DETAILS OF TESTING PROTOCOLS FOR TV TAPINGS REVEALED; SEVEN COMPETITORS ANNOUNCED FOR PURE TITLE TOURNAMENT; BRISCOES APPEAR ON ‘ROHSTRONG PODCAST’

Obviously, the biggest story of the week is that ROH is returning to in-ring action after nearly six months on hiatus due to the pandemic.

The company announced it will hold tapings for the “Ring of Honor Wrestling” television show this month in Maryland. The focus of the tapings will be the Pure Title tournament, which had originally been scheduled to begin in April.

To help ensure the safety of the talent, staff and crew, no fans will be permitted to the event and only those who are essential to the production will be present. ROH is adhering to stringent medical and administrative protocols instituted by the Maryland State Athletic Commission.

Here are several key components of the commission’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing protocols:

* Two weeks prior to the event, talent and referees are required to undergo the first NMT (nasal mid-turbinate) molecular PCR swab test.

* Within three days of the event, talent and referees will be required to undergo a second NMT molecular PCR swab test. They must be immediately isolated/sequestered after undergoing the second test. Separate hotel accommodations and separate eating arrangements will be required for participants, who must remain isolated until arriving at the event to work. 

* On the day of the event (or, in the case of wrestling activity spanning more than one day, on the last day of the individual engaging in competition or participation), talent and referees will be required to undergo a third NMT molecular PCR swab test. The third test is being required for contact tracing being conducted by, and being documented by, the commission. The commission considers contact tracing to be essential to reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

* All individuals entering the venue must have his or her temperature taken and recorded at the door via an infrared thermometer. No one will be permitted entry into the venue with a temperature reading of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. 

* Any individual other than the participants who is either working in the ring enclosure area or physically interacting with participants (i.e. an athletic trainer) must undergo the second and third NMT molecular PCR swab tests in the respective time frames. All such individuals other than the ring announcer will be required to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times.

* All other individuals present at the venue in any capacity will be required to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times and to maintain a social distance from each other of at least six feet at all times. 

ROH made the decision in mid-March to cease running shows until there was a safe way to resume. The company continued to pay its talent and staff during the hiatus while creating content on other platforms.

“I think we got to give the company a whole lot of props [for] the way they have handled all of us during all of this,” Jay Briscoe said on the latest episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast.” “Nobody’s missed a paycheck; they’ve kept everybody safe. … I think the company’s done a fantastic job, and it’s an honor to work here, no pun intended.”

On a side note, the fact that there will be no fans in attendance means the tapings will be spoiler-free.

***

Mark Briscoe joined his brother on the podcast, which drops on ROHWrestling.com and most podcast platforms this Monday, Aug. 17 at 7 a.m. ET.

In addition to talking about ROH’s return this month, the 11-time ROH World Tag Team Champions discussed their rich history in ROH going back to the company’s first show, their storied rivalry with The Young Bucks, the infamous incident with Age of the Fall, training for pro wrestling at ages 16 and 15, their sibling rivalry, wrestling the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, and much more.

***

Seven of the 16 competitors for the Pure Title tournament have officially been announced: Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham, Matt Sydal, David Finlay, Tracy Williams, Josh Woods and Wheeler Yuta, who will be making his ROH debut.

Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions, international competitors originally scheduled for the tournament such as former Pure Champion Doug Williams, Mark Haskins, Slex, Joe Hendry, Yuji Nagata and Ren Narita, have had to withdraw.

Keep it locked into ROH’s social media channels for more announcements regarding the rest of the field.

***

In response to the many fans of Matt Taven who have inquired about Taven’s whereabouts and well-being, unfortunately there is no news.

No one has seen or heard from Taven since Vincent viciously attacked him in his own home in June during a Facebook Live Q&A. I’ve personally tried reaching Taven via phone call, text, email, and direct messages on Twitter and Facebook, to no avail.

***

The next “ROH Trivia Night” is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. ET on Zoom.

Fans can test their ROH knowledge alongside ROH stars, and you never know who might show up. Anyone interested in playing should email rohtrivia@gmail.com with your team name and the names of the players on your team.

***

More matches from 2005 have been added to the HonorClub archives this week for “Fresh 50 Friday.” Among them: Samoa Joe versus Nigel McGuinness; CM Punk versus Roderick Strong; Bryan Danielson versus Austin Aries; Kevin Steen versus Homicide; and Jay Lethal versus Low Ki.

Speaking of Samoa Joe, he’s the subject of the latest “Honor List” on YouTube.

***

I knew it was too good to be true. After several months of displaying a positive attitude and pleasant demeanor, “The Mecca” Brian Johnson has reverted back to his irritating, irascible self.

Perhaps instead of mixing another “happy” potion for Johnson, PJ Black should take a hands-on approach and show his protege some tough love.

***

After watching the latest episode of PCO’s new web series, I’m going to start calling him “The Real Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment.”

Even by PCO and Destro’s standards, this is some wild stuff.

***

There will be plenty of flexing on this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” as Rhett Titus gets the spotlight treatment.

***

Until next time, keep safe and stay #ROHStrong!

Article courtesy of Kevin Eck: He’s a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com.

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