the time between them losing and Daniels' promo had to be both short enough that it felt reasonable for ROH to have not booked a rematch yet while also long enough that it would be understandable that Daniels was frustrated, and that again would have required a title change well after Claudio would have left).

supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Failing to use the easy KOW reunion storyline, with Sweeney's reason being "You know what? I admit I made a mistake, Hero's been pestering me, and Claudio, I'd be happy to be the super agent for the best tag team in the world."
We just got KOW, and not just for nine months in ROH but for well over a year in both CHIKARA and CZW. I liked the idea of doing something different with them. Furthermore, fans were going to be happy that Claudio wasn't leaving, which naturally predisposes him to a babyface reaction, and you can't book him as a babyface while teaming with Hero and being managed by Sweeney. Babyface Claudio opened up more opportunities, including actually giving us a large babyface to challenge large heel champion Morishima.

supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Breaking up KOW and Aries & Strong just a couple months apart, BOTH before Steen & Generico becoming part of the picture, and thus creating a weak tag division
Totally disagree on this. Firstly, Aries & Strong breaking up didn't weaken the division. It actually strengthened it because the idea was that both guys were going to wind up with factions, so he's actually turning one team into two. As for KOW and Steenerico, your timing is wrong. The decision not to put KOW back together was made AFTER Steenerico earned their roster spots with the match against the Briscoes in Philly.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Thinking anyone would give a shit about Konnan as a foil to Jim Cornette
It was something they did for ONE SHOW in order to have a kayfabe explanation for why Cornette was out of power and thus would not be able to do anything to f*ck Homicide out of the title in the main event of Final Battle. You weren't supposed to care about Konnan. He was just a conveniently-placed person who people could actually see as someone who could command respect and have a bit of sway with the people running a wrestling company, who was also a believable ally of Homicide's.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Giving a major push to Jimmy Rave... AFTER Prince Nana had fucked off
He was still a hated heel without Nana and it was able to turn Nigel babyface. The matches were great and the feud accomplished its goal of turning Nigel from a top heel into a top babyface. I'm not sure why you think this was any sort of failure.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Trying to turn Cross & Stevens into the new Evans & Strong
This is certainly a fair criticism, and I think, in hindsight, it really hurt Stevens' run.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Morishima losing his debut against the departing Joe
Yes, this one was huge mistake.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
McGuinness losing in the UK against the departing Joe
I think the idea behind this was as follows: Gabe was worried that giving Nigel the big win over the departing Joe in the UK would be seen as more of throwing the fans a bone than it should have been, so he had Nigel beat Joe in Chicago instead, then had Nigel lose to Joe in the UK in a match that did everything you could possibly do to make Nigel look like he was in Joe's league while still having him lose clean, with the idea being that Nigel's first win in the UK would be the big blow-off win over Rave the next night. If I were booking it I would have had Rave cost Nigel an undercard match in Liverpool and probably gone with Davey vs. Joe in the UK and Joe vs. Roddy in Dayton, maybe? Again, it wasn't the best thing to do, but it wasn't completely nonsensical or un-ROH. It wasn' good, but it wasn't terrible, either.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Failing to crown McGuinness in the UK and then putting him on the creative treadmill for another 7-8 months while Morishima was champion
Homicide had to win the title from Dragon, plus Dragon still had other feuds to blow-off before dropping the belt (Joe, Cabana, KENTA) so Dragon dropping the title at Unified was not feasible. Nigel might not have won that night, but the match did make him. And I don't think he was really ever on a creative treadmill for long. After that he faced NOAH's top guys, feuded with Rave, then got put into the title picture with Dragon and Morishima, did a bit to set up is first feud as champion against Hero, then was right back in the title picture and won the belt.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Failing to replenish Cabana's comedy void (a key component in the variety that defined the 2004-06 golden age,) instead trying to make Delirious a serious business upper-midcarder and also not bringing in Human Tornado
We're going to have to disagree on how important Cabana's comedy was to the 2004-2006 product (especially since he wasn't doing any comedy from the end of 2005 until after the Danielson feud, and then stopped it again one he dumped Lacey and got jumped by Jacobs in October 2006), but I disagree with the idea the he didn't try. You had the stuff with Cabana, Lacey, & Jacobs where Cabana was being dick to Jimmy (dark humor, but still humor nonetheless), proud manservant Shane Hagadorn, Cornette managed to funny while also being angry, all of the SnS stuff- especially with Dempsey- and we had Rhett Titus.
As for Human Tornado, Gabe was going to bring him in. He was supposed to be the guy in Rhett's role (or something similar to Rhett's role) in the Rhett/Daizee/Delirious angle, but then Tornado's knee got f*cked up.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Not cutting the dead weight that'd later be known as the Hangmen Three after Good Times, Great Memories
I didn't think they were so terrible (I actually really liked Albright in the ring). They filled a role as undercard heels. They had a decent feud with Delirious and they turned Steen & Generico babyface. When it was clear they weren't working early the next year Gabe did fold them, and went a different route with Albright while using Pearce for his NWA World Heavyweight Title (and I believe Gabe did confirm that he was pretty much done with Pearce once the Albright/SnS feud wound down).
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Roderick Strong losing a trios match clean the night before challening Morishima for the ROH Title, without any kind of creative justification for it like at least Morishima had being humbled in his debut the night before challenging Homicide.
Yes, this was a bit of a misstep.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
Speaking of Homicide, loved that there was no farewell match to put over Romero and pay off their angle too
I'm almost certain that the announcement that TNA was pulling their guys (who, at that point would have been Daniels, Aries, Cornette and Homicide) came after Good Times, Great Memories so Gabe didn't know that he needed to give any of those guys a farewell or immediately wrap up their angles.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
There's still plenty more to unpack for 2007, including the misfired pick to break the Briscoes sweeping gimmick in 2/3 falls matches
An acknowledged mistake. He was trying to use that fall to elevate a new team, and they were ones that needed it.
supersonic wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am
the Vulture Squad,
The idea for Jack to also have a faction in the NRC-Resillience War has some logic to it, and it built up to the faction warfare angle that never got off the ground because 1) Jack wasn't around enough to lead his group, 2) Trios Tournament 2007 got wrecked by a snowstorm and turned into Unscripted III, 3) the Resilience was clearly floundering, so we got a change-up to more of a focus on Strong vs. Stevens until Davey joins SnS and the NRC disbands while Aries moves into the program with Jacobs.

