When Cary Silkin made the announcement that Baltimore, MD based Sinclair Broadcasting would acquire Ring of Honor Wrestling, the first thought I had was that the ROH promotion was doomed for failure with yet another bunch of TV executives trying to run a promotion they know nothing about. I said to myself, here we go again with a promising company set to sink.
Most wrestling fans should know that sadly, history shows that when major television outlets own wrestling companies, they seem to falter sooner or later. World Championship Wrestling was an example of that after Time Warner took it over from Ted Turner in the late 1990’s.
Even Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling has some investments for talent and on the road events from Spike TV, and continues to struggle with trying to get past their average 1.2 cable rating, despite a recent re-branding of their product which looks to really have done nothing for the company.
I don’t have any Sinclair stations in my market, so I have to watch the show on the Ring of Honor website. I had watched ROH previously on HDNet and was not sure what to expect under new ownership, other than maybe better TV production. I have watched the first few shows online and have been pleasantly surprised what I have seen so far from a small upper east coast network.
The first show was not even close to that of a WWE or TNA production like display, however it was not horrible for a television company that has affiliates in 22% of U.S. television markets. The intro and atmosphere at the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, IL had that old school feel, which is the era I grew up watching with the National Wrestling Alliance on Superstation TBS.
A few weeks after Sinclair Broadcast Group officially purchased ROH Wrestling, I heard a radio interview with new ROH Chief Operating Officer, and Sinclair Employee Joe Koff. The three different things I picked up on that impressed me was that Joe Koff grew up watching the National Wrestling Alliance and followed the company through their change to WCW and the buy-out by World Wrestling Entertainment.
Koff has given full control to both Jim Cornette and Cary Silkin to run the company. He also understands how much Sinclair means to ROH and how much ROH means to Sinclair, which has given me encouragement that ROH will not become another victim of a television empire attempting to run a wrestling promotion. I am excited for the potential ROH can have with Sinclair focusing on the television product and letting those who know about wrestling focus on the wrestling.
For more from Jerome Wilen check out his website, Pro Wrestling Ringside – http://prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com