By Kevin Eck
From the moment “El Toro Blanco” RUSH stepped foot in an ROH ring, it was apparent that he’s an incredibly talented athlete who oozes charisma and confidence. Shortly thereafter, it also became clear that he wasn’t in ROH to make friends or play by the rules.
Six months removed from his debut, the Mexican star remains an enigma. In a sport in which fans and pundits neatly categorize competitors as heroes or villains (or as they say in Mexico, tecnicos and rudos), RUSH is, well, RUSH.
ROH fans have gravitated to him because he’s a cool badass. RUSH, who has yet to be pinned or forced to submit in ROH, doesn’t dissuade fans from cheering for him, but he also doesn’t pander to them. Whether he’s facing a competitor the fans love or one they loathe, RUSH is always ultra-aggressive, cocky and unapologetically willing to do whatever it takes to win.
A founding member of Los Ingobernables (“The Ungovernables”) in CMLL, RUSH has certainly lived up to his reputation for being ungovernable. Case in point: He has never once adhered to ROH’s Code of Honor. When his opponents extend their hand for the ceremonial pre-match handshake, RUSH smirks and kicks their hand away.
From a corporate perspective, RUSH also has shown a complete disregard for the rules, according to an ROH official speaking on the condition of anonymity.
RUSH’s demeanor aside, a strong case can be made that he is the hottest competitor in ROH. Thus far, anyone who has messed with RUSH has gotten Bull’s Horns. He’s 9-0 in one-on-one matches, having defeated the likes of Dalton Castle, Bandido, Silas Young and Mark Haskins.
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) May 9, 2019
For someone as flashy as RUSH, it’s fitting that the biggest victory of his career took place on the grand stage of “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden. Before a sell-out crowd of nearly 17,000 at the G1 Supercard in April, RUSH needed just 16 seconds to conquer Castle, a former ROH World Champion.
It’s a safe bet that RUSH, a former CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion, will be wearing gold in ROH at some point. In the meantime, his next match might be his toughest test yet, as he faces Flip Gordon at the Best in the World pay-per-view on June 28 in Baltimore.
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) June 4, 2019
Gordon, ROH’s Breakout Star for 2018, has shown that he is capable of beating anyone. Former ROH World Champions Castle and Jay Briscoe, as well as Marty Scurll, Bully Ray and Young have all tasted defeat at the hands (and feet) of the high-flying Gordon.
Against a competitor the caliber of Gordon, RUSH cannot afford to be distracted, and one has to wonder if Castle has successfully gotten in RUSH’s head. Castle has been a loose cannon since his humiliating loss to RUSH at G1 Supercard and is obsessed with exacting revenge.
To that end, Castle has been pestering RUSH during his matches. When it finally appeared that Castle was going to challenge RUSH to a match at Best in the World, he instead said that he wants to face RUSH’s younger brother, Dragon Lee, on the show. The match has been made and Castle has vowed that he will make RUSH pay by breaking every bone in Lee’s body.
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) June 5, 2019
Come June 28, will RUSH be able to focus solely on his match against Gordon? By targeting Lee, has Castle found a chink in RUSH’s armor? We’ll see, but for the first time since he’s come to ROH, RUSH might be somewhat vulnerable.
If RUSH is able to defeat Gordon, it would figure that he’d be in line for a shot at either the ROH World Title or ROH World Television Title.
A potential matchup of RUSH and ROH World Champion Matt Taven would be especially compelling given their history. In the main event of CMLL’s 85th Anniversary Show in Mexico last September, RUSH and Taven were on opposite sides in a Hair vs. Hair tag match, and Taven came out on the losing end and had his head shaved.
When RUSH made his ROH debut in December, his opponent was Taven’s Kingdom teammate, TK O’Ryan. After RUSH won the match, Taven, O’Ryan and fellow Kingdom member Vinny Marseglia attacked RUSH with chairs and left him lying. RUSH defeated Marseglia in his second ROH bout, but he has yet to get his hands on Taven.
If Taven happens to lose the title to Jeff Cobb in the main event at Best in the World and RUSH beats Gordon, the stage could be set for a showdown for the championship between RUSH and Cobb, the only other competitor in ROH who has yet to be pinned or forced to submit.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves, of course, but there’s no question that RUSH’s stock is soaring and the outlook for “El Toro Blanco” is bullish.
Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com.