Friday, October 30, 2015

Did the Young Bucks make the right decision by signing with ROH?

It was a big news story after being teased by the Young Bucks themselves: who would they sign a contract with at this point in their careers? The answer was Ring of Honor. While the deal in place allows them to continue their work with ROH's partner NJPW and the Bucks' home promotion PWG, Ring of Honor seems like a strange choice for the duo.

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Ring of Honor has had two other high profile signings in the last few months. They signed Moose after rumors that the rising star might be WWE bound. Since that time, he's fought on the early half of every card in negligible matches that do nothing for a star that was massively over entering 2015. The second signing was of Roderick Strong, a man that while often looked at as bland personality-wise can go as well as anyone in the ring. His signing has embroiled him in a feud with Jay Lethal, the perennial booking favorite of ROH's Hunter Johnson.

Wednesday's announcement did seem to cause a major ratings boost for the Ring of Honor replay on Destination America, but the Jacksons now face the dilemma of a system seemingly built around treading water.

Outside a few chosen stars, most notably Jay Lethal, The Kingdom, The Briscoes and to a lesser extend Redragon, Ring of Honor doesn't seem very willing to push anyone to the next level. Instead the promotion seems fixed on pushing the same seven people on a regular basis. Admittedly, these seven are all signed to ROH contracts, but so are the likes of War Machine, Moose and Dalton Castle, all folks fans really want to see get some great pushes. Instead, they all seem to tread water, much as the Young Bucks have done for most of their five years off and on working with ROH. Even their run with the tag titles was barely a footnote before they dropped their title to The Addiction, another all star team whose story seemed to be thrown away in favor of Jay Lethal and The Kingdom.

Any promotion where fan favorite talent seems to tread water becomes frustrating (see Cesaro/WWE), but Ring of Honor seems to have made a time tested tradition of it. Instead of striking when the fire was hot with a long list of talents, they instead draw out their pushes until fans get tired of seeing them lose. It happened to Michael Elgin, Moose and Cedric Alexander. Even talents that have moved on to better paychecks elsewhere like Davey Richards and Tyler Black (a.k.a. current WWE champion Seth Rollins) had their pushes held off again and again in favor of the previous champion. It's a poor history for a promotion that could put on the best cards in the world with just a bit stronger booking.

Will the Young Bucks fall victim to the same problem? No one really knows yet, and this blogger likes to think that Matt and Nick Jackson are far too savvy not to sign a contract without a bunch of guarantees. Otherwise, they will be just another in a long list of screw-ups by ROH's behind the scenes crew.

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