After four years of syndication on Sinclair Broadcasting, Ring of Honor finally took the next step as a company, and signed a deal with a cable station, Destination America.
Yes, Destination America, the channel that airs TNA, is double-dipping into the wrestling game. They announced that ROH would air on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. starting on June 3, getting that coveted primetime spot after being relegated to Sunday mornings at 2 a.m. in so many markets for several years.
The hour-long show would serve as a lead-in to TNA, at least for the time being. The announcement sent shockwaves through the wrestling world, with excitement about ROH getting the big deal, and questions about where this leaves TNA.
Many ROH wrestlers including AJ Styles and Matt Sydal have said in the past that a primetime cable deal is the only thing preventing Ring of Honor from taking the next step as a company. While Destination America isn't the biggest cable station in the world, it does reach 50% of the country, including markets that ROH didn't reach before, like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The show will also continue to air on the Sinclair Broadcasting stations that it already airs on, so many of the people who are unable to get Destination America will still be able to get the show through Sinclair. The show is going to start off with a bang, as the first shows on Destination America will come from the ROH/New Japan Global Wars tapings that took place a couple of weeks ago. This move may not prove to push ROH into competing with WWE, but it could provide wrestling fans with a legitimate #2 company now that TNA seems to be falling.
It's important to note that while many people believe that this is the end of TNA Wrestling on Destination America, as of now, they are billing it as an entire night of wrestling, with ROH serving as the lead-in to TNA. "With the electric and intense matches that Ring of Honor provides, Destination America is the network for fans to get an entire evening of jaw-dropping entertainment on Wednesday nights," said Marc Etkind, General Manager of Destination America. "Ring of Honor showcases tenacity, athleticism and passion and it serves as the place where America's favorite wrestling stars are born."
With that being said, there had been reports that Destination America hadn't been happy with TNA, and would exercise their opt-out clause in September that is supposedly in their contract. Having two completely separate companies on the same night doesn't make that much sense, and this feels more like Destination America introducing their audience to ROH before dropping TNA in the fall. Despite the general consensus that Impact as a show has improved, the audience hasn't grown as quickly as they may have expected. With a likely cheaper option coming around in ROH, it wouldn't surprise anyone if TNA gets dropped from their second network in a year.
No matter what happens with TNA, this summer should be an amazing one for wrestling fans. Wednesday nights have become the new big night in wrestling, soon with TNA, ROH, NXT and Lucha Underground all airing on that night. If Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling is able to get a cable deal over the summer, then this could go down as one of the most exciting times to be a wrestling fan since the Monday Night Wars.
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