August 22, 2011
@GaryMehaffy on Twitter
An interview with Cary Silkin
Were you a fan of wrestling growing up?
Yes. Like just about anybody I’ve ever met who’s ever been involved in pro wrestling – whether they were a wrestler, or behind the scenes, or whomever – I’d say 99 out of 100 people grew up liking wrestling, and I was one of them. I grew up in the New York area, growing up in ’54, so I grew up on Bruno Sammartino and the old WWWF promotion and I kept my eye on wrestling my whole life. Some people fade in and out of it, but much to the chagrin of some of my friends I remained a fan!
Had you had much involvement in the business prior to Ring Of Honor?
Strangely enough I was involved with a wrestling magazine which was published in Puerto Rico of all places! It’s a long story, but it was an interesting project and we actually published half a dozen issues – this was in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. That was my first full time wrestling gig. When I was a kid I took some pictures and tried to sell them and this kind of thing. So that (Puerto Rico) was prior to Ring Of Honor.
What were your hopes and thoughts for Ring Of Honor when you got involved with them?
It was primarily a company that did live shows and sold DVD’s. It just sort of morphed into what it is. The wrestling was always good from the beginning, that’s what attracted me to it. We didn’t really expect to go to the UK twice, to go to Japan twice, to do many states in the US and eventually get on television, and so on and so forth. Everything was done in a very slow, gradual manner. We never rushed anything. That was one of the reasons we survived.
You mentioned that grew up watching Bruno. Was the Ring Of Honor style of wrestling one that you preferred?
You got to understand that back then you were talking about pre-cable TV, pre-internet, so the only information you got about wrestling was what you saw on television, what was in the magazines. I was always fascinated with the different territories, reading about the different styles. The old New York promotion was very slow, it was a big man style. On my local television, for some odd reason, they put on Championship Wrestling from Florida – in the 70’s. I got to see that style. I like all styles of wrestling. I understood that different areas did different things. The Ring Of Honor style, which some people say is based on Japanese style, it was just good. There’s bad wrestling and there’s good wrestling, and I always liked good wrestling.
I was talking to Jim Cornette, who was excited about the future of Ring Of Honor, but this was before the sale to Sinclair. Now that they have taken over and are trying to spread the company even more, how much of an opportunity do you think this is for the company to develop?
It’s tremendous. Sinclair cover 25% of the country with their TV stations. Some people will say “Well, it’s only 25% of the country!” but their TV stations are old school broadcast television, the kind of stations that have been on in these cities for years and years and years. People watch the local news on (them), people watch their favourite shows on, people watch sports on and they know the channels. In these particular markets, which are 37 markets, once again, like 25% of the country, it’s a tremendous opportunity. And for the people not in those markets, the show will be on the internet – the first show will be on the following Thursday, the shows gonna run on the TV stations on Saturdays and Sundays – so everyone will have the opportunity to see it. It’s a great opportunity for Ring Of Honor. Sinclair is totally behind the project, Jim is producing the TV show. He’s very serious about whatever he does. To have him on your side, for my money or for my intellect, he’s the best guy you could possibly have.
Do you see that in the long term that Ring Of Honor can become – I don’t want to say no. 3, because the way TNA looks at the minute, it could very easily slide into no. 2. Do you see that as a hope for the future?
Well I don’t think anybody involved in the project is looking at it like that. We’re focussing on what we do, and we’re not looking to take over a particular ranking, but I think there’s a very good opportunity for a lot more lives shows, a lot more exposure and the possibility of this show being on TV across the whole country. Sinclair is looking to sell the show to other markets that would want it if the show does well, so yes there is a tremendous opportunity. There’s gonna be a lot more live shows into next year into some of these new markets where Sinclair is and it’s not only a good opportunity for the wrestlers, it’s a good opportunity for the fans to have Ring Of Honor come a little closer to where they live. We’re going to continue doing the old markets we used to do, where there is no broadcast TV right now-Chicago and New York. It’s very exciting and I’m happy to see Ring Of Honor live on and still be part of it, and I’m really interested to see what’s going to roll out over the next year.
One final question: do you have anything you’d like to say to the Ring Of Honor fans?
Sure! First of all, sincerely, we appreciate the support we’ve gotten. The Ring Of Honor fans are very passionate, and in very tough economic times and tough wrestling times they kept us going and we were able to survive. Let’s put it this way – it’s a good time to be a Ring Of Honor fan. The best is yet to be seen! We’ve had some really good stuff but I think that once again, not to repeat myself, the next year coming up is going to be the most exciting year for Ring Of Honor. The crew that we have now, the guys that are signed, we have such good talent……….we’ll be doing a Pay Per View on September 17th from New York on GoFightLive that everybody can get, whether you’re in the UK or L.A. or in Thailand you can watch the show. Keep your eye out, it’s going to be a fun year and a good one.