ROH Champ Rush Returns to Ring for First Time Since March at ‘Final Battle’

Rush hasn’t wrestled since the pandemic upended wrestling in March. He’s also never wrestled without a crowd before. That all changes in the main event of Ring of Honor’s “Final Battle” pay-per-view.
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Rush is the reigning Ring of Honor champion. He began his second run as champ right before Ring of Honor halted live wrestling for six months due to the pandemic. But he’ll make his long-awaited return on Friday night’s Final Battle pay-per-view, defending the belt against Brody King.

Adding to the intrigue of the title defense is that Rush’s contract expires at the end of January. He has been an integral part of Ring of Honor story lines since his arrival to the company in December 2018, and he headlined last year’s Final Battle, dropping the belt to PCO. That result did not last long, as Rush regained the belt just over two months later in a three-way against PCO and Mark Haskins. The original plan was to have Rush defend the belt against Haskins at the 18th Anniversary pay-per-view in March, but that turned out to be a show lost to the pandemic.

Rush is a 13-year wrestling veteran. He has worked internationally for a number of promotions, most prominently CMLL and AAA in his native Mexico, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. Six years ago, he formed Los Ingobernables, which is a faction that later extended into New Japan as Tetsuya Naito’s Los Ingobernables de Japon. WWE’s Andrade, then known as La Sombra, was also one of Los Ingobernables’s original members. Rush now leads an extension of the group, known as La Facción Ingobernable, in Ring of Honor.

Final Battle marks the first Ring of Honor pay-per-view since last December. The card also includes Dragon Lee, Rush’s younger brother and a member of La Facción Ingobernable, defending his television championship. The futures of Rush and Dragon Lee are firmly connected. Wherever one signs, the other is expected to follow. At Final Battle, Dragon Lee is currently slated to face the winner of a “Four Corner Survival Match” that includes Tony Deppen, LSG, Josh Woods and Dak Draper.

In an interview translated from Spanish, Rush spoke with Sports Illustrated about his title defense against Brody King, his contract status with Ring of Honor, and his future plans in pro wrestling.

Final Battle is Ring of Honor’s first pay-per-view in a year and traditionally its most important show of the year. Although this has been a difficult year to be champion, what does it mean to be in the main event of this year’s Final Battle?

There have been so many challenges these past few months during the pandemic. Personally, I have been recovering from a chest injury. Now I am coming back to pay-per-view and defending the championship against a rival, Brody King, without an audience. That is difficult, but not impossible. Wrestling without an audience is different, so that will be something new for me, but I feed off pressure. Brody King has been wrestling and I haven’t, but I have not stopped thinking about this match and this moment. It was what consumed my mind all this time away from Ring of Honor, and I will be ready to deliver greatness on pay-per-view.

What has been the hardest part of the pandemic for you?

The biggest part for me is making sure that my family is safe. We have been very careful to make sure we did not infect ourselves or anyone else with this strong virus. My family is my priority.

The pandemic is terrible, and many people are hurting. The good thing about the pandemic for me was my family—my wife and son. I have had a lot of time to be with them, and I enjoy being with them more and more every day. Before the virus, I worked and traveled almost daily throughout Mexico and the United States. Now I have more time with my family, and I am grateful that we are together. We are healthy, and I thank God because they are the most important people to me in the world.

Your Final Battle opponent is Brody King. He is a super heavyweight but also wrestles with incredible athleticism. Since Ring of Honor’s return, he has looked fantastic in matches against Dalton Castle and Shane Taylor. What impresses you most about the 6' 5", 285-pound Brody?

I respect him, but neither Brody King nor any other fighter impresses or intimidates me. This isn’t just my work, this is my life. I have faced off with the best in the world, and I have wrestled for companies like New Japan Pro Wrestling, CMLL, AAA and the independents across Mexico. No matter where I am, I always believe I am the best wrestler. Brody King is not going to change that.

He may be a very good wrestler, but Brody King is not me. I am greatness. I’ll finish him, and I will continue demonstrating why the world needs to focus on “El Toro Blanco.” I am going to show the world what it means to be part of La Facción Ingobernable.

This is a very different Final Battle from last year, when you were also in the main event. This show will take place at the UMBC Event Center in Baltimore without a live audience. What is the most challenging part about wrestling in front of a building with no crowd?

Never in my life have I wrestled without a crowd. Honestly, it is not the same. The people in the crowd are the most important thing in wrestling. They demand the best out of you, they inject adrenaline into your veins, and magically they make your injuries and pains disappear when you are in the ring. The people make wrestling so special. But I am a professional and I know that people are looking for a great match on pay-per-view, so that is what I will give them.

Your brother Dragon Lee is the reigning Ring of Honor television champion. He is also one of the most underrated, talented stars in all of wrestling. Do you think you think he will one day be world champion? Could there be a Rush–Dragon Lee main event at Final Battle in 2021?

My brother is very talented and will be champion for a long time, just like me. But we will never turn against one another and we will never wrestle each other. That will not happen. We don’t fight one another.

La Facción Ingobernable is stronger than ever, and we have a surprise for everyone. Our goal is to win all the championships in Ring of Honor. My brother is going to have an amazing year in 2021, and he’ll show that he is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world.

Your contract is up at the end of January. You would be a star in WWE, AEW, NJPW or anywhere else in wrestling. Right now, what are your plans? Do you intend to remain with Ring of Honor?

Ring of Honor is my home. This is the house of La Facción Ingobernable. I have many goals and unfinished business in Ring of Honor, plus matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling and in Mexico that are also very important to me. I am waiting for this virus to be controlled in 2021, and then people will see the best of Rush and La Facción Ingobernable.

What about your match tonight with Brody King at Final Battle is can’t-miss?

“El Toro Blanco” is going to make this match hell for Brody King. I have been locked away from wrestling, and now I will finally return and kick Brody’s ass. He has never faced a real fighter like me. I hear he likes violence, but he is going to learn something very different from me.

I will show Brody what violence really looks like, and everyone watching Final Battle will witness it with their own eyes. Nothing happens unless I say so, and I say that Ring of Honor is run by Rush and La Facción Ingobernable.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.