It was one of the most important nights in recent ROH memory as Showdown in the Sun was featured in Florida, the site of Wrestlemania. These weekends have been crucial to grow the Ring of Honor product and last Friday saw thousands purchase both days for a discount on Go Fight Live. What they were introduced to was an excellent card they couldn’t enjoy due to technical issues.
From around the start of the show it was clear there were sync issues with the sound and video. At one point there was three feeds for fans to choose from but without notice, they were cut down to two (the 3000kb feed was pulled). Fans had to take it off full screen and refresh the page just to know. Soon after, the 500kb feed was now taken down but the sync issues continued. GFL soon put a warning that they were having, “Internet issues”. It soon came clear that the problems were because ROH and GFL didn’t prepare enough to realize the building in Ft. Lauderdale was old and had no wired internet connection. GFL had to use a wireless signal to try and send the Internet feed. This still didn’t excuse the fact they hadn’t planned this better, both ROH and GFL.
The biggest issue is that for ROH fans who have been watching since Sinclair purchased the company, this has been just another iPPV in a line of iPPVs with technical issues and broadcast problems. ROH has become increasingly sloppy in their production values and it’s been difficult for ROH fans to justify and worse, for casual wrestling fans to get into a great product when the company cannot edit nametags from a taped show to show up appropriately when a wrestler comes out, or re-edit the replay.
For me personally, there’s no excuse for this stuff. When I worked for Ontario Championship Wrestling as an interviewer, they used Cogeco Kingston, a local cable TV production company to produce their show. They learned after two shows how to edit on the fly and have a show close to 100 per cent produced by the time the event was over. Errors were fixed immediately. When shows came to television, the only errors happened in the ring. Ring of Honor has no excuse.
As for Go Fight Live, they do not seem to understand how this could ruin their entire independent product. If a WWE fan is buying this weekend PPV because they want three days of wrestling action and the Friday show disappoints them, why should they ever purchase another GFL product? On the same day, Dragon Gate: USA held a $2 with little error (the ending was clipped). Very few purchased that compared to the ROH PPV. The reaction by GFL was disappointing. I purchased both shows and had a “conversation” with Keith Evans of GFL. I use quotations because they used these same replies with everyone. It took four replies before getting a partial refund for Day One due to the sync issues.
This is a tough moment for both companies. What’s interesting is that this similar to a conversation I had with Recker (Ring Crew Show, Basement Vagrants). He once said that people have no issue going to a McDonalds or Burger King time and time again because they are always going to be there and if the food wasn’t good you can wait a few months and there will be other people there to serve you (this is paraphrased). However, when you goto a mom and pops or a local eatery, one bad experience could stop you from ever going again. This is because they don’t have years and years to be in your memory and if they messed up your food once, chances are in three months the same people will be working there. I disagreed with this on my own behalf, but I certainly feel this way from the show. ROH has screwed up their production values on both TV and iPPV. GFL really dropped the ball tonight and this isn’t the first time there have been errors on a GFL broadcast. It’s difficult to justify watching again, when I can recall paying month after month for WWE PPVs regardless of errors that happened. WWE is McDonalds. If I eat fast food I’m going to eventually eat there again regardless of how bad it is. ROH is Five Guys. If Five Guys gives me a burnt bun once, I might walk away quick.
I will end with this. It took a day but GFL did the right thing. I received a partial refund for the show, like I asked. I’m still going to watch Day Two, which has for the most part been error free. They fixed the issue today. GFL and ROH do deserve a second chance, but I suggest all those on Twitter make it clear to ROH to fix their production issues soon or else they just won’t grow beyond what they are today. They have now received a reputation after being purchased by Sinclair of being thrifty and money pinching on production when they weren’t before. That is not a reputation they need. Nobody is asking for WWE values. They are just asking for competent production.