There has been as much buzz about independent superstar Kevin Steen signing a WWE contract as there was for the pay-per-view (PPV) debut of the company with which he is most associated. And Ring of Honor (ROH)'s Best in the World event last night may have continued that trend.
While it was a fun show that highlighted everything that fans have come to expect from ROH (you can check out our live blog of the show here, and get our in-depth reactions here), the topic of conversation around the internet wrestling community (IWC) water cooler this morning probably has as much to do with when Mr. Wrestling will join the sports entertainment giant as it does about reDRagon retaining their ROH Tag Team Championship.
Steen and his current employer have forced fans to play the guessing game in masterful fashion. Rumors leaked about him signing with WWE shortly after his tryout in Orlando, and he was booked to lose at War of the Worlds at about the same time. In the ring after the match, he began to cut a farewell promo, saying that his family had just grown by one (his wife had recently given birth to their second child) and that he was going to take time off from ROH.
He was interrupted by Silas Young, who calls himself "The Last Real Man". Young berated Steen for bonding with the fans, and a brawl lead to the pair being booked into a match for last night's PPV.
In between then and now, "official" sources came forward to say that the former ROH World Champion had definitely signed with WWE.
The showdown between Kevin and Silas last night was full of little 'easter eggs' for smart fans trying to figure out what exactly is going on, and establish a timeline for Wrestling's Worst Nightmare to show up at NXT - as well as some misdirection to throw us off the scent.
- During his entrance, Steen looked at the camera and proclaimed that we were looking at the "future of professional wrestling".
- Perhaps most interesting is that Mr. Wrestling defeated Silas Young, which goes counter to pro wrestling and Ring of Honor tradition that departing stars "go out on their backs".
- In his post-match promo, Steen ran down Young's character, but put him over as a wrestler, saying that he understood why Silas would come after he because he is "the top guy". He reiterated his plan to say he was taking time off during his speech in New York, but went further to say that his contract with ROH is up and that he has about "a month and a half left". That would match up with reports that he's to report to WWE Developmental in August. Kevin said that he plans to enjoy his time in ROH until it's up, and that he's glad that one of his last matches was against Young on an important night for the promotion. The two shook hands in accordance with the Code of Honor and as a respectful farewell.
- The crowd chanted "Please don't go", to which Steen responded "I'm not done yet" (At the start of his mic time, someone yelled "We love you Kevin" and he responded, "And I enjoy spending time with you" - he owns crowd interaction in small and mid-sized venues; he is going to have Full Sail Live eating of the palm of his hand).
- Young returned to blindside Steen, working him over until he was chased off by officials. So whether he's only there for a month and a half or longer, it looks like these two will still be working together for whatever time he has left.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Your "what's up with Kevin Steen and WWE update: Best in the World edition".
Are we misreading the tea leaves? Over-analyzing? Let us hear about it in the comments.