Ring Of Honor Chief Operating Officer Joe Koff recently fielded some questions from Wrestlezone about the promotion’s positive momentum leading into the new year. Koff commented on how the promotion has dealt with talent turnover, the NWA partnership and more.
WZ: Ring Of Honor has dealt with talent leaving over the years, but has always rebounded by creating new stars. With The Young Bucks and Cody leaving to start All Elite Wrestling, and looking at their large role in ROH the past few years, who do you see stepping in to fill that role as the next ‘face’ or attraction? Jay Lethal is often called ‘the franchise’ and there are many other mainstays, but do you feel like this could be seen as a new era or direction for the company?
“Talent leaving Ring of Honor is not new to us. Like many of the other stars that have gone onto other promotions, we thank Cody, Hangman and the Young Bucks for their contributions. They, like all of the ROH Alumni will always be part of the ROH family.
Throughout the years, ROH has provided our wrestlers a unique platform to showcase their talents to a worldwide audience. We are proud of the wrestlers who have not only gone on to enjoy successful careers outside of ROH but, most importantly, the ones who continue to make ROH the most forward-thinking promotion in the industry. Changes are a natural process of wrestling and any organization, but there has never been a shortage of exceptional and deserving men and women willing to take advantage of those opportunities. Our incredibly talented roster will continue to move this company forward as we continue to aggressively expand globally and be on the forefront of content distribution through HonorClub and broadcast affiliates across this country.
Our fans in Atlanta and Concord NC and all those who streamed Honor Reigns Supreme on HonorClub got a great first look at who will be thrilling audiences for the coming years. We are thrilled at the caliber of talent that are choosing Ring of Honor for their home. And it’s only January!”
WZ: ROH has traditionally been about an emphasis on in-ring work and slightly less focus on a ‘gimmick.’ With a talent like PCO coming in as ‘The French-Canadian Frankenstein’, could we expect to see more of a focus on character work in the future?
“Ring of Honor will always focus on in ring work. That is an expectation of not only our fan but our athletes in Ring of Honor. We are thrilled to have PCO on our roster as he is not only unique but gifted as an athlete and in his performance art.”
WZ: Women Of Honor made large strides in the past year, including crowning an inaugural champion in Sumie Sakai. How else will we see Women Of Honor grow in 2019?
“Yes thank you. It is a credit to the women who wrestle in Women of Honor. Our new Champion Kelly Klein as well as those challenging the belt, will continue to reinforce the Women of Honor brand and its standard of excellence in the sport.”
WZ: Can we expect to see more of a relationship with NWA in the future, more than just seeing Worlds Champion Nick Aldis and the new web series The Pinnacle? How did that relationship between the two promotions start?
“Yes. Ring of Honor has a history of collaborating with other promotions and working with the leadership of the NWA has been beneficial to both promotions. Like many of our relationships, it grew organically with an open mind and open communication.”
WZ: Are there any new markets you’d like to see the company move into this year?
“There are many new markets we would like to introduce Ring of Honor to and as we have done every year we will continue to pursue those opportunities.”
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