Chris Lindsey (July 26, 1983) is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Roderick Strong. He is currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) appearing with their developmental territory NXT.
Professional wrestling career
He earned an American football scholarship to the University of South Florida, where he majored in Business for two years before postponing his academic career.
In the autumn of 1994, Lindsey's father, a former collegiate wrestler, began training as a wrestler under Jim Neidhart. After Lindsey attended several training sessions and met Harry Smith, a second generation wrestler, he decided to become a wrestler. Lindsey was trained by Neidhart and a number of other wrestlers in Tampa, Florida and debuted in 2001 as Roderick Strong on the Floridia independent circuit.
Strong wrestled his first match for the Independent Professional Wrestling promotion, competing in a twenty-man cruiserweight battle royal. He was initially one-third of a stable known as "Risk Factor" with The Kamikaze Kid and Kid Lethal before he formed a tag team with his trainee and (kayfabe) brother, Sedrick Strong. The Strong Brothers defeated Wrongful Death (Naphtali and Dagon Briggs) for the IPW Tag Team Championship on June 28, 2002 in St. Petersburg, Florida. They held the title until September 20, when they lost to Naturally Marvelous (Scoot Andrews and Mike Sullivan) in a steel cage match in which Roderick suffered a concussion.
After Sedrick cost the Strong Brothers a number of matches, Roderick turned heel on February 8, 2003, betraying Sedrick and aligning himself with the Alliance of Defiance, a dominant heel stable.
After IPW closed down in late 2003, Strong began working for NWA Florida, a promotion which had had a working relationship with IPW for two years. Strong defeated David Babylon for the Florida Unified Cruiserweight Championship on July 19, 2003 in St. Petersburg. While Strong was champion, the title was renamed the Florida Unified Junior Heavyweight Championship. He lost the title to Jerrelle Clark in a four-way match on December 13, 2003 in St. Petersburg. Clark vacated the title on January 10, 2004 after winning the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship, and Strong defeated Mikey Batts for the vacant title on[February 21 in the Viking Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lost the title to Sedrick Strong on April 29, 2004, in New Port Richey, Florida.
Ring of Honor
Strong joined the Pennsylvania-based Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion in September 2003. On May 22, 2004, at Generation Next he formed a stable known as Generation Next with Alex Shelley, Austin Aries and Jack Evans. Generation Next quickly dominated the ROH roster, declaring themselves the future of wrestling. After defeating several other stables, they defeated CM Punk, Ace Steel, John Walters and Jimmy Jacobs (mentored by Ricky Steamboat) on October 2 at The Midnight Express Reunion.
Strong began punctuating his ring style with stiff offense, acting as the enforcer of Generation Next. In November 2004 he formed a regular tag team with Evans, and on December 26 he, Evans and Aries threw Shelley out of the group when he refused to resign as leader. Strong and Evans continued to team throughout early-2005, but were unable to win the ROH Tag Team Championship. On July 9, 2005 at Escape from New York, Strong faced CM Punk for the ROH World Championship, but was defeated. On September 24 at Survival of the Fittest 2005, Strong defeated Samoa Joe, Jay Lethal, Generation Next teammate Austin Aries, and Colt Cabana to win the titular event, thus earning himself another shot at the ROH World Championship in the future.
On October 1 at Joe vs. Kobashi, Jade Chung aligned herself with Strong (and the remainder of Generation Next) after he defeated her former client, Jimmy Rave. The following night, Strong defeated James Gibson in his last match for Ring of Honor before returning to World Wrestling Entertainment. Following the match, Gibson gave a farewell speech in which he called Strong the "MVP" of Ring of Honor.
Strong lost to ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson on October 29 in Woodbridge, Connecticut and on November 5 in Chicago, with the match going over 45 minutes. On December 17 in Edison, New Jersey at Final Battle 2005, Strong teamed with Aries to defeat Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke for the ROH Tag Team Championship.
On March 31 in Chicago, Strong faced Bryan Danielson a third time for the ROH World Championship, with a 60-minute time limit, but Roderick came up short with Danielson rolling up Strong at the 56 minute mark for the victory.
