wrestling / Columns

Top 7 ROH Feuds

November 22, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Kevin Steen El Generico ROH

Sometimes I like to take requests for this column. I like to know what the people would like to see, and they can e-mail me at [email protected] to let me know. E-mails are fun, unless you’re a politician. This week we go to my inbox for a topic that the people want covered.

A fella who appears to be a big Corey Graves fan sent the following:

Could you possibly do a top 7 ROH feuds for someone who has never really watched ROH?

They’re a long time fan and a first time e-mailer, so of course I can! Back in the 2000s & early 2010s, ROH was one of my favorite promotions to follow. As it turned out, a lot of their stars would move on to bigger feds and become gigantic stars. ROH was one of the places where they learned their craft. Given some of the feuds that took place, they also learned how to hate.

Here are the seven most magnificent feuds in ROH history.

7. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness

Danielson was the ROH World Champion while McGuinness was the ROH Pure Champion. This made Nigel the #1 contender for Danielson’s title, and they met on several occasions during 2006 with both titles on the line. The belts were unified by a Danielson victory in August, and McGuinness was unable to challenge for the ROH Championship again as long as Danielson was champion after a 60 minute draw later in the month. Of course, Nigel would win the championship eventually, and then it was Bryan’s chance to challenge. Their final meeting would take place at Glory by Honor VIII, which was also the final match either man had for Ring of Honor.

If we’re talking about in-ring rivalries, Danielson vs. McGuinness would have few peers in the history of American independent wrestling. The one thing missing to make this rate higher? Just not enough hatred between the two men. Too much respect! However, any of their matches are pretty much worth watching.

6. The Briscoes vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico

Steen & Generico’s first stint in 2005 didn’t go particularly well. Generico was a glorified jobber while Steen was a barely-pushed singles guy that was encouraged to not do the things that had previously gotten him over. They were able to find other places to work in America, but ROH would have been the most stable. They got another chance in 2007, this time as a tag team. One match with Jay & Mark Briscoe was enough to put them on the map and get them in ROH full-time. They feuded throughout the year in various wild matches, wrapping things up at ROH’s Man Up PPV event in the company’s first Ladder War match.

The feud was made by Jay & Mark’s willingness to work with Steen & Generico & raise them up to their level. It would be easy for a team as established as the Briscoes in ROH to cast people aside, especially people that could end up being real competition. Jay & Mark wanted real competition, and gave Steen & Generico their first real chance to show something in Ring of Honor. It led to months of pretty great wrestling.

5. Steve Corino vs. Homicide

Homicide entered Ring of Honor in 2002 as one-half of a tag team called the Natural Born Sinners. When his partner left Ring of Honor to sign with XPW, Homicide needed a partner to take on the Backseat Boyz at the first Glory by Honor event. Steve Corino agreed to join Homicide, but things went south during the match & Corino had turned against Homicide by the time the night ended. This led to four years of clean, old fashioned hate. Homicide ruptured Corino’s eardrum with a slap during a match, making Corino permanently lose most of his hearing in his left ear. A match between them at ROH’s First Anniversary Show led to a fan riot. The riot was worked, but it looked pretty intense on DVD. They had ROH’s first barbed wire match. Homicide separated his shoulder during a match with Corino.

Corino would come in and out of Ring of Honor for months at a time during these years. Whenever he was around, an issue with Homicide was bound to pop up. Even if Homicide had other things going on, and he usually did, he was always sure to get at Corino whenever he could. The feud helped establish Homicide as one of the company’s toughest men, one who couldn’t always be trusted to be honorable.

4. Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer

BJ Whitmer was a Tag Team Champion, but needed a partner after Dan Maff was forced to leave Ring of Honor. Somewhat randomly, Jacobs fell into the role, and the two formed a pretty solid big man/little man team. Lacey came on board as their manager some months later, and Jacobs became more interested in winning Lacey’s affections than contending for the Tag Team Championship. Whitmer grew annoyed, and split the team. This led to a series of brutal matches with plenty of blood spilled, people getting power bombed into crowds, and just a bunch of general craziness.

