Sunday 9 June 2013

Strong Style

Roderick Strong is a guy you don't really see praised that often. He's been a name player on the indy scene for so long that its sort of taken that he’s good at what he does.

In Ring of Honor, the promotion for which Strong works the most and in which he first rose to a level of notoriety, he is routinely booked as an upper mid-card or headline act and has been for many years. He's presented as an ever present threat to the world title, with facing him being a rite of passage for new champions. Which I like, because it harks back to the "Gabe Sapolsky era" where facing former world champions like Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe was a way for new champions to prove their mettle.

The guy's got a varied set of moves that lends itself to the brisk, hard hitting matches of independent wrestling. He also benefits from having been around ROH long enough to have a good number of seldom seen moves to call on. Like the various back breaker variants he used early on in his time with the company. The backbreaker used to be a trademark of his but as he's progressed as a performer (and adopted a slimmer, less muscular physique) he's introduced new moves, letting the ‘breakers become something reserved for his bigger matches.

Busting out a backbreaker is a way of illustrating that a match is escalating and Roddy is having to delve deeper into his bag of tricks to try and get the win. It allows for greater storytelling opportunities during a bout. That's not something everyone in ROH can do because they don't have the standing within the company that Strong does.

He's a valuable asset for ROH and is portrayed as such. Which is nice, partly because you don't see guys looked after that way in wrestling too often.

One or two runs in TNA's X Division aside Strong has never really cracked the big time in wrestling. In fact it's arguable that working for TNA can't really be considered the big time. He's toured Japan for NOAH, won the ROH world championship after years of failed attempts and became the group's second ever triple crown champion. That's as big as it’s likely to get for him.

It's possible he could get a gig with WWE at some point. He's only in his late twenties so he's still young enough to have a profitable run there but I doubt it will happen. If WWE had wanted to sign him it would likely have happened by now.

It's probably for the best anyway. Strong lacks the intangible qualities possessed by his former colleagues Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. If he did defy the odds and get a spot on the WWE roster after a stint in NXT it's unlikely he'd progress into a featured role. He'd be firmly in the enhancement act camp. His likeliest route to WWE is as a road agent once he’s ready to quit being a full time wrestler.

'The Messiah of the Backbreaker' is best off where he is. He's found a character that works for him, he's always going to have work, and he's respected by his peers and fans.

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