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Ring of Honor Episode #460 – ‘Day by Day: Vincent’ Review

As the current leader of ‘The Righteous’, Vincent seems to be hitting his stride in Ring of Honor. Vincent had been making his way toward name recognition as a member of Matt Taven’s Kingdom. I specify “Taven’s Kingdom” because it is the second iteration of the stable. The original Kingdom, led by Adam Cole before joining the Bullet Club, was rounded out by Taven and Mike Bennett. Once Cole left for what was the hottest stable in wrestling, Bennett left for WWE and Taven was side-lined with a legitimate knee injury. In 2016, as the Superkliq (Cole and The Young Bucks) were becoming the dominant trio, Taven returned with a trio of his own. Taven’s Kingdom was comprised of Vincent and TK O’Ryan, who immediately defeated the Superkliq and attempted to stake their claim as Ring of Honor’s top threesome. At Final Battle 2016, The Kingdom won the inaugural Six-Man Tag Team Championships in a tournament which solidified their legitimacy in the company.

It wasn’t until late 2019 that everything began to fall apart. Taven had the biggest moment of his career at the G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden, winning his first ROH World Championship. It wasn’t until Taven lost this title that Vincent, who felt disrespected by his stable leader, made his move. Attacking Taven on an episode of television and eventually beating him in a high profile match, Vincent is finally on his way to being the singles star he feels he has always deserved to be. Reminiscent of the antagonist of a slasher film, Vincent is still doing everything possible to make Matt Taven’s life a living hell.

ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championship  The Kingdom vs. Kushida, Jay White, & Lio Rush (New York, NY – December 2, 2016)

Perhaps one of the most distinctive attributes of ROH is its Six-Man Tag division. In fact, ROH is the only major American promotion that has a legitimate Six-Man division. This match was the final of a tournament to establish the first Six-Man Champions.

With teams such as The Kingdom, Bully Ray and The Briscoes, The Elite, The Hung Bucks (Young Bucks and Adam Page.. yes, that name is hilarious if you are aware of the context), SoCal Uncensored, Villain Enterprises, and currently Mexa Squad leading the division, you could assume that this was going to be a pretty good match. While one of the teams in this championship match is a conglomeration of singles wrestlers, they are all very good at what they do. I was in the middle of my re-discovery of wrestling in 2016 and did not realize the depth of talent that existed outside of WWE . Never having previously seen this bout, Kushida and Lio Rush being on the same side had me giddy with excitement.

Lio Rush does Lio Rush things and opens the match with a running Spanish Fly. Why am I not surprised? This was also the point in time when Jay White had been on excursion from New Japan; Kevin Kelly makes the observation that White hasn’t been beaten in months at this point. I imagine I haven’t given Matt Taven the credit he deserves, considering how annoyed I was with the result in MSG. While Taven is not as exciting to watch as Kushida or Rush, he is extremely talented. There are a lot of similarities one could draw between Taven and Jay White: neither are athleters to blow you away, but they are incredibly crisp in both their movement and timing.

All six men are obviously fired up about having the chance to win these inaugural titles. Things are moving at a breakneck speed; sometimes not being able to take a breath in between spots is detrimental to the overall drama of a match, but the drama is centered on the wrestlers attempting to wreak as much havoc as possible in the shortest amount of time. Ten minutes in and I am legitimately grinning from ear to ear. The problem one tends to encounter in these “cocaine” multi-man matches is a lack of selling, but the way the match is laid out keeps it believable.

Just when you want to start cheering for The Kingdom because the level of performance is so high, Vincent hits a swanton bomb on the official in order to break up a Lio Rush pin-fall. After dirtier heel tactics, including the introduction of weapons and a gnarly triple power-bomb, The Kingdom are crowned the inaugural tag team champions. Matches such as this make me feel as though I should spend some Saturday afternoons binge watching ROH pay per views from 2016. This was a pure adrenaline rush, and if you have never seen Taven’s version of The Kingdom in action, it’s safe to assume this would be a beautiful introduction. Just a note: the individual timing throughout is absolutely perfect. While there isn’t much in the way of storytelling, the fashion in which these guys were dropping bombs blew me away.

