Update on newly signed former ROH talent at WWE’s Performance Center, plans for Dijak and Rush differ from O’Reilly, Cole, and Fish (w/RADICAN’S ANALYSIS)

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


WWE announced the signing of Donovan Dijak yesterday at WWE.COM. Dijak joins Lio Rush, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly as part of a large group of ROH talent signed by WWE. The talent has been split up at WWE’s Performance Center into different classes.

Dijak and Rush have been placed in the beginner class, which is taught by Robbie Brookside. According to PWTorch sources, Dijak and Rush are seen along the same lines as any independent talent signed by the company. They need to mature both inside and outside of the ring before they are ready to be on NXT TV. One source noted that Dijak and Rush should relax and enjoy the process, as they are starting from the bottom.

On the other hand, Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly were signed with a purpose by Triple H and are considered more polished and mature in the ring, which is why they debuted on the NXT Takeover special during SummerSlam weekend. Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly still have to learn the WWE style, but they are in the advanced class, which is taught by Steve Corino.

Once Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly move on from Corino’s advanced class, they will go to the finishing class, which is taught by Shawn Michaels and Terry Taylor. None of the ROH talent is reporting to the middle level class, which is taught by Scott Garland aka Scotty 2 Hotty.

Radican’s Analysis: There are two different stories when it comes to the career paths for the five men signed by WWE out of ROH. It looks like it will be a long time before Dijak and Rush make NXT TV, as they are starting from the bottom in WWE. On the other hand, Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish are one of Triple H’s projects and made a big splash debuting on NXT Takeover during SummerSlam weekend. They will be a regular feature on NXT TV going forward. 

All five men will have to learn the WWE style, but Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish are clearly seen by WWE management as polished and mature performers both in and out of the ring, which isn’t the case with Dijak and Rush. One top independent talent that worked with Dijak noted to me that he would often argue with him when he was calling a match, which jives with what I was told by sources in NXT about Dijak being selfish at times inside the ring. 

Although WWE doesn’t look at this current crop of ROH talent signed as one big class, it will be interesting to see how quickly Dijak and Rush advance through the system. I really enjoyed seeing Donovan Dijak blow up on the New England independent scene in recent years, as he made a name for himself despite not getting the best push on ROH TV. Given his size and athleticism, there’s no reason to think that if Dijak listens to all of the advice he’s given and applies it both in and out of the ring that he can’t be a player in NXT and on the main roster at some point down the line. 

Rush doesn’t have the upside that Dijak does given his size. He’s tremendously athletic and would fit right in on 205 Live if it is still around by the time he finishes his time at the WWE Performance Center. He showed some great promise during his time at ROH when put in some big spots, but he’s got maturity issues to work through and he also needs to grow as a performer inside the ring before he comes anywhere close to making it to NXT TV. 

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