I spoke to Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff ahead of this Friday's ROH 15th Anniversary PPV. Just a couple of days before bringing on The Hardys and Bully Ray, Koff talked to me in regards to the direction of the company, NJPW and more. Make sure to check out ROH 15th Anniversary Friday night, as well as our live coverage and discussion of the show! You can find out how to order the show at this link. Over on the FITE App, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross will be doing a live chat during the show.
You can hear the full interview above, and download it at this link.
Motivation behind Tradition of Anniversary Shows In Las Vegas:
KOFF: "What is this our third time doing it there in a row? … It’s a Vegas thing because we think it’s a big event and Vegas likes big events and quite frankly it’s a wonderful facility for us, there’s always a large fanbase that’s in Las Vegas any time we’re there, which gives fans on the west coast or in places that don’t normally get to see a Ring of Honor live show (a chance) to experience it while they’re also experiencing Las Vegas. It’s kind of a—no pun intended, because of where we’re going—a “Win-Win” for everybody."
Will there be more PPVs out west? It's worked out well so far in Vegas:
"KOFF: It has. And I think a lot of that has to do with the location, it has to do with Sam’s Town as the venue. We ventured once, when Wrestlemania was out in the San Jose area, to do a show that far out. We probably will make Vegas our most western terminus for now. There are no shows further west scheduled for 2017, but I will tell you that we are tempted to do (more shows out west) because we know we have a large fan base in California … as evidenced by the size of the crowd that came to the show in the San Jose area. So, it’s not in out of the question, it’s just not in the schedule right now."
Mixture of old and new talent on the card, and the turnover at ROH:
“Oh, I think that just happens. I don’t think it’s any specific reason. One thing I’ve always encouraged for anyone who works for Ring of Honor is to do what’s best for them as a performer, as an employee, and if Ring of Honor satisfies their wishes and fulfills them from a growth perspective and an income perspective, then I would hope that they would stay. But you know, people come and go in this world, it’s not uncommon to change jobs. It seems to be a little more under the microscope when it’s Ring of Honor, or any wrestling promotion for that matter, and I think there’s a tendency sometimes to read more into it. I don’t think there is any more to it.”
How he feels about WWE meddling with Indie Talents, telling them to go to EVOLVE instead:
“It flatters me, actually, and it’s very complimentary to my organization, that they would view us in that way, that they would rather keep (Matt Riddle) in their fold, than have him in my fold. I actually look at it as flattering. Any time my guys go up to WWE, and quite a few have, and they succeed there, it speaks to what Ring of Honor really represents. And what it represents to the fan, is a brand. It’s a brand that’s a style of wrestling and it’s a style of excellence, and we’re really beginning to show that it doesn’t matter necessarily who wrestles that brand and that style, but that’s what the fans are coming to see. It’s embodied in people like Adam Cole and The Young Bucks and War Machine and Jay Lethal and The Briscoes--I could go through my whole roster and I always like to, because I don’t want them to think that I favor anyone more than the other—but no matter what level you are at Ring of Honor, when you step into that ring in front of a crowd, they’re wrestling the Ring of Honor style and the Ring of Honor brand, and I know that for a fact because when I’m at an event, and the expectations are met, and they’re met from different levels and they’re met at different times, but it’s an expectation of the fan to see unbelievable athleticism, unbelievable integrity to their craft, unbelievable experience, and I think the guys also feel that, and there’s a moment, there’s a moment in time when this happens, and all of a sudden there’s a spontaneous chanting and a spontaneous eruption that’s totally organic and totally dynamic. And when I feel that, and I feel that whenever I go to a Ring of Honor show, what I’m really feeling is the authenticity of our brand. Ring of Honor brand is the most authentic brand in wrestling. And it’s exhibited and it’s felt and it’s validated all by what I said—it’s that total immersion experience for wrestler and for fan.”