The feud ended with a Jacobs victory in a cage match in March 2007, but the connection between the two didn’t end then. They would meet in the ring on occasion in multi-man matches over the years. Whitmer even intervened on Jacobs’ behalf to get him reinstated into the company, which became part of a ruse. They would join forces with Roderick Strong to form a group of bitter ROH veterans called The Decade. Of course, Jacobs & Whitmer couldn’t remain on the same page forever, and Jacobs’ last ROH match ended up being a defeat at the hands of Whitmer in March 2015. Perhaps no two men crossed paths more often in ROH than Jacobs & Whitmer, and both men used the other to increase their standing.

3. CM Punk vs. Raven

Punk had done some impressive things early in his career, but feuding with Raven in ROH & other independent promotions really put him on the radar. https://411mania.com/wrestling/views-from-the-hawkes-nest-the-cm-punk-vs-raven-feud/ Raven was obviously an established star and had a good number of things in common with Punk. The main difference (drug use) ended up being the backbone of the feud and helped establish Punk’s persona to a larger crowd through some incredible promo work.

Good wrestling feuds are about more than classic matches and championships. There needs to be a deep-seeded personal issue at the heart of the matter. Punk’s disdain towards Raven’s lifestyle & resemblance to his father, along with Raven’s desire to remain on top of the food chain and to shut this young guy up once and for all, made this feud stand out among the rest.

2. ROH vs. CZW

After the fall of Extreme Championship Wrestling, an array of independent wrestling promoters tried to take the Philadelphia market for themselves. After a few years had passed, the battle had pretty much narrowed itself down to two: Ring of Honor & Combat Zone Wrestling. The heart of ROH was pure indy-style wrestling, with some hard-shitting shenanigans thrown in from time to time. CZW was attempting to take extreme wresting to the next ultraviolent level, with some classic indy-style wrestling thrown in from time to time. The two competing philosophies made for a heck of a rivalry once Chris Hero decided to lead a bunch of CZW-related misfits into the land of Honor.

Both feds featured this rivalry on their shows for several months in 2006, but there was a stark difference in how it was presented by each promotion. ROH’s booker Gabe Sapolsky had a plan. He knew how he wanted to build the CZW invaders up, who he wanted to feature against the invaders, and he had an endgame for it. (He also knew who he was going to bring in when the feud was over.) CZW had no plan, even though their fans were just as excited about the feud as ROH fans were, if not more so. Owner John Zandig really wanted nothing to do with the situation, wasn’t aware of CZW’s spot in the grand scheme of things, and wasn’t really known for his long-term booking plans anyway.

ROH’s portion of the feud was pretty brilliant. Some classic out of control brawls highlighted ROH shows for months, and helped keep their 2006 overall show quality on the same level of what had been an outstanding 2005. As far as invasion storylines go, I’d rank the ROH portion of the ROH/CZW feud in 2006 up there with any of them aside from the original NWO angle.

Honorable Mention: CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe

Some of the most well-remembered matches in ROH history took place between Joe & Punk in 2004. I’m sure many of you will yell & scream & wonder why they didn’t make the list. The answer’s simple: they didn’t hate each other. There was no animosity between the two, no bad blood, no ill will. they were simply wrestling for the ROH Championship. It was a great in-ring rivalry, but it wasn’t much of a feud.

1. Kevin Steen vs. El Generico

Steen & Generico made great tag team partners. For years they were one of indy wrestling’s most beloved tag teams, winning championships everywhere that they went. Their opposing qualities made them the perfect team. Eventually, those opposing qualities made them the perfect opponents. Steen’s evil desires could only be held in check by Generico’s goodness for so long. Once Generico got over his reticence to fight Steen, the war was on.

Most of the major moments in the feud happened because the bookers didn’t get involved. Adam Pearce was cool with them doing whatever and took a hands-off approach. Then when Jim Cornette came in, he didn’t see much in either Steen or Generico and didn’t care what they did. The fans seemed to like it, so what the hell. Generico won the feud, but Cornette still didn’t like him and the guy was out of the company before too long while Steen went on to become champion as the fans got behind him for not being what ROH management wanted in a top star. Those pesky fans, am I right?

article topics :

Ring of Honor, Steve Cook