When Jay Lethal steps into the ring for the main event of Ring of Honor’s War of the Worlds pay-per-view event Friday night in Manhattan, he won’t be worried about being upstaged by a match earlier on the show.
In fact, he hopes his fellow wrestlers try their best to steal the show.
“It forces me to do something different,” said Lethal, 32, who will challenge for the ROH heavyweight title in a three-way match against champ Christopher Daniels and Cody Rhodes at the Manhattan Center’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom. “With other matches being so great, it’s becoming harder to stand out to make your match better or special or memorable.”
Lethal hopes the fans will be on their feet for his match, but does not want any of the undercard performers to give any less than their very best.
“I think the old rule of holding back and saving something for the main event is old. It doesn’t hold up today in my opinion,” said Lethal, a former ROH heavyweight champion. “Think of it this way . . . Let’s take Shawn Michaels. With that philosophy of holding back in the main event, if Shawn Michaels were in the first match. . . Wouldn’t you feel robbed if Shawn Michaels held something back to save something for the main event? I think the fans get cheated that way.”
Lethal said he does feel extra pressure to deliver in a main event for Ring of Honor, a company he believes features the highest quality pro wrestling in the U.S. “bar none.” And he said that pressure especially may weigh heavy on performers who recently arrived in ROH after long careers in other national wrestling promotions, including former WWE stars like Rhodes and Bully Ray.
“I feel like they may all kind of, deep down inside, have the same mentality, because Ring of Honor really is the place where you’ve got to showcase wrestling. You’ve got to prove that you can go, so to speak,” said Lethal, who returned to ROH in 2011 after a 7-year stint with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. “And while I was away I had a lot of gimmicks where I didn’t have to wrestle. .. But I can still go. So I kind of had something to prove, I felt. But the reaction I got showed I didn’t have anything to prove.”