Ring of Honor was first formed in April 2001 by the owner of RF Video, Rob Feinstein. He did this after he lost his main income base – ECW – when it closed. The first show was held at ECW’s home in Philadelphia in February 2002 featuring a triple threat match involving the three men who would become known as the Founding Fathers of ROH – Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson and Low-Ki. For the first year, ROH stuck to Philly and surrounding localities before starting it’s expansion in 2003 into other states, entering a partnership with Full Impact Pro in Florida and holding it’s first overseas show in London in association with the Frontier Wrestling Alliance.
In 2004, Feinstein was forced to sell his majority share of ROH when he was caught in an underage sex scandal. It cost ROH a lot of it’s roster who were also working for TNA at the time. For short period Doug Gentry held Feinstein’s share before selling it to Cary Silkin. It would be under Silkin that ROH would expand even further, starting with opening it’s own online store selling not only it’s own videos and merchandise but also other promotions including it’s second partner Shimmer Women Athletes.
ROH toured Japan for the first time in 2007 and in the same year started to branch into the pay per view scene – only the third promotion to have this on tap at the time alongside WWE and TNA. The first show was shown on July 1, over six weeks after it was taped in May.
In 2009 ROH signed a TV deal with HDNet for two years and debuted Ring of Honor Wrestling. It ran the full contract and it wasn’t renewed with the last episodes airing in March and early April, 2011.
But then Sinclair Broadcasting bought out Silkin while retaining him in an executive position, leading to a continuation of the TV show on it’s network.
As time went on, a lot of ROH talent were departing for WWE. The base was still sound, but the formation of AEW put a lot more pressure on the promotion. A concussion controversy in the later months of 2019 also didn’t help. In that light it was awful timing that the COVID-19 pandemic hit when it did.
ROH remains though as a player on the American wrestling scene. Time will tell if it can survive.