Welcome back to Kick-Out!!, it's been a long few weeks without internet and a switch in cable providers, along with other assorted life things, but I figured now would be a great time to relaunch the site with a brand new wrestling show! Ring of Honor has been without a television deal for several months, but the purchase from Sinclair Broadcast Group generated a lot of buzz... which they promptly killed with the debut episode.
The first impression I got from ROH's new show was that it looks very, very low budget. That's not necessarily a bad thing, WWE's over-produced shows work for them, but I miss wrestling in a smoky room. But it's 2011, and running a new television show in standard-def is pretty inexcusable. Maybe it was just my local affiliate, but they have an HD channel, Smackdown aired in HD on it during its MyNetwork days, so I'm not sure. Either way, it looked embarrassing.
The embarrassment continued when the first person I saw was Kevin Kelly, a never-was from 1990s WWE who now writes ridiculous articles for Wrestlezone, like how foreign-born wrestlers can never be stars. Seriously. Kelly was our lead commentator, which made me reach for the mute button on Shotgun Saturday Night in 1998, but on the bright side, we did get the return of Nigel McGuinness on color commentary. I thought Nigel did a good job, even though he was barely audible due to the horrible audio quality.
There's really no point in talking about the two matches that were on the show, it's Ring of Honor, you know the wrestling was good. The Kings of Wrestling vs. Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team was a perfect main event to showcase what ROH is all about, it's just unfortunate that it looked so terrible. Granted, looks aren't everything. I wouldn't judge a video game on its graphics... unless it was sloppy and ugly, which is exactly how ROH looked.
The sad irony was early in the show when Kevin Kelly went to the "Tweet of the Week," where one viewer said you should watch Ring of Honor because it wasn't 1997. But this show looked like a rerun from one of the many random wrestling promotions that popped up in 1997. Hearing about "tweets" and "Justin Bieber" was just jarring since I thought I was watching an old VHS tape.
On the plus side, I don't know if they were in a bigger arena or if the 4:3 aspect ratio helped, but the room looked more filled than it did for any of the HDNet shows. That was always my biggest gripe with the HDNet broadcast, it made a room of 500 people look like a closet of 50, and that was fixed here, at least for this week.
If it sounds like I'm being overly harsh or critical, it's because I genuinely like Ring of Honor and want them to gain new fans and succeed, but this relic of a wrestling broadcast isn't going to cut it. I wasn't like some fans and thought a move to Saturday nights at 10pm was going to be a game changer for the professional wrestling industry, but it could certainly expose ROH to a wider audience than HDNet. Now? I'm not so sure.