Ring of Honor's use of LFI (La Facción Ingobernables) as real "bad guys," legit pisses me off, as a fan. It's been so long since I felt this way while watching wrestling, it feels kind of weird. Some would call me a "mark" for feeling this way, but they don't get it, at all. This is how wrestling is SUPPOSED to work. The heels aren't supposed to be cool, and likeable. They are supposed to inspire disgust, and hatred toward them, without having "go away" heat.
Over the years, since the near destruction of “kayfabe,” nearly all wrestling organizations across the world have struggled greatly to introduce “bad guys,” or “heels,” in their companies. For the most part, heels have been smarmy, cocky, arrogant, characters that typically attract male fans to their side. Think of “The Bullet Club” for example. Have they ever really been heels? Fans have flocked to them, and bought their t-shirts until they were out of stock. Few actually booed them, and even those who did, or do, only do so because they are popular, not because they are legitimately hated. I’m not picking on the Bullet Club though, they are just an easy example.
Recently, La Facción Ingobernables won the Ring of Honor World tag titles by cheating behind the referees back, using a closed fist for the second time (something that in the Pure division is an instant disqualification) defeating beloved Pure wrestlers, the former champs, Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham, in a match of their own, a Pure Rules match up, only the second ever Pure tag team match. If that wasn’t enough, on that same program, Ring of Honor World Champion faced the much heralded, and respected, Shane Taylor, for the title. Taylor, a Ring of Honor “lifer” at this point, having worked his way up to this match, voted into it by the fans, on Ring of Honor’s official Facebook group, seemed to be a favorite going in. His longtime friend, but La Facción Ingobernables member, Kenny King, was conflicted for several weeks leading up to the match. Numerous times we saw King arguing with his faction members about fighting Taylor honestly, and honorably. It seemed King had heat with his friends for this, as they don’t care about anything but humiliating anyone that would dare cross them. After nearly 20 minutes into the brutal World title bout, Rush slammed into the referee, and got a steel chair out from under the ring, ready to wrap it around Taylor’s head. Instead, King rushed to his friend’s defense, only to then turn, and nail Taylor with the chair himself, giving Rush the win, retaining his title.
While I am sure there are plenty to La Facción Ingobernables fans, I assume most are Lucha fans, supporting anyone of that style, and most others are just fans of the “bad guys” because that’s the cool thing to do. The presentation, and use of La Facción Ingobernables has been done better than any heel faction that I can recall in a long, long, time. They have legitimate “heat,” and in today’s wrestling world, that is so difficult to garner. This is simply yet another thing Ring of Honor is doing perfectly, and why they are clearly the world leader in Wrestling Done Right!
The interviews on a wrestling show, which have become known by their insider term, "promos" are as important to professional wrestling as the inside the ring work is. Sadly, they are also a lost art. During my time in the business, as a commentator, and backstage interviewer, I often struggled to get anyone to agree to do "promos." When I found wrestlers who were willing, they were almost always the same three or four guys. When I would convince someone new to do one, just about every time, they would ask for my direction, even asking me "What do you want me to talk about?" This is why I am excited over how good the promos on ROH TV, and ROH Week by Week YouTube show have been.
I find myself wondering who teaches and directs promos and promo classes at ROH? Seriously, they have been so damn good. It's clear to me that they are going with the UFC's style of presentation with these things. We get insight from both wrestlers (fighters) before a match, including clips of other matches, discussions about their training, goals, and sometimes even life before wrestling, etc. It really is how wrestling should be presented in 2021, as well as moving forward. They are keeping the KEY element of promos in as well, as each wrestler will put their opponents skills, and abilities over, while telling us why they are still going to defeat them. I've also seen guys that I've never seen give a good promo, doing these things perfectly, so someone is clearly leading/directing them extremely well. Brian Johnson's most recent one about Dragon Lee is an example of the perfection of this style, but check out the interviews with Joe Keys and Dak Draper on last weeks "Week by week" to see another example of this being done to perfection. Kudos to ROH, and all the wrestlers pulling these off. They are amazing! Then we also get post match interviews, again, much like UFC does after their fights, with someone "standing by" to get the winners and losers immediate thoughts. This works, as this is when a wrestler is most passionate, I would say even more so than before a match. I've told you time and again how Ring of Honor is Wrestling Done Right, this includes the fact that they are also Promo's Done Right!
