Ring of Honor (ROH) world champion Jay Lethal bared his mind in an interview about the way to go forward for the promotion following the exits of well-known wrestlers such as Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks. Reiterating his appreciation for the promotion, Lethal admitted that it would be difficult to replace these names but added that ROH would rebuild itself following these departures without trying to replace them.
Speaking to Sporting News, Lethal stated, "I feel that Ring of Honor has always been in the rebuilding phase. Ring of Honor in all the time I've known it, it's never been fully settled. It's always in this rebuilding phase because other rosters out there constantly pluck from the Ring of Honor roster to make their roster better.
Look at all of the companies out there and their champions. Most of them came through and from Ring of Honor." He further explained, "I think the winning formula is: you don't try and replace those guys. How do you replace The Young Bucks? How do you replace a Cody Rhodes or an AJ Styles? That hole in your tapestry is going to be there, but you have to have sense enough to know that hole leaves some character.
That hole has done some great work and you don't try to cover that up. It just adds character." Rhodes had signed a multi-year contract with the promotion in September 2017. However, in November 2018 Rhodes announced that after his Final Battle bout against Jay Lethal in December 2018, he would be "taking the world championship into free agency" thus indicating that he would be leaving the promotion.
However, Rhodes' promise was left unfulfilled as Lethal defeated him, en route to creating history by going past Samoa Joe's record of most number of combined days as the ROH world champion in 2019.