Caprice Coleman talks about Ring of Honor’s decision to go on hiatus and how well they treated their talent during the pandemic.
Ring of Honor recently announced that following this year’s Final Battle pay-per-view, the company will be taking the first quarter of 2022 to re-examine what the company will look like moving forward and as a result, all talents were released from their contracts to coincide with this decision.
Caprice Coleman has been the regular color commentary voice at the promotion, along with Ian Riccaboni on play-by-play. With the news that the promotion is briefly closing its doors, Caprice Coleman is looking back on the positive experience he has had with a promotion especially during the uncertain times of the global pandemic.
Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Coleman said he will always love Ring of Honor for the way they treated their talent during the pandemic, noting that the company never lied to him.
“It’s real, man. It’s life. I look at Ring of Honor and I love them. Ring of Honor’s never lied to me. They’ve never made me feel any kind of way that ever led me astray on anything they’ve told me. During the pandemic, we didn’t know what was going to happen. We had our weekly Zoom call that we would get and they assured us that they were going to take care of everybody through the pandemic and not to worry about anything.”
Discussing the parameters the company set in place during the pandemic, Coleman outlined the COVID protocol with the promotion, including the number of tests they took and how they continued to work for the promotion.
“Yeah. They honored our contracts and everything. So for six months, we didn’t do anything. We still got paid. We got taken care of. We did PR stuff like I’m doing with you, interviews, and different stuff like that. Then when they started back wrestling, we were part of a bubble and we couldn’t do roommates anymore. We had all these tests to do, had to be flown in on this day. We would take a COVID test before we got there to make sure we didn’t have COVID. We would take a COVID test when we landed and we would take a COVID test before we left. It had to be expensive.”
Caprice admits that sometimes the knowledge that Ring of Honor is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group might lead someone to blindly assume that the promotion would be fine, despite the trying conditions of the pandemic. Despite the outcome, Caprice believes that if Ring of Honor had to do it all over again, they would.
“All this was happening and I thought the Pure division starting up was a great thing. We thought things were looking good. If you look at it, how’s all this being paid for? You just don’t know. You think about Sinclair, you think, ‘Oh, it’s a billion-dollar corporation. They’ll be just fine.’ You just never saw it happen. I’m not gonna sit here and lie. It hit a lot of people hard. It's uncertain, but I don’t blame Ring of Honor. I feel like if they had to do it all over again, they might have done something different or they might have done the exact same.”
Caprice remains confident that the promotion will resurface in April and hopes that they will come back bigger than ever with potentially an even bigger distribution channel than before.
“But what they have always been is just straight up and honest. When they told us, they told us before it hit the airwaves. People think, ‘Oh, rest in peace Ring of Honor,’ but they just said they’re going on hiatus for a season and it's starting back up in April. We don’t know what that start-up means. What version of Ring of Honor it’ll be. I’m hopeful it’ll be a better version of Ring of Honor—rediscovered, redesigned. Hopefully with a new listing or bigger channel because Sinclair has bought some big networks. There’s some great opportunities there, but we don’t know. The uncertainty is what everybody is taken back about.
“But you can really see who your real fans are during this time. It’s amazing to me the fans that have stuck with us this long have continued to stick with us. Then you see those little ones that say, ‘Oh, it's over. It’s dead.’ You wanna ask them, ‘Did you ever really watch the product at all? Were you ever really into it? Or just heard the news and want to spread bad news?’ Because Ring of Honor has been a company that has, for a long time, has been prestigious in what they delivered. So to me, whatever happens, is going to happen and it’s gonna be their best effort. So all I can do during this time is do my best at whatever I do.”
Before the news of the hiatus and even before the global pandemic, Ring of Honor was looking to make some major changes to its formatting. Marty Scurll had been brought in as booker, an arrangement that ended mutually, according to the promotion, after Marty had allegations brought against him during the Speaking Out movement of 2020.
Caprice credits Ring of Honor for this move, saying that they've always made sure to do what is right and gone out of their way to show that nobody is above the rules.
“That’s my thing with Ring of Honor—even when you talk about the Marty thing—they’ve always stuck to their guns and they’ve always did what they felt was right. They make sure that everybody knew that they weren’t untouchable. It doesn’t matter who you were. If you don’t apply to the rules, then you’re out. It didn’t matter who you were or what position you held. They had their rules. People who had COVID during TV tapings that, not even the people that had COVID, if you were around someone with COVID—and I’m talking title holders—they would send them home just to keep everybody else safe. They were very serious about it.”
Ring of Honor will see the end of an era on December 11 when they present their Final Battle pay-per-view, their last show before their brief hiatus. Fightful will have live coverage of the event on December 11.