If recent reports are to be believed, Ring of Honor has blocked the Briscoe Brothers and Adam Cole from signing with WWE.
While I’m not here to comment on speculation (which I seriously doubt the validity of), these events do bring up the age old question of “what should ROH do?”
Going into the biggest wrestling (or should that be sports entertainment) show of the year, two men who honed their craft in Ring of Honor are World champions.
Bryan Danielson and CM Punk are two of Ring of Honor’s greatest ever competitors.
Both men were allowed to pursue their dreams in the biggest wrestling company on the planet and unlike other Indy wrestlers who have had awful experiences in the ‘E’, (Colt Cabana, anyone?) those two struck gold.
It is no secret that guys in Ring of Honor would get paid much more handsomly in WWE (and in some instances TNA) so is it unethical for ROH to ‘block’ their paths?
Ring of Honor, under ownership of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, have shown a greater willingness to sign guys to contracts – and thus protect their biggest talents from being poached without their consent. That has to be applauded.
The questions now is, should ROH step aside and let guys join WWE?
It’s admirable of Ring of Honor to want to hold on to guys they’ve invested time and effort in building up. The main thing contributing to the negative reactions regarding ROH’s ‘blocking’ is that previous regimes have been more than happy to allow guys to go.
“If any company can put the kind of money that WWE can in someone’s pocket I’d gladly let them out of their contracts,” said former ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky on our forum.
“When a talent goes to WWE he has the opportunity to set up generations of his family financially. He should never be denied or frowned upon for trying to do that. 90% of the time that talent has given just about all he can to the indies. Yes, I understand it is disappointing knowing that you’ll never get to see them wrestle with complete freedom or in an intimate venue, but think of it like pro sports. Your favorite athlete in any sport is going to get old, get injured and see his numbers declined until he is eventually traded/released/retires. Then new talent comes in that breathes fresh air into the team and soon he becomes your favorite player. It is the cycle of sports and pro wrestling.”
“It’s great seeing guys who have given us 3-10 great years of their hardest most creative work on the indies get the payoff of potentially millions of dollars, if not at least enough money to keep them comfortable for years for all their hard work.”
It’s hard to argue with him – is it right for ROH to stand in the way of guys who could potentially earn millions of dollars and set themselves up for life?
I guess the answer to that will depend on your viewpoint. In a selfish way, you never want talent to leave – why would you?
Wrestling fans, especially those of ROH, are notoriously demanding and wanting guys to stay in the company is a natural reaction.
I’m sure this debate will rage on and on. Ring of Honor have put themselves in a situation where they can at least protect their biggest assets for the short-term and for a company that is looking to gain a bigger foothold in the national market, who can blame them?
However, denying guys the chance to earn a comfortable living doing something they love is a dangerous thing and I believe each situation must be tackled in its own right.
That being said, it will be interesting to what ROH do should WWE come calling for some of their guys in what is surely a no-win situation for them.