A little more than a week away from their big television pay-per-view (PPV) debut next Sunday, June 22, 2014, Ring of Honor (ROH) roster members are hitting the promotions circuit a little bit harder than normal. Not that they don't always do local press and internet wrestling sites for their bigger shows and internet PPVs, but being available coast-to-coast on cable and satellite providers is a bigger deal, and I'd expect they'll try to grab some higher profile publicity as a result.
Roderick Strong hit the Between the Ropes podcast (part of FoxSports.com's Yardbarker network) this week as part of the push to Best in the World next weekend.
As someone who has been with the promotion since nearly their founding (as it is, he has over ten years with ROH - a fact that is worked into the gimmick of his current stable, called "The Decade"), Roddy has a unique perspective on what the company is trying to do.
He's the first to admit that the transition to being owned by a media company like Sinclair Broadcasting was a little bumpy, and is still a work in progress, "We were going through a transitional period of everyone trying to find themselves with this new system and people's expectations for what was going to happen when Sinclair bought the company," he says.
Those expectations lead to people thinking ROH had lost their "indy cred", but Strong thinks they've gotten some buzz back about them again:
I do. And it sucks that we kind of lost our edge a little bit...Everyone was like "oh no, you're taking away Ring of Honor" but in reality, they were just learning how to handle such a machine in the sense of people are so passionate about it and want it to be successful from the wrestlers to the fans. I think during that because, in their brain, we were going mainstream, it wasn't cool and I think over time people realized hey, we're just trying to figure this out and we're trying to bring you the Ring of Honor you love but just on a bigger stage.
He talks honestly about the company and the workers having to transition from what they were used to doing to taping their weekly syndicated television show, ROH TV, and the learning curve involved in that to get to where they're using the show (also available online each Thursday at their website) to showcase what the promotion is all about:
Like the transition of being on TV ... it was a bumpy one for Ring of Honor honestly and for the guys. I still think in-ring product of what we bring to TV is still work in progress because working for TV is a lot different than a live event. But I think everyone has grown leaps and bounds in that sense and we're showing and translating to the people that have never seen Ring of Honor I think a little bit better about what we are.
All of which makes it a good time for the company to be trying to reach a bigger audience with PPV:
I think it's a great time...this year has been unbelievable in the sense of momentum, TV-wise, live event-wise, match quality-wise...it's a really good feeling and I think that's why timing-wise with the pay-per-view it's prefect because the guys are full speed ahead, the company is full speed ahead and it's just awesome.
He also talks about working right now without a contract for the first time since 2005, a move that, among other things, probably allowed him to attend the recent WWE Performance Center tryouts from which Kevin Steen was allegedly signed.
That's also something that will fuel speculation about WWE tacitly ROH as a potential source of future talent that doesn't compete with them on national television. Hearing Strong talk about the company he is most associated is also different from listening to a couple of veterans who have recently returned to ROH from TNA in AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels talk about their old employer.
You can check out the whole interview here.
What do you Cagesiders think about WWE's relationship with ROH, or how they currently match up with TNA? Are they ready for a televised PPV?