Remember last year’s Glory Honor IX? Broadcast on internet pay-per-view it was headlined by the memorable confrontation between Roderick Strong and departing champion Tyler Black, a match which saw Strong (the heel) roundly cheered for his loyalty to the promotion and Black (the face) get literally booed out of the building thanks to his recently inked WWE contract (and some inflammatory Cena-esque hand gestures). If that weren’t enough it boasted a superb undercard, the highlight of which was most definitely the contest between ROH tag team champions the Kings of Wrestling and the debuting Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. It was a stacked card and was easily one of the best wrestling shows of the year.
It looks unlikely that Ring of Honor will repeat that success with this year’s Glory By Honor X. There are no big debuts and it seems unlikely that the world title will changes hands. That’s not to say it won’t be good. It just stands less chance of being a classic.
The headline attraction is Davey Richards’ defence of the ROH world championship against El Generico. It’s not the freshest match ROH has to offer but that makes sense: GBHX is going to be a DVD release and fresh or highly anticipated matches need to be saved for pay-per-view or television so that the company can benefit from them financially. The two men will have an excellent bout and provide a fitting end to what is sure to be a solid night of action and that’s what the show will need from them.
Can ‘The Generic Luchador’ score a huge, not to mention surprising, upset and topple ‘The American Wolf’ for the gold? No. Richards winning is as close to a guarantee as you can get with Ring of Honor.
The man who will challenge the winner of Richards v Generico, ‘Die Hard’ Eddie Edwards, will be in action against Kyle O’Reilly. I’m predicting that O’Reilly will win the Survival of the Fittest tournament on Friday and I have a feeling he could score the upset over Edwards too. That will allow ROH to point back to this weekend in a year or two as the time he “broke out from the pack” (and they’ll probably use that phrasing).
The match that most interests me is the All Night Express v Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team for the ROH world tag team titles. ANX have been floating around at the top of ROH’s tag division all year and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until they win the gold. I have a feeling that this match will see the champions resort to underhanded tactics to keep hold of their belts, setting up a rematch sometime in the New Year. ANX winning the gold wouldn’t be a massive surprise and I’d love to see it but I think the beginning of a WGTT heel turn is more likely. ANX will likely get the titles on their next challenge, whenever that turns out to be.
Speaking of tag teams the Young Bucks will wrestle the Briscoe Brothers. There’s heavy potential for a style clash in this match. Hopefully the four men will work around that and put in a solid showing. It will be interesting to see who gets cheered. Ironically the Briscoes were turned heel because of fan apathy during their last face run and they are now far more popular than they have been in years. The Bucks have been working as heels since their return to ROH a few months ago and I suspect fans will side with ‘Dem Boys’ over the former Generation Me. I imagine Mark and Jay will get the win in this match.
The Jimmy Jacobs v Tommaso Ciampa match has one of the most predictable outcomes of the show. As I said in my Survival of the Fittest preview it seems very unlikely that ROH have spent months establishing a winning streak for ‘The Dominant Male’ only to end it at an untelevised show. Jacobs being a mid-card guy right now just makes it clearer. It will be a fun match (matches are always fun with the Embassy at ringside) but instantly forgettable.
Finally there’s the non-title match between TV champion Jay Lethal and the House of Truth’s Roderick Strong. This is being billed as a “proving ground” match. That’s not a term I care for. It’s something ROH are trying with their non-title matches: if the man without a title can last through the time limit or score the victory over the champion they’ll earn themselves a match for the title in the future. The thing is that’s how wrestling has always worked. It’s just that the matches have never been referred to by any special name. This strikes me as ROH being different just for the sake of being different. I also question why Strong, a former world champion, would be considered for a TV title shot at any point. It’s a personal thing, I dislike seeing former world champions in any promotion go back to holding mid-card titles. I feel those belts are better used building up future stars.
Strong v Lethal should be a fine match but I have a feeling it will go to a time limit draw. I’m not sure why but most of Lethal’s matches seem to be going the distance lately. It’s an odd creative direction for Ring of Honor to take with him as it makes Lethal look like he can’t win matches. Not the best thing to do with a champion (or anybody you’re considering as a future star for that matter). I’ll officially predict a time limit draw for this match (what does that say about ROH?) but should that not happen I imagine Strong will pick up the victory.
Glory By Honor X is not going to be the best ROH show of the year but it’s not going to be the worst either. When you get right down to it you can’t say fairer than that, can you?