The Ten Count 8.23.13: Top Ten ROH Performers
Posted by Jesse Nguyen on 08.23.2013
From Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe to Kevin Steen, Christopher Daniels, Davey Richards and more, 411's Jesse Nguyen counts down the top 10 Ring of Honor performers of all time!
I took a break from watching pro wrestling around 2001, and did not return till maybe 2003. At the time, I missed out on a lot of stuff in the WWE, mainly because a friend of mine introduced me to Ring of Honor. I would have to say while it is not my favorite promotion of all time, they did reignite my love for pro wrestling. Today on the Ten Count, I'm going to look at who I believe were the best performers of the promotions life time. These are the first ten wrestlers I think of when someone says Ring of Honor.
Honorable Mentions: AJ Styles, Alex Shelley, Low-Ki, Kings of Wrestling, El Generico
Tenure with ROH: 2002 - 2007, 2010 - 2011
ROH Tag Team Champion with Donovan Morgan - 175 days
ROH Tag Team Champion with Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne) - 91 days
ROH World Television Champion - 198 days
Christopher Daniels was one of the pioneers of Ring of Honor, but he was not too keen on the promotion's code of honor, and lead a group specially made to be against it named the Prophecy. They started off on their quest well, being the first ROH Tag Team Champions. It was not until CM Punk and his group, the Second City Saints, won a match against the Prophecy that the group was disbanded. At that point Daniels left Ring of Honor for a while, but then returned in pursuit of the ROH World Championship. Although he would never win the World Title, he would team with Matt Sydal (WWE's Evan Bourne) to win the Tag Team Championships again, and had a good run with the ROH World Television Championship. I think what made Daniels' time in Ring of Honor important was that he was sharing his ring time with TNA Wrestling at the time, and putting on fantastic matches at the same time. He was one of the first wrestlers to but Ring of Honor on the map, and one of the best heels of the company in the early years.
Tenure with ROH: 2002 - 2007
ROH World Champion - 56 days
Homicide was one of the first breakout stars in Ring of Honor. He started off as a tag team with Boogalou, but that quickly ended and Homicide would go on to start a a long feud with Steve Corino. Much like Kevin Steen, he was well known for a stiff style of wrestling, even using a lariat that Stan Hansen would be proud of. While he was a fan favorite of the company, he would take anyone he fought to the limit, even having a match with BJ Whitmer dubbed the Fighting Spirit Challenge. After a couple of years, he ended up forming a stable with Low-Ki, Rocky Romero, and Ricky Reyes called the Rottweilers. During this time he assaulted anyone who would dare get into his business. He had a feud with both Samoa Joe and Colt Cabana where he would use such weapons as a fireball and a bottle of bleach. Homicide finally realized his goal when he won the ROH World Title from then rival Daniel Bryan. Sadly his title reign would be short lived, but that does not stop him from blazing quite a path in the promotion.
Tenure with ROH: 2006 - 2013
ROH World Champion - 321 days
ROH Tag Team Champion with Eddie Edwards 2 times - 267 total days
ROH Tag Team Champion with Rocky Romero - 77 days
I am not the biggest fan of Davey Richards, but I will say that his presence in Ring of Honor is quite the one. A lot of his early time with the promotion was spent following Austin Aries in the No Remose Corp, where he won the tag team title with Rocky Romero. After that group split off, he teamed with Eddie Edwards to form the American Wolves, where he spent a long time battling in the tag division against the likes of the Briscoes, Kevin Steen and El Generico, and the Kings of Wrestling. Even while he teamed with Edwards, Richards pursued the world title endlessly, finally winning it in 2011. He went on to have epic battles against Kenny Omega, Austin Aries, and Kevin Steen. The fans were behind him all the way, even chanting 'next world champ' at him on many occasions. It seems he is destined to be on top of the ROH roster forever, as he recently just won the ROH Tag Team Championship again with Eddie Edwards.
Tenue with ROH: 2003 - 2009 (currently with the promotion, non wrestling role)
ROH World Championship: 545 days
ROH Pure Championship: 350 days
Nigel McGuinness started off his ROH career showing off his incredible technical skills, scoring an impressive submission victory against Homicide. After that, he went on pursuit for Ring of Honor gold, having great matches against Antonio Cesaro, Samoa Joe, and Daniel Bryan. He started off as a face, gaining a lot of crowd support as he fought his hardest to win and retain the ROH Pure Championship. After the title was unified with the World Title, he set his sights on winning the grand prize. Not only did he win the ROH World Championship, he held on to it for a year and half, having the second longest reign in the company. While he had the championship, he become more cocky and arrogant, even using the famous quote from Bret Hart that he was 'the best there is, best there was, and the best there ever will be.' It got under the skin of just about everyone, but he was able to prove just how good his abilities were against anyone who stepped in the ring with him. While he no longer is an active wrestler, has rejoined the company as a commentator.
Tenure with ROH: 2006 - 2013
ROH World Champion - 328 days
ROH Tag Team Champion with El Generico - 203 days
Kevin Steen is a heavy hitter. Both in the ring and as a competitor in the industry. His work in ROH is quite a rollercoaster. He has been a fan favorite and the most hated man in the promotion. I like to think his most famous work is his feud with longtime friend and parter, El Generico. They battled for nearly a year in what would become quite a few bloody brawls. It got to the point where Steen put his ROH career on the line against Generico's mask. Steen would lose the match, but return to the promotion only about a half year later. His matches with ROH are fantastic, not only against El Generico. He has battled against Davey Richards, Tyler Black (Seth Rollins,) and the Briscoes. Kevin Steen has always been one of the best 'big' wrestlers, and his extensive work in ROH really shows that. These days he is still with the promotion, actually helping Ring of Honor win a feud against SCUM In a time when I stopped watching Ring of Honor regularly, I would still return to watch some of his amazing matches.
