On July 9, Amazon joined the world of professional wrestling when they announced that in conjunction with Ring of Honor, they would be creating a unique wrestling program, Dojo Pro. This gauntlet-style competition featured 12 independent wrestlers climbing a ladder with the hopes of each reaching the top and facing the top-seeded, and 13th wrestler in the tournament, Jeff Cobb. In the end, it was fourth-seeded Aaron Solow, who ascended to the top, winning Dojo Pro and with it, earning a future shot at the Ring of Honor Television Championship.
It’s happening ! August 25 , 2018 – #DojoPro Black Belt @aaronsolow will take on @ROHPunishment for the #ROH World Television Championship at #ROHPhilly ! We will see you at the @2300Arena . #roh @ringofhonor https://t.co/5CgPFxD2D4
— Dojo Pro (@dojoprotv) August 14, 2018
According to Amazon’s press release, Dojo Pro, which aired in full on Amazon Prime and is currently available on FITE TV, is described as “the ultimate professional wrestling opportunity that culminates in a shot at a major championship title – but with a dynamic twist.”
That twist came thanks to Amazon partnering with ROH.
“Ring of Honor is excited to partner with Dojo Pro on their first season,” said Joe Koff, COO of Ring of Honor Wrestling in the release. “Dojo Pro is an incredible new take on how professional wrestling is presented. Just as ROH has always been committed to showcasing new talent, Dojo Pro gives the world access to impressive independent wrestlers that they may not have seen, as well as amazing matches. And at the end of the competition, Dojo Pro could even introduce us to a new Ring of Honor World Television Champion.”
Congrats to our friends at @dojoprotv for the tremendous exposure!
— 83 Weeks (@83Weeks) August 4, 2018
Created in a way that was binge-able, fitting in with the structure of an online streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime, Dojo Pro consists of 12 episodes, each under 30 minutes. The episode structure features a match as well as an interview/introduction to both competitors involved in the competition that week allowing fans to get to know them and see what winning the Dojo Pro Black Belt means to them.
“For many of these competitors, Dojo Pro is a long-sought-after opportunity to propel their career into the spotlight,” the press release reads. “Any wrestler from any background has a chance to overcome the odds and become a champion.”
13 wrestlers were selected from all over the world and ranked based on a variety of criteria, the most important, being potential. In week one, Kevin Ku faced Kerry Awful to determine who would earn the 12th seed and official make it into the tournament. The remaining 11 seeds, in descending order were: Gunner Miller, Wheeler Yuta, Corey Hollis, Joey Janela, Brandon Cutler, James Storm, Ricky Starks, Aaron Solow, MJF, Shane Strickland and Jeff Cobb.
— Dojo Pro (@dojoprotv) July 25, 2018
Solow’s first match was scheduled to be against Starks, who is his tag team partner on the independent circuit. But in the episode prior, Janela attacked Starks after losing his match, so instead, Solow issued an open challenge which was answered by none other than Cheeseburger. Solow advanced and then proceeded to reel off impressive victory over impressive victory by defeating Combat Zone Wrestling Champion and Major League Wrestling World Middleweight Champion MJF, EVOLVE Champion, PCW Ultra Light Heavyweight Champion and one-third of the Lucha Underground Trios Champions, Shane Strickland, and of course Jeff Cobb, who was wrestled in ROH, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Lucha Underground and is one of the most coveted free agents in pro wrestling.
Making his way through that stacked trio, Aaron Solow built on each match, showing more and more and impressing each time he took the ring. From the classic match with Cheeseburger to the athletic and fast-paced bout with MJF, to one of the best matches on the show due to the excitement of the nearfalls and false finishes against Strickland, to finally, outlasting the uber-talented Cobb, Solow’s stock and his star rose by his participation in this tournament. More than that though, a tournament for indy wrestlers was won by a true indy wrestler, who before this tournament, most people probably only knew his name because he is Bayley‘s fiancé.
In my 9 year career I have won multiple tag titles with multiple tag partners but never a singles championship until now. I am the @dojoprotv Black Belt Champion and on August 25th I’ll also become the @ringofhonor Television Champion.#DojoPro#ROH#BlackBelt pic.twitter.com/c0H5HA2Fxc
— Aaron Solow (@aaronsolow) August 15, 2018
Dojo Pro, while keeping their pages spoiler-free for about a month, has announced that Aaron Solow will get his title shot on August 25th at ROH Philadelphia Excellence. Additionally, they have opened up a Twitter discussion asking fans where they would like to see Solow defend the Black Belt, with All In winning the poll, followed by an ROH iPPV, the Chris Jericho Cruise and then NJPW. Not to mention, a Dojo Pro coloring book is on its way and season two is in discussion as the show continues to gain steam on Amazon and FITE.
Who is Aaron Solow?
Trained by Davey Richards, Tony Kozina and Lance Storm at the Storm Wrestling Academy, Aaron Solow made his pro wrestling debut in 2009 but didn’t win his first title until nearly six years later. Alongside Jason Cade, Solow won the Anarchy Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship for the first time in July 2015. The duo would win the title two more times to become just the third three-time champs in the promotion’s history. With new partner, Ricky Starks, under the name Extra Talented, Solow won the WrestleCircus Big Top Tag Team Championship last year, a title he held for 154 days.
Solow, despite not having the pedigree of some of his peers, has worked for some of the more well-known promotions including National Wrestling Alliance, Full Impact Pro, EVOLVE, WrestleCircus, Fight Club: PRO, PROGRESS, ATTACK! Pro Wrestling, AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined, Over the Top, ROH and most prevalently, WWE, which he has worked seven matches (NXT and 205 Live) for since 2014. Solow was also an alternate for the first-ever Cruiserweight Classic in 2016.