We can call them Future Shock, or we can call them reDragon, but what we can’t do is ignore what each man is capable of doing in the ring. Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish have immediately made an impact since joining WWE’s NXT brand. As many will recall, immediately after Drew McIntyre won the NXT championship, Fish and O’Reilly appeared on the apron while a dazed and confused NXT champion looked at them in surprise. Why were they there, and what purpose could they be serving at that moment? It became clear a moment later. The fans in attendance began to rise to their feet, and a commotion started in the crowd, as the newly signed Adam Cole emerged from the audience, and with the help of O’Reilly and Fish beat down the champion, immediately sending a message.
Those unfamiliar with Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly have really missed out on seeing just how talented these men are. It hasn’t mattered whether they were part of a team or singles wrestlers, each man has achieved success. When Fish and O’Reilly debuted separately, it turned heads among the NXT faithful, and why not? They are two world-class athletes that are as known for their accomplishments as a tag team as they are for their achievements as singles wrestlers. Now they have joined a promotion that is pretty close to a place they used to call home since NXT today has a lot of the same feel as Ring of Honor did when they were there. It was in Ring of Honor that they earned the reputation of being one of the best tag teams in the world. During that same time frame, they won multiple junior heavyweight tag team championships with New Japan Pro Wrestling, as the team known as ReDragon laid waste to opponents around the world. They were known to strike their opponents with such fury that it would make most people tremble at the sight. They are not the biggest men, but what they lack in size they surely make up for in technical ability. They are able to physically dissect their opponent one move at a time. During their time in Ring of Honor, O’Reilly and Fish were both singles champions as well. These men work as well together as they do on their own.
For as good as these men are, there was something that was missing, and that missing quality has arrived in the form of former three-time Ring of Honor world champion, Adam Cole. Anyone that has seen Cole compete as a face or as a heel knows just how much his character can be loved or absolutely despised. Ask many wrestlers and they will say that it is typically more rewarding to be a heel, and it is no different with Cole. When he became a full-fledged heel that cool, calm and collected personality emerged, and made him the face of Ring of Honor. One of the best qualities he possesses is his ability to deliver a scathing promo that can be clear, concise, and demonstrate qualities that many wrestlers today lack. His in-ring ability is heavily influenced by Shawn Michaels, and when we see what he can do in the ring and how he is able to perform against those bigger than him that is clearly evident. One difference between the two would be their ability to take chances with high-risk moves, but a key way that Cole differs from Michaels is how absolutely sadistic he can be with some of his tactics. Examples are when he stapled a sign to the head of Jay Briscoe, or when he shaved the heads of Michael Elgin and Jay Lethal as they were held against their will. Cole’s passion and his ability to tell a story in the ring is the reason his joining NXT has been largely heralded. Above anything else, including wins and losses, Cole wants to tell the most convincing story possible. This is why fans will cheer his matches, but equally cheer when he gets what is coming to him. It is the perfect blend of being loved and having fans love to hate you.
When Cole joined O’Reilly and Fish in the ring to attack McIntyre, it was celebrated, not because fans had issue with McIntyre, but because three of the best and in many ways underrated talents in the world now have a new platform, a bigger platform on which they can show those who didn’t know about them just how good they are. Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly had the faith of Ring of Honor’s powers that be because they were able to generate tremendous reactions with their matches time and time again. In a place and time where size could be the focal point, skill and the ability to convince both your opponent and the fanbase how good you are will speak volumes.
In the weeks that have passed since NXT Takeover III: Brooklyn, we have seen Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish continue to get involved in matches, and even beat down members of the United Kingdom division in Tyler Bate, Wolfgang and Trent Seven. They have also had further altercations with Drew McIntyre and sAnity. However, while the goal is to make them look strong that isn’t to say that others won’t get retribution for what was done, to them. As fans have seen, sAnity attacked the unsuspecting trio and sent them scurrying out of the arena at Full Sail University. It could easily have been a case where the newest additions of NXT were able to get the better of sAnity once again, but that wasn’t the case.
Recently, they have also been trying to convince Roderick Strong to join them and their cause. Some may not know that Strong has a history with Fish and Cole. In Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Cole and Strong were part of a faction known as Mount Rushmore 2.0, along with the Young Bucks and Super Dragon. Later on, Strong and Fish feuded for the Ring of Honor Television title. It is often said to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and that could be the case here. Will familiarity with one another be reason enough for Strong to align with them?
One of the most important qualities these three possess is chemistry. Unlike other factions that have been put together in the past in NXT, such as sAnity, Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly, who is now referred to as the Undisputed Era, already know each other, and not just because they competed in the same promotion. In the past, Cole and O’Reilly have been the best of friends and the bitterest of enemies. In fact, on one occasion O’Reilly hit Cole so hard he broke his nose during a match …and they are friends behind the scenes! In the past, they have also feuded over the Ring of Honor world championship, but years before that were once aligned with one another as a tag team known as Future Shock. Truth be told, the name could still work today because their addition to NXT will shock the promotion’s future! OK, while that pun may not be necessary, complete respect and admiration for this group is. As made evident by their respective singles matches against Aleister Black, O’Reilly and Fish aren’t simply here to coast on past accolades and add name value to the promotion; they are here to provide captivating stories and compelling matches.
In every group, someone plays a role, and that is no different in the Undisputed Era. Cole has taken on the role of leader, and his ability to promote himself is clearly evident. The group walks with confidence and a sense of self-assurance, and while fans can usually see through the guise of what a performer is conveying, in the case of these three they are able to not only sell who they are but why they are there. It isn’t common for a collection of talent to immediately come in and direct their attention towards those holding the championships, but that is exactly what these three are doing. While they use underhanded tactics to win that is to be expected because that’s what heels do. Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly have arrived and no one will be able to dispute what these additions will mean to the NXT roster.
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