By Kevin Eck
Voting for the official 2021 ROH awards ends on Monday, but you won’t have to wait for my unofficial 2021 ROH awards to be revealed.
Here you go:
Feud of the Year: Vincent vs. Matt Taven
The bitter rivalry between the former friends that began in 2019 came to a brutal, bloody conclusion this past August. Steel cage matches don’t happen often in ROH, but fighting inside the unforgiving steel structure was the only way to settle this conflict once and for all.
In a showdown billed as The Last Stand at Glory By Honor in Philadelphia, barbed wire, thumb tacks and even an ax were used as weapons inside the cage. In the end, it was Vincent who emerged victorious.
Best Fight on the Farm Match: Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
OK, so it’s the only Fight on the Farm Match, but this entertaining brawl between the Briscoe brothers deserves an award.
The violent spectacle on the Briscoes’ farm in Sandy Fork, Del., drew rave reviews from fans and pundits alike. Even the curmudgeonly Jim Cornette loved it.
The presence of Papa Briscoe added to the fun. After the fight ended in a stalemate and left the farm the worse for wear, Papa Briscoe said it’s time for his sons to get back to being the baddest tag team on the planet.
“But first,” the Briscoe patriarch said, “clean this sh*t up.”
Inspirational Wrestler of the Year: Rhett Titus
Titus’ career resurgence in 2021 was as uplifting as it was surprising. After being lost in the shuffle for years during his15-year run in ROH, Titus got opportunities to showcase his talent this year and made the most of them.
He and fellow Foundation member Tracy Williams won the ROH World Tag Team Title at 19th Anniversary in March and held it for 107 days. At the historic Final Battle: End of an Era show two weeks ago, Titus won his first singles championship in ROH, as he captured the ROH World Television Title in a Four Corner Survival Match.
Moreover, Titus is a dedicated family man who always competes with honor and integrity.
Most Charismatic: Dalton Castle
Castle has always been charismatic, but the flamboyant former ROH World Champion took it to another level this year.
I didn’t think anything could top the outrageousness of Castle and his two Boys, but Castle and his Baby Chickens managed to do it.
It’s surprising that Castle actually had the time to assemble his entourage, because as he constantly reminded us, he’s busy.
Best Wrestler With a Losing Record: Danhausen
Danhausen may be very nice and very evil, but he wasn’t very successful as a wrestler in 2021 – if one defines success by winning matches, that is. Danhausen went 2-10 in singles and tag team competition in ROH this year.
However, if success is defined by selling lots of merchandise and being “over,” Danhausen had a very good year.
Danhausen didn’t tweet today. Never fear, he is here to announce that the Danhausen store will be back up the day after Christopher Massachusetts with a “spend your Christmas monies on Danhausen” sale with many new items. pic.twitter.com/oKQWECHRe9
— Danhausen (@DanhausenAD) December 24, 2021
Best Board of Directors Member: Maria Kanellis-Bennett
To be honest, I don’t know who any of the other board members are. Still, Kanellis-Bennett did an outstanding job this year.
In addition to being the face of The Experience, ROH’s fan engagement initiative, she was the driving force behind ROH’s revamped and critically acclaimed women’s division.
Manager of the Year: Amy Rose
A cynic would say Rose won this award by default because there were no other managers in ROH this year. But it’s not Rose’s fault that she’s the only licensed manager in the company, and there’s no denying that she had a banner 2021.
During her time with La Faccion Ingobnernable, Rose became the first manager in ROH history to manage the World, World Television and World Tag Team champions simultaneously.
After a falling out with LFI, Rose turned her attention to the women’s division and landed the monstrous Max The Impaler as a client.
Best Trash Talker: Kenny King
As dangerous of a competitor as King is in the ring, he’s even deadlier on the mic.
King’s angry promo before a match against Tony Deppen is a case in point: “Tony Deppen, Tony Deppen, Tony Deppen. Dangerous waters you done stepped in. You think the internet done hyped you up? You think the internet done told you that you deserve a shot at the World Television Title? You think the internet done hyped you up to believe that you got business with LFI? Tony Deppen, Tony Deppen, LFI is a weapon. And if you’re stupid enough to step in that ring, dog that is where you’ll get left in.”
Most Obnoxious: Brian Johnson
Sometimes the most obvious choice is the correct one.
Best Mentor/Doctor: PJ Black
Regardless of what a miserable human being Johnson is, there’s no denying “The Mecca” is a talented wrestler. Some of his success can be attributed to Black’s mentorship.
Meanwhile, using his skills as a (witch?) doctor, Black has been treating Flip Gordon, who is suffering from retrograde amnesia and believes it’s 2018. The results have been mixed but the vignettes are hilarious.
Remember when @darewolf333 gave Flip his magic potion to try and bring back his memory?
Flip Trip… pic.twitter.com/VeO6zIhr05
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) November 5, 2021
ROH may be going on a brief hiatus, but ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham isn’t.
Gresham, who won the original ROH World Title belt by defeating Jay Lethal at Final Battle: End of an Era, successfully defended his title against AJ Gray on a GCW show last Friday in Los Angeles. The next night, Gresham turned back the challenge of Adam Priest on a New South Pro Wrestling event in Hartselle, Ala.
Yesterday, Impact Wrestling announced that Gresham will put his title on the line against Chris Sabin on the company’s Hard to Kill pay-per-view on Jan. 8 in Dallas.
Be there LIVE at @thefactoryDE in Dallas, Texas!
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) December 23, 2021
Gresham and Sabin know each other very well, as they were stablemates in Search and Destroy in ROH several years ago.
Sabin is a former TNA World Champion and has held singles and tag team titles all over the world, but the ROH World Championship has eluded him.
If Gresham gets past Sabin, he will defend the title against Blake Christian at The Wrld on GCW show on Jan. 23 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
The first match has been confirmed for #TheWrldOnGCW:
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Hammerstein Ballroom pic.twitter.com/QXHJLluCku
— GameChangerWrestling (@GCWrestling_) December 21, 2021
EC3 was my guest on the latest episode of The ROHStrong Podcast, which drops Monday morning on ROHWrestling.com and most podcast platforms.
“The Essential Character” talked about unleashing “Titan” Adam Scherr at Final Battle: End of an Era and how difficult it was to keep it a surprise; his thoughts on his time in ROH; what the future holds for him and the Control Your Narrative movement; having creative freedom, and much more.
You can relive the best women’s division matches of the year when ROH presents the Women’s Division Marathon on Dec. 30 on YouTube.
Host Quinn McKay presents some of her favorite moments of the year on the season finale of ROH Week By Week, which premieres Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern on YouTube.
If you missed the YouTube exclusive match between Delirious and World Famous CB this week, I highly recommend it. Not only was it a great match, but the emotional moment shared by the teacher and student in the ring afterward was special.
A moment in my career I will appreciate and cherish forever. A symbol that means the world to me.
I told myself on the final day of ROH that I wasn’t going to cry. I held it in the entire day, until this point…….but I couldn’t hold back the tears.
— Da’Coldest Brotha (CB) (@CheeseburgerROH) December 24, 2021
An ROH Women’s World Title Match between champion Rok-C and Holidead takes place on the Christmas episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling this weekend.
The annual Christmas Surprise Tag Match also is on tap and will be bigger than ever. It’ll be a 12-man tag match instead of the usual 10-man tag. ROH Pure Champion Josh Woods and Johnson will serve as captains for teams that will be chosen at random.
Until next time, keep safe and stay #ROHStrong! Happy holidays!
Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com. Eck’s Files appears every Friday.
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