The benefit of snow days is that it gives you time to catch up. This is my second ROH TV of the day, and I even fit in a movie as well! If I ever disappear off the face of the Earth, you will find me in Zootopia.
Top Prospect Finals - Lio Rush vs. Brian Fury
I have two lessons for this one - a minor and a major.
Minor lesson - The beauty of keeping other people safe.
I wrote in the column for ROH from 2/27 about the inherent danger in wrestlers of vastly different sizes going up against each other. Lio Rush and Punisher Martinez made sure to avoid contact with each other, and I understood why. This match highlighted the opposite of that, and I thought it was really telling as to the skills and person that is Brian Fury.
Now, I'm not a wrestling expert and I've never claimed to be. So I could be completely wrong on this, and I am aware of that. But go back and watch this match again - When Lio Rush dives over the top rope, one can distinctly see Brian Fury duck and dart forward, providing a human cushion for Rush to land on. There is really no logical reason for Fury to do that in a kayfabe sense, so I submit that he did this solely for the protection of young Lio. I was glad to see it.
We've seen the rash of injuries in the last year - We know that wrestling is a dangerous sport. Guys like Fury do the best they can to make sure that nobody is injured on their watch. I have to respect that.
Major Lesson - The Top Prospect Tournament needs to take place in NXT / WWE.
Titan Sports has never been shy about borrowing from other promotions, including Ring of Honor. (Remember when Seth Rollins was WHC and US champion for no particular reason?) The TPT would be a great thing to borrow. Who knows, maybe that is what this Global Cruiserweight Series will wind up being.
There's a lot of talent in the NXT developmental system, and as I've tweeted, talked and probably even written about, it's going to be hard to give everyone the time they need if they keep signing new talents every 12 minutes. Doing some sort of tournament, which would focus on the lesser known guys (Rich Swann, Chris Girard) would be a great way to give some guys exposure. NXT and WWE brass could see what they had and how the crowd reacted, giving them an opportunity to streamline, tweak or fast-track as needed.
I think this would be beneficial for all involved.
Kongo vs. Moose
Lesson - Rusev is being criminally misused.
It might seem odd that a lesson from a ROH show would apply to a WWE superstar, but those who saw this contest should be able to see my connections. Kongo, who I have never seen before, is a larger superstar who moves with grace and speed, and was a whole lot of fun to watch.
Rusev is the exact same way, except he also has some legitimate fighting experience under his belt. How is he NOT breaking down the door of the main event scene? This isn't just because I made the #PreDCtion that he'd contend for the World Title at some point in 2016 - He seriously is an amazing athlete. If you can get a high quality match out of somebody who looks and has the name recognition (ie, none) of Kongo, Rusev should have NO TROUBLE getting over.
With the right gimmick, of course.
Note: This lesson could also be applied to Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and any other athletic big man not getting a fair shake. The era of the super-heavyweight is over, folks. This is what "big men" will be like in wrestling from now on - Let's embrace it.
Cedric Alexander vs. Adam Page
Lesson - Adam Page should try some sort of Clockwork Orange gimmick.
With the entrance video and the trunks, he's halfway there already.
Oh, and he looks like Oliver Queen. That is all.
Dalton Castle vs. Christopher Daniels
Lesson - Multiple wrestling promotions are a very good thing.
I've been a Christopher Daniels fan ever since I first watched The Era of Honor Begins back in college; in fact, he'd probably be included in my list of Top Ten Favorite Wrestlers of All Time. In fact, I'm pretty sure he made my Top 3 for last year's NAI150. As for the Peacock, I'm a Castle fan as well, so I was naturally going to really enjoy this match.
What struck me as I watched was this, though - If these guys were in the WWE system (either NXT or the main roster), what would they be doing? Dalton is just a more athletic and flamboyant Adam Rose - Would he be part of the Social Outcasts? The Fallen Angel, while a huge name in the independent scene, wouldn't have the same excitement that Styles or Aries did, so he'd already be fighting from behind by the time he made his debut.
In other words, there's no way we'd be seeing either of these two great wrestlers anywhere near the main event scene, so I'm grateful that promotions like ROH exist to be able to highlight them.
We rejoice each time we hear that new names have signed with WWE, but I think this is one of those 'be careful what you wish for' situations. The probability that this just leads to more complaining about talents being "b-----" is getting a bit too high for my tastes.