For years I’ve scoured the wrestling scene for “Wrestling Done Right.” Often I’ve been ridiculed for insisting that I know what that is. I’ve taken heat from people in the business for choosing that name for my website, and accepting “The wrestling snob” as my nickname. How dare I insist that only the wrestling that I like is wrestling done right! A wrestling snob isn’t a good thing! Wrestling is for everyone! Through it all I’ve kept at it, because damn it, wrestling needs a wrestling snob to help highlight the good, true, legitimate, professional wrestling. So what is real, true, legitimate, wrestling done right? If you have to ask that question, you’ll never accept any answer I give you. Much like In 1964, when Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced... but I know it when I see it ..." What is “Wrestling Done Right?” Well, I know it when I see it.
Today however I bring to you a better answer. Thanks to Ring of Honor’s “Foundation,” which its leader, Jonathan Gresham himself dubbed me a part of, The Pure Division is wrestling done right! That’s not to say that I hate any wrestling that isn’t part of the Pure division, or that no matches outside of it ever qualify as wrestling done right to me, but if I am going to point to something that defines what I feel wrestling is, and should be represented by, it’s guys like Jonathan Gresham, Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams, Rhett Titus, Wheeler Yuta, Fred Yehi, and others out there like The World Famous CB, Dak Draper, and Josh Woods. I have no desire for wrestling to be presented like Saturday Night Live, or any kind of slapstick variety hour show. While wrestlers can be different, and styles don’t have to be the same, wrestling needs to be presented like a legitimate athletic contest, like a fight, like sports combat. Wins and losses should matter, weight divisions should matter, and titles should absolutely matter, and nowhere is all of those things more true than inside the Pure Division of Ring of Honor. In fact, it’s so true that the problem with having the Pure Championship is that if tends to over shadow the World championship. I would argue that this is why Ring of honor unified those two titles in August of 2006, when ROH World champion, Bryan Danielson (now Daniel Bryan of WWE fame) defeated Pure champion, Nigel McGuinness. I don’t see that happening this time because wrestling has never needed a “Pure” division more than it does now.
Many fans today don’t even know, or understand, what legitimate professional wrestling is. Most fans today believe that wrestling is whatever the wrestler, or wrestling company (i.e. booker) wants to present it as. There is no standard in the wrestling business today. There’s nothing to point to and say THAT is professional wrestling! Well, I should say that there wasn’t anything. Now that ROH have brought back the Pure division, there absolutely is! Think of other professional athletics. We have the NFL, the NBA, MLB, and the NHL. While there are countless teams and league around the world playing football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, the professional leagues I mentioned are the standard by which all others are measured by. Look, I enjoy NCAA football far more than the NFL, but I am not going to say that the NCAA measures up in talent to the NFL. I have a local AHL hockey team that I love, but I am not going to insist that they measure up to their NHL franchise team. I would argue that this same thing is true of ROH’s Pure division. You have to be a special talent to find yourself in the Pure division. Many in wrestling today are afraid of it, not even wanting to try their hand at it. To be a “Pure” wrestler, you really have to know how to “work,” and in today’s business, that’s a tall order. I will go so far as to say that in order to be just a fan of the Pure division, you have to be an intelligent fan, not just a fan that wants to see moves, or “car crash” matches that you can chant “Holy S**t” to. Pure wrestling is here to save wrestling from the foolish, goofy, no sense making, parody, that it has become over the years. I am more thankful for the Pure Division, and “The Foundation,” than I can express here in this article. So let me just conclude by saying thank you Ring of Honor, and thank you to The Foundation for Pure wrestling…for Wrestling Done Right!
