Ring of Fire: The Wheel Turns
OOC: This is a continuation of my TEW2007 diary, with a painstakingly rebuilt save to allow me to use TEW2008 (and, obviously, very different chemistries likely to develop. The first few posts will lay out the basic situation at the start of 2013 for Terry Roberts' ROF, so there's no need to get trapped in the original...
New Years Day is a strange thing for me, nowadays. This is the seventh time it's seen me sit down with my boss - Robert Brown, British Samurai, call him what you will but I always slip and end up calling him 'Sammy', which bugs him, but by now he's got fairly used to it - and figure out, at least in general terms, where we go from here. My name is Terry Roberts... and I book Ring of Fire, now the third largest wrestling promotion in the world.
The working day doesn't start until lunchtime, but it has to start when it does; it seems like New Year always manages to fall on a Monday. We broadcast one TV show to the UK on Tuesdays each week and close the week off with a broadcast across Europe on Sundays. Monday, January the 1st, is quite literally the only day when Sammy and I can set aside booking specifics, settle down, and figure how the shape of the year looks before we have to get started on it.
The Main Event
We're blessed with a fantastic assortment of talent across the card, but the heart of the show comes from our champion and his contenders, and always will. Of the following, one will be defending his title at the January PPV - 'Commonwealth Games' - one will be challenging, and barring a sudden change of plans, two will face off head-to-head in the finals of a sixteen-man tournament to claim the Commonwealth Cup.
When I came to Ring of Fire, Don Henderson was kicking aimlessly around the tag division with Billy Robinson as The Shooters. Astonishing chemistry with Merle O'Curle, then a major player, and a very firm grasp of the basic fundamentals served him well and led to him becoming a credible threat in the upper midcard, feuding with imported legend El Critico - memorably introducing his own belt, the Heritage Championship, and unifying it with the #1 Contendership title. Following that Don trod water for a long time, acting mostly as a tutor for the younger men we were bringing into the roster. But it was pretty clear he was learning himself; four years ago he won the first Commonwealth Cup and became a semi-regular challenger for the ROF Championship. This status continued for a while, with Don never quite getting the big belt - though while we operated a secondary brand he was briefly champion, holding the old USPW World Championship after the buyout. Last year, a shift in portrayal toward "the conscience of Ring of Fire" and a string of astonishing performances culminated when he unseated UK Dragon after a year-long title reign in November. He's made one defence since but looks set to be a worthy champion. He is the only man to have held every title in Ring of Fire.
Art has been with Ring of Fire for only a year, but he'd become a major name in the UK during a multi-year run with our closest competition UKW before then. He was the last man to win the Commonwealth Cup and challenged Don for the title at December's pay-per-view, but his year otherwise has placed him lower on the ranks than others. Don's technical expertise makes Art a very good match, however, which means you can't count him out.
Three or four years ago Joey Beauchamp was still "The Breeze", the arrogant heel he designed and honed for the departed European promotion UCR, as he transitioned from midcard mainstay in UCR to main event threat in Ring of Fire, winning the Championship after less than a month with the company and holding it for what's still a record number of defences. He has held the Ring of Fire Championship more times than anyone else, and has defended it successfully more than anyone else. Positioned early as an unstoppable warrior, he's shifted over the past two years, becoming, first, an on-screen friend and ally of Davis Wayne Newton (and, latterly, Joss Thompson) in a grouping which is held together by respect but which frequently threatens to fly apart due to ego, and also dropping the 'Breeze' act in favour of "The Perpetual Motion Machine" Joey Beauchamp, acknowledging the respect he has won from our fans by reinventing himself as a less out-and-out heel character.
Davis Wayne Newton
It's impossible to discuss Joey without discussing Davis next. Their friendship was born of rivalry and has appeared on a number of occasions since set to disintegrate back into rivalry; Davis' title record is strong, but not as strong as Joey's, but Davis has the advantage in outside recognition, being a three-time Wrestler of the Year as I write this. "The Triple Threat"has been champion here and in CGC; he has held tag titles here twice as well as in CZCW (teamed with Jim Force) and CGC (alongside Elmo Benson). Along there he had a legendary feud with Hugh de Aske culminating at December's Pay-Per-View when he defeated him in a brilliant, brutal Last Man Standing contest in which the loser lost their job. It's rare to see Davis fail to steal the show if he's on the card, and his win-loss record is extraordinary. Indeed, it's only exceeded by...
What possessed Cornell to break the Machines up and job out John for a year, I'll never know - but I couldn't be more grateful. I signed him last January and he went from virtual unknown - and one whose credibility had been destroyed during his singles run in TCW - in the UK to challenging then-champion UK Dragon on pay-per-view in less than six months. He wrestled Dragon solo and in triple threats on three consecutive PPVs and has yet to lose to Dragon or Don with the belt on the line. In last year's Hot 100 his performance beat out his former employer, and he's just re-signed for three more years. With his finishing capacity expanded by the addition of a beautiful submission hold called the Trench Warfare, Human Arsenal looks set to be in championship contention for years to come.
The man has won titles worldwide. In 2009 he broke his neck and spent a year out of action, returning to Ring of Fire - who he'd left behind by that time - and making an immediate impact - in late 2010, kicking off by challenging Davis Wayne Newton for his title in November. While he lost, that match won Match of the Year. A year later, Dragon challenged Joey, winning the same award - and the title, which he held for a full year of dominance. The 'Year of the Dragon' revitalised the great competitor who seems like he may yet have a chance to enter the Hall of the Immortals before his career ends.
The third member of an unofficial power bloc, Joss Thompson's alliance with Davis Wayne Newton started from their CGC connections and blossomed as Thompson found his feet in Ring of Fire's style. By 2012 Thompson was the unofficial leader of the trio and had begun to use 'Bulldozer' Brandon Smith as a fourth member, ensuring his decisions counted. He led a lengthy feud which began when Thompson stole Dragon's mask, leaving Dragon to team up with Billy Robinson while wearing Robinson's old Parasite mask. Though Thompson didn't come out with the win in the end, he cemebted himself as a legitimate threat to any man in the promotion.
Faust, in his second ROF run, looks to have improved and aligned himself more closely with our style, though he's been dogged throughout by chemistry issues. It remains to be seen whether he can overcome them; however, he is at present a greater threat to the ROF Champion than the TV Champion. Of this group, he's the current long-shot threat, and may be replaced on the periphery by one of a number of excellent midcard talent...
Tomorrow (hopefully): The Tag Division
Last edited by Phantom Stranger : 07-04-2008 at 01:41 PM.