Tony Khan, FTR, Wheeler Yuta, and Claudio Castagnoli spoke during tonight’s ROH Death Before Dishonor media scrum.
Castagnoli said he had “a hell of a run” in his first month with the company and said it was great to top it off with his first world championship win. He said he wanted to take it all in and enjoy it.
When asked if he feels more encouraged to do different types of wrestling now that he is in AEW, he asked if that was a rhetorical question. He said to have that kind of freedom to express yourself in the ring, that is a gift, and he loves it.
When asked if he felt unappreciated in the past. Castagnoli said that he didn’t know if he felt underappreciated because the fans were always by his side. He isn’t sure if tonight’s win puts that debate to rest, but he said this was just the beginning. He said there are expectations when becoming a champion and will try to meet them.
Regarding this being a ‘brass ring’ moment, Castagnoli considers the last month his brass ring, mentioning his Forbidden Door debut against Zack Sabre Jr. and the Blood and Guts match that took place later that week.
When asked about Jonathan Gresham, Castagnoli said that after ROH initially shut down in December, Gresham continued to keep the ROH World Championship alive, and he respected that.
Yuta said that having all of these opportunities is really special, and didn’t know where he would be if there wasn’t an AEW. He said he should be in the independents for another 5 or 10 years based on how things used to work.
During the interview, Daniel Garcia came out and complained that Yuta pinned him with a roll-up, and not a wrestling move. Yuta dismissed him and said he’d see him on Wednesday.
Dax Harwood said that Khan has let him do something good for himself and pro wrestling, and always tries to leave something behind. To be able to do what they have done this year means a lot to him. Cash Wheeler said that it has kept going and hasn’t stopped, it is overwhelming in the best possible way.
When asked about wrestling anxieties, Harwood said that they were going to try and top the last match, and knew the Boston crowd would appreciate it. He said having anxieties about a wrestling match is nothing compared to the anxieties of life. He said he is on Zoloft and is talking to a therapist. Wheeler said there should be no stigma when it comes to mental health.
Harwood said to be in the main event, the draw of the show, that is what they have worked for and the kind of legacy they want to leave behind. Wheeler said that he has been proud of their team their entire career.
Regarding the end of the show where they celebrated their win with a young fan, both say they didn’t know who the kid was other than his name was Austin who had a sign saying he was FTR’s number one fan, and that they wanted to have a cool moment for him.
Sting was brought up, with Harwood saying he told Sting prior to their match at Arthur Ashe Stadium that if he wanted to go 30 minutes, they were the team to do it with. He said after the match Sting sent him a voice mail thanking them, saying he had self-doubts before the match and was happy to read social media posts saying he still had it.
During the Castagnoli interview, Khan mentioned that Castagnoli originally was supposed to make his debut on this show as a mystery opponent, but plans changed after Danielson was unable to compete at Forbidden Door.
Regarding the ROH World Championship match opening the show, Khan said that he wanted a great match to kick off the show and to set the pace for the night.
Khan said tonight’s Death Before Dishonor show was one of the top three biggest Ring of Honor pay-per-views shows ever, one of the top four highest attended shows, and the most attended ROH show that wasn’t held during WrestleMania weekend. During the scrum, he noted up to that point they had about 25,000 buys digitally.
When asked about CM Punk, Khan said he didn’t want to say anything as Punk gave an update on his injury at the AEW Comic-Con panel. However, he said his healing is on track, but couldn’t commit to his return at All Out in September.
Regarding ROH/AEW integration, Khan suggested that we could see that even after ROH gets a television deal. He mentioned that NJPW wrestlers could also compete again in ROH.
Khan repeatedly brought up that this was the first show where ROH and Warner Bros. Discovery worked together via Bleacher Report, and got texts from both Warner Bros. and Discovery people congratulating him on tonight’s show.
When asked why he booked Rush vs. Dragon Lee, Khan said that they have a lot of history and both were eager to have the match.
On Prince Nana buying out Tully Blanchard Enterprises, Khan said Blanchard is doing well personally and wished him the best, saying we could see him in AEW or ROH again in the future. He also praised Nana as an ROH legend.
He couldn’t comment on the contractual status of Dalton Castle or The Boys, but enjoyed their match.
Regarding The Briscoes, they will be a big part of Ring of Honor moving forward as they are signed to long-term deals, but was not sure regarding whether or not they will appear on AEW Dynamite or Rampage.
One interviewer asked about potential names such as Maria Kanellis, Mike Bennett, Matt Taven, and Brian Milonas coming back to ROH. Khan said they were all great talents and brought up people from ROH’s past who were on the card tonight, such as Tony Deppen and Slim J. Regarding Slim J, Khan said he should have been wrestling a lot more in the last two decades.
There is optimism regarding a TV deal, pointing to the online buys and success of tonight’s show.
Khan praised Mercedes Martinez, saying that she’s tremendous. He recalls a siatuaion where Booker T was adamant about Khan signing her, but Khan was unable to do so as she made the one-time appearance prior to AEW getting an extension on their TV deal. Khan praised both Booker T and Jim Cornette, with Khan saying that they have the right to criticize his product. He said a lot of what Cornette has said about his product was fair.
Khan praised his father, saying everything he knew about business he learned from his dad and praised him on taking a chance on AEW even when he didn’t believe in it.
Regarding the sale, Khan said that it happened very quickly and had to make that decision or they would “sell to the other obvious person it would sell to”.
Khan flatly rejected the idea that Ring of Honor was a developmental league for AEW, saying that he sees Dark as the developmental brand.