[/quote]

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by Big Red Machine » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:03 pm

I cancelled my ringside membership after watching the PPV. Checked my e-mail today and I had gotten two e-mails from them notifying me of the change, but absolutely nothing asking me WHY I stopped paying them money every quarter after five years of doing so.

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Re: ROH: A Catharsis by Big Red Machine

Post by supersonic » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:16 am

You can explain away all those 2007 decision you want: the bottom line is that they were NOT effective, and there were clearly superior alternative directions to take.

To address some particulars:
Why would McGuinness have won at Unified? The money was in him dethroning Homicide at FYF, while Morishima would go on undefeated streak to eventually dethrone McGuinness in Tokyo, specifically having defeated former ROH Champions Samoa Joe, Homicide, Xavier, Austin Aries, and Bryan Danielson before challenging McGuinness.
The tag division was fucking pathetic in March 2007. The only top stars tag team was the Briscoes, that's it. It was fucking insane to break up TWO top star tag teams without even having Steen & Generico earning their spots yet (that they even had to "earn" them is another LOL SAPOLSKY story entirely.)
Nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted Konnan as a Cornette foil, not even for one night. If there was any demand, then the Bitter End wouldn't be remembered as a piece of shit event completely bailed out by KENTA vs. Sydal.
Rave couldn't cut as compelling of a promo on his own as Nana would for him. While the stuff against McGuinness worked, his top match during the push was highly disappointing, headlining FYF NYC for the title against Homicide in a match that nobody remembers at all.
The proper Tag Titles change with Castagnoli out the door was at FB 2006; that's right, both titles change hands that night. KOW threaten that with Castagnoli "signed away," if nobody beats them, they won't take the titles hostage, but they will force ROH's hand into "retiring" the belts, a final fuck you stemming from the CZW feud. The Briscoes pull it off to make NYC blow up as the first half main event and make the show that much more historic to go with Homicide's coronation. Sydal & Daniels were never even close to be over enough as the real tag team stars of 2006 - Briscoes, KOW, Aries & Strong - to warrant a title reign. The "payoff" for Sydal's heel turn was also minuscule with him having one foot out the door, and not being anywhere near as fantastically compelling with it as the Summer of Punk or Tyler Black 3 years later. Sydal & Daniels were also scheduled to face the Briscoes for a rematch at SCOH2, but Mark got concussed the night before.
Hangmen Three were necessary to turn Steen & Generico babyface? That's laughable considering that had KOW still been together with Sweeney to be the MX/Cornette dynamic, then Steen & Generico would've by default become babyfaces in the dream match/program, and still having plenty of memorable matches in the process. Nobody talks about the Hangmen Three at all; as for KOW vs. Steen/Generico, someone book that for WrestleMania please, as I'm still a fucking decade later to see that dream match, dammit.

I strongly recommend to thoroughly revisit this period before attempting to defend any of its flaws; the booking is often miserable in hindsight. Getting fired is rarely a result of just one event, or even a few things - it's a culmination of bad decisions that finally boils over. ALL of the things I've mentioned played a part in Sapolsky falling off, the PPV experiment going limp by 2008, DVD sales being down in 2008, and plenty of other bullshit that I've yet to chronicle.

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