Sunday 22 May 2011

Under New Management

Good news for wrestling fans: Ring of Honor will be returning to US television in September following a sale to the Sinclair Broadcasting Group. While a new television deal had been rumoured for several months, the sale of the company comes as quite a surprise. Thankfully, while it’s surprising it also sounds quite promising.

Specifics of the new TV show and future of the company are still relatively scarce. It’s known that the Sinclair Broadcast Group is available in a much larger number of homes than HDNet (the cable network that showed Ring of Honor programming until April this year), meaning that RoH will be available for a wider audience across the United States. The new parent company’s main television markets are on the east coast and in the mid-west, but for those who live outside of these areas, including those of us who live outside of the United States entirely, the show will be made available on Ring of Honor’s official website. On the subject of the website, it will be getting revamped, presumably in time for the launch of the new weekly show.

The first set of tapings will take place in Chicago Ridge in August. Considering all but six episodes of RoH on HDNet were taped at The Arena in Philadelphia this announcement makes me think that tapings will now take place from different locations. If that’s the case I think it’s a good decision as it will increase the likelihood of RoH upping the number of towns it promotes shows in.

Not only will there be more money going into the promotion from the sale but there will also be new personnel working behind the scenes, some of whom have experience working in or alongside the NWA and WCW. These people will be improving live events, promotional techniques and helping the promotion expand into new markets. Personally I’m hoping it will result in a return to Britain some time later in 2011 or, more likely, 2012. Former WWF Saturday morning show play-by-play announcer and backstage interviewer Kevin Kelly will be donning the headset for commentary duties. It’s a rare example of RoH using a former WWE personality. It’s understandable why the decision’s been made: Kelly is a far better play by play announcer than Michael Cole and will call the matches in a manner befitting Ring of Honor’s intense, realistic style.

A press conference has been announced for the mainstream and wrestling press alike on June 24th, so we can expect more details then. In the meantime there’s the official press release which can be read at the company’s official website.

This is good news for a company that has always prided itself on the quality of its matches and passion of its wrestlers. In a business infuriatingly dominated by a company that refuses to even acknowledge what it promotes, it’s nice to see a promotion like Ring of Honor get the success and recognition it deserves.

Bring on September!

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