Ring of Honor broke the news on October 27 that following ‘Final Battle’ on December 11, the iconic promotion would be taking the first quarter of 2022 to ‘work internally to reimagine’ Ring of Honor including a new mission and strategy.
Following the announcement, Dave Meltzer reported that Ring of Honor had released ‘everyone’ from their ROH contracts before Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful added that all ROH talent will be released from their contracts at the end of the year adding that if the contract goes past that point talent will be paid until March 31, 2022.
Based on who I've spoken with, ROH releases are effective at the end of the year. If a contract goes beyond that, they're paid until March 31.
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) October 27, 2021
Sean Ross Sapp would go on to add that ROH COO Joe Koff had multiple meetings with Sinclair fighting for Ring of Honor however ultimately Sinclair made the call.
Speculation has since run wildfire on social media with many fans concerned for the future of Ring of Honor and individuals expressing their worry that this is the end of ROH.
Inside The Ropes reached out to those backstage within Ring of Honor regarding the situation and have been told that Ring of Honor will continue to produce original content following the announcement, although no specifics were given as to the nature of this content.
This information lines up with Ring of Honor’s initial statement citing the need to pivot ROH’s mission and strategy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic Ring of Honor took a strong stance supporting their workers and talent ensuring that nobody was released and that everyone was paid for the full duration of the pandemic whilst also implementing incredible COVID-19 procedures that allowed ROH to be the only major promotion not to have a COVID-19 outbreak during the pandemic.
Inside The Ropes’ Liam Alexander-Stewart spoke with ROH COO Joe Koff earlier this year about ROH’s stance on the pandemic and talent relationships with Koff stating “Sinclair Broadcast Group, has really been a leader in the way it’s handled covid through the period.”
“I think we operate under different business plans and it really comes down to how our businesses are structured. There are rights deals involved with the other promotions, some of the other promotions which, you know, they have a commitment to provide live programming, they are weekly live, and they have commitments.
I think that all of us as an industry did a fairly good job in protecting the talent. For Ring of Honor, especially for me. I mean, I remember when that decision was made Liam in March, 16 months ago, 15 months ago and I really, you know, in the scheme of things, wrestling to me was just so small compared to what was happening globally and what was happening in the United States and all the talent that was in New Orleans, ready to ready to do their big show.
I needed to get them home. We have wrestlers from Scotland, we wrestlers from England, we have wrestlers from Australia. Nobody really knew what was going on. I knew it wasn’t going to be good, at least in the short run. I didn’t I had no idea it would last as long as it did. My first feeling was for the people that are involved and for them to be with their families and home and safe and not stranded and not being worried about getting to someplace that maybe they could get back into.
So it really wasn’t a hard decision for us. The company or our company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, has really been a leader in the way it’s handled covid through the period. So we just really followed along with that had their blessing and it was the right thing to do. As I said, health, safety, morale, people’s families really took a higher than the wrestling itself for us.”
Since news of the releases broke Ring of Honor talent have expressed their gratitude to ROH via social media for their support and actions over the last 18 months with a continued dedication to giving fans the best ‘Final Battle’ show possible on December 11.
Inside The Ropes will continue to aim to provide updates on the Ring of Honor situation as it unfolds.