Ring of Honor returns to the Manhattan Center in New York City this Saturday night with “Supercard of Honor V. Belltime” is 7:30 and tickets are available at rohwrestling.com, tickets.com, or by calling (215) 781-2500.

The main event of the loaded show features the long awaited singles match between ROH heavyweight champion Tyler Black and his friend-turned-adversary Roderick Strong. Also on the card are the Motor City Machine Gunns making a rare appearance to challenge tag team champions Claudio Castignoli & Chris Hero, as well as the returning “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels in his first match in ROH since leaving TNA.

Also on the show is a grudge match between Kevin Steen and Colt Cabana in which the fans choose the stipulation.

It’s been just over a year since Cabana returned to Ring of Honor after a stint in WWE, where he portrayed the character of Scotty Goldman. Since his return to his home promotion of ROH, Cabana has had an eventful year. Most recently, he’s been an important part of one of ROH hottest storylines – the feud between former partners Steen and El Generico. 

Cabana has also shown off his comedy chops as part of the Totoak Extreme Comedy tour with Mick Foley. Colt can be often found honing his comedy skills at the Comedysportz Theatre in Chicago. Check out one of his upcoming dates here. You can also follow Colt on Twitter.

In this interview, conducted last month, Colt talks about returning to ROH, what went wrong in his WWE stint, the differences between ROH and TNA, surviving on an independent wrestler’s salary, the success of his former partner C.M. Punk, and whether chair shots have a place in wrestling.

AC: Did you notice a difference in ROH from when you left to when you came back? Did you see them really grow up some in that time?

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CC: It was almost like I appreciated the work ethic more when I came back. I left for two years to work for WWE. And on the road, those guys are the cream of the crop – most of those guys. But I was in the developmental system with a bunch of football players and actors and models. And every day I would do a developmental show, and I would say to myself, “Wow.” I just realized how great ROH wrestlers were and their passion for professional wrestling.

So when I came back to ROH it was almost like I really appreciated what I had before. It’s almost like – I don’t know the quote – but when you’re gone you see what you had before, and the grass is not always greener. The work ethic of the wrestlers is still the same as in 2002 when the promotion started. These are still the youngest, hungriest wrestlers who are non-contracted. For some reason corporate wrestling America won’t give them a break or doesn’t see anything in them. And instead of just giving up and saying, “Ok, I’m just going ot be a desk jockey,” the wrestlers of ROH continue to hone their craft and travel around the world and tell the world that they are the best wrestlers and they don’t need a WWE contract to be told that they are the best.

AC: I don’t know if this was the case for you, but I expect that to some extent everyone who grows up wanting to be a professional wrestler at some point dreams of working for WWE. For you, was it tough to finally make it there, be there for a little while, never really get your footing, and now be back in that rung just below? And that’s sort of it – that was your WWE experience.

CC: When I was in high school my dream and when I was a kid that was my dream – to be in WWE. When I started wrestling, my dream was to be a full-time profesisonal wrestler. That was it. The WWE would have been nice, it would have been fun. But just to be a professional wrestler, because growing up WWF was obviously was number one. But you know, the guys in Smoky Mountain, the guys in Global on ESPN, the guys in AWA – those guys were just as cool to me in the fact that they were professional wrestlers. Hulk Hogan and Larry Zbyszko in my mind were at the same levels of coolness, because they were both professional wrestlers and I was not. I was just a kid at a desk dreaming of one day being a professional wrestler.

So my goals and my dreams changed. And I was lucky enough to get signed ot the WWE, and that was just an extra cherry on top of my wrestling career. But before that, I had been traveling all over the world. I had gone to Japan. I had spent time in Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico and I was wrestling. And that was my dream. So every day, I live my dream. And, yeah, my WWE run wasn’t as successful as I would have liked it to be. And I don’t think it’s the end of me in the wrestling world or even maybe in the WWE. But I’m not going to measure the success of my career on how my career in WWE went. Because I assume, down the line, maybe even if it isn’t in WWE – maybe Roh will become the next biggest thing. Maybe the FX network will see ROH on HDNet and say, “This is something that we need. This is awesome.” Maybe HDNet and Mark Cuban will become the next FX Network or the next USA or the next Spike TV. And then all of a sudden, ROH on HDNet is the next thing.

