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    Sunday, March 6, 2022

    Reviewing The Elite (3/2/22): Ring of Honor is All Elite!


    Yeah, yeah, it's the Revolution go-home show, whatever. Let's talk about Ring of Honor!

    While Tony Khan is no longer the plucky, lovable, and unproblematic promoter we all knew and loved, I couldn't help but feel his excitement when he opened this week's episode of Dynamite. There's really no need to criticize his "promo" because it was basically just a huge announcement of an excited manchild over his new playground, which happens to be Ring of freaking Honor. If you're a casual fan, you can probably just skip this review. I'm here to nerd out with my fellow wrestling fans because AEW buying ROH opens up loads of possibilities that will make most of our eyes water.

    Now I'm not going to pretend that I know the extensive history of ROH. I've only seen a handful of matches and segments, but the significance of its existence isn't lost in my mind. As the promotion that spawned megastars like Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Seth Rollins, and most of the AEW roster, ROH's contribution to today's pro-wrestling landscape is really hard to ignore. That's why it's a huge deal that the same promotion that planted the seeds of AEW is now being bought up by its creation. It's almost poetic how things went down. It makes you appreciate pro-wrestling even more. 

    And now, let's talk about the possibilities. Rumors say Tony Khan is planning to make ROH a developmental brand, which isn't bad in theory. No disrespect, but ROH hasn't been that relevant in the past decade or so. As AEW's very own NXT, ROH will surely thrive as the third biggest promotion. Tony can also send some of his promising stars that are stuck in Dark and Elevation limbo down to ROH and watch them flourish. He can finally give Sonny Kiss something to do. He can send back Joey Janel to ROH and have him wreak havoc there. We can finally see Danhausen wrestle again! 

    Aside from relieving his bloated roster, Tony Khan could also continue signing big names to add more star power to ROH's current roster. First name that comes to mind? Claudio freaking Castagnoli. If Tony is a smart man, he'll use this momentum of goodwill to sign the former Cesaro and make him the star he's always destined to be. He can pretty much build an entire brand around Claudio and revive the reputation of ROH as the epicenter of the indies. Tony Khan now has the opportunity to revive the brand he killed in the Wednesday Wars. Do it, Tony, make your own Black and Red! 

    But if they decided to make it a second brand, that would probably turn more heads. And how do you turn more heads towards your new promotion? Have someone controversial lead the way. And who better than Cody fucking Rhodes? That's right, the guy who started it all way back in All In. Imagine the reaction once they make this announcement. After all this drama about Cody leaving AEW and teasing a WWE return, only for him to turn up on ROH and smash a throne with a sledgehammer just for old time's sake. Either way, we all win because it means we get to see more wrestling. Hooray!

    What I love more about this week's episode was the amount of ROH callbacks we got. After the big announcement, they had ROH OGs Bryan Danielson and Christopher Daniels deliver a surprisingly competitive opener. I would've enjoyed it more if I wasn't too worried about Daniels' still clearly injured left eye. Bryan even stomped him straight in the face. I don't really like eye stuff, okay? Also, the main event featured six ROH veterans in a fun but heatless match which was supposed to send us off to the top Revolution storyline. Well, at least it was a better build than the Page vs. Archer feud. 

    Even the best promo of the night had a really awesome ROH callback. MJF finally gave a more convincing performance as a conniving yet compelling heel by actually modulating his voice! Now that's what I'm talking about, Maxwell! Perhaps the best part of that beatdown was when MJF referenced CM Punk's infamous ROH promo. What a full-circle moment in an episode filled to the brim with full-circle moments. We can now safely boo MJF once again despite his compelling backstory. He is a snake, so no matter how vulnerable he is, he will not hesitate to strike anyone dead.

    Show Grade: B+

    Dynamite Debris That Will Never Dream of Interrupting Keith Lee

    • Match of the night easily goes to the Casino Tag Team Royale. It was clear as day that The Young Bucks will end up winning, but I appreciate how they made us doubt for a minute or two. Plus, it featured the return of Top Flight! I do wish they had more surprise entrants since they had the countdown and everything. I also wish The Acclaimed lasted longer. These two really need to get a major push while they're still iron hot.
    • So, uh, Thunder Rosa pinned Britt Baker. Before the PPV. On free TV. Why should we watch them fight on Revolution again? In other news, Santana and Ortiz are back with Chris Jericho. Man, what's up with this eyebrow-raising booking? 
    • I love how Kris Statlander is doubling down on her adoption comment regarding Leyla Hirsch. I will always support babyfaces having a few edges here and there, but they shouldn't just go for the jugular like that. But hey, it's not like they were given enough screen time to tell this story.

    *****

    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's seasoned veteran and resident Dynamite reviewer. He's a sucker for well-written promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He's anxious about the future, now more than ever. His potential haunts him.

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    Item Reviewed: Reviewing The Elite (3/2/22): Ring of Honor is All Elite! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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