Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is Davey Richards the Worst ROH Champion Ever?

I've made no bones about it. I'm not a huge fan of the Ring of Honor Champion Davey Richards, the way he carries himself, the way he wrestles, or really there is just something about him that really does not scream champion material. He's had some good matches, got to give the devil his due, but as Ring of Honor Champion, he is not really lighting the world on fire. He's held the belt for almost nine months and nine months might as well be years and years in professional wrestling.

I do think that Davey Richards is the ROH Champion because he is a rather safe option. WWE isn't likely to show any interest, even TNA isn't biting all that much. He may appeal to the very niche market of fans, who talk about how professional wrestling should be more like MMA, when really comparing the two is like comparing apples and hand grenades. They're both kind of the same shape, but they are two drastically different audiences. And hardcore MMA fans get very offended when you try and bring up pro wrestling or "that fake stuff".

But is Davey Richards the worst ROH Champion. Well it depends on what you consider to define worse. Let's see how Davey Richards ranks among other former ROH Champions.

Is Davey Richards the Worst Ring of Honor Champion Ever?

Starting in 2002, Low-Ki was the first champion, back when Ring of Honor was the super independent dream promotion, with some basic storylines, but really it was just about out of this world matches in order to sell Ring of Honor DVDs. Then Xavier was the Ring of Honor Champion, which was a brilliant move. Xavier was a guy who was rather solid in the ring but not your average independent superworker that the ROH marks in the early days had to change their pants over. So he was the perfect heel.

Then Samoa Joe won the belt and held it for a long time. Samoa Joe in hindsight had some good matches as champion but his reign ran pretty hot and pretty cold. The matches with CM Punk were the absolute highlight of Joe's reign. And then Austin Aries became the Ring of Honor Champion at Final Battle 2004. Aries had a sold run as champion, defending against Joe, Colt Cabana, Bryan Danielson, and James Gibson, before dropping it to CM Punk. Aries reign was a good run, even if his second one might have been a bit better. Summer of Punk, we all really loved as it was so good of a storyline, that WWE re-did it just last summer. James Gibson was the next champion and really his title reign was a transitional run and he was on his way to WWE.

Bryan Danielson won the title from Gibson and his title run was good for the most part, but once the Homicide match was set in stone, the last few months of Danielson's title reign in Ring of Honor was kind of anti-climatic. Danielson's reign was entertaining and he might have been the very best ROH Champion in history. Then Homicide won the title and really, it was a reign where the buildup was much better than the actual title reign. And ROH was about to go to Pay Per View, and TNA was going to pull their talent including Homicide, as he lost the title to Takeshi Morishima. Morishima was a curious choice as champion but he had some fairly decent matches, and some good ones against Bryan Danielson.

Then Nigel McGuinness won the title. Nigel's title reign really had a huge problem from the start, as his title reign was taped for a Pay Per View that aired months after it occurred. And there was one simple fact that some fans thought that he should have won the belt a bit earlier. But once Nigel McGuinness turned heel, it was on. It seemed elementary that he would lose the title to Tyler Black who was really catching on, but Gabe Sapolsky was displaced as lead booker for ROH, so plans changed, Black's win over McGuinness was post poned and never did happen, as McGuinness dropped the title to Jerry Lynn.

Lynn's title reign was kind of underwhelming, especially from a fan base who was screaming for Tyler Black. And Austin Aries was the one who beat Lynn for the title, setting up the eventual Tyler Black title run. However, the problem is that there is a fine line between pulling the trigger too soon and thus not building properly and pulling the trigger too late and thus annoying plan. By the time that Tyler Black won the title, about a year too late, people were not behind him. Aries had a good title run by the way, but it might have been the very last really solid title run for ROH, as Tyler Black's reign didn't light the world on fire. Then Roderick Strong won the title, perhaps a few years after it would have done any good, and had a rather lackluster title reign, before dropping it to Eddie Edwards, in a surprising match. Of course, it was uncertain how Eddie Edwards would do as champion, as he was only keeping the belt warm for the inevitable Davey Richards title win which happened in June 2011 in Best in the World 2011.

So is Davey Richards the worst ROH Champion of all time? Well as it turns out, likely not but its close. The Tyler Black title run might have bee the champion of worst, due to the fact that when he finally got the title, it was too late and he flopped on top. The Gibson, Homicide, and Lynn runs were kind of mediocre, but not too bad. and short Roderick Strong's reign as champion, that really was an ill fated move.

Then again, a champion's reign can truthfully only be judged by what it is like in the end. And Davey Richards is still the Ring of Honor Champion, so overall there is still some juice in it.But to this ROH fan, it doesn't look promising.

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