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ROH YEAR THREE ARCHIVE: LOOKING BACK AT RING OF HONOR'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL YEAR

By Mike Johnson on 2004-12-28 20:40:00

RING OF HONOR OFFICIALS FACE THE WRESTLERS; EXPLAIN REASONING BEHIND THE SPLIT
by Mike Johnson
June 13, 2004

As one might imagine, a number of the Ring of Honor wrestlers walked into ROH's Dayton, Ohio event yesterday seeking answers as to the reasons behind the split with RF Video, the departure of Doug Gentry from the company, and whether Rob Feinstein was ever gone to begin with.

According to several wrestlers who didn't wish to be named, Gabe Sapolsky and other ROH officials apologized for keeping them in the dark, but noted that once they learned that Rob Feinstein wasn't completely gone from all aspects of ROH, they needed to quietly make plans to break off from RF Video without tipping anyone off and sabotaging the plans. Sapolsky also noted that once he knew about Feinstein, he stopped doing interviews about the matter so as not to further damage the company. Feinstein has told several around the wrestling business, including Bill Behrens (according to sources in NWA:TNA) that he remained with the companies after transferring ownership to Doug Gentry.

The timetable of the split matched what I had previously reported, as the decision was made after the Minnesota/Chicago events in April. The officials told wrestlers who confronted them that the plans were kept quiet among ROH investor Cary Silkin and the three staffers who left RF Video (Ross Abrams, Gabe Sapolsky, and Sid Eick) in order to prevent further complications.

Sapolsky also told several that he spoke to that hiding the situation, "Was an a****le thing to do" and he understood if they were angry and didn't want to continue working for the company, but he didn't see how they could otherwise handle the split. He told several that he hoped to get their forgiveness, but understood if that didn't happen.

There was also talk going around among the wrestlers that Feinstein had shown up at the RF Video offices Monday after the departure of the now-former RF Video staffers and that he is back to work at RF Video. A source close to RF Video denied those claims earlier this weekend. PWInsider readers who called RF Video last week after the split reported that Doug Gentry answered the phone. Gentry was at Jersey All Pro Wrestling in Trenton, New Jersey yesterday, filming most of the show for an eventual RF Video release.

Many of the wrestlers understood the situation, although several questioned why they weren't informed previously so they could have helped out. By the end of the night, the morale in the locker room was much better and there was a feeling that finally, perhaps the focus can go back on their hard work.

RF Video and Ring of Honor officials came to a verbal agreement on settling the split of the companies on Friday, but the agreement has not yet been signed.

RING OF HONOR-RF VIDEO SPLIT UPDATE
by Mike Johnson
June 16, 2004

Since I've gotten a few emails asking about the status of the Ring of Honor split from RF Video, I wanted to update on the situation. I have yet to hear from either side that the agreement between the two sides was signed. Both sides originally expected everything to be signed on Monday after agreeing in principle on Friday. I am not sure where the snag is, although I suspect it has to do with Rob Feinstein calling people in the business and claiming he was never gone from the promotion.

RF Video's website quietly removed all Ring of Honor merchandise over the last 24 hours, which I think will be the turning point that many who doubted the situation will begin to believe the legitimacy of the split.

In a related RF Video note, Jersey All Pro Wrestling announced that RF Video will no longer be filming their shows, although JAPW has made noises about producing their tapes in house and selling them to outside vendors recently. [Note from Mike Johnson: RF Video returned towards the end of the year.]

RING OF HONOR LOSES MARYLAND PROMOTER AND VENUE IN FALLOUT OF RF VIDEO SPLIT; SHANE SHAMROCK MEMORIAL CUP MOVED TO PHILADELPHIA
by Mike Johnson
June 16, 2004

Ring of Honor lost their local promoter in the State of Maryland, Dick Caricofe as well as their Glen Burnie, Maryland venue, Michael's 8th Avenue this week. Both losses were a direct result of online reports which featured claims from Rob Feinstein that he had been involved with ROH after publicly stepping down as President in March.

Caricofe, who promotes the National Wrestling League, contacted ROH earlier this week and informed the company that he wasn't going to continue on as their local promoter in Maryland. Caricofe reportedly didn't feel comfortable continuing his association with ROH in the wake of all the stories that had come out over the last week.

With the loss of Caricofe, Michael's 8th Avenue quickly informed ROH representatives that the company was now in breach of their agreement to hold the show in the venue. It is illegal to hold a professional wrestling event in the State of Maryland without a licensed promoter.

The stories involving Feinstein came out this past week as part of the fallout of a split between Ring of Honor and former parent company RF Video. As one can imagine, there is a lot of bad blood between those involved.

The scheduled 6/24 Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup event has been moved to Essington, PA right outside Philadelphia at the Ramada Holiday Inn. The venue recently hosted a WORLD-1 event. The Essington, PA event will be locally promoted by Chuck Williams (aka wrestler The Rockin' Rebel), who is a member of the State Athletic Commission.

