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WWE LOOKED INTO BUYING RING OF HONOR, WHEN THE TONY KHAN DEAL WAS DONE AND MORE EXCLUSIVE NOTES

By Mike Johnson on 2022-03-03 09:36:00

As the dust settles on Tony Khan's acquisition of Ring of Honor, there are a lot of people asking a lot of questions.  At this juncture, we have no foresight into if and when he will run additional ROH shows, whether the announced PPV and TV taping in Dallas and Philadelphia will still happen and even whether the existing ROH TV will continue to air where it currently exists weekly.  These are all things to be ironed out in the days ahead, so while we have gotten a number of emails asking for clarification, while I could be wrong, I honestly don't believe those finer points have had a chance to be worked out yet.

What we are hearing is the following:

Yesterday, the Ring of Honor side was still working on production for the TV show and the forthcoming events and the word making the rounds in that circle was that there were discussions but the deal wasn't done.  That changed very late in the day.  How late we don't know, but one person believed it could have been as late as 6 PM EST.    So, while the two sides had been negotiating for at least a few weeks, the official deal was indeed closed yesterday, as Tony Khan said in the ring on Dynamite.  Prior to that point, there was a small circle in AEW who were aware of the discussions and believed it to be a done deal well before that.

The ROH announcements for Supercard of Honor and the TV taping in Philly were made independent of the AEW side and were put into motion before the sale was announced.  That was all pre-Tony Khan, so whether any of that takes place as originally envisioned remains to be seen.   

The announcement that AEW would be returning to Baltimore and running The UMBC Event Center instead of the Royal Farms Arena has zero to do with the ROH acquisition.  AEW is running UMBC because the Royal Farms Arena is in the process of undergoing extensive renovations.  We've had some readers ask if the sale was a cause and effect leading to AEW running that venue.  It has nothing to do with yesterday's announcement.  

PWInsider.com can also exclusively confirm there had been WWE interest in purchasing Ring of Honor when the company's hiatus was announced last year.    The two sides had entered into discussions in December but for some reason, the talks ended without an official deal being made.  This would not have been the first time the two sides had some sort of communication about the idea of WWE buying the promotion and library, as there had been previous talks when Paul Levesque was in power.  In the end, Khan stepped in and was able to strike a deal.  I can confirm there were some in WWE who were legitimately shocked when the announcement happened, as they believed the announcement was going to be that AEW had come to terms with HBO Max for a streaming deal.

What if this sale didn't happen?  ROH going forward under Sinclair would have been operated on a much smaller scale than previously seen.  The plan going into and coming out of Supercard of Honor was to have a small, select group of talents under contract for a short term basis to have main eventers locked in for x amount of dates to headline the shows.  So, if the Briscoes vs. The OGK was the main event feud, for example, they would have been offered deals to keep them locked in for the duration of that story.  Underneath, it would have been a model similar to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla where ROH would have booked the best talents available and encouraged them to go all out with the best performances possible without locking them in to any deals.    There were zero plans to go and sign an entire roster again in the near future as the ROH budget had been greatly slashed going forward thanks to all the Sinclair financial issues.  That wasn't expected to change anytime soon.

On the ROH side, the sale was described as "bittersweet" as it felt this was the right thing for the long-term viability of Ring of Honor itself but there were a lot of people who truly loved working on the promotion who were extremely saddened to see this chapter end, although the reality is, the chapter truly, actually ended last December.

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