Ring of Honor (ROH) is an American professional wrestling promotion, founded in 2002 by Rob Feinstein, and Template:As of owned by Cary Silkin. ROH usually holds several shows each month throughout the midwest and east coast. It has also held shows on the west coast, Great Britain and Japan. Annual shows include the Anniversary Show(s), Supercard of Honor, Death before Dishonor, Survival of the Fittest, Glory by Honor, and Final Battle (the last show of the calendar year).
ROH records all its shows and sells them on DVD through mail-order and through its online store, which has developed a loyal fanbase for the promotion in America and internationally. Ring of Honor broadcasts on The Fight Network to viewers in Canada (along with the United Kingdom and Ireland until the channel stopped broadcasting in those markets on the December 8, 2008), on Samurai TV to viewers in Japan and select shows on pay-per-view in the United States. In 2009, ROH signed a long-term television deal with the HDNet Fights channel.
Ring of Honor is featured in the 2008 film The Wrestler, where it promotes the final bout of the film between Randy "The Ram" Robinson (played by Mickey Rourke) and The Ayatollah (played by Ernest "The Cat" Miller). Several wrestlers, including Nigel McGuinness, Claudio Castagnoli and Bobby Dempsey are seen during the ROH scenes.
In April 2001, professional wrestling video distribution company RF Video wanted a new promotion to lead its video sales after its best seller Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) went out of business. At the time, RF Video also filmed events held by other, less-popular, regional wrestling promotions; it sold these through its catalog and website. RF Video owner Rob Feinstein decided to fill the ECW void by starting his own promotion, then distributing its made-for-DVD and VHS productions exclusively through RF Video. The first event, titled The Era of Honor Begins, was held on February 23, 2002. It featured nine matches, including a match between Eddy Guerrero and Super Crazy for the IWA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship, and a triple threat match between Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson and Low Ki, who would become known as the "founding fathers of ROH". In its first year of operation, ROH confined itself to a limited number of venues and cities (in the northeastern U.S.). Ten shows were run in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; two in greater Boston, Massachusetts; one in metro Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and, one in Queens, New York. In 2003, ROH expanded to other areas of the United States, including Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. It also began to build its international identity by co-promoting an event with Frontier Wrestling Alliance in London, England.
In 2004, a sting operation (in which he tried to solicit sex from an adult posing as a minor) trapped Feinstein; as a result he left the company in June 2004. The scandal garnered bad publicity for ROH, resultingTemplate:Fact in a decline in business for a period of time. Also as a result of this, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling pulled its contracted wrestlers (most notably A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels) from all Ring of Honor shows.. This was also a factor in the decline, as both performers were marquee names for ROH. Feinstin's stake was eventually sold to Doug Gentry, who later sold it to Cary Silkin. Ring of Honor would start its own mail-order and online store, which sells DVDs of its live events and shoot interviews with wrestlers and managers, along with wrestling-related merchandise of other companies, including some competing promotions.
- Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk from Joe vs. Punk II on October 16, 2004;
- Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi from Joe vs. Kobashi on October 1, 2005;
- Do FIXER (Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito) vs. Blood Generation (CIMA, Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino) from Supercard of Honor on March 31, 2006.
At the time of Joe vs. Punk II, Meltzer had not granted any wrestling match in the US the full five-stars since 1997. The Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk feud brought revived interest in ROH, but it took a year before the company would become self-sufficient (in November 2005). Until this point, since the split from RF Video, ROH had not made a profit. The strong DVD sales of the October 1, 2005 Joe vs. Kobashi event helped turn the tide.
On January 23, 2007, Ring of Honor announced plans for a Japanese tour, resulting in a July 16 show in Tokyo co-promoted with Pro Wrestling Noah and a July 17 show in Osaka co-promoted with Dragon Gate. Shortly after, ROH became the first U.S.-based promotion to have its titles held entirely by non-American wrestlers as the Dragon Gate team of Naruki Doi and Shingo held the ROH World Tag Team Championship while at the same time their fellow countryman, Pro Wrestling Noah star Takeshi Morishima, held the ROH World Championship.