With new member Matt Sydal and Jack Evans touring in Japan Strong and Aries announced that there was no longer a need for Generation Next.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
In his first major appearance with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Strong lost a special "Showcase Match" to Austin Aries at the TNA Unbreakable 2005 pay-per-view on September 11, 2005. On September 22, it was announced that he had signed a contract with TNA, and would wrestle A.J. Styles on the first episode of TNA iMPACT! on Spike TV on October 1. Strong went on to lose the subsequent bout.
In December 2005, Strong toured Japan with the Dragon Gate promotion. In 2006, he formed a stable in TNA with Austin Aries and Alex Shelley. In February 2006, he and Aries were both suspended for two months for arriving four hours late for the pay-per-view TNA Against All Odds 2006. He returned to TNA in April 2006 although has only been used once since then.
On June 28, 2006 reports circulated that Strong had been released from TNA. Roderick Strong's profile was also removed from TNA's website emphasizing the release, though no official word has been announced.
Full Impact Pro
Strong is considered one of the primary wrestlers, and lead babyface, in Ring of Honor's sister promotion, Full Impact Pro, which operates out of Florida. He finally won the FIP Heavyweight Championship in a title-versus-career match against Bryan Danielson, who at the time was both the FIP and ROH Champions, on November 10, 2006, in Inverness, Florida. Only the FIP title was on the line.
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
Strong had his first match in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla on February 12, 2005. He only had a total of two matches in that year. After a win with Jack Evans against El Generico and Human Tornado (collectively known as Two Skinny Black Guys at the time), the two challenged Davey Richards and Super Dragon for the PWG World Tag Team Championship. The duo lost their shot at the belts. Throughout 2006, Strong collected himself a number of wins in one-on-one matches, almost reaching the Finals of the Battle of Los Angeles tournament, but losing to Richards in a Singles match.
On November 17, 2006, Strong would team with Richards for his second shot at the World Tag Team Championship, this time against Dragon and B-Boy. The duo would go on to capture the belts, marking Strong's first title win in PWG. They would go on to lose the titles the next night to B-Boy and Dragon. The match also involved the teams of Chris Hero / Claudio Castagnoli (their Ring of Honor feud wasn't mentioned in the announcement of the match) and Alex Shelley / Chris Sabin.
EVOLVE Wrestling (2015-present)
Strong debuted on September 13, 2014 at EVOLVE 34, losing a match against Uhaa Nation. He returned at EVOLVE 35 where he lost his second singles match against Drew Galloway. He returned the following year on January 9, 2015 at EVOLVE 36 where he competed in a Grudge Match against Drew Galloway, ending in a No Contest finish. He returned at EVOLVE 37, where he was defeated by Timothy Thatcher. At EVOLVE 38, Strong returned to the ring to defeat Drew Galloway in a cage match, emerging victorious after the referee declared an end to the contest. At EVOLVE 41, Strong returned to compete in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls match, defeating Timothy Thatcher to become the new No. 1 Contender for the EVOLVE Championship. At EVOLVE 44, Strong met the reigning champion Drew Galloway for the EVOLVE title, but did not succeed in becoming champion. Strong concluded the year with a match at EVOLVE 45, losing to Zack Sabre Jr.
Due to the WWE's working relationship with EVOLVE Wrestling, Strong was allowed to continue his previous work for the promotion. He returned on July 16, 2016 at EVOLVE 64, during which he lost a match to future NXT recruit Matt Riddle. Two years later on December 15, 2018 Strong returned at EVOLVE 117, during which he competed for the EVOLVE Championship in a triple threat match, against Austin Theory and reigning champion and fellow NXT roster member Fabian Aichner. The match concluded with Aichner losing the EVOLVE title to Austin Theory.
World Wrestling Entertainment
On October 19, 2016 episode of NXT on the WWE Network, Strong making his debut by teaming with Austin Aries in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament, and defeating Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic.
On the December 14 episode of NXT, Strong defeated Elias Samson, in doing so getting himself entered into a fatal four-way match to determine a new number one contender for the NXT Championship as well as establishing himself as a fan favorite. Strong competed in the fatal-four way on the December 21 edition of NXT, but was unsuccessful. Strong defeated Andrade "Cien" Almas at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio in his first TakeOver appearance.
