Column of Honor Special Comment 2.23.13: Ring of HaasTube
Posted by Ari Berenstein on 02.23.2013
Charlie HaasTV dominates Ring of Honor’s YouTube feed, but should he really be the main focus of this part of their Internet presence?
You know what pisses me off? All of these Charlie Haas videos.
They're up on Ring of Honor's YouTube stream, on their news wire updates and even plugged on Ring of Honor's Facebook and Twitter accounts. They're everywhere. It's a bombardment of Haas videos and I can't get away from them.
If Charlie Haas "Pissed Off" videos aren't enough for you, there is even more Charlie Haas Entertainment for your viewing pleasure. Here's a video of Charlie Haas beating up a Ring of Honor dojo student and all-around gopher known as Cheeseburger (whose name must be ironic because it certainly looks like he could stand to eat a few and not that he is known for eating them). Here is a vignette shown both on YouTube and on ROH television episodes where Haas confronts Nigel McGuiness demanding a tag team title shot for him and Shelton Benjamin (they're Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team Who Haven't Wrestled Together In Four Months). As well, here is ROH's coup de grace of cultural relevancy-Haas beating the crap out of BJ Whitmer at a car dealership. Here's how to know you are on the lowest of low-budgets-you shoot an angle at a car dealership. Well, okay, that Angle Slam onto the car was pretty cool.
Let's face it: This isn't Ring of Honor anymore. This is wrestling promotion with the initials ROH to be sure, but it should be known from now and forevermore as "Ring of Haas".
Wait, wait a minute. Stop. I'm sorry. I can't do this. I can't put up the front anymore. I tried. I tried to be angry about this Haas-a-thon. Really I did. It is just not the truth. I am not really pissed off at all about the massive output of Charlie Haas videos (not all) of them anyway). Heck, I'm not even pissed off at Charlie Haas.
I like Charlie Haas. I've liked Charlie Haas going all the way back to the beginning of his run in ROH in late 2010 when he teamed up with Shelton to wrestle The Kings of Wrestling at Glory By Honor IX. I wasn't the only one either-judging from the massive reaction both he and Benjamin received on that night. Or, it could have just been the use of AC/DC's "TNT" as their theme song which created that massive catharsis in the New York crowd. I defy you to listen to that song and NOT be ready to explode in orgasmic enthusiasm for anyone that comes out to ringside, and then not want to proceed to run a half-marathon, pull a tug-boat in a World's Strongest competition or pogo stick-while-playing a ukulele. That song is the equivalent of downing three "Five-Hour Energy" containers in under five-minutes. But I digress.
It would probably be too far to state that Charlie Haas was an icon to me, my very own David Haas-elhoff. However, at the time I did want him and Shelton Benjamin to have an extended stay in the promotion and maybe even win the ROH World Tag Team Titles-maybe even more than once. I was never one of the fans who bashed Haas and Benjamin on their Twitter feeds, podcasts or on wrestling forums as boring or not quite up to speed or having lost a step or sloppy or dogging it (well…maybe I wrote that last criticism about Benjamin one time, but I was only trying to be honest-you know you only hurt the ones you love). It was other people referring to Haas and Benjamin as Wrestling's Seventh Greatest Tag Team or some such insult. I was usually the one on episodes of Podcast of Honor (CHEAP PLUG: available through pwponderings.com) defending Haas and Benjamin and their usage through the last few years as stewards of the ROH tag team division. Yes, ultimately they did overstay their welcome as tag team champions, and the whole Kenny King-to-TNA debacle ruined a possible passing-the-torch moment), but for the most part I thought a good deal positive about WGTT in the ROH tag team division.
Now that Charlie Haas is seemingly on his own in Ring of Honor (Benjamin having been rumored for months to be re-joining with WWE)-Haas needed something to distance himself from his time in the tag team scene. He donned the moniker of "The Outlaw" a few months back and adopted a persona to match-doing and saying things that were meant to rifle the feathers of the fans and (in storyline) Ring of Honor's corporate division.
Then, a month or so back Haas (well, ROH really) began to release these twenty-second-or-so videos where he would talk about how things pissed him off. I liked these videos too-even though they were rough and needed a lot of work to truly reach its potential. So I wrote some suggestions to Haas on Twitter about how he should make those videos longer and connect them to whatever matches or feuds he was running through in ROH at that moment. Haas responded in video form, telling the world that fans who told him what to do about these videos pissed him off (never mentioning me by name by the way, but come on, the criticisms were the exact same ones I sent to him). He concluded by stating that he would continue to run his videos the way he saw fit. I liked that video too.
