Eck's Files: ROH COO Joe Koff Discusses ROH's Past And Future On ROHStrong Podcast; Rhett Titus Is A Truly Deserving Champion

By Kevin Eck

As one era of Ring of Honor comes to a close and we await the dawning of a new one, ROH COO Joe Koff joined me on the latest episode of The ROHStrong Podcast to reflect on ROH’s past and comment on it’s future.

There have been some pro wrestling fans and media members who have questioned whether ROH actually has a future.

It was announced in October that ROH is taking the first quarter of 2022 to reimagine the company and plans to return to live events in April for Supercard of Honor.

When I asked Koff about those who are skeptical about ROH continuing, he made it clear that it’s “when” ROH returns, not “if.”

“What seeped into the narrative … is that we were shutting down, when all we announced is that we were not doing any live events in the first quarter,” Koff said. “We never used the words ‘shutting down.’”

During our discussion, Koff also talked about why ROH changed its business model; the new era of ROH; Jay Lethal returning to wrestle in the main event at Final Battle: End of an Era; AEW and Impact Wrestling talent appearing at Final Battle and what it means regarding the “forbidden door” going forward, and much more.

The podcast drops Monday morning on ROHWrestling.com and most podcast platforms.

***

There were a number of memorable moments at Final Battle: End of an Era last Saturday, but one that stood out for me was Rhett Titus winning the ROH World Television Title. 

Talk about a feel good story. Not only is it the first singles title for Titus in his 15 years with ROH, but he won it on a historic show. 

Nearly 20 years after he sat in the crowd as a fan at ROH's very first show, The Era of Honor Begins, Titus stood in the ring raising his newly won championship belt at the End of an Era. 

Titus’ talent has never been in question, but he was lost in the shuffle for years in ROH.

At one point, after he had already been a co-holder of the ROH World Tag Team Title, Titus had to resort to driving the ring truck and doing ring crew again just to keep himself involved. He was told by a superior that management didn’t see him as anything more than an enhancement talent.

But Titus kept working hard and making the most of whatever minimal role he was given.

He finally got a break when he became a founding member of The Foundation with Lethal, Jonathan Gresham and Tracy Williams last year. It was an opportunity to remind everyone of just how good he really is in the ring.

I was sitting in the “friends and family” section in the arena at Final Battle in Baltimore when Titus captured the TV Title. His wife, Valerie, and their 2-year-old son, R.J., were directly in front of me. 

Valerie’s elation when her husband won and the fans chanted “you deserve it!”  was enough to give even an old cynic like me a lump in my throat.

 

***

It was very classy of AEW and Impact Wrestling to allow their talent to appear at Final Battle and send in video tributes. 

If only every major wrestling company was as classy.

 

***

Voting has started for the 2021 ROH awards. Go to the ROH The Experience Facebook group and place your votes for the year’s best performers, matches, moments and more.

***

An ROH Women’s World Title Match between champion Rok-C and Holidead takes place on the Christmas episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling next weekend.

The annual Christmas Surprise Tag Match also is on tap and will be bigger than ever. It’ll be a 12-man tag match instead of the usual 10-man tag. ROH Pure Champion Josh Woods and Brian Johnson will serve as captains for teams that will be chosen at random.

***

This weekend’s episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling is a Top Prospect Special, headlined by a match between two former Top Prospect Tournament winners, Woods (2017) and Dak Draper (2019).

Also on the show, Dante Caballero faces Matt Makowski, and there’s a Four Corner Survival Match between Joe Keys, Eric Martin, Adrian Soriano of Primal Fear and Rayo.

 

***

In closing, I want to offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of former ROH star Jimmy Rave, who passed away this week at 39.

Caprice Coleman, who was a longtime friend of Rave’s, wrote about his passing in yesterday’s Dose of Colemanism, Coleman’s weekly column on ROHWrestling.com.

***

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.