2017 has been a big year for Raymond Rowe. As one half of War Machine, he has combined with Hanson to reach a lifelong dream -- winning the IWGP Tag Titles.
Today, Rowe and Hanson look to add to their championship haul, when they challenge the Young Bucks for the ROH World Tag Titles at Best In The World, an iPPV event emanating from Lowell, MA. Rowe and Hanson already have held the ROH titles once and just had a two-month reign with the IWGP belts.
"We've been over five times for New Japan—with more on the way," Rowe told Fightful.com as part of our exclusive interview. "Life has completely changed in major, massive ways in the last two years. But then, again, in the last year. You can even look back six months and it;'s changed even more. … it just seems like every month in 2017 for us, there's something new and exciting happening. We're just going to keep rolling with that momentum."
Fightful.com had the chance to talk to Rowe about the matchup with the Bucks, War Machine's success with New Japan Pro Wrestling, and much more.
Here are some highlights from our interview.
On facing the Young Bucks at Best In The World
"We're no strangers to the Young Bucks. We're definitely no stranger to the Bullet Club. We've fought all types of different iterations and variations of Bullet Club teams. The Young Bucks hold a victory over us, straight up, in Ring of Honor … but then we beat them straight up in New Japan at Honor Rising in Tokyo. Despite all the differences, despite all the differences in style and speed, everything that makes us different, we're very evenly matched when it comes to wins and losses right now. We respect them as opponents. I respect what they've been able to do as businessmen. they just had Young Bucks shirts go into every Hot Topic nationwide, which is an amazing thing for a wrestler outside the major corporate company, WWE, that runs almost all that side of corporate merchandising. … you can't take anything away from their dynamic personality but on Friday, they've got to step in the ring with us. We have a huge size advantage, a huge strength advantage and, honestly, we don't give up that much in speed. Yes, they're very fluid. They're very exciting and dynamic, but Hanