Ring of Honor’s current reigning women’s champion, Kelly Klein, will not be re-signing with the promotion when her current contract expires — and multiple sources are publicly claiming that she has been fired.
Klein, 33, is allegedly suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome related to a recent injury, and has not wrestled since Oct. 26th. Her contract with the company expires at the end of the year.
In recent weeks, Klein has publicly supported long-time wrestler Joey Mercury, who until recently worked for ROH backstage. He has since taken to social media to speak out loudly against many of the company’s practices, and earlier this month began releasing email exchanges between Klein and members of ROH upper management.
In a tweet sent out on Nov. 1st Klein issued the following statement:
“I love Ring of Honor and I want someone guiding the company who will work for the best interests of the product and protect the talent who work hard to make it happen. We had someone who wanted to do that and tried to do that, and eventually gave up trying to do that when it became clear that he didn’t have the support he needed to make those positive changes.”
The first email released, from Dec. 2018, was from Klein to Ring of Honor’s Corporate Business Manager Greg Gilleland. In it she discusses asking for a raise so that her new annual salary would be $24,000, and being rejected because the company “would have to pay all of the other women that amount”.
Klein pointed out that her contract with the company “shouldn’t have any bearing” on the income of anyone else, as well as the obvious NDA laws that would protect her information from being shared.
Mercury also shared screenshots of Gilleland’s alleged response, which read:
“While we have the NDA language, unfortunately it seems that everyone knows everyone’s deal regardless. I’m not suggesting that you would divulge it at all, it’s just an assumption that I have to make. However it is more so a fairness internally, aligning the compensations for the division as it continues to grow. If things take off or change for the better, we can review/renegotiate at any time.”
A final email from Ring of Honor’s COO Joe Koff dated Nov. 19th was released by Mercury on Thursday afternoon, wherein Klein was accused of “sharing confidential documents and emails with another contractor, who used the material to defame and slander the company,”
In the email, Koff claimed that if ROH pursued her alleged “breach of contract”, their deal would be terminated effective immediately, and she would be subject to a 6-month non-compete clause. Instead, her contract will expire at the end of its term (Dec. 31) and negotiations for a new deal have been halted.
There is currently no timetable for Klein’s ability to return to the ring following a recent concussion, but the two-time champion told Fightful.com she was seeing an average of three doctors every week. Her husband, veteran wrestler and 4-time ROH World Tag Team Champion B.J. Whitmer, wrote the following on Twitter:
“Now that the cat is out of the bag. Yes, my wife Kelly Klein was fired by Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff via email Thursday evening. Not a phone call, an email. Kelly is still very much suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome and was fired while still injured.”
We have reached out to Ring of Honor for comment. The company has sent the following brief statement to several outlets since the news first broke:
“We don’t generally discuss personal issues but they seem to have made it public – we didn’t fire [Kelly Klein], we just notified her that we would not be renewing her contract.”
Now that the cat is out of the bag. Yes, my wife @RealKellyKlein was fired by @ringofhonor COO Joe Koff, via email Tuesday evening. Not a phone call, an EMAIL. Kelly is still very much suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome and was fired while still injured. https://t.co/0Otra5aq4j
— BJ Whitmer (@BJ_Whitmer) November 21, 2019
How dare she!?!? The nerve. That’s what you get, @RealKellyKlein – hey I wonder who else you sent that nice email to? What if Tomorrow’s Summit was actually the resignation of GG & JK!?!? If it isn’t- I’m more than prepared to get LOUD & specific. Talent deserve this treatment. pic.twitter.com/RY2hPdfyX0
— mercury in retrograde (@JOEYnRetrograde) November 21, 2019