Rumors are circulating that WWE wants to acquire Ring of Honor Wrestling, currently owned & operated by Sinclair Broadcasting, the same folks who own Comet TV, the American Sports Network, Charge TV, and a few stations across the country (2 of them in my area). The idea would be to move ROH's weekly program off Comet and onto WWE Network, which would cost ROH fans $10 a month.
Why is WWE even considering such a move?
Ring of Honor is where WWE got some of their current talent, such as Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Roderick Strong, Austin Aries, A. J. Styles, Cedric Alexander, and Samoa Joe. Of that group, Aries, Strong, Joe, & Styles also worked for Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA) during their careers. NXT trainer Sara Amato (nee Sara Del Rey) also was a ROH alumnus. Ditto for Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs, also now with NXT as trainers and/or writers. ROH's weekly show, up until recently anchored by ex-WWE announcer Kevin Kelly, is gaining in popularity, but Sinclair isn't opening the purse strings to allow ROH to tour outside of established bases, such as the Chicago suburbs. ROH-TV has been in my area going on 5 years, and ROH hasn't touched down in the Albany market yet for a live event.
Vince McMahon fears that ROH will become a major competitor, and he can't have that. So he's trying to buy them off and out. But, then, the problem becomes the same as when he bought out WCW 16 years ago. What to do with all the talent under contract to ROH?
Like, remember the ill-fated Invasion angle (July-November 2001)? Vince purposely botched it to make ECW & WCW look bad, and even with a better class of athletes on the ROH roster, with the prospect of turning current NXT/WWE babyfaces such as Alexander and Aries heel by having them link up with their ROH brethren, he'd do the same thing again now, just because he can. And that is bad logic.
By the time the '01 Invasion began, Triple H was on the sidelines, disabled by a torn quad. Not so now. What if he could recruit Team ROH to join Owens & Joe to really shake things up? Joe's already beaten Roman Reigns, the current organizational golden boy, at least in Vince's warped mind. The internet fans wouldn't give Vince the reaction he'd want, as they'd cheer for Joe anyway. Same for Aries, Alexander, and even Styles. Vince, at least for a while, would be driven off, and that would allow a behind-the-scenes experiment to see if HHH, the "godfather", if ya will, of the current NXT, can steer the big bus (WWE), aided by wife Stephanie and a crack staff that he has assembled. I don't get to watch NXT since I don't have WWE Network, but I read of how people rate it to be superior to Raw and/or Smackdown on a week-to-week basis. This would be the impetus to finally send Vince off to a retirement home. I recommend Happy Acres Rest Home, but that's just me. If it works, Vince can quietly retire, safe in knowing the company's in good (read: better) hands going forward, and that's what we're all waiting for.
Unfortunately, because it's Vince, he'll mistreat this golden apple like the writers of certain primetime shows screw around with their viewers. You can't please everyone, of course, but to paraphrase Ricky Nelson's 1972 hit, "Garden Party", Vince hasn't learned that lesson so well. Yet. And probably never will.