Almost ten years ago, the wrestling scene witnessed a third company go national in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), as it began airing a weekly program on Friday nights on TNN (Now Spike TV). It was then, when the wrestling business reached its climax, and was as profitable, and popular as any other industry. However, the wave, and ultimate aura of having a wrestling program being aired six days a week ended when ECW finally folded, and number two company, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) became property of Vince McMahon.
Since then McMahon has thrown a headlock on the industry, forcing the WWE brand on those that seek the art form. In recent years, that headlock has begun to loosen with the likes of Total Nonstop Wrestling (TNA) entering the national market. And now, it seems Ring of Honor (ROH) will begin its quest to remove McMahons grip. Both companies, maybe far away in popularity, production, brand awareness, and funds from McMahon and the WWE, however, ROH's latest television deal looks to once again make the wrestling scene a three ringed circus.
Following the WWE monopoly, wrestling fans were forced to turn to the WWE or rely on the independent scene for their fix. Every industry needs competition, and professional wrestling was no differentl. With the rapid growth of TNA from a small local company to global phenomenon, the evidence was there that the market was ripe for variety. Wrestling fans want more. And similar to TNA, ROH has its cult following, and has survived 7 years on the support of its die hard fans. Now, like TNA, ROH takes the next step. The biggest step and vehicle for a wrestling company, and that is national television. The following was recently released by ROHwrestling.com and the chairman of HDNET, Mark Cuban:
New partnership brings unique brand of professional wrestling to HDNet.
DALLAS (January 26, 2009) HDNet Fights today announced a long term partnership with “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”
Coming soon, HDNet will debut a new weekly television series, which will bring “Ring of Honor Wrestling” to a national television audience for the very first time. “Ring of Honor Wrestling” and its stars are prominently featured in the recent, critically acclaimed movie “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke.
“’Ring of Honor’ is an exciting addition to our programming lineup at HDNet,” said Mark Cuban, chairman and co-founder of HDNet. “ROH has developed a cult following thanks to its special brand of professional wrestling and we are pleased to present it for the first time to a mass television audience.”
“’Ring of Honor’ is proud and excited to enter a partnership with HDNet,” said Cary Silkin, president of Ring of Honor. “Our in-ring action is the perfect compliment to HDNet's respected programming and growing stature in the broadcast industry. It's a match most definitely made for a Main Event."
Founded in 2002, “Ring of Honor” has become one of the most successful and recognized promotions in the world thanks to its focus on authentic professional wrestling. Over the last seven years it has produced some of the biggest stars in the industry, including Samoa Joe and CM Punk, while featuring the best in-ring competition in the world.
Air dates and times will be announced at a later date.
In an economy that has shown such a mass slowdown in this recession for various industries, it seems quite interesting that the Wrestling industry is growing. Wrestling fans ought to be happy. After almost a decade of monotony, its great to see the industry expand, and possibly on the brink of another breakout era circa 1997-2001.