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So I don’t want to say that WWE is the end all, be all of success in professional wrestling. It’s a great place to be and you’re going to make a lot of money and you’re going to make a lot of fans, but hopefully there’s something else.

AC: I’m sure you’ve covered this a lot and I don’t want to dwell on it, but what do you think went wrong there in WWE? A lot of people thought, in some ways, you were kind of the perfect fit. You know, with the personality, the sports entertainment thing, they thought you’d make a good fit over there. And yet it never really took off. Is there anything in particular that you point to?

CC: Yeah, I always thought I was the perfect fit. It only made sense to me. I was able to stand out in ROH because everybody was such a hard ass, Japanese style wrestler. And here I was with a little bit of personality. But my wrestling backed it up, so I was able to fit in. So obviously, you’d think WWE would be a great place for me and my style. One thing I guess I’ll say is that I’m not a politicker. I’m not a political master by any means. And that’s half the game up there. I was in the developmental system, for two years. The guys I saw every day kissing ass, I said to myself, “Man, I don’t want to be like that. Just because they’re kissing ass, it’s so obvious that they won’t succeed.” And then they do succeed. And you’re like, “Man, I guess that’s what you have to do.” But if that’s what you have to do as a job or if that’s where your life is and what you need in order to make your life successful, then that’s not something I want to be a part of.

Now, I’m not saying that the only reason why I didn’t make it – because I wasn’t a political master. I’m sure there was other reasons. I’m not sure. I pride myself in being a creative wrestler and using a different style of wrestling – trying to be different. And I say that in my wrestling, in my comedy, in everything that I do – that I don’t want to be like the person next to me. And I thought that’s what would allow me stick out, but the opportunities didn’t really rise for me there. And it just wasn’t my time.

I’m going back and I’m doing the comedy now, and I’m really excited. I just did a pilot for Black 20 and that’s being shopped around by a production company. I did that in New York. I’ve done a couple of other things. I’ve got an agent now. And I’m hoping that this will set me apart. This is my next way to set me apart in order to raise my stock in the wrestling world. And hopefully I can help wrestling through my comedy and acting, whether it’s WWE or whether it’s ROH or whether it’s something else that pops up. Who knows?

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AC: What’s it been like hanging out on the road with Mick Foley doing the comedy shows? Are you in a position to teach him a thing or two, or are you learning from him?

CC: It’s fun. I’m underneath and he’s headlining. That’s just how it is and that’s how it should be. He’s been telling stories in and out of the ring for the past 25 years or what not. And I think it’s a great dichotomy of a little old school and a little new school, and, of course, these two great, wacky wrestling characters coming up on stage and being fun and wacky without a wrestling ring. I think it makes for the perfect dichotomy, and it’s been a success so far. We get a lot of great feedback from the people and the shows are real fun. And it’s a great time for me to watch Mick. You know, Mick was a New York Times best selling author. And here I am from the back watching him tell this story not in a book but on a stage. It’s interesting and it says maybe one day I can be there.

And I’m close – maybe not in wrestling but in my ability to tell stories and connect with people and make people laugh. I feel I have that ability, and I would figure that it would make me the most money in a wrestling ring because that’s my craft and that’s what I’ve honed over the last 11 years. But if not, so be it – as long as I can tell my stories and connect with people and make them happy. Maybe it will be in comedy.

AC: On the topic of money, one thing I’ve always wanted to ask an ROH guy, and especially an ROH guy who has come out of WWE, is, you know, can you make a living doing what you do outside of WWE? I look to a guy like Christopher Daniels, who was headlining TNA pay per views a few months ago and is now back in Ring of Honor. I can’t imagine Ring of Honor can pay him what a TNA paid him, or that Ring of Honor can pay you what WWE was paying you. So, what is the situation? I’m not asking for specifics, but can you get by? Can you do well for yourself?

