Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ring of Honor's Parent Company Grows

ROH's parent company just went plaid
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
As much as WWE is the leader, a veritable (pun intended) titan in wrestling in a land of mere mortals, it is not the largest company in the country with a wrestling department. Sinclair Broadcasting Group dwarfs WWE in nearly every single comparable term, and it's just gotten bigger. The conglomerate just bought Tribune Media, which owns Chicago-based superstation WGN, for $3.9 billion dollars. Basically, SBG, which was the largest owner of television stations in the country, went from solar system big to galaxy big.

So of course, the question becomes, at least in terms of this ramshackle DIY publication, what does it mean for Ring of Honor? Honestly, none of the news articles I've seen mention the conglomerate's wrestling arm at all, so anything said in regards to ROH is pure speculation. Obviously, putting ROH's weekly television show on WGN America would be the commonsense move, but it's not the most important development that could possibly happen, emphasis on the fleeting nature of the word "possibly." The addition of assets for SBG increases the conglomerate's earning power, which should mean more revenue to spread around to employees, of which ROH wrestlers should be considered. However, because WWE set the industry standard of abusing the independent contractor label, ROH wrestlers will more than likely remain in the same boat.

Asking SBG to be industry leaders is as nonsensical as asking WWE to do the same, maybe even more so. The people in charge of the company are staunch arch-conservative scions, ones who have supported heinous causes in the past. I don't know much about the company's allocation of funds to pay wrestlers, but given the fact that the only wrestlers not to jump at the chance to exit their contracts to either test the free agency waters or go to NXT are ROH originals the Briscoe Brothers, well, their monetary situation can't be that comparable to WWE's.

So basically, this move probably means a whole lot of nothing for ROH wrestlers, which is a shame. Sinclair has the opportunity to compete with WWE as a place where wrestlers can earn a living, even if it is not close as a national competitor as a product. One could argue "why pay wrestlers WWE prices if they're not returning WWE results," and I retort that Sinclair could buy and sell WWE three times over. The first place to invest to grow your business is always labor, and that is quadruply true for wrestling, where labor IS the product. SBG won't make the moves necessary to take ROH to a higher plane, but it should. I'd say that is a symptom of Donald Trump's America, but face it, even if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama were in office right now, the situation would be the same.