ROH’s Bobby Cruise Says WWE Is Not Trying to Kill ROH, Talks Daniel Bryan’s Return, more

Apr 6, 2018 - by Steve Gerweck


Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio

Guest: “The Voice of ROH” Bobby Cruise
Date: 03/31/18
Your Host: James Walsh

Today, we bring you an exclusive interview with the “Voice of Ring of Honor” as ROH is poised to present their biggest event in history in front of the largest crowd to ever see a ROH show this Saturday as the company presents Supercard of Honor from New Orleans. Of course, we speak of Bobby Cruise!

In this interview, we discuss Bobby’s early days in wrestling, his friendship with Steve Corino, Daniel Bryan making him say unsavory things in the past, his view on Bryan’s return to the ring, the expansion of Women of Honor, and how ROH has managed to grow in the face of continuing changes both in management and in the roster. It is a fantastic listen!

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Thoughts leading in to Supercard of Honor on April 7th:
“Of my 14 plus year career here at Ring of Honor, it just seems things keep getting bigger and bigger and better and better. To think that we are just over a week away from the biggest crowd in Ring of Honor’s 16 plus year history is a pretty awesome thing to look at. I think everything is firing on all cylinders right now. Attendance at live events is up, pay per views are doing well, and now with our Honor Club rolling out, the reaction has been really good and it is a great value for customers – Not that I’m schilling. (laughs) It is really an exciting time in Ring of Honor!”

On the reach of WrestleMania weekend:
“They’re huge wrestling fans, obviously. They are coming from how many different countries and how many different states? Maybe they’re not as familiar with Ring of Honor and they decide to check out Ring of Honor. I’ve heard so many stories of that over the years. Gaining new fans for the company just from fans checking out the company on WrestleMania weekend.It is the epicenter, not to steal a line here, of the wrestling world.”

On how he got involved in wrestling:
“All of us involved in wrestling and who cover wrestling, like yourself, were always a fan of it as a kid. I used to watch it every Saturday morning. When I was a little older, I got more into the production of it, the music. My favorite superstar was Howard Finkel! For most, it was (Hulk) Hogan or (Ultimate) Warrior or somebody like that. I was like, “That is something I’d really like to try.” Fast forward to my senior year in high school, baseball was really my thing. I was one of our wo captains my senior year. I played basketball. I’d come off the bench for five or ten minutes, throw up a couple three’s and hoped they’d go in. My English teacher, he was the girl’s basketball coach, he knew of my desire to be a public address announcer. Their announcer had retired. He said, “If you give up playing basketball. Why don’t you give being a Public Address announcer a shot?” I said, “Why not?” I gave up all those practices – They (the basketball team) certainly weren’t going to miss me! (laughs) I became the PA announcer, mixed in a little play by play for the local public access. It was in 1994 I sent out feelers to New England independent companies near me. There was one about twenty minutes from me and they were looking for an announcer. I went and did a tryout and that was the start of my ring announcing career in the spring of 1994!”

On if he purposely loses his accent when announcing:
“Not consciously. Maybe sub-consciously. So many people have said that to me, talent I’m meeting for the first time or fans. They’d hear me talk and they’d say, “Oh, you have that Boston accent!” (laughs) I think it is just the way I use my voice when announcing – It kind of just disappears. I’ve never thought, “Ah, I can’t announce with that accent.” It has never come to my mind.”

On how he got to be close with Steve Corino:
“That company I started announcing for in 1994, as we got into the late 90’s, I took over booking for in 1999. When ECW was starting to fold, we were running what you’d call “bought shows” where you’d bring in different named talent at the top of the card. We were looking to bring in a couple different people. As ECW was going down, I came across Steve’s name. I said, “That’s someone different. That’s someone who hasn’t done a lot of indies around the New England area.” So, i reached out to him. He came in for an event. I was not only booking it, I was also announcing it. He pulled me aside after and said, “I really liked your announcing. I have the PWF down in Pennsylvania, I’d like you to come announce for us down there.” That was really my first announcing outside of New England. It was exciting to get out a little bit and get a little more exposure. That was the first time I met Steve and thank God I did. I’ve said before, Steve Corino and Cary Silkin are the two guys who helped my announcing career the most by far.”

On being Steve Corino’s heel announcer in his debut in ROH:
“Him and the old AOL IM! (laughs) He caught me on that one night. He said he was going to return to Ring of Honor to feud with Homicide. He came up with the idea to have his own personal ring announcer and he wanted me to do it. He told me what he wanted and I was like “This is amazing.” Usually as a ring announcer, you have to be serious and not really involved. With this, I could be the biggest ass in the building everytime I was announcing him. I was the one holding the microphone so they had to listen to me. Those were an absolute blast. I loved those. I was so happy when Ring of Honor released his Worst of Steve Corino DVD, those intros were on the DVD set. Those were a lot of fun!”

