Fresh off a new contract, Jonathan Gresham received even more good news by cleaning up Ring of Honor’s awards for 2020. He took home honors for Wrestler of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, Faction of the Year, and Match of the Year.
Gresham shined as Wrestler of the Year when ROH returned from the pandemic break with the Pure Championship tournament. He is on the way to restoring honor in ROH with masterful technical skills, convincing promos, and dressing the part with snappy clothes. Gresham led by example by competing in two successful title defenses (Pure and tag team) at the Final Battle PPV.
It makes sense for the Tag Team of the Year to be awarded to the squad that has reigned for the entire year. Gresham and Jay Lethal defeated Briscoes to win gold in 2019, and they kept the belts in their clutches for all of 2020.
Gresham is not alone in the quest to restore honor in ROH. He put together a group of technical wrestlers with Pure skills to become Faction of the Year. Gresham, Lethal, Tracy Williams, and Rhett Titus are known as the Foundation.
Match of the Year saw two members of the Foundation go toe-to-toe in a technical chess match for the Pure Championship tournament final. Gresham outsmarted Williams in the end by blocking a powerful chop to transition into an octopus submission for victory.
Mike Bennett won Holy Shit Moment of the Year when he returned to save Matt Taven from a beatdown by Vincent and the Righteous. That moment did indeed live up to the award name. Bennett’s next home after being released by WWE was highly likely to be ROH, but his actual presence was still a huge surprise.
Bandido won Best Finisher with the 21 Plex. The signature move is described as:
The 21 Plex perfectly combines the Mexican star’s agility and power. After maneuvering his opponent into a vulnerable position (bent over with their arms clutching the middle rope), Bandido charges from across the ring, does a head-first flip onto his opponent’s back, then slingshots himself backward and German suplexes his opponent into a bridging pin in one fluid motion.
Joe Hendry won Best Entrance. This was an award hindered by the lack of fans due to the pandemic. You’ll just have to imagine the raucous reception for Hendry’s return.
Danhausen won Best New Star. The oddity wrestled a few matches with ROH before the pandemic hit. During the break, his t-shirt crushed Marty Scurll’s merchandise challenge to become a top-seller. With fan support on his side, Danhausen signed an ROH contract. To validate his sacks of money, Danhuasen had to win at least one match in 2020. He was successful when his opportunity came against Brian Johnson at Final Battle.
Session Moth Martina won Female Wrestler of the Year. ROH hasn’t held any women’s matches since their return from the pandemic, so this was basically a popularity contest for the beer-swilling lass.
Sledge won Favorite Future of Honor Star. This award was for talent in the ROH Dojo. Sledge’s ROH debut match against O’Shay Edwards will air February 9 on ROH’s YouTube channel.
All in all, the awards went to the right winners for categories that weren’t affected much by the pandemic. The top picks would all be worthy even with a full year of wrestling to choose from. If you have been sleeping on ROH, it might be time to give them another try. ROH has shifted focus to a simple format to highlight Pure wrestling.
Do you agree with the 2020 award winners in ROH?