Ian Riccaboni thrives on the chaotic lifestyle as he juggles his professional and personal lives. On top of many jobs including broadcasting for Ring of Honor, the driven multi-tasker is also a dedicated husband and dad. It’s easy to surmise he doesn’t get much sleep, especially with ROH’s profile continuing to grow and expand. But by the sounds of it he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“All these opportunities that come up have been amazing,” he said. “I think back to when the Young Bucks were here and guys like Colt Cabana. He and I talk about this a lot. That there is a finite of amount of opportunity, whether it’s time or money to do what you love to do. My days are long and packed tight, but I’m so thankful for the opportunities to be able to do everything I’m able to do.
“Honestly, I’m just trying to live my life to the fullest right now. Really, every person that can dictate that, I value the opinion of my wife. If she tells me I need to be home more, then I’m going to be home more. If she says I need to have more time with the kids, that’s whose opinion I’m going to take seriously. It’s a fun and thrilling challenge. With all the new developments [in Ring of Honor] like new markets like Seattle and Portland, new television markets, Madison Square Garden and the NWA Crockett Cup. It’s all good right now. It really is.”
If that weren’t enough, Riccaboni has also begun working with the World Armwrestling League as a pit announcer. Although it’s a different world than what he is accustomed to, there is some familiarity when comparing WAL with ROH.
“I think back to a time period when I first started getting into Ring of Honor and remember watching the original events on VHS and seeing the crowds form the Armory and just the passion,” Riccabonisaid. “I think the passion is the same. There are intense bursts in the World ArmWrestling League when they are live, there is nothing quite like it. When you understand the strategy and some of the physics behind it, it’s a pretty awesome experience. It’s not unlike Ring of Honor where you can become a fan very quickly. There is a low learning curve. Their personalities are big, the stars are big. There is just this awesome energy when you are at World Armwrestling League event.
“It’s pretty neat having Ring of Honor partner with the World Armwrestling League. I know PCO is the inaugural Ring of Honor-WAL co-champion. He won that at the Festival of Honor at the Madison Square Garden [Hulu] Theater?The live experience is more intimate just because when the arm wrestlers are competing, it’s a very small stage and setup when they are competing and pulling to ensure everybody has the best view possible. There is a limited amount number of tickets and availability. Just a hair more intimate, but I say the energy and intensity is very comparable. Some of the athletes are larger-than-life as well like wrestlers they have personalities. A lot of them have day jobs, are firefighters, mechanics, farmers, dads and moms. It’s a really cool atmosphere.”
No matter what other outside projects Riccaboni takes on, ROH remains a prime focus. He is loyal to the company, thinking about the blessings afforded to him. It’s why the popular announcer re-signed with the promotion under a multi-year deal. Even though the market is about to become even more competitive as All Elite Wrestling comes on the scene, the ever optimist believes competition is good. For him, it creates an opportunity for everyone to step up their game. He is not concerned for the future of ROH as he strongly believes in the current infrastructure.
“Ring of Honor not only survives but thrives because of the leadership we’ve had that has built a steady progression where decisions were made at a rate that allowed us to grow naturally and expand our audience naturally,” he said. “When the right talent became available to be able to open the checkbook and showcase that great talent. I think of the great talent we got this year, which I think is one of the biggest hauls we’ve ever had in one calendar year where we acquired PCO, Rush, PJ Black, Tracy Williams, Mark Haskins, Bandido, David Finlay, Juice Robinson, all of that talent because ROH talent throughout 2019. For me, we’ve done the right thing in terms of replacing great athletes and great people that have left with the best available from the market.
“Some people are calling it a rebuilding phase. I think it’s a continuation of Ring of Honor doing the right thing of continuing to build incrementally on what we’ve had. That strategy allowed us to do G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden, allows us to do the Summer Supercard with CMLL, New Japan, NWA ? That’s the kind of strategy and thinking that allowed us to do these cool events and expand our audience. It’s interesting with the competition, a lot of us including myself are very happy for the stars who have left. We wish them continued success, but at the same time we know the eyes of the wrestling world are going to be a little bit more divided and we have to work especially hard to not only keep but expand our share of the pie.”
When looking at the current names, Riccaboni is proud of the diversity. Among those mentioned include champion Matt Taven, who calls “one of the best wrestlers in the world right now.” Someone he feels is often overlooked and overshadowed. On the business end he assures that there is a long-term plan in place.
“Do I hope we do more live HonorClub matches? Absolutely. That’s one great way to keep our fans involved. Do I hope some of the recent acquisitions by Sinclair Broadcasting with the regional sports networks can help us and potentially allow us to broadcast on those? I hope so. I don’t have any involvement in the office. I don’t know. So that’s me speculating as a fan,” he said.
“That might help us get more eyes on Ring of Honor. So, there are opportunities coming up with more succinct partnership with Stadium, which is a great sports channel that we already broadcast on. These are things are little steps in grand scheme of things, but when you add them all together that will give us the greatest potential to grow with the talent, we acquired in 2019.”
ROH Best in the World airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Pay-Per-View, HonorClub and the FITE TV. For more information, visit ROHWrestling.com. Riccaboni’s full interview with Wrestling Inc was included as part of Thursday’s episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post.
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