Giving Back: ROH
JUly 22, 2008
I am very excited about his coming weekend. This Friday is the Canadian debut of Ring of Honor and I’m going to be a part of it. As you should all know by now I will be appearing at the Friday ROH show in Toronto as well as the Saturday PPV taping in Detroit. I’m a huge believer in Ring of Honor and I’ve been plugging the company and these shows specifically, very hard in recent weeks. I’ve been writing articles (like this one), doing media interviews with newspapers, and radio stations (I’m on Fight Network Radio this coming Thursday); I’ve been doing everything I can to help makes these shows a success, including doing appearances at both event.
What you don’t know though, is that I’m not doing all of this for the usual pro-wrestling reasons. I am not appearing at these events or doing any of this publicity for a payday. I am doing this on my own time and for free. Ring of Honor isn’t paying me to come to their shows or promote them, I volunteered. I enjoy ROH that much and I believe in ROH that much.
I’ve always believed that guys, who’ve succeeded in this business, should give back to the industry that treated them so well. Since I’ve retired I’ve done my best to do that, and it’s actually been quite rewarding. You often see retired, or well past their prime stars, taking Indy bookings where they demand huge paydays and then produce poor/lazy matches and won’t even put a guy over to help elevate the future talent of the company that’s paying them. Stars like this seem to take their win and their payday and ride off into the sunset leaving the promotion, that just paid them, a little worse off than it was before they arrived. That’s not giving back, that’s just sucking the industry dry, and that is a real shame.
I’m not the biggest name in this business, and adding my name to a poster isn’t going to sellout too many buildings, but I have made an effort to give back and Ring of Honor is a very deserving recipient.
My relationship with ROH started when I agreed to my first post-WWE match with them, where I challenged the ROH World Champion, Bryan Danielson. Admittedly I was paid quite handsomely for that match, but I don’t think anyone in the building thought I was coasting on my name value or gave them anything less than my all in that match. It was an excellent match and I worked every bit as hard as everyone else on the card did and tapped out clean in the middle, to the ROH World Champion. I may have left with a good payday, but at least I left the fans with a great match and their Champion with a big win.
I’m at the point now in my life, where I don’t think I have a match of that caliber left in me, but I still have 17 years of knowledge and experience to offer and I was thrilled when ROH approached me about sharing that knowledge and experience with their locker room. ROH has a fantastic talent roster. They are young, hardworking, and very talented and hopefully combining that with my experience and knowledge it can become even greater. I’ve been doing this via DVD and email for a while now and it’s been a lot of fun and quite rewarding. ROH has been sending me DVDs and in return I’ve been watching them and offering advice, praise, and criticism on the over all product, matches, and talent.
This has been providing me with tremendous viewing enjoyment (these guys have some great matches), while offering ROH talent a more experienced outside perspective on their product. I was originally doing this just through Gabe Sapolsky (ROH booker) but I have since been interacting directly with individual talent and I cannot believe how receptive they all are to both criticism and suggestions.
This is the sign of a true professional, in my opinion. A guy who puts his ego aside and listens to not only the good but the bad and is willing to debate and discuss a different perspective in hopes of finding the best possible balance. Every person I’ve interacted with in ROH has been both receptive and grateful for my input and because of that, when Gabe asked if I’d be willing to come to some live events to offer my advice in person, I not only said yes, but said I would do it for free.
Ring of Honor is an amazing company, with a very talented, hardworking locker room. I’m showing them my respect by coming to their events to give back. I hope you show them your respect by being one of hottest crowds they’ve ever worked. I will be signing autographs and who knows what else at these shows, I hope to see you there.
In the words of Billy Red Lyons, “Don’t you dare miss it!”