CC: I’m a bachelor. I don’t have a wife or a mistress to be with. I don’t have any kids. And I’m Jewish, which makes me very frugal. I know how to spend my money and I know how not to spend my money. Saying that, ROH is definitely a mom and pop organization. We’re not corporate America by any means. Our funds are very limited. But saying that, ROH is basically the number three wrestling promotion in the United States, and known and respected by many people as maybe the number one pound-for-pound professional wrestling company. That, of course, doesn’t put money through the pipeline unless people are spending it. But it gives me a great amount of respect and I take my show on the road – the Colt Cabana show. And I wrestle all over the country, all over the world. I’m heading to Australia in two weeks. I’m going to Quebec. I travel all over. I’m doing Chicago tomorrow.

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And it depends on what kind of person you are. Are you going to sit back and accept your ROH dates and then do nothing else and just hope that one day you hit the wrestling lottery? Or are you going to go out and are you going to hustle, and sell your wrestling T-shirts and your pictures and your going to make sure that your wrestling is always top notch so you’re invited back to that promotion? Or are you going make sure your wrestling is so good that people remember you and say, "I want to buy a Colt Cabana picture" or a Colt Cabana T-shirt or a Colt Cabana DVD?

That's part of the game, too. I have a marketing degree from Western Michigan University. I have a bachelor's in marketing, business marketing. And that's part of the game too - marketing yourself. I'm not a wolf in sheep's clothing. I'm not pulling a quick one on anyone by saying I'm anyone I'm not. But I'm Colt Cabana and I know I have to get this persona out and let everyone know who I am and that I'm funny and why you should like me. Because of that, I can make a living and I can get by.

AC: Can you make similar money to what you'd make as a lower card guy in WWE by hustling as much as you do?

CC: If you add my reputation, I'll be OK. The downsides of the contracts are pretty low right now in WWE but if you're on all the house shows, if you're good enough to get in the video game, if you're good enough to get on the pay per views, the overseas tours - that money adds up. So if you make for yourself a good little name in WWE, I don't think you have a problem coming back to the independents if you're read to hustle, if you're ready to do anything and everything you can instead of going home and moping about your WWE run.

But I will say this, I made more as an independent wrestler than I did as a WWE developmental wrestler. But once I started getting on the road and I was doing the "What's Cracking with Scotty Goldman" and I was doing that kind of stuff, then that was a little nicer monetarily than it was on the independents. And it was a check every week, instead of going out and having to hustle and making sure you wrestle injured on the independents. In WWE there was a check waiting for you every Monday, which was a nice little security blanket.

AC: Let me ask you about some of your old colleagues that have done really well for themselves - the most being C.M. Punk, your old partner. Is it just out and out happiness for him and pride that you feel because he did so well for himself? Or do you scratch your head a little and wonder, "What does he have that I don't have?" - that kind of thing?

CC: No, there's no jealousy when it comes to Punk. I'm so, so proud of what he's done. I've said that about all the guys in the independents. Sean Daivari is a good friend of mine. And when Daivari first got signed (to WWE), I had been wrestling for a long time in the Midwest independents and he was a young kid. I think he got signed when he was 19 or 20. And I called him up and I said, "Hey man, congratulations. That's so nice to hear." And the first thing he told me was, "Thank you. Honestly, I'm getting a lot of grief from people. People are really upset that I signed." And I couldn't believe that.

To me, these are my people. I've been doing the Midwest independents for 11 years or whatever. And these are the people you grow up with and see wrestling. And I'd rather - if it's going to be somebody, if somebody's going to make a break, then I'd rather it be my friends from my area than a bunch of these schmucks who couldn't make it in the XFL, and then signed with WWE. So I say, better the people that I know, better my friends make it than people that I don't think deserve. Guys like Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne) and C.M. Punk and Samoa Joe, we've all worked so hard. And some people will make a break a little earlier and some people will make a break a little later.

But I do believe in work ethic. What you put it is what you get out. And everyone's going to get their break if they work as hard as they possible can - which ties back to ROH. The reason all these guys come from ROH is because we're the hardest working crew in the world, in my opinion. We're the youngest. We're the hungriest. And our track record speaks for itself. Look at our roster. Everyone who gets plucked is now making great money or has the opportunity to make great money. Its because ROH is the new, young farm system for those independent wrestlers who work so hard, who love their craft and the cream is always going to rise to the top. And that's ROH. And the big money guys will eventually come and they'll take the guys. And the guys who've worked hard, they've earned the right to make that big money, or have the opportunity to make the big money. And I'm only happy for them.

