The entire sports world has been affected by the coronavirus including pro wrestling. Many promotions have cancelled or postponed events and ROH has gone dark by cancelling all events through May 31.
ROH COO Joe Koff discussed the process that led to this decision when he joined our The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast recently.
"People's health and our athletes' health and the fans' health…we're trying to follow what's being asked of us by the government and by the CDC and following the guidelines of the people who are smarting about this. Las Vegas was a good example as we had every intention of doing that show even up until Thursday – and there was even talk about it on Friday – but in good conscience I felt that why endanger any further? I don't wanna be the cause of that," said Koff.
"As important is the 18th Anniversary Show, we have to put the people up front right now. We have to get through this together."
He added that they have to be honest about the unpredictability at the moment as people need to social distance and be smart about how they conduct their activities.
"I felt better knowing that we're a part of that as opposed to being featured while this is going on," stated Koff. "You have many decisions and of course this is affecting our business and we cancelled our April and May dates. We're trying to follow the rules to get through this and the quicker we work together, then the quicker we deal with this… Then we can get back to doing business and that's really my goal."
"I can't make a judgement on them, that's an individual judgement. That's their call and it's their business to run. Whatever decisions they make is in the interests of their business," said Koff.
"I think it's interesting to watch from what I've seen at the closed locations. I think the PC is probably a more pristine kind of place for that isolation. I'm not sure it needs to be staffed as fully as an arena might. I think everybody's gotta be thought of in this thought process. Far be it for me to be to make any decisions for any other business or to be judgmental about it. It's their call and I'm sure they've spent a lot of time in making these decisions."
ROH cancelling its events didn't just affect them as it also affected the venues that they were scheduled to perform in. Koff was asked if ROH had any issues with the venues that they had to pull out of.
"No, absolutely not. These are businessmen so they understand what's going on. Some of the venues – for instance the ones in Columbus and Pittsburgh – they are closed. That's part of their corporate ownership and responsibility. I respect that. As this thing either gets better or gets worse, there will be more rules and restrictions. I'm just not looking for that. Our May tour has international wrestlers coming in and I don't want that pressure on them or anybody. We have to stay in place and get this thing under control," said Koff.
The decision about which sports can still go on is being left up to the individual sports leagues and federations. Koff was asked if he would prefer that the federal government drew hard lines in regards to what events can and cannot happen.
"I think there's a hard line and it's our line. I think it's how we value our fans and talent and people gathering in one situation," Koff said before adding that the government is trying to establish norms.
"The governors are doing a really good job in their individual states and they're trying to do the best for their people. I don't know if we need stricter regulations and we people to say they can sacrifice 1, 2 or 3 weeks if it will make the country heal. Then jobs open, and restaurants and bars open and wrestling is wrestling once again. I think it's a small sacrifice and we just don't know what to do because we haven't been asked to do it yet in our lives."
He added that this will have an effect on multiple generations and that it's a challenge for everybody.
For the latest information regarding Ring of Honor and their future events please visit www.ROHWrestling.com. Joe's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.