Ring of Honor may not be well known to casual WWE fans, but it certainly should be. In fact, some of the best stars in WWE history have come through the ROH system. Names like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, and others first truly started their careers by working in ROH. They were fantastic here, and the company has continued to develop new names who have made an impact on WWE and even TNA. NJPW even has a bit of ROH love.
WWE is clearly the biggest and most popular pro-wrestling company in the world, but the fact that so many great workers came out of ROH and became huge stars for WWE speaks volumes. ROH feels that they can continue to make big stars, and it seems that they truly want to work with WWE.
“Who wouldn’t?” said ROH COO Joe Koff.
Joe spoke with Jim Ross on The Ross Report podcast about all things ROH. He then got into an interesting conversation with Ross about possibly working with WWE one day.
When asked if it bothers him that so many workers leave ROH for WWE, he had this to say.
“They created this business. At least the business the way it is today. They are the business. But I found it really interesting a couple weeks ago—when they had the number one contender’s match—three of the top contenders were Ring of Honor wrestlers. This is nothing against what they’re doing—but they have a full developmental program. And three of the number one contenders were Ring of Honor guys. So I’m pretty flattered by that.”
When asked about a possible working relationship with WWE, Koff said, “Look—I have always been very open to any conversation with any kind of promoter or any kind of idea. Would I like to have a relationship with WWE? Who wouldn’t? I mean, really? If they think that we’re strong enough to be considered to be part of their plan, I would certainly be open to it. I’m not sure how that would work and I’m not sure that that’s something they’re open to.”
On top of this, Ross asked Koff if he would ever see ROH as part of the WWE Network in some way. Koff said that if ROH and WWE could establish a relationship, it would be up to them to put content on the WWE Network. He said that they need as much content as possible, and if they would be interested in putting them on the network, they would be happy to come to some sort of arrangement.
WWE has worked with ROH in the past for the CM Punk DVD. They even used some footage. Of course, that has been the extent of it. WWE is just now referencing NJPW and their relationship with WWN, An arrangement with ROH may not happen as easily, but it certainly cannot be removed from thought. Sinclair Broadcasting, the parent company of ROH, does see the relationship with WWE as a big deal obviously.
Triple H sees the independent scene as valuable to their product because they’re the ones producing a lot of the great stars WWE has now. He realizes it so much so that he has been the one to broker the deals with WWN and others. The fact the company is now stating NJPW by name also means something has to be going on that we don’t see yet. Regardless, if WWE can broker deals with these companies, then Ring of Honor is by no means out of the realm of possibility.
Ring of Honor continues to make stars, and with WWE in need of more guys, having exclusive rights to talent or things similar could do wonders for everyone involved. As long as ROH does not become competition for WWE, there is no issue. Right now, that does not look likely with most people leaving ROH when they get big and heading to NJPW, TNA, or WWE. If they can come to a relationship with WWE, fans certainly wouldn’t complain.
[Image via ROH]