On Tuesday, June 27th, 2018, we were given the opportunity to chat with some of the most important names in Ring of Honor, ahead of their big Best in the World show on Friday in Baltimore. On the call were ROH COO Joe Koff, Women of Honor Superstar Tenille Dashwood (FKA Emma) and ROH World Champion Dalton Castle. Here’s what was discussed:
What would you tell fans to get them to check out BITW? – “We’re always seeking new fans with every show, we want it to be representative of the artistic and athletic ability, the agility and the total immersive experience of wrestling, and an opportunity to experience the best in the world which we believe we are”.
On the future of the ROH Dojo – “The first training camp was this weekend, while the results aren’t final, we’re very happy with how things look so far. It’s a new direction and we’ll use it to identify and train talent and develop the next generation of ROH talent, it’s very exciting. In the next 12/18 months, we hope to identify talent that we can bring to TV/Digital and just to find people who have that quality and can work the ROH style and help them get to be TV ready“.
What does it mean for BITW to be in Baltimore – “It’s always great to play in the home market because it gives the long-time fanbase but also the investors and the sponsors a chance to come and enjoy the show. It’s home but it’s a new arena for us but we’re looking forward to making our mark there”.
On Flip Gordon vs Bully Ray and Ray’s ‘retirement’ – He declared that he didn’t think he could wrestle adequately but then he found himself recovering better than he expected. He embraced his role as the enforcer and we kept him around but it was his choice to retire and it’s his choice to return. It’s going to be an interesting match and one that’s going to get a lot of attention.
On Dalton Castle’s tenure as champion – We couldn’t be happier, he has presented himself as a champion and the Ring of Honor brand how we would want. He got hurt, he injured himself but he’s a gamer and an athlete and a student of the game, he’s fought over the world through those injuries and he can assure you he’s ready and if he says he’s ready, we believe him…
What are the goals for the show? – The goal is to put on the best show possible, Best in the World has always over-exceeded expectations and our only goal is to do that again and with the card we have, I think that’s going to happen
On doing more work in the UK & the possibility of a UK PPV – “That has been discussed, we had a great tour last month and we’re coming back in August, for us to come on a more regular basis requires a lot of logistics but it’s a popular market and we look forward to coming back soon”.
We asked were there any other markets you were hoping to expand into soon? – “We have international distribution in Portugal, India, Canada, we would love to expand into those markets further and bring shows but it would have to make sense for all involved and we’re hoping to have a great presence in the next 18 months so we’ll see what’s on the horizon”.
On if he considers ROH to be on the right track – “We have seen crowds and receipts go up, we have great ticket sales, we’re happy with whats going on in storylines. We don’t base our success on each show but how to shows go over a year and we’re happy with advance ticket sales and I think this is going to be a good year for us”.
We asked her thoughts on Intergender wrestling & If she’d like to do more of it – “It’s definitely something we’ve been discussing and it could be an interesting addition to the ROH shows, especially with the women showing they are of equivalent status to the men. Most of my training was against guys, it was years in before I had any women to train against, especially as you can see the majority of rosters are male and I’m not opposed to it by any means”.
On her status with ROH – “The timing was perfect with the Women Of Honor tournament and I jumped on the opportunity as did they and it’s been great so far and I’m excited to see what’s to come”.
On if there’s any animosity between her and Sumie Sakai – “You could say I was disappointed in myself for letting the crowd down (at Supercard of Honor where Dashwood failed to win the WOH Title Tournament) as many people expected me to take the title, I still picture myself in that role and it wasn’t my moment then but it will be and hopefully very soon.
On her time in the Lance Storm Wrestling Academy – “I started at 19 on the recommendation of a friend. It was one of the best experiences of my career and Storm’s as good a friend as he was a trainer and I still hang out with him on occasion so yeah, great time and no regrets, I’d recommend it to anyone”.
If she had to bring anyone from WWE to WOH – “I’d have to say Bayley, she’s passionate, dedicated, we’re very close, we lived together in NXT and I admire the hard work she puts in, her ideas, her drive, I hope I have some of that too and I think we could kill it in the ring together again if given the chance”.
