As Ring of Honor’s, Roderick Strong recently took some time to participate in an interview . Strong reveals his past training under Jim Neidhart, his time in TNA, his present with Ring of Honor and the recent deal struck between Ring of Honor and Destination America. He opens up about how he’s grown and developed in the ring, his previous accomplishments and why he’s remained so loyal to Ring of Honor. Check out the complete interview below.
The early part of your training and career is synonymous with the Hart family. Can you describe how that training came about and the relationship that’s followed? Has it been maintained to this day?
The Jester. What was the thinking on that character? What influenced it? Why did it end?
The growth and evolution of Roderick Strong has seen a number of tremendous matches and development. What would you say stood out about your TV, tag team & world title runs?
You’ve had the opportunity to compete for two prominent promotions in the U.S (PWG notwithstanding). What did you find were the differences between your earlier time in Ring of Honor and your time in TNA?
On different occasions, you worked alongside Austin Aries and Alex Shelley. Describe the relationship and how each time came about between ROH & TNA?
“It’s been noted that in Ring of Honor that it was Gabe Sapolsky’s idea of putting us together as a group and none of us really knowing each other, other than saying hello at different shows. We did that and it was as fantastic opportunity for me and the others. He thought we were ready for that but it says a lot about him (Gabe). We made history together as a team. The four of us together including Jack Evans helped to save Ring of Honor and it always holds such a special place in my heart.
In TNA, it was something where they saw how hot Generation Next was and they wanted to do something similar but I felt they wanted it as proactive and putting in themselves in people’s faces because we had some fantastic chemistry. I had fun doing it and the fact that every single one of them are great wrestlers. I can’t really complain about being in the ring with those guys.”
A number of names have come through ROH and moved on to different places. What would you say has been your primary reason for remaining with the company?
“Opportunity and to be in a position to have bigger high profile matches and grow as a performer. As a performer, sometimes it really isn’t understood that I started with Ring of Honor when I was so young that I experience outside of the local Florida Indies was not very high. When I travelled with Ring of Honor, I had to go to CZW and learn a lot. When I was TNA my time there was great but at the time putting me in a bigger position there was not going to happen so wasn’t what I wanted.
I wanted to travel the world and I wanted to grow as a performer every way possible and I didn’t feel that was going to happen there when I was there at that time even though I appreciate my time there. Ring of Honor allowed me to do that and they’ve allowed me to find my place in wrestling and find out who I am. Some roads are longer for some than others and I think the last couple of years I’ve had an opportunity to come into my own.”
As part of the Decade, you, BJ & Jimmy had great chemistry. Did your role end earlier than anticipated? What may have led to the change in direction?
“I think everything happens for a reason. If it is meant to be a certain way than it is and that was meant to end when it did. It wasn’t exactly what I sought it out to be. It had ran its course. I had fun doing it alongside those guys. I’ve been lucky to be grouped with some guys that I really get along with and we have a very similar mindset when it comes to our work. It definitely was fun but I’m liking that it ended when it needed too.”
Were there any factions, stables, tag teams or managers that you have been with or a part of that you feel could have been prolonged, or do you think they ended as they should have?
“I felt that Generation Next could have gone a little longer. People’s priorities changed and it needed to happen the way it happened. It was something that was kind of sad to see because it had legs and could have gone for a very long time, I feel. In that itself I feel it could have gone longer. Being with Truth (Martini) was great. The fact that I barely knew him and we had a some really solid chemistry was really awesome because he has a great mind for wrestling and I learned a lot from him and he gave me honest opinions which I appreciated because I’m the same way back with people. It was a good relationship while it lasted, I really appreciate my time with him.”
The span of a 13-year career in one promotion lends itself to some great matches. If you could point out a match for any fan to watch of yours that you’re proud of, what would that be?
“There are quite a few that I am proud of. I think me and James Gibson that I would show people just from a pure wrestling aspect. One that I felt was one of my most complete matches. The crazy thing is that I feel I have yet to be anywhere near or had anywhere near as good of a match that If I could say is really my best match ever.”
The recent announcement of ROH being on Destination America says a lot about the growth of the company. What are your thoughts on the deal?
“My thoughts are it’s great. What it means for Ring of Honor is 40-50 million homes get a chance to tune in and watch us do what we do best. That is the best pure wrestling company on the planet. I think it can open a lot of eyes and help with this continual growth that Ring of Honor has been on the last couple of years. The timing of it couldn’t be better I feel. Sinclair is a company that has a better understanding of what who and what Ring of Honor is. I think Ring of Honor is just starting to hit its stride and I think the next six months is going to be really interesting for us.”