In June of this year, former Ring of Honor World and Television Champion Roderick Strong said his goodbyes to the company after a 13-year stay. During the time of his departure, many speculated that it was due to making his debut for the NXT brand. His final ROH match was shown on July 15 in a loss to Dalton Castle.
Speculation of his debut became even stronger when he bade his farewell to his PWG fanbase, after losing to Zack Sabre, Jr. on July 29. This loss was his final match, and ended his 11-year tenure with the company. With leaving both companies, a WWE debut seemed to be imminent. This speculation would end during a recent episode of NXT.
Austin Aries was promoting a mystery partner in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic against Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight. All of a sudden, music hits, and “Roderick Strong” appears on the LED board. The duo won the match, and is now scheduled to face TM-61.
While many competitors, similar to the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, are appearing just for the tournament, Strong seemed to be in NXT for the long haul. WWE confirmed this by welcoming him among the latest recruits to the Performance Center with other indy stars Big Damo, Tommy End, and “Crazy” Mary Dobson.
Interestingly, this is not the first rodeo for the team of Aries and Strong. In fact, the duo was a dominant tag team in Ring of Honor from 2004 to 2006, winning the tag team championship from Tony Mamaluke and Sal Rinauro as part of the Generation Next stable.
The pair would also have matches in TNA as a team, competing in two pay per views, Turning Point ‘05 and Against All Odds ‘06.
Strong has been a major player in nearly every company he has competed with. While he did not achieve as much success during his short run for TNA, he still was able to make strong waves during a red-hot X Division. This further cemented him as a top name for both ROH and PWG, and eventually brought him to his dream job as an NXT talent.
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