Matt Taven vs. Vincent (Baltimore, MD – December 13, 2019)

Matt Taven vs Vincent title card from ROH Final Battle 2019

I don’t remember another match in the Day by Day series that was preceded by the actual promo package that aired on the night, so I greatly appreciated the full context of exactly what was happening between Taven and Vincent. When Taven was defeated by RUSH for the World Title, Vincent and TK O’Ryan had been taken out backstage. This made it impossible for the other two members of The Kingdom to help Taven along in his title defence as they had in the past. After weeks of attempting to confront his best friends’ attackers, it finally comes to light that Vincent was the one responsible for the destruction of the faction. Being that Final Battle is the… well… FINAL show of the year, it is a perfect setting for a grudge match based on a brotherhood being broken.

A brawl breaks out immediately. Taven is incensed, taking the fight to the outside literally seconds after the bell rings. It is obvious that the angle leading up to the match was a resounding success. Matt Taven was a detestable heel only months before this match, however, based on the actions of Vincent, the crowd is all the way behind Taven.

This is a classic back and forth affair, which is a logical match layout considering the two men know each other so well. This match looks to accomplish some very specific goals: to show that Vincent is as dangerous as he seems, as well as showing he belongs in a main event spot. I’m not sure this match fully accomplished either of those goals. That being said, the post-match angle did seem to help these goals along. Bateman makes his way down to the ring in aid of Vincent and brings with him a chair and a piece of wood meant to hobble Taven’s ankle. With the apparent formation of a brand new stable led by Vincent, the level of danger surrounding this man is immediately increased. While the match is not even in the same ballpark as the first in terms of work-rate, it is ultimately successful in the story they set out to tell.

After the match we see a series of promo segments illustrating the formation of Vincent’s current stable, The Righteous. The group is comprised of others that seem to have been taken advantage of in one way or another. It is certainly an eclectic group, rounded off by Chuckles the Psycho Murder Clown. The Righteous seem to be more of a cult than a stable, with Vincent attempting to recruit people when they are at their most vulnerable point. I’m sure many of you would watch these vignettes and write them off as cheesy, but I’m pretty sure that’s the point. An obvious fan of the horror genre, Vincent is piecing together his own little straight to VHS horror film. I absolutely love it. In a time where many wrestler’s characters center on them simply being good wrestlers, I have all the time in the world for a group of people attempting to be creative and entertain fans in a way we don’t see as much in 2020.

Joe Hendry & Dalton Castle vs. Vincent & Bateman (Baltimore, MD – February 9th, 2020)

Two fairly new tag teams square off in one of Ring of Honor’s final big shows before the global lockdown. First of all, if you are not familiar with Joe Hendry, immediately go to YouTube and search for his work in WCPW. The sequin smattered Scot is a future star and nobody can tell me different, because I believe in Joe Hendry. If you are in search of the ROH version of Hendry, I suggest going to Ring of Honor’s YouTube channel and catching up on Dalton’s Castle. It’s exactly what you would hope it would be.

As I am watching this match, I am beginning to understand why there was so much time set aside for the character work of Vincent. Without it, there isn’t much reason to be interested in this particular outing. Don’t get me wrong, Vincent is a good wrestler with an entertaining character, but without the context of The Righteous, there isn’t much for me truly invest in. Perhaps that characterization is unfair considering Vincent doesn’t have the history of a Taven, a Hendry, or a Castle. I am not familiar with the card that was scheduled for Free Enterprise, but I am assuming this was a “cool down” match. In isolation, this looks to belong on television more so than a pay per view. It is a solid, straightforward ten minute match that continues to build the canon of a brand new group.

Final Thoughts

After the first half of this episode, I forgot this show was concentrating on Vincent and not Matt Taven. Considering Vincent’s career in ROH has been so closely tied to Taven’s, I won’t beat myself up about it. After a decade in the independent scene and several years as a bit player in a popular stable, Vincent is looking to step out of the shadows and create an aura that is all his own. I have certainly been pulled in by his character work with The Righteous, but I am not sure that pitching this in as something as niche as B-level horror is going to appeal to the masses. I certainly hope it does, but only time will tell. As long as The Righteous set themselves apart from every other spooky stable that has been in wrestling throughout the last five years, I imagine they will find their place in the post-pandemic wrestling landscape. Vincent is obviously working very hard to get this new character over with a group of fans that have traditionally seen him as a third man in a popular stable. The Righteous have piqued my interest in a very specific way, and I hope they are able to do the same with others.

Written by Andrew Stewart

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