I’ve been a big fan of Ring of Honor since their debut in 2002. Having tired of “modern” wrestling, even before ROH came on the scene, I was willing to give this new company a shot. With men like AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Chris Daniels, Samoa Joe, and Low Ki, and the company’s focus of “honorable competition,” it sounded to me like something wrestling desperately needed. I traveled all over the place for ROH live shows, especially Philadelphia, and Baltimore. I met, and even interviewed numerous ROH wrestlers, and when I got into the business as a commentator, and back stage interviewer, I worked with many of them as well.
Much of what ROH did was excellent, some of it wasn’t, but overall I remained a big fan and supporter, up until Cody Rhodes, and The Young Bucks pretty much took over the company. I enjoyed those times for a while, but it eventually got tiresome. This just wasn’t the ROH I had grown to love, and while I didn’t “hate on them” on social media, or anywhere really, I slinked away to enjoy some wrestling in Japan (Puroresu, to the IWC) companies like Stardom, AJPW, and NOAH. After the founding of AEW, taking “The Elite” away from ROH, I was ready to get back on the ROH train, but then I read that Marty Scurll would be booking the company. Knowing “Party Marty’s” willingness to silly things up, I decided to stick with my Puroresu. Not long after, Marty got swept up in the “Me too” movement, and Delirious was back to booking ROH. I knew then was the time to get back to ROH, but soon after, the Carona Virus Pandemic hit, and wrestling companies all over the world began altering their schedules, and even shutting down, including Ring of Honor.
During the pandemic I relied on watching old shows, until eventually came news that Ring of Honor would “restart” in empty arenas. I wasn’t real enamored with the idea of empty arenas, so I held off a bit longer. As I began to hear, and read, that ROH was the best at putting on “empty arena shows,” I jumped in with both feet, and am I ever glad that I did! If you want wrestling that is presented in a serious manner, where you don’t have to be “in on the joke” to enjoy it, then Ring of Honor is for you. If you’re disappointed that AEW hasn’t given you a real “sports based, alternative” to sports entertainment wrestling, then Ring of Honor is for you. If you enjoy multiple styles of wrestling, without that meaning foolishness and cringe worthy presentation, then again, Ring of Honor is for you. If you want a good jumping on point, start with the amazing “ROH Final Battle,” 2020.
I’ve spent years searching for “Wrestling Done Right” in the United States. I’ve gained a reputation as being “the Wrestling Snob,” because of my high standards, and expectations. I’m proud of that. If I put something or someone over, fans that love serious, and as realistic as can be presented wrestling, can know that they can trust that is what they will get. My fear though is that a company will back away from what first drew me to them, falling back on silliness, and “sports entertainment” in an attempt to draw in more “fans.” I’ve recently been the victim of that by another American company that I heavily promoted. Let me tell why I don’t believe that will happen with ROH…Cheeseburger! Yes, the silly, gimmicky, goofy, eye rolling, Cheeseburger. You see, Cheeseburger was the one thing in ROH that always made me cringe. While I understood the man behind the gimmick, Brandon Littlejohn, was a great guy, a passionate guy, a dedicated like no one else guy, none of those things mattered to me. The man dressed in goofy gear, wearing a cheeseburger hat, taking bumps from men five times his size, and kicking out of their pin attempts, as the big men look perplexed, wasn’t ROH, and he wasn’t “Wrestling Done Right.”. While I understand an underdog gimmick, this one was just too much for me.
Today, in ROH’s renewed push to bring us a sports based alternative, to show us an athletic competition, very much presented like UFC, where wins and losses matter, where titles have legitimate ranking systems, and serious factions join forces for the betterment of all members, what has sold me the most on ROH being serious, about being serious, is the return of…not Cheeseburger, no, not this time, this time it’s the re-debut of a man once known as Cheeseburger, now billed as The World Famous CB! CB’s pre match interview was excellent, and set the tone for why this was happening, what it meant, and why it mattered. CB not only has a new name, he has a new look, that includes more muscle mass, solid new gear, that includes kick ass entrance gear, and a swagger unlike we’ve ever seen from him, which to be fair, wouldn’t have worked under his old gimmick. To their credit, the commentators, Ian Riccaboni, and Caprice Coleman, sold this like a million dollars, explaining how CB’s size mixes with his style, in a way that makes preparing for a match against him difficult. This is exactly the kind of commentary a debut of this kind needs, and it helped a lot. CB will also be part of the “Pure” division, which will, for the most part, keep him away from facing monsters in the ring. While still smaller than New Japan’s Zack Sabre Jr, comparisons can be made, and make sense. World Famous CB works a technical style that would actually be damaged by putting on too much size. His smooth style is aided by his lean look, contributing to his ability to evade, and escape, in ways that he couldn’t, if he were bigger.
