At this rate, we're going to have to start calling Ring of Honor (ROH) New Japan West.
The Sinclair Broadcasting-owned independent announced a couple of big weekends' worth of shows for the late Summer and early Fall of 2016, and they're evidence of trends which have become more and more clear for the venerable independent.
First and foremost, both their August Death Before Dishonor and September/October All-Star Extravaganza weekends will feature the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW):
Ring of Honor officials are excited to announce the return of the stars of New Japan Pro-Wrestling to the United States for two HUGE weekends of Pay Per View events and National Television Tapings, including ROH's return to Las Vegas, and long awaited return to the BOSTON area at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium!
Fans traveled from around the globe to see Ring of Honor and New Japan stars clash in Sin City at 14th Anniversary and because of the overwhelming fan response, ROH and NJPW are proud to announce that one of ROH's DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR weekend will kick off live on pay per view from Sam's Town Live in Las Vegas, NV on Friday August 19 , followed by a National TV Taping on Saturday, August 20!
The Best Professional Wrestling on the Planet then will make its triumphant return to the Boston area for ALL STAR EXTRAVAGANZA VIII, which will air live on pay per view on Friday September 30 , followed with a National TV Taping on Saturday October 1!
This makes sense, as it provides ROH with star power and gives New Japan a presence in the United States market - in both cases without investing what it would take individually to accomplish the same thing. The two promotions are still working out how to book their partnership, however - or at least Ring of Honor should be looking at ways to improve that part of the arrangement. With a NJPW wrestler holding their Television title and most of the puro stars winning their matches at the 14th Anniversary pay-per-view (PPV), ROH events without New Japan talent feel "less than" and will be tougher sells.
Compounding the issue is that both PPV events are followed by evenings where episodes of ROH TV are filmed, meaning the Japanese talent stars on that weekly show, too.
More subtle is the fact that, by running Death Before Dishonor in Vegas, ROH is clearing out of not just the New York area, but the whole Northeast market for SummerSlam weekend.
WWE's work with independent and international promotions has obviously included neither ROH or NJPW, and there are even reports the sports entertainment giant deliberately moved the start time of their NXT show on the Friday before WrestleMania to interfere with the Supercard of Honor show running in Dallas that night.
It's likely that with SummerSlam again in Brooklyn this year, the weekend of August 19 - 21 will feature another TakeOver and probably an EVOLVE show or two. Rather than look secondary to all the WWE-affiliated product in the area, ROH has opted to provide an alternative on the other side of the country.
Smart move by the two companies? Will they figure out some competitive balance to their storytelling during the Global Wars PPV and War of the Worlds shows in May?