The era of Honor began when I was 15 years old. Pro-wrestling was still a distant dream waiting to be conquered. I had no idea that one cold February night something special had just been created and witnessed, inspiring a new generation of wrestlers to change the dynamics and perceptions of an industry. It would be a couple years later when I would stumble upon a DVD that I still own to this day. “ROH: The Era of Honor Begins.”
A DVD that would change me and inspire me, opening my mind to what was possible in professional wrestling. I truly believe pro-wrestling to be a sport, an athletic struggle between passionate and gifted athletes. Ring of Honor emphasized this and would continue to grow with this ideal and objective of providing their fans with “an entertaining sport, not sports entertainment.” I believed in the product, that is to say, I still believe. I had always known I wanted to become a professional wrestler. It’s what I was born to do. Now I knew where I wanted to be when this dream would become reality. The seed had been planted and now it had a source of sustenance to maintain its steady growth to become the fruit of my labor.
It has been 5 years since I laced up my boots for my first match. I had trained and wrestled at every possible opportunity with the sole purpose of improving and advancing. I had outgrown my comfort zone, no longer would I be a big fish in a small pond. I remember getting in my car and beginning the solo trek from the Pacific west coast to St. Louis, Missouri. 33 hours to reflect and remind myself that I was in this for the long haul. If I truly wanted this, I had to go out and grab it.
“C’mon Kyle!” Davey Richards’ persistent, demanding voice brings me back to reality. “10 more!” I unleash another devastating Thai kick to the unforgiving solid leather. My shins are screaming, I know it’s the nerve endings dying. Nine more thunderous cracks echo throughout the gym at 6:37 am. I am gaining self-satisfaction though this never-ending labyrinth of a training regimen. I know every black eye, bloody nose and aching joint is just another exclamation point in my quest. I must truly believe I’m earning my spot to call myself a member of the Ring of Honor roster. I owe everything I’ve gained in the last 2 years since moving my life to St. Louis to Davey Richards.
Now…here I am under a week away from what now is the biggest match of my career, and I feel a sense of intervening destiny. Along with my friend and mentor Davey Richards. I have to beat Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole.
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how I’m going to look at Adam Cole this Sunday. Adam Cole has always had my back, and stood next to me proudly in victory and defeat. I have to accept the fact that this Sunday he will not have my back, I have to accept that things have forever been changed. I must walk into the ring with the full intention of destroying him. That will be me showing him every ounce of respect that he deserves. I know how dangerous Adam Cole is and what he’s capable of. If I don’t exhaust every last bit of my energy into pounding his face into the mat, then I am doing him an injustice. I’d be disrespecting the warrior and athlete I know him to be, setting myself up for him to do the same thing to me. Code of Honor before and after the match, but in between those two bells, Adam Cole will be the worst enemy I’ve ever had. Here we are Adam, we both stand, backs against the wall, facing each other in a narrow corridor. Nose to nose, eye to eye, fist to jaw, foot to chest, elbow to neck, back to mat, 1 to 3.
What this Sunday represents goes above and beyond “my quest”. What this Sunday is about is bigger than Kyle O’Reilly. It’s bigger than Adam Cole, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards. This Sunday is about Ring of Honor’s tenth anniversary. For ten years a wrestling company has strived to bring the absolute best wrestling into the limelight. This Sunday is about the fans after ten years, have continued an undying support for a company and a product they believed in. This Sunday is for all of the legends and future legends that have ever stepped foot inside that beautiful red and black ring. For the last ten years anyone that ever sweat, bled and fought tooth and nail for the sport they loved and cared about, and the company that let them do it.
ROH's 10th Anniversary in New York City Sunday, March 4th, 2012, represents wrestling freedom. I plan on paying tribute to a company that made such a great impression on me that I strived to pursue my dream at all costs. Davey Richards, Adam Cole, Eddie Edwards and myself will all pay homage to Ring of Honor this Sunday, and we will all do it by completely destroying and dismantling each other, proudly and with honor.
Sunday is the biggest moment in my life and words can never express the true feeling I have inside.