Joe Koff: ROH Probably Missed A Huge Opportunity In 2018

Joe Koff reflects on what happened with Ring Of Honor.

On Wednesday, ROH announced that they will no longer be running live events, with the exception of Final Battle on December 11, until April with Super Card of Honor. Not only is ROH on a live event hiatus, talent contracts will not be renewed if they are expiring at the end of the year but those still under contract will be paid through March 31.

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ROH helped build stars such as CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and many more throughout its history.

Speaking to Mike Johnson at PWInsider, Joe Koff reflected on the success and eventual downturn for the company.

"We had speed bumps, who doesn't? But we continuously improved every year and built an amazing committed staff to do. Then 2015 and '16, the question became, what is it going to really take to compete against the likes of a WWE? I meant from a talent, not certainly. They are the business, they're the most respected in the business. We're seeing a new company come up that's gaining respect really, really quickly, but we felt we could compete with them on a talent and on a storyline in our creative basis and we took steps to do that. That big step to get that kind of commitment from our company, which has been unbelievably supportive, continues to be, required a lot of resources. We made the most of those resources, but it wasn't an open checkbook and we had to operate the way I always operate," he said.

Koff continued by saying, "If there's going to be a laying blame, which there shouldn't be, because we're really celebrating what we achieved, it was probably to me because I've always operated on a cautious basis and perhaps I was a little too cautious in this, but we took the measures beginning to sign those exclusive agreements, making production improvements and we were bolstering our internal staff and processes. It's really incredible to see what we've done since then. If we had 20/20 hindsight, which isn't that fantastic, we all love that, we probably missed a huge opportunity in 2018, and I give all credit to Tony Khan and AEW, they captured it and they did it. We all know who they started with and I'm proud of those guys. I mean, obviously, I'm proud of all my guys, we've had so much talent that has gone to other organizations that have really been so critical to their successes. I take a small part of that success and I share in that, but it didn't happen for us happened for them.

"In essence, I think we would all agree, they've done an amazing job and really deserve all the credit in the world. Again, we had a pivot with a different creative line, with missing some of our big stars that chose to go over to AEW and we had lost stars in the past. The business, Mike, is strewn with stars from Ring of Honor. We can go through the list and we've done it before, really proud of that legacy that Ring of Honor has, that this is where wrestling really is born. This is where wrestling really happens. This is like a desert that people are tested against, this is where they grow and they're fortitude and all. I love that about our company, but that's what we had to do. We've done it before and we will do it again."

ROH had The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes under contract in 2018, but the trio, along with Kenny Omega, ended up helping start AEW with Tony Khan.

You can find Fightful's review of ROH Television, plus a watch along of a classic match, every Tuesday at 6pm ET on the Distraction YouTube channel.

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