LIO RUSH PHOTOS
Final Battle: Aftermath - December 19th, 2015
The future of pro wrestling arrived with a rush in 2016.
Lio Rush’s rapid rise is the sport is unprecedented. In a span of 18 months, he went from wrestling his first match, to making a name for himself and capturing titles on the independent scene, to winning Ring of Honor’s Top Prospect Tournament, to nearly dethroning ROH World Champion Jay Lethal.
The 5-foot-6, 160-pound Rush has proved that his youth, natural athleticism and obsession to succeed can more than make up for a lack of size and experience.
He has drawn comparisons to the great Rey Mysterio because of his spectacular high-flying style and small stature, but Rush is also a former All-American high school wrestler,
Rush, who grew up near Washington, D.C., fell in love with pro wrestling at an early age. His sole reason for going out for the wrestling team as a high school freshman was because he believed that a strong amateur background would help him become a successful pro.
Declining multiple scholarship offers to wrestle in college, Rush became a student at Maryland Championship Wrestling’s Training Center.
After just four months of training, Rush made his debut in MCW in October 2014, a month before his 20th birthday. Nine months later, he won MCW’s prestigious Shamrock Cup over a field that included former ROH World Champion Eddie Edwards.
Rush went on to attend an ROH Tryout Camp, where he received high praise from the training staff but was told that he needed more experience. Rush took the advice to heart and began competing for the top independent promotions in the country, usually stealing the show wherever he went.
When he attended another ROH Tryout Camp in December 2015, Rush impressed officials so much that he was offered an opportunity to compete in an ROH ring. He defeated Vinny Marseglia in a Future of Honor match and won over the notoriously tough Philadelphia crowd.
Rush was invited to participate in the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament, where he defeated Jason Kincaid in the opening round, the 6-foot-6, 253-pound Punisher Martinez in the semifinals, and 16-year veteran Brian Fury in the finals. By winning the tournament, Rush received an ROH contract and a shot
at the ROH World Television Championship.
However, with ROH World Television Champion Tomohiro Ishii tied up with his commitments in New Japan Pro Wrestling, ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness decided that Rush deserved a title opportunity sooner than later and awarded him a shot against Lethal for the ROH World Title at Supercard of Honor X in April.
Rush came extremely close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets in wrestling history before the veteran Lethal ultimately prevailed.
Although he didn’t win the title, Rush solidified his status one of the most can’t-miss prospects in decades and also earned the respect of Lethal, who shook the challenger’s hand after the match.