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The following are highlights from ROH owner and booker Tony Khan’s media call ahead of the Death Before Dishonor PPV on July 23.
Tony thanks the media for joining the call and promises to keep ROH alive.
Sean Radican question: The video packages with Caprice Coleman moderating The Briscoes and FTR and Ian Riccaboni discussing the history between Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal that have aired online have been excellent and in my eyes capture the ROH feel while also feeling different than AEW. Is that representative of what we can possibly expect when ROH hits TV?
Tony Khan answer: Tony said the video package that were put together for Death Before Dishonor have a different feel with Caprice Coleman and Ian Riccaboni. He said having different hosts with Ian and Caprice appear on AEW TV on Dynamite and Caprice on Rampage has been great. It’s built an audience for ROH and shown it will have a different presentation. Tony said Supercard of Honor was well received and Death Before Dishonor will show it has a different feel and pacing. Tony points to how the PPV will have a different feel.
Tony said he hopes it will give people another flavor, but it will still be great and hopefully that will continue into TV. Tony said he’s told some wrestling purists like his friend Rick Rubin who is a wrestling purist. He said Rick loves wrestling and is one of the smartest people he knows. He said Rick loves AEW and talks to him about wrestling all the times and he likes what Christian Cage has been doing.
-Tony is asked about the ROH roster. Tony said it will be a sliding scale like AEW’s has been in some ways. Tony talked about how they started with a roster and then added to it and developed wrestlers that broke through. As that happened, they added Youtube programming and Rampage. Tony said they will get a distribution deal for TV, but it won’t happen until it’s the right deal. Tony said that right now is not the biggest version of the ROH roster. It will expand once TV gets going.
-Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics asks about an update on a weekly show for ROH and if WBD is the only option or are there other options. Tony said he’s talked to WBD about an ROH TV show. He said he worked with them to get Death Before Dishonor on Bleacher Report. He said it will be one of the biggest PPVs in ROH’s history. He said there’s been good pre-ordering. He said it’s different from AEW, but it will be one of the biggest shows in ROH’s history. Tony said there’s an appetite on both sides and interest.
-Tony is asked about the long-term vision for ROH on TV and if ROH will be on AEW TV long-term. Tony said he would like the two companies to work together and he believes both companies will benefit from working together. He said he wants the primary focus on ROH to be on the ROH TV show. Tony said he’s not sure if it will end up on TV or streaming.
-Chris Mueller of Bleacher Report asked about how many matches there will be on Death Before Dishonor between the pre and main show. Tony said they will definitely add matches in the next few days.
-Mike Johnson of PWInsider asked Tony about putting together the first ROH show. Tony said he was excited to do the show and wanted to do the show. He said ROH had started the build, but FTR vs. Briscoes wouldn’t have happened without him. Johnson asked about how different his approach this time around compared to the last one, which is a transitional show into a new era.
Tony said they are in a new era and people now know what to expect. Tony said they’ve given people an idea of what to expect and how it echoes the feel of the old ROH with the announcing crew and ring announcer and roster. Tony said he will bring back the pure scoreboard for the PPV. Tony said he knows he’s making new fans through exposing it on AEW and finding new fans that hadn’t seen it before. Tony said this will be a much more established PPV. Tony said Supercard of Honor was one of the best reviewed shows of the year and he thinks Death Before Dishonor will be even stronger.
-Tony is asked about ROH touring. Tony said there are a lot of great venues across the country for ROH. He said he can see doing tapings, but also running bigger venues. He said he also wants to run bigger arenas for PPV events. Tony said Supercard of Honor and Death Before Dishonor are the biggest gates ROH has done. Tony said 90% of tickets for Supercard of Honor were purchased after it was announced he acquired the company.
-Tony is asked if there could be a hybrid six man and women’s championship on both AEW and ROH titles. Tony said that probably won’t happen. He said champions of AEW and ROH will fight each other and wrestlers in other companies like they have and will continue to do.
-Tony is asked if ROH will have the same ranking system as AEW for contenders. Tony said he’s not sure, but he probably won’t do the same thing. He said he’s not settled on it one way or the other yet.
-Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful said they’ve heard about several wrestlers signed to ROH via AEW. He asked Tony if there are other wrestlers that have been signed that are signed to ROH. Tony mentioned that the Briscoes are under long-term contract to ROH. Tony makes it clear they are signed to ROH and to him personally.