The fact that ROH allowed, and maybe even encouraged, Cheeseburger to get more serious, to evolve into The World Famous CB, is a strong sign to me that I don’t have to worry about ROH going down the silliness rabbit hole. That I can have faith that an American company isn’t going to embarrass me, and that they aren’t going to make me hide the fact that I am a wrestling fan from the general public. The fact that Cheeseburger (this will be the last time I refer to him with that name) gave me any kind of assurance is mind-blowing to me, but that’s the very reason it brings me comfort in saying that once again, Ring of Honor is Wrestling Done Right!
Coming soon, The WDR Network presents "Not your mother's basement," with the Wrestling Snob, Adam Leavelle, a weekly VLOG covering ROH Wrestling! "Not your mothers basement." A spin on the popular insult about wresting internet fans, posting their opinions, and thoughts, from their "mothers basement." Adam indeed broadcasts from a basement, or as he calls it, a FOUNDATION, his foundation, not his mothers, or anyone else's. Adam worked hard for his house, and he is proud of it, including it's FOUNDATION, the same way he is proud of ROH's "FOUNDATION." The first episode will drop soon, and will be covering ROH TV from Monday, February 15, 2021.
The Wrestling Done Right, wrestler of the year is a tie for 2020.
Alexander Hammerstone, with what he did with the MLW National Openweight title, making it very prestigious, including defending in Japan, in Pro Wrestling NOAH!
Jonathan Gresham, with what he did in restoring honor, and pride, to wrestling, and ROH, while capturing the ROH Pure Championship, and starting "The Foundation," all while being one half of the ROH World tag team champions.
There are no two better example of what "Wrestling Done Right" is!
Ariel Dominguez asked me on one of my Facebook statuses if I, and others like me, that don't like Marko Stunt, believe he should leave wrestling because of his height. I told him absolutely not, as it's not just about height to me. it's about look, it's about style, it's about name, presentation, etc.
I am not a fan of Marko Stunt because he looks like a wet towel hanging in my bathroom, combined with the fact that he's four feet tall (or whatever he is).
I am not a fan of Cheeseburger, even though yes, I know the ROH guys all love him, and he's the first one in the building, and the last one out, and he helps train, etc. etc. but his name is fucking Cheeseburger, and his gear is ridiculous looking, and nothing he does in the ring offensively looks believable to me.
Ariel Dominguez is a legit amateur super star, He looks like a million dollars, has gear that is super professional and screams "I am a fighter." He looks like he might live at the gym, and I suspect could legit take a much larger guy out, in a real fight. If Dominguez were to face Burger and Stunt in singles matches, and he wasn't booked to destroy them, I'd be pissed off. Being under 5'7" or so should always cause a wrestler to struggle, to always have to work from the bottom, but if they look and perform like Ariel, them being in the fight, and winning their fair share, wouldn't bother me at all. I'd rather have more short guys that look and work like Ariel Dominguez than a company full of mudshow clowns sticking their thumbs up each others assholes.
