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Joe Koff Discusses ROH’s Hiatus Plans, Addresses Concerns ROH Is Done, More

October 28, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
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ROH CEO Joe Koff discussed the big news that the company is going on hiatus, addressing some fan concerns and more, in a new interview. Koff spoke with PWInsider shortly after the company made the announcement that they will go on hiatus until April. In the full piece, he discusses at length the history of the company since it was bought by Sinclair Broadcast Group; you can check out some highlights below:

On what led to this announcement: “We had to move forward, with a great roster and a strategy, and our strategy was to go weekly and everybody knew that. It was going to be part of that July, I think we’re in 2020 now … Again, we were relying on resources that we had to create. We didn’t have the luxury of point of destination television viewing, but we used our own resources and our own creative abilities to try and deliver that weekly product to the fan.

“Then what hit after that? I don’t have to tell everybody’s aware of it, was COVID. I remember the time. We talked, I think Mike, when we canceled that show. You and I have talked a lot about COVID and I will tell you this, there are some crowning moments. If you hear my voice cracking, Mike, it’s just because obviously it’s very emotional day, but when I speak of the responsibility and the care that we have taken for our wrestlers and our staff, it’s not a fan’s necessarily crowning achievement, but it’s a personal crowning achievement to what we accomplished.

“We were able to keep everyone safe and contracted through the duration. We did well, and probably did the best with the hopes that we would prevail and get back to our pre COVID plan. Unfortunately, that’s what really makes today really hard. We weren’t able to do it. Again, we’re an operating unit of a large company, held to the same standards as other operating units in our company, and we just had to make a decision that due to everything else that’s going on, we had to make a pivot.”

On their plans for the hiatus: “After Final Battle, which is on December 11th, we are going to take the first quarter off and we are going to reimagine a new Ring of Honor product. So Ring of Honor’s not going away, it’s just going to have a different look. We are going to use that first quarter. We have amazing archival footage. Our programs will all be original. They’ll all be new. We have a couple of surprises that we can talk about later on that I think the fans will really like, but the fans have always been the most important part of our business, Mike, you know that, and we want to move to a much more fan engaged promotion. We value the fans. We are looking and we think it’s important to all fans say, “We need to have this guy.” You know what? I’m going to listen because they’re the fan. Look to book creatively with Hunter and our team, the best talent that makes sense for a storyline, for an arc, for a show like Supercard and just bring wrestling, just great wrestling to our fans.”

On people who will assume ROH is not coming back: “Well, that’s, yes, that’s unfair. Look, if you’re hearing a downtrodden voice it’s because I just had a meeting with the staff and had to relay the same kind of information. It wasn’t jumping for joy, but Ring of Honor has been down many, many times, even in the times I’ve been here and we’re just at a place where we have to pivot again. We have to get back to our well oiled machine and find a way to make Ring of Honor something special for all wrestling fans. That’s one of the reasons why we’re taking this first quarter off, to rebuild and figure out what it is, but I can tell you, we have great people and a lot of great ideas putting this together. It’s not going to feel like AEW or WWE, or maybe even ROH as we know it today, Mike, but our goal is to provide a unique and engaging experience for all wrestling fans.

“I’m not going to share a lot of detail that’s coming, and I know that sounds like a hedge, but people are going to believe what they want to believe. I can’t stop that, but I am usually the cheerleader and I am usually that person and I feel that way about Ring of Honor 2.0 and what our capabilities are and what we’re always able to do, but if you’re hearing in my voice is because as you said at the opening, this was less than an hour ago. I had to have this conversation with the greatest assemblage of talent and people to share this news with them.”

article topics :

Joe Koff, Ring of Honor, Jeremy Thomas