“They’ll never see what’s coming next,” Wrestling Observer Editor Dave Meltzer teases regarding WWE outmaneuvering Ring of Honor with new competitive tactics
The pioneer of pro wrestling journalism certainly knows how to create a buzz by not really saying anything at all.
In what will most likely be a lead story in the next Wrestling Observer Newsletter when it is released next Wednesday, Dave Meltzer has spent portions of the past two days dropping hints that new machinations by WWE as it relates to Ring of Honor will continue to surface over time.
WWE recently announced that their NXT brand would be having a live show the night before SummerSlam, directly opposite the ROH “Field of Honor” show being held across town, on the same night.
Thursday, the plot thickened, and the wrestling world learned that New Japan Pro Wrestling star Justin Thunder Liger would appear on the NXT show, facing NXT wrestler Tyler Breeze.
What makes this news particularly interesting is that Ring of Honor has had an ongoing relationship with NJPW when it comes to exchanging talent. In fact, New Japan’s current IWGP Champion, Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura are slated to appear on the Field of Honor show, along with The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & Kushida) and NJPW mainstays, and current NOAH GHC Tag Team champions Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer).
In reporting on this turn of events yesterday at F4Wonline.com, Meltzer wrote:
In what is a major political move, New Japan Pro Wrestling has booked Jushin Liger to appear on WWE’s August 22nd NXT show in Brooklyn, NY. He’ll face Tyler Breeze…
There are other significant moves being made behind-the-scenes regarding NXT and ROH that don’t involve New Japan that are likely to become evident in short order.
Earlier today, on the official message board of F4Wonline, Meltzer weighed in on a discussion speculating on the next chapter on the burgeoning rivalry between WWE’s NXT brand and Ring of Honor.
Meltzer insinuated that WWE would be increasingly predatory in their competition to get prime building locations, and elbow ROH out of the picture, similarly to tactics Vince McMahon employed when he took the World Wrestling Federation “national” in the mid-80s.
Phone rings at building ROH books: “Hello, this is _____ from WWE. We love your building and would like to run it.”
Building rep: But it’s only 1,500 seats and you don’t run buildings this size
WWE rep: Well, we have this new brand catering to smaller buildings and we just love your building.
Building rep: We’d love to have you.
WWE rep: Well, there is one thing.
He followed this up with more:
Okay, that’s not the next chapter, that’s the current chapter.
Next chapter was described to me from someone close to the situation as “They’ll never see what’s coming next.”
Granted, that came from someone who didn’t know I’d already read the current chapter so it could be the same thing, or a new thing.
As for the reason why this was happening, and why WWE would now be so laser-focused on ROH as competition, Meltzer explained:
It’s because WWE made the decision that they are doing touring Internet-fan shows called NXT and that ROH therefore becomes No.1 competition. This was before ROH got TV, the toy deal and managed to book Dallas city proper for Mania weekend next year. However, all of those things no doubt exacerbated the situation.
In less than an hour, Meltzer’s post had already made it to the “hot” list on Reddit, where a link to a tweet by (ironically) Death to All Marks already had over 100 comments. Twitter, too, came alight with word that WWE had something sinister in store for Ring of Honor.
The official twitter account of MLW the podcast network owned by ex-WWE creative member Court Bauer added their own cryptic note as well.
"Eyes wide shut" might best describe what's yet to go down for ROH when it comes to WWE. #UhOh
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) July 18, 2015
Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com speculated that it’s possible WWE booked Justin Liger independently, and not part of a negotiating a relationship with New Japan, but admitted to not knowing for sure and that “time would tell.”
Along similar lines, Bryan Alvarez recently on the Wrestling Observer Live radio show, as well as on the most recent Bryan & Vinny Show podcast on F4Wonline.com, hinted that something might be up with WWE with regard to New Japan.
Alvarez twice highlighted the idea that former New Japan star Finn Balor (who worked in Japan as Prince Devitt) has brought up, by name, New Japan several times on NXT television in the past couple weeks. Contrasting that, Alvarez questioned how Kevin Owens has never been allowed to mention Ring of Honor by name, before hinting that he did not believe this to be a coincidence.
While some may question why a wresting journalist with paying subscribers would play around with such cryptic reportage of major developments, as this appears to be, others would suggest that hinting at things like this is an effective way for Meltzer to drum up subscribers to the Observer – where most of the details regarding this story ought to appear next week.