Ring of Honor, the wrestling promotion owned by Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, will shut down next year for at least three months while the company reevaluates the business.
ROH announced its plans on Twitter, saying late last week that the loss of live events during the pandemic has made it necessary to “reimagine ROH.”
“We now find ourselves at a time where we need to make changes to our business operations and are planning a pivot for Ring of Honor, with a new mission and strategy,” the company tweeted Oct. 27.
The company produces live events and a television show. ROH TV airs on Sinclair-owned or operated stations, such as CW 54 and MyTV in the Baltimore market, on the Sinclair-owned Bally Sports Network and other channels.
“Ring of Honor is holding off touring for the time being, not ceasing operations entirely,” a Sinclair spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “In April, Ring of Honor will be turning to a new fan-focused product, offering a more unique experience to wrestling fans which we’ll be planning for in the coming months.”
A Ring of Honor spokeswoman said the company had no comment beyond its official statement.
The company said it kept its roster of wrestlers fully under contract for 18 months when events were canceled because of COVID-19 health concerns. But Sports Illustrated reported late last week that the company had released all wrestlers from their contracts.
ROH said it plans to end the year with a “Final Battle,” ROH’s biggest annual event since the company began in 2002. ROH live events typically are filmed for television, pay per view or DVD release.
Sinclair said the television programming will continue with original content from the archives.
The company tweeted that it anticipates returning to live events in April for the “Super Card of Honor,” but with a “new fan-focused product.”
While ROH TV and events are on hiatus, the company said it will work internally to reimagine ROH. It was unclear what that could mean for talent released from contracts.
“ROH has the most dedicated fans in the industry, and we appreciate their loyalty and patience as we reconceptualize ROH,” the company tweeted.
Ring of Honor promotes its pro-wrestling stars as having a hard-hitting style that incorporates wrestling and mixed martial arts. The Final Battle, also offered as a pay-per-view event, will be held at UMBC’s Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena on Dec. 11. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday.
“l’ve lived my dream with Ring of Honor,” ROH commentator Ian Riccaboni said on social media Sunday.
“The news of the hiatus was communicated professionally and with care, but there are a lot of question marks,” Riccaboni said. “I have reason for optimism that ROH will restart in April. I hope I am a part of their plans.”