Fans who hold tickets for the Glen Burnie, MD venue and wish to exchange or return them can email ROHHelp@aol.com for information on how that will be handled.

FORMER RING OF HONOR MARYLAND PROMOTER RELEASES STATEMENT ON CANCELED ROH EVENT
by Mike Johnson
June 19, 2004

The National Wrestling League's Dick Caricofe released the following statement in regard to the PWInsider.com report that he had pulled his license from Ring of Honor and would no longer be working with the promotion:

Last month, NWL President Dick Caricofe was approached by long time friend Dan McDevitt, former promoter of MCW. Dan asked if he could use the NWL's Maryland Promoter's License so that ROH could run their show in Glen Burnie, MD, on June 24, 2004. Dick told Dan that he could use the license, and also that Dan would act as a representative of the NWL. Dick also asked if it would be possible to put a couple of our NWL wrestlers in the Battle Royal scheduled for the event. Not once did Dick ever speak to anyone actually from ROH.

After the recent controversy hit the Internet wrestling news sites, and more talent backed out of their bookings with ROH, Dick felt it would be in his best interest to also distance himself from the situation. Last Sunday, June 13th, Dick sent Dan an e mail informing him that he would be pulling his license from the ROH event, and he explained his reasoning to Dan. Dan agreed with Dick's decision, and Dan contacted ROH informing them about the pull out.

After the call to ROH, Dan called Michael's 8th Avenue and explained the current situation to them. Dan also told Dick that he would be distancing himself from ROH, and pulling his wrestlers off the show. From the time Dan asked Dick if he could use the NWL license, to the present, no one from ROH has ever spoken to Dick Caricofe about their show on June 24th. Not once did either of our two wrestlers names appear in any ROH advertisement for their June 24th event. And before ROH announced their show being moved to Philadelphia, how many people even knew Dick Caricofe was letting ROH use his license?

NWL would like to invite all Maryland fans to attend the first ever "House of Pain" TV tapings which will be held on Saturday July 24th with a 1pm bell time. Admission will be FREE!!! For more information, please contact HouseofPainTV@aol.com.

It should be noted that no ROH talent has pulled out of any scheduled bookings as a result of the recent developments in the company. The scheduled 6/24 event was moved to Philadelphia, PA.

RING OF HONOR NOTES & NEWS INCLUDING SPLIT UPDATE, DOORS OPENED FOR RETURN OF OLD ROH REGULARS, UPDATED LINEUPS & MORE
by Mike Johnson
June 21, 2004

Negotiations for the settlement of Ring of Honor's split from RF Video are scheduled to continue this week. One sticking point in negotiations as of late has been RF Video's ability to sell old ROH product that was produced during its synergy with the company. ROH doesn't want that to happen for all the obvious reasons. The RF Video side obviously wants to continue to sell the product and make money, especially since their catalog has taken major hits in recent months with WWE and different Japanese companies enforcing their copyrights. The ROH side wants their name completely removed from RF Video, as they rightfully understand that everyone is going to be looking for reasons to prove this split isn't legitimate after all the other drama of the last few months. RF Video filmed at USA Pro Wrestling this weekend and recently discounted a number of tapes to $10 on their website. They have also posted on the site that plans are underway for a new promotion, but to be patient.

Ring of Honor may see an influx of former regulars in the next few months due to their split from RF Video, although not the NWA:TNA regulars (yet). ZERO-ONE's contracted wrestlers (Steve Corino, Spanky, etc.) will be allowed to take bookings with the promotion again now that it is no longer associated with RF Video. According to multiple sources, ZERO-ONE told their contracted wrestlers they could no longer work for ROH in the States just prior to ROH's 5/15 event. They did let Spanky work the show so ROH didn't have to change their card at the last minute. ZERO-ONE's decision stemmed from RF Video selling their tapes. ZERO-ONE offered to make a deal with RF Video to settle matters and allow them to continue selling the product but was turned down, and RF Video removed ZERO-ONE from their catalog. It should be noted that ZERO-ONE is partners with Dreamstage Entertainment, which has had legal dealing with RF in the past as well. I believe the situation likely had a hand in the cancellation of the 5/15 WORLD-1 doubleheader with ROH in Lexington, MA. Although the matter is now settled, had word gotten out a month ago, this may have been the death knell for ROH's fan support after the hit they took over the NWA:TNA ban. Now, it's possible we will see the return of Corino, Spanky, and even Low Ki in between Japanese tours if ROH can come to terms with them.

