Ring of Honor’s legacy is strong for the introductions of many future WWE stars to the wrestling world. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens and numerous other stars became main event level performers that traveled the world, but their main key to developing their standing before WWE was ROH. The promotion took a chance on going with the identity of “work rate” wrestling following the demises of WCW and ECW. WWE monopolized the industry but ROH created a true alternative that did something different and exciting. The risk paid off and a cult-like following started to take note of the new breed of the next generation’s stars.
WWE did not fully embrace this style due to the smaller sizes of the wrestlers and unconventional in-ring styles. CM Punk’s success started to show how credible and talented the ROH stars were. If Punk loosened the door of opportunity for the hungry Ring of Honor talent, Daniel Bryan kicked the door down with his rise to the top of WWE. The rest of the stars to get signed included household names like Seth Rollins, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn and they all hit home runs with their chances on the main stage to help create a movement for many wrestlers taking the same path to get a look by WWE.
ROH still thrives with a touring brand that does shows in most major cities and a television deal with their parent company Sinclair Broadcasting. The big corporation owning the promotion has led to bigger contracts for the top talents and the potential for growth. The fact that more wrestlers are making full-time livings wrestling for Ring of Honor solely is great but the end goal is still the WWE for most. Between the biggest stage and the potential to make the most money at the end of the day, getting a call from Vince McMahon or Triple H is the dream. These are 15 of the most promising acts in ROH that should be signed by WWE as soon as possible.
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The WWE has always held a fascination with signing former football players and ROH star Moose actually played for the NFL. The former Atlanta Falcons guard took the risk of pursuing another dream by training to become a professional wrestler and has been improving at a rapid speed. Moose has a great deal of strength, power and agility that leads to incredible results in the squared circle. The ability to find a team sports athlete that picks up professional wrestling with such ease is incredibly rare, making Moose a hot commodity. There’s no doubt the big man wants to end up in WWE, as he would be a tremendous fit for the company.
14 Roderick Strong
ROH has employed Roderick Strong for the past thirteen years making him one of the faces of their promotion. If you ever attended a Ring of Honor show, chances are you have seen Strong perform in an impressive match. Strong is one of the best athletes in the business and can work as long as you need him to. The veteran had his best year in 2015 and earned an exclusive ROH contract to prevent WWE from snagging him away. Strong will likely be a free agent this or next year and the WWE should strike before ROH locks him up again.
“War Beard” Hanson is one of the more physically intimidating stars in Ring of Honor today. The big man is currently one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions along with the equally terrifying Ray Rowe. Hanson separates himself from his partner and just about every wrestler in the business with his ability to move around the ring like a cruiserweight. The mammoth of a man flies around the squared circle with his huge size, and even larger beard, making it seem like we’re witnessing a one of a kind circus performer. Hanson has great matches on a weekly basis and could be a great fit in The Wyatt Family, considering they are now faces and Hanson's style leads to plenty of excitement.
12 Veda Scott
ROH is currently in the process of trying to create a credible “Women of Honor” division for the female performers in the company. That has always been one weakness for the promotion but they have employed a couple of highly success women such as Sara Del Rey as a wrestler and Maria Kanellis as a valet. The most valuable personality in the ROH women’s division right now is the highly entertaining Veda Scott. She plays the obnoxious snobby character to perfection, using her role as a lawyer in her actual real life job as part of the show. Scott can also perform in the ring and deserves the chance to shine on national television.
11 Kenny Omega
Kenny Omega is a highly respected veteran that is currently shining most in New Japan Pro Wrestling and ROH. “The Cleaner” is an all-around exciting in-ring performer and knows how to keep an audience captivated. Omega has wrestled all over the world for years but is currently experiencing his greatest success after replacing A.J. Styles as a leader of The Bullet Club. WWE is trying to sign the best talent from all around the world and Omega is among those as a Canadian born athlete that made his name in Japan. There are very few wrestlers that can perform at the level of Omega and he deserves a chance with the biggest promotion in the industry.
10 Dalton Castle
Dalton Castle's character is fascinating and it's led to him becoming one of the fastest rising stars in Ring of Honor. Castle arrived on the scene in 2015 and is already arguably the most beloved face in the promotion, to the point where he can enter the main event picture any time the company is ready to pull the trigger. Much of the love for Castle comes for his theatrics and comedic aspect, but his overall depth is quite impressive. Castle’s wrestling ability is second to none and he knows how to perfectly mix the talent with the humor to create an effective overall character. WWE needs more variety and depth, so Castle would be an A+ signing to add to NXT or the main roster.
