Monday, June 27, 2011

Davey Richards as ROH Champion: An Exercise in Open-Mindedness

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Everyone else seems to love Davey... I'll try too.

I have not been enamored with three of the last four wrestlers who have held the ROH World Championship. Not since Austin Aries held the belt has ROH had a Champ that I could really get behind. Of course, @TypicalROHFan will argue that to the death with me; in one of his moments of lucidity, he had tried to tell me Aries' second reign was a dud. Maybe it's just that Aries was Champ when I started following the fed, so maybe it's the same principle by which I'll never fully hate Hulk Hogan, no matter how delusional, or how I can never be fully mad at Lenny Dykstra1 regardless of indiscretion. I don't know, but what I do know is that Tyler Black, Roderick Strong and now Davey Richards really leave me flat.

Black and Strong have track records. You know my disdain for the currently-christened Seth Rollins. I don't have the Brandon Stroud-levels of disdain for Roddy. I like him all fine and good, but as the top guy in ostensibly the number three promotion in America, I'm not sure I buy him. He'd be a good points leader for EVOLVE, but for a ROH World Champion? I don't get it.

So that brings us to Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards. Edwards to me felt fresh at least, and I've seen him in good singles matches. I also think he's got more of a handle on how to be a viable out-of-ring character. Richards, however... well, he's a good tag wrestler. I've seen exactly one singles match featuring him that I really liked, a tilt against Kevin Steen at PWG's first Kurt RussellMania. Out of the ring, he's just so dry. I mean, his Twitter going up to the title match was him training. Not my cup of tea. I know that I'm one person, but this sort of testimony isn't exactly the best for a guy holding the biggest title in the company.

However, I will admit that DR as Champion is something that is a little over 24 hours old. I really can't judge his reign so much as I'm judging the idea of it. It's the kind of thing that people might find to be obnoxiously close-minded. Now, I like to think of myself as open-minded. So I'm going to give DR a chance.

I'll start with the match against Edwards. Maybe that'll surprise me. And maybe as Champion, he'll bring a new dynamic to the main event. The vibe I got from the title-change program was that it wasn't face vs. heel, but more like rival vs. rival, two guys cultivating fan followings. Maybe if we get a fresh vibe out of this, I can forgive the excessive matches if they happen.

But that's the rub, I've gotta give it a shot. I will, and hopefully, I'll be pleasantly surprised. With ROH coming back to television in a few months, I'll get plenty of opportunities.

1 - Dykstra was my favorite player on the team that tipped the scales for me as a sports fan, the 1993 Phillies.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein - Please visit his site to view the plentiful amounts of pictures he's taken for DGUSA, ROH and other indie feds: Get Lost Photography

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