According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Ring of Honor is planning to do a show in New York’s most iconic arena in Madison Square Garden as an initiative to do show in bigger facilities. Holden Wilen, writer and reporter of the Baltimore Business Journal in a recent interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group INC. CEO Chris Ripley, that the company wanted to expand Ring of Honor in light of the massive deal that WWE struck with the likes of FOX that was worth $1 Billion for Smackdown Live alone.
In addition to Ring of Honor’s plans to expand, according to PWInsider, Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide will be running a show in Madison Square Garden in September becoming the 1st non-WWE wrestling organization to run a show in what is considered holy ground for the McMahon ran promotion.
Also according to PWInsider, Madison Square Garden management is upset with WWE for doing any of their marquee events at The Garden during WrestleMania 35 weekend so at this point, MSG management is more open to non WWE entities running shows in the Garden.
As a counter, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported on Thursday that WWE is doing everything in their power to make sure that Ring of Honor performing in the Garden from happening. It is of note that WWE did at one point have leverage back then to do so and that is why no other wrestling company or entity was able to work The Garden, however with the relationship souring it might not be the case this time. It is also of note that AAA’s event may not happen at the Garden as well with the Forum in Inglewood, California (former home of the Los Angeles Lakers) being the backup venue for their show as well.
Why is this so significant?
To many fans and analysts alike, Madison Square Garden is as much a part of WWEs identity as the WWE Championship belt itself, or even the McMahon Family. For over sixty years, WWE has had some massive marquee moments in MSG. MSG hosted the inaugural WrestleMania (1, X, XX) & Summerslam (’88, ’91, 98) events and MSG has the honor of being one of a few venues that could say hosted all of the big four events (including Survivor Series (’96, ’02, ’11) & Royal Rumble (00 & ’08) ).
Madison Square Garden means a lot to the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A man who debuted at the ’96 Survivor Series, had plenty of excellent moments at the Garden in the likes of a classic ladder match between Triple H at Summerslam ’98 and winning his only Royal Rumble in 2000 (despite controversy) and where he made in in ring return at Survivor Series 2011 seven years after his last appearance in the same MSG arena. In that same night, this was the start of CM Punk’s 434 day WWE Championship reign so there’s many good memories for those two.
This was the same Madison Square Garden that made Bruno Sammartino & Hulk Hogan household names. This is where superstars made great returns from career threatening injuries. January 7, 2002, Triple H made is return after eight months away from the ring to a deafening New York faithful. Shawn Michaels ten months later in his second match since his return, won the World Heavyweight Championship in the inaugural Elimination Chamber match. John Cena made a surprise return to the 2008 Royal Rumble to win his first of two Rumble matches.
Since Madison Square Garden hasn’t had a television or pay per view appearance in quite some time due to the supposed expenses of what it would cost to do live television there, MSG has been downgraded to house shows and mediocre WWE Network specials, while the Barclay’s Center has been getting a lot of WWE attention. Whether WWE is able to block ROH and Lucha Libre AAA from performing at MSG at this point is yet to be determined.