Tony Khan commented on the future of Ring of Honor.
On the March 2 episode of AEW Dynamite, Tony Khan announced that he had just signed a deal to acquire Ring of Honor. Per the press release issued immediately afterward, Tony Khan is now in possession of ROH's extensive video library dating back to 2002, brand assets, intellectual property, production equipment, and more.
During the AEW Revolution media scrum, Khan revealed that he does plan on continuing the wrestling operations side of ROH.
"I do have a lot of plans. I was very excited about reaching an agreement. I still plan to make more announcements. I'm still in a preliminary phase and obviously, it's been a very busy time with AEW and Revolution and all the things going on. I'll have a lot more to say about it. What am I going to do? There is still a lot of things we need to figure out. The distribution is a great question and what we're going to do moving forward. It assumes we're going to do something going forward. I do want to continue the operations for it and do have a lot of plans for it. I do expect to continue the wrestling operations and it's also a very valuable library we acquired. Distribution, I can't say anything yet about what it will be and how it's going to live and exist. I'm very excited, not just about the library and past content, but the opportunities to create more content. Obviously, there are many other revenues streams, merchandising, that will be able to generate, but it creates a lot of opportunities for us. It's great. For AEW, strategically, I think it's very good that I also now own Ring of Honor," he said.
With twenty years of ROH content added to the nearly three years of AEW programming, Khan believes a streaming service would be a great thing to have, but admits that that's not entirely up to him. That said, he's hopeful that they can work with their media partners to one day make it happen.
"I can't comment on that. There is a lot of things happening. That would be a great thing. With TNT and TBS, to add a streaming service, that would be wonderful. That's not all up to me. There is a chance to work with the great media partners we have and hopefully, create something. Now, going back to Ring of Honor, I own a great library and we've created hundreds and hundreds of great hours of content and now, on top of that, we're adding thousands of hours of also great content. It's a great opportunity. A streaming service would be good, but I can't say for sure. It's not 100% in my court," Tony shared.
While ROH has called Baltimore home, Khan says he is still developing a plan for what he's going to do with the brand. While he wants to respect its history, he also wanted to present the best version of it possible that aligns with his and their media partners' vision.
"I'm still developing plans for what we're going to do, but Baltimore has been a great home for ROH and they've run a number of events at UMBC and we've done a number of shows in Baltimore, including the original Full Gear. It's an awesome area. There is an amazing connection to Ring of Honor, I'm very cognizant of it and I do want to not only acknowledge the history of Ring of Honor, but I want to take it to another place, both respecting the library and doing things that make sense with it and make sense for me and for AEW and hopefully our media partners, but also going forward because there should be a Ring of Honor and I have the resources to present a better version than anyone else can," he said.
As for Honor Club, ROH's subscription service, Khan was unable to provide an update but did reiterate his intention to continue generating content moving forward.
"It's too early in the process (to give an update). I can give you broad things about what I'm planning and what I plan do going forward, but I can't say much. I can't say much about the future of Honor Club or where all the content is going to live or what I'm going to generate, but I do plan to generate content going forward. I'm very excited about it and I appreciate all the people I worked with on the deal to get it done. They were very fair and the timing of it was great, coming off the 20th Anniversary of the launch of Ring of Honor. It's very special and it's why I was pleased to present Bryan Danielson vs. Christopher Daniels, which was a match 20 years in the making. It was great to have them competing since neither won on Era of Honor Begins," Khan said.
Wanting to be respectful of the parties he just had a successful negotiation with, Tony was unable to share details on the future distribution of ROH or the role of Sinclair Broadcasting. Though he did add that he had the support or AEW's media partners when making the purchase.
"There is a lot of things regarding distribution. I have great media partners and have a lot of conversations I need to have. One thing I did have was the support of my media partners when I bought Ring of Honor and made an agreement. I owe the people in the process, it's a complicated asset transfer we're in the middle of right now. I don't want to say too much about the complicated asset transfer and where those assets are going moving forward. I'm trying to be very respectful of the party that I just had a great negotiation with and we're still transferring these assets. Where the library and future content will be disseminated, I can't really say right now," he said.
Khan couldn't say what he will do with the ROH roster but instead chose to focus on the opportunity now available to a lot of talented young wrestlers. He is adamant about respecting the history of the company, an important matter when negotiating the deal with Joe Koff and Sinclair.
"I'm not going to say what I'm going to do with it in terms of the roster going forward, but there is a lot of opportunities, a lot of great wrestlers out there, young wrestlers, and a lot of great wrestlers under contract here and not under contract here. Ring of Honor has an amazing history and I do plan to respect it and I do want to keep it alive. That's one of the reasons they were excited to work with me, not to put words in their mouth. Joe Koff and all the people at Sinclair, they talked about how respecting the legacy was important and that's why they were happy to see it end this way," Khan stated.
Tony would however reveal that he is going to be booking the product moving forward.
"I am going to be the booker. I will be bringing in young wrestlers and they have a lot of young wrestlers. We're very successful here and doing very well here. I plan to continue to do very well with it and bringing in wrestlers can that work in Ring of Honor or AEW potentially. For continuity sake, when you bring people in, other wrestling companies that have had multiple promotions under one corporate structure or one person, I don't think it's conducive to have people coming into an environment -- say somebody would come here from there and the whole thing that's been going on with them, I might not be behind it," he shared.
Since the news broke, some have hypothesized that ROH could be used as a developmental brand for AEW. Playing off of that, Tony asked the media members in attendance whether they like the original NXT or NXT 2.0 better. Original NXT was the answer. He then asked which vision better aligns with Vince McMahon's main roster and best prepares the performers for life on Raw and SmackDown. 2.0 won that round.
Tony concluded by saying that there are plenty of people already within AEW that can and will assist him with ROH, specifically naming the likes of William Regal, Sonjay Dutt, Bryan Danielson, and Ace Steel.
"We have a lot of great people in AEW and a lot of great minds. You saw Lord Regal is here, Ace Steel has been helping out and has been a great coach. Sonjay Dutt has been helping. The coaching roster has gotten stronger and I'm never afraid to utilize active wrestlers like Bryan Danielson. I will be (booking the company), but I will continue to work with people, soliciting ideas, keeping things organized and building two great rosters of wrestlers," he said.
ROH is set to come back from hiatus on April 1 from Supercard of Honor after taking the first quarter of 2022 to re-imagine the product.
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