It’s been several years since I properly tuned into Ring of Honor. I’ve watched the odd match but have not been aware of what they’ve been up to. Even taking the “problem” talent out of the way as a barrier, nothing on their shows has been of interest to me for a while. ROH and its history speaks for itself.
The number of great wrestlers who have been through the doors there grows regularly. This is the company that arguably built the careers of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), CM Punk, Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), and (more recently) Punishment Martinez (Damian Priest). But for a while now they have been a company who – in my mind at least – had their best days behind them, and simply didn’t grab my attention.
That all said, I’m willing to give them another chance. Why? Well, the answer is three-fold. First, with the “Forbidden Door” being kicked open, there is a chance of Ring of Honor talent getting involved, especially through their relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Second, as I recap NJPW Strong every week, I owe it to the ROH roster members on there to be more familiar with their work. Finally, and I won’t spoil this, hearing how the 19th Anniversary show went off the air, ROH piqued my interest.
To be fair to ROH, for any wrestling company to reach a 19th Anniversary show is impressive. With the storied history that ROH has, perhaps even more so. There have been numerous occasions where it was thought the company would close. Issues with previous owners, TV rights, talent-share agreements being cancelled, talent departures – all have resulted in people asking “Is this the end of ROH?” The answer, emphatically at times, has been “No.” The persistence of the company and their ability to identify and hone fresh talent – along with a core group of “loyal” wrestlers – has helped them survive.