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Ring of Honor history made at Wrestle Kingdom 11

In the midst of New Japan’s biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom (results and recommendations here), Ring of Honor (ROH) put on a match.

It was a big match-up no doubt. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole is a feud ROH sees as their big, epic rivalry... former tag partners fulfilling their destiny as the promotion’s next big stars. Cole is one of only three two-time World titleholders in company history. He entered the Tokyo Dome as a former champ thanks to O’Reilly finally beating him in the main event of Final Battle.

At that show - the marquee event on the ROH calendar - Kyle outlasted his nemesis in a bloody no disqualification bout to claim the belt. When the rematch was announced for Wrestle Kingdom 11, only a few days past a month into O’Reilly’s reign, most saw it as way to blow off the rematch on a grand stage, almost an exhibition for Japanese fans.

Instead, Ring of Honor went ahead and made history. Adam Cole barraged O’Reilly with Superkicks at the end of an eleven minute match, and he’s now the first ever three-time World champ in the nearly fifteen years ROH has existed.

Several reports indicate O’Reilly has been working without a new ROH deal, and this move probably means he’s opted not to re-sign with a company that’s been his home base since 2009. Rumors will be flying now about where he might land, with a full-time deal in New Japan (a la Michael Elgin), TNA or even NXT as possibilities.

Interestingly, Cole’s deal is also supposedly up this Spring, and he’s frequently mentioned as a WWE target. His third go round with the ROH World title might be brief, but even if he leaves, it buys them a little time to plan their next move while also strengthening the Bullet Club brand on their side of the Pacific.

Either way, a mid-card match at Wrestle Kingdom just made history.

Thoughts, Cagesiders?

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