• Carlos Astorga

Rocky Romero On NJPW Strong & Plans For United States Before Pandemic Hit


Rocky Romero feels that NJPW Strong is off to a “strong” start (no pun intended).


One third of The Good Brothers talked shop with Nick Hausman of WrestlingInc.com all things New Japan and how the development of the new series has been churning along since it debuted in August of this year.


“I got to be honest, I feel really really good about it, really strong about the show,” Romero said. “No pun intended but yeah, I think that everybody’s working hard to kind of create a separate brand. It didn’t really necessarily, that wasn’t the point in the beginning of it, but obviously, with the pandemic, we had to really think of other alternatives, really, of how to keep the U.S. brand going.


“Now, it’s kind of taken its own course and that it’s slightly different. There’s much younger talent and newer talent being showcased as well and just kind of being its own thing having some crossover to the Japanese brand. Like I said, wasn’t set out to be that way, but it’s kind of turned that way, and I think it’s kind of cool and it’s different and still stays true to the New Japan Strong Style sense.”


Is the series something that will stick around once the global pandemic subsides?


“Like I said, this is another kind of forced progression in that way to build a roster, and as far as I know, New Japan Strong is here to stay. It’s a long-term commitment and hoping to build the way that New Japan always builds, grassroots, build from the bottom [and] each step is important. It’s not just to like run and jump and then gun be like, oh, let’s just do it now.


“Capitalize on each moment and make each one of those bricks solid as opposed to having something just crumble so fast. For us, everything matters. Every little inch matters. So New Japan Strong, just continue on trying to make that show awesome, have the talent that we have [and] adding fresh faces was probably the most important piece to it.”


Romero also touched upon New Japan’s plans for their United States brand before COVID-19 took hold of the booking pencil.


“Well, I mean the original plan was to go August 22 to MSG. We were going to have a huge card there, and obviously, with the pandemic and New York being the major hotspot, especially in the beginning, that all got thrown to the wayside. I had to come up and kind of change plans. In New Japan, in general, it’s just like a live event company more than it is like an actual TV company. So it’s very different from AEW or WWE in that sense. So obviously, being a live event company and not being able to do live events, hurts our business quite a bit. This is kind of maybe like a forced model change in a way.


“Not saying like, oh, it’s going to be TV first, TV this but definitely gives us maybe room to try things that we wouldn’t normally try, like a studio show shot in Los Angeles not too far from the dojo and being able to find new talent, which we’re always looking to do and always trying to add to the roster and find new players, especially new young players because I feel like the one thing they New Japan is golden at is finding talent and creating stars.”


Credit goes to WrestlingINC for the transcript for this article.

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