I think it's a great system that is working. Obviously, we would love everyone to stay. But like you said, monetarily, that's just not able to happen right now. But hopefully, eventually, you know that's the goal that Cary Silkin and Adam Pearce are working toward - to eventually make this thing a machine, with the HDNet and the I-pay per view. It's been a slow build for eight years. But better a slow build toward something great than a quick snap of the fingers and you're in it and then you're out, which has happened to a lot of people.

AC: It's interesting that you brought up the fact that ROH has been around for eight years. You guys started the same year that TNA started - obviously with a very different business model. But TNA is where it is now and ROH is where it is now. Do you look at TNA and wonder, "If we could have done things differently, we could have been on similar footing"? Do you look at them and say, "I'm happy we didn't go the route they went"? How do you compare the two companies, especially considering now that you're both going head to head. It's sort of the Monday night war that nobody's talking about, but since TNA moved up an hour now you guys are going head to head on Monday nights.

CC: I always saw ROH as the underground, cult, mom and pop. Basically two dudes started it out of a video company that wanted to put out the best wrestling. TNA started with the Jarretts, but they had money, money, money. They had lots of money behind it. They had a corporation behind it. So, to see where they've gotten isn't a surprise to me, because money talks. And you're able to do a lot more with money. So maybe I'm jealous in terms of the marketing and in terms of the corporate backing that they have. I wish ROH had that, but it doesn't. We work with what we have and that's always been the system.

CC: But is there any bit of you as a wrestling guy... and it's not to have you trash anybody. But to see the resources that they have and see them squander it, to some extent. Yeah they have a lot more resources than you have, but you see what they've done with it and it makes you scratch your head. So, again, do you wonder if combining some of the smarts and the brains that exists in Ring of Honor with the funding and the resources that TNA has gotten, what you could have come up with?

CC: Yeah, but the reality is that we don't have it. I think if you put a $15 million panda bear behind ROH, it would be the most incredible wrestling product that the world has ever seen. But the reality is that it isn't. It's just the top independent, non-contracted wrestlers who are pound for pound the best wrestlers. We've got the greatest show in the world, but if nobody knows about it, then how will they know it's the greatest show in the world?

But I do believe that we have one of the greatest shows in the world. It's just a matter of letting people know about it. That's the main thing right now - just letting the world know that we have the greatest pound for pound wrestling in the world. That's been our struggle for eight years - to let the world know about it. And slowly our numbers go up and slowly we get pay per view and we get a contract for TV and now we get international TV.

It's a slow roll, as opposed to TNA, which had the money to get them to Fox Sports, to get them to Spike TV. And they're doing great for themselves. It's not the kind of wrestling that I prefer, but, you know, it's professional wrestling and it's on TV. And the more pro wrestling on TV, the better, I think.

AC: Let me ask you, within Ring of Honor, do you have your own goals? Obviously, you're one of the guys who has been there since - I don't know if it was the very beginning. When did you come to Ring of Honor?

CC: It started in March 2002, and I was there in October, 2002.

AC: OK. So, yeah, you go back pretty much to the beginning. You've never won the heavyweight title over there. Is that sort of a goal for you - if only looking at the guys who've won it and what's become of them? I'd have to think that even as a kind of resume builder, that helps.

CC: Right, right. I guess I'm an interesting experiment, because I'm very happy with my place in the card and who I am and what I bring to the show. You come to a circus and you want to see the bears and the clowns and the tight rope walkers. I love the fact that in ROH there's a lot of hard hitting Japanese style, crazy athleticism. And you can always leave a show going, "Oh, that Colt made me laugh. He had a lot of fun personality." I love the fact that I'm going to be remembered as that part of the show.

