In an interview with Fansided Joe Koff discussed a ton of topics including ROH welcoming back former ROH World Champion Daniel Bryan, Kenny King’s role on the Bachelorette, and more. Here are some of the excerpts:
“You know, we’re really, really excited. There’s a lot of good things happening on that show,” Koff said. “I actually shouldn’t just pick out this show because every ROH show is special and it seems something happens at every one, but the fact that Kenny King will be facing KUSHIDA for this TV title in his hometown makes it special. The fact that we’re going to see [Minoru] Suzuki wrestle our world champion Cody Rhodes makes it special. And the six-man title match — which features Bullet Club’s Adam Page and The Young Bucks taking on either The Kingdom or Bully Ray and The Briscoe Brothers — really makes this show a must-see event.”
“I’m a bit of a sentimentalist and a TV guy as well, and I think Kenny King did an amazing job on The Bachelorette,” Koff admitted. “I don’t like to play favorites with my roster because, you know, they’re like children and I don’t mean that in a negative sense, I love them equally, but I would be happy for Kenny. I think this is a good spot for him — his family’s there, he has a lot of notoriety and he’s worked hard for this moment. I’m looking forward to that event. ”
Again, ROH putting on yet another PPV event is a testament to the growth the promotion has enjoyed in recent years, especially since Sinclair took over in 2011. But just what was behind the growth spurt since 2011?
“I think what happened in 2011 was more backing, more television, more distribution — just a real company backing an incredible wrestling company,” Koff said. “I think it was just naturally time in its history, in its youth, actually.
“We have Ring of Honor in its teenage years, and for anyone who’s a father and has worked with teenagers, you know what these years can be like. I will tell you, from my perspective as a parent of teenagers, my boys and girls are very well-behaved, very respectful and really serious about what they do. And I think in that analogy, we can see why Ring of Honor has been so successful.”
Through syndication, the Sinclair Group has made this possible on a number of platforms around the country, but the future may hold something larger for Ring of Honor.
“Well, I think you’ll see it. I can envision it because I think it will happen,” the COO predicted when talking about ROH garnering a larger television presence.
“As Sinclair grows and expands its reach around the country, so does Ring of Honor grow with it. There are things on the horizon that your readers and fans might be aware of or not, but I think in the next four of five months, Ring of Honor is poised to be seen in more places than it is today — almost replicating a national-level footprint, although seen in its local markets at its individual time.
“Now we are also seen in what we call ‘in-pattern’ on some of our emerging networks, and this is the wonderful thing about Sinclair, it’s that we are constantly innovating and constantly building and constantly programming. And the emerging network business, which a lot of you may not know it by those names, they’re the digi channels that have specialty genre like Comet, which is science fiction, and Charge, which is all-action, or Stadium, which is all-sports. These are all platforms that Sinclair have involvement with if not ownership with, which allows us to have more of a playing field for our product — not to mention cable networks that could come into play down the road for us. The next five years are just really rosy for us.”
On Women of Honor
“The Women of Honor are going and growing,” Koff proudly stated. “You know, it’s like everything we do in ROH has a starting point, a middle point, and hopefully a fantastic endpoint. I think right now, the women’s talent level is at a very high watermark. The Mae Young Classic is a good example of that, as are the other women’s promotions that have been around for a while as well.
“What’s interesting is the athleticism of the women is at a really high level. The women are able to put on matches that are the equivalent of what the general fans expect to see from the men. And I think we’re in a competitive place right now, as other promotions may feel they’re further along with their women, buy you know, until women have parity and show up on the main cards of major events, then we’re all in the same place.
“Women of Honor is really just showcasing our women. You could have a Classic like they do in other promotions, but the point is women are getting to a point where they can compete in the ring with the men, not in the same match or anything, and when that expectation is met, I think Women of Honor and other women’s promotions will rise to the top.”
Maybe the most famous Ring of Honor alum ever is none other than former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and current WWE SmackDown Live general manager Daniel Bryan, better known to hardcore ROH and independent fans by his real name, Bryan Danielson. Not expected to be cleared ever again by WWE medical officials for ring action, it’s been speculated Bryan could be released from his contract some time next year, and with that, he presumably could return “home” to Ring of Honor, the promotion where he made a name for himself in the first place.
“Well I don’t think it’s any secret, and all the previous ROH wrestlers know, that they are always welcome back in Ring of Honor. This is their home, so to speak,” Koff noted. “We never chided anybody for leaving for what they thought were greener pastures. And look, a lot of them have succeeded on a far greater platform than we could have provided them at the time.
“So if Bryan Danielson would love to come back, I didn’t work with him personally while he was here, but I would personally welcome him back.”
Still, there are fans out there who have yet to experience the excitement and action-packed cards that Ring of Honor can bring to cleanse your palate for pro wrestling. All the ROH COO asks is that you find a way to give it a chance, because chances are, you probably won’t regret the decision as a fan.
“There’s a lot of people who are smart about Ring of Honor, love it and understand why they love it,” Koff said. “But as the promotions kinda mix, and and Adam Cole or an AJ Styles moves from promotion to promotion, there’s still a lot of fans out there who haven’t experienced Ring of Honor fully. I would like to invite them to either watch the pay-per-view this weekend or check their local listings and search ‘Ring of Honor television’ to see where it shows up in their communities. They can also go to our website and watch the program as well.
“To love Ring of Honor is to experience Ring of Honor. To see talent at its best, watch or attend a Ring of Honor event.”