Strong then began a rivalry with the faction SAnitY after coming to the aid of Tye Dillinger and No Way Jose, who were also battling the group. At NXT TakeOver: Orlando, Strong teamed with Dillinger, Ruby Riot and Kassius Ohno (replacing No Way Jose who had been attacked earlier in the night) to take on SAnitY in an 8-person mixed tag team match in a losing effort. On May 20, at NXT TakeOver: Chicago, Strong defeated Eric Young, giving Young his first pinfall loss in NXT.
On the July 5 episode of NXT, Strong challenged Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship, but lost the match. After Drew McIntyre won the NXT Championship from Roode at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, Strong defeated Roode on the August 30th episode of NXT. Strong unsuccessfully challenged McIntyre for the NXT Championship on the October 5 episode of NXT. Strong was pinned by Almas on the October 25 episode of NXT following interference from Zelina Vega.
Strong entered a program with The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O'Reilly). For weeks, the trio tried to recruit Strong to join the group in an attempt to overtake NXT. During a match between SAnitY and The Authors of Pain on the November 1 episode of NXT, The Undisputed Era interfered and caused the match to end in a no-contest. Strong entered the fray and pulled out an Undisputed Era armband, seemingly joining the group. However, Strong attacked the three, and cleared the ring alongside The Authors of Pain. General manager William Regal emerged on the ramp, and announced a WarGames match for NXT TakeOver: WarGames (originally known as TakeOver: Houston). Strong would team with The Authors of Pain against The Undisputed Era and SAnitY. At the event, Strong (who dressed in a similar attire to his teammates) and The Authors of Pain were unsuccessful in winning. On the December 20 episode of NXT, Strong was defeated by Lars Sullivan in the first round of an NXT Championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament.
On the January 30, 2018 episode of 205 Live, new 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick announced the 2018 WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Strong was later announced as a participant in the tournament, in which he would defeat Hideo Itami in the first round and Kalisto in the quarter-finals on the February 6 and February 27 episodes of 205 Live before being defeated by Cedric Alexander in the semi-finals on the March 13 episode of 205 Live.
Strong later on competed against Pete Dunne for the United Kingdom Championship but he lost. However Pete Dunne agreed to team with Strong in the 2018 Dusty Rhodes classic. They defeated Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan in the first round and later defeated Sanity to advance to the finals. However, during the finals against the Authors of Pain, The Undisputed Era attacked both teams which backfired leading to a triple threat match being made for NXT TakeOver: New Orleans with the trophy and Tag Team Championship on the line as well. At the event just as Dunne was gonna pin O'Reilly to win, Strong attacked Dune and hit him with the end of heartache and placed O'Reilly on top for the win turning heel for the first time in his career and joining the undisputed era. The following day at WresleMania Access, Strong with O'Reilly defended the titles making him a champion under the Freebird Rule.
At the Greatest Royal Rumble, Strong competed in the namesake match, entering at #34 and eliminating Rhyno before being eliminated by Baron Corbin.
- Finishing moves
- Death by Roderick (Fireman's carry double knee gutbuster)
- End of Heartache (Vertical suplex lifted and dropped into a double knee backbreaker)
- Gibson Driver (Sitout double underhook powerbomb) – adopted from Jamie Noble
- Sick Kick (Single leg running dropkick)
- Strong Hold (Elevated Boston crab while kneeling on the opponent's back or a straight jacket)
- CX '02 (Crucifix cutter) - early career
- CX '03 (Straight jacket Gory neckbreaker) - early career
- Inverted cloverleaf, sometimes with bodyscissors - early career
- Signature moves
- Backhand chop
- Double underhook suplex
- Multiple rib breakers
- Multiple backbreaker variations
- Argentine, sometimes while dropping to a kneeling position
- Canadian, sometimes while dropping to a seated position
- Capture suplex onto the knee
- Double underhook
- Half nelson
- Pendulum; sometimes onto the top turnbuckle
- Power-Breaker (Powerbomb onto the knee)
- Olympic slam
- "Messiah Of The Backbreaker"
- Tag teams and stables
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Full Impact Pro
- Independent Professional Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
- Ring of Honor
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- WWE NXT