Pro Wrestling: Ring of Honor Wrestling’s double shot
By Jessi Virtusio Pro Wrestlingfirstname.lastname@example.org February 27, 2013 11:31AM
Former Total Nonstop Action Wrestling star Jay Lethal will challenge for the Ring of Honor Wrestling world championship on March 2 in Chicago Ridge.
RING OF HONOR WRESTLING
Frontier Park fieldhouse,
9807 Sayre Ave., Chicago Ridge
(215) 781-2500; rohwrestling.com
♦ 7:30 p.m. March 2
♦ Tickets start at $20
♦ 2 p.m. March 3
♦ Tickets start at $15
Updated: April 2, 2013 6:09AM
When people stop Jay Lethal in the store these days, more often than not it’s because of Ring of Honor Wrestling.
That wasn’t the case years ago when the majority of people who stopped Lethal knew him from his Black Machismo character from Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
“I live here in Tampa, Fla., and we get the Ring of Honor TV show here,” he said of the pro wrestling promotion’s weekly Sinclair Broadcast Group program.
“I’m proud that I’m getting stopped more and more for Ring of Honor. It’s on a local channel. ... You can watch all the shows on the Internet (too).”
Both the Web and television will play a prominent role in ROH’s March shows booked in Chicago Ridge.
The “11th Anniversary” event on March 2 will be broadcast live on Internet pay-per-view.
“I did cancel my cable since I wasn’t home enough to watch it, but I did have the Internet. Nowadays, it is very vital,” Lethal, a New Jersey native, said.
“I did find that some of my favorite shows that I couldn’t catch because I didn’t have cable, I was able to catch these shows online.
“It’s great marketing. I can’t think of anybody who doesn’t have Internet access because it’s so important.
“The fact that they can order from the Internet, that is something that nowadays everybody has to think about. That is very key.”
Lethal will challenge Kevin Steen for the ROH world championship at “11th Anniversary.”
“The one thing that sticks out in everyone’s mind in every sport is the main championship,” said Lethal, who’s held the ROH Pure championship and the ROH world TV championship.
“In our sport, in professional wrestling, the first thought that comes in your mind is the main champion. He is the face of the company. He’s the leader of the locker room.
“It’s one of the highest honors you can have in professional wrestling. I would love the chance to lead Ring of Honor and lead the company.
“Everybody wants to be the world champion.”
Lethal said ROH’s brand of brawling is part of what’s kept it going in a fickle industry.
“Most of the time in the wrestling world, especially with the WWE because it’s so mainstream, they center their product around story lines to hook people, almost like a soap opera,” he said.
“We actually focus our story on competition almost like the Ultimate Fighting Championship product. That’s where most of our fans come from.
“Everyone is driven by competition. They don’t want to see guys talk on the microphone. They want to see action, action, action.
“We have proved there is a pretty good market for that.”
Lethal also is booked on ROH’s March 3 show, which will be a TV taping featuring former WWE and TNA star the “Self Proclaimed Icon” Matt Hardy.
March 3 also will be Fan Appreciation Day with Lethal, the Briscoe Brothers and ROH world TV champion Adam Cole signing autographs from 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Lethal’s resume has grown considerably since his debut in 2001.
In addition to holding TNA’s X Division championship multiple times and being TNA world tag-team champion with Consequences Creed, Lethal formed several strong bonds.
“I’ve made some tremendous friendships,” Lethal said. “I’m still very big friends with and fans of more than half of the TNA roster.
“I still keep in contact with them. In this world, we can’t take our money with us. Money comes and goes. Friends, if you can find good ones, they last forever.”
Watch for a Pro Wrestling Extra topic on Elaborating on Entertainment, blogs.southtownstar.com/entertainment, for much more of my conversation with Jay Lethal.