If you frequent one of the many wrestling news sites at your disposal across the world wide web, one of the headlines you’d have read this week was probably something along the lines of, “Ring of Honor star meets with WWE officials“, the details of the meeting unknown, but why else would a wrestler be meeting with WWE officials:
Ring of Honor wrestler Mike Bennett met with WWE officials last week. Additional details have not been disclosed.
To some this is just another young Ring of Honor guy WWE are eyeing up, for others this is a nobody who’ll be disregarded despite WWE’s good record of allowing independent talent to strive on the main roster, but what some won’t realize is despite Bennett’s position in Ring of Honor, WWE have their eye on one of the brightest business prospects in professional wrestling.
In late 2010 video packages began airing on Ring of Honor programming hyping the debut of a competitor labeling themselves as “The Prodigy”, several weeks later Bennett would debut and instantly make an impact by coming out victorious in the “Top Prospects Tournament”. Within months he was challenging then ROH World Television Champion Christopher Daniels and was looking impressive.
Ring of Honor used him wisely, playing the cowardly yet cunning heel, his manager and trainer “Brutal” Bob Evans regularly interfered in his matches in-order to aid Bennett in picking up victory-after-victory. It was last December however, when Bennett got his biggest promotion to date, debuting his valet and real-life girlfriend Maria Kanellis to the Ring of Honor faithful.
As 2012 began the road ahead seemed nothing but gold for Mike Bennett, however he would always be “one inch away” never quite defeating his opponent and always being trumped by the slightest of margins. He began dropping off the cards and television time grew slender.
Yet there was a positive coming. As Lance Storm joined Ring of Honor on a short-term deal, Bennett was thrust back into the spotlight and placed in a feud with the former WWE Intercontinental and multiple time WWE Tag Team Champion. In an unofficial best-of-three series spanning four months “The Prodigy” came out on top, impressing not only Storm but fans alike.
Since this Bennett has had few chances, but when Ring of Honor give him one he seems to have a knack of knocking it out of the park. At Glory By Honor XI, Bennett defeated former WWE Superstar Mike Mondo in what was to most an unexpected great match. Whereas in the past Bennett would be jeered for not “wrestling” the live audience began singing his praises.
Most recently, Bennett challenged ROH World Champion Kevin Steen for the title at their Baltimore, Maryland television tapings, coming up short but again showing that not only has he earned the respect of the faithful but since debuting he has improved vastly, especially as an in-ring competitor – and he wasn’t bad to begin with.
At Final Battle 2012 Ring of Honor are promoting Jerry Lynn’s final match for the promotion and the probable opponent will be Mike Bennett. If so, this would be another big rub for the Boston, Massachusetts born wrestler. But the question is, will it be his final rub in a ring forged by honor?
Since debuting two years ago, my opinion on Bennett has stayed stagnant – he is a ready-made WWE Superstar biding his time for the phone call where he’ll be whisked away to be fine-tuned before being let loose on the world of mainstream professional wrestling. You only have to look at the guy to see he has “It” written all over him.
Bennett has the look – muscularly defined body, good height, a good looking mug, hes the type of guy a company such as WWE probably wouldn’t think twice about before promoting to the masses. He can speak on the microphone which is always a plus, as evident in his sporadic YouTube promos, the “Prodigy Service Announcement.”
He can walk-the-walk. In a surrounding like Ring of Honor Mike Bennett was never going to be showcased as one of the top in-ring performers, and why should be he, when in-reality he isn’t, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t good. Compare Bennett to half of WWE’s main roster and he could probably out-wrestle them all.
And the frosting on top of this proverbial cake is, Mike Bennett promotes not only himself but his company better than probably any other independent wrestling talent on the circuit. Every week Mike is appearing on radio shows, podcasts, doing interviews for magazines and websites, appearing at autograph signings or working a promotion outside Ring of Honor.
What Mike Bennett is, is a potential gold mine. In ROH he sticks out like a sore-thumb. Sure, Ring of Honor is all about good wrestling, but the faithful have never been too keen on guys like Bennett, jacked-up, cocky as all hell, walking to the ring with one of the hottest women to have graced pro-wrestling in the past decade and having no issue sticking it in your face.
But that sounds like someone who WWE can capitalize on.
Whether Bennett and WWE come to terms on a contract, only time will tell. First Mike has to concentrate on an all but officially confirmed match with Jerry Lynn at Final Battle on December 16th and then he can focus on his future outside Ring of Honor, if he has one. This could all just be blown out of proportion, but my personal opinion on Mike Bennett is this.
He is a WWE Superstar hanging around the independent circuit just waiting, if he doesn’t get it this could be WWE’s loss, because with his look, his charisma and his in-ring prowess what potentially lies before Vince McMahon and co is the next face of the WWE. At 27-years-old he has a lot of time left to fulfill his title of “The Prodigy.”