|Strong will remain with ROH|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Strong isn't the first one to rebuke WWE in favor of ROH. The Briscoes and Moose also chose ROH over going to NXT, and in the case of the former, the social media snafus were allegedly not even a factor. The Young Bucks also have turned down WWE in the past, but in the interest of accuracy, I doubt it was to remain in ROH specifically. The Bucks can write their own tickets anywhere because of their transcendent level of fame despite never appearing for WWE. The team is not only a prominent fixture in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but it is also the mascot entity for PWG and can draw perhaps the steepest fee of anyone in the country from any indie promotion it wants to appear for.
Strong specifically has undergone a career renaissance in the last year or so. He was left by the roadside in both ROH and PWG as a gatekeeper or a veteran guy who puts others over. However, the exodus of other non-tenured, exclusively contracted ROH talents (read, Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly) left a vacuum at the top of PWG's main event card, and Strong was given a run with the title, one that has drawn critical acclaim. His prominence in ROH subsequently rose again to the point where he's not only a World Championship contender, but a surprisingly over one. Staying with ROH may have been the best option for him rather than navigating the NXT waters, especially given that forces on the WWE main roster seem to have it in for NXT talents. I hope that WWE doesn't totally wreck the viability of ROH going forward.