Ring of Honor (ROH) is an American independent promotion. It was created in 2002 by Rob Feinstein. 2004 - 2011 it was owned by Cary Silkin. It is now owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group. ROH usually holds several shows each month, sometimes as many as six. Annual shows include the Anniversary Show(s), Death Before Dishonor, Survival of the Fittest, Glory by Honor, and Final Battle (the last show of the calendar year).
ROH records all their shows and sells them on DVD through their mail and online store. As such, Ring of Honor has developed a loyal fan base in the Northeast (where the shows are run) as well as around the country. Ring of Honor also broadcasts on The Fight Network to viewers in Canada and on TWC Fight! to viewers in Great Britain and Ireland. Select shows are broadcast as internet pay-per-views through Go Fight Live. They can be seen on Sinclair owned TV stations across the U.S.
ROH is considered by many to be the most well known independent promotion in the world.
ROH appears in the 2008 film The Wrestler, where it promotes the final bout of the film between Randy "The Ram" Robinson (played by Mickey Rourke) and The Ayatollah (played by Ernest "The Cat" Miller). Several wrestlers, including Nigel McGuinness, Claudio Castagnoli and Bobby Dempsey appear on film during the ROH scenes. As of 2010, due to its national television show and presence on PPV, most wrestling fans regard ROH as the third most prominent professional wrestling promotion in the United States (behind WWE and TNA).
Formation (2001 - 2003)
In April 2001, the pro-wrestling video-distribution company RF Video needed a new promotion to lead its video sales when its best-seller – Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) – went out of business and WWE purchased its assets. RF Video also videotaped events held by other, less-popular, regional wrestling promotions; it sold these through its catalog and website. After months of trying to join Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), RF Video's owner, Rob Feinstein, decided to fill the ECW void by starting his own pro wrestling promotion, and distributing its made-for-DVD/VHS productions exclusively through RF Video. The first event, titled The Era of Honor Begins, took place on February 23, 2002, in Philadelphia, the former home area of ECW. It featured nine matches, including a match between Eddy Guerrero and Super Crazy for the IWA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship and a triple threat match between Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson, and Low Ki (who would become known as the "founding fathers of ROH"). In its first year of operation, Ring of Honor confined itself to staging live events in a limited number of venues and cities – primarily in the northeastern United States. Ten shows ran in Philadelphia, two in Wakefield, Massachusetts; one in metro Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and, one in Queens, New York. In 2003, ROH expanded to other areas of the United States, including Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. In Florida, ROH supported Full Impact Pro, which would serve as a sister promotion until 2009. It also began to build its international identity by co-promoting an event with Frontier Wrestling Alliance in London, England on May 17, 2003.
Rob Feinstein Controversy (2004)
In 2004, Feinstein was caught in an internet-based sting operation, in which he allegedly tried to solicit sex on the internet from a person that he thought to be an underage boy (but was actually an adult, posing as a minor). After this was publicized by some news outlets, Feinstein resigned from ROH in March 2004.
In the aftermath of the scandal, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) ended its talent-sharing agreement with Ring of Honor, abruptly withdrawing all of its contracted wrestlers from their prior commitments to perform in ROH shows—including major ROH draws A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels, who each either held or were about to hold ROH championships. Doug Gentry eventually bought Feinstein's stake in ROH, and later sold it to Cary Silkin.
ROH then started its own mail-order and online store operations, which sold DVDs of its live events, plus shoot interviews (dubbed The Straight Shootin' Series) with wrestlers and managers, DVDs of SHIMMER (which would serve as a second sister promotion from 2005 to 2011) and even some merchandise from competitors, such as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Under Silkin, ROH branched out across the world.
On January 23, 2007, ROH announced plans for a Japanese tour, resulting in a show on July 16 in Tokyo called "Live In Tokyo", co-promoted with Pro Wrestling Noah and a show on July 17 called "Live In Osaka" in Osaka co-promoted with Dragon Gate. Shortly before this, in March 2007, ROH had become the first U.S.-based promotion to have its titles held entirely by non-American wrestlers: the Dragon Gate team of Naruki Doi and Shingo held the ROH World Tag Team Championship while at the same time their fellow-countryman, Pro Wrestling Noah star Takeshi Morishima, held the ROH World Championship.
