When I think of people who know a lot about ROH there are very few people I would speak to before the person I am now, Aaron Glazer from Pulse Wrestling. In fact he’s on the blogroll. This is a live real-time conversation done over IM. Enjoy.
Okori: Ok... here's the easy question I would ask of you. If you had to try and explain ROH to someone who had never seen it before, and in fact hadn't seen much wrestling since the heyday of the NWA, what would you try and sell them on?
AARON GLAZER (7:56:35 PM): That's totally fine
AARON GLAZER (7:58:45 PM): The key things to remember about ROH where it comes off so superior to other products and compares favorably with the past is that the matches are significantly longer and the wrestlers are all treated with respect.
AARON GLAZER (8:00:25 PM): While not everyone is trying to steal the show and ROH will give a complete card, everyone is in the ring long enough to tell a real story with an accurate measure of their skill. The feuds are logical and long term, without necessarily a hundred matches each and as they progress the matches get both longer and more brutal, usually culminating as a gimmick match, rather than a number of gimmicks for gimmicks sake, it all ends up happening for a reason.
AARON GLAZER (8:01:27 PM): With a variety of styles to appeal to all fans, your preference will be highlighted by a number of different wrestlers and while there is comedy, there will not be wrestlers looking like jokes or they don't belong. Even top guys go out of their way to make sure everyone and everything stay credible.
AARON GLAZER (8:01:32 PM): There, that'll do =P
Okori (8:01:39 PM): and what I’ve noticed in my watching of ROH, which goes back to the old remastered versions of Road to the Title and A Night of Appreciation, is that everyone on the roster clearly has something they do that is special... something that they are at the very least quite good at doing. It’s a real good thing to see each wrestler looking like they're all talented and getting some offense in.
AARON GLAZER (8:02:40 PM): Exactly. Squashes are extremely rare. Talent will move on but because of how well everyone fits and is treated finding and just as importantly elevating new stars is made far easier.
Okori (8:07:35 PM): and when I was discussing ROH with a couple of friends of mine it became kind of apparent that the RF-video era ROH was markedly different than the Reborn time and the Reborn time was different than the Summer of Punk, and so on. How much credit for that goes to Gabe Sapolsky, the booker of ROH and how much to the much more fluid top card than there are in the other big 2?
AARON GLAZER (8:15:37 PM): Well, Gabe is generally the best if for nothing else due to adaptability and logic. For ROH every show has to be a ppv caliber to sell DVD’s and doing that with WWE or TNA's limited talent allowed to go to the top of the card, the poor treatment of the midcard would cause the shows to fail. Think of it this way, the mainstream promotions are like movies or television shows, wherein the main characters get all the big plots and cool stuff. If they contact someone below, it’s still inexorably about the main characters. ROH runs more like a sport, where each different team might not be on the same skill, but they're always improving or falling back to the pack. The best teams, like the Yankees, would be like Danielson, usually at the top of the card, but sometimes the Rays, say Tyler and Jacobs, gives him a run for his money and comes out on top. That never happens in the mainstream, because the stars are the commodities. That's just how ROH has to run though. The real brilliance of Gabe is in his adaptability
AARON GLAZER (8:17:49 PM): The main storyline of 2006 was the CZW war. That was originally scheduled as a short feud, but due to outstanding fan reaction, it became the biggest and most memorable feud in ROH history. The same can be said of the huge Briscoes vs. Steen and Generico feud of 2007, based on a breakout performance by the latter duo at a major show, and Danielson vs. Morishima which was all based upon Morishima, quite accidentally, breaking Danielson's orbital bone. In 2005, the Summer of Punk is booking on the fly since there's no way to know Punk gets signed and really, who knows how Aries reign ends besides? All huge successes that make ROH what it is, all due to Gabe's adaptability.
Okori (8:19:30 PM): and to piggyback on that point if anyone had told me that a lanky spiky-haired Brit who was the Euro second banana to John Walters would eventually become the ROH World Champion, a classic jerk heel, and before that the sympathetic babyface.
Okori (8:20:50 PM): I think Nigel, in a lot of ways, is one of the biggest Gabe success stories
AARON GLAZER (8:23:32 PM): Its almost hard to pick just one success story to go with, Nigel's certainly as good as any
Okori (8:26:32 PM): and I think we have achieved our limit of questions in this interview before we go to the stars that moved on. I think while people notice Punk and Joe because of their current stations in their respective companies the first real guy from ROH who people were actually happy to see make it was Paul London. Two-part question: Did you chant "Please Don't Die" at any point during London's ROH run, and have you found yourself missing Paul's babyface work now in ROH?
AARON GLAZER (8:29:04 PM): More?
