During ROH’s existence of two decades, the company has experienced a number of regimes: Rob Feinstein, Cary Silkin, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. On March 2, a new era began when Tony Khan announced that he purchased ROH. Although it has yet to be confirmed what Khan’s plans are, the main rumor is that ROH will be presented as a developmental territory for AEW.
Although, “AEW Dark” and, “AEW Dark: Elevation” are currently used as developmental shows, they are being utilized in the style of “Superstars” and “Wrestling Challenge”, syndicated WWE programs that featured matches in which a talent helped to spotlight a more established talent, meanwhile gaining first-hand experience on how to work a match and a crowd. This is very different from the traditional developmental territory.
ROH as a traditonal developmental territory
If ROH is a traditional developmental territory, then it likely will be utilized the same way that NXT originally was, where the focus was mainly on developmental talent as they interacted with each other in matches, angles, and promos in the same fashion as the talents on the main roster. I think this would be a great idea and a contribution to the growth of both AEW and the talents in the developmental territory, because when they appear on, “AEW Dynamite” or, “AEW Rampage” for the first time, they will be fully TV-ready, since they will be doing what they had been doing in the developmental territory all along.
With that said, while a developmental territory like this would be a great place for US-based independent talents who have wrestled for AEW such as Angelica Risk, Blake Li, and Xtina Kay/Kayla Inlay it would benefit Tony Khan to also use this as an opportunity to branch out more beyond the US.
Bringing in international talent
ROH’s Code of Honor was based on Japanese wrestling, and ROH was constantly linked with the Japanese wrestling industry, whether they were bringing in talent from Japan, having a working relationship with a promotion based in Japan, or having shows in Japan. With AEW having a working relationship with NJPW, Tony Khan can explore an additional working relationship with another Japanese promotion via ROH.
Japan brings a style to the pro-wrestling industry that is very unique and has been an asset to AEW. Puroreu is currently utilized in AEW via Japanese talents such as Hikaru Shida, Riho, Emi Sakura, as well as NJPW talent. ROH could include Japan-based talents from a small/medium-sized company and the independent Japanese scene that are not yet very well known, giving fans new, different, and exciting talent to watch.
ROH would need to bring in people with knowledge of the Japan pro-wrestling scene in order to branch out in that fashion, but that would not be a problem- Tony Khan has already proven more than once that if he becomes aware of someone who has the ability to help him bring a plan to fruition, he has the resources to acquire them.
A new lease on life for ROH
In any case, no matter what direction Tony Khan takes ROH in, his purchase of the company gave ROH what many consider a new lease on life at a time when many doubted that ROH that ever would ever fully return from hiatus. It will be interesting to see what Tony Khan’s era of ROH will look like.