Ring of Honor Wrestling is the clear number 3 promotion in this country. They have been able to withstand talent raids from the WWE and TNA, to remain a vital player in the wrestling landscape in the United States. Founded in 2002 the company is still going strong today. The question now becomes how you move from the little engine that could into one of the legitimate big boys in the business.
In this world of make believe, I Keith Holt will be assuming control of Ring of Honor. Let’s pretend Sinclair Broadcasting gives me full control of ROH and I have to come up with ways to at least make it the number 2 wrestling company in North America. What needs to be done?
One great thing with Ring of Honor is that the in ring product does not need a lot work. The key for them to move to the next level as a company has everything to do with television production. Now that I get to watch the syndicated program on a regular basis here are few changes I would make to the presentation.
The biggest thing is that the production value of the television show has to come up. The presentation is entirely too dark. The average fan today is watching their wrestling on a HD television and after seeing the WWE or TNA even how do you expect them to watch television that looks outdated. Even the Lucha Underground videos show a high end production. This can be instant turn off for fans. If Sinclair a publically traded company and if they are going to do this they need to go all in.
The second thing would be to try to get some symmetry with the airing of the television program in the various markets. There is no reason that with local affiliates that usually are carrying reruns that they can make concessions for original programming, especially those owned by Sinclair. Also the television program needs to be current. The ROH fans are internet based and are living three weeks ahead of what’s being aired on TV. Last week I watched a match with Michael Elgin as the World Champ and I know he is not the champion anymore. That cannot happen in 2014 when fans can stream footage and communicating in real time.
The last amendment that would be made to the weekly show is to shorten some of the matches. With a one hour show it would be better served to have 3 even 4 matches sometimes that all have various ending times. Not every match needs to go 3 minutes and last 2 to 3 commercial breaks. It doesn’t get enough talent exposed to the television audience who may not be familiar with the brand. Attention spans at midnight are dialed in enough to watch a 30 minute bout when they have the option to switch over to Saturday Night Live.
Implementing these little changes would greatly impact the view of the company. The current package is okay for hardcore fans but they don’t need any conversion. They have a good product just need to expand the focus a little bit.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr