There was Bryan Danielson, The American Dragon vs. Claudio Castagnoli, one half of the Kings Of Wrestling.
Taken over 5 years ago from the Ring Of Honor promotion, this shows that the WWE do pay attention to “the indies” more than they ever got credit for. Ring Of Honor’s best days may be a thing of the past, but their legacy lives on in the WWE roster, both current and future, given what lies in wait at NXT.
Antonio Cesaro is, for me, a star in waiting. He’s had standout matches every time he’s been given a stage – both on the main shows and in NXT. His last 2/3 falls match with Sami Zayn is a work of art, and a must see if you haven’t already. Daniel Bryan is already installed as a main eventer on Raw – who would ever have seen that coming when this match was going down 5 years ago?
It’s not just the WWE – look at TNA. One of the few things they’ve got right over the years is pushing some of the indie guys into the main event. People like AJ Styles and Samoa Joe still move in those circles when Sting and Hogan are busy… but that’s another rant for another day.
Of course, it also looks like the spare hair from Cesaro’s head has gone straight to Daniel Bryan’s beard, but that’s besides the point here…