If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Vince McMahon must be overjoyed with what Triple H is trying to do for the WWE. Circumstances are different, of course, but there are similarities in what Vince did in 1982 to what Triple H has been attempting to do, and might very well accomplish, 34-years-later.
Back then, Vince bought out every other wrestling territory in the country in an expansion process that fundamentally changed the entire complexion of the industry. A syndicated television deal cemented the WWE as the premiere promotion in the business, aimed at a national (and eventually global) takeover. Since WCW’s demise in 2001, there has been no legitimate competition to the WWE, but there is talent all over the world in promotions trying to be just that, or simply offer an alternative.
Talent is in demand in the WWE today, perhaps more than ever. With the success of NXT and the recent reincarnation of the roster extension, there are three brands that need stocking and re-stocking. Back in the summer, the Inquisitr reported regularly about how the WWE was pursuing both independent talent and former WWE superstars with the experience that the younger members of the roster could benefit from.
From those efforts, we’ve witnessed the returns of Jinder Mahal, Brian Kendrick, Curt Hawkins, The Headbangers, The Spirit Squad, Mickie James, Rhyno and more. Shelton Benjamin remains primed for a return after undergoing shoulder surgery just before he was set to come back. But the WWE train never stops, and it’s in constant need of refueling in the form of sports entertainers.
It appears that the direction of the pursuit has shifted back to the “independent” level talent that occupies all corners of the globe, with one promotion getting the majority of the focus. Daily Wrestling News is reporting that Triple H is leading the charge in WWE’s attempt to raid Ring of Honor, the presumptive second-most successful wrestling company in the United States (in the wake of TNA’s recent troubles and uncertain future).
Timing is key in any business, but Triple H and the WWE will be ramping up their recruitment as the calendar turns to 2017 because many Ring of Honor stars’ contracts are set to expire on the final day of 2016. As it often does, it will all come down to money. WWE will be offering more money to the Ring of Honor talents they’ve pinpointed while maintaining a realistic budget and pay scale in the NXT brand. It’s expected that most of, if not all of the talent they’re able to pry away would first report to the NXT brand.
Notable Ring of Honor alumni who have competed, or do compete in the WWE currently include Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and others. Owens, Styles and Samoa Joe are all the top champions of their respective brands under the WWE umbrella, and Strong is the most recent signing, after earning the nickname “Mr. ROH” during his 13-year run with Ring of Honor.
While there are many wrestlers on the Ring of Honor roster that the WWE covets, the most sought after are reportedly The Young Bucks. Nick and Matt Jackson are revered as the top tag team in wrestling not on the WWE roster, and they have been on Triple H’s radar for some time now. The WWE understands that ROH will try to match some of their offers, but they won’t be able to match or surpass all of them.
A recent example of that is Steve Corino, who was pried away to work as a trainer at the WWE Performance Center. His deal expires next month, and the word is that ROH did not try to match the offer from WWE because they knew they had to save funds to attempt to re-sign a number of other wrestlers. Corino is also being used by the WWE to help recruit other Ring of Honor stars.
The next 30 days or so will prove to be very interesting and could affect the future of both Ring of Honor and the WWE. Triple H is making it a priority to expand NXT, and the expansion could come at the expense of ROH. The Inquisitr will continue to monitor any roster movements over the next month as they happen.
[Featured Image by WWE]