When Austin Aries entered the NXT Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament and said he had a mystery partner, WWE rumors started to fly about a former tag team partner of Aries from Ring of Honor. It turned out to be true as the WWE website reported that Roderick Strong made his debut in NXT at the television tapings on Thursday night and was in fact Austin Aries' tag team partner in the tournament.
Austin Aries and Roderick Strong beat the tag team of Tucker Knight and Otis Bogojevic in the first round of the WWE NXT Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament. While there were multiple weeks of NXT taped, that was the only tournament match that featured Austin Aries and Roderick Strong.This is a pretty huge debut for Roderick Strong, who has been rumored to be headed to NXT for a few months now. Roderick Strong has been known by a number of nicknames, and the WWE mentioned the Messiah of the Backbreaker, but one of his biggest nicknames was Mr. Ring of Honor.
Ring of Honor started action in 2002 and Roderick Strong joined the promotion in 2003. In his 13 years in Ring of Honor, Strong won the triple crown there, holding the world title once, TV title twice, and world tag team titles one time. His championship tag team partner was Austin Aries.Roderick Strong started off in Ring of Honor as a member of a faction called Generation Next with Austin Aries, Alex Shelley, and Jack Evans. Shelley is back in Ring of Honor and Evans is wrestling in Lucha Underground right now. Together, they helped to revolutionize Ring of Honor.
Roderick Strong won the Ring of Honor world championship in 2010 by beating none other than Seth Rollins and then held the belt for 189 days. Austin Aries is also a two-time world champion, one of only three men to win the title more than once. Aries won his titles from Samoa Joe and former ECW star Jerry Lynn.Austin Aries and Roderick Strong held the Ring of Honor tag team titles when the company renamed them the world tag team titles. They were dominant champions, holding the titles for 273 days with 18 title defenses. They lost the belts to Chris Hero and Cesaro.
The last title that Roderick Strong held in Ring of Honor was the television title. He was the fifth champion, beating Jay Lethal in 2011 and then winning it again in 2014 when he beat Lethal a second time. Over his career, Roderick Strong also held titles in FIP, PWG, and FCW.
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As Wrestling Inc reported, Roderick Strong will follow in the footsteps of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and Austin Aries and be allowed to keep his name, which is huge for Strong and the WWE as he has a loyal fan following from his years in the business. His teaming with Austin Aries is also something special for longtime fans.
The Roderick Strong WWE debut was expected but still came as a nice surprise for many fans. The Full Sail NXT fans gave Roderick Strong a huge ovation and it was Strong that picked up the pinfall in his match, using his Sick Kick. Only time will tell if Roderick Strong has the same success as his fellow Ring of Honor alumnus who arrived in the WWE.
[Featured Image by WWE]