On Daniel Bryan coaxing him to say wacky things in ROH:
“Yeah, Bryan Danielson used to get in my ear. (laughs) The thing with Danielson was I really never knew what was coming. If he hit me with three lines of things I had to say, it was on the spot. There was no preparation. That was a little scary! But, he was funny. It went from something like, “You tell them that I’m the best wrestler in the world” to something wacky or funny.”

On if Daniel Bryan should return to the ring or not:
“Absolutely, if he’s cleared. I was thinking about this earlier today, actually. When I first read it online, a pal of mine, Adam Pearce who I love to death, he basically congratulated Bryan. He said, “You can teach wrist locks and head locks but you can’t teach passion.” He (Daniel Bryan) has it. Pro wrestling and wrestling in the ring is his passion.”

On rumors he tried to jump to Impact Wrestling a few years ago:
“Some website posted that I was spotted in New York City and that I was unhappy with Ring of Honor because I was not being used on all the events and blah, blah, blah and that I had met with Dixie Carter and John Gaburick. The point of that story was way off. I was in New York City on the same day they happened to be taping TV in the Manhattan Center. I was with my older daughter Sarah because we were going to Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden that night. So, when I saw TNA was in town, I reached out to Dave Lagana and asked if I could come by to see not only him but guys I know like Kenny King, Samoa Joe, Velvet Sky… Just to say hi! I never met with anyone about a job. A week or two later is when I saw it (reported). Of course, Ring of Honor is going to see it. It must have been a really, really, really slow news day in wrestling if you’re reporting rumors about a ring announcer changing companies!”

On if ROH has followed UFC’s model of making their show more mainstream to grow the audience:
“I think so. I think that’s accurate. I think that’s fair. And, that is a good thing. The “mainstream” fans are WWE fans. You have other fans but you have mainstream fans that just watch strictly WWE. Bringing in Cody (Rhodes), Bully Ray, and bringing in the Hardy’s last year… The more eyes that are on the product, the better. I think once people watch it, if they’re into wrestling, they’re going to be hooked, they’re going to like it, and they’re going to watch more!”

On the Women of Honor finally being used on ROH TV:
“Absolutely! Last year and the start of this year, with what WWE is doing and what we’re doing with the Women of Honor and our work with STARDOM… It is a great time to be a women’s wrestler right now. They’re viewed like they should be. They’re viewed as athletes. Not like they were in the late 90’s wearing string bikinis and stuff. I’m very happy with the progression of the Women of Honor. I agree with you. I think they should be on TV. I think they should be on pay per view! I just think the Women of Honor will continue to grow even more.”

On one of his funniest memories in ROH:
“Ooh, that’s tough! I laughed a couple of weeks ago when we had our 16th Annivresary pay per view and I happened to be standing in the wrong place and Jay Lethal happened to tackle me. I happened to be laying on the ground and I heard the crowd start chanting, “You Killed Bobby! You Killed Bobby!” I thought that was pretty funny!”

On if companies should view it as WWE against the rest:
“I can see that. They are number one company in the world. I consider us (ROH) the number two company in the country. People sometimes argue with me on that. I don’t know where the argument is these days. There is a BIG gap between number one and number two. They are a mega mainstream company. They have guys hosting the Today Show, on SportsCenter, in movies, and all that stuff. I guess it is easy to say it is WWE versus the World. The way I look at it as far as Ring of Honor, we’ve just done our own thing. Obviously, talent has come and gone over the years, ownership has changed, bookers have changed. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of the product in the ring. That’s always been what we’ve excelled at and that always has been what we’re best at and I think that continues to this day.”

On if WWE is trying to put ROH out of business:
“I don’t think that is the case. I honestly don’t. I actually had a conversation with a friend that works for WWE about a year or two ago about that. His response was, “No, we’re not looking to do that.” There’s going to be talent they’re interested in. They’re going to grab War Machine, Adam Cole, (Bobby) Fish. They are going to go after guys they think they can use best. But as far as putting a company out? I’ve never heard those words from anyone I’ve talked to in either company.”

On what match he wants to see most at Supercard of Honor:
“I scrolled through the NJPW event that aired this Sunday. This Cody and Omega thing, I don’t know where it is going but it is hot and it is going to explode. That to me is just a really interesting dynamic and what the fallout is going to be.”

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