On May 2, 2007, Ring of Honor announced the signing of a PPV and VOD deal with G-Funk Sports & Entertainment to bring ROH into homes with iN DEMAND Networks, TVN, and the DISH Network. The deal called for six taped pay-per-view events to air every 60 days. Because of the move to pay-per-view, TNA Wrestling immediately pulled its contracted stars (Austin Aries and Homicide) from Ring of Honor shows, although TNA performers have since returned to Ring of Honor. The first pay-per-view, titled "Respect is Earned", taped on May 12, first aired on July 1 on DISH Network.
Ring of Honor continued to expand throughout 2008, debuting in Orlando, FL on March 28, Manassas, VA on May 9 and Toronto, Ontario on July 25. On May 10, 2008, Ring of Honor set an attendance record in their debut show from the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center in New York City. It had plans for shows in St. Louis, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, and Montreal before the end of 2008.
On October 26, 2008, the company announced the departure of head booker Gabe Sapolsky, and his replacement by Adam Pearce. With Pearce as booker, a 20-count on the floor has been used and show times have been reduced.
On January 26, 2009, Ring of Honor announced that it had signed an agreement with HDNet Fights for a weekly television program. The first tapings for ROH on HDNet were held on February 28th and March 1, 2009 at The Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Code of HonorEdit
ROH distinguished its image from other promotions through the "Code of Honor": a set of rules dictating how wrestlers should conduct themselves during matches. The Code of Honor was intended to infuse Ring of Honor's matches with a feel similar to Japanese professional wrestling. Initially, there were five "Laws" in the Code of Honor, which were mentioned at some point during each ROH home release. It was considered a "moral requirement" to follow these rules. They were (usually in this order):
- You must shake hands before and after every match
- No outside interference: no interfering in others' matches or having others interfere on your behalf
- No sneak attacks
- No harming the officials
- Any action resulting in a disqualification violates the Code of Honor
The Code of Honor (especially its first three rules) served principally to help heels get over quickly. The first rule was especially applicable to Christopher Daniels, who was pushed as the promotion's first major heel. Daniels and his faction, The Prophecy, did not believe in the Code of Honor, refusing to shake anyone's hand. The fourth and fifth rules emphasized ROH's match finishes, the vast majority of which resulted in 'honest' pins, submissions, or knockouts. On the rare occasion that a match did end with outside interference, a "ref bump", or some other traditional heel scenario, it was met with a much more visceral (negative) fan reaction than would be seen elsewhere in the wrestling world. In the early days of the promotion, it was even suggestedTemplate:Whom that getting disqualified in a match may result in that wrestler never appearing in ROH again.
In early 2004, ROH's booker at the time, Gabe Sapolsky, began to feel that the Code of Honor had run its course. Wrestlers no longer had to follow it, allowing for more dramatic, explosive, and over-the-top match endings. This was acceptedTemplate:Whom at that point due to the stars the promotion had already established, and the trust of the loyal fans it had won. The Code of Honor eventually re-appeared -- revamped -- as three rules:
- Shake hands before and after the match -- if you respect your opponent
- Keep the playing-field level
- Respect the officials
Contenders for ChampionshipsEdit
Originally, Ring of Honor had no formal way to determine challengers for its World Championship. When Xavier, a heel champion, began to avoid challengers, Ring of Honor instated a "Top Five Ranking" system to establish contenders to the title. It ranked wrestlers based on their general win-loss record, and their win-loss record against other ranked competitors. The top contender held the Number One Contender's Trophy, which was treatedTemplate:Whom as a second championship at the time, and defended as such.
ROH abolished the ranking-system with the creation of the new Code of Honor. The ranking system disappeared, replaced by the Contenders Ring, a more complex polling system whereby ROH officials would submit rankings after each show. Wrestlers who appeared on more than 75% of the ballots were considered to be in the Contenders Ring, which earned them title shots for both the World and Pure Championships.
