Mark Haskins (photo courtesy ROH)
Before I begin, let me take a minute to introduce myself.
My name is Drew Bosack. I am from Great Bend, Kansas, currently residing in Topeka, Kansas. I’m a full-time Substitute Teacher, a full-time Youth Pastor, and a part-time professional wrestling referee.
I have been a professional wrestling fan for as long as I can remember, dating back to the late-’90s WCW era. I have been a Ring of Honor fan since I first discovered them around 2007. I have followed the product closely since then.
I am very humbled and excited to be a part of the PWTorch team.
I will be taking over the Ring of Honor “Hits and Misses” section here on the website each week. I hope that you will all “tune in” and see what I think stuck, or what I think maybe did not quite land with the weekly television product. I know in this season (COVID-19), there is not any fresh Ring of Honor content, but I will keep this thing going all throughout until Ring of Honor starts running new shows.
Until then, I will be doing a “Hits and Misses” segment on whatever they choose to air.
INTERVIEW SEGMENT #1 – HIT: Mark tells us a little bit about his upbringing. He gets emotional talking about how he got to Ring of Honor, facing Silas Young, Jonathan Gresham, Hangman Page, Jay Briscoe, and others on the way up. He won the International Cup and earned a shot against ROH World Champion Jay Lethal. This was a hit for me because I love hearing backstory and I love seeing the “boys” get emotional when they talk about their past successes.
MATCH #1: Ring of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal vs. Mark Haskins (with Vicky Haskins) for the Ring of Honor World Championship at Honor Re-United in London, England (Aug. 19, 2018) – HIT: To give you a timeline of when this match was, the announcers brought up the fact that the winner of this would defend the ROH World Championship at the “All In” pay-per-view event.
At the beginning of this match, it is a technical masterpiece. In my opinion, few in the world can get down and go like Jay Lethal. When you add Mark Haskins to the mix, you must know it is going to be magic. One of the things that I really enjoyed about this match was you could tell as the match was going on that Haskins is confident in earning this spot and he knows that being in the main event for a World Championship is where he knows he belongs. Lethal is very methodical in his approach when it comes to slowing the match down, building sympathy for the good-guy Haskins. There were some chops throughout delivered by Haskins that really made the crowd come alive. There was a Destroyer into a Double-Stomp moment that brought the crowd to their feet and nearly earned a three for Haskins. Lethal wins the match with the Lethal Injection. This is a very cookie-cutter style match, and it has all of the elements that a big match like this needs. I do not know if this is “the” match that made Haskins, but it certainly had a part in doing so and elevating him to that next level.
BULLY RAY-MARK HASKINS BUILD SEGMENT – HIT: I would venture to say that there aren’t too many people in the wrestling business that can hold a candle to Bully Ray when it comes to the microphone and getting people excited to see a fight. Bully mentions Mark’s wife Vicky, puts Mark through a table, among other disparaging remarks toward Haskins and his family. Haskins stood up to him, and the build to this match-up was well-done.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Bully Ray vs. Mark Haskins at Final Battle 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland – MISS: The reason that this is a “miss” for me is because I wish they would have shown the full match. I would consider this a match that brought the absolute best out of both Haskins and Bully, and this was a match that a lot of Ring of Honor viewers were invested in. This match was the talk of Twitter when it first aired, and for good reason. I do not think they did this enough justice relegating it to a video package. If you get the chance, you should order Final Battle 2019, or go read the full review right here on PW Torch, to get the entire “vibe” they had going on here. It is a can’t-miss match.
MATCH #2: Mark Haskins .vs. Alex Shelley at Free Enterprise in Baltimore, Maryland (Feb. 9, 2020) – MISS: Okay, let me say something here – this is a miss for me because I feel like this match did not belong in this slot. I would have much rather seen this as a video package and then received the full match between Bully Ray and Mark Haskins. You might say, “Oh, but the Haskins/Shelley match was more recent. They had to have something recent.” Well, they really did not. On the Matt Taven recap show, they did not show any recent matches. All the matches shown were from previous years. All of that aside, this is a fantastic match. I would venture to say that this is one of my favorite Ring of Honor matches that has taken place in 2020 up to this point. Alex Shelley is nearing legendary status in the wrestling business and putting Haskins in the ring with somebody like Shelley can only be a good thing for both of those guys, the fans, and for Ring of Honor. One of the elements of this match that I really enjoy is that both guys can adapt to different styles. This has technical wrestling, strong strikes, and high-flying maneuvers. The crowd is also vocal and obviously into what they are watching in the ring. Mark Haskins wins the match via submission.
MARK HASKINS VIDEO PACKAGE – HIT: Mark Haskins has had plenty of moments where he has shined in Ring of Honor, and some of them were displayed here. He has a unique move-set that allows him to be a believable wrestler that the fans can buy into. The way he emotes throughout his matches is done in a way where the people watching either feel sympathy for him (when he’s a good-guy) or genuinely want to jump the rail and punch him in the mouth (when he’s a bad-guy).
OVERALL – HIT: I must say, I have been really digging these sit-down interview style shows with the top guys of Ring of Honor. I have thoroughly enjoyed them all so far, and I think it helps the newer crop of Ring of Honor fans to understand what these guys have accomplished and what they have done in Ring of Honor up to this point. Mark Haskins is a wrestler that I have always enjoyed watching, whether it be his stuff with Ring of Honor, or his stuff overseas. I was a big DEFIANT/WCPW fan when those were out on YouTube. Those were my first times seeing Mark Haskins, and even back then (2018/early 2019), I knew that Haskins could really be somebody special. It is good to see him touring the states and making a name for himself elsewhere. I am excited to see what 2020 brings for Mark in the future.