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March 7, 2022 Observer Newsletter: Tony Khan buys Ring of Honor, Cain Velasquez charged with attempted murder

Dave Meltzer covers Tony Khan buying Ring Of Honor, Cain Velasquez being arrested for attempted murder, and more.

Tony Khan, who had only appeared in front of the crowd once before in the history of Dynamite (for the end of the Brodie Lee Memorial show), announced at the start of the 3/2 Dynamite that he had purchased Ring of Honor. He really gave no details and at press time hadn’t answered any questions regarding the purchase and goals.

Sinclair Broadcasting had made the decision to shut down the company late last year and relaunch it at much lower cost, eliminating almost all talent contracts and likely only running PPV shows and television tapings. They had largely dropped house shows since coming back from the pandemic, which made exclusive deals with talent even more cost ineffective.

The one major asset the company had was a tape library that dated back to 2002, and contained some tremendous matches with performers who would go on to make it big in WWE and AEW. 

At first, when the announcement of the shutdown came, and rumors that the tape library would be for sale, both Tony Khan and WWE sources indicated they had not been approached about the library, meaning at the time it wasn’t for sale. WWE did have talks with ROH management when ROH was at its peak of popularity with the Young Bucks about purchasing the company, but the idea was to shut down the company and really just purchase the tape library which had early matches of many of WWE’s top stars like Kevin Owens (as Kevin Steen), Sami Zayn (as El Generico), Seth Rollins (as Tyler Black), Daniel Bryan (under his real name), Cesaro (under his real name) and many others. 

The idea at the time was to get the valuable library and use it on the WWE Network and for documentaries, and shut the company down because at the time ROH and NXT were battling over the hardcore fans and even going head-to-head in markets and in places ROH was beating NXT even with NXT’s advantages of being part of WWE and more advertising, but NXT did have an edge of better talent and the New Japan affiliation which in 2018 meant a lot. 

The idea would to eliminate NXT’s biggest competition for the hardcore fan base while picking up a valuable library. But the deal was never completed past ROH did make a deal to allow WWE some usage of their footage for WWE projects.

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