Rhett Titus remembers landing at the airport in Las Vegas ready for a jam-packed weekend of Ring of Honor shows. Then he got the news a pandemic was gaining steam and the company was taking precautions by cancelling forthcoming events.
“You go home and think we’re going to be locked down for two weeks,” he said, reflecting on the experience just a year later. “Then two weeks turns into two months and so on. I kept myself busy working out and staying in shape because I was waiting by the phone.”
That call didn’t come for months as ROH shuttered all live television tapings. They did keep programming going through episodes of TV dedicated to best of’s and wrestler compilations. Titus was happy the promotions went the better safe than sorry route.
“Other companies were going around just doing the temperature checks,” he said. “They told us, ‘We don’t know that much about the virus. We need to collect more info. You’re still getting your check right to your account.’ That was a relieving feeling. Once Ring of Honor came back doing TV and pay-per-views, they did it in the safest way possible. There was talk of going to Florida or Tennessee. One of the open states where it might be easier to operate. The idea to do it in Maryland, which already had one of the most strict wrestling commissions prior to the pandemic. They really made sure everything was done to the utmost safety.”
As we’re speaking, Titus took his pretest before leaving for another round of tapings inside the ROH ‘Bubble.” There is another test to take when he gets to TV with others in the days that followed including a few days of quarantine.
“We’ll be wearing a mask all day long to the point where we walk through the curtain,” Titus explained. “After someone wrestlers the mat will be changed. The ropes will be disinfected with a new mat for each match. Just to put things in perspective a regular TV taping for Ring of Honor compared to now with the Bubble. It’s three times the amount it costs a regular taping with the bubble now. They are really sparing no expense to keep everyone safe. The whole locker room is enthralled that they are taking care of our safety like that.”
After more than 15 years under the ROH umbrella, he remains proud of how far they’ve come and what has been built. Titus believes the product stands out among others in the marketplace.
“To be completely honest I’ll go on record and say I watch pretty much every wrestling television show. Ring of Honor has the best wrestling show,” Titus said confidently.
The former tag champ believes it’s about staying the course and getting more eyes on the shows. Consistency is key.
“If Ring of Honor stays true to itself and goes back to the basics like it has with the pure tournament and pure rules, I think the people will come around to it,” he added. “If you take a look at some of these other companies and products they are putting out, it’s really not that good. People are going to get sick of that. They are either going to, A: stop watching wrestling in general or B” try to seek something else. What happened back in the day when Ring of Honor got popular to begin with was people were seeking something else out and found Ring of Honor. Hopefully, that trend continues.”
Ring of Honor TV, Syndication and HonorClub. You can find the full audio and video from Rhett’s interview below: