Wrestling is returning to live crowds.
AEW ran their first full-capacity event, Double or Nothing, at the end of May and recently returned to touring. WWE just got back on the road this past weekend. Ring of Honor hosted their first show recently with fans in over a year with Best in the World.
Speaking with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman on the Wrestling Inc. Daily, ROH Six-Man Champion Shane Taylor emphasized his enthusiasm, but notes he’s prepared for the atmosphere change.
“I’m excited, man. Some places have been less strict with restrictions and all that stuff, so we’ve been able to get back in front of crowds numerous times before this point,” Taylor said. “Obviously we’re super excited to have the Ring of Honor fans back. It’s going to be crazy. The energy is going to be through the roof. I think that’s just one more thing that works to our advantage is that we’re not going to have the nerves of, ‘Okay, it’s our first time back in front of people in however many months.’ Not only do we have the decided advantage with cohesiveness as a unit, but we’ve also already prepared ourselves for all of the distractions and all of the things a crowd can bring.”
While other promotions have brought fans in virtually or socially-distanced during the pandemic, ROH kept their tapings in empty arenas. Taylor likened this move to tiring out your opponent in boxing, noting all of their decisions during the pandemic were made strategically.
“It’s like rope-a-dope in boxing. We’ve sat back and kind of, let everybody punch themselves out, and we’ve waited, and waited, and now it’s our turn to swing,” Taylor said. “When we do, it’s going to be absolutely incredible to watch, and we’re going to do exactly what Ring of Honor has always done: lead by example, innovate, and succeed.”
Before the pandemic, Ring of Honor was evolving to new heights. Their partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling was thriving, and they were even able to host 16,000 fans in Madison Square Garden with 2019’s G1 Supercard. While COVID-19 stalled their momentum, Taylor is confident ROH can resume their progress.
Between a touring schedule and live television hopes, ROH has high goals; however, when pressed by Hausman about when ROH could regularly be touring in front of fans again Taylor said all of those things will take significant time.
“I think probably earliest next year, but if I’m being super realistic, I’d say take the timeframe that the pandemic was, and add that to the end of the year. So we’re saying maybe a year and a half?” Taylor said. “We have to get back to where we were, and then progress. We’re coming out with a lot of momentum, so maybe that speeds up the process, but even something like that you don’t want to rush it because you want to make sure it’s right. You only get that first impression that one time. You want to make sure you’re ready to go, the time is right. You come out trying to impress.”
You can follow Shane on Twitter @Shane216Taylor.
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