Before I get into the bulk of this article, let me just have a small rant:
Lina “Nia Jax” Fanene is a piece of trash. You don’t get to compare Ukraine’s ongoing fight against the violent totalitarianism of Vladimir Putin to those who sought to simply protect themselves and others by wearing a mask during the pandemic.
I haven’t been sick with so much as a cold in over 4 years. I’d like to think my pandemic precautions have a little to do with that — as well as helping others.
Too many blockheaded children masquerading as adults have a social platform, and it’s sad. Luckily, most wrestlers have not turned a conflict that could tip-toe into World War 3 into a way to spout their unwarranted, non-scientific and asinine beliefs. Get help and grow up.
Okay, I feel better now…
Tony Khan is the new owner of Ring of Honor. For those who still follow professional wrestling outside of the comfortable WWE bubble, this is pretty big news. This was met with some predictable negative fodder from internet trolls who may not fully appreciate what pro wrestling actually is.
However, this did receive a lot of praise from around the wrestling world. This continues the shift that TK and AEW has started within the industry — and it’s for the better.
But first, for those not in the know, what is Ring of Honor?
Ring of Honor
Founded in 2002 by RF Video (let’s not talk about Rob Feinstein), Ring of Honor’s first show took place on February 23rd, 2002. While featuring Eddy Guerrero vs. Super Crazy, it was headlined by Christopher Daniels vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Low Ki.
The idea behind Ring of Honor (as far as I saw it) was to deliver the greatest product available for wrestling purists. In ROH’s “formative” years, such legends as Danielson, Samoa Joe and C.M. Punk were regulars for the promotion.
In 2004, then-owner Rob Feinstein was outed as a pedo, and removed himself from ROH entirely. Cary Silkin would inherit ROH afterwards, and quite frankly, the company wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for him.
In 2011, ROH was acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting Group. While I absolutely hate their political leanings and forced propaganda posing as news segments (Google this if interested) — they at least help keep Ring of Honor going strong. ROH would air on Sinclair-affiliated stations, including The CW and MyNetworkTV in local markets.
After being broadcast in select markets, as well as deals for content to be broadcasted on Destination America and HDNet, ROH would soon move to a streaming service in 2017. In 2018, the company would help put together All In in Chicago, which would be the roots of what would become All Elite Wrestling.
In October of 2021, Ring of Honor announced a hiatus, releasing all wrestlers from their contracts.
Bally Sports currently broadcasts random Ring of Honor content on their cable network.
Current/Former WWE/AEW Talent in Ring of Honor
If there is any singular reason why Khan’s purchase of ROH is a big deal it’s because of the current WWE roster.
A few names you may recognize: A.J. Styles, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, (all four were huge parts of ROH) — Nigel McGuinness, Drew McIntyre, Shelton Benjamin, Roderick Strong, Cedric Alexander, (and in recent departures) – Cesaro and Samoa Joe.
There are probably names I am missing, as I’m writing off the cuff here. But they have all graced Ring of Honor. Tony Khan now has access and ownership over all of their ROH matches.
And it’s worth mentioning other names: C.M. Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, “Hangman” Adam Page, The Young Bucks, and many, many more AEW stars have been a part of Ring of Honor’s history.
Some of the greatest wrestling battles ever waged have taken place in Ring of Honor. Now Tony Khan now owns all of them for the world to enjoy.
A “Bloated” Roster No More
It has been of great concern that many names that appear on Dark and Elevation never truly get the chance to shine on Dynamite and Rampage. This may no longer be a problem.
It’s perfectly reasonable that some AEW talent that doesn’t appear on Dynamite can take a spot on a new Ring of Honor show. Keep in mind that TK isn’t taking on any contracts — as all ROH talent was released.
There is plenty of great talent on the former ROH roster to keep around, but I don’t see TK doing so. Keeping some of the current champions is a no-brainer. Jonathan Gresham, Deonna Purazzo, and The Briscoes come to mind here.
But we can see a lot more talent fluctuate between AEW and Ring of Honor now. This sets up some possibly fantastic match-ups between current AEW stars, and recent ROH stars.
Daniel Garcia vs. Josh Woods
Jade Cargill vs. Trish Adora
Dante Martin vs. Flip Gordon
The Young Bucks vs. The Briscoes
And other names like Joe Hendry, Kellyanne, Rush, Bandido, Dalton Castle, and Miranda Alize that I would love to see in a Ring of Honor ring again.
But even if TK decides to simply roll with a chunk of the existing AEW roster over members of the recent ROH roster, there are now open spots to fill — and that’s exciting.
Exposure | HBO Max?
Ring of Honor is rumored to become a “developmental” territory for AEW, and this breeds a ton of opportunities.
For one, it lends way for embedded AEW advertising on Sinclair networks, including Bally Sports. Second, it’s feasible that AEW Dark: Elevation could be replaced with a weekly Ring of Honor broadcast. (These usually rake in around 200-300,000 views on Youtube). Third, a rumored deal with HBO Max (WarnerMedia’s flagship streaming service), would take both AEW and ROH to new heights.
Either way, exposure for both AEW and ROH have just increased. This is a great thing for professional wrestling.
Back to HBO Max; I already have HBO Max. It’s amazing. But how much MORE revenue can WarnerMedia get from new subscribers if AEW were featured on the channel like WWE is on Peacock?
Admittedly, $50 for a Pay-Per-View ($20 if you can work around Fite TV’s VPN blocker), is steep for many. I think many wrestling fans would welcome paying the full ad-free $15/month cost of HBO Max knowing they’re getting their AEW PPV’s included. Plus Ring of Honor, plus a streaming library of ROH and AEW.
It’s only speculation, but regardless, this gives both companies more exposure than ever.
If you haven’t ever followed Ring of Honor, now is a great time to get caught up. There is a rich history with the promotion that deserves a special place in wresting history. Happily, Tony Khan is going to continue that legacy in one form or another.
And just for me, on a side note, I really hope Khan can sign Brian Zane.
As an internet wrestling fan, you can applaud that another brand is getting more exposure, and that more opportunities are being created for wrestling talent. This is a literal win-win situation.
Or you can hate on something you don’t know because it’s not WWE. Don’t be that person. Go watch Ring of Honor! They have a plethora of content on their YouTube channel and website. Something awesome just happened in the wrestling world, and it’s reason to celebrate.