-Tony is asked about new titles. Tony said this is the first PPV where he’s been the official owner. Tony wasn’t the official owner when Supercard of Honor took place and he took over business operations after. He said he will think about that at a later time.
-Tony is asked about focusing on two of his own wrestling brands. Tony said he feels great about working on ROH and AEW. He said it’s been great for both companies. He said when AEW got hit with injuries, it was really valuable for Claudio Castagnoli to come in when there were injuries and now he’s going to be coming in to challenge for the ROH World Championship. He mentioned Jonathan Gresham and Claudio Castangoli have had very different paths in wrestling. Tony said Claudio has yet to win a championship in pro wrestling.
Tony then talked about bringing back stars from ROH’s past. He talked about how he’s willing to help other companies if they’re down. He mentioned how he helped ROH with Final Battle 2021. Tony also mentioned Punk, Danielson, and Cole doing video packages for the show. He talked about Jay Lethal challenging Samoa Joe and their respective histories in ROH. He said its very cool to get these wrestlers involved in ROH. He said there was a decent chance they wouldn’t purchase the company, but he helped because they asked. Tony said he mostly tries to help other companies when he’s asked. Tony said he’s glad he did it for Final Battle 2021.
Tony said it’s important for the relaunch to have this feel that some of the old stars are coming back. He said now we get to see how old stars would fare against the current crop of ROH wrestlers.
-Tony said there might be news at ComicCon this weekend, but he’s not sure if it’s going to go through or not. Tony said he wants to be there, but they have a great team. He said he would be there 99/100 times. He said he’s only missed stuff when something else is going on in AEW. He said he can’t be there because of ROH. He said ROH won’t have anything big to announce on Saturday, but AEW will have a presence at ComicCon.
-Sebastian Diaz asks Tony to describe the differences between ROH and AEW. He said AEW has been around much longer than AEW. He said ROH has different rules with an emphasis on the code of honor. He said there’s a different presentation as well. Tony mentions the sizes of the companies are different. He said AEW has risen further than any other company in wrestling history. He said when you look at the live attendance AEW has done in their three years and the PPV numbers, nobody has done those numbers in wrestling since WCW. Tony said ROH had risen to great heights and when they purchased them it’s fair to say it was not the high period for them. Tony said in just the short few months he’s been booking the shows, there’s been a peak in interest in ROH. He said these will be the strongest back to back PPVs in ROH history. It will also be close to the biggest gates ROH ever did.
Tony said they are different companies and have different expectations. He said the more fans they can make of both promotions with synergy will be a positive. Tony mentions AEW and ROH will be better when put together. Tony said the library of content he now owns is much bigger. Tony said he’s increased ROH production values and he will make it look like a major league promotion. He said he wants to catch ROH up to AEW in terms of presentation and commercial success.
-Tony is asked if we could see ROH and NJPW collaborate once again. He said he looks forward to more collaboration going forward.
-John Alba of Podcast Heat asked Tony about Willow Nightengale and her status. Tony said Willow has been wrestling with AEW and has wrestled with ROH in the past. Tony said Willow is a great wrestler for any promotion and a great face for any women’s division. Tony said she’s improved a lot since he’s known her. Tony said she’s worked hard to get better and the sky’s the limit. Tony said Willow is a great prospect for AEW and ROH.
-Tony is asked about a Fightful report about Colt Cabana being involved on the ROH roster and if he can comment on the issues between Colt Cabana and C.M. Punk. Tony said Colt is part of what they’re doing with ROH. Tony said Colt will be involved on the show, but his match hasn’t been announced yet. Tony mentions Colt was part of Supercard of Honor. Tony said he won’t comment on the issues between Punk and Cabana.
-Tony is asked how he figured out which ROH talent to feature on AEW TV. Tony said he has enjoyed booking both companies and it has been great having wrestlers like Samoa Joe straddle both promotions. Tony mentioned that it was great having Samoa Joe in both promotions before he was injured. He said he’s looking forward to having Joe back in action to face Jay Lethal. Tony said AEW has its own homegrown history, but it’s different taking over ROH and reimagining it. He said it is different from Rampage launching.
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