So far, 2017 has been a wild time for free agent pro wrestler speculation, probably more so than at any point since WCW was still in business. First we had to deal with all the Kenny Omega foolishness at the end of last year and during the build-up to Royal Rumble, and then there was the Impact Wrestling changeover that sloughed a bunch of talent and made the Broken Hardys the hottest thing available.
Now we’ve got some more wrinkles, laid out expertly by Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer and Mike Johnson at PWInsider.com. Johnson reports that one of the youngest talents that is making a big name for himself, Lio Rush (who won the ROH Top Prospect Tournament last year) is nearing the end of his contract and has already given Ring of Honor his notice. He, along with former ROH TV Champion and three-time tag champion Bobby Fish, have let promoters know they will be taking independent bookings soon.
Fish had previously alluded to rejoining his reDRagon teammate Kyle O’Reilly again in the near future. O’Reilly, who left ROH shortly after losing the world title to Adam Cole, was expected to be WWE-bound, but just started taking independent dates this month. Meltzer reported that WWE recently backed off a batch of ROH stars they had their sights on (and in some cases, had formal offers out to) when ROH’s parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, sent legal letters indicating they believed WWE may have been tampering by negotiating before stars’ contracts were up.
WWE is, according to Meltzer, keeping their distance for now on some performers who they may have spoken to a bit too close to their ROH contract expiration dates. These wrestlers include O’Reilly and Donovan Dijak. Meltzer still expects Adam Cole to eventually sign with WWE, as his contract is up on 5/1. Fish’s deal expires on 3/27 and it’s possible WWE may be interested in him, with or without O’Reilly.
Another interesting thing to note is that indie god Dalton Castle’s contract also expires in “a few months.” So temper your expectation, everyone, but there’s a slim chance 2017 could be the year of the peacock.