Roderick Strong is one of NXT‘s most popular superstars at the moment. As one quarter of The Undisputed Era faction, he’s enjoyed a dominant run on the black and gold brand this year, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets promoted to the WWE main roster. However, as quoted by 411Mania, he recently appeared on the After the Bell podcast and told Corey Graves that he considered retiring from the business in 2009.
According to Strong, he felt like he wasn’t good enough to reach the top. Most of his peers — Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe to name a few — were all being hired by major companies, and Strong didn’t think he’d be following in their footsteps at the time.
“I just felt personally that I’m in the same league as them, and I wanted the opportunity to show the world. And you know, it was a small stretch of time, I’d say just a few months, but after that I kind of had a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with myself, and looked in the mirror and said, ‘You know, your path has always been different, and it’s going to continue to be different. And eventually when you get the opportunity, you’re going to make the most of it.’ And here I am today.”
Strong then revealed that he came to terms with the possibility of never joining WWE. He discussed leaving Ring of Honor in 2016 because he felt like he’d accomplished everything in the company and needed a break so as not to become more overexposed. His plan was to wrestle internationally, but he got the call from WWE shortly after, and the rest is history.
— WWE (@WWE) November 25, 2019
Since joining WWE, Strong has found success as a former two-time NXT Tag Team Champion and as the current North American Champion. He also competed at this year’s Survivor Series pay-per-view, where he defeated Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in an inter-brand Triple Threat match.
During his interview with Graves, Strong said that the Survivor Series match was an emotional experience for him, as he and Styles had risen through the indies together. He also admitted that Styles is a performer that he looks up to, and claiming a victory over him was a career highlight.
Strong’s next main roster appearance will likely happen at next month’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the titular 30-man Battle Royale match is set to feature 10 superstars from NXT. As one of the black and gold brand’s top performers, it’s very possible that he’ll represent the roster at the event.