WWE reportedly had talks to purchase Ring of Honor.
As noted, Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite opened with AEW President, CEO, General Manager & Head Of Creative Tony Khan announcing that he has purchased ROH.
In an update, PWInsider reports that WWE was interested in purchasing ROH when the company announced their hiatus last November.
WWE and ROH officials entered into discussions back in December, but for some reason the talks ended without an official deal being made. This was not the first time WWE and ROH had talks as Triple H wanted to buy the promotion when they were hot back in 2018.
It was noted that some people in WWE were legitimately shocked when Khan made his announcement as there was a feeling within WWE that AEW was going to announce a streaming deal with HBO Max, which had been rumored.
Regarding upcoming plans for ROH, Khan’s press release noted that more details would be announced in the coming weeks. PWInsider adds that as of Wednesday, the ROH side was still working on production for the ROH TV show and the upcoming events announced for April, and word going around that circle was that sale talks were going on, but the deal wasn’t done. That changed late in the day, as late as 6pm ET. While the two sides had been in talks for a few weeks, the official deal wasn’t closed until yesterday. There was a small circle in AEW who were aware of the talks, and they believed it to be a done deal well before that.
The sale was described by “bittersweet” by people on the ROH side as some feel like this was the right thing for the long-term viability of ROH, but there were a lot of people who truly loved working on the product, who were extremely saddened to see this chapter end. The reality is that the chapter actually ended last December after Final Battle.
Regarding the future of ROH, Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam reports that internal plans call for AEW to use ROH as a developmental territory of sorts. It was also noted how word going around says “main roster” AEW talent will be featured on the ROH brand at times. It was also noted by Bodyslam that Khan paid in the $30-$40 million range. This comes after a recent report noted how one person was in talks to buy the company in early 2020 for a discussed $40 million price point, while another person claimed a potential buyer was told $30 million for 50% ownership at one point. It should be noted that these price points were from a time when ROH had several talent contracts and before the hiatus was announced last year.
As noted, it was reported on Wrestling Observer Radio how the ROH tape library was important to AEW as they do want a streaming service in some form. Khan noted in Wednesday’s press release that he will immediately begin exploring opportunities to make the ROH video library available to fans. AEW acquired thousands of hours of ROH footage with the purchase.
Khan’s announcement also noted how they have “the potential to produce new content under the ROH banner.” There is no word yet on his plans for the ROH brand, or if the Supercard of Honor XV event will still happen during WrestleMania 38 Weekend. It’s likely that this event will still happen, along with the April 10 ROH TV tapings in Philadelphia as wrestlers and venues have been booked, and tickets put on sale. PWInsider noted that the recent ROH announcements for Supercard of Honor and the Philly taping were made independent of the AEW side, and were put into motion before the sale was announced.
Khan’s announcement noted that the ROH acquisition will be completed through an entity that is wholly-owned by Khan.