Whether they are stars on the rise, veterans with something to prove, or new faces looking to make an immediate impact, the following competitors are poised to make waves in 2019:
5. ELI ISOM
When Isom was chosen by Kenny King and Chuckie T. to be their partner in a gauntlet match for a shot at the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles earlier this year, color commentator Colt Cabana wasn’t even sure what Isom’s name was. After Isom scored a shocking pinfall on grand slam champion Christopher Daniels to win the match, however, everyone in ROH knew the 23-year-old’s name. Isom, a graduate of the ROH Dojo, proved that it wasn’t a fluke, as he went on to hold his own against the likes of ROH World Television Champion Jeff Cobb, Shane Taylor and King. Don’t be surprised if Isom scores a breakthrough singles victory and works his way into contention for a title in 2019.
4. TENILLE DASHWOOD
There was a lot of excitement and high expectations when Dashwood made her Women of Honor debut in February, but her first year with WOH was derailed by medical issues and injuries. After competing for six months while dealing with an injured shoulder, the Australian star had no choice but to undergo shoulder surgery after the injury was worsened in a match against Sumie Sakai at Death Before Dishonor in September and a subsequent attack by an unknown assailant backstage. Dashwood is expected to return to action sometime this spring, and she undoubtedly will be focused on winning the WOH World Title as well as finding out who attacked her and exacting revenge.
3. MARK HASKINS
A tough-as-nails fighter and one of the UK’s top stars, Haskins made a strong impression when he competed on ROH shows in the UK in 2017 and 2018, and that led to ROH officials signing him to an exclusive contract a couple weeks ago. The native of Oxford, England won the inaugural ROH International Cup this past August on the Honor Re-United UK Tour to earn a shot at ROH World Champion Jay Lethal the following night, and he nearly won the title in a highly acclaimed match. Haskins has the talent, experience and drive to be a major player in ROH. He will make his first appearances in an ROH ring in the U.S. on Jan. 12 in Atlanta and Jan. 13 in Concord, N.C.
The charismatic luchador was one of pro wrestling’s hottest free agents when he signed an exclusive contract with ROH a couple weeks ago. A fourth-generation wrestler, Bandido has made a name for himself in his native Mexico as well as in Japan, the UK, Australia and in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in California. This past September, Bandido competed in the main event of the All In pay-per-view, and he advanced to the finals of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. Now the 23-year-old high-flyer wants to prove himself against the best wrestlers in the world. Like Haskins, Bandido will make his initial appearances in ROH on Jan. 12 in Atlanta and Jan. 13 in Concord, N.C.
1. VILLAIN ENTERPRISES
It appeared that Marty Scurll would be a man with no friends in ROH in 2019, but as his old buddies were leaving, “The Villain” was secretly recruiting new allies. Scurll has had the wrestling world buzzing ever since he unveiled Villain Enterprises -- a faction consisting of himself and ROH newcomers PCO and Brody King -- at ROH’s recent international television taping in Philadelphia (the debut of Villain Enterprises will air on a future episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling”). In the enigmatic PCO and no-nonsense King, Scurll now has two of the biggest, most hard-hitting men in the sport by his side. The combination of the cunning Scurll and the two athletic monsters should make everyone in the ROH locker room nervous.