SummerSlam Weekend wasn’t all about the WWE as Ring of Honor ran its Summer Supercard show, also in Toronto. The event also featured top stars from New Japan and CMLL with announcer Ian Riccaboni on the call for the action.
Riccaboni also joined Wrestling Inc’s Nick Hausman for a chat and they talked about ROH’s current era which has been described as a “rebuild.”
“I think right now we have a lot of stars that are hungry and looking to make an impact. There’s been the word rebuilding and anytime you lose 7-8 stars to do whatever purpose they’re doing, that puts you in a vulnerable position. But we’ve had the luxury of leadership that’s went out and signed guys,” Riccaboni said before listing off ROH’s new additions.
“We’ve done an admirable job of getting wrestlers that fans that have followed ROH for a long time may not have heard of yet. We’re getting exposure to these talents that some of the hardcore wrestling fans have known.”
Riccaboni then talked about buying ROH DVDs at Boarders book stores as a kid and watching the different waves roll through the company. They’ve lost guys like Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness, but still moved forward.
“We’re gonna do big things with CMLL coming up whether that’s in Mexico or the US,” revealed Riccaboni. “I think there’s a lot of super-positive stuff on the horizon and I’m excited to be a part of this era where there’s a little bit of uncertainty because every time ROH has been in this position before, there’s been guys and girls that have broken through and taken ROH to even bigger heights.”
Riccaboni then talked a bit about Alex Shelley who recently made his return to ROH after establishing his name there over a dozen years ago.
“I think about some of the huge names that I’ve called this year for the first time: The Great Muta and several CMLL stars?Alex Shelley is a guy who I have called matches for before. But I’ve called very few single matches for Alex Shelley,” Riccaboni said while referencing Shelley’s single match at Summer Supercard against Matt Taven.
“He’s really a trailblazer but I equate Shelley to the [rock band] MC5. They’re both from Detroit and the MC5 are on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot and I bet if you polled 100 people walking around in Toronto here, they wouldn’t know who the MC5 are.”
He added that casual music fans would never know who MC5 were but diehards would and he sees similarities in Shelley with wrestling fans.
“That’s where I see Alex Shelley at. He can go from the class of the MC5 where his contributions to ROH can’t be understated?he can go from that class to the class of Alice Cooper,” stated Riccaboni.
“He can go from consensus all-time great trailblazer to consensus all-time great, period.”
Riccaboni then talked about a cause in his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania that ROH is helping to support.
“I have a t-shirt right now on ROHwrestling.com that says Happy Wrestling which is my sign-off. That money goes to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania,” said Riccaboni. “ROH has been a great partner in really helping the wrestlers, commentators and crew. They help advocate for the causes in which we personally believe in so thank you to ROH for allowing me the platform to do that. We put it up for Pride Month and it was super successful so I thank everyone that bought one. We’ve decided to just keep it up in perpetuity so any money made off that will go to Bradbury-Sullivan.
“So thank you to everyone that bought one and if you haven’t, check it out at ROHproshop.com or ROHwrestling.com and you can check it out there.”
Riccaboni’s full interview with Wrestling Inc. aired as part of Tuesday’s episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post, or in the video above.