While a select few wrestling promotions have continued with no-crowd shows during the coronavirus pandemic, ROH has decided to go dark. Former World Champion Matt Taven discussed ROH’s decision to not hold any events when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
“I honestly think it was a smart decision. When it first happened, even the boys were like, ‘Oh wow, that’s a drastic decision.’ We went out to Vegas and the shows were cancelled and before we knew it, everything was cancelled through June 1. Now you look back on it and see ROH was ahead of the curve,” said Taven.
“For me personally, I think it’s smart and it doesn’t put the crew in any sort of situations with traveling and being around other people. Right now, it feels like you don’t know anything, so to err on the side of caution is probably the best.”
He then put over the recent ROH TV episodes because they do deep dives into the careers of people like The Briscoes or Jay Lethal. Taven said you never get a chance to slow down and appreciate the career of guys like that, but with the times, now you do.
“Those episodes on TV have been some of the best that I’ve watched in a long time,” revealed Taven.
Many employers have furloughed or reduced the pay of their employees but in pro wrestling, talent are independent contractors rather than employees. Taven was asked how ROH is taking care of talent while they are dark.
“When we were in Vegas, ROH office had a meeting and they said this wouldn’t affect our contracts at all. We would be paid as we would normally be and that’s something this office has done continuously, especially for me as a guy who has been here for years,” stated Taven. “People ask about my loyalty to ROH and I always go back to when I blew my knee out the last time. My contract expired while I was hurt and Mikey [Bennett] goes to TNA and I don’t know what I’m gonna do. ROH says, ‘Don’t worry, we’re gonna take care of you.’ We re-did the contract and it’s something I’ll never forget.
“They told all the boys and girls in Vegas afterwards that if you hadn’t gotten your flight yet, then don’t come out here because the show’s gonna be cancelled. Everyone was informed that they would continue to take care of us during this downtime and it’s an awesome thing for Ring of Honor to do.”
While Taven isn’t competing at the moment, many of his friends in the business are. He was asked how it is watching other wrestlers compete in front of no-crowd shows.
“It’s a weird thing. I don’t necessarily wonder about people’s safety because I think everybody is gonna take the proper precautions. We’re talking about companies that are obviously very intelligent, but my biggest concern is that it’s so hard to bump in front of no one [laughs],” admitted Taven. “The emotion of a crowd gets your adrenaline going in a way that’s hard to recreate when you’re practicing in a school or wrestling without a crowd. But these guys are going out there and giving it there all in front of no one. It’s the nature of the beast.
“No one has ever been through this before so we’re kinda rolling with the punches. It’s a tough situation to adapt to. I’m watching the shows and going, ‘Oh, that must have hurt’ and no one’s cheering after which probably made it hurt even worst. That’s what we have to do right now and guys are just making the most out of it.”
Taven was then asked if he would feel comfortable wrestling during this pandemic.
“If ROH felt it was the best decision, I think they have taken such precaution that they wouldn’t ask me or any of the guys on the roster to wrestle unless they knew it was 110 percent safe. I assume other companies feel that way too. If that was the case, I would have no problem with it,” revealed Taven.
“But for me, there will never be anything to replace wrestling in front of a live crowd. I think every guy and girl is just kinda waiting for the day we can be back doing what we love, entertaining other people and getting the reactions that keep you going.”
ROH was finding its groove in early 2020 before this pandemic hit. Taven was asked what ROH will be like once they get back to business.
“I think everyone is just ready to get out of their quarantine bubbles and have some fun. I know from the things that were moving in certain directions with ROH, that when we come back there’s gonna be all of these awesome things happening. Maybe even all at once because we’ve lost so much time that maybe we have to make up for lost time,” stated Taven.
“It’s going to be such an exciting summer for ROH and I think if people are able to finally get out of their house, they are gonna be excited to get out and do something. The momentum we had before I can see really snowballing into something special once we’re back at it this summer.”
Matt Taven can be seen every week as part of ROH TV. For more information about ROH please visit www.ROHWrestling.com. Taven’s full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of today’s 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.