9 Cedric Alexander
ROH typically knows how to put their best talents in a position to succeed but Cedric Alexander has been one of the rare failures in the company. Alexander is just 26-years-old with a world of potential that has yet to get fulfilled. Kevin Owens specifically named Alexander as the next big star in the promotion during his farewell speech before heading to WWE. Alexander has unfortunately been treated like a lower card act and WWE could find a diamond in the rough with him. The buzz would be lesser than many of the other signings, so they'll be able to slowly build a new star for the company.
8 Kyle O’Reilly
The progression of Kyle O’Reilly has been one of the better stories of growth on the independent wrestling scene. O’Reilly is a top tier performer in ROH, PWG and NJPW right now, accumulating a variety of titles. The all-around skills of O’Reilly have led to success in singles and tag team action, in both face and heel roles. WWE would be able to slot the talented young star into whatever role they wanted and he would succeed given his vast experience and knowledge of the business. O’Reilly’s tag partner Bobby Fish is a bit older, so signing both would be unlikely and would end reDRagon. However, he’s a singles star that can shine on his own.
7 Donovan Dijak
Donovan Dijak is among the newer names in ROH but is already making waves as a future star in the wrestling industry. The 6’7’’ athlete dazzles with awe-inspiring moves someone of his size should not be able to pull off. Dijak has only been in the wrestling business for a very short time period, but shows an improvement level that has him on a trajectory to become one of the best in the world. ROH is already slotting him into a world title feud with Jay Lethal and he is only going to get better by facing the best wrestlers in the promotion. Dijak looks the part of the wrestler WWE ideally loves, but he actually has the potential and promise to back it up.
ROH has developed a core roster of talent to build around as they attempt to grow as a brand and ACH may just be the most consistent and exciting performer of those talents. The high-flier uses his speed, style and charisma to connect with the fans. It has worked so far, as ACH is over with every live ROH crowd and has yet to peak as a wrestler. WWE should be looking at the young man as a potential future star in NXT. The experience he's gained in ROH has helped ACH work on knowing how to perform in front of different crowds and the amazing matches he'd put on in NXT would be must-see television.
5 The Briscoes
Wrestling fans and pundits have been dying for Jay and Mark Briscoe to enter the WWE for years. The established tag team has been putting out amazing matches in Ring of Honor since the days of CM Punk and Samoa Joe. All of the stars have come and gone, but The Briscoes have always been a constant in the ROH tag team division. The team apparently turned down an NXT contract for a bigger ROH offer in 2015, but the short term contracts from Sinclair should give WWE another chance at signing them. WWE needs as many tag teams as possible and The Briscoes facing Chad Gable and Jason Jordan sounds like a perfect way to add more credibility down in NXT.
4 Matt Sydal
One of the rare ROH stars to get a contract in the WWE before the independent boom period was Matt Sydal aka Evan Bourne. Sydal received a decent push and made a name for himself but the glass ceiling limited his potential. The master of the Shooting Star Press was stuck in the lower midcard and tag team picture for years before suspensions and injuries ended his WWE tenure. Sydal has rejuvenated his career with amazing matches all over the world in various promotions, while ROH has served as his main home with appearances on the majority of shows. Sydal is delivering the best work of his career and could be an upper card performer on the WWE's main roster today.
3 The Young Bucks
The Young Bucks are arguably the most entertaining tag team in the world and are the hottest act in Ring of Honor. The company offered the tag team the most lucrative contracts in ROH history and gave them plenty of perks. Everyone wants The Bucks and ROH showed that with such a large deal. The tag team will likely be free agents in a year or two and have many years left to give the industry. WWE is signing all of the top stars on the market these days from AJ Styles to Shinsuke Nakamura and The Young Bucks are on that level. The duo could be the centerpiece of the tag team division and WWE has to find a way to lock them up the next time they are available to sign.
2 Adam Cole
It is usually simple to figure out which ROH stars can make it in WWE based off the way they carry themselves and the overall star presence that jumps off the screen. CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins all possess it, and Adam Cole is the next in line to become a WWE star. Cole has the star quality that shows with every match, promo or even ring entrance. Kevin Owens is frequently asked in interviews which former coworkers he feels could be a great fit in WWE and his answer is always Cole. Cole is a “can’t miss prospect” and has all the tools to become a future WWE World Champion.
1 Jay Lethal
Jay Lethal's talent has always been there but he was never given the opportunity to develop into a superstar during his TNA days. Lethal signed with ROH following a release from TNA and blossomed into one of the brightest stars in the business. The ROH Championship is a credible title with the rich history of title holders all being well respected performers that achieved great success in various forms. Lethal holding the ROH Championship for the past year shows just how regarded he is right now and WWE could easily use him as the next big star in NXT or as depth for the main roster. Lethal has outstanding matches, delivers entertaining promos and steps up in the big moment. Lethal seems like the perfect fit with the NXT brand at the moment.
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