It was three years ago when the Undisputed Era officially formed in WWE NXT. Since then, Bobby Fish recalls a journey paved in gold for himself, Kyle O'Reilly, Roderick Strong and Adam Cole. The former tag team champion believes why this fearsome foursome works is because it's rooted in reality.
"I know it sounds crazy in a business that has as much criticism as it has for being less than honest or less than real or whatever you want to call it," he said. "The history between the four of us is real. We have beat the hell out of each other across multiple continents. We've also stood side-by-side and beat the hell out of other people. We've experienced the ups and downs of this business, the miles and the traveling and all that comes with it. We haven't exclusively been together for all of it, but in this combination or that combination the four of us have crossed paths and at times spent endless miles coming up together. So what you see is real. It's not fabricated. Nobody put us together. We knew each other in this way and ended up under the same roof."
NXT visionary Paul "Triple H" Levesque saw the bond and potential for the group right from the start. Fish speaks favorably of his boss, going as far as to say he has the best mind in pro wrestling.
"His aptitude in this business. I think he saw something that I would think Adam, Kyle and I would like to write for ourselves, and he saw it and was like, 'Yep. Those three.' And he put us together, but I don't know when the idea was launched with Roddy. I know on the surface it looked likeI blew out my ACL, and that was the timing of things. But I've seen now for three years how Triple H operates.
"I feel like he had an idea long before that and maybe that was the plan regardless. Four peas in a pod. Triple H was smart enough to see that and recognize that. It's a little bit of a humble brag I guess, but WWE now gets to benefit. We as the four individuals get to benefit being this brand that nobody has given a name to. Triple H did. Now, along with Shawn Michaels, between the two of them. They have their influence on helping us become who we are. You can't put a price on that."
Whether it's as a group, duo or collective unit, the Undisputed Era shines. However, in the singles ranks we've mostly seen Strong and Cole. That changed recently when O'Reilly earned an NXT championship match and headlined TakeOver against Finn Balor. Fish believes the talent was always there for his long-time tag partner. He just needed the right opportunity.
"I've had the best seat in the house back with the reDRagon days whether it be with Ring of Honor, New Japan. I was standing on the apron to watch this process. He has rubbed off on me. I've rubbed off on him. I think what you're seeing with Kyle right now. I'll say it flat out he is my favorite wrestler to watch right now," he said. "I've been doing martial arts since I was eight years old. I blend a lot of that in my pro wrestling, and I think Kyle does that too. I think there are a lot of people who are trying to do that. I think there are few people who do that well. Again, I like to think I am one who does it well. There are definitely ones that do. And there are ones that don't so well or do a better job in my opinion. Kyle, in my opinion, does it the best right now. I think that is what you're seeing with him and Finn [Balor] in that match at TakeOver. You're seeing two guys who had different career paths.
"Two workers who have a common thread of a certain way this business gets done best and is presented at its best," Fish continued. "I think with that match you can say what you want about our business, but this is not ballet. It was never supposed to be ballet. I think guys like Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard and guys I was a fan of growing up. I would think they would look at that match with Finn and Kyle, even with all that mixed martial arty elements that I really appreciated in that because of the training I do, that may be lost on Arn or Tully or of that generation. I think they would still appreciate what that match stood for. The way it was upholding the way they did our business then. Kyle and Finn did our business, their business guys of that generation, did in our 2020 style well. That's some of the best wrestling I've seen in a long time in my opinion."
On the future of the group, many on social media were looking to the Draft of Raw and SmackDown as the perfect spot to bring the Undisputed Era up to the main roster. This didn't happen with the popular group looking to be entering another chapter of their NXT run. More work to be done.
"I think we can be successful doing multiple roles and things anywhere with this company. I don't feel like any one of the four of us are afraid to go in that direction. At the same time, I don't think any of the four of us are not interested in doing what we are doing because it is so much fun. It is so real," he said. "It is something tangible I think people attach to because it is real. We've said it as a saying, but it is legitimate. When you talk about the Undisputed Era, we are NXT.
"We are flag bearers for what this brand stands for. I think there are other guys too as fans would identify as such. There is no collective energy that is as synonymous as a brand, even Raw and SmackDown dare I saw, like the Undisputed is synonymous with NXT. I think that is part of why we were hired. We are four workhorses. We're four guys who can walk it, talk it. To varying degrees, having the ability to do all the things you need to be successful in this industry. I think the four of us are capable of doing it in multiple different ways. We can give you different flavors of that same ability between the four of us. That makes us special and unique. There is a lot of room and land left to conquer in NXT. That's what we are focusing on right now."
WWE NXT airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network. Bobby's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.