Every once in a while a single match comes along and wows me so much that I become a fan of one, or both of the participants. Recently it was a match on Ring of Honor’s “Women’s Division Wednesday’s” on their YouTube page, when Vita Vonstarr faced off against former Women of Honor Champion, Sumie Sakai. Vita impressed me greatly. Vita is a clear heel, and wrestled like one from the opening bell. Sumie is a natural baby face, so this instantly worked, because the classic baby face vs heel dynamic still works wonders in wrestling, no matter how much some people think we’ve evolved past that. VonStarr went so far as a heel that she actually bit Sakai, several times! I assume Sumie called this match, as she is a trainer, and the baby face typically calls a match, but it was Vita who had control, set the pace, and compensated for numerous botches, and complete moments of looking lost from Sakai. Sumies continual insistence on clapping, and acting as if she was trying to rile up a nonexistent crowd was cute at first, but got weird, and seemed to distract her from focusing on the match. To Ian Riccaboni and Maria Kanellis’s credit, they sold the idea of Sumie being distracted and psyched out from Vita’s heel tactics. To my trained eye this wasn’t the case. Vita Vonstarr was just better, and in my opinion, should have won this match. Instead, Sumie, having looked beaten, and out worked all match long, gets the “surprise” roll up win. Vita attacks Sumie after the match, locking her in a stretch hold in the ropes. As Vita walked off, she said “She got out, because I let her out.” That sums up the entire match. Sumie got the offence she got, and the win, because “Vita let her” do it.
Check out the match below.
Wrestlers that look like real life size men, that look like they could legit kick someone’s ass, that look like professional athletes, like fighters, and can work a match in a way that makes you believe, are the best professional wrestlers in the world. If they can also talk, do solid promo’s, and have some charisma, they can become “superstars” in the wrestling world. I believe that I’ve proven time and again to be able to spot that in young up and comers. For example, I predicted Jay White would be a big star for New Japan, back when he was losing every match, as a Young Lion. I’ve obviously been proven right there. Currently I see the same thing in another “Young Lion,” or whatever Ring of Honor Wrestling calls their dojo students. “Classic” Eric Martin, at 6’3” and 230lbs, is a man that will make you believe. Not only is his size worthy of attention, but his wrestling skills are top notch. Martin doesn’t rely on spots, something that’s unusual in today’s wrestling, instead relying on working holds, and grinding his opponents into the mat. Having first gotten attention as part of a tag team called “The Classics,” with then partner Tyler Stone, The Classics were what you would think, a throwback team to days gone by, when wrestling was better than it’s ever been since. Donning satin jackets, and matching gear, Martin and Stone couldn’t be called “Revival” rip-offs because they debuted this gimmick right around the same time as Cash and Wheeler debuted theirs. After dissolving The Classics, Martin went on to team with John Skyler, winning the MCW Pro Wrestling tag team titles, and getting attention from Ring of Honor.
Since entering the ROH dojo, Martin has been seen a few times on ROH television. In particular he got to shine in a 4 way dojo match, where the winner advanced to face the Pure Champion, Jonathan Gresham, in a title match. While Joe Keyes emerged victorious in that match, Martin stuck out to me. His size, strength, and agility really made me take notice, and question how he didn’t win this one? More recently, Martin participated in the first ever ROH Pure Gauntlet match. Martin was the third man in the match, facing World Famous CB, who had advanced by defeating Martin’s trainer, Will Ferrara. Martin forced World Famous CB to use his remaining rope breaks, by giving CB a very tough challenge, lasting the second longest time outside the final match of the gauntlet between Wheeler Yuta and Fred Yehi, who are Pure wrestling standouts. I would argue that Martin’s performance against CB wore CB down so baldly, that after CB managed to get Martin to submit, he then lost in three minutes to the next opponent, Wheeler Yuta. If you watch this match back, you will see what I mean.
All the ROH dojo students are very good, but I sense and see something special in Eric Martin. Truth be told, I’ve seen something in him since his days as part of “The Classic’s” tag team. However, now that he’s in the best wrestling company in the world, I really see the potential for him to become a major player, yes, even more so than any other dojo student. I would very much enjoy seeing Martin in a rematch against World Famous CB, and in the television division, chasing champion Tracy Williams, while facing men like Tony Deppen, LSG, and Brian Johnson. I believe Martin can one day make the same impact for ROH that Jay White has made in NJPW. When he does, I’ll be sure to point out how I told you so, how I told you that “Classic” Eric Martin is Wrestling Done Right!
Ring of Honor is one of the most bad ass, seriously presented, sports based, wrestling product in the World. I can hold my head up and proudly tell others that I am a Ring of Honor fan, and supporter. For some reason, I just don’t see this same style in Women of Honor. Far too often, especially post Kelly Klein, the women in Ring of Honor come across as silly, or campy. For example, the entire Allure vs. Quin McKay comes across like the plot of a cookie cutter teen move where the pretty girl picks on the nerdy girl. Yes, Quin is clearly the baby face, and Angelina and Mandy are the heels, but what they are doing doesn’t feel legit. It feels forced, over acted, and silly. Smashing coffee mugs, locking someone in a backstage room, and other silliness like that, doesn’t make me believe that these women are really fighting. It all feels like high school hijinks in the middle of a professional wrestling show, where the men are fighting, and struggling to work their way up the rankings, chasing championships. The Ring of Honor men, and their matches, come across, in style and presentation, like the fights in UFC do. Meanwhile, Session Moth Martina drinks, stumbles around, and is the comedy relief that no one asked for. I am at a loss as to why women can’t be presented every bit as serious as the men are. It’s almost like someone different is booking the women. Is Delirious not booking the women? I am not sure, but it doesn’t come across as if he is. Maybe the tournament this summer will change all this. Maybe I am leaning too heavily on The Allure vs Quin McKay, and Session Moth Martina, but that’s the only thing Women of Honor are presenting so far, it’s the only thing I have to base where WOH is going. I’ve privately advocated for Lufisto to come in. ROH needs a serious ass kicking female wrestler to lead the way. The NWA for example has Thunder Rosa and Kamille leading their women’s division, and they are legit as hell. MLW and New Japan don’t even bother with a women’s division. If you’re going to have a women’s division, they deserve to be taken every bit as serious as the men. I trust that ROH can do that, but will they? I certainly hope so.