Roderick Strong

Roderick Strong is UNDISPUTED! MJF & The Devil, Adam Cole, Neck Strong

Roderick Strong (@roderickstrong) is a professional wrestler with AEW and is known previously for his time in WWE NXT, Ring Of Honor and TNA. He joins Chris Van Vliet to talk about his match against Orange Cassidy for the International Championship at AEW Revolution, being on the same card as Sting’s last match, reflecting on his first year in AEW, why he decided to leave WWE for AEW, his neck strong gimmick, getting cheering for yelling “ADAM!”, the first time he met Adam Cole in Ring of Honor, his role in The Devil storyline with MJF, how his workouts have changed since getting injured and much more.

Quote I’m thinking about: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

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On AEW highlights:

“Wembley Stadium, my debut, my match with Chris Jericho, and just the whole story leading up to where we are now. It was just interesting because it gave me an opportunity to test myself with becoming more of a character and doing more of that stuff. And for me, that was my favourite part. Honestly, it was just from how it started to how it ended. I don’t know, I really, really enjoyed that time.”

On keeping the debut a secret:

“It was just a situation of like, when my contract came up with WWE, I was injured. So I wasn’t even sure if I could wrestle again. So then it was one of those things that once I got cleared, it was kind of what is best for me at this time. And through the injury and stuff, I went through a huge self-reflective period just of who I was at the time, and where I needed to go, just for life. And then that’s kind of when the decision to go to AEW was a little bit easier for me because it was like, I want to use all the knowledge I’ve acquired over these years now. I can’t do that WWE, but it was just a different opportunity to have a little bit more freedom in that sense. And really, put me in a situation that happened, where I’m doing something outside of the box, and it’s by choice and really being able to grow and lean into it. I don’t know, it was just amazing.” 

On wrestling on the same card as Sting’s last match:

“I mean, it’s a big honour. And to be going against somebody like Orange Cassidy, whatever we have going on aside. He’s been a tremendous champion. I mean, he’s just an amazing wrestler and a great human. So it’s just one of those things that the right opponent at the right time. And, I haven’t wrestled as much as I thought I was going to my first year, and I’m okay with it. This gives me an opportunity to kind of blow the door open because people don’t really know exactly what to expect of me in these kinds of matches. I haven’t been in a big match like this in quite some time. So I’m very excited to show the world and I get to do it on the same show as Sting in his last match.”

On the neckbrace:

“I think because I was all in on it. I would wear that neck brace freaking everywhere. It didn’t matter where I was going. All the time. It didn’t matter. It was one of those things that like, honestly, our medical team was like, Hey, you can’t wear this as much, because it’s like weakening your neck muscles slightly. So then I would give it a little bit of a break. But yeah, it was something and it was a real-life thing for me. I came back from a bad neck injury. So it wasn’t something that was too far-fetched to my mind. And my son loved it.”

On if yelling Adam would catch on:

“Some of the production people started coming who worked behind the scenes. And they’re like, yeah, the fans are screaming it before the show. It’s like, whoa. Then I was just like, Oh my God, because a lot of stuff was pre-taped and or, you know, filmed off-site. So then, like, the first time that I got to really, like after a stretch go out in front of the people. And I was like, Oh, my God, this is ridiculous. And it’s and it’s kind of funny, because whatever, like the yelling happened. But then it was like, I can’t just yell everything. It’s funny because my son does the thing when he’s fired up. And he’s so mad. He just will yell one of the words he’s saying. Sometimes it’s the right word. Sometimes it’s not. And then he just talks really calm afterwards. And I thought, like, oh, man, that’s hilarious. So that’s kind of the yelling and then like this monotone speaking was kind of just mimicking him.”

On meeting Adam Cole for the first time:

“It was in Philly in the locker room. He was just an extra. But I just know, a lot of people were mentioning, this guy has a lot of potential. So it was one of those, like, where I came up, because at that time was, trying to be as helpful as I can. I still didn’t know much. But we’re going back to yeah, it’s Ring of Honor, I think 09 maybe? Yeah, it was just one of those things. I approached him and obviously, so many people that said good things about him, and then sort of just talking, give them some feedback or whatever. And he was very responsive to it. And it was like, Okay, this is one of the guys that, I will give my time to now, at the moment. From that, because we started conversing so much from that. It was kind of like, Hey, you want to come hang out? Like we’re all doing this and then it grew from there.”

On advice for younger wrestlers:

“One thing I would say is don’t bump until you’re older. You can learn the basics, the technical aspects, the footwork, and all that kind of stuff without bumping. That’s one thing I wish I wouldn’t have done as much of, because you feel invincible when you’re young. And then, so my style I like doing that, I like taking bumps. I like the physical aspect of it. So that is just one thing I wish I would have been a little bit smarter about because it’s not necessary.”

On the Spanish Fly spot:

“[Was it scary?] Oh very much so. But because I immediately checked everything like, Okay, I felt it at its worse. Oh, this just feels normal, I’m fine. No, I’m saying. And then it just made me super grateful for the training that I was doing, because a lot of it is creating the space in your joints and like my vertebrae and working on my flexibility. I was just thankful for that.”

On Wembley Stadium:

“Oh my God, it was surreal. I couldn’t sleep after that at all. It was so, so intense. And it was overwhelming. It really was, like, in a good way, though. I had been in the company 4 months. And just was like, wow, look, what these guys did before I got here. Like, they’re the ones that laid the foundation to kind of set the situation up. And for Tony to take the risk, I don’t know, it was just awesome to be a part of it. And, you know, just see, good people get an opportunity to show themselves to the world in such a big way. It was awesome.”

On wrestling into his 50s like Chris Jericho:

“It depends on how I feel. And if I keep doing the things I need to do, and obviously, my goal was to improve the stuff that I’m doing, especially as science continues to improve and more stuff comes out and what’s going to help like, Yeah, I mean, I’d love to. I will always be a part of wrestling no matter what, like some aspect of me will be involved for the rest of my life. [As a producer?] For sure. And I’d like to open a little school. I know, there’s a lot of them, but you know, like, small, more personalised Dojo style school and take a crack at that. Because I feel like, that’s something that I really love to do. And, you know, giving people the best opportunity that I can with what I know, and people I know.”

On AEW goals:

“One day World Champion is on that list. But currently, the most important one for me is to win that International title and do with it how I think I can. Because that’s the thing, like I was saying earlier about Orange. I have so much respect for the kind of champion he was his work ethic. I’ve said I can do it better. And that’s kind of my thing. I want to wrestle all the random people I want those opportunities, I need to test myself against everybody, for every part of the world and against our roster. I mean, there are so many people there for me to work with. And I think I can make memorable moments with all of them. So that is something that’s like on the front of my mind and my main focus currently.”

What is Roderick Strong grateful for?

“My family, my friends and health.” 

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