By Kevin Eck
In honor of the 500th episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” premiering next week, Chris Hero -- who wrestled in the main event on the debut episode -- was my guest on the latest “ROHStong Podcast.”
On that first episode, The Kings of Wrestling (Hero and Claudio Castagnoli) faced ROH World Tag Team Champions Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) in a title match.
Producing a weekly television show as a result of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s purchase of ROH from Cary Silkin marked a new chapter in the company’s history. Hero reflected on what the mood was like in the locker room that night in Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, Ill., nearly a decade ago.
“The locker room there is a gym, so there are fly machines and benches and leg press, and you just have to set up your bags where you can find a little bit of space,” Hero said. “So I just have this moment of [ROH COO] Joe Koff talking to the locker room and kind of explaining this, and we’re all seated on various exercise equipment. It sounded good. It sounded great.
“But there’s a lot of things in pro wrestling that sound good and sound great. You just have to have the patience to kind of see it through and then also just not get your hopes up too much because you don’t know. There’s so much uncertainty in a business like professional wrestling. I think 500 episodes later we have our answer as to how that’s going to turn out.”
Hero also talked about his longtime association with Castagnoli; the story behind the legendary ROH-CZW feud; whether a return to ROH could be in his future; his time in NXT; his series of grueling matches against CM Punk in IWA Mid-South; his new podcast, “Can Chris Hero Save Wrestling?” and much more.
The podcast drops Monday morning on ROHWrestling,com and most podcast platforms.
ROH matchmakers are starting off the next 500 episodes with a bang.
A huge main event has been signed for Episode 501, which airs the weekend of April 24, as Violence Unlimited (Brody King, Homicide and Chris Dickinson) makes its debut against La Faccion Ingobernable (ROH World Champion RUSH, Kenny King and Bestia del Ring) in six-man tag action.
Also on that episode, two of ROH’s hottest young stars square off as Dak Draper takes on Eli Isom, and The Righteous (Bateman, Vita Von Starr and new member Dutch) will speak. ROH officials still have not heard from Righteous leader Vincent since his brutal unsanctioned match against Matt Taven at the 19th Anniversary show two weeks ago.
It was announced last week that Jay Briscoe versus Mark Briscoe will headline the 500th episode, which also features an ROH Pure Title Match between champion Jonathan Gresham and fellow Foundation member and best friend Jay Lethal.
Fans can watch the landmark episode on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern on Best On The Planet, ROH’s free 24/7 streaming service, before it airs elsewhere that weekend.
From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday on Best On The Planet, ROH will present the 500th Episode Special, featuring 10 of the greatest matches in the series’ history, including the aforementioned Kings of Wrestling-Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team championship match from Episode 1, as well as matches featuring AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and The Young Bucks, and more.
CELEBRATE ROH’S 500TH EPISODE
Join us Thursday, April 15:
6pm ET- 500 Ep Retrospective!
8pm ET- 500 Ep World Premiere!
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) April 8, 2021
The 500th episode festivities kick off with the pre-show, which I’ll be co-hosting with Ian Riccaboni, live on YouTube at 5:30 p.m.
Also, Riccaboni will host the #ROH500 Watch Party exclusively for HonorClub members on Zoom on Thursday at 8 p.m. If you’re an HonorClub subscriber, check your email for a link to register for the event and watch the show along with ROH stars (limited to the first 100 subscribers).
As documented on this week’s “ROH Week By Week,” Angelina Love locked Quinn McKay in her dressing room and took over as backstage interviewer for last week’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”
Now I’m hearing that Love actually filmed her own version of “ROH Week By Week.”
While McKay is understandably livid about Love’s actions, she should be thankful the seven-time former world champion is just playing mind games rather than beating her up on the set again.
On a side note, while Love’s skills as an interviewer leave a lot to be desired, she definitely can rock a bow tie.
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) April 7, 2021
I’ve been told it’s highly likely we’re going to see Sledge-O’Shay Edwards III in the near future.
After wrestling to a 10-minute draw in February, Sledge and Edwards went to a 15-minute stalemate on this week’s “ROH Week By Week.” Immediately following the bout, the competitors’ frustration over not being able to score the victory boiled over and a pull-apart brawl ensued.
Perhaps a 20-minute time limit would settle things.
A programming reminder: On this weekend’s episode of ROH TV, Lethal and Gresham face MexiSquad’s Bandido and Flamita, and Delirious and Rocky Romero square off in a Pure Rules Match.
Preview of this weekends episode of ROH TV: https://t.co/HpbK9GJXiN
The Foundation’s Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham vs. MexiSquad’s Bandido & Flamita
Pure Rules Match Delirious vs. Rocky Romero
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) April 9, 2021
Until next time, keep safe and stay #ROHStrong!
Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com. Eck’s Files appears every Friday.