I’m sure you’re aware that women’s wrestling is bigger than ever these days.
We can all rejoice in the fact that women’s matches are no longer treated as intermission staples -- whether a breather between higher card matches or the perfect time to grab a snack or use the bathroom.
Though this elevation of women’s wrestling is related to WWE, the uprising of women’s wrestling is expanding far beyond the multi-million dollar empire.
The next step being -- Women of Honor -- Ring of Honor’s answer to the women’s wrestling revolution.
While the concept behind Women of Honor isn’t necessarily new, ROH produced its first women’s match in June 2002 at its Road to the Title show. Then ROH started featuring Sarah Del Rey (the current head coach of the women’s division in WWE), Traci Brooks and Becky Bayless. Some of these matches were featured on ROH’s television program and, later, on its syndicated show.
ROH did not consistently brand those women as Women of Honor until 2015.
Women’s matches on YouTube started gaining immense popularity with fans. That resulted in Ring of Honor taping a pilot for a standalone Women of Honor program. The pilot aired as a Women of Honor-branded television special in June 2016.
Performers like Kelly Klein, Deonna Purrazzo and the Exotic Goddess Mandy Leon found their place to showcase their in-ring talents on televisions across the globe.
I interviewed Leon via email recently about her thoughts of the Women of Honor brand in Ring of Honor.
She said: “Throughout the history of Ring of Honor Wrestling, women’s wrestling on the television program was a rarity and almost non-existent.”
Leon helped change that. “Now we have a legitimate women’s division for the first time in ROH history made up with the best female athletes in the world.”
During the Death Before Dishonor Weekend in July 2015 in Baltimore, Leon and Purrazzo made their Ring of Honor debuts, wrestling each other.
They did not disappoint. ROH officials were said to be very impressed with Leon and Purrazzo’s performance. Leon states it was the match that restarted it all.
“ROH decided to put the match [Leon vs. Purrazzo] on YouTube as a YouTube exclusive,” she said. “Little did anyone know that over-night the video would go viral and become the start of something amazing...The match that relaunched a Women of Honor brand.”
Mandy grew up with the all encompassing feeling of love and passion for a sport she now gets to perform regularly.
“I watched wrestling as a child a lot... I loved it,” she said. “The women that inspired me as a little girl watching wrestling were always Chyna, Lita and Trish Stratus. As a kid, those three women gave me wrestling fever and as soon as I saw them, I knew I wanted to become a professional wrestler. Then there were the guys like Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, Jeff Hardy... I was mesmerized. Everything about it, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
Leon trained at the Ring of Honor Dojo.
“Being a Woman of Honor is simply an indescribable feeling.” she said. “My first day training at the Ring of Honor Dojo, I told my trainer Delirious that one of my main goals in Ring of Honor is to bring back women’s wrestling in ROH and to introduce a women’s championship.”
Bringing back women’s wrestling to ROH is exactly what she did. After that night in Baltimore, the Women of Honor have only being moving upwards, and Leon could not be more excited and proud of the brand she helped put back on the map.
“Women of Honor is growing daily. The amount of support from the Honor Nation and fans around the world is truly unbelievable.” she said. “With the amount of success Women of Honor has had and the amazing things we have accomplished in just a little over one year...The future of the Women of Honor brand is so bright.”
Of course, even with the future that the Women of Honor have, it would only seem right for them to raise the bar as high as possible. Especially in terms of them being featured in more international markets along side their male counterparts.
“Ring of Honor's brand has partnered with some of the top wrestling companies in the world like New Japan Pro Wrestling in Japan and CMLL in Mexico” she said. “I see this happening for the Women of Honor brand in the near future as well.”
The Women of Honor might have some big shoes to fill in keeping up with the Ring of Honor brand, but I believe that these ladies will go above and beyond what is expected and show the world what it means to be a Woman of Honor.
- ROH on TV
Ring of Honor is on Comet TV at midnight Wednesdays.
In South Florida, Ring of Honor is also midnight Saturdays on WPEC Ch.12 and WBFS MyTV33.
Plus, Ring of Honor is available through the FITE TV app.
- ROH Anniversary Show
Ring of Honor’s 15th anniversary show is 8:45 p.m. ET Friday, March 10 on pay-per-view from Sam's Town Hotel and Casino - Las Vegas, 5111 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas 89122.
Main Event: ROH World Champ Adam Cole or “The Infamous” Bobby Fish vs. “Almighty” Christopher Daniels.
NOTE: Cole will defend his title against Fish at ROH’s Manhattan Mayhem on Saturday, March 4 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.
Also at the anniversary show, in a Vegas Street Fight for the ROH World Tag Team Titles, ROH World Tag Team Champs The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Rocky Romero).
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Champs The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan) vs. Dalton Castle and The Boys.
Top Contenders Match: Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole or Bobby Fish. (Whomever is not champ following Manhattan Mayhem).
- Ring of Honor in Lakeland
Ring of Honor presents Festival of Honor at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at the Lakeland Center in Central Florida.
The event features autograph signings, unique photo opportunities, a Q&A session and a special pre-event Women of Honor show.
Then, at 6 p.m., Ring of Honor presents Supercard of Honor XI.
The show will present exclusive stars from ROH as well as many stars from around the globe, including from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Mexico’s CMLL and the United Kingdom
TAG TEAM DREAM MATCH: ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE YOUNG BUCKS (MATT and NICK JACKSON) vs. THE HARDYS (#BROKEN MATT HARDY and BROTHER NERO).
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: ADAM COLE (c) vs. DALTON CASTLE.
TEXAS BULL ROPE MATCH: CODY vs. JAY LETHAL.
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: THE KINGDOM (MATT TAVEN, TK O’RYAN and VINNY MARSEGLIA) (c) vs. SILAS YOUNG, BEER CITY BRUISER and MYSTERY PARTNER.
ALSO, CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, KAZARIAN, MARK and JAY BRISCOE, JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER, MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (ALEX SHELLEY and CHRIS SABIN), JAY WHITE, CMLL LUCHADORAS LA AMAPOLA and MARCELA, MARTY SCURLL, YOSHI-HASHI, WILL OSPREAY, VOLADOR JR, DRAGON LEE, LIO RUSH and more.
ROH officials are working to finalize round trip bus transportation as a convenient and safe option for fans to attend this incredible event.
The Lakeland Center is about 40 miles west of Orlando off Highway I-4.
- Pro Wrestling On The Web