01 June 2015

An Open Letter to ROH Fans

It has been a little while since I have had the time to write a column.  Being super busy has prevented me from doing as much writing as I'd like because I literally did not have the time.  But I felt compelled enough to carve out some time to write an open letter to ROH fans today.  There is an important day coming up this Wednesday, June 3rd.  It is a big night for TNA.  It is also a big night for ROH.  So why not celebrate this night together and bury the hatchet?  I know ROH fans have talked a lot of smack about TNA and its fan base in the past.  TNA fans have not been innocent in this regard either and we totally own the fact that we have also had some blunt and critical things to say in return about ROH and their overall product.  The past is the past.  Those things will not necessarily be totally forgotten and they shouldn't be.  I'm not asking you to forget about those things that have happened up until this point between the two fan bases.  However, we at TNAMecca are extending our hand to you.  It's simple: Shake Our Hand.  We're asking you politely and respectfully. 

Not just yet I see?  OK, well let me continue on with my open letter to you and we'll see if you'll reconsider by the end of this thing.  I suspect that a lot of ROH fans are adults.  Well, there ya go.  There's something that we have in common; so are we.  Of course there are younger fans that spend good money and time on both products too, but I am speaking to you as a 35 year old man that has watched pro-wrestling since I was 6 years old.  So having nearly 30 years of watching pro-wrestling under my belt has given me some perspective on things regarding this industry.  I was a WWF and WCW fan to the utmost degree in my younger days before TNA ever even existed.  I imagine that some of you also were fans of both of those promotions and others in days past. Fast forward to June of 2015.  For the first time in pro-wrestling history (unless Mike Tenay or another wrestling historian says otherwise) to the best of my knowledge, 2 competing companies will be shown on the same network back to back in a 3 hour block of pro-wrestling.  Even if you don't like that fact, it is real and it is true.  So let's talk about possible compromise and a potential understanding.

My name is Reece.  I go by my writing alias and longtime nickname of BigDawg here at TNAMecca and on Twitter.  I am being honest and sincere in this plea to ROH fans.  If you are still reading, thank you.  I will be providing an ROH Review every week on Wednesday nights at 8 PM EST right here at TNAMecca on our debuting "LIVE Discussion" starting June 3rd.  This is definitely not the first time that I have watched ROH.  Those that have been here at our comment sections for months and approaching years (plural) know that there was a time that I would stay up until 1:35 AM EST (because that's when ROH would be shown in my area on my local CBS affiliate station on my cable package) and watch the 1 hour show and share my thoughts on the episode.  I'd usually be up until 3 AM that morning and I did it to watch ROH.  I kept hearing about how awesome ROH was from people that watch both TNA and ROH (and some exclusively ROH fans).  So I finally gave it a true and objective chance.  Even though I was very critical and harsh at times, there were glimpses of brilliance and amazing pro-wrestling that I saw and commented on too.  I did have some positive things to say about ROH's product. I did this without any knowledge that eventually ROH and TNA would both be shown on the same night, on the same TV network.  Now, eventually that run of doing my ROH Review lost steam and because of my daily schedule change it became very inconvenient to stay up that late for me.  Now it will be VERY convenient to watch ROH again directly before my weekly IMPACT viewing.  I am not alone in this regard.  Big markets all over the United States will have access to ROH for the first time ever.  Other U.S. markets will have the show available in prime time for the first time ever.  This is very significant and should not be taken lightly. 

ROH fans: Your own C.O.O. Joe Koff had an interview with the legend Bill Apter earlier this week.  If you haven't already, I suggest watching it because he does not talk crap about TNA.  Instead, he is actually embracing this partnership with Destination America and TNA:

An exact quote from Joe Koff in that interview is,"I couldn't think of a better neighbor than Impact Wrestling."  Essentially the "boss" of Ring Of Honor is saying those words.  At this point, ROH fans acting disrespectful and nasty towards TNA is on them when their C.O.O. is setting a precedence to play nice with TNA.  This is smart business and it is totally in the same vein of what I am saying in this letter to you, the ROH fans.  We here at TNAMecca are not privy to what level of cross-promotion and advertising these 2 promotions will share with each other.  I imagine Destination America and the 2 companies will make some concessions and compromises and that those things are still evolving.  Egos will have to be put aside for that to happen but based off of the Twitter interactions I've seen and what key management members have said so far, that door is open.  We shall see, but things seem to be getting off on the right foot so far.

My overall point is that we need to unite as much as we can as a collective fan base.  To whatever degree that is will be up to you.  I'm not telling you what to do.  There are a lot of ROH fans that will read this and share this letter.  Good!  Please do.  Thank you for doing that.  I am speaking only for the TNA fans and TNAMecca.  I am not speaking for TNA Wrestling.  I do not work for TNA.  I do not get paid by TNA and none of us at TNAMecca do.  Most of us have full time jobs. We do not make ANY money running this site at all.  We have no advertisements as you can see.  Our objective is not to "get the most clicks" nor to make ad revenue dollars.  We are legit fans that love pro-wrestling.  That is it.  We have no hidden agenda.  Again, we are extending our hand to you, the ROH fans, to stop the negativity and we will do the same.  Some light-hearted joking from both sides will be acceptable but respect will be shown here for both ROH and TNA.  We do not wish for or call for ROH's downfall and we do not desire for ROH to go out of business.  Hell, one of our columnists and loyal staff members, Nick Mann, is a long time ROH fan and just recently attended another ROH show in Toronto:

I know there are a lot of fans and commenters that frequent TNAMecca that also watch the ROH product.  We will be talking about ROH every Wednesday now moving forward.  There have been some mean things said by all of us in the past but it's time to move past that and come together as one.  The fact is that all non-WWE promotions need to unite together.  TNA has extended their hand in recent years to House of Hardcore, AAA, Evolve, Wrestle-1 and other independent promotions.  And now, the most unlikely of allies has surfaced with this new Destination America TV deal.  We are at this point now just before this June 3rd debut, so let's make the best of it! 

In closing, I am speaking to that part of you that is a pro-wrestling fan.  Forget promotion names and discard your biases just for a moment.  Why are you a wrestling fan?  Why do you invest so much time, energy and thought into watching wrestling?  We each have our stories and a lot of us have memories of pro-wrestling going back to our childhoods like I mentioned before.  Is it more important for you to talk shit about a promotion that you do not prefer OR is more important to just simply be a fan?  Ask yourself that question.  The time has come to put aside the hate and the negativity.  We are willing to do that on our end.  Are you also willing to do that?  It's time for wrestling fans to #StandUp for professional wrestling.  It's time for fans to #WatchROH.  It's time for fans to #ShowYourImpact.  It's time for fans to watch ROH and TNA together on Wednesday nights on Destination America.  Let's make this 3 hour block on Wednesday nights a fun time!  We have at least 26 weeks of this ahead of us.  We are committed to playing nice and watching both products.  We are still and will always be TNAMecca but we are willing to make an exception in covering the ROH product for the foreseeable future, at least as long as they are both on the same TV network for this combined 3 hour block of programming.  That is our commitment and our word is our bond.  All ROH fans that can communicate civilly in our comment section are welcome here at TNAMecca.

Big Dawg

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