July 20, 2007
SLAM! Speaks: RoH to PPV
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
For many years, professional wrestling fans had the opportunity to choose between three promotions to spend their pay-per-view dollars on. In the 1980s, this was the WWF, NWA and, briefly, the AWA. In the late-1990s, this was the WWF, WCW and ECW.
Now, approximately 10 years after 1990s fans had their PPV universe expanded to the trifecta of premium entertainment, as Ring of Honor will debut on Canadian systems tonight with "Respect is Earned," having been on U.S. PPV for the last month.
Much like ECW, RoH grew out of the northeastern U.S., catching on with hardcore fans who traded video tapes and followed the promotion via the Internet. The promotion grew a stunning array of talent that hadn't yet hit the national scene, such as BJ Whitmer, while also bringing on cast-offs from the top two, like Brent Albright. Also similarly, RoH offers something different than the other top-tiered entities. In ECW, that was hardcore wrestling; in RoH, it's a commitment to long matches that has separated it from the pack.
Mere hours before Canada gets its PPV wrestling ring expanded, the SLAM! Wrestling staff met once again at the Speaks roundtable to discuss the move by RoH, with the simple topic of whether the move is good or not for the company. Here's what the boys had to say.
I think RoH's move to pay-per-view is a good move and a move that had to be done. While RoH has nowhere near the exposure that WWE and TNA have, getting into the PPV mainstream is a move that in itself has RoH on par at least with TNA. Many of the RoH stars are unknowns to the casual wrestling fan, but from just seeing RoH once, I became hooked. The promotion is straight-up wrestling with no fancy-schmancy storylines that are more suited for All My Children.
My only hope is that RoH will get a lot of buys for their PPV shows and the
company will keep on going onward and upward. I think PPV is a logical step,
but I hope it's not a step backwards.
So now, that instant gratification is there. Hit a button and there's your
RoH sample. Once again, RoH is doing what they have always done - slow growth.
Instead of airing a money-losing live product, they pre-taped the event, edited
it, and now we have the finished product. The curious and the hardcore fans
will both order this show, and from all accounts be thoroughly impressed. No,
they aren't going to make millions of dollars at it, but it's not about that.
It's about gaining RoH exposure, and that is precisely what it will succeed in
I wish RoH the best, but tread carefully, because once you open a door, it's hard to close.
What are your thoughts on Ring of Honor's move to pay-per-view? E-mail Jon Waldman with your opinion.