Ring of Honor and New Japan have each established footholds in the pro wrestling business due to their partnership as well as individual company efforts.
Fans around the world loyally follow both brands and are treated to some of the best pro wrestling matches the industry has to offer. But those companies would not be successful if not for the stars at the top. However now it appears that many of those talents may be heading to WWE.
Cageside Seats is reporting that Vince McMahon’s company plans to raid the locker rooms of both NJPW and ROH. That raid could begin at any moment and is likely due to the level of success that both companies are currently enjoying.
This news should come as no surprise to pro wrestling fans. WWE is the top promotion in the world of course and they did not get there by allowing outside companies to roll over them without fighting back.
The last real competition that challenged WWE was of course WCW. Ted Turner’s foray into pro wrestling was hugely successful and set the tone for years to come. But once WWE buckled down and went to work, WCW’s fate was sealed. Is that what fans are seeing today?
Is this reported talent raid happening because of Ring of Honor and New Japan’s joint venture, the G1 Supercard, at Madison Square Garden in 2019? Did WWE feel the heat from that historic booking and decide to react accordingly?
Or could it be that WWE has no intention of crippling New Japan or Ring of Honor? Perhaps WWE is just interested in the talent and genuinely wants to do real business with them. Of course if WWE wants to sign away top guys in an effort to harm those brands, then independent pro wrestling could indeed suffer a major blow.
Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and current IWGP champion Kenny Omega will all see their contracts expire before the end of 2018. What would it mean for the industry if all four men jumped ship and went to WWE? What would that do to the G1 Supercard in 2019?
WWE has not officially signed any talent from New Japan or Ring of Honor and there has been no reported overtures toward any of those stars yet. But it may only be a matter of time.