The Death of ECW Leads to the Birth of ROH
In 2001, Extreme Championship Wrestling went out of business. One of the people affected by this was Rob Feinstein. His company, RF Video, used to record and sell every ECW event on their site. With his biggest product gone, he founded the company with the goal of creating and selling DVDs.
The Code of Honor
The company initially set itself apart from other companies by implementing a code of honor. This code consisted of a set of rules, such as shaking an opponents hand before the match, which the wrestlers had to obey. Their first event was held on February 23, 2002 in Philadelphia. Over the course of their first two years, the company expanded their promotional territory while at the same time providing wrestling fans with their first major exposure to wrestlers like Samoa Joe and CM Punk. The company eventually dropped their Code of Honor. Things looked really good for the company as they planned a big event to coincide with WrestleMania XX.
The Rob Feinstein Incident
A few days before the big show, Rob Feinstein was involved in an underage sex sting. Rob Feinstein allegedly went to the house of a 14-year old boy in a sting set up by perverted-justice.com (the group that does the Dateline specials) and NBC 10 (WCAU-TV), a Philadelphia affiliate. While Feinstein was not charged, the company was in major trouble.
A New Start and Growth for the Company
In the aftermath of the scandal, Cary Silkin wound up owning 100% of the company and the company split from RF Video. All the DVDs were now produced and sold by Ring of Honor. The company continues to grow and they annually run shows during WrestleMania weekend in the town where WrestleMania takes place.
The Future is Now
One of the legacies of the company is all of the top talent that got their first major exposure working for the company. In 2008, former stars CM Punk and Samoa Joe simultaneously held the most prestigious titles in the WWE and TNA, respectively. In addition, the company also has seen the US debut appearances of some of the top talent from Japan.
In March of 2009, the company began broadcasting a weekly show on HDNet. The pre-recorded show was taped at the old ECW Arena in Philadelphia, PA. The show lasted on the network for two years.
Sinclair Media Group
In May of 2011, the company was sold to Sinclair Media Group. They own television stations in over 30 markets with a market penetration that reaches over 20% of the United States. Starting in September of 2011, they will broadcast a new show on their stations and unlike the HDNet shows, these will also be available online.
Sources used include: rohwrestling.com and Slam Sports