Ring of Honor attempted to run yet another iPPV over the weekend, offering their “Death Before Dishonor” show for free via Go Fight Live, a company that focuses on internet pay-per-view offerings, primarily for MMA, pro-wrestling, and other combat related sports. On the surface, GFL seems like the perfect match for Ring of Honor: ROH prides itself in having some of the best athletes in the world, and markets its promotion as wrestling for the real fan. Void of the silly storylines, and willing to portray themselves as an alternative to WWE and TNA, they set themselves apart. They seem like a perfect fit for Go Fight Live.
However, Ring of Honor has always struggled with iPPVs. There have been constant technical glitches since day one, and in June, ROH decided once and for all they would abandon the iPPV format.
I don’t know if it was a show of good faith on the part of Go Fight Live, or an attempt by Ring of Honor to make up for their previous disasters, but this past weekend they offered “Death Before Dishonor” for free. And it was a disaster.
Maybe the problem was the fact that it WAS free - you will likely get more people to tune in if it doesn’t cost a dime, right? Or perhaps Ring of Honor really is that popular, more than any other show on GFL. Maybe the viewers tax the servers too much.
Whatever it is, Ring of Honor needs to throw in the towel.
ROH CEO Joe Koff recently interviewed with the crew at the Greg DeMarco Show, and discussed the technical issues. "We almost had a flawless feed. ... It’s just a frustrating thing because we want to present the continuity of the show, but there’s a lot of issues that happen on the home end. There’s a lot of stuff that’s out of our control, but we seem to bear the brunt of everything from that, and it seems to detract from what we’re doing. ... GFL did everything they were supposed to do to ensure the [quality of] the stream. ... I would like to continue to explore the relationship. I want to expose the product, I really do. Of all the shows they produce, we’re the biggest that they do. ... I definitely want to keep exploring the relationship. ... We’d like to do it live, but if we can’t do it live we’d rather give them a good product that they can enjoy without any kind of criticism."
According to Koff, GFL practically begged them to give it a try, and it was even their idea to offer the show for free. Now, I’m no technical expert, but Koff seems like he’s determined to make a relationship work that just isn’t. I’m reminded of the guy holding on to his ex-girlfriend, begging her to come back, when she’s already moved on.
There has to be other alternatives out there. I know WNNLive hosts Dragon Gate and EVOLVE iPPVs and they seem to be relatively more stable. What about YouTube? They do plenty of live shows now. The technology is out there, and it’s viable. So why can’t ROH get it right?
In the age of the internet and spoilers, it’s impossible to have a successful wrestling federation without being able to broadcast live shows. ROH is missing out on increasing their fanbase and improving their quality by constantly dealing with these failures.
It’s time to move on, Joe. Time to find a new alternative. While you’re at it, could you try to do something about broadcasting the TV show in Connecticut? There’s a serious lack of Ring of Honor on my TV screen right now.
What do you think? Is it better for ROH to offer a free, yet poor experience? Should they abandon iPPV completely? Let me know how you feel in the comments below!
(Credit to ProWrestling.net for providing info on the Joe Koff interview.)