Paul Heyman gets a lot of credit for doing a lot of simple things. Why? He knew how to play up something’s strengths, while hiding its weaknesses.
When he was running ECW, he knew not to compete with WWE and WCW’s TV production budgets. Heyman ignored pyro and crazy sets – because he knew he couldn’t hit WWE’s standards. Focus on the wrestling. When he was booking Smackdown, he focused on the “Smackdown 6” – and treated fans to some of the best matches in the show’s history.
Focus on what you have and what you can do well. If you can’t do it without looking second rate, don’t do it.
Maybe Ring of Honor should take that advice.
Last week, ROH presented Death Before Dishonor XI. If you happened to be there in Philadelphia, it was probably an amazing night. From what I got to see, all the matches delivered. You had the semifinals and finals of the world title tournament, a major angle to end the show, the retirement of BJ Whitmer (PS, I told you so) and a rare US defense of New Japan’s IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles. If you were there, it was probably a night you’d remember for a long time, for all the right reasons.
If you were watching at home, however, it may have been enough to turn you off to ROH for good.
ROH teamed up with GoFightLive to broadcast the show live – onlne – free of charge. The goal was to show fans that ROH and GFL had finally improved their technology, and could FINALLY offer a clean stream of a show, after multiple horrific failures.
They failed again. Big time.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The first half of the show was pretty great. Jay Lethal and Silas Young got the show off to a good start, with a solid opener. Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa had a good match, as did Kevin Steen and Michael Elgin. It was a real treat to see the Forever Hooligans take on the American Wolves.
That’s the good. The bad? Where do I start?
The crowd wasn’t mic’d AT ALL. It sounded like the Philly fans were sitting in silence. They weren’t. It sucked a lot of the energy out of the matches for the fans at home.
Sticking to audio issues, is it THAT HARD to get a mic check on your announcers before the show starts? I heard Kevin Kelly’s half-assed play-by-play just fine, but couldn’t hear a word Nigel was saying on color commentary. The same goes for any in-ring promos.
The biggest problems? The stream freezing. As usual. I missed Ricky Marvin vs Roderick Strong, the 8-man tag, the ending to the IWGP Jr. Tag title match, the BJ Whitmer retirement promo, the World Title tournament finale, and the post-match angle.
So much for showing me you improved your iPPV technology.
Every month, WWE puts out an incredibly polished PPV, with amazing pyro, pre-produced video packages, and at-least average wrestling.
ROH can’t, which is why ROH shouldn’t.
A lot of people have fantasized about the day Paul Heyman takes over ROH. The first thing he’d do? End the era of the failed iPPV, and focus on what ROH does best – put out syndicated shows with good-to-great matches, logical angles, and super-stacked live events.