Speaking of the TNA situation, it needs to be noted that if TNA did yank their performers over internal concern about Rob Feinstein still being involved with ROH, they had been justified over the situation. I'd love for someone to explain to me why Doug Gentry signed that paperwork. There is no word on whether TNA will let their wrestlers begin to work for ROH yet. The word I am getting from TNA sources is that AJ Styles has been booked up for the remainder of the year so it would be some time before he could do so. Christopher Daniels and the others could still be possible down the line. Of course, it should be noted that is it all just conjecture until TNA and ROH come to terms, which can't even begin to happen until the ROH-RF split is negotiated.

ROH's 7/17 afternoon event in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the Rexplex features Josh Daniels vs. B-Boy, Matt Sydal vs. Delirious, plus Dunn & Marcos, Special K, Caprice Coleman, Outcast Killaz, Rainman, Ray Gordy, Shawn Daivari, Tony Kozina, Daizee Haze, Scott Davis, Brian Gamble and more scheduled.

ROH's 7/17 evening show at the Rexplex will feature ROH Tag Team champions CM Punk and Colt Cabana vs. Danny Maff and BJ Whitmer in a Falls Count Anywhere match, ROH champion Samoa Joe & TBA vs. The Havana Pitbulls & Homicide, Doug Williams vs. Nigel McGuiness vs. John Walters vs. Hydro to advance to the Pure Wrestling championship title match, a second qualifying four way, and the Pure Wrestling championship match.

The ROH 7/23 debut in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin at the Meullner Buiding will feature ROH champion Samoa Joe vs. Homicide in what is being billed as their final encounter and ROH Tag Team champions Colt Cabana and CM Punk vs. The Briscoes as the top two matches. This will be one half of the promotion's Death Before Dishonor II weekend.

ROH NOTES & NEWS INCLUDING RETURN TO PHILADELPHIA TONIGHT, DETAILED SPLIT UPDATE, WEBSITE, RICKY STEAMBOAT & MORE
By Mike Johnson
June 24, 2000

Negotiations are continuing regarding the split of Ring of Honor from RF Video. The ROH side paints things as moving along smoothly, and noted that they hoped things would be settled by the end of the week. The RF Video side paints a less than rosy picture, noting there was a huge blowup with Rob Feinstein yesterday. The current issue seems to center around ROH selling product outside of their own entity. While ROH has agreed not to film any wrestling events that currently have a deal standing with RF Video, they do intend to wholesale purchase DVDs produced by Sal Hamaoui’s WWN, which would include some of those same promotions. Feinstein is against this, especially since he is giving up the rights to the ROH library, dating back from when he was completely financing the company. There was a lot of talk about outside shows featuring the ROH name (such as the joint shows with JAPW and the FWA) and it appears RF Video will be allowed to continue to sell those titles, but without the ROH name involved. Feinstein is also fearful that ROH has appropriated the RF Video mailing list, as he doesn’t want a competing company sending out mailers that tout the same product RF sells. Feinstein had told several he was angry enough to the point of showing up at tonight’s Essington, PA event but I sincerely doubt that is actually going to happen unless Feinstein is completely delusional about what could happen if he walked into the venue.

ROH’s new internal business continues to take shape. The Ring of Honor website is expected to be down over the next several days as the promotion changes the server and takes over ownership of the site. It is expected that current webmaster and designer Joe Ferrara will no longer handle the site as he is still employed by RF Video. The ROH side wants any possible connection between the two companies to be completely severed. The ROH office is set to open within the next 2 weeks as well, with plans already underway to handle immediate shipping of all orders.

Ricky Steamboat is off tonight’s ROH event in Essington, PA over travel complications dating from the venue switch from Baltimore, MD to Philadelphia, PA. According to a source close to Steamboat, he was looking at two flights followed by over an hour drive to Philadelphia, and he wasn’t too keen on that idea. The storyline reason for his absence will be the “injuries” he suffered against CM Punk on 5/22. Steamboat is scheduled to return to the promotion on 7/17 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Ring of Honor will debut tonight in Essington, PA at the Ramada Inn with “Survival of the Fittest,” featuring a one night tournament made up of six singles matches, with the victors advancing to a final six way bout to determine the final Survivor. Tickets to the show are just $5.

Qualifying Matches for the Survival of the Fittest feature:

*ROH Champion Samoa Joe vs. Matt Stryker
*Colt Cabana vs. Trent Acid
*Bryan Danielson vs. Jack Evans
*Homicide vs. Jay Briscoe
*Alex Shelley vs. Mark Briscoe
*John Walters vs. Austin Aries

The six winners will go on to face off in a six-way finale that will headline the show.

Also scheduled for the show is ROH Tag Team champions CM Punk & Colt Cabana (who are doing double duty) will defend against Special K, Dunn & Marcos, and The Outcast Killaz in a Scramble Match. Punk (OK, make that triple duty) will also be meeting Samoa Joe for the first time “face to face” since their 60 minute match in Dayton, Ohio.


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