As noted earlier, Roderick Strong is leaving ROH after Saturday’s TV taping. The belief is that he is WWE-bound. Here is ROH’s full announcement with comments from Strong:
Goodbye… For Now.
Roderick Strong Departs Ring of Honor
Roderick Strong told ROH officials that he plans to leave the company after Saturday’s TV Taping in Concord, NC to pursue other opportunities. This brings to conclusion an amazing run of success lasting nearly 13 years in Ring of Honor. Immediately after his announcement, Roddy sat down with ROHWrestling.com to provide exclusive quotes for a look back at his tenure with the company.
It was September 20, 2003 at the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, PA, where it all began in Ring of Honor for Roderick Strong. A young, muscular upstart with movie star looks made his way into the ring and proved immediately that he had the tools to be something very special.
“After seeing ROH for the first time I immediately went and put “Wrestle for ROH” at the top of my goals. It was everything I wanted as a fan. As a wrestler, I knew getting there and staying there would be a difference maker for my career” said Strong. “As I prepared to walk through the curtain, all I could think was, ‘don’t screw this up!’ Honestly, I felt I was still very young but I couldn’t be more prepared for whatever opportunity I would be given”. Little did anyone know that Roderick Strong would become a stalwart for Ring of Honor over the next decade.
They say you can measure a true athlete’s greatness by the amount of championships he has held and Strong’s championship resume is befitting a wrestler of his caliber. In 2005, he teamed with Austin Aries to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship. In September of 2010, Roddy ended the 7 month reign of Tyler Black to become the ROH World Champion. In March, 2012 he would defeat Jay Lethal for the ROH World Television Championship to become the 2nd ROH Triple Crown Champion. He would capture the ROH World Television Championship once more in October of 2015.
When asked what winning championships meant to him, Strong said, “The championships I won all carried a different feeling and were amazing for very different reasons. Winning the ROH World Tag Team Titles was something special because I was always a huge fan of tag team wrestling and holding it made me the best. To be considered part of the best tag teams in the world was an honor. The ROH World Championship was something that meant a lot because it was validation from Ring of Honor that all the miles, working through injuries, time lost with my family was not lost. I was in a position where the pressure is at its highest and they knew I could get the job done. Both of my TV title wins came at important points of my career. They helped show not only me, but my peers and the ROH fans my growth as a performer”.
He added “Believe it or not, when I lost the World title to Eddie Edwards, it was a very special moment for both of us. Looking back, I realized I was happy that I could be a part of a landmark moment for his career. Losing the TV title to Adam Cole also holds a special place in my heart. To see the crowd react the way they did and making him really earn it was awesome. To be a part of their moments is something ROH gave me and I will never forget.”
In the early days of Ring of Honor, fans enjoyed his great matches with likes of Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. “Guys like them were the reason I wanted to come to ROH and why I fell in love with wrestling here. I wanted to go out and be tested by the best and prove I either had what it takes or not. Every match up was such a great learning experience and made me who I am today.”
ROH fans witnessed amazing battles with international stars Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi and “the Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada. “I was fired up at the opportunity to show the world, no matter who they are and where they are from that I can go toe to toe with them. I pride myself on being able to work with anyone and any style so it was nice to be able to do that.”
More recent wars with ROH World Television Champion Bobby Fish and ROH World Champion Jay Lethal really showed that Strong continued to operate on an elite level. “Fish is a warrior and someone I respect immensely, not just as a personality, but also a performer and beating Jay Lethal for my second Television title was the beginning of the next chapter of my career. It showed the world that I wasn’t going anywhere for a very long time and it showed the growth in me as a performer. Those matches with Jay are very special to me.”
When asked about why he stayed with ROH as long as he did, Strong said “ROH was everything great about wrestling to me, getting the most talented people together to push each other and come up with super-unique and interesting things to make the product stand out. They gave me my first real chance to grow and had the confidence in letting me fail or succeed. ROH will always mean the world to me.”
ROH fans have had a love/hate relationship and at times, they truly loved to hate him. What can never be lost is Roddy’s appreciation the fans. He doesn’t have an “off button” or know how to take it easy. Roderick Strong is truly a once-in-a-lifetime athlete that Ring of Honor and its fans have been blessed to have witnessed for nearly the past 13 years.
Strong concluded, “I want to be able to personally thank everyone, from the new fans that just found ROH, to the fans that have followed me from the beginning. Ring of Honor is more than just a company to me. It’s my family, I started as 20-year-old kid just looking for an opportunity to learn and grow as a performer. Now I stand here after 12 and a half years loving it just as much, if not more than when I came in. I want to thank you for your patience as you watched me grow over time. I want to thank you for the cheers, the boos and the passion you showed me. Most importantly I want to thank you personally for always supporting the greatest company in the world, Ring of Honor. I hope to see everyone this Saturday in Concord”
Join us Saturday in Concord, North Carolina at the Cabarrus Arena as Ring of Honor bids farewell to the one and only, “Mr. ROH” Roderick Strong.