In January Marty Scurll re-signed with Ring of Honor and also became the head booker of the promotion. One of his goals was to re-establish the relationship between ROH and New Japan before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
ROH commentator Ian Riccaboni, who would one day like to call NJPW-ROH shows, discussed that relationship when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
“The relationship is stronger than I think most people realize. If you’re not involved in the day-to-day, I don’t think you would realize ? based on some of the pervasive thought online ? that the relationships are strong with ROH and New Japan,” stated Riccaboni. “Everyone’s friends and rooting for each other. Whether it’s Omega and Ibushi ? AEW and New Japan ? obviously great friends there. I’m great friends with BJ Whitmer, Adam Page, Colt Cabana ? guys in AEW. There’s this prevailing hope that everybody succeeds and I think we’re all rooting for each other.”
He then said Marty was scheduled to go to Japan for a few shows before the outbreak. Riccaboni also noted that ELP was announced for Supercard and those are the things that were going to lead to ROH getting new, different talent.
“It was going to get interesting. The great thing is with what ROH did, a lot of us are chomping at the bit and salivating to get back. But we know the right thing to do is social distance and stay at home. We know that all we did was pause and when things get going again, we’re not shooting our best shot in front of an empty crowd necessarily. We’re gonna be firing away when the time is right,” revealed Riccaboni.
He then was asked when he thought ROH would be back in front of a crowd again.
“That’s really tough to say. What was communicated to us in Vegas on the day we were supposed to have the 18th Anniversary was the hope was that we’d come back for The Best in the World in June,” said Riccaboni. “We haven’t heard anything one way or the other. I don’t know if the restrictions will be lifted to have a live crowd in time. I do know there’s been some creative thoughts about how we might be able to present wrestling in different ways.
“The Briscoes have a chicken farm and Vincent has a compound. I’ll just say those things. I know ROH is very in tune and in touch with the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, who’s been doing a great job. He’s been on the front lines saying we’re not open for business until we get the testing and the curve is flattened. I know that is guiding a lot of the decisions because The Best in the World would be in Baltimore on those dates. But I don’t think there’s any expectation or any decisions yet. I personally don’t think right this second is a good time for anybody to be doing much of anything. That’s a personal opinion and thankfully ROH has shared that.”
Riccaboni and former ROH owner, and current ambassador, Cary Silkin have a podcast together called Last Stop Penn Station. Riccaboni talked more about Silkin and everything he’s gone through which makes for great podcast content.
“Cary is a real-life Forest Gump. He’s a wrestling Forrest Gump. He’s been everywhere, done everything, experienced everything and has come out alive,” said Riccaboni. “He’s not proud of the things he’s done but he’s proud that over time ? and this is my opinion ? he’s become the most generous, kind man ever.
“He’ll recount stories of desperation ? husting tickets ? and bad breaks like getting tickets that wouldn’t move that he thought would. Being a 28-year-old in Manhattan in the 80s when some of the hard drugs like cocaine and heroine were really starting to heat up, Cary pulls no punches and tells you when he’s taken part of those things. He tells you what he regrets, what he’s glad he survived and he’s a guy that really has lived everything.
“This guy was at the first WrestleMania. He, on a whim, started a pro wrestling magazine in Puerto Rico. He almost got killed by Invader and got chased out of a locker room with his life threatened because one of his friends made a wise crack. It’s kinda amazing to hear these things.”
Riccaboni credits Silkin with keeping ROH afloat in the early days when Riccaboni was a broke college kid and could only dream of going to shows.
“I’ve always been thankful to Cary for when times get tough in ROH, for making sure that it got into safe hands,” Riccaboni said before talking about what he gets out of hosting a podcast with Cary.
“For me, very selfishly I get to pick his brain about all of the wrestling stuff but it’s also an amazing look at NYC in the 80s and early 90s. Then his travels to Puerto Rico and London and New Orleans where he tried to merchandise the Chicago Bears Super Bowl win anticipating it might be a hot item. Cary was a risk taker. He’s somebody who liked to have fun and was caught up in addition. But he made it to the other side. He doesn’t want people to celebrate his bad behavior but he wants it to be documented to let people know that if you have gone through this, or if you’re going through this, there is a way out.
“Not only is there a way out, but you can be as successful as you wanna be and there is still a chance to change. That’s what’s really impressed me the most about Cary. That’s a layer and has been under the surface that I didn’t know was there. It’s really cool to find out along the way talking to Cary.”
The pandemic side-tracked the podcast for a while but Riccaboni says they are set to finish off the debut season shortly.
“We’ve done nine places so far; our first season is called Places. It got derailed a little bit by the coronavirus. We’ve got some technology going though and we’ve taught Cary how to use it,” stated Riccaboni. “So, it will be back very shortly and it will be the season finale where we talk about Madison Square Garden and how Cary grew up going to MSG and how he saw WrestleMania 1 and has been to a lot of major rock concerts.
“We transition into the realization that he and I are standing in the New York Rangers locker room at G1 Supercard realizing that this little company that he poured millions of his own dollars into and never saw a dime back that suddenly it was playing a sold-out MSG and what that meant to him and wrestling?
“We have a lot of fun doing it and it’s fun for Cary. Sometimes we’ll pre-prep and start talking and I’ll see a light bulb go off that he’s remembered something and we’ll go down a path that we never expected to go down. It’s really fun doing it and we’ve had a lot of great feedback.”
Ian Riccaboni can be heard every week as part of ROH TV. For more information please visit www.ROHWrestling.com. Ian’s full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of 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.
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