Okori (8:30:02 PM): more now if he was against a guy like Aries, who despite his current face run still resembles an excellent heel
AARON GLAZER (8:31:14 PM): Oh there's a lot more lol 2 seconds.
Okori (8:31:42 PM): sure
AARON GLAZER (8:35:13 PM): Paul is the ex-ROH guy I'd most want back and, sadly I was a poor grad student back then so I wasn't live for "please don't die." Paul is a special worker. He connects with the fans innately through selling and desire. He had nothing fancy making him stand out; he got over and got to WWE based on pure skill and connecting with the crowd. Shame that's going to waste as the Epic Encounter 2/3 falls match with Danielson is my second favorite ever ROH match. I would kill to see him against current heel Nigel, as well as a long match with Aries and rematch with Danielson. Hero and Strong also strike me as guys who had look amazing against London’s awesome selling.
Okori (8:36:57 PM): you know what? I agree with you. I think I find myself having trouble figuring out who would give London an actively BAD match. And, and this might just be me, but I think that is Danielson's best ROH match pre his return from England
Okori (8:41:05 PM): and that includes my personal favorite ROH match which is Testing The Limit which is Danielson v. Aries
AARON GLAZER (8:41:15 PM): Agreed there, though I enjoy it more than even Unified by a hair. More than anything but that first KENTA match, my favorite in company history.
AARON GLAZER (8:42:15 PM): It took me awhile to really get "Testing the Limit" but its a special match that, sadly, due to its extreme length, is really only for the hardcore
Okori (8:42:57 PM): and strangely enough Testing the Limit is an excellent concept although no one else could do it but Danielson and Aries I think
AARON GLAZER (8:44:24 PM): London could likely and Punk has done similar stuff with Hero (though not as good), but that might be it.
Okori (8:45:13 PM): although for what it is worth Punk v. Hero is an entirely different baby because it's so slow.
AARON GLAZER (8:47:12 PM): Right. That's Hero for you, though. Oh, I really want to plug Danielson vs. Hero from WxW's 16-Carat Gold Tourney this year. The heat is off the charts and Danielson is an amazing heel, while Hero is the conquering face. I can't believe how well it comes together and it’d be MOTY if enough people saw it.
Okori (8:47:38 PM): I own that DVD. A Quack-Saint match on there is epic.
Okori (8:48:31 PM): I actually interviewed him and while it wasn't as good as this one is turning out to be he seemed really enthused about the idea of British wrestling.
Okori (8:50:05 PM): which, funnily, brings us to your favorite wrestler and mine: Bryan Danielson. While you and I both dealt with Glen "I badmouth Puro even though I worked for Toryumon X with Magnum Tokyo and Latin Lover" Gilbertti's idiotic statement that Bryan couldn't wrestle I wonder if you share my opinion that Bryan's run in England made him the really good wrestler he is now
AARON GLAZER (8:50:31 PM): I'm really starting to get into it myself. Someone needs to explain why Quack can't be used as a special attraction in ROH. He changes the dynamics of everything wonderfully.
Okori (8:51:19 PM): I never got an answer from him on it, but I guess he's too busy
Okori (8:52:08 PM): although I agree.... In addition, I’d even like to see him defend his NWA JR. Heavyweight Title against like Aries or Tyler Black
AARON GLAZER (8:55:28 PM): Quack would be great against literally every single person in ROH. And Bryan was going to be good no matter what, he had the desire. It was learning the ins and outs in England that made it happen so quickly and had him a competitor for the best.
Okori (8:56:03 PM): I agree. and you and I both agree: Glen Gilbertti could be considered a moron
AARON GLAZER (8:59:03 PM): Hah, actually, he just wanted attention.
AARON GLAZER (8:59:15 PM): I don't think he meant or cared about a word of it.
Okori (9:01:46 PM): and here's my last question for you, because as someone who lives AND works near a target (Atlantic Center for work, and the new one in the Junction for living) that it can be a transfixing place.
how long do you think it will be before we see more of a Lucha influence in ROH? and if so.... can we beseech Gabe for Cibernetico v. Nigel for the title
AARON GLAZER (9:05:00 PM): Brb
Okori (9:05:06 PM): k
AARON GLAZER (9:20:55 PM): I doubt lucha will influence ROH since he's said it doesn't interest him. Quack was the best hope for lucha influence and that didn't happen. Big Andy Mac sees Claudio taking the belt and getting the face run that was desired for Nigel. Personally, I hope Tyler takes it at the Hammerstein.
Okori (9:21:55 PM): personally.... I agree with you. I think Tyler is going to take it in NYC
Okori (9:25:29 PM): and thank you again for giving me this interview
AARON GLAZER (9:27:05 PM): If you have any more questions I'd be more than happy to answer them tomorrow. This was fun, thank you.
Okori (9:27:27 PM): you're welcome.