Yesterday, Ring of Honor announced that the company would be introducing a six-man tag team championship, to be crowned at Final Battle on December 2nd. However, fans of the company were clamoring for another title: a Women of Honor Championship.
In a little over a year’s time, Ring of Honor’s Women of Honor division has featured the best independent female wrestlers before television tapings and PPVs, piquing the interest of innumerable fans. However, as successful as the division has been, most of the time the matches are exclusively aired on WOH’s YouTube channel. Most recently a match between Kelly Klein, the company’s female equivalent of Brock Lesnar, and Solo Darling, a bushy tailed fan favorite, garnered over 1,000,000 views.
One July 8th, WOH had its first show released on video on demand. The episode was taped before ROH’s Aftershock tour event and the event was free to anyone with a ticket to the standard ROH event. The Women of Honor were able to showcase the depth of talent the roster has as well as the immense support the division has accumulated in the short year since Mandy Leon and Deonna Purrazzo reignited the division that had laid dormant for quite some time. It was during the Death Before Dishonor event last year that the two took to the ring and showed the world why the division was something ROH needed to resurrect and pay attention to.
Why Ring of Honor Needs A Women’s Title
At Field of Honor this past weekend, the Women of Honor had one match on the card. The bout pitted one of the founding members of the movement, Deonna Purrazzo, grappling against the former House of Truth valet turned villain, Taeler Hendrix. The match took place before the main show as the fans were still filing into their seats, with the majority standing in queue to get autographs from the male stars that would be appearing later in the show. Hendrix, ever the villain, came out on top in this one and as she laid the boots to Purrazzo, the Brooklyn born Mandy Leon stormed the ring and stood up to Hendrix in defense of the very opponent she faced in WOH’s return bout. The fans that were watching erupted for this display of camaraderie, but alas as the bout was not on the main card, not every ticket holding denizen bore witness to event.
Without a championship to vie for, the division lacks a bit of focus. Kelly Klein for example, has been on a warpath, demolishing everyone she faces. Indy wrestling darlings like Candice LeRae, “Crazy’ Mary Dobson, Sumie Sakai and Solo Darling have all tried their hand at defeating the conquerer of the division. However,without a championship to hold, her impressive unbeaten streak will lose its luster. The story of a smaller face overcoming the odds and not only beating Klein, but wresting the the title away from her would be much more compelling than Klein simply losing.
Meanwhile, Veda Scott, Cedric Alexander‘s former manager and lawyer, has provided commentary for many of the events and as valuable as she has been in the booth, she has been that much more exciting as another heel star in the division who has managed to not be steamrolled by Klein. Similarly, Hendrix has been establishing herself as the ultimate heel, winning by hook or by crook. Her on going feud with Mandy Leon has had a slow build and with recent events, could be a story the fans really get behind.
After the announcement that ROH’s new champion would not be a women’s title, #ROHWomensTitle began to make its rounds on Twitter, proving that despite ROH’s decision to institute a six man title was met with fanfare, a very vocal portion of the company’s fans think that the women deserve their own championship as well.
A championship is a prop, but it is also an outward statement made by a professional wrestling company that makes clear who the powers that be believe to be worthy of being a representative. Yes, wrestlers aim to entertain the fans first, but wrestlers also want recognition for the work they do. Without a title to win, how long will these talented women stay with ROH when companies like the WWE have three women’s titles? For a company that prides itself on honor, the only honorable thing to do is recognize its female stars, just as it acknowledges its male performers.