On May 2, 2007, Ring of Honor announced the signing of a PPV and VOD deal with G-Funk Sports & Entertainment to bring ROH into homes with In Demand Networks, TVN, and the Dish Network. The deal called for six taped pay-per-view events to air every 60 days. Because of the move to pay-per-view, TNA Wrestling immediately pulled its contracted stars (Austin Aries, Christopher Daniels, and Homicide) from ROH shows, although TNA performers have since returned to the company. The first pay-per-view, titled "Respect is Earned", taped on May 12, first aired on July 1 on Dish Network.
Ring of Honor continued to expand throughout 2008, debuting in Orlando, Florida on March 28 for Dragon Gate Challenge II, in Manassas, Virginia on May 9 for Southern Navigation and in Toronto, Ontario on July 25 for Northern Navigation. On May 10, 2008, Ring of Honor set an attendance record in its debut show, A New Level, from the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center in New York City. It had plans for shows in St. Louis, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, and Montreal before the end of 2008. On October 26, 2008, the company announced the departure of head booker Gabe Sapolsky, and his replacement by Adam Pearce.
On January 26, 2009, Ring of Honor announced that it had signed an agreement with HDNet Fights for a weekly television program. The first tapings for Ring of Honor Wrestling took place on February 28 and March 1, 2009 at The Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After nearly a year of producing weekly television broadcasts, RoH announced on January 20, 2010 that it would commission a new title, the RoH World Television Championship, to be decided in an eight-man tournament beginning February 5, 2010 and ending February 6, 2010 on its Ring of Honor Wrestling program. Due to a blizzard, however, the second half of the tournament did not take place until March 5, 2010, when Eddie Edwards defeated Davey Richards in the finals.
On August 15, 2010, Ring of Honor fired head booker Adam Pearce and replaced him with Hunter Johnston, who wrestles for the company under the ring name Delirious. On September 8, 2010, Ring of Honor and Ohio Valley Wrestling announced a working relationship between the two companies.
On January 11, 2011, Ring of Honor announced the ending of Ring of Honor Wrestling, after the completion of the promotion's two-year contract with HDNet. The final tapings of the show would be taking place on January 21 and 22, with the final episode airing on April 4, 2011.
On May 21, 2011, Ring of Honor and Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that the broadcast carrier had purchased ROH, with former owner Cary Silkin remaining with the company in an executive role. The promotion's programming began airing the weekend of September 24, 2011, with a weekly hour-long program airing on several Sinclair owned-or-operated stations; the show airs primarily on Saturday or Sunday afternoons or late nights, or on prime time on some of Sinclair's CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates (as those networks do not run programming on weekend evenings).
Ring of Honor began 2014 by announcing the return of AJ Styles after a seven-year absence. Styles returned at ROH's first TV taping of the year from Nashville, Tennessee. On February 22, before their 12th Anniversary Weekend TV taping, ROH announced a partnership with number one Japanese professional wrestling promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling. The announcement included a promotional video and words from NJPW chairman Naoki Sugabayashi. ROH and NJPW held their first co-promoted show, Global Wars, on May 10 from the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto, Canada. One week later from the sold-out Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, they held their second, War of the Worlds.
On June 22, Ring of Honor held their first live pay-per-view event, Best in the World from the Nashville State Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee. The event was well received and was the first time that a live ROH broadcast was accessible to over 60% of American homes.
In September, Sinclair began syndicating ROH to other stations; the first deal was reached with WATL, a Gannett-owned Atlanta station, which began airing ROH on September 13, 2014.
On October 27, ROH announced a toy licensing deal with Figures Co. toy company, which would see the distribution of action figures based on the Ring of Honor wrestlers, replica title belts and more. In November, Ring of Honor announced its return to live pay-per-view with their biggest show of the year, Final Battle, plus their debut in music venue Terminal 5 in New York City.
