With Ring of Honor’s 2019 Top Prospect Tournament beginning on July 21 at Mass Hysteria in Lowell, Mass., here’s a ranking of the top 5 previous TPT winners:
5. LIO RUSH (2016)
Rush scored one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 tournament when he defeated Punishment Martinez in the semifinals. The high-flyer went on to beat veteran Brian Fury in the finals. Rush won some and lost some after joining the main roster, with his biggest victory coming over Marty Scurll in a two-out-of-three falls match in 2017.
4. DONOVAN DIJAK (2015)
Standing 6 feet, 7 inches and weighing 270 pounds, Dijak certainly looked the part of a top prospect. He defeated plucky underdog Will Ferrara in the finals and then promptly joined Truth Martini’s House of Truth. Dijak was never able to win gold in ROH, but he did upset Dalton Castle in 2015 and defeat the likes of Moose, Cedric Alexander and Beretta.
3. HANSON (2014)
The 2014 tournament came down to Hanson and Raymond Rowe, with Hanson emerging victorious in a hard-hitting match. Hanson had beaten Cheeseburger and Andrew Everett earlier in the tournament. Hanson and Rowe joined forces shortly thereafter as War Machine and went on to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles and the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles (twice).
2. MICHAEL BENNETT (2011)
The inaugural tournament featured three future ROH World Champions (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Michael Elgin), but it was Bennett who came out on top. Bennett defeated Cole in the first round, Andy Ridge in the semifinals and O’Reilly in the finals. In 2014, Bennett, his girlfriend Maria Kanellis, Matt Hardy and Cole formed The Kingdom. Matt Taven subsequently joined the group, and he and Bennett won the ROH World Tag Team Titles and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles in 2015. Bennett never won singles gold in ROH, but he did win the 2014 Honor Rumble.
1. MATT TAVEN (2013)
No surprise here. Not only is Taven by far the most accomplished TPT winner, but he’s also one of the most decorated competitors in ROH history. He won the tournament by defeating ACH, Silas Young and TaDarius Thomas. Taven, the current ROH World Champion, is just the second Grand Slam Champion ever in ROH, having won the World Title, World Television Title, World Tag Team Title and World Six-Man Tag Team Title (three times). The leader of The Kingdom also is one of only three men to have won championships in ROH, NJPW and CMLL.