After almost seven years with the company, WWE has officially released Nigel McGuinness from his contract, according to Pro Wrestling Insider. A commentator who mostly worked NXT, Main Event, and 215 Live over his commentary career, McGuinness leaves the greater WWE Universe with little fanfare, as the company is rapidly retooling their commentating teams ahead of the “season premiere” of SmackDown, which will feature a two-man commentating team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett, but to a whole generation of performers and fans who came up watching the indies, McGuinness will forever hold a special place in their hearts.

A nine-time champion who wrestled for many of the top independent promotions the world over, from TNA to Pro Wrestling NOAH, to APWA, McGuinness is probably best known for his run in Ring of Honor, where he wrestled against many of the (future) best performers in the industry, held the Pure Championship for a record-breaking 350-day reign and held the ROH World Championship for 545 days, which is the second-longest run in the strap’s history behind only Samoa Joe’s 645 run.

With his wrestling career long in the past – having retired all the way back in 2011 – McGuinness has to now turn the page on the squared circle and prepare for the next chapter of his life, right? I mean, at 46, is McGuinness really looking to fly around to various promotions to do commentary for local shows on IWTV or worse, return to Impact, the company that sidelined him for contracting Hepatitis B?

*sigh* if only there was a promotion looking to fill out a commentary booth that would welcome back an all-time legend alongside their stalwart two-man team…

Tony Khan, get your checkbook out; what better way to put over the new ROH and secure the brand a television deal than to add McGuinness to the booth with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman and embrace the wrestler-turned-commentator gig a la Taz with WWE’s version of ECW? McGuinness can work face or heel, has a wealth of knowledge of the history of Ring of Honor – having played a fairly large role in a good part of it – and remains incredibly popular with many of the promotion’s top stars, as an old WWE.com story called “How Nigel McGuinness helped influence a generation of Superstars” clearly proved.

Nigel McGuiness remains popular with Ring of Honor and WWE Stars.

Speaking with Bobby Melok and Dustin Wallace of WWE.com, Claudio Castagnoli reminisced fondly of his time with McGuinness in ROH, where he wrestled the former champion 24 times, including twice for the World Championship.

“Nigel McGuinness was ahead of his time,” Castagnoli wrote. “He was one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever been in the ring with. He was from Europe, [so] when I first moved here, I heard a lot about Nigel because he did it before me – moved to the United States and made it as a wrestler. To be in the ring with him was awesome and an honor on so many levels.”

“In my first Ring of Honor title match, we headlined [New York City’s] Hammerstein Ballroom, which is still pretty high in my book. Nothing but respect for Nigel. He was ROH’s champion for a long time. He gave it all, literally, for that title.”

Samoa Joe, too, had nothing but nice things to say about McGuiness, who gave him a real run for his money for the best performer of the first era of Ring of Honor.

“Nigel McGuinness is a guy who, stylistically, reinvigorated the European, catch-as-catch-can style in the States,” Joe asserted. “He has a very good pedigree and brought that skillset. He influenced a lot of guys you see on the independent scene today.”

“He’s probably one of the most technically proficient competitors that I’ve ever been in a ring with. His knowledge, his intensity and capabilities in the ring were world-class. I’m sure he’ll bring that to the commentary table. There’s no insight like a person who completely understands the techniques and what the competitor is setting up to do to his opponent. Nigel has the type of meticulous mind where he can give the viewer the chance to see inside the heads of the wrestlers and what they’re looking to achieve.”

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And last but not least, McGuinness’ biggest ROH rival, Bryan Danielson, gave flowers to his fallen friend, who, in another interview, he said could have been Daniel Bryan if a string of bad luck didn’t end his career before it got off the ground.

“The Nigel McGuinness matches are some of my favorites,” Danielson reminisced. “I think it’s because of the drama and emotion [behind them], and because we elevated each other in a way that made everything seem more important. We were at a time in ROH where he had the Pure Championship, I had the World Championship and we were both trying to take ourselves to that next level. We got in this rivalry and it elevated both of us. It was neat to see the fans’ reaction to those matches.”

“I think my favorite match was me and Nigel in Liverpool [England] for ROH. He bled a ton and the crowd was so behind him. As much as I love getting cheered, I think my favorite thing in the world is getting really, really booed and hated. You can only really do that if you have someone that people love. They loved Nigel that night and hated me, because he was a mess and I was elbowing him in the face. It was this really surreal experience. At the end, I felt like we really accomplished something.”

If Khan wants an absolute slam dunk of a signing that brings nothing but goodwill to his promotion, then he should ask Danielson for McGuinness’ number, as he’s a big part of Ring of Honor’s legacy, and a perfect addition to the commentary team.