WWE has become the leader of the pro-wrestling scene for years now, but they could very well be pushing into this world even more as it appears they’re in talks to buy out Ring of Honor Wrestling. ROH has been around for over a decade, as they really began to come into prominence after WWE bought out all of their real competition in WCW and ECW. The original idea of the company was to bring in the best independent wrestlers in the world and have them work together.
For quite some time, they did just that. On top of this, they helped to create stars out of them. Paul Heyman disciple Gabe Sapolsky helped to run the promotion for a while, which helped the brand develop and allowed impressive creativity to come about. Some of the biggest names in pro-wrestling came out of Ring of Honor well before they entered other major businesses. Seth Rollins, Cesaro, Austin Aries, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kassius Ohno, and AJ Styles all worked with ROH in the early days and into their later time.
Nowadays, WWE and TNA still seem to poach talent from the promotion as it is still one of the top destinations in pro-wrestling today for independent stars. However, they very well could be under the WWE banner very soon. According to Pro Wrestling Sheet, WWE has been in discussions with ROH since January about a potential buyout.
The two companies have been in talks since the beginning of the year, attempting to keep things under wraps the entire time to avoid a possible issue with talent not knowing their futures and things of that nature. On top of this, ROH has a talent sharing partnership with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. New Japan has been using ROH to access the United States a bit easier, and it has worked relatively well.
However, all partnerships would most likely be ended with a buyout from the WWE. Even talks of them could derail possible partnerships. This is most likely why ROH wanted to keep things from getting out. It would a lot of explaining to talent and partners. This is also the first talk of Sinclair being interested in a possible sale, as they have not been linked to that. In fact, ROH is pretty profitable right now. They are not of the level of WWE, but they’re doing well enough to not need a sale whatsoever.
This is unlike before when companies sold, as they were not profitable enough or simply did not look like they would be. The idea of the deal is that it would be a full takeover, and not a partial buy-in or aide program like they have done with WWN Live. The plan upon the buyout would be to make ROH a normal, weekly WWE Network show similar to that of WWE NXT.
There is no word that every wrestler under the ROH banner would come with the deal. However, a full takeover means they would take on all current contracts. This is unless those deals included a clause that a possible buyout would allow complete release from the contract. Since this is unlikely, they would take on these wrestlers. That means people like the Young Bucks would actually work for the WWE due to signing a two-year deal with ROH a while back.
There is also the theory that those who signed with Sinclair Broadcasting as the parent company and not with ROH itself would not be included in the deal either. This was the same sort of thing that happened with WCW when WWE bought them out in 2001. Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Goldberg, and Ric Flair all signed with Turner Broadcasting and not WCW. This meant that they would not have to wrestle until their deals expired. So, this could be an issue with ROH as well.
Of course, the Young Bucks do have it in their contracts that they can work with NJPW, so that may not hurt their standing with New Japan like some might assume if they are absorbed in the deal with WWE. As of now, there is no official offer for ROH Wrestling by the WWE. Talks being underway certainly proves that the company is considering selling officially now. There had been rumors for some time that Sinclair Broadcasting was unwilling to put a lot into the company.
The most money they spend out goes to contracts, and even those are not as high as they could be. The problem we’re seeing is that Sinclair is open to offers. New Japan Pro-Wrestling could consider buying ROH too. This means that WWE could very well get into a bidding war, which may be a reason WWE wanted to keep the talks under wraps too. WWE would not want to get into something like this, as ROH is not worth a huge bid due to what they currently have. WWE is at least interested in the prospect of having ROH under their banner. Interestingly, it was around this time in 2001 that WWE bought WCW, could ROH be next?
[Featured Image by WWE]