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-Longtime ROH wrestler B.J. Whitmer resigned from his position at Sinclair last week. Whitmer hadn’t been wrestling in recent years and had filled a number of roles behind the scenes for the company including working as a producer and filling in as an announcer in front of the camera when needed. He was also coaching at the ROH Dojo twice a week as a trainer. The news was first reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet.
Whiter had been upset since September when he was not allowed to take a guest coaching spot at the WWE PC back in September. Sources say Whitmer was upfront about taking the guest coaching spot with ROH management back in September and had gotten approval from ROH GM Greg Gilleland. He was in his office at Sinclair when Joe Koff came with a rep from human resources and told him that he couldn’t be the guest coach at the WWE PC and that if he took the role he would be fired if he did it. The Sinclair HR person told Whitmer he’d be violating a conflict of interest clause by taking the role of guest coach at the WWE PC. Whitmer was employed by Sinclair and was not under a wrestling contract with the company.
Whitmer’s frustration with ROH management grew over the last few months and he decided to leave the company. Sources have indicated that they feel ROH booker Hunter Johnston (Delirious) might have been behind the move, as he is known to send Koff to be the “bad cop” when he has an issue with a talent or worker behind the scenes. One longtime source close to the situation said Johnston is a “turtle and a snake.” The source went on that he hates confrontation, but will be the first to tell Joe to be the bad guy. Other sources indicated they didn’t know if Johnston was involved in this particular instance, but it fits a pattern of behavior he has exhibited in the past.
The Wrestling Observer is reporting that Whitmer is expected to end up with a role behind the scenes in All Elite Wrestling.
Radican’s Analysis: It’s a shame Whitmer was treated so poorly when it he had given everything he had to ROH for over a decade as both a wrestler and worker behind the scenes. Whitmer was well-liked according to sources and is expected to end up with a position in another wrestling company in the near future. It must have been extremely frustrating for Whitmer to have Koff confront him with a Sinclair HR person in his office after he was told he could do the guest coaching spot at the WWE PC.
Some reports indicated that Whitmer was upset about Danny Cage being brought in as the business manager of the ROH Dojo where Whitmer as co-head coach along with Delirious, but sources close to Whitmer indicate that wasn’t the case. Cage doesn’t have a good reputation from the people I’ve spoken too. One person said Cage has zero qualifications to coach anywhere let alone the ROH school. Another source familiar with the situation said Cage, who has a bad reputation in some circles, will prove to be a distraction.
-Beer City Bruiser and Shane Taylor have signed new deals with ROH. Both wrestlers announced their signings on Twitter:
I have officially re-signed with @ringofhonor wrestling through 2019! With my new contract I am still able to work select Independent companies! It’s still Mouth Punching Time in ROH, so let’s give a Toast Of Honor in 2019!! pic.twitter.com/7gaPCWwClJ
— Beer City Bruiser (@bcbwinchester) December 27, 2018
Incredibly excited to announce that I've officially agreed to terms on an EXCLUSIVE contract with @ringofhonor for 2019!! Trust and believe I'm going to continue to #ShatterTheGlassCeiling & show why I'm #TheREALBreakoutStar in ROH!! pic.twitter.com/MONuY5UQaY
— Shane Taylor (@shane216taylor) December 24, 2018
Taylor’s announced that his deal was exclusive and Bruiser announced that his deal allowed him to work select independent dates.
Radican’s Analysis: It’s not a surprise that ROH was able to ink new deals with both men. WWE hasn’t shown interest in using either Taylor or Bruiser. Both men were given half-hearted pushes in ROH during the last year and showed some promise, but ultimately neither man was elevated up the card in 2018.
Bruiser in particular had some great momentum coming out of the ROH/NJPW “Honor Rising” events earlier this year in Japan, but ROH never capitalized on that momentum. Hopefully Taylor and Bruiser can gain some momentum in 2019 in ROH with many spots on the top open for the taking with the departures of the talent from Being the Elite.