Ring of Honor makes only one appearance on the list of the top ten wrestlers of 2012 and it seems fitting that World Champion Kevin Steen takes that spot. No individual wrestler has done more to propel the promotion this year than Steen, even as he looks to continue his run of dominance in to 2013.
Steen started his career in his native Quebec, but his strong English skills (learned from television) made him the standout among his peers (such as El Generico, 3.0 and the Super Smash Brothers.) His feud with El Generico throughout 2010 made him the most hated man in wrestling, but his return introduced an interesting dichotomy to a Ring of Honor that was a shadow of its former self.
When Steen made his violent return during 2011, he quickly became a favorite of ROH fans even as he ridiculed them. This would continue in to 2012 and even his reign as champion as the clearly heel Steen continues to get mostly cheers from the partisan crowd.
The man named “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” by ROH commissioner Jim Cornette finally received his shot at the World title at “Border Wars” in May. He defeated Davey Richards in brutal fashion to take the title before forming a unit with Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs: SCUM. He would dominate every man Cornette put in his way over the next several months: Eddie Edwards, Richards in a rematch, Eddie Kingston, Michael Elgin and Rhino. The only man to stand toe to toe with him proved to be Jay Lethal, a man willing to meet Steen on his own level of brutality, but their battle ended in a no contest. Former friend and long time rival El Generico battled Steen twice in 2012, but wasn’t able to pick up a win on either attempt.
As he enters 2013, he has defeated almost every major star in Ring of Honor, but several talents still look to be in the wings to challenge him. World TV champion Adam Cole has shown himself to be ready for the main event, former ECW champion Matt Hardy has made his presence known in ROH and Jay Lethal certainly wants another shot at Steen.
Kevin Steen looks to continue to be where he needs to be in modern ROH: right in the thick of it all.
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