But the reality of it also is that I believe we're the pound for pound best wrestling company in the world and whoever represents our company as the champion in my mind is the best wrestler in the world right now. To hold that ROH belt - this isn't somebody giving Dave Arquette a championship and calling him a champion. It's thought out, it's planned out. You are respected not only by your company, but I believe everybody in the wrestling world. Like you said, C.M. Punk, Nigel McGuinness, Samoa Joe - these are well respected people who really gained that respect while holding the ROH championship.

And yeah, that's a goal of mine. One day I'd love to be the ROH champion, only to know that I represented the best wrestling company in the world as their champion and I was able to do it.

AC: Can Colt Cabana - the entertainer, the funny man - could that work as the ROH champion? Or would it require you to maybe take a more serious approach and drop a lot of what you've been doing for a long time and kind of changing up your character a bit?

CC: Yeah, I hear both things. A lot of people want to see serious Colt. But if you become too serious, you're just like everybody else. I want to stand out. I've heard for years that funny doesn't equal money. I've heard that from Jim Cornette himself. Years ago he told me that. But people have theories. And I have my own theory. I don't want to listen to the old. I want to change the new.

In the 1950s and 60s, some of my heroes were British wrestlers. There was a British wrestler named Les Kellett, who was one of the silliest wrestlers there ever was. And he was a headliner. He did pure comedy wrestling at the top of the bill and people came to see him. "The Hangover" I think made over $100 million. People went and spent their money to see comedy, and they want to be entertained. So I believe it's there. Maybe I haven't found the exact, correct formula yet. But I'm working on it. Every day I'm working on it. Every day I wrestle. Every day I watch wrestling. Every day I study comedy. I'm trying to find that formula that says comedy plus wrestling equals funny. That's my goal, and if I go until I'm 50 and I'm still working on it, then so be it. But that's my life goal - to make that equation work.

AC: ROH's “Big Bang” show in Charlotte was a pretty big one for you guys. And it came after the first Internet pay per view, where I think the action was good – a lot of people liked the action – but, obviously, it was bogged down by a lot of technical difficulties that soured a lot of people. This one seemed to go off without a hitch. What I saw looked really professional. What was your thought on that show? Were you pretty happy with what the company pulled off there?

CC: Well, personally – for the fans that are following along – it was me and El Generico vs. Kevin Steen and Steve Corino. And a lot of people, when I hear about my ROH career, the first thing that people talk about is my feud with Homicide. And that was an eight month process that eventually blew off in Chicago and one of the most fun and I think in-depth storytelling that was involved in ROH’s history, that feud. And I’ll hear that a lot from the ROH fans. And so, right now, the main story, obviously, is that Generico and Steen were partners for about eight years. And this is the first time that they’ve ever really broken up. And we’re telling the story of them eventually meeting together to fight each other. But the story we’re telling right now is something that I’m very proud of. You’re seeing a lot of different aspects, a lot of different character changes.

And, like you were saying before, maybe Colt, if he wants to be taken serious, can’t always be clowning around. And if you watch recently what’s going on, there’s a lot of depth story wise, and character wise. So, in Charlotte, we did the tag match, and that was the first time since New York, when Steen turned on Generico, that Generico ever physically struck Steen – was on this I-pay per view. So, personally, from a storyline standpoint, I was very happy with what was happening. The people really got into it and we’re really behind the story, which I’m very happy about. Because we’re slowly telling the story of Generico wrestling Steen.

But also, just in general, yeah I heard in the first one there was a couple of glitches. But, remember, we’re not Turner. We’re not Titan Towers. We don’t have the CNN building. We’re just a mom and pop, family organization, trying to do something right for the people that love pure pro wrestling and want to see something different. We’re giving them the alternative. And the people who stick with us, they know that we’re trying oru best and we’re trying to do something different and leave our mark. So this is something different. Obviously, a lot of our fan base has come off the Internet and the chat boards and the dirt sheets and who they like and don’t like. So we’re trying to cater to everybody with the HDNet pay per view. With the I-pay per view, we’re trying to cater to our Internet fan base. And I think that concept alone is fantastic, and I think it’s a smart business move also.