On if she gets more freedom in ROH as opposed to WWE – “Amazing, I found a new energy, life, I had so many more ideas and so many people around me inspiring me and sparking that passion in me again and giving me more freedom to focus on wrestling than time limits and more opportunities to wrestle longer singles matches, something I hadn’t done in years. I’m finally getting to show how good I can be. Not to take a shot at the WWE as I loved my time there but everything is much stricter there and that’s how it is. Now I’m here, not really for anyone else but for myself, I wanted to prove to myself I could go further and push harder and surprise myself about how good I can be”.
How does she feel WOH showcases Women’s Wrestling – “I aim to bring what I’ve done in WOH and the tournament has shown how much the company are putting behind the women and I hope to be part of pushing boundaries and maybe we’ll see intergender and women in the main event in the near future”.
What would a title reign mean to you – “It would be incredible but everything happens for a reason and not getting there immediately pushes you further and still not having had that does that, I hope to get there one day but after all this hard work, it’s going to be so much sweeter so I’ll keep working hard”.
Thoughts on the match ahead – “I’m excited to return to the home of ROH, Baltimore, even more excited to be headlining the show. Two great talents coming for my title, two members of the Bullet Club, it’s a big deal and it’s going to be hard fought but am I looking to it? Definitely”.
What statement are you hoping to make as a champion? – “I’m hoping to show that as the show says, I’m the best in the world and I believe that. But I’m injured, I’ve had to miss shows, I haven’t wanted to but to walk out there, less than 100% and still I will find a way to win that’s who I am, that’s the champion I am, that’s my statement”.
If he has any plans in NJPW and CMLL – “I haven’t worked CMLL but I’d love to. I’ve worked three times the Honor Rising tours in New Japan but I haven’t worked with all the people I’d like to, all the towns I’d like to and I’d like the chance to work those people and places and show them who the Dalton Castle I try to be is”.
How his responsibilities changed since becoming World Champion – “I felt a lot put on my plate since I became champion, I was no longer representing Dalton Castle, I was representing the company, I was showing that we are the best wrestling in the world and I had to be at the front of that. Even with injuries, I feel like I’m letting people down if I don’t compete and I’m trying to work through it”.
On Comparisons with Kenny Omega – “I have been a fan since before I knew him, we’ve never had a singles match and that’s a shame. As to if we were to have that match, maybe we should just go out for some mimosas, some pinot grigio and trade secrets, world champ to world champ”.
What caused his injuries and where is he in rehab? – “Where I am, I don’t know, I can’t pinpoint one specific thing but it’s a multitude of injuries, from a fracture in my back that I ignored and let heal but it shifted plates in my back in a way that creeps up on me every now and then. It’s intensified to the point where I feel it, I’m in pain almost all the time but I’m not on the bench yet, I’m going to go out on Friday and fight to the best of my abilities and possibly past that but we’ll see on Saturday”.
On if surgery is the last thing he wants – “The last thing I want is to be run over by a herd of wildebeest. Surgery is a close second”.
On if he plans to do more comedy shows – “I had a great time putting it (Dalton Castle’s Boy’s Night Out) on, I hope to do more in the future, I’m going to do more Boys Nights Out, I’m writing a show at the moment with my fellow wrestler RJ City, we’re working out where to do it but hopefully you’ll hear something about that in the next six months”.
On if Cody announcing plans for All In puts pressure on him? – “No, it’s Cody putting more pressure on himself, he’s putting the cart before the horse and Cody shouldn’t be thinking about September right now, he should just be thinking about Friday night”.
On if his character makes him unique – “Character is a reductive, blanket statement. All that matters is that the crowd is entertained and I think I do a pretty good job of doing that. Since I got my shot in the Top Prospect Tournament, I have taken every shot I’ve got and not wasted it. I’ve tried to not just be a great wrestler but an entertainer and I think I’ve done that”.
His position in the growth of Ring of Honor – “It’s gratifying that when they’re playing these venues that his face, his name is there at the top but it’s not just him, it’s a great locker room and everyone puts in such a strong effort and everyone has such a love of wrestling and we all contribute, it’s a group effort. I’ve only been here a few years but seeing how the company’s grown is excited and calling myself ROH Champion, it makes me love coming to work”.
For more information on how to purchase tickets/VoD of Best In The World ’18, click here.