With the 400th episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” airing this weekend, we’re commemorating the milestone by taking a look back at where it all began: Episode 1.
After ROH’s weekly show on HDNet Fights concluded its two-year run, “Ring of Honor Wrestling” made its debut on TV stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, one of the largest television broadcasting companies in the country, the weekend of September 24, 2011.
Episode 1, which was taped before a rabid crowd at Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, Ill., was headlined by an ROH World Tag Team Title match pitting champions Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) against former champions The Kings of Wrestling (Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero).
Play-by-play announcer Kevin Kelly kicked off the show by welcoming back former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness, who would serve as color commentator.
The very first match on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” saw Future Shock (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly, who both went on to win the ROH World Title) against the Bravado Brothers, Harlem and Lancelot.
Also featured on the show were highlight packages from the top two matches at Best in the World, which had taken place that summer: ROH World Champion Eddie Edwards versus Davey Richards; and a four-way elimination tag team match for the ROH World Tag Team Titles between Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, The Kings of Wrestling, Jay and Mark Briscoe, and The All Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus).
Of course, it’s only fitting that the man who has come to be known as “The Franchise of ROH,” Jay Lethal, would make an appearance on the inaugural episode. Lethal, who had made his return to ROH at Best in the World, did a sit-down interview in which he spoke about his upcoming match with ROH World Television Champion El Generico for the title. Lethal became the first competitor to win a championship on “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” defeating El Generico for the title on Episode 2.
The second half of the show was devoted to the tag team title match between Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team and The Kings of Wrestling, which tore the house down and set the tone for what fans could expect from “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”