Tenure with ROH: 2004 - 2010
ROH World Champion 2 times - 419 total days
ROH Tag Team Champion with Roderick Strong 273 days
Austin Aries joined Ring of Honor in 2004, and by the end of the year, he ended Samoa Joe's 21 month reign as ROH World Champion. He also headed the group of Generation Next, who were the premier heel group of ROH from 2004 to 2006. He also happened to be the only person to hold the ROH World Title on more than one occasion. His first title reign he used his wrestling to speak for itself. His second reign, however, he felt the need to put off a more cocky attitude, dubbing himself 'A Double' and spouting that no one was as good as him. He also turned to wearing more flashy outfits, garnering as much attention as he could. That did not hinder his wrestling ability though. He fought against CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Davey Richards, and more as he continued to lead groups of people through the promotion. He was a born leader who could pull a good match out of anyone the promotion put him up against.
Tenure with ROH - 2002 - 2009
ROH World Champion - 462 days
I am sure everyone who watches any form of pro wrestling knows who Daniel Bryan is. His rise to wrestling fame started in Ring of Honor, where he was one of the top stars for his entire tenure there. He had a five star match against Paul London that really solidified just how great a wrestler he was. After that he started to a quest to win the ROH World Championship, feuding with Samoa Joe. He quickly became a fan favorite, the fans even singing along with his theme song, 'The Final Countdown". When he finally won the ROH World Title, he defended it against anyone who would step in the ring with him. He had great technical matches against Joe and CM Punk, but could also engage in wild brawls going against Takeshi Morishima. Daniel Bryan is one of the competitors who put ROH on the map and put them as a staple in the independent wrestling scene.
Tenure with ROH: 2002 - 2005
ROH World Champion - 55 days
ROH Tag Team Champion 2 times with Colt Cabana - 105 total days
It is hard to believe that CM Punk was only with ROH for only a short three years. It is also amazing to see what he was able to accomplish in those three years. Yes, he was only champion for barely two months, but he was easily the most controversial champion, at one point signing his WWE contract right on the belt itself. He threaten to take the title with him when he left, but did not get a chance to. His standout attitude showed early during his career when he feued with the likes of Raven, Ricky Steamboat, and Christopher Daniels. When he had the microphone in hand, everyone would listen. He also managed to have awesome matches against Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, and Jimmy Rave. He was great as a singles wrestler, but also formed a team with one of his best friends, Colt Cabana. The two won the ROH Tag Team Championships twice during the team's stay with the company. Watching CM Punk's work from this promotion really showed that he was destined to become one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
Tenure with ROH: 2002 - 2007
ROH World Champion record holder - 645 days
ROH Pure Champion - 112 days
For five years, Samoa Joe dominated a lot of the competition in ROH. In his first year with the company, he won the ROH World Championship and held it for an incredible 21 months. Joe was event he one who turned it into a World title after defending it in England. He defended it against the likes of Daniel Bryan, Homicide, and Jay Briscoe. Even after losing it, he continued to have fantastic matches against some of the best in the world. His match against Kenta Kobashi still stands as one of ROH's best matches. He also had a trilogy of awesome matches against CM Punk, one of them going to the hour limit draw. He also won the ROH Pure Championship for a while, doing his best to show it was just as important as the World Title. It did not matter what match Samoa Joe was on in the card. Even if it was the opener, it was pretty much guaranteed to be one of the better matches of the night. He was strong, he was quick, he was Samoa Joe, and he was Ring of Honor.
Tenure with ROH: 2002- 2013 (both took a hiatus in 2005)
ROH Tag Team Champions 8 times, 807 total days
ROH World Champion - Jay - 89 days
The Briscoes have been with Ring of Honor since day one. Jay wrestled on the very first show back in 2002. Mark would follow soon after his 18th birthday, still in 2002. Ever since then they have been in the promotion, all the way up to this year with the exception of 2005. It is hard to believe they were with ROH for ten years, especially in the independent scene of wrestling, where a lot of athletes will come and go at the drop of a hat. I think it is safe to say they left a legacy with the company. The two were tag team champions a whopping eight times in just ROH. At one point they were the longest reigning champs (now held by the Kings of Wrestling.) They fought against the likes of Generation Next, Kevin Steen and El Generico, and the Second City Saints (CM Punk and Colt Cabana.) Even though they have had many singles matches in the company, I believe most fans with remember them for their tag team work. It must be said that Jay Briscoe did win the ROH World Championship, but he only held it for a few months before vacating it. Still, with their length of time with ROH and their track list of stellar matches with the promotion, I believe they are the best performers in Ring of Honor history.
Currently, I still keep up with Ring of honor, but I am unable to purchase a lot of their shows, so I just read results. Most of this is due to money, but someday I know I'll go back and buy the more memorable shows so I can check out the great matches I missed out on. I think it is quite amazing how far these guys have come in the industry, especially Punk and Bryan. I'm sure in the future, Ring of Honor will continue to be the start of many great wrestlers careers. Support Pro Wrestling!