On November 27, Ring of Honor made its first official appearance in the United Kingdom in over seven years when it co-promoted a weekend of shows with UK based promotion Preston City Wrestling.
On December 7, Ring of Honor held its second live pay-per-view, Final Battle, from Terminal 5 in New York City. ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe retained in the main event by defeating Adam Cole in a Fight Without Honor. On December 12, it was announced through their website that ROH had signed former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio to a short-term deal. He made his debut at ROH's first TV taping of 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. On March 1, 2015, ROH held its third traditional PPV, "ROH's 13th Anniversary" live from Las Vegas, Nevada. On January 22, ROH officially announced that the main event will be a high-stakes four-corner survival match for the ROH Championship featuring Jay Briscoe, Tommaso Ciampa, Hanson, and Michael Elgin.
On May 27, 2015, ROH announced a 26-week television deal with Destination America, beginning on June 3.
On December 13, 2015, ROH announced a partnership with Southern California promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), which would allow ROH contracted wrestlers to continue working for PWG.
On August 30, 2016, ROH announced the creation of a new title, the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship. The inaugural champions were crowned in December.
On November 9, 2017, ROH COO Joe Koff announced that ROH would be developing an OTT streaming service similar to WWE Network and Impact Wrestling's Global Wrestling Network. On December 15, 2017, ROH announced the creation of the Women of Honor Championship, adding its fifth championship and the first for its female roster. On February 2, 2018, ROH officially announced Honor Club.
Touring and TV tapings
In the beginning, Ring of Honor would hold one show a month, originally from the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the original home of ROH before the purchase by the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2011. However, by the end of 2002, ROH began running multiple shows a month, and in 2003, multiple shows in a weekend, referred to as "double-shots". The first time ROH left Philadelphia was August 24, 2002, for Honor Invades Boston from the American Civic Center in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Although primarily focusing on the Northeast of America, ROH began expanding in 2005, both domestically and internationally. 2006 saw the first ROH show from Orlando, Florida, and the first overseas tour of the United Kingdom. In 2007, ROH toured both the United Kingdom and Japan. At this point, they were running on average five shows a month, mostly across the northeastern United States.
In 2008, ROH debuted in Canada with Northern Navigation, from the Ted Reeve Arena, which they have run since. In the same year, they attempted to expand into Montreal with a double-shot weekend but both shows failed to impress. On February 22, 2009, ROH held their first TV taping for their ROH on HDNet show from the former ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This would be the home for the ROH on HDNet TV tapings until arena officials decided to shut it down. Ring of Honor's final ROH on HDNet TV taping took place from the Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky. All 100 episodes of ROH on HDNet were hosted by Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood.
After Ring of Honor was purchased by the Sinclair Broadcast Group in June 2011, ROH's touring pattern changed drastically. Instead of running regular shows in cities where the company had a following, ROH began focusing more on cities that carry its television show. In 2011, ROH began consistently running in both North Carolina and South Carolina due to local affiliates broadcasting their TV show. In 2012, on the Road to Greatness weekend double-shot, ROH debuted in both Alabama and Tennessee. In 2013, ROH debuted in San Antonio, Texas, with Honor in the Heart of Texas. In 2014, ROH debuted in Louisiana, Minnesota and returned Florida for a TV taping in Lakeland. In 2015, ROH debuted in Redwood City, California for Supercard of Honor and returned to Atlanta for the first time in three years on February 21.
Since debuting on Sinclair Broadcasting stations, Ring of Honor Wrestling has been taped in numerous locations and continues to tour. Kevin Kelly hosted the Sinclair-era ROH television broadcasts from its first episode on September 24, 2011, until February 20, 2017. On February 27, 2017, Ian Riccaboni became the lead announcer and host of Ring of Honor Wrestling.