From Being the Elite, The Bubbly Bunch, Broken Matt Hardy, and all of the WWE’s nonsense, the wrestling market is saturated with silliness. There are wrestling fans out there desperate for real, desperate for legitimate tough guy/women wrestlers, desperate for companies, and wrestlers, that present what they do as a fight, as a struggle, as an athletic competition to crown the best in the world of professional wrestling, not slapstick comedy routines performed inside a wrestling ring, or wrestling “environment.” The social media market is also saturated with “wrestlers” (or, gag, sports entertainers) and their gimmicks, but none of them, and yes I said none of them, are using social media to their advantage in any real way. Creating a gimmick Facebook page, where you occasionally post, or (gasp!) even answer fans posts, is cute, and better than nothing, but it doesn’t come close to fulfilling what you could do with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
So I’ve decided to offer a free “Social Media Seminar” from “The Wrestling Snob” Adam Leavelle. I’m a guy that trained to be a wrestler in the 80’s. I didn’t stick with it, but remained a loyal fan, and managed a time or two after I had “left” training because of my ability to talk. Twenty years later I started writing for numerous wrestling websites such as 411Mania, PWMania, PWPodnerings, The Indy Corner, Wrestling Inc, among others. I decided to open my own site when I began covering my local indies, in hopes of getting those companies over as much as a place like Ring of Honor was. I feel that I succeeded in that cause, bring a ton of attention to The Ultimate Wrestling Experience, Lancaster Championship Wrestling, Atomic Championship Wrestling, Rogue Women Warriors, and Legacy Wrestling. Along the way though, I found myself getting over with the indie crowd on some level. It got to the point to where I was invited to work for those companies, as well as MCW Pro Wrestling. When men in the business like Tiger Hitore, AJ Styles, Bobbie Fish, Adam Cole, Kevin Kelly, and others knew who I was, I wondered how lesser known wrestlers could accomplish the same. Yes, of course by their wrestling, and bookings, but I had discovered that you could get your name out there without even stepping into a wrestling ring, so how could wrestlers that I love, help boost the attention they were receiving in the wrestling world like me? My seminar will tell you how, and it’s coming soon to Facebook Live, for free! Yes, some will laugh at this. Some will roll their eyes, but I am telling you that if you LISTEN to what I have to say, and practice my suggestions, you’ll find yourself getting more bookings than ever. I have been invited all over the country to “review” shows, and if I saw fit, label them as “wrestling done right.” From Arkansas to Kentucky, New York, to West Virginia, and all places in between, I’ve been asked to appear, and post my thoughts of these shows on my social media. Now I want to help wrestlers that desire to be “more over” to have that happen. I don’t expect many will listen, and some won’t even care if what I am saying is true. For the few of you still with me, stay tuned, my “seminar” is coming soon! There’s no reason I should “more over than you,” and I am willing to help you make that happen! That’s always been, and forever will remain my goal.
Attention, for immediate release!
Wrestlingdoneright.com goes full Major League Wrestling coverage only! After years searching for a good American Professional wrestling company to lend his support to, The Wrestling Snob, Adam Leavelle, has decided that he's discovered just that, with Court Bauer's "Major League Wrestling (MLW). Adam spent the past ten years covering numerous companies, as a wrestling journalist, and reviewer, while also working for numerous independant companies as a commentator, and back stage interviewer, companies such as Legacy Wrestling, UWE, LCW, and MCW Pro. Having tired of the constant over the top comedy, the horrible story lines, awful gimmicks, and angles, Adam fully believed that Japan would be the only place to find wrestling that met his tastes and standards. The 2020 pandemic allowed "The Wrestling Snob" much more time to search out any possibility of a good company in the United States, and he was beyond delighted to find MLW. Having dubbed Major League Wrestling as Wrestling Done Right, the website will be dedicated to bringing fellow wrestling snobs, with particular tastes, all the news, reviews, opinion pieces, a blog, and a podcast, focusing solely on Major League Wrestling. Adam hopes that you bookmark Wrestlingdoneright.com and follow along with all things MLW, and join in the discussion on his Facebook page, and his Twitter.
One thing that pushed this “Wrestling Snob” away from modern professional wrestling is the total lack of selling. I understand that “wrestling has evolved,” and all, but all the cool moves, flips, and dives, aren’t nearly as cool as they could be because they just don’t seem to do much damage at all. Now calm down, this isn’t another rant from yours truly. What I am going to do is try to EXPLAIN why wrestlers take such a beating and keep going.
Since the 1980’s and 90’s, the focus on what you need to “make it” in professional wrestling has changed. Out are the hard bodied, overly large, muscle heads, and in are the smaller, but far more fit, flexible, and agile, CrossFit style of athletes. Sure, you’ll see a few body builder types here and there, but with the exposure of steroids years ago, much of the fitness industry now focuses on lean muscle mass and conditioning. The modern athlete also focuses much more on his or her mind as well, learning to overcome pain, injury, and exhaustion, not only physically, but mentally, to accomplish goals thought to be impossible in the past.
