I originally reported this on FightGameBlog.com
I have not been able to confirm this from ANYBODY in WWE management yet and have only sourced it from TWO people. So if this does not come to fruition, then I wholeheartedly apologize but I feel this is important enough to put up right away.
Apparently somebody within the upper levels of WWE management is VERY pissed about Ring of Honor moving their HD-Net television series to Monday Nights. Now keep in mind, ROH on HDNet is NOT a direct competitor to WWE Raw; their show comes on one hour earlier at 8PM Eastern. However for some reason or another, individuals who shall remain nameless see this as some kind of challenge or something. I really can’t speak for anybody, but something has certainly struck a nerve.
As a result, it has come to my attention that the eyes of WWE heirarchy are now focused on Ring of Honor more than ever before. There are talents that ROH spotlights that WWE has their eye on bringing in as part of their developmental program and as showcasing them as possible future WWE superstars. WWE has already attained a measure of success with one of ROH’s top guys; CM Punk, and has a number of ROH alumni come through the doors in the past several years (many of which went right back out the door). There has been talk amongst some of the people involved in talent relations (figure it out) about possibly raiding Ring of Honor and crippling them.
Now this is an interesting scenario, mainly because WWE has never seen ROH as competition, even up until two weeks ago. Ring of Honor, since 2002, has been the little engine that could and has a fraction of the resources and finances that a global conglomorate like WWE has. This story is eerily reminiscent of the mid-1980s expansion of the WWF where Vince McMahon began to raid talents to strengthen his roster. Almost EVERY wrestling fan, whether mark or smark, will agree that WWE NEEDS a fresher roster in 2009.
WWE is currently looking to analyze the contractual situations of various ROH talents (I don’t have ANY names as of this writing) to figure out when their ROH deals expire so that shortly prior to that, WWE open the gates of communication with these individuals. Because the ROH talents are under contract, I assume that won’t see anybody jumping ship anytime in the next couple of months, but in early 2010 I can definitely see at least a handful of ROH talents heading to the “E”. Can you blame them? WWE is the true only game in town in terms of fame and fortune, but the fact that it could go either way has to be a lingering thought in somebody who is already busting their ass week in and week out. Will they be the next CM Punk, or the next Scotty Goldman? That IS the question.
Where does that put ROH? Well ROH has managed to survive for years based not only on their ability to sell DVDs featuring high profile international match-ups as well as their focus on being a true alternative, so one would think much like ECW, the ROH brand name itself is just as important at selling than any major names. ROH has been through this before back in 2004 when TNA pulled a plethora of contracted main event stars from ROH and again in 2007 when both TNA AND WWE signed away numerous ROH top guys. But with DVD sales and ticket sales declining, can the little engine that could really survive a raid of this magnitude again?
I wrote earlier this year on FightGameBlog that ROH could die in 2009 or in 2010, before any of this news came out.
Well it looks like now, they’re going to REALLY have to prove me wrong.