Ring of Honor is set to return to television with new episodes this weekend with the start of the ROH Pure Title Tournament.
ROH has been on hiatus since March when the COVID pandemic started and was forced to cancel its Anniversary show on March 13 just days before the event due to the pandemic. ROH resumed television production in August, creating a bubble in Baltimore and feeling safe to return.
Speaking to Outside Interference with Kenny Herzog, ROH COO Joe Koff discussed the decision to return to action.
"We could have wrestled in Florida, where the other two major promotions wrestle, where there seems to be no real rules. The Governor just says, 'be careful.' It was too far for my group since we're based in Baltimore. A lot of my production people are in Baltimore. It was decided by me and others that if we were going to do an event, it would be in Baltimore," said Koff. "It had to be the right time. If I couldn't have gotten approved by Maryland and not accepted their testing protocols, then we would have taped in October. I had enough content to fill a year's worth of television. I wanted to present a product. I wanted to let my guys work again. It was the safest possible time for us to do it. We plan on doing another (taping) in October, pending how things are going in Maryland. Hopefully, we get on a more regular schedule."
WWE and AEW didn't shut down during the pandemic with both companies taping in Florida and airing weekly television. Both companies have resumed running live shows in recent weeks. WWE had multiple talent test positive for COVID in the months during the pandemic and didn't start testing until June despite things shutting down in March.
Koff said ROH tested everyone in the building, which was over 100 people, and everyone came back negative.
"Waiting those extra months made a difference," said Koff. "Watching those levels go down. In Maryland, it was very strict as to where you could go and what you could do. The fact that we were able to learn from the NBA and NHL has done, in creating this bubble, it was worth attempting. If there more than three positive tests, we were going to shut it down. Fortunately, everyone was good and healthy, and I think that's because we took care of our people, so they weren't forced to do other things to maintain the lifestyle we provided them."
ROH paid talent for canceled dates during the pandemic, including those scheduled to compete in the original ROH Pure Title and Women of Honor Title tournaments.
Fans can learn more about the ROH restart and the Pure Title Tournament by clicking here.
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