It was recently revealed (through the magic of Twitter) that Eddie Edwards is being trained by Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn for his Final Battle world title match with Davey Richards. Naturally this is part of a storyline but it’s an interesting direction for the rivalry to head in.
Training regimes have played an increasingly important role in ROH title matches over the last year or so. Part of the reason for this is the ascension of Davey Richards to the top of the card. ‘The American Wolf’ (it feels appropriate, given that moniker, that Edwards has aligned himself with a man that looks like a lumberjack) has always been presented as a serious competitor who places great emphasis on incorporating different fighting styles and training regimens for big matches, shunning the over-the-top gimmicks usually associated with wrestling. His entourage, Team Richards, is intended to aid in his portrayal as a serious athlete who is focused on excelling in the ring (it also has the unfortunate side effect of making Richards appear a nutcase who has no interests outside of training).
It has been subtly implied that part of the reason Edwards lost the title to Richards at June’s Best in the World is because of Richards’ approach to preparation. This hasn’t been stated outright but the company’s depiction of the current champion has made it clear that his win was in part due to the time he spent training and studying different fighting techniques.
This being Ring of Honor there’s a fair chance that Edwards will legitimately spend some time with Severn before the match takes place. I expect we’ll see him employ Severn’s signature belly to belly suplex and Beast Choker submission hold on December 23rd. Both moves should form key parts of the bout.
Can ‘Die Hard’ become a two time Ring of Honor world champion? In the past the promotion has seemed reluctant to give people more than one reign at the top, with only one man regaining the title for a second reign in its nine year history. My initial feeling is that Edwards won’t capture the gold, but the current booking team seems less interested in epic title reigns than their predecessors have been and more inclined to surprise audiences so it’s not impossible that Edwards will leave as champion.
Right now I’m expecting Richards to win. That could change in the next few weeks as the event gets closer and we learn more about Severn’s role in Edwards’ preparation. One thing I am confident of is that both men will strive to better their excellent encounter from Best in the World. It should be a fitting final match of 2011 for the company that prides itself on giving fans tremendous action.