If you've been following my boy Bill Hanstock's rundowns of the weekend's events in Reseda, California, you've noticed that a couple of guys signed to exclusive Ring of Honor (ROH) contracts made their returns to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG).
Lucky bastich Hanstock has been live for both nights of All Star Weekend 11, and brought the news that former ROH and PWG World champ Adam Cole returned on Night One, followed by former PWG World and ROH tag champ Kyle O'Reilly on Night Two.
A few years ago this wouldn't have raised any eyebrows. But as the Sinclair Broadcasting-owned ROH moved to nation-wide television distribution, they locked their top acts up into contracts that prohibited them from working with promotions such as the California super-indy PWG.
But when they wanted to keep The Young Bucks away from TNA, Lucha Underground and possibly even WWE, they conceded on allowing them to take certain bookings. One of the companies Matt & Nick Jackson name-dropped upon signing their ROH deal was PWG. Now, with Cole and O'Reilly back involved with SuperDragon & Excalibur's company, they're officially announcing a "strategic agreement".
Here's today's press release, in full:
(BALTIMORE, MD) - Ring of Honor Wrestling announced today that they've entered into a strategic agreement with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla that enables exclusively contracted stars to compete on a select number of PWG shows per year in California.
ROH and NJPW have been developing a significant global relationship for the past two years and now ROH will work with PWG on the west coast of the United States. "PWG is a fantastic company in California that both our fans and stars have always been passionate about," said Joe Koff. "As we continue to grow the ROH brand and enter into exclusive agreements with our talent, we want all fans to continue enjoying the performance of the ROH stars in PWG. This alliance is great for both of our companies, the talent, and most importantly - The FANS."
With this agreement, wrestling fans can look forward to seeing stars such as Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, The Young Bucks, etc. compete at PWG shows, demonstrating to the West Coast why Ring of Honor is the best wrestling on the planet.
A couple of observations on the partnership...
1) With the growth of NXT and Triple H's deal with Gabe Sapolosky, we'll likely see more and more of these arrangements. Companies need to create development and/or talent sharing arrangements and find new ways to market themselves to fans and wrestlers in order to keep pace with WWE. ROH is already aligned with New Japan, who's tied to CMLL. Adding PWG as another showcase for their product makes a lot of sense.
2) Part of the reason guys like Cole and O'Reily were so vauable to ROH in the first place is because of the reputation they built in organizations like PWG. In the year or so that they've been missing from shows like All Star Weekend, they seem to have lost some of the buzz that Sinclair for which Sinclair was paying. Getting them starring roles at events that have internet fans excited should have a carry over effect when they're back headlining ROH shows...such as this weekend's Final Battle pay-per-view (PPV).
What's your take on this news, Cagesiders?