In its formation, Ring of Honor was classified as a "super indy", meaning that it would bring together all the top talent from the then bustling independent wrestling circuit for one show a month. As time moved on, gradually then ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky began introducing contracts as the promotion began to grow. Performers began signing unofficial contracts to do "x" amounts of dates for "x" amount of money, but the contracts were never official. This saw a dispute after Ric Flair, who had agreed to work several dates for the promotion, took the money and failed to show up to a scheduled show without notice. After this ROH began introducing more professional contracts for its performers, but also included more incentives such as cuts in merchandise sales from T-shirts and DVDs.
In 2011, after the purchase by Sinclair Broadcasting, Ring of Honor signed some talent to exclusive contracts which prevented them from appearing on any other televised wrestling show, internet pay-per-view or pay-per-view. It also gave ROH power over the performers' dates. This caused controversy due to the few dates ROH were running and would eventually be discontinued in-favor of more open contracts which just saw talent not be allowed to appear on television, iPPV or PPV. In 2014, ROH re-introduced the exclusivity clause and introduced other clauses into their contracts, which a handful of performers signed; certain deals also included a salary, which some such as Michael Elgin have praised. These contracts give ROH as much power over their roster as a WWE contract would, but does allow them to take outside independent dates with ROH management's approval.
Women of Honor
|Championship||Champion(s)||Defeated||Date Won||Location||Event||Days Held|
|ROH World Championship||Dalton Castle||Cody||December 15, 2017||New York City, New York||ROH Final Battle 2017||184+|
|ROH World Television Championship||Punishment Martinez||Silas Young||June 16, 2018||Dallas, Texas||1+|
|ROH World Tag Team Championship||The Briscoes||Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley)||March 9, 2018||Las Vegas, Nevada||ROH 16th Anniversary Show||100+|
|ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship||The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O'Ryan & Vinny Marseglia)||SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky)||May 9, 2018||Lowell, Massachusetts||39+|
|ROH Women of Honor Championship||Sumie Sakai||Kelly Klein||April 7, 2018||New Orleans, Louisiana||ROH Supercard of Honor XII||71+|
|Championship||Final Champion(s)||defeated||Date Won||Location||Event|
|ROH Pure Championship||Bryan Danielson||Nigel McGuinness||August 12, 2006||Liverpool, England||Unified|
|ROH Number One Contender's Trophy||Matt Stryker||vacant||March 13, 2004||Elizabeth, New Jersey||At Our Best|
|ROH Top of the Class Trophy||Rhett Titus||Ernie Osiris||June 7, 2008||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Respect Is Earned II|
ROH Wrestling School
The ROH promotion also runs a wrestling school called ROH Wrestling School in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Its current head trainer is Delirious. Previous head trainers of the academy ROH World champions CM Punk, Austin Aries, and Bryan Danielson. The first three classes of students have already graduated and currently wrestle on the US independent circuit, including preliminary and exhibition matches at Ring of Honor events.
- ROHwrestling.com (Official Website)
- Official Video Website
- Facebook page
- Twitter Page
- YouTube channel
- CAGEMATCH.net Profile
|Ring of Honor Wrestling • RoH Creating Excellence • Pay-per-views|
|Ring of Honor|
|Adam Page • Alex Shelley • Beretta • Beer City Bruiser • BJ Whitmer • Brian Milonas • Bully Ray • Caprice Coleman • Cheeseburger • Chris Sabin • Christopher Daniels • Cody • Colt Cabana • Dalton Castle • Delirious • Deonna Purrazzo • Eli Isom • Flip Gordon • Frankie Kazarian • Gabby Ortiz • Jay Briscoe • Jay Lethal • Jay White • Jenny Rose • Joey Daddiego • Jessie Brooks • Jonathan Gresham • Josh Woods • Karen Q • Kelly Klein • Kenny King • LSG • Mandy Leon • Mark Briscoe • Marty Scurll • Matt Jackson • Matt Taven • Nick Jackson • Punishment Martinez • Rhett Titus • Rocky Romero • Ryan Nova • Scorpio Sky • Shaheem Ali • Shane Taylor • Silas Young • Stella Grey • Sumie Sakai • Tenille Dashwood • The Boys • TK O'Ryan • Vinny Marseglia • Will Ferrara|