SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
PWTorch reached out to IPWA promoter Gery Roif for comment on some of the rumors going around about ROH’s involvement in the upcoming David Starr vs. Jay Lethal match, which is set to take place in Israel on April 21. Roif issued a statement to PWTorch and asked that it be published in its entirety.
Starr, who previously released and then pulled a controversial promo about Sinclair Broadcast Group ahead of his match against Lethal, tweeted earlier today about ROH not living up to their end of the bargain with IPWA for not having the ROH World Title defended on the show. In his tweet, Starr highlights a section of the announcement of his match against Lethal on ROHWrestling.com indicating that if Lethal was no longer champion, the belt would still be defended on the IPWA event. You can see his tweet below:
In his statement to PWTorch, Roif discusses why he booked Lethal on the show, ROH agreeing to allow Lethal to defend the title on the show, booking David Starr, and his reaction to Starrs’s controversial promo on ROH’s parent company Sinclair Broadcast Company, whether or not the rumors are true that ROH had the title taken off Lethal at G1 Supercard so that he couldn’t defend it against Starr, and the reason current ROH World Champion Matt Taven wasn’t brought to IPWA to defend the ROH World Title against Starr this weekend instead.
Roif’s entire statement on these matters is as follows:
I’m a huge fan of Jay Lethal. I wanted my show to be prestigious in an attempt to rebuild wrestling in Israel and raise the level to the level of the wrestling scene in Europe, so I booked Matt Sydal – who already worked with us during the Von Erich show – and Jay Lethal. In my opinion, both exemplify what a pro wrestler should be inside and outside of the ring.
I invested all my money on this show even though it is only for 150 people. Even bought a new ring for it, too.
With Jay being ROH champ, I asked ROH if there was a chance he may defend the title here against David Starr, who also worked with us during the Von Erich show. And to my surprise they agreed.
I became aware of Starr when he stopped a match due an antisemitic comment and, even though the production of the show were all against bringing in an unknown name, I pushed for him to come here and nobody was disappointed.
When Starr did his promo, I did not realize the political reference he made and, after it was pointed out, I asked him to take it down, not to disrespect ROH, who did me a huge favor with the title match and as I hoped to have further business with them. Not sure if I could ever even dare to ask work with them after what happened, though.
Although David and I disagree on politics, I was willing to have my business get hurt just to keep his freedom of speech. The mess did not help me sell tickets and even got some not-so-nice ordeals, but I still got his back, no matter what, as I believe in his freedom of speech.
I don’t think Lethal lost the title because of Starr. ROH doesn’t really care about this deal as people want to think they do. Taven is a very talented wrestler. He won the title and has it for now, but make sure that I will be taking Jay Lethal to some serious holy places in the Holy Land, like where Jesus was born, and will give him the strength to come back and beat Taven for the title in their next meeting, so Taven should train hard, because Jay is going to unleash some holy beating next time they meet in the ring and get the belt back where it belongs – on Jay Lethal’s waist.
There was talk of bringing Taven or whoever may’ve won the title to add to the match, but I ran out of budget. Jay and Sydal’s flight’s from the U.S. to Israel are very expensive, three times more than all possible profit from the show, and with me donating all profits to Make-a-Wish Israel and putting all the money up from my own pocket, I just could not afford to bring anyone else.
PWTorch contacted ROH for comment on the story and they had no comment.