Roderick Strong talks Daniel Bryan's WWE push, ROH, Evolve, what caused TNA to shy away from working with ROH, being face of ROH, who he credits with his first big break
Shining Wizards Podcast with Roderick Strong
Hosts: Tony Z, Eddie, and Matt
Interview available at Shiningwizards.com
On how he got in the business: I started wrestling because of my dad being trained by Jim The Anvil Neidhart. I was only 12 at the time so obviously I was a huge wrestling fan and I was just in awe. I would go to practice every day and sit and watch until 1 day Jim asked me if I wanted to jump in the ring. Jim would let me get in the ring at the end of every practice and eventually I met Harry Smith and me and him would wrestle matches every other practice. It was a very cool childhood memory that is very unique when it comes to starting.
On respect in the locker room: I was an athlete my whole life. I mean I played football and in football there is a level of respect that you learn and how you treat people, and you have an understanding of your position. Nobody really gave me a hard time for not shaking everybody's hands. As I got older I learned that it was a respect thing. And that's true for life. I don't judge somebody the first few times I meet them and they don't shake my hand. It's when it becomes repetitive, you're kinda like" I've seen you for 3 months." But, getting mad about that kind of stuff is a little elementary for me.
On his big break and who he credits: My first travel break was Jersey All Pro Wrestling, but I guess my first real break was with Ring Of Honor. I had the opportunity to do a dark match, and that was Dan Maff that actually did that for me.
On wrestlers he came up with getting breaks: Nowadays you think about people that are going but to me it's all about timing. For certain people, the timing was right, but I had more to accomplish on the independent level and to help make Ring Of Honor the best company it could be. I'm happy for all my friends that are doing well.
Being the face of Ring of Honor: You always think you're ready. Just having that opportunity is awesome. To me, the biggest thing I find funny is that people tend to write that I only won the world title because Tyler Black was leaving. Adam Pearce said that was never the case. He said that was always going to be my belt which to me, means the world.
On TNA & ROH's past working relationship: I know nothing. I just know that after that Rob Feinstein incident, TNA wanted nothing to do with Ring Of Honor because of the bad publicity it was getting at the time.
What was Ring of Honor's peak: I still don't think ROH has reached its peak. I was a part of Generation Next and that was the hottest thing going on the independents for quite some time and to me that was a great time in my life. I think there's been some awesome times. I think there have been some transitional times and that happens with every company.
On WWE's direction with Daniel Bryan: I think it's great. Brian is the type of guy that needs to be challenged. He's really smart and he's an amazing wrestler. This gives him the opportunity to branch the character out in and put it in a different light. And then when he becomes a babyface again or whatever the heck he was or is now, he'll be ten times more over than he is now because the people are emotionally invested in him. They want to see him be their Daniel Bryan, not this guy. The minute he becomes their Daniel Bryan again, he's more over than ever.
On Evolve and working with new talent: Me Gabe and Sal have a lot of history from ROH and I've always maintained a relationship with them. The opportunity came for me to work these shows and I like those guys and bringing my brand to them would help elevate them. They would put me against guys I don't get to work with very often and that would give me a chance to up my game. I look forward to wrestling, and the fresh match ups gives me an opportunity to either step up my game or give these guys a chance to up their game. It gives me an opportunity to be a better performer and I'm always excited to wrestle different people...and the same people. I love to wrestle.
Editor's Note: Gabe Sapolsky announced after this interview was conducted that Strong will not wrestle as advertised due to his neck injury. However, he will appear at Friday's Evolve show, which will be broadcast on iPPV.
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