We warned you that pro wrestling free agent season would be heating up. Although The Young Bucks and Jay Lethal signed new contracts with Ring of Honor at the end of 2016, the ROH World Championship changing hands at Wrestle Kingdom 11 is the first indicator that at least three of the company’s stars will be signing with WWE in the new year.
Dave Meltzer reports in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter that along with Lethal and the Bucks, Adam Page, Bobby Fish, and Christopher Daniels have signed new deals with ROH. O’Reilly worked Wrestle Kingdom 11 while not being under contract, and although he went into that event as world champion and is reportedly a favorite of New Japan’s owner, and although his longtime reDRagon teammate Fish chose to re-sign with ROH, O’Reilly is expected to go with a WWE deal. According to Meltzer, Fish had an offer from WWE as well, but turned it down to stay in ROH and New Japan.
O’Reilly and Ray Rowe (one-half of former ROH Tag Team Champions War Machine) are expected to leave for WWE, as is Adam Cole when his contract is up in May. As of right now, Rowe is attempting to obtain a package deal for his War Machine partner Hanson so they can both head to WWE. They’d prefer to remain together as a tag team, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that ROH or New Japan could make War Machine a better offer.
Still, Meltzer writes that ROH officials expect O’Reilly, Rowe, and Cole to all be on the way out, and “just about everyone else” will stay on with the company in 2017. So yeah, NXT might have Aries/Strong, Future Shock, and War Machine this year. The third Dusty Classic might be the best one yet.
Wait, I just thought about War Machine fighting The Authors Of Pain. I’m gonna need a minute.