John Cena doesn’t just like to troll fans about potential heel turns. He also likes to troll fans on Instagram with teases of great wrestlers who don’t currently work for WWE.
Some of those teases come to pass, like when Cena posted an image of AJ Styles several weeks before The Phenomenal One’s 2016 WWE debut. Others are purely to frustrate us, like his multiple posts hinting at a Kenny Omega surprise entrance for January’s Royal Rumble.
Earlier this week, Cena posted the below not-so-flattering image of Ring of Honor’s Jay Lethal.
Is the former ROH World Champion coming to WWE? Will Vince McMahon make him reprise the Black Machismo gimmick? And holy 60s spandex, does Cena’s post of Adam West and Burt Ward from the Batman TV series two days later mean they’ll be debuting in NXT?
I can’t say for certain about Batman and Robin, but I do know Lethal won’t be heading to WWE anytime soon. Jay revealed to ComicBook.com back in January that his new ROH deal is for two years. I mean, to get him now, WWE would, like, have to buy the entire promotion to get him…
Pro Wrestling Sheet are reporting that WWE and Ring of Honor owners the Sinclair Broadcast Group have recently secretly discussed a potential buyout of the promotion. The article adds that the talks date back to January this year, and “things have been slowly progressing, with the plan being a full takeover if the deal is made official…this would include the weekly [ROH] TV show beginning to air on the WWE Network.”
Ryan Satin points out that as of right now, there is no actual deal on the table, and the two sides are only in the discussion stages. Just like when WWE were in talks to buy TNA last September, but the deal fell through.
The latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter has corroborated Pro Wrestling Sheet’s reports, but claim the discussions of WWE buying ROH actually date back to August last year. So for at least a month, Vince McMahon was in some way trying to buy both the second and third largest wrestling promotions in North America. Because who needs competition when you’ve got a brand split?
Dave Meltzer explains the major draw for WWE buying Ring of Honor is the promotion’s tape library. A large percentage of WWE’s full-time roster spent significant time in ROH – Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Cesaro, Austin Aries and many more – and buying the promotion would allow for that footage to go up on the Network.
When listing those names, you realise why this news is so alarming. WWE’s in-ring product right now might be the best it’s ever been, a style heavily influenced by those Ring of Honor alumni. Without external promotions affecting the product, WWE is in very real danger of stagnation.
The other implication is for the world of wrestling geopolitics. New Japan, Ring of Honor and CMLL have a close working relationship, often working together in talent exchanges and putting on joint shows. WWE removing ROH from that axis would leave New Japan and CMLL without a US base. I guess they could always forge a relationship with TNA Impact Wrestling…
Following their deal with Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan, Impact Wrestling have announced a new partnership with Mexico’s AAA. As AAA is CMLL’s sworn promotional rival, a deal between New Japan and TNA now seems unlikely. But then again, TNA have also worked with The Crash promotion recently, who also have very tense relations with AAA, so I have no idea about anything anymore.