When Ring of Honor had its first show back in 2001, it was to fill a gap left behind by ECW. Indeed, the first program featured two former ECW stars, Eddie Guerrero and Super Crazy.
Slowly, ROH developed into its own with a philosophy of sports entertainment. Rather than focus on huge, muscle bound men and the backstage drama segments that both WCW and WWE had made popular, ROH would instead present technical wrestling matches by the most skilled performers, regardless of their size.
People quickly took notice. Ring of Honor developed a reputation as a promotion that valued exciting in ring action and tended to eschew long winded promos, interviews, or skits. This filled a niche left empty by the bigger promotions, who had a 'bigger faster better' philosophy.
Over the years, Ring of Honor has been the home to some of the biggest names in sports entertainment. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, The Young Bucks, The Briscoes, Kevin Owens and others have gone on to become huge stars in other promotions such as WWE.
While Ring of Honor has enjoyed some success, it has struggled to grow out of its tiny venues and expand its business. Ring of Honor fans are die hard, dedicated, and devoted to the company, but lately the promotion has begun courting a more mainstream audience.
The question is, in search of this bigger audience will they alienate their long time fans? Here are five ways that Ring of Honor could be doing just that.
#1 Hiring wrestlers who don't fit the ROH mold--like Enzo and Big Cass
Eric Arndt and William Morrisey recently 'invaded' the big Madison Square Garden show jointly run by Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling. Invaded is in quotation marks because the entire thing was a worked angle, meaning it had been scripted.
The duo are better known as Enzo and Big Cass, though they legally don't own the rights to those names. After the main event tornado tag team match, they jumped the guardrail and got into a pier six brawl with the Briscoes and Bully Ray.
Due to ROH announcers downplaying the moment, and the fact that the duo appeared to be throwing real punches, made may people believe it was in fact unscripted.
Allegedly, the duo were hired despite the strong objections of some booking officials in Ring of Honor. Enzo and Cass certainly are not top tier technical wrestlers, and do no fit the typical mold for an ROH star. ROH could be driving fans away with decisions like this one.