After a year's worth of glitch-filled internet pay-per-view (iPPV)s, Ring of Honor (ROH) decided to stop the bleeding by no longer offering any shows live via the web.
With some loaded shows coming up featuring dream matches between ROH talent and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) stars, the Sinclair Broadcasting-owned promotion is going to try again as they offer the May 10th Global Wars show and May 17th's War of the Worlds live on iPPV.
It's an important step for the company if they hope to be considered as more than just another independent promotion. They have a limited television presence via being broadcasted on Sinclair-owned local channels in various markets around the country, but the lack of a way for fans to see their "big" shows in a timely fashion is probably just as big a drawback as not having a national TV contract.
Many fans will be hesitant to risk their money (each show will cost $14.95) after hearing about or actually being burned by ROH's buggy-to-unwatchable former iPPV offerings. To counteract that, they have partnered with industry leader Ustream rather than trying to go it themselves or using a smaller company like they have done in the past. Ustream has been around since 2007 and boasts partners like Sony (for the live game streaming service on PS4) and Verizon, and have successfully hosted streaming events for Barack Obama and The White Stripes.
Working with a name company is probably costing ROH more than their past attempts at streaming, but any chance to win back customers rests on these shows being broadcast without a hitch. While the press release (which you can read in full here) doesn't specifically address the past troubles, ROH Chief Operating Officer Joe Koff does take the time to hype Ustream's pedigree:
Fans are always asking for live ROH Internet Pay-Per-Views and Ustream's capabilities allow us to deliver. Through this technology and our production team, fans have an awesome opportunity to enjoy two of the biggest shows of the year live. Ustream is an industry leader in video streaming infrastructure with exceptional reliability for distribution of its live streaming events and we're excited to collaborate with them on offering these events to our customers worldwide.
Anyone willing to give Ring of Honor iPPV another shot?