What does a ROH buyout mean for WWE?
It’s today’s news that WWE is in secret talks to buy Ring Of Honor. It was reported first by ProWrestlingSheets, with an anonymous source stating that talks are slowly progressing since January.
So far, the plan is WWE to do a total ROH takeover.
Now, as far as I’m concerned, I was surprised this is even happening.
While I’m surely happy that someone like Jay Lethal and the Young Bucks finally get the chance to perform in the best arenas, ROH is not even remotely a threat to WWE. It could be to NXT, but I don’t see Vince and Triple H go after the company that perhaps threats the weekly developmental show.
I mean, Ring Of Honor doesn’t really mean anything to Stamford’s company.
The news reports that in case a takeover happens, the weekly TV show would start airing on the WWE Network. And this is where the problem with that report is.
As we said, it’s unlikely that WWE wants to buy ROH in order to eliminate NXT competition. That would also explain that talks started in January with no deal yet. Otherwise things would have gone through already. With that in mind, it’s clear that McMahon wants to buy ROH at the lowest price possible, hence maximizing profits after the buyout.
A way to maximize the profits in WWE’s mind is to re-negotiate all the contracts. Everyone, while most likely will get offered more money, will be required to sign an exclusive deal. Some of this guys will be sent to NXT, others will debut directly on Raw or SmackDown.
WWE, while of course adding the entire ROH library on the Network, will most likely kill the show.
Or rebrand it.
It’s no secret that a third roster is always in Vince McMahon’s mind. There were talks about NXT becoming one, but things fell through because they need a developmental show (and because it’s working as it is), even though most wrestlers in there as of now are more than ready to go on the main stage (Roderick Strong, Eric Young, Bobby Roode to name a few).
Buying Ring Of Honor and brand it as a show could really mean the following:
- The third brand Vince’s always dreamed about.
- A third roster touring more constantly than NXT.
- More main eventers, hence maximize more on superstars’ popularity (Ziggler could finally get a proper World Title run at some point).
While to a lot of people this will seem utopia, to me looks like a viable option.
It will sell more tickets, more merchandise, will add advertising income, and it will tour alongside Raw and Smackdown. Plus, while not very likely given the company’s greed, it could mean an easier schedule for the whole roster (two brands doing live events during weekends with one resting, and keep rotating). Surely that would giveWWE the opportunity to offer a better product.
In addition, it would guarantee actual ROH talent a place in a company that wants to get bigger even though it’s already big.
A common issue I found myself to discuss every now and then is why indy wrestler would eventually take their chance in WWE. To me it always seemed like that after you become a world champion at say ROH, there’s nothing more you can do. Yes it can be fun, the fans are great, but you slowly realize you found yourself in a company that does not have the ambition to grow, blocking your popularity. Of course with internet things have changed (Seth Rollins was most likely more popular than CM Punk in the indy circuit in their respective times), but still the next step is to go in an ambitious company. TNA was a valid alternative for a while, then it fell apart.
Now there’s only one choice, to go to the guy who tried to go one on one with the NFL. Yes, he failed, but it means he has the balls to try things, even at considerable risks. People seem to overlook how big of a risk the WWE Network was, since PPV providers could have turned their back if the service wasn’t successful.
In the end, while nothing is sure yet, WWE buying ROH is not necessarily a bad thing. The business might become more of a monopoly, but it won’t change the landscape that much, since it already is one.