It has been reported this week that Roderick Strong has requested his release from WWE where he wrestles for the NXT brand. Fightful Select broke the news, suggesting that the wrestler has indeed been wanting to leave for quite some time, he apparently putting in said request many times over the last little while. That same report also states that Strong was denied his request by WWE, and apparently the company still has plans for him.
Roderick Strong is the only member of Undisputed that hasn’t jumped ship in favor of working for AEW. Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are all three ensconced within the AEW roster and doing phenomenally well on that platform, but Strong, who up until recently was the leader of the NXT faction, Diamond Mine, was still among the ranks on the NXT roster, sadly looking a little out of place.
The thing is though, Roderick Strong is a veteran in the sport of professional wrestling, he having quite the independent career and run in ROH, PWG, TNA and runs in Japan as well. He is a Triple Crown ROH champion and has had an impressive run on NXT over the last few years…his part of Undisputed and the feuds he had while in that faction were very memorable indeed.
Here is where the problem lies: NXT is supposed to be a temporary stage in a pro wrestler’s career…a stepping stone to the main roster of WWE. So many have passed through and succeeded there but many have also failed and been released, as the recent NXT releases undoubtedly show.
Stars like Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish and yes, even Johnny Gargano understood that they could not stay on that platform for much longer, as that would be career suicide. The time was right to move on.
According to the same Fightful report, Strong signed a new contract when he was told of the Diamond Mine faction just a little longer than a year ago, but the plans didn’t at all stay the same, the members changing over and over and of course with recent releases, it doesn’t look like anything went as planned with that faction, which was sad because it was a very good stable and launching pad for stars like Ivy Nile and the Creed Brothers.
But what of the veteran, Strong? He grew very upset at the creative direction in recent history, as the aforementioned Fightful report suggests, and I can more than understand that.
What’s he supposed to do there? There’s nothing for him to do other than lose to upcoming stars and ‘make’ them in terms of pro wrestling, allowing them to get ‘over.’ And at the age of 38, that’s no position to be in. He still has a lot of wrestling in him and he obviously recognizes that, or else he would never have put in the multiple requests for his release.
But WWE has denied him and this is where we now stand unfortunately. His wife, Marina Shafir, is in AEW, recently having a go at the TBS title in a match against Jade Cargill.
What will happen next? I can’t be certain, and apparently neither can Roderick Strong. This is of course reminiscent of what happened to Mustafa Ali. He was nowhere to be seen after he requested his release from the company and was denied, appearing on Monday Night Raw only last week finally, the company inserting him in an angle with Tommaso Ciampa, another NXT alum that perhaps spent a tad too long in that division as well. He should have been on the main roster a long time ago if you ask me, but at least he’s there now.
At the end of the day, Roderick Strong wants to wrestle and achieve greatness…a greatness he undoubtedly deserves. Unfortunately neither I nor he apparently envision that happening over at WWE. Let’s hope it changes. We’ll keep you posted, dear readers.