It has been almost 8 years since I first set foot inside the ROH Wrestling Academy and started this journey. Almost 7 years since the first day I stepped inside that ring as an active competitor, and just over 3 years since I suffered a fractured shoulder that...compiled with a laundry list of other physical ailments...essentially closed a chapter on my in-ring career with Ring Of Honor, much to the delight of the supposed ROH "faithful". Aside from laying a beating on Papa Briscoe at Final Battle 2010, I haven't seen action inside those ropes in quite some time.
But what I have seen in those last three years is an incredible growth; growth from company getting along on bi-monthly PPV's to two years of being broadcast on HDNet to the precipice of our debut as part of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group. I have seen the locker room grow in sheer talent, and I have seen one particular division of that locker room grow into a juggernaut...with some help from little old me of course.
The Ring of Honor tag team division is unparalleled in professional wrestling, and largely has been since the first champions were crowned back in 2002 at "Unscripted" in Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan. With a lineage that boasts the likes of Amazing Red & AJ Styles, CM Punk & Colt Cabana, Jay & Mark Briscoe, Rocky Romero & Davey Richards, and Austin Aries & Roderick Strong just to name, the ROH Tag Team Titles have long been as hotly contested as the World Title itself.
Never has this been more true than since late 2008 when a true tag team renaissance occurred on the backs of teams like a revitalized Briscoe Brothers, Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black, <deleted> & El Generico, and my American Wolves, Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards. Yes, I said my Wolves. Despite all their talent as a unit, despite all of their potential, it took the guidance of yours truly to make them into a championship unit. Go watch the Tables Match where they won the belts, see who took the bullet, then argue with me.
Unfortunately, and I blame the "faithful" as much as I blame Jim Cornette, they became ungrateful, egomaniacal asses and forgot where they came from, forgot who helped them get there, and abandoned me. But ultimately, it was okay....because then I truly found out what family means.
The Kings of Wrestling, Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli, and the Queen of Wrestling Sara Del Rey had always embraced me as their own from day one of our association. They knew how important each member of our family was to the equation and that led to success unparalleled in the history of ROH's tag team ranks. No team before had, and I guarantee no team after will, see a reign the lengths of that which Hero & Claudio accomplished. That was a milestone accomplished as a family, and no matter how hard the "faithful" or Jim Cornette tried to drive a wedge into that unit, no matter how difficult ROH officials tried to make their title reign, ROH's royal family prevailed and we did it as a unit. That was the difference between The Wolves & The KoW...with the former I LEAD them to the titles and with the latter I was PART of something greater than myself. It was the best time of my wrestling life....
On Saturday 9/24, the wrestling world will see first hand what we have been saying for years now: that ROH is tag team wrestling at its finest. The Kings of Wrestling go at it with Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin for the ROH World Tag Titles in the main event of ROH's 1st broadcast for SBG TV. That is exactly how it should be: Chris & Claudio main eventing historic nights in wrestling history and demonstrating how they are the paragons of tag team wrestling.