Professional wrestling fans are a loyal group. They are loyal to their favorite wrestlers, and in many cases, to entire wrestling companies. To say that opinions on which Monday night show fans prefer are varied would be an understatement.
The times have changed, and modern wrestling is more of a bad soap opera than ever before. The vast majority of the show is dedicated to segments which feature no in ring action, and a huge amount of those are totally scripted. Fans of the "wrestling is a sport" generation are often times left scratching their heads, wondering why they don't just show wrestling matches anymore.
This brings me to my point. There is still one company that focuses on the in ring product and is just as much sports as entertainment. That company is Ring Of Honor Wrestling.
I recently attended my second Ring Of Honor event, in Dayton, Ohio. For the second consecutive show I left feeling almost guilty. I had once again gotten far more than what my ticket price should have covered. I was not used to that feeling, especially for a wrestling event.
Part of the charm of this show was the hour long preshow autograph signing with legendary manager Jim Cornette. He took the time to personally thank all of the loyal fans for coming out and promising a good time to all. The tiny arena was filled with fans who already knew that Cornette's promise would come true.
The evening featured 11 different matches and lasted for nearly four hours. Each and every bout was incredibly entertaining, and the athletes all gave this crowd all they had and then some. Holds and counter-holds, submission attempts, and good old fashioned brawling were incorporated as the fans privileged enough to be there cheered wildly.
The matches were pay per view quality, and my second row seat cost one fourth the price of a seat that close to a WWE show and half as much as for TNA would run. And for the money, the action was amazing. The announcement of a return show in October brought loud cheers from the audience, most of whom had already purchased tickets for the future event.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of this evening was the interaction between the performers and the crowd. Numerous comments were exchanged throughout the evening, and even a momentary revival of the "ECW" chants while the battle ended up in the crowd. Fans were handing chairs to the wrestlers to hit their opponent with, and they were not disappointing. The chair bill was probably astronomical, but the fans were happy.
While Ring Of Honor may never be the size of or compete with WWE or TNA, they have relied on having an incredible roster filled with talent and putting on the most competitive, entertaining bouts possible. The wrestling world is better with a company like this around, and if anybody reading this decides to check it out for themselves, then this article has done it's job.
If you are fortunate to ever have the ability to attend one of their shows in person, be sure to take it. You will not be upset. Just maybe a little guilty.