The team of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly debuted on NXT in 2017. The three men dubbed themselves the Undisputed Era and once they recruited Roderick Strong to their ranks they became unstoppable. Running through the NXT roster like a knife through butter the Undisputed Era became the most dominant stable in the WWE since the Shield. They won all the major championships that NXT had to offer, even holding them simultaneously at one point.
Their reign of terror continued for nearly 4 years before some cracks started to show in the Undisputed Era’s foundation. Those cracks became valleys when Adam Cole turned his back on the group and super kicked O’Reilly’s head off.
This shocking betrayal has brought us to a very anticipated showdown between Cole and O’Reilly at the next NXT: Takeover pay-per-view. A match that, with its unsanctioned stipulation, is shaping up to be one of the best matches of the year.
This anticipation, of a fantastic match, should come as no surprise to wrestling fans around the world as the members of the Undisputed Era have years of history competing against one another all over the globe. Let’s take a look at the five best examples of these matches between members of the Undisputed Era.
ReDRagon v Adam Cole & Roderick Strong (ROH Conquest Tour 2016)
Considering the extensive history between the four men it made sense to put these four together. Strong and Fish had been feuding over the ROH Television Title leading up to this match and O’Reilly and Cole had battled over every major title imaginable during their runs in ROH.
The match was exactly what one would expect from the four men. Cole and Strong spent the majority of the match controlling the pace while Fish and O’Reilly struggled to find their footing. The ending came with Strong hitting the high knee and getting the win for his team.
One of the things that stood out for this match was the instant chemistry between the four men. They had all be involved with one another at some point throughout their careers but it was rare to have all of them in the ring together. The action between them was crisp and it looked as if they knew what one was going to do before the other did it.
It was also fun to see the four men working a different match than they were used to. While ReDRagon was used to the tag team matches this was a newer experience for Cole and Strong. It was great to see them working a tag team style and it made for some very entertaining moments during the match.
This match happened nearing the end of all four men’s run in ROH and with the chemistry, they exhibited in the ring it could have been the catalyst for the WWE putting them together in 2017.
Roderick Strong v Bobby Fish (Wrestlejam 8)
This one is going way back to the beginnings of both these men’s careers. It was fun to see how young both men were in the match. They look like teenagers compared to the grizzled veterans that they are today.
It is a fantastic match to watch but if you are going that down that road it is recommended that the sound be turned off. The match takes place inside a Boy’s and Girl’s Club and the fans in attendance were more interested in making idle chit-chat with each other than watching a great match.
Fish and Strong went at each other from the opening bell and it was fantastic. Strong worked heel for the contest so he took over for most of the match. Fish did his best to counter Strong’s attack over the 16-minute match but it was for nought. Strong hit his high knee and followed that up with a Tiger Bomb for the victory.
It was a shame that the fans in attendance did not seem to care too much about the match they saw because it was a great one. Even at a younger age, these men were at the top of their game. The chain wrestling that they exhibited in the ring was crisp and impressive for younger talents.
The stiffness of their shots throughout the match was also quite impressive. They went at each other the whole time and while they were pulling their punches at some point you can see a few live rounds.
It was a shame that a match of this caliber was for a crowd who did not appreciate it on the level that they should.
Adam Cole v Bobby Fish (ROH World Championship Match; Manhattan Mayem)
After capturing his record-setting third ROH Championship Adam Cole became nearly unbearable in the ROH ranks. His obsession with being the champ made him the most hated heel in the company and had wrestlers lining up at an opportunity for the strap.
One of the first men to face Cole was future Undisputed Era teammate Bobby Fish. Fish had previously won a Survival of the Fittest match that earned him a title shot. It was his first shot in two years and was a huge opportunity for the tag team specialist.
Cole was at his height of putting on instant classics in ROH and this match was no different. He worked his heel persona to perfection as he worked over Fish. Cole is an amazing trash talker and the smaller venue helped to pick up a lot of this. It added that little extra to the match and had the viewer hating Cole and wanting to see him get what was coming to him.
Fish, while being known as a tag team wrestler, worked a great match on his part as well. His submission specialist reputation was on full display during the contest as he worked over every body part, of Cole’s, that he could get a hold of.
The finish came with Cole reversing a Bobby Fish submission into a pin, all while grabbing as much of Fish’s tights as he could. It was a very heel way to win the match but it helped to put Fish over. One notices that it was clear Fish had Cole’s number and this was the only way Cole could win. The match legitimized Fish as a great singles wrestler.
Adam Cole v Kyle O’Reilly (ROH World Championship Match; Final Battle 2016)
Leading up to this match Adam Cole has been using every heelish means possible to get out of matches. He was getting himself counted out and using the ROH World Title belt to blast his opponents, Kyle O’Reilly included. This led to O’Reilly demanding that their showdown at Final Battle be a no disqualification match so that Cole would have no way out.
This match was a redemption story for O’Reilly as he was a long-tenured wrestler who had never gotten over the hump and won the big one. Sure, he had been close many times but every time he was within reach Cole would snatch it away from him. When O’Reilly finally got his win over Cole it was an emotional watch. O’Reilly, the fans in attendance and at home, could barely contain themselves. It was a great piece of storytelling done on the part of Ring of Honour.
The match itself may have been one of the bloodiest in the history of the company. Only minutes into the match Cole split O’Reilly wide open with the title belt. This started a barrage of weapons and outside the ring brawling. For two men who were known as in-ring technicians, they were able to work the hardcore side of the match beautifully. It was a shock to see the thumbtacks make an appearance as well but it added so much more to the match.
What also put this match over the top was the creativity in which each man used the weapons around the ring. It is easy to smash someone over the head with whatever weapon you can grab. It takes a genius in the ring to incorporate those weapons into your move set. Cole and O’Reilly did just that and it was a great sight to see.
Kyle O’Reilly v Adam Cole (ROH World Championship Match; Wrestle Kingdom 11)
One could compile an entire list of Cole and O’Reilly matches, but we will just include their fantastic duet of matches from late 2016, early 2017.
Cole’s obsession with being the World Champion was well documented. When losing the title to O’Reilly, at Final Battle 2016, it was only a matter of time before he got hit shot back. That championship match happened at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 11.
Being one of the biggest wrestling shows in the world the Tokyo Dome was the perfect arena for Cole and O’Reilly to blow off their feud.
Of course, as things go, Cole walked away from the match as the ROH World Champion but O’Reilly was now a made man in the singles division so the loss took nothing away from him.
This match was a vastly different affair from their no-DQ contest from a few months earlier. The action was kept in the ring, for the most part, and both men chose to show off their technical skills. O’Reilly methodically picked apart Cole throughout the match. He used his submission knowledge to target Cole’s legs/arms and wear him down. Cole used his heel ways to gain every advantage he could, all while hitting high impact move after high impact move.
This match, when compared to their Final Battle title bout, is a technical masterpiece. Which goes to show how talented both of these men are. They were able to work two very different matches within months of each other and both were captivating. One was a great hardcore match while the other was a master class in in-ring storytelling. With their upcoming Unsanctioned Match at Stand and Deliver, there should be no doubt that these two will once again put on an instant classic.