Today’s pro wrestler do the same, but on a larger scale. For example, why do you think it’s such an honor, and privilege to wrestle and work in Japan? With their “strong style,” and “Kings Road” philosophies, comes a mental toughness like seldom seen in the United States. Pro wrestlers go to Japan to not only “apply their craft,” but to learn the secretes of mental conditioning, taught in Japanese Dojo’s. One look at a guy like Juice Robinson, and you can see what I’m writing about here. Japanese wrestling has exploded onto the American scene, and with it came all of the teachings that normally were only found in that Country. Today, just about any wrestler that applies him or herself can learn the secrete arts of Puroresu, and this has been a large contributing factor to wrestlers overcoming moves that ended matches in the past.
Many “old school” wrestlers have opened wrestling school. These wrestlers developed strategies, training methods, and psychological methods, that have taught, trained, and inspired the current generation. These older wrestlers spent their days developing ways to withstand the moves the pain, and defeat, that many of the old school moves, styles, and methods, used assure. Today’s wrestlers, after having trained the bodies, and minds, to withstand more than the average athlete, now take up training classes with veterans that add to their knowledge. These things combined lead to wrestlers that no longer are instantly defeated with DDT’s, Super Kicks, and brainbusters. No, it doesn’t make sense to fans like you and I, but those who have the strength and ability to withstand the training that the modern professional wrestlers endures can learn the secrets. Why do you think it is that many wrestlers today get so insulted by fans critiquing their performance? They have suffered through immense pain, and pressure, to be allowed to step into the ring! No Timmy, you couldn’t get up after a super kick, but you’re not a professional wrestler that has trained his body, and mind for years to withstand such physical punishment and abuse. You’ve not delved deep into the psyche in order to tell yourself to keep going after taking a DDT, or a piledriver! The business isn’t just for anyone, it’s for the physically, and mentally strong. Have you not seen the quotes from NFL football players, and MMA fighters about wrestling being the most difficult thing they’ve ever done in their life? There is a reason for that!
If there is one thing about today’s pro wrestling that is legitimately easier, it’s the schedule. Yes, WWE performers still have insane schedules, but most other companies have a much easier schedule. AEW wrestlers have a much nicer, and more comfortable schedule than “stars” had back in the old days. As such, they can rest their bodies, and minds more. If you combine that rest, along with the new conditioning, and training, it makes a little more sense as to how they can take more damage. Finally, today’s rings, while not “trampolines” are much more comfortably built, allowing wrestlers to work a harder/stronger style more comfortably than the rings of old. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to bump around, but technology has improved in this way as well, adding to the “less selling” you see in today’s product.
It is my feeling, and belief, that wrestling journalists, and commentators need to start focusing far more on the modern athletic professional wrestler, and his or her training methods. If you listen to podcasts, like Arn Anderson’s, you will hear this much respected “old school” great talk about this. You will hear him say how athletic, how fit, how drilled in mentally, etc. today’s wrestlers are. You will hear him say how a team like “The Revival” are “worlds better” than he and Tully Blanchard, and folks, this guy isn’t getting paid by WWE anymore, and he hasn’t lost confidence in how amazing he and Tully were. Guys like Arn, Tully, and Jake Roberts realize everything that I’ve written here is true, and they’ve signed on to be teachers, trainers, and coaches, to take the AEW wrestlers even further in these directions. Once again you rely on “The Wrestling Snob” to help you enjoy today’s AEW, even when no one else is doing so. The uneducated fan may not need these things explained, or talked about, but I am here to try and help my fellow intelligent, wrestling snobs, understand the story of today’s in ring product. Next time we’ll discuss Kristen Stadtlander’s insistence that she’s “from another planet” and why that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and why I am the ONLY “journalist” out there capable of presenting such a case that isn’t insulting to your intelligence. Now if only Cody Rhodes were reading my material!