With Maria Kanellis Bennett leading the way, Ring Of Honor continues to rebuild its women’s division, and this process will reach the next level at ROH Death Before Dishonor; at the pay-per-view, the company will crown its first Women’s World Champion in the finals of a tournament that has showcased many newcomers to the company.
During an appearance on Excuse Me: The Vickie Guerrero Show, Kanellis Bennett looked back on the first few stages of this journey, which started “ramping up” this past January. She explained that she has been having the time of her life throughout the production of the ROH Women’s Championship Tournament.
“It took a little while to ramp back up because we didn’t have a whole lot of footage of stuff,” said Kanellis Bennett. “So when we really started ramping things up was in January of this year, and we filmed a bunch of matches, and we didn’t start releasing those until May so we could have this like a coming back of Ring of Honor with Women’s Division Wednesday and giving Tickets to Gold, asking women to be in the tournament. But yeah it’s been crazy. This is the time of my life. I love it so much.
“At the last set of TV tapings, I had 22 women that were there, and 15 were in the tournament, we had a couple managers there as well. We had the alternates, had Chelsea[Green], so to have this really powerful group of women that all got along, like everybody was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
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Kanellis Bennett noted that the tournament was filmed over two days on a closed set, and it was executed flawlessly. She also described her thought process about the organization of the tournament bracket by emphasizing her goal to pair the wrestlers with mentors who could help them grow. She used Marti Belle and Trish Adora, who faced off in the opening round, as an example. “The First Lady of ROH” then state that she aimed to make every single part of the tournament meaningful by having the women learn, rather than simply wrestle in some matches.
“When I was putting together the brackets, I wanted to make sure not only were these great matches, but great mentors,” said Kanellis Bennett. “So you see someone like Marti Belle working with a Trish Adora. Marti has been somebody that has came out of her shell over the years and is really starting to do things the way she wants to do them. But then you put her with someone like Trish Adora, who has a fantastic story, a great attitude, so athletic, so good in the ring, but gets a little timid sometimes and needs that like no, come on, let’s get you out of your shell.”
“It wasn’t just matches to me,” said Kanellis Bennett. “It was giving people mentors. And whoever wins, wins. But at the end of the day, it means more than just throwing people together and being like, ‘Oh well, you’re gonna go wrestle.’ This was a brand-new division, so why not make every single part of meaningful? And if these women go away with not only a great match but also a mentor, then I’ve done my job.
The full episode is available here: