2019 has already become the hottest free agency period in pro-wrestling since the Monday Night War era. With the addition of All Elite Wrestling, and their ability to lock up talent to exclusive contracts, the landscape has changed significantly. Promotions are steaking their claim to talent and talent-sharing promotions. Nowhere else has this been more apparent than with Ring of Honor.
ROH has recently locked up Rush, Bandido, and rumors are Dragon Lee will be soon as well. CMLL and ROH are longtime talent-sharing partners and each shares a relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling as well.
Major League Wrestling was building to a match between LA Park and Rush over WrestleMania this year. PW Insider then reported MLW pulled out of contract negotiations with CMLL’s Dragon Lee as there is no upside to them on dealing with the promotion since talent from the promotion would likely be signed to an exclusive contract to ROH.
A fan on Twitter asked Bauer about all the departing talent.
“Our contracts are all legally binding,” Bauer said. “Rush, Brody and PCO were never under deals. Our contracts allow talent to do TV for all non-WWE companies. Why? We want them to get work. If they get more exposure, they win/fans win/promoters win.”
Konnan MLW and CMLL Relationship
Another factor in the CMLL/MLW situation might be Konnan’s involvement with the promotion. CMLL and Konnan do not get along and with Konnan playing a key backstage role with MLW, it’s possible CMLL might prefer their stars choose ROH over them. This was addressed by LuchaBlog.com:
Something not touched on in the WON article at all, oddly, is that Konnan works for MLW, CMLL still hates Konnan, and it’s tough to imagine CMLL being thrilled to sign deals with a Konnan affiliated promotion given the history. Maybe it wouldn’t even be the deciding factor, but it’s a factor
While not official, it can be expected that MLW will begin using talent from AAA to replace the departing CMLL luchadors:
As Charlie Chronic would say, *boom* https://t.co/70b5FZ4vz2
— Court Bauer (@courtbauer) January 21, 2019
Andrade Steering Luchadors Away From WWE
Another factor in this story, one which might be working in ROH’s favor, is reports that Andrade has been steering luchadors away from signing with WWE. This was addressed recently in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
“In the case of Rush, he’s very close with Andrade, who pretty much warned him and Dragon Lee about going to WWE,” wrote Dave Meltzer in reference to Rush’s signing with ROH. “Andrade’s advice was that WWE wasn’t what it was cracked up to being.”
Andrade has recently been on a bit of a win streak on Smackdown lately. Last week he defeated Rey Mysterio in single’s action. 2 weeks ago, Andrade and Samoa Joe defeated Mysterio and Mustafa Ali. Tonight, Andrade and Mysterio will clash in a best 2-of-3 falls match.