The New York Post has a story regarding ROH and NJPW booking Madison Square Garden during WrestleMania weekend to present the G1 Supercard, becoming the first non-WWE wrestling show to perform at The Garden in well over 50 years.
ROH COO Joe Kofi said that executives at The Garden originally canceled their date after someone from WWE made the call to interfere and prevent the show from happening. MSG declined to comment on the story and Koff told the NYPost that they were very aggressive in wanting to book that date.
“MSG did what they had to do as a business and I guess all of a sudden there was a phone call and we were able to work it out,” Koff said. “That’s probably their story to tell because they made the call to us and said let’s get on the phone and see if we can work this out. They wanted us. They knew that we would be good promotion. I think they were just looking for a satisfactory outcome for all parties.”
Koff added that Ring of Honor and WWE had no contact throughout the process of landing the show at MSG but admitted that wanting The Garden was mainly due to the location of WrestleMania. “This could be a whole different conversation if it were in Boston or Chicago. This is the site that was chosen for that big weekend and then we had to look for buildings to accommodate what we think would be the best opportunity for our business and for our fans.”
Ring of Honor, like many other independent wrestling companies, make the most to take advantage of the 70,000+ wrestling fans that are in the area for WrestleMania.
Meanwhile, WWE refuted the story that they made the call to prevent the combined ROH/NJPW show from happening. “MSG is, of course, free to work with ROH however they want,” a WWE statement said.
John Saboor, WWE’s Executive Vice President of Special Events, said that WWE and MSG share a wonderful relationship but those in charge of booking arenas for live events look at every venue. “Our live-event staff is looking at every venue in the tri-state area as we place our major events, our major annual events, our television events, our non-television events. I know there is a constant dialogue with what is a wonderful leadership team at MSG.”
WWE has stopped doing television shows or pay-per-views from The Garden because of high costs as well as union issues. When WWE runs The Garden, WWE has to use the production staff of MSG and that does not come cheap. While not completely scratching off MSG from its schedule, WWE now simply holds non-televised events which come out cheaper. Most of the TV tapings in the area for WWE are now held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.