Monday, April 13, 2009

Insert Ring of Honor Thoughts Here

Normally, Saturday nights or sometime on Sunday would be when I post my thoughts on Ring of Honor on HDNet, but last night's show is currently sitting on my DVR, waiting to be watched. I could blame the Easter holiday, but I'm above blaming my lack of writing on bunnies and marshmallow peeps. Honestly, I just haven't got around to watching it yet, but I did want to share a couple quick thoughts on RoH.

If you have HDNet and you're not watching this show, you're doing yourself a great disservice. It's amazing how they've only had four episodes of TV, yet they've managed to put together a far superior-looking product than TNA has been able to in six years. TNA just looks low-budget and not in a cool intentional way like ECW, it just looks bad. RoH looks simplistic, but slick, their minimalist approach works for them and it comes across beautifully in High Definition. And that's just the aesthetics.

From the tremendous wrestling to the gloriously old school "smack talk" vignettes when wrestlers make their entrances, this is the show for wrestling fans. If you're like me and you grew up watching WWE Superstars or WCW WorldWide, Ring of Honor on HDNet offers a nostalgiac style mixed with cutting edge in-ring action. While WWE specializes in storytelling, Ring of Honor places emphasis on athletics and it works for them. I hate to keep ragging on TNA (well, I kinda enjoy it), but while they've discarded everything that once made them different in favor of trying to out-sports-entertain WWE, Ring of Honor embraces their niche and produces the most unique wrestling show since the original ECW.

I do have my issues with Ring of Honor, specifically some their overly smarky fans who try way too hard to be the ECW fans of old and fail miserably. Their most vocal fans are generally the most obnoxious and if you ever go to a RoH show, you will have to deal with them; instead of making the event about the wrestlers, they try to make it about themselves and that's just pathetic. Fans are a part of the show, no doubt about that, but at most, they're the "third man," in the ring, not the first or second, and it's disrespectful and unappreciative to behave otherwise. This isn't Ring of Honor's fault, it's just the continued devolution of the smarks and their continued quest to be the most negative fans on the planet. Thankfully, through the magic of editing, most of the random hecklers are drowned out on the HDNet broadcasts and the rock solid commentary team do a good job of making you actually want to listen to them (take notes TNA).

I'll offer more detailed thoughts on the actual shows in the future, but I just wanted to heap a little praise onto the best alternative to WWE out there today. If you're a wrestling fan, watch Ring of Honor, if you're not a wrestling fan, at least check out one episode, you may just change your mind.


  1. I had no idea ROH had a weekly TV show now. I guess this is my chance to finally get into them.

    I was really put off ROH a few years ago due to its low production value. The moment that sticks out in my mind is when Bobby Heenan got on the microphone, this was after his problems with throat cancer so he was hard to understand anyway. However the microphone was so muffled, like something from a poor quality karaoke machine, that he and all the other wrestlers were unintelligible.

    I presume that now they're in HD, there will be no problems like that.

  2. This is a fine television series. You can argue that there's nothing story-based to it and that we're not really seeing any decisive stars yet, but I can't view that as a negative when the show's just getting going and when straight wrestling totally works for it right now.

    I compare this to this week's TNA, which I stunningly didn't hate, and I don't find anything ridiculously inexplicable on ROH TV right now, versus say TNA where we're to believe the Motor City Machine Guns will defend Junior Heavyweight tag titles in first blood handicap matches. Suddenly Jerry Lynn in a straight wrestling match with a big trucker is appealing television by comparison.

  3. Does the show release Ratings like RAW and SD!? I'd love to see some.

  4. Ring of Honor does have a very hybrid feel to it. It's old-school in the use of the basic stand-up pre-match promos rather than the "hey, look at me" 20-minute in-ring variety. The "1...2...3!" scouting reports, on the other hand, seem like they're trying to reach a little too far over to MMA levels of legitimacy, and on one occasion, at least for me, it's worked against the product. I mean, when Chris Hero's scouting report is saying "Watch for the loaded elbow pad" and the referee can't notice that Hero's suddenly going for a pin while wearing a BRIGHT GREEN pad that he didn't have on when the match started, it kind of makes me pause.

    As a child of the 80s who loved catching the AWA on ESPN after school, I've missed the studio-host format, but I do think it would better serve the product if Hogewood and Prazak were hyping a PPV or major show, and using that to segue into matches that led up to it. As is, I don't visit, and as a result, there isn't much of a hook to each week's matches, it's more like just two guys wrestling. That said, the wrestling is most always strong, so it's easy to appreciate the art form, even if the story seems kind of lacking.

  5. Anonymous -

    No ratings data that I know of. I can't imagine they'd be very high since HDNet doesn't have the penetration of USA or Spike TV. HDNet is a premium channel through most cable/satellite providers, I personally have to pay an extra $5 a month for a "premium HD tier" that features HDNet, Universal HD, HDNet Movies, etc, so I can't imagine that a lot of people have it.

    That said, I wouldn't be surprised if they're one of the most watched programs on the network since there isn't much in terms of original programming outside of MMA.