ROH has received rave reviews from talent about the handling of the pandemic, among other things.
Even before that, ROH was going through a tumultuous time, and brought the entire roster to HQ in order to have a major talent meeting. The company took major feedback from talent, and made some big changes. Rhett Titus opened up to Fightful about some of the things that went down.
"It was one of those things where, with all the drama and stuff that was going around there at the time, Ring of Honor just had a lot of bad publicity on it. It was one of those things where it’s like, ‘Alright, we need to set this ship in the right direction.’ So, literally everybody came in and there was a big dry erase board and a marker. One of the employees was just up there writing everything down and all the different things that we could be doing. Definitely a lot of the stuff that was mention is coming to fruition. One of the big things that I was a fan of was the catering? Here and there they would, ‘Oh, hey. We got you guys this from such and such,’ or, ‘Oh, hey, we got you Subway,’ or something like that. But, then it became a point where in 2020, all our shows were fully catered and it’s like, ‘Wow. This is amazing.’ I’m a vegetarian, so a lot of times I can’t eat some of the stuff that most of the other people eat. Not only am I a vegetarian, but I’m very picky eater about what I put into my body as far as carbohydrates and sugar and stuff goes. So, I remember the last show that we actually had, I believe it was in St. Louis, but they had veggie burgers there that day and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh! There’s veggie burgers.’ Dude, I was just going to town. No buns though, so it was all good," Titus said.
ROH was set for a huge series of tapings in March 2020 when the pandemic changed everyone's lives. The decision to cancel was jarring for many, which Titus recalled in our interview.
"The thing was when we went out to Las Vegas for the pay-per-view and the television tapings, I got off the plane and I saw Grizzly Redwood and Cheesburger. I was like, ‘Hey, what’s up guys?’ They were like, ‘Hey, you check your e-mail yet?’ I’m like, ‘No.’ They’re like, ‘The shows are cancelled.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ You know? Just knowing the amount of money that it costs to put on a pay-per-view production and the satellite time and flying everybody out to Las Vegas and the rooms for a few days and they had catering lined up… All this stuff comes into play. Its like, ‘Man, they just cancelled it all.’ I guess this coronavirus thing, I guess this is really something to be worried about. So, like, we go home and you’re like, ‘Alright. I guess two weeks locked up. Just to relax and cool down. That won’t be that bad.’ Then all of a sudden two weeks turns into two months, and you’re like, ‘Oh, boy. Ring of Honor shows are cancelled.’"
ROH was dormant for months before returning in the summer. For quite a while, talent weren't sure when things would go back to normal.
Titus said "There was really no talk of when we were going back to work, but they were making sure everybody felt good and everybody was paid. So, that was definitely refreshing. You see all these other companies are still going on with their operations and they’re doing temperature checks and stuff like that. The testing really wasn’t that accurate at that point, so nobody really had the COVID testing. So, Ring of Honor was just like, ‘Hey, guys. We just want to make sure that we have all our T’s crossed and our I’s dotted because we don’t want to see any of you guys getting sick. We don’t want to jeopardize anybody’s families or anything like that.’ They waited until August until they knew a lot more about the coronavirus and there was even talks about even bringing the tapings to Florida or Tennessee, one of those more open states. But, they decided to go with Maryland because, even prior to the pandemic or coronavirus or anything, Maryland state athletic commissions are one of the most strict commissions in all of professional wrestling. So, they wanted to do it with them to make sure that everybody was safe beyond belief and taken care of."
Beyond all of that, the ROH protocols are stringent as possible while still running shows. There are at least four testing steps that most of the roster goes through before even wrestling.
"I just took my pre-travel test yesterday and then you get there and you take another test. You’re up in your room for a few days by yourself just hanging out. Then before you wrestle you gotta take another test. Before each match the canvasses are changed out and the ropes are all wiped down, sanitized. They go through fifteen canvasses in a day, you know? They give us all money so we can order food to our rooms and we don’t leave anywhere, so we get a per diem for each day. Man, there’s temperature checks at the door as well. So, if you are feeling a little under the weather they don’t want to risk it at all. So, everywhere you go, too, hand sanitizer and you gotta wear your masks the whole time as well," Titus said.