The Professional 3 8.18.13: Top 3 Sweet and Sour Inc. Representatives
Posted by Jon Harder on 08.18.2013
411's Jon Harder goes back into the mid 2000's and discusses "Sweet and Sour" Larry Sweeney and his group in ROH, Sweet and Sour Inc. AIN'T NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, BABY.
Welcome everyone to another edition of the Professional 3 HERE on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and another monumental week of wrestling on the horizon! Whether it's all hype for tonight's Summerslam, Thursday's Hardcore Justice, or the inspirational story involving Darren Young, pro wrestling has never been more popular. It truly makes me think about a load of different wrestlers who could be getting this opportunity now. In particular, one man who would perfect for this day-and-age of pro wrestling.
Before we go any further, check out this week's Hardway Podcast on TheJonHarder.com with FNB. The Fat Nasty Bastard and I go back a few years and this man is one of the young brawlers in the independent circuit. FNB talks about ACE Pro Wrestling, "the Juice" JT Dunn, and pro wrestling in general. Follow him on Twitter at @Hardcore_247.
Also this week, it's another edition of Angry Mets Guys on YouTube starring Leon St. Giovanni and I. Follow us on Twitter at @AngryMetsGuys. This week's episode is on the Mets outfield. Check it here:
Finally guys, follow me on Twitter at @TheJonHarder. I love your feedback on any of my projects, in particular, this column. What would you love me to write about for upcoming columns? Your opinions do matter.
Now, onto this week's column. On my podcast this week, Good News Hughes and I took fan answers for our Hardway Podcast? Of the Day, which was "What wrestler was ahead of his or her time? Who was too late?" After discussing everyone's answers, I gave my personal opinion of a "too late" guy. Although he was GREAT as an in-ring competitor, his managerial role was second-to-none. This gentleman was able to take a group of guys and gals and turn them into marketable names within Ring of Honor. He was one of a kind, especially on the microphone. That man: Larry Sweeney.
Larry Sweeney was such a throwback, especially in ROH, where the in-ring action reigned supreme. "Sweet and Sour" took his very brash and pompous attitude and became a super-agent to the stars. Debuting the day before Final Battle 2006 as Chris Hero's agent, Sweeney quickly took ROH by storm, taking in a multitude of wrestlers over 2007 and 2008. As a super-agent, he was able to get the best bang for his buck when it came for each one of his clients. Sweeney was SO good he even was able to negotiate a deal where Matt Sydal got big bucks by signing with "Vince" in WWE! Character wise, Larry Sweeney was heads and above the rest in ROH. His personality outshined the majority of talent within the company. But most of all, his leading of Sweet and Sour Inc put simple story-driven arcs into ROH. Sweeney's wedge in the Kings of Wrestling drove Chris Hero into the singles realm of ROH. By building around "That Young Knockout Kid", Sweeney had an immense talent pool all around to do his bidding. He bought out different stables, stole different wrestlers, and gave other wrestlers direction. If it wasn't for Larry Sweeney, there is no way Tank Toland develops the "All Natural Superior Athlete" schtick. If it wasn't for Larry Sweeney, Go Shiozaki doesn't get a burst of momentum and the FIP World Heavyweight championship. I will personally say that if Eddie Edwards didn't join Sweet and Sour Inc., that would not have started his break to the ROH World championship in 2011. And most of all, if it wasn't for Larry Sweeney, we would never have had a small dose of Johnny Fairplay in ROH. Here is an example of what Sweeney did to motivate his talent.
In all honesty, with all due respect to the Embassy and Generation Next, Larry Sweeney and Sweet and Sour Inc were the greatest group in Ring of Honor history. They had a throwback to the days of the Heenan Family, with all different types of characters and representatives within it. There is no way the ROH pay-per-view Caged Collision happens in January 2009 without Larry Sweeney's attempted hostile takeover of ROH with trying to buy all different talent to his fold. Sweet and Sour Inc. was just on another level.
This week's Professional 3 is based upon the top three talents "Sweet and Sour" made relevant or even more popular in the realm of independent wrestling. With mainstream wrestling slowly starting to pick back up on the manager bandwagon, it's a testament to see how much a manager can accentuate a performer in and out of the ring. Sweeney definitely was able to do that. Without further hesitation...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Top 3 Sweet and Sour Inc. Representatives
1) CHRIS HERO Chris Hero and Larry Sweeney will forever be linked to their Ring of Honor stint together. As I alluded to earlier, "Sweet and Sour" was the preverbal wedge that drove apart the Kings of Wrestling. Everything in Sweet and Sour Inc. revolved completely around Hero. You can also see that through Larry Sweeney the evolution of Hero. From a very bombastic wrestler to Daniel Puder's influence with "That Young Knockout Kid", Chris Hero personified that group. Larry Sweeney took Chris Hero, who was DEPISED by ROH audiences, and made him into a main-event caliber talent. Their chemistry was undeniable and something very special. Yet somehow, I feel Hero in Sweet and Sour Inc. was very overlooked, due to his final run with the KoW in ROH. It truly showed the range of Chris Hero, from comedy to serious. Larry Sweeney's over-the-top persona made it work for Hero. These two go together like peanut butter and jelly, and it really makes me miss those days of wrestling, in particular with 2008 Ring of Honor.
2) SARA DEL REY Chris Hero's ROH Intergender Tag Team championship partner was the only female in Sweet and Sour Inc., and most likely the toughest within the entire group. After joining on ROH's first pay-per-view Respect is Earned in 2007, Del Rey was the most dominant female in ROH. She brought the SHIMMER championship into ROH and made multiple defenses of the championship. Once she became a full-fledged rule breaker, she became an American version of Bull Nakano and became that much more vicious. Larry Sweeney's evil influence as a scumbag super-agent put Death Rey as the best woman's wrestler in North America.
3) BOBBY DEMPSEY The most underappreciated representative of Sweet and Sour Inc. Bobby Dempsey joined in the spring of 2007 and immediately became the defacto whipping boy of the group. Due to his naiveness and weight issues, Bobby was tormented for over a year by Sweeney and his associates. Tank Toland, in particular, ultimately failed in his attempts to have Bobby lose weight. Even though Dempsey was made fun of, he still took put in dominating all of SnS's rivals in group style beatings. Yet somehow, Bobby Dempsey was BELOVED by the ROH audience. Larry Sweeney made that possible. Sweeney's excessive comments towards Dempsey made Bobby a sympathetic figure. How Dempsey never took off as a monster brawler in ROH after leaving Sweet and Sour Inc. in 2009 at Caged Collision is unreal. Regardless, Bobby Dempsey was MADE in ROH due to his turbulent inclusion into Sweet and Sour, Inc.
BONUS: THE LARRY SWEENEY SHOW Some people find this to be one of the most disturbing moments in ROH history. Others see this to be hilarious as Hell. However you choose, the Larry Sweeney Show with Bobby Dempsey "having fun" with Allison Danger is a spectacle to behold. Ridiculous and campy, somehow it worked. This segment was critically panned by all, but it needs to be watched. It was just ridiculous.
Any way you slice it or dice it, Larry Sweeney was the greatest manager in this era of wrestling. He stood out because of his voice and his style. A one-of-a-kind performer, "Sweet and Sour" enhanced everyone he worked with. Larry Sweeney is missed in this world, not just as an entertainer, but as a human being, and it just goes to show what talent can do with the limited time they are able to do it