It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Border Wars was one of the worst night's in Ring Of Honor's ten year history. Not due to the quality of the action, which was apparently of their usual high standard, or the booking, as the show finished on the right note with rebel Kevin Steen beating Davey Richards to win the ROH World Championship in his home country of Canada. The problem was that only a very small fraction of the people who purchased the show via iPPV through their website managed to see the whole show. Most had to wait over a day to see a replay of the event, as it took some time for the company to rectify the technical difficulties caused by their server crashing from the unprecedented numbers trying to stream the live video of the action on Saturday night.
This is ROH's third iPPV in a row that has been blighted by such transmission problems. Showdown In The Sun Day One over WrestleMania weekend saw the audio and video of the feed be out of synch for the majority of the broadcast, while on Day Two they had the bad fortune of a brownout happening during the middle of their show causing their iPPV viewers to miss two whole matches, which were later uploaded for free on YouTube. At the time, Joe Koff, ROH's COO, put all the heat on Go Fight Live for their iPPV struggles and they decided to take the production in house for Border Wars, which seems like a rash decision with the benefit of hindsight, given that ROH made a bigger mess of things than GFL ever did.
Realising the mammoth extent that they screwed up, ROH are currently in damage control mode, as exhibited by offering all customers a refund or their next iPPV free in their May 15th newswire:
- Once again we would like to say how frustrated we are for everyone by the iPPV issues last Saturday and we can't apologize enough. The issues were unacceptable to you, the fans, and we owe you and will make good to each and every one of you.... In addition, each person that bought "Border Wars" live will receive "Best in the World 2012", absolutely free. If is not sufficient, we will gladly offer a refund instead. All refund requests should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header: BW Refund. For "Best in the World 2012", we WILL work out any and all kinks. We will test several times, including in an actual PPV replicated environment, and will ask for all of your assistance in doing this. There is nothing more that we want than to bring our fans the BEST internet pay per view experience each and every time. Thank you for your understanding and continued support! We love you and we are left with a great stream that our fans can not see. If a refund is demanded, it WILL be given. Otherwise we would like to offer full retention of the replay for "Border Wars" as well as FREE access to the "Best in the World 2012" iPPV on June 24th for anyone who ordered "Border Wars" Saturday. This will also include retention of the "Best in the World 2012" iPPV in your myPPV accounts. We WILL get this right no matter what it takes in time for "Best in the World 2012".
This was the right solution to shore up their paying audience's future support, but means that Best In The World will be a loss leader, as it will generate next to no iPPV revenue for the promotion. It remains to be seen whether ROH will be able to get things right in their second attempt to do an iPPV through their website, but any similar mistakes would be another credibility blow to Sinclair Broadcasting's ability to run a major wrestling operation.
Meanwhile, ex ROH booker and current Dragon Gate USA and Evolve promoter, Gabe Sapolsky, has stuck the boots to his former company on facebook over the debacle, telling them to fuck off:
When the ownership and management of a company doesn't care or have enough respect for its employees and more importantly paying customers to spend enough money to have adequate equipment they can fuck off. When a company decides to go on the cheap and take a risk that something like a website will work instead of doing everything in their power to guarantee it will work they can fuck off. If the ownership and management doesn't care or respect it's fans enough to do this they don't deserve your support.
He's right of course, but he could have worded his criticisms in a lot more diplomatic fashion and one where it didn't look like he was just trying to steal ROH's disgruntled iPPV customers for himself.