In January 2005, Ring of Honor did away with the Contenders Ring. Instead, wrestlers who wanted a title shot had to submit a petition to ROH officials. After receiving such a petition, ROH officials kept track of the petitioner's record, quality of opposition, respect shown towards the Code of Honor, and inherent skill. These factors determined who would receive a title shot. Despite the petition system, ROH officials retained the ability to determine number one contenders.
Upon the naming of Jim Cornette as ROH Commissioner in October 2005, Ring of Honor management confirmed the return of the Top Five Ranking system. The "Top 5" was voted on by Cornette and other ROH officials during the first week of every month, only. Voting was based on won/lost record and quality of opposition, with a heavy emphasis on the previous month.
In July 2006, Ring of Honor again dropped the Top 5 concept, as it had not consistently determined ROH World Title challengers. The champion at the time, Bryan Danielson, had instead been sending open contracts to wrestlers in other promotions around the world, with ROH officials also choosing contenders from within the company. Subsequent champion Homicide would continue Danielson's policy, eventually losing the title to Takeshi Morishima from Pro Wrestling Noah. After Morishima won the belt, it seemed that he could choose his challengers, as he defended it (with ROH and Noah approval) at NOAH's March 4, 2007 Budoukan Hall show against KENTA .
|Championship||Champion(s)||Previous champion(s)||Date Won||Location||Event|
|ROH World Championship||Nigel McGuinness||Takeshi Morishima||October 6, 2007||Edison, New Jersey||Undeniable|
|ROH World Tag Team Championship||Kevin Steen and El Generico||Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black||September 19, 2008||Boston, Massachusetts||Driven 2008|
|FIP World Heavyweight Championship||Tyler Black||Go Shiozaki||December 20, 2008||Crystal River, FL||TBA|
|SHIMMER Championship||MsChif||Sara Del Rey||April 26, 2008||Berwyn, Illinois||SHIMMER Volume 18|
|ROH Top of the Class Trophy||Rhett Titus||Ernie Osiris||June 7, 2008||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Respect Is Earned II|
|Championship||Final Champion(s)||Defeated||Date Won||Location||Event|
|ROH Pure Championship||Bryan Danielson||Nigel McGuinness||August 12, 2006||Liverpool, England||Unified|
|ROH Number One Contender's Trophy||Matt Stryker||vacant||March 13, 2004||Elizabeth, New Jersey||At Our Best|
- Four Way Fray, Four Corner Survival Match and Six Man Mayhem Match
- Pure Wrestling Match
- Scramble Cage Match, Scramble Cage Melee and Steel Cage Warfare
- Tag Team Scramble Match
- Ultimate Endurance Match
- Fight Without Honor
- This match does not require participants to adhere to the Code of Honor, and usually involves no disqualifications and the use of weapons. The match is typically used to end the more violent feuds in ROH.
- Round Robin Challenge
- 3 wrestlers/tag teams compete with each other in a round robin tournament. They each wrestle two different matches (making a total of three matches), with the one(s) with the most victories winning the challenge. Only Christopher Daniels has ever won a Round Robin Challenge, as all others have ended in a draw with each participant(s) winning one match and losing the other. Round-robin tournament is a common league system employed in many sports, such as soccer and ice hockey. It was popularized in wrestling by All Japan Pro Wrestling with their Champion Carnival tournament.
ROH Wrestling AcademyEdit
The ROH promotion also runs a professional wrestling school, the "ROH Wrestling Academy" in Bristol, Pennsylvania. The current head trainer of the school is Delirious with previous head trainers of the academy including former ROH World Champions CM Punk, Austin Aries, and Bryan Danielson. The first three classes of students have already graduated and currently wrestle on the US independent circuit, including preliminary and exhibition matches at Ring of Honor events. Top Graduates include Davey Andrews, Pelle Primeau and Shane Hagadorn. ROH has a "Top of the Class" trophy to promote the students on the main show; while the Trophy is won and lost in matches, the winners are chosen by the School's head trainer.
Awards and accomplishmentsEdit
- Pro Wrestling Report
- Independent Promotion of the Year (2006)
- ROHwrestling.com (official website)
- ROHmedia.com (official news portal)
- ROHvideos.com (official video website)
- Official Live Journal
- Ring of Honor Wiki
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