So I was very happy. When I saw Chris (Daniels), I didn’t know. I saw Chris in the building just like the wrestlers did – Chris Daniels. And that was something that’s missing in wrestling – the fact that nobody knows what’s going on, and then all of a sudden he just shows up. I love that about professional wrestling. And we don’t see that anymore. People want to advertise, and I understand that. But the element of surprise, whether you’re smart or you’re not smart, is always so much fun in professional wrestling. And I thought that was something that we gave on the pay per view. And we gave that unbelievable match – the Kings of Wrestling vs. the Briscoes. There was just so much, I thought, great booking by Adam Pearce on that per view. And then of course just the whole action in general. So I was very happy with what we did in Charlotte.

AC: You make an interesting point. I think the people who don’t know ROH just think of it as the workrate company, where everybody just works the long matches and does the flippity-doos and all that stuff. But you brought up a good point with the Generico-Steen storyline. ROH doesn’t only specialize in athleticism. That kind of thing where it would be five or six months before you would even see two guys touch each other in a storyline is the kind of thing you don’t see in other companies anymore. If it was TNA, they would have broken up, wrestled, gotten back together, and broken up again in the same night.

CC: LAX. (laughs)

AC: Right. And WWE is a little bit better, but even they, I don’t think, would have the kind of discipline to stretch it out that long. Do you think that people sometimes take for granted not only what Ring of Honor provides in terms of athleticism, but what they provide in terms of booking and storytelling, that kind of thing?

CC: Realism is the most important… realism and not treating our fans like morons, I think will take you a long, long way. Whenever I’m thinking of my own storylines or my own wrestling, I always think, “Would I, Colt Cabana, as a 17-year-old think that was stupid or would I like that?” I always say, if I was a wrestling fan and somebody asked me for an autograph and I said no – I take a step back and I say, if I was 17 would I be pissed at that guy? And then obviously, I’ll sign whatever for everybody. So realism, just in booking or angles and the way we wrestle, we’re not going to tell a story that makes sense.

So ROH, yeah, eight years ago we were known as the flippity guys and the guys who would drop each other on the head. But we’ve grown, obviously. We’ll take that stereotype if that’s what’s going to get you to just look at us once. And now we’re doing so much stuff, with Dave Lagana on board. We’re doing a great job virally with Facebook and Twitter and the videos, the ROH Videowire. I think if you see our Youtube channel, it’s changed over the years. And I agree with it 100 percent. Because before we would show some matches and show some wrestling. And now it’s just 20 minutes straight of promos and storytelling, which I agree with and think is the smart thing to do. It tells everyone what’s going on. It’s a free medium. You could just go on Youtube and watch it.

So it’s free to watch where the stories are going and why you should invest yourself, not just monetarily, but emotionally in our storylines. And I think it’ll give you the idea that we’re not just pure, 100 percent wrestling. We are great wrestling. We’re the best pure wrestling around. But we also know how to tell stories in and out of the ring.

AC: You mentioned that in the earlier days you guys would be dropping each other on your heads. I interviewed Tyler Black a couple weeks ago and he told me in a story that ended up getting picked up in a few places, how the ROH locker room got together soon after WWE banned chair shots and kind of took it upon themselves to kind of make the same commitment to not do unprotected chair shots to the head anymore. Can you talk a bit about that and how it came about? Is it something you agree with? Are you happy to see the sport kind of move away from that?

CC: That was news to me, to be honest. I don’t know if I do remember it or I don’t remember it.

AC: Maybe you’ve taken too many chair shots to the head

CC: Yeah, maybe. To me, the steel chair is part if professional wrestling… I took some auditions for a show on Spike TV, and they had us read headlines and we were going to make a joke about it. And one of them was – I had to read a story about a guy who tried to hit a police officer with his penis. And one of them was, “Say Goodbye to the Folding Chair.” And it just made fun of the fact that Linda McMahon said that the folding chair just wouldn’t work anymore and that she’s doing that because she’s running for Senate and she wants a better vote. I butchered it. Anyway, the fact that was in pop culture and they were kind of making fun of the fact that the folding chair was not part of professional wrestling. You know – what’s the point of pro wrestling if there’s no folding chair? That’s what everyone thinks. But, at the same time, WWE doesn’t even use the word “wrestling” or “professional wrestling” anymore.

