Ring of Honor is on fire. While AEW promised wrestling fans “a sports based promotion, where rankings and wins and loses mattered,” it’s ROH that’s delivering on that promise, as AEW simply gave us their version of Sports Entertainment. This doesn’t mean that Ring of Honor is boring, not using gimmicks, or angles (I hate calling angles “storylines,” as this has been an epidemic caused by Sports Entertainment). The Foundation feuding with La Facción Ingobernable, pure wrestlers vs rudos, or heels, that are “ungovernable” is a very hot “angle in ROH. Brody King forming a stable that’s all about violence is a very hot angle at the moment. Shane Taylor Promotions being so good, but not often used at the top of the card, is a great angle. The World Famous CB is a good gimmick, being used as an angle as well. The reinvention of a gimmick that was so sports entertainment is a sign of ROH being the sports based company that I’m talking about. EC3 coming into to ROH, questioning if Honor is real, is an angle. The entire Pure division is one of the best angles/gimmicks in the entire wrestling business today! The difference between angles, and storylines is that while storylines are often insulting, or cringe worthy, angles simply give you a reason that wrestlers are fighting, or the motivations behind what’s going on.
Brian Johnson is a man that has walked into this environment calling all these things stupid, and pointless. This is why it works, this is why Johnson is getting more and more popular. Not because ROH fans agree with everything he says, be because it’s enjoyable to see this man walk into a company as bad ass as ROH, and call it all a joke. He doesn’t care about Pure wrestling. He thinks Lucha Libre is stupid. He calls the one overly gimmick wrestler ROH has, Danhausen, a parody of the sport he loves, an insult, an embarrassment. Brian Johnson’s sincerity is what is getting him over. That said, the man never stops talking, and that is what makes is tough to like him, or for him to ever be a fan favorite. I’m not talking about his ability to cut amazing promos, because he can, and does, but his incessant talking in the ring, as he enters, as he waits for his opponent, as the match goes on, this guy never stops running his mouth. In the way you wanted to punch Larry Zbysko in the face for his constant stall tactics in every single one of his matches, you want to do the same to Johnson for his seemingly inability to just shut the hell up. You will laugh at much of what he says though, even if you disagree, and that is one of the things that make you want to see him succeed as well. He brutal forwardness is refreshing in a world where everyone is so guarded, and where PC is king. In today’s world, I want to hear Brian Johnson talk, I want to “like” his Tweets, even if I don’t agree with everything he says! Finally, it’s Johnson’s ability to work, to wrestle, that can’t be denied. A grappler in the style of someone like Drew Gulak, it’s his Philadelphia reputation as a hardnosed grappler, not afraid of anyone, that will force you to respect him. Johnson has latched onto a catchphrase, and even though I often don’t like those, his works. Of course a man as confident as Brian Johnson would call himself “The Mecca,” and in Ring of Honor it absolutely is “Mecca vs everybody,” and we wouldn’t have it any other way.