Monday, November 17, 2014

ROH Ready To Take The Reigns As Alternative To WWE?

Ring of Honor wrestling is on verge of becoming the new alternative to WWE in North America. This week will mark that last show taped by TNA that will appear on Spike-TV. It is expected TNA will be leaving Spike and return if they can find a television deal on a much smaller network. This would in effect make ROH the number two company in terms of reach in the number of households they currently reach. Ring of Honor also seems to be willing to expand and build on that through syndication deals with networks outside of Sinclair broadcasting that owns the company. That they recently did in the Atlanta market.

ROH has also started to get into pay-per-view with lack of the WWE on traditional pay-per-view. Their first venture into pay-per-view was a modest success exceeding internal expectations. They prepare to return to pay-per-view as TNA is scrambling to find their product a broadcast home. Final Battle will be live on pay- per-view on December 7th. We spoke with Kyle O’Reilly this past week one-half of the ROH Tag Team Champions speaking about a number of topics including Final Battle and ROH’s move to live pay-per-view. TNA if and when they come back will be minus one of the few stars they can claim to have created. Ethan Carter III is reported to have a torn bicep and be out of action for 6 months.

While hardcore wrestling fans have praised Lucha Underground as this great alternative wrestling program it has not translated to ratings. The El Rey network is also currently not in many homes or markets that will make it a struggle to build an audience to rival ROH or TNA depending on where they end up.

The other big player is Ring of Honor’s partners in the past New Japan Pro Wrestling. There involvement with Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling to debut on pay-per-view the following month made things a little complicated. It apparently has been worked out, as it appears ROH talent will in fact be allowed to work on this show. ReDRagon who also hold the IWGP Jr. Tag Team titles from the NJPW promotion. NJPW was able to land Jim Ross to call their pay-per-view that should be a help as Ross is loved by many wrestling fans and regarded as the best wrestling announcer alive today.

Being number two means something far different from what it did 15 years ago. Still Ring of Honor as many in the promotion reference it in terms of the little engine that could likely never was expected to be here. Looking at a future where they could be considered the second largest company in wrestling in North America and the main alternative to WWE.

As good, as 2014 has been for ROH they have had some bumps in the road. 2015 will be a much different year for them, as they will experience in a sense what it is like to be the hunted a little bit as the main alternative to WWE. The race for second place will be far more interesting than anyone delusional to think they can knock off the WWE.

ROH come 2015 will be the alternative program or in terms of political analogy the opposition party. It is a role that at least from their booking should provide a product that is not trying to be the WWE. This is what fans truly want and will see if ROH can make the most out of their newfound position to expand their fan base as disgruntled WWE fans looking for an alternative have been on the rise.

Regardless of if TNA survives or not, after over a decade of failing to be a true alternative to WWE they have failed and it is time for someone else to have that spotlight. Ring of Honor is a position to say why not us. Given the number of their talents that have went on to success in WWE they likely have a valid point based on the talent they develop.