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When you look at the state of wrestling today, it’s astonishing how many wrestlers competed in Ring of Honor. Main event talent like Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe cut their teeth in the promotion, Cody Rhodes wrestled before the phrase “All Elite Wrestling” was a thing, and NXT’s Golden Era was built off the backs of the style ROH perfected.

That… is not the case today.

Today, Ring of Honor exists as the development fed for All Elite Wrestling. Our titles are defended on Dynamite and Collision more than they’re defended on ROH television. We get the castoffs, the Trustbusters and Tony Nese’s, the guys that Tony Khan has no time for on his main shows. We get a PPV every four months, our tv show is hidden behind a paywall that fans are iffy about. The ROH of 2024 is a lot different than the ROH of 2019, than the ROH of 2014, than the ROH of 2005-2008. And looking at the state of things, we just have to admit it.

Ring of Honor is fucking dying.

The style we innovated is being used everywhere. The identity we created for ourselves has shifted to AEW. Now we’re either a sad memory or, worse, playing to fans who want to know when Jon Moxley will come out or when they can sing Judas. And TK keeps us going, because he used to watch us during his messenger board days and didn’t want ROH to close. Instead we’re kept on life support, limping to an existence that’s wildly different from what made people fall in love in the first place.

Which is why we’re going for this gamble.

I talked with TK, one of the rare times I was able to really sit down with him and have a meeting that lasted longer than five minutes. We talked ROH, the direction it was going, the direction it could be going. I asked him point blank if he wanted ROH to succeed, or to be AEW’s version of NXT. And give him credit, he wants us to do well. I almost believe him when he says he wants ROH to be just as big as he remembered it. I don’t point out it’s hard to get there with THE FUCKING VARSITY ATHLETES, I just smile and nod and pitch him my idea.

1. An actual ROH roster. We need names that fans associate with ROH before they associate with AEW. We want fans to tune in because that’s where they can see their favorite wrestlers, not just wait until Dynamite when they get a ten minute match. He still gives us AEW talent, but he’s agreeable on this.

2. Twelve PPVs a year. Slight pushback on this one. He claims he doesn’t want to over saturate the market. I point out AEW adding more and more PPVs to the schedule. He ends up giving me ten, the same number that AEW has, which I can work with.

3. We need a second show. Strong pushback on this. Not only do I get the “over saturation” line again, but this would add another show to the week. He doesn’t want to run five shows, and when I suggest he be hands off on this one, he brings up the Max Caster incident from a few years back. This is something he’s insistent on, but I get him to agree to talk about this again in three months.

4. We need to run as an actual company. I want wrestlers to see us as a destination, not as a springboard to AEW. We need to be able to sign talent independent of AEW, to make deals independent of AEW, and grow as a company. This gets the most pushback, and rightfully so. He’s still negotiating with WarnerMedia, and seeing us openly negotiating with other broadcasters could interfere with that. I ask for more coverage for HonorClub, but that too is met with resistance. That does plant the seed of an idea in TK’s head, and he makes a note to call Warner and ask about streaming services being included in negotiations. For now, thankfully, he agrees to us signing talent independent of AEW. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

5. Make deals with other companies. It’s a small one, but I stress the importance of the Forbidden Door for AEW and state ROH needs something similar. After lengthy talks with New Japan President Hiroshi Tanahashi, it’s agreed that ROH can partner with Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling. A second deal is made with DDT Pro Wrestling, due to Konosuke Takeshita’s involvement and Kenny Omega’s history with the company. Stardom agrees to work with ROH, though on a probationary period given they’re on shaky ground after dismissing former President Rossy Ogawa.

6. Our champions are ROH first. I love Eddie, I love Kyle, and I understand why The Kingdom hold the tag titles, but they aren’t ROH wrestlers. They’re AEW wrestlers first and foremost, and that’s a problem for us. We need them at our shows, and given we have a storyline where Kyle Fletcher isn’t appearing on tv, it’s a growing concern. We don’t have to hastily switch our champions right away, but we do need to move on and ensure that ROH builds a new identity. After some back and forth, we agree on a limited amount of time with the current champions. Interestingly enough, Kingston isn’t mentioned.