Let's face it—through these veins run the hot, pissed-off blood of a Haas-a-maniac. I want Haas to be a successful singles star, because that can help add depth to the ROH roster. Haas may not be the youngest star out there or on the cutting-edge of performing wowing moves, but he does get plenty of actual, honest-to-goodness genuine heat with the ROH audience. That ability to get and to keep building heel heat is a rarity, not just in this era of Ring of Honor, but in any previous era as well. ROH fans sometimes view themselves as "too smart" to truly hate the bad guys (admittedly this has happened to me on a few occasions as well), but right now only a few if any in ROH can do better than Haas in getting the fans to forget about everything but just unleashing pure and unbridled hatred upon a wrestler.
Here's the problem though-and it's not really Charlie Haas's fault at all, but rather much of the blame falls on the shoulders of the decision-makers in ROH. I like these videos, but, it's getting to be too much. All-Haas and nobody else makes the ROH fan go something-something (Go watch something else? Don't mind if I do!). The massive online push for Charlie Haas and almost no one else does a great disservice to much of the Ring of Honor roster seemingly in need of attention and extra video time to help get over to the audience at-large.
TJ Hawke made a great comment in a Twitter post last week. He wrote "If you only followed @ringofhonor through their YouTube channel, you would think that they thought Charlie Haas was their biggest star." He is correct. If one were to look at Ring of Honor's YouTube video feed for current videos (i.e. not the free classic matches ROH has been posting for its 11th Anniversary, which as a side-note, is awesome and a very praiseworthy move), one would see mostly Charlie Haas videos, an occasional wacky video done by The Briscoes, one or two Michael Elgin or Jay Lethal promos and maybe an episode of Inside ROH every once in a while. There is almost no other wrestler featured on ROH's YouTube video channel. Charlie Haas is ROH's YouTube Internet Star.
Quickly, answer this question: Who is the Ring of Honor World Champion? No, it's not Charlie Haas, although I couldn't blame you if you came to that conclusion from watching the Ring of Honor YouTube feed. It's Kevin Steen. How many Kevin Steen promos have there been on that ROH YouTube feed since the beginning of 2013? Exactly none. That's a damning number to be sure. Okay, yes, Steen is featured plenty on the television show and if you watched that or paid general attention to ROH you would know he's the champion. However, it doesn't seem like he's getting the biggest push, judging solely by the YouTube video feed. If I was in charge of the ROH YouTube, I'd want Steen's promos to be featured front-and-center plenty of the time. I mean, have you read some of Steen's great Twitter comments or seen some of his vitriolic promos from years' past? If you want someone to rant about things that piss him off, that guy can flat out go .Not to mention that since he's the champion, that he should be the main man pushed on ROH's many promotional vehicles.
What about the many other ROH wrestlers-don't they deserve some YouTube attention as well? I mean, yeah maybe Michael Elgin and Tadarius Thomas get like one video to talk and get themselves over, but since those guys should be the future of the promotion (or even its present), why aren't they and many other viable up-and-coming talents featured more frequently? If half of the time that went to promoting Charlie Haas videos went to some of the other talent, maybe fans and viewers would know more about them and help to get them over with the fans sooner rather than later.
So no, let's not stop Ring of Haas's HaasTube. I like listening to Charlie Haas rant—it make me pine for the good old days when George Carlin or Dennis Miller could go on a tear and leave you both informed and in stitches. Well, actually, these Haas videos aren't all that educational, or come to think of it, all that funny. But, I mean, they're okay enough, I guess. They're not bad, anyway. They've got potential. Like I've suggested in the past, if anything each of these videos should be longer and more in-depth about the particular subject about which Haas is pissed off. That way these videos actually work as best as possible in helping him achieve success with this concept.
I'd like to see these Charlie Haas videos work and come together for the ultimate purpose of being successful in redeveloping him as a singles wrestler in Ring of Honor. After all, I was there before all of these Charlie-come-latelys that have crawled out of the woodwork since these videos went viral, professing their love and admiration for him. I bet 80-90% of them were the ones knocking him and Benjamin over the past year anyway. And you know what? That really pisses me off.