WWE NXT is currently in the midst of one of their hottest periods in brand history, and one of the standout groups during this time has been the Undisputed Era faction comprised of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, and Roderick Strong.
Strong is the most recent member of the faction, with the trio of Cole, Fish, and O'Reilly originally comprising the group. When they originally negotiated their WWE contracts, Fish and O'Reilly had been competing together as a tag team in ROH and NJPW known as reDRagon, while Cole had had some recent success as part of the Bullet Club.
While Fish and O'Reilly had hopes of continuing the reDRagon team in WWE or WWE NXT, it wasn't known whether or not that would actually be the case.
"I don't know that we saw [reDRagon] as [a vehicle to get to WWE] only because, at the time, I don't know, like, WWE was still a place where you needed to be six-foot something and there was a certain body type that they were looking for and neither one of us really possessed that," Fish recalled during an episode of Edge and Christian's Pod of Awesomeness recently.
"We were more workrate guys, and smaller, more technical, and I felt like, at the time, we were doing decent promos and we could kind of carry that end a little bit, but I don't know. I don't think that either one of us expected WWE to be in the cards. I think in the back of our heads, we both privately would have wanted that, but I think we were looking at, 'well, okay, Ring Of Honor is,' especially with our first contract with Ring Of Honor where it was like a salaried position at a time when I didn't think that would ever be a thing in the wrestling we were doing. And I don't want to speak for Kyle, but I think at some point we started to get a certain amount of success and we look at it as, 'well, New Japan and Ring Of Honor, we're going to split time between the two [promotions]' and I think eventually we figured we'd split more time in New Japan and less time in Ring Of Honor. Then, the interest from WWE came and that kind of changed everything."
The idea to form a trio with Adam Cole was originally something the men thought of doing with Ring of Honor. However, ROH never used the idea which Fish had pitched. Fast forward to the men entering WWE NXT and Fish admitted that all three of them did want to come in as a faction, but they never actually pitched the idea to anyone in charge. Instead, Triple H had the same idea.
"Privately, the three of us had talked because Cole and Kyle, in Ring Of Honor, were in a program against each other, but as a little bit of a bump in the road, they put the three of us together as a swerve and it was only supposed to last a couple of weeks," Fish remembered. "And the first time we were in the ring together, the three of us, the reaction that was there, I went to the office at Ring Of Honor and I was like, 'hey, I'm not asking you to change your booking and change your plans here. Like, eventually go through what you're going to go through with, but maybe give this a little bit of time if for nothing else just to sell a few t-shirts because I think if we put a cool name on it, like, I don't know, I think the fans would be really into it.' It wasn't in the booking and they didn't want to go with it, so it was what it was.
"Fast forward to us coming in here, and that concept, we discussed, but we never thought they'd actually go with it. So the day Triple H proposed that idea, to Kyle and [me], because it was the first time… Cole hadn't even come in yet, he said that was his idea for us. And Kyle and I were looking at each other, like, 'my mind is blown enough standing here talking to Triple H and he's complementary about the job that he makes a living doing, but then add on top of that he wants to bring us in and put us together,' I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was waiting for someone to come in and say, 'naw, we're just s--tting you! You don't even have jobs.'"
[H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.]