Scouting Report: Ring of Honor Talent Coming to WWE/NXT
In recent weeks, WWE has signed two of the most popular Ring of Honor stars, Kyle O'Reilly and [...]
In recent weeks, WWE has signed two of the most popular Ring of Honor stars, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish, to its NXT developmental brand. These acquisitions might confirm increasing rumors and reports that several other former ROH and free agents– Adam Cole, Donovan Dijak, Lio Rush, and War Machine– may be on the cusp of signing with the WWE in the near future as well.
Bobby Fish, made his debut in a match that taped on June 23rd and aired on July 12th. Kyle O'Reilly made his in-ring WWE debut on the July 12th NXT taping that is scheduled to air on August 2nd. The former Ring of Honor tag champions both faced rising NXT star Aleister Black as their first opponent, making a strong impression in their respective debuts.
Will these two reform their ROH tag team reDRagon, or will they embark on this stage of their NXT journey as singles competitors? The way things have been going for WWE/NXT tag teams, any alliance early on could be a fast-track toward splitsville, but both stars have already proven themselves as major names on their own.
Meanwhile, former Bullet Club member Adam Cole has taken a longer road to to the WWE. Currently one of the hottest free agents in wrestling, the three-time ROH World Champion has elicited interest from WWE for a while now, even catching the attention of Vince McMahon. But despite speculation, it's still uncertain when he'll sign with the company, or which roster he might debut on.
Up Next: Adam Cole Talks Bullet Club Rift And When WWE Comes Around
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Cole is indeed "on his way" to the WWE. However, acquiring Cole's services has not been a cakewalk for WWE. On a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer posed two major questions that remain before we see Adam Cole in the WWE– Which roster/brand would he debut on, and will he be able to go by the name Adam Cole?
Meltzer gave examples of wrestlers who have either changed or retained their ring-name in transitioning to the WWE from outside promotions, and joked that Adam Cole could be positioned as the illegitimate child of Raw announcer Michael Cole (in reference to the current Kurt Angle story line)
Cole has previously expressed interest in being part of NXT, stating that he would prefer to go through the developmental program before coming up to the WWE main roster. But there's speculation he could debut on the main roster still, as he's already proved capable of performing on the biggest stage and has the star power to bypass NXT. Wherever and whenever Cole makes his debut, he will definitely add value to whichever brand he starts in.
More: AJ Styles: Vince McMahon 'Thought I Was a Fluke'
Current IWGP Tag Team Champions War Machine have also been rumored to be making the move to WWE/NXT, but are in a bit of a career holding pattern for the time being. According to stillrealtous.com, WWE contacted partners Hanson and Rowe with a potential contract offer earlier this year, but cooled their approach when ROH made legal threats over their current contractual obligations.
War Machine have continued to work for ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling in the meantime, but the prospect of them challenging the Authors of Pain for the NXT tag titles would definitely add much needed excitement to the yellow brand's tag division.
Another name included in these rumors, Donovan Dijak has been on WWE's radar for some time. He parted ways with ROH back in February, but WWE have waited to sign him, possibly because of ROH's legal threats regarding contract matters. However, the 2015 ROH Top Prospect Winner was recently spotted attending NXT tapings. He supposedly attended a meeting with WWE officials, but it's not known at this time whether he signed a contract.
According to similar reports, 2016 ROH Top Prospect winner Lio Rush may have already signed a contract with the WWE. The 22 year-old former CZW champion is reportedly waiting to be cleared to begin competing for NXT, and can be expected to debut in the very near future. A highly-touted prospect like Rush could add credibility and excitement to WWE's cruiserweight division and boost the future of the 205 Live brand.
More: WWE Considering Demoting Superstars to NXT
With interest in independent wrestling on the rise at the moment, the WWE is doing the right thing by looking to sign stars that have managed to make a name for themselves elsewhere.
NXT has been heralded by many fans as the closest thing the WWE has to an independent-style promotion. Though some of its wrestlers are homegrown, the bulk of its talent come from the independent circuit, with many graduating to the WWE's main roster. Though some critics feel that NXT's current roster has been depleted by recent call-ups to the main roster, and is in need of rejuvenation.
These Ring of Honor veterans would all be coming to the NXT roster with strong reputations, which fans respond to quickly, and all possess the level of experience to help put over the younger developmental talent. Don't be surprised to see any of these rumored recruits make their dramatic entrance at upcoming NXT shows, or at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III.0comments