Marty Scurll on How Ring of Honor Is Taking Care of Talent Amid Pandemic
Ring of Honor isn’t following other pro wrestling companies that are taping shows amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the company announced in March it was cancelling all its events through May 31, which now extended into June.
During this period ROH has found unique ways to remain connected to its fan base with wrestler columns, fantasy tournaments and even Zoom trivia nights. Along with content accessibility through the HonorClub streaming service and the YouTube channel, ROH’s weekly TV has been dedicated to top performers.
Coming up next is an episode centered on Marty Scurll, who juggles being a respected star in the ring with providing a refreshing new voice on the creative team. Here “The Villain”talks about helping build ROH and why he’s proud to be part of its evolution.
For someone so used to traveling around the world every week, staying home must be quite an adjustment.
Marty Scurll: It’s certainly an unusual time. It’s probably the most time off I’ve had from wrestling/travelling since I started all those years ago. It’s been nice to rest my body — though I am very keen to get back to running events and entertaining the fans. My dog Winston has been loving it though. He’s getting a lot of father/son time!
What has been keeping your spirits up during this difficult time?
We’ve still been working very hard at ROH to provide entertainment for the fans, working hard on the TV, and getting as much content out on our YouTube channel/Honor Club of ROH’s rich history and back catalogue. Realistically the work never stops! ROH has such a huge legacy; pretty much anyone who’s anyone has come through ROH’s doors at some point.
ROH really built the foundation of what wrestling is today. I’m not sure if it gets enough credit for how groundbreaking it is as a company and how much of a pioneer of modern wrestling it is, through the YouTube channel and Honor Club especially. I’m hoping it will get the recognition it deserves with so many huge moments and matches that can be revisited by the fans.
You have an episode of ROH TV coming up. How involved are you in choosing what matches are on it? What are some of your favorites?
I have complete creative control of the episode. I presented the show from my house and iPhone! We’re experiencing new normals right now, but it’s fun to take a new approach, and maybe some of what we’re doing now will stick for the future. It’s hard just to pick a few favorite matches of mine, so maybe we do even more episodes on me? [Laughs] I’ve really been enjoying ROH TV right now, and I think the fans do too.
The company has been getting the proverbial pat on the back by how it has handled the circumstances we are under. What does it mean to you to have ROH step up to keep paying its roster even though it decided to cease taping new shows? Did it reinforce you made the right decision to recommit to the company?
I believe ROH has been very responsible during the whole pandemic. We made the call to cancel the Las Vegas shows [in March] pretty last minute because it was just days after everything kind of blew up. It wouldn’t have been right to put our fans or talent in that predicament. Our priority is our fans and staff/talents’ health first. The fact that the company has been paying talent who aren’t on deals as well I think is very admirable. It’s a scary time for all, but I’m happy the talent in ROH can feel secure and be taken care of.
What are your thoughts on how Villain Enterprises has grown and evolved in the past year? PCO winning the title was truly an inspirational story. Flip Gordon received a big shot in the arm and opportunity. Brody King continues to ascend.
It was a great opportunity for myself to create something new after my run in Bullet Club. I’m a big believer in always evolving and doing something new, reinventing yourself. It’s a great dynamic. It’s great to have employees to work within my enterprise.
You were initially scheduled to face Nick Aldis at the NWA Crockett Cup. How much did you enjoy telling this story between the two of you within two promotions?
Partnerships between companies are good for wrestling, and most importantly, it’s good for the fans. They have dream matches they want to see, so why shouldn’t we give it to them? I’ve had a great time working with NWA, and I really think we’ve only touched the surface of potential possibilities. The story between myself and Nick Aldis is very real, and I think the fans appreciate that. We’ve helped raise each other’s games, and I believe the classic approach to this “feud” and pro wrestling is greatly refreshing. I didn’t try to run him over or anything too silly. It’s just about two guys who are very passionate about being the champion and will do anything to be that. That to me is pro wrestling.
There have been a number of new faces coming into the promotion. Is there one that you have been particularly impressed with and their progress?
I’ve been very hands-on in bringing new talent to ROH. Dan Maff and Slex are two guys that come to mind, both who had been applying their trade for years on the independent circuit but just never really had that spotlight on them. It’s been great to give them those opportunities and they have both really stepped up to the plate. Another talent that is set to debut is KellyAnne from Australia. I’m very excited for her debut and believe she’s going to be a big star in ROH.
What kind of impact do you think this period of time will have on the wrestling business as a whole?
It’s very hard to predict, but I think it will definitely encourage companies to take new approaches to how we put content out there. Personally, I believe it has made me appreciate much more what we have. It’s a struggling time for all, but I do believe we will come back bigger and better than ever. It’s a reset for everyone for sure.
When things get started again for Ring of Honor, what are some steps you'd like to see the company take to grow and succeed in this market?
My main aim is to put on a product that is completely different from anyone else — provide the fans with something they’ve never seen before, keep them engaged and take a new approach to pro wrestling. There’s a lot of plans in store, and I cannot wait to run again to put those plans and ideas in place. I think the fans are going to be very impressed and entertained with our new approach, and I’m very grateful to ROH for the opportunity.
Ring of Honor, Sundays, 10/9c, Charge!
ROH TV episodes are also available via HonorClub, FITE TV and in syndication on Sinclair networks (check local listings).