With all this laid out, we iron out the details before shaking hands and parting ways. I gather a small group of staff, letting them know that they’ll be solely working ROH from now on. And I plan.

I plan on getting us out from under AEW as soon as possible.

- Christopher Daniels

Edited by Ramen Time
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I think Eddie Kingston could absolutely be the face of the new ROH though to be fair. He's the perfect guy for it in my opinion. Great talker and an in ring style influenced by King's Road and Strong Style.

I get that he's an AEW guy, but it's a shame he's going to be pivoted away from.

I'm pumped for this diary though. Daniels is one of my all time favorites and one of the nicest people I've met in wrestling. He has such a good mind for the business.

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I will be interested in this going forward, but I am wary of the idea of using Daniels the avatar character as a vehicle to just take jabs at the things you don't like (I once saw a short-lived 2004 NJPW diary where Vader took over as booker and Vader's mission statement was "no more foreigners, no more junior heavyweights getting pushed up to heavyweight. Again, this was 2004. That wasn't a thing, he was just being whiny about modern Nooj), just 'cause the Varsity Athletes being namedropped in particular makes me wary. It's not like these are guys Daniels has never heard of or meaningless greenhorn prospects Tony just shunted onto ROH for no reason. Josh Woods had been working for ROH since 2016 pre-shutdown and Tony Nese has been wrestling for almost 20 years. 

But, my initial wariness aside, like I said, I will be watching with interest. 

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Thursday, March 7

Soundstage 19 holds a lot of memories for me. A lot of years were spent here with TNA, and now we continue on with ROH for the time being. Given we were using this place to film AEW Dark for a while, we know how the set up will look. I’m just not sure how things will progress tonight.

On screen, very little will really change. As far as fans know we’re chugging along, building up to the PPV later this month. Behind the scenes, I’m nervous. This is a new chapter for Ring of Honor, one I’m hopeful we can build upon and really grow from. If this fails, there’s no real guarantee ROH continues. There’s already whispers of cost cutting in AEW, though that’s just rumors among management for the time being. Still, that thought has me nervous about ROH’s future, especially as we rely heavily on Tony to survive. Eventually we can become self sufficient, but right now it’s a lot less certain.

We have our first single taping tonight. A bit of a break from the usual schedule, but Tony doesn’t want to overexert the talent and thinks once a week here at Soundstage 19 should be fine. Tony also gave us the green light to expand to two hours with a small overrun, so fingers crossed everything goes well. The talent meeting we held beforehand should alleviate some worries, but I can see it on people’s faces. No one’s sure of how this is gonna work.

Least of all me.


ROH on Honor Club, March 7th Results



- Mike Santana has signed directly with ROH. This was arguably the toughest signing to pitch to TK and Santana, but we’re allowing him to explore his options while he works with us. He’s giving us three months to evaluate his standing, and given I see a lot of potential in him, I think this can work. We’re going to hold off on Santana vs. Ortiz, but I do think we can do their feud justice after the lackluster way it was handled elsewhere.

- Trying to move our focus on the Pure Title to our talent is a challenge. We’ve hired Fred Yehi to a six month contract, but he’s another person I think can grow into a valuable member of the roster. I’ve also been told my stance on the Varsity Athletes is a bit too much, and in retrospect I could’ve handled that better. I do want to see how Woods handles singles competition, hence his appearance after the Yehi match.

- I’m not sure why The Embassy are also working ROH, but Tony’s the boss so we’re using them. Cage should make for a good battle against Kingston, and Prince Nana gets to be his natural heel self here.

- I wasn’t too sure about The Iron Savages, but they impressed well against the WorkHorsemen. All four surprised me, and give me hope that our tag division will be just fine.

- Giving local talents a chance has unexpectedly given us three solid prospects. SB KENTo, Jessica Troy, and Stephen Wolf all impressed in their outings, with KENTo getting the second best match of the night against Santana.  Expect to see more of them going forward.


Ultimately I’d call our first outing a success. Just starting feels like an accomplishment all on its own, and if we can keep this momentum I’m sure we’ll be doing just fine. I’ll be taking the report to Tony on Saturday before Collision, as he wants a weekly meeting to go over positives and negatives. I think he’ll be pleasantly surprised at what we were able to accomplish tonight. I know I am.

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