For fans who live in the city that never sleeps, this weekend’s ROH Mayhem in Manhattan VII at the famous Hammerstein Ballroom lived up to expectations. The event was a well-brewed fest of extreme – feuturing some death-defying moonsaults courtesy of The Bullet Club – but what does this tell us about the current state of ROH?
First a little background: In a conscious effort to compete with WWE and WCW during the modern golden era of professional wrestling, New York’s own, Paul Heyman led a rag-tag group of unfancied wrestlers and promoted their insane and life-threatening matches in a short-lived organization called ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling). Just as Mickey Rourke’s character in the 2008 movie The Wrestler, Paul Heyman, better known at the time as, Paul E. Dangerously, believed that making matches more “extreme” was the only way he could grow an audience with less charismatic wrestlers. Well, the history books proved it worked – for a little while. Paul soon discovered that his “extreme” style was unsustainable, not just with the wrestlers’ bodies but with fans on a globally appealing commercial level.
Flash forward to today and this past weekend’s ROH Mayhem in Manhattan VII event and you can clearly see desperate similarities.
Are ROH and The Bullet Club – whom I love and respect let’s be clear – falling into the same pitfalls that Paul Heyman and ECW did? I noticed a lot more extreme action this weekend and quite frankly, apart from The Bullet Club’s charisma, didn’t know whether I was watching an old ECW event or a modern ROH event.
If a promotion must rely on being “extreme” and putting talented wrestler’s lives in danger to sell tickets it means the characters on the roster aren’t as over as they are hyped. That’s not taking anything away from Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, Marty Scurll or Flip Gordan – just stating the obvious.
Is it possible that the ROH allure is coming to an end? The evidence to me clearly suggests that the promotion is getting so desperate that they are becoming recklessly too extreme.
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