Only 24 men have held the ROH World Championship in its 15-and-a-half-year history. It’s an exclusive club for sure, but the list of wrestlers who have competed in ROH and never won the company’s top prize is impressive as well.
Here are five former or current ROH stars who have never been ROH World Champion. To be eligible for the list, a competitor must have spent significant time in ROH and received multiple shots at the world title.
5. CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI
Castagnoli immediately impressed ROH fans with his athleticism and hard-hitting European style when he entered the company in 2005. Although Castagnoli’s greatest success in ROH was in the tag team division, as he and Chris Hero -- collectively known as The Kings of Wrestling -- won the ROH World Tag Team Titles on two occasions, he also had his sights set on the ROH World Title. In 2007 and 2008, Castagnoli had several shots at champions Takeshi Morishima and Nigel McGuinness.
4. MATT TAVEN
Only one man -- Jay Lethal -- held the ROH World Television Title longer than Taven, who successfully defended the championship for 287 days in 2013. Taven also has been a co-holder of the ROH World Tag Team Titles and ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles. Only the ROH World Title has eluded Taven, who has received a handful of shots at it-- against Adam Cole, Jay Briscoe and Christopher Daniels. The leader of The Kingdom appears to be more focused than ever, so his inclusion on this list may just be temporary.
The supremely talented Japanese star, who was a highly decorated competitor in Pro Wrestling Noah, wrestled sporadically for ROH from 2005 to 2009. KENTA, the originator of the Go 2 Sleep finishing maneuver, challenged for the ROH World Championship both in the United States and Japan against Bryan Danielson, Takeshi Morishima and Nigel McGuinness.
2. COLT CABANA
The crowd-pleasing Cabana made his ROH debut during the first year of the company’s existence in 2002 and he went on to become a stalwart. Cabana has scored victories over former ROH World Champions CM Punk, Kevin Steen, Nigel McGuinness and Homicide, but he came up just short when the title was on the line. Cabana came oh-so-close to realizing his dream of winning the ROH World Title in 2006, when he took Bryan Danielson to a 60-minute draw in a two-out-of three falls match.
1. AJ STYLES
Styles has had a phenomenal career and is one of the greatest in-ring performers of his generation. The current WWE Champion has won major championships in multiple promotions, including the prestigious IWGP Championship in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and he has defeated many of the biggest stars in the sport. However, despite receiving a number of shots at the ROH World Title over the years against champions such as Jay Lethal, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe and others, Styles was never able to capture the gold.