AC: I agree that the chair shot is as old as time and kind of an institution in wrestling. But when I was growing up the chair shot would be across the back and a little bit restrained, and there was a right way to take it. And they’d sell it like all hell, so the fans would still have their jaws drop, but I guess the reality was that they were doing it in a safe way so there weren’t any long term impacts. And they’ve just moved so far away from that, to where unprotected chair shots to the head over the last 10 or 15 years have just become the norm. And knowing what we know now about concussion syndrome and all that, do you not think it’s good to get away from the unprotected chair shot to the head?

CC: Yeah. I guess, just as a fan or a spectator, ECW was the reason why that came about. I guess, later, we all remember Mick Foley getting hit across the head. But, yeah – listen, I am not for chair shots to the head, unprotected, 100 percent. Maybe protected if you’re doing it right – as we are professionals in what we do. I would know how to take a chair shot without it really affecting my skull, I would think. It’s a great move to get away from unprotected chair shots. I don’t think they’re needed. It makes for a great “ooh” and “aah” from the fans, but, again, the fans are just going to go home and we’re going to have to live with the years of tragedy and agony. And not only that – our family. So, I don’t know how much we were doing it in ROH in general. I think a lot of us earlier in our years were kind of young and dumb. And I think we’ve all kind of grown up with ROH and realized that if we want to stay in wrestling, we need not to be idiots and that comes with the high angle neck bumps, and what not. I don’t remember too many unprotected chair shots, to be honest.

AC: Do you see yourselves – not only with the chair shots – but the neck bumps, as you said – doing a lot less of that these days?

CC: Yeah, and I think it’s important. The first shows, if you go back and watch them, everyone’s 20 years old, 21 years old. And we were all rubber bands back then. And I’m almost 30 years old. And I think we all just smartened up and realized if we want to make this a long career, we have to find different ways to make the crowd go, “Ooh” or make them react. And I think we’ve done that. So that’s just smarter wrestling by us. It’s not saying that we’re giving them less. It’s that we’re giving them different. And that different doesn’t involve us being in a wheelchair, hopefully, in 50 years.

AC: Well said. At the end of the day, the whole sort of art of pro wrestling is that it’s simulated violence, right? And it just seems like some time around the whole ECW explosion it just moved so far away from that, and people just kind of forgot that it’s supposed to be simulated, and started doing real harm to each other. And you still see some remnants of that and I think for a lot of fans, there’s not that thrill anymore. And knowing what we know now, you watch some of that and it’s not excitement that we feel or “Ooh” and “Aah.” It’s kind of a feeling of discomfort, like, “Why would they do that?” I just think watching Impact a couple nights ago with that fire ball to Jeff Hardy’s face. And apparently, they really did burn him and cause him some injuries. And I just shake my head and think, “You didn’t need to do that.” There are other ways to go about doing that.

CC: Here’s what happened. ECW found a way for the fans to get so into it. I was pretty down on wrestling when I was 16 and then I found ECW and it was so real.

AC: Oh yeah. I was at the Elks Lodge in Queens every month.

CC: Right. As a wrestling fan, it grabbed you and it made you want to now become a more passionate wrestling fan, right?

AC: Yeah, absolutely.

CC: So people are trying to find that. That was a magic formula and people are trying to find that same magic formula. That’s why I think they’re still holding on to the chair shots or whatever, because they remember then that’s what they liked when they were a kid and got them so involved in wrestling.

AC: But it’s all kind of in the context of the time, right? What made that so exciting at the time was that it was new.

CC: We have to find a different way to get those people - not by that. We have to find a different way. But the idea of grabbing the wrestling fan, the true passionate wrestling fan – that’s the same idea, but it just has to be done a different way. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re just trying to figure out that formula.

AC: I definitely think that Ring of Honor is ahead of the curb on that more than any other company – in at least trying for that formula. Whether you’ve nailed it yet, I think you at least see more innovation out of Ring of Honor than you do out of other companies.

CC: Right. We’re trying to take the right steps.