The reputation of Ring of Honor can be viewed through both positive and negative lights. Many fans will wonder just why they couldn’t get over the hump despite creating a new generation of stars. However, it deserves to be commended for the overall impact on helping this boom. The smaller promotion tried to fill the gap left after WCW and ECW went out of business by focusing on the in-ring action.
Paul Heyman was even quoted as saying ROH represented what he wanted to transition ECW into when it was going out of business. The athleticism and competition were the main selling points for fans wanting to see hungry new stars changing business. Names like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Seth Rollins all started their journeys there. The current landscape of WWE and AEW does not look the same without ROH’s influence on the business.
The Origins Of Ring Of Honor
Ring of Honor initially found success with the business model of running all-star shows for the best names on the independent circuit. The prior era of territories was over, so it felt fitting to have the best talents from all over the country on the same roster. Samoa Joe, CM Punk, and Bryan Danielson were some of the first breakout stars to represent the new style taking shape in wrestling.
Punk and Joe specifically became fascinating talents who didn’t fit the mold of what WWE wanted at the time. The in-ring work and mic skills of Punk eventually built his reputation up enough for WWE to offer him a developmental contract. Joe breaking out in TNA gave him a platform with programs against the likes of Kurt Angle and Christian Cage to show he thrived against top stars.
Danielson remained in ROH where he was the man who took the company to the next level. ROH was starting to grow a bigger fan base, while WWE and TNA showed the early signs of what is playing out bigger today. The independent wrestling spirit was starting to create a shift in wrestling.
Ring Of Honor In The Early 2010s
The growth of ROH would see new fans thanks to CM Punk, Samoa Joe and other names making it in bigger promotions. Ring of Honor once again retooled with wrestlers who represented the spirit. Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn were just a couple of the names adding to the ROH success when their top talents moved to other places.
Bryan Danielson and Punk were moving up the ladder in WWE during the early 2010s to make fans curious about their background. ROH became known for building the next era of rising stars whenever they lost talents. Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Tommaso Ciampa were some of the younger stars to start breaking out and having their careers reach new heights to keep the cycle going.
The importance of both factors showed that ROH’s stars could thrive on WWE’s stage and that the company’s new core was taking it to new levels. No other independent promotion had the hit list of names and the ability to sell out venues in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. ROH was no real threat to WWE, but the philosophy it represented was one.
How Ring Of Honor Set Up AEW
The growth of the internet, social media, and online content made Ring of Honor more accessible as the 2010s rolled on. New Japan working with ROH helped add another variable to make both products a must-watch for diehard fans. The success of the Bullet Club gave ROH the chance to run bigger venues, but the talents outgrew the company itself.
Today’s landscape shows how much ROH played a role in what is going down. AEW having CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Adam Cole showcase the different chapters of ROH stars all becoming game changers. The Young Bucks becoming more and more popular helped make Tony Khan see the potential of a new promotion to get AEW off the ground.
WWE has witnessed ROH talents becoming some of their biggest success stories through organic fan connections. Chris Jericho has stated that a wrestler who can get over in front of 100 people will be able to get over in front of 100,000 people that showed true.
Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Cesaro are three of the best WWE performers and all three started in ROH. Even wrestlers who didn’t work there like Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre and New Day try to have that exciting action-packed match that didn’t exist in WWE for years. Ring of Honor’s initial spirit is shown in the wrestling industry-dominating cable ratings and creating bigger profits than anyone expected after the early 2000s decline.
Before CM Punk left wrestling for sports entertainment, Punk was the main attraction in ROH. Let’s learn more about Punk’s time in Ring of Honor!
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