Monday, April 9, 2012

On The Air: Ring of Honor Wrestling

Ring of Honor (ROH) is aspiring to be Avis to WWE's Hertz in terms of wrestling, if you get my drift. TNA has tried for the last decade, but they keep tripping over themselves with bad writing, bad booking, and an over-reliance on faded stars, a good number of whom came down from WWE.

ROH took over the Philadelphia market that had been home to ECW until it was absorbed by WWE in 2001. They're not extreme, but rather, more of an old school promotion with some of today's wrinkles mixed in. Former WWE announcer Kevin Kelly was brought in late last year as the promotion's new play-by-play man, coinciding with the change in television. ROH lost its deal with Mark Cuban's HDNet, shortly after the network was dropped by Time Warner Cable in much of the country. Sinclair Broadcasting bought ROH last year, and has since continued to purchase television stations to increase not only their visibility in the marketplace, but also ROH's. In my home district, Sinclair acquired CBS affiliate WRGB and CW affiliate WCWN a few months ago, and right before Easter, ROH made its debut in the Albany market, airing on WCWN Saturdays at 9 pm (ET), with a replay on Sunday nights at midnight.

Edit: 10/28/15: Here's an episode from April 2012:

Aside from Kelly, there aren't that many familiar faces in ROH. Veteran manager-promoter Jim Cornette, better known for his many years with WCW & WWE, is the executive producer of ROH-TV. Jay Lethal returned to ROH last year after spending a few years with TNA. Sexy Maria Kanellis, dropped by WWE 2 years ago after nearly 6 years there, has resurfaced, billed as the "First Lady of ROH".

All that's left now is ROH making an inroad into the Albany area for a house show or television taping. TNA & WWE have shared the use of the Times Union Center in Albany and the Glens Falls Civic Center. That leaves venues with old school auras like the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany and the RPI-James Houston Field House in Troy, neither of which have hosted pro wrestling in years. In fact, it's been 22 since WCW's last visit to Troy. Vince McMahon may not think TNA is competition, and they've given him no real reason to think otherwise, but ROH is another story altogether.

Rating: A.

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