Ring of Honor has been at the center of a wave of change in the independent professional wrestling business ever since late 2018
On the New Year's Day episode of their YouTube series Being The Elite, The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes and Adam Page (all of whom departed from ROH a month prior), announced that they were launching their own wrestling promotion — All Elite Wrestling.
In the midst of losing four major American stars, ROH dove headfirst into the buyer's market for wrestling talent, signing new stars like Bandido, Brody King, Dragon Lee, Mark Haskins, PCO, PJ Black and Rush, re-signing established talent like Jay Lethal and Silas Young to long-term contracts and bringing Juice Robinson and Zack Sabre Jr. over from partner promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling.
In a series of recent interviews with Comicbook.com, ROH World Television Champion Jeff Cobb and ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Matt Taven and TK O'Ryan gave their insight on the state of the ROH locker room amid all of the recent change.
Cobb, who made a name for himself on Lucha Underground as "The Monster" Matanza, joined Ring of Honor back in July 2018. He quickly established himself as one of the company's rising stars, winning the TV title from Punishment Martinez in his first official match with the promotion. Cobb said he held no ill will towards the wrestlers who left, and that roster is looking forward to the new opportunity.
"Honestly when people leave, you know, it sucks. But that's just the way the business is," Cobb said. "I mean, it goes in every genre, in every sport. People leave all the time in movies, people leave in TV shows, they leave in basketball, football, baseball, you name it. I think it gives us an opportunity for other people to step up and other people to showcase their abilities, and then at the same time give them a bigger spotlight. We can eventually replenish the star power that we lost, but I think our roster's great from top to bottom, and any one of them can step up at any given day."
As the leader of The Kingdom faction and a locker room veteran, Taven has elevated himself into ROH's main event picture over the last year with feuds against top stars like Lethal and Dalton Castle. At ROH's latest event, Bound By Honor, Taven picked up a pinfall win over Lethal in a main-event six-man tag match, putting him in line for a future shot at the promotion's top prize.
"It's without a doubt the best atmosphere it's been in the Ring of Honor locker room in a while," Taven said. "And that's not anything negative towards anyone else, it's a very welcoming place, and all these guys that are coming in are so good. Then the mix with the guys that have been there for a while, and really take pride in Ring of Honor, it's hard to have a bad atmosphere when everyone is out there wanting to succeed and wanting to do their best. Not just for themselves, but for the company in general.
"I think we got something really special going on," he added. "And it's gonna be a fantastic 2019, if the first couple months have any indication of that.
Fellow Kingdom member O'Ryan echoed Taven's sentiments, saying the newest additions to the roster were all perfect fits in the locker room.
"I would describe the locker room as teething with excitement," O'Ryan said. "The new guys that have come into the locker room, they've all fit in right away. I mean outside of wrestling, and I've met a bunch of the new guys, and I've already broken bread with them and got to know a bit. Some of the guys I've already known, you know it's great to have around now. And certain guys just take on a certain role, like Juice Robinson is a natural locker room leader and guys really like to be around him. Bandido is just an absolute superstar in the making. One of the most exciting in wrestling I've ever seen.0comments
"On top of the in-ring stuff that these guys bring in, the atmosphere in the locker room is just tingling right now," he continued. "It's just a group of people that get along, that want to work together, and I guess most important they want to bring the Ring of Honor to, is they meet the higher level that it's been currently elevated to."
Ring of Honor's next pay-per-view, the ROH 17th Anniversary Show, will take place on March 9 at the Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada. That show will be followed up by the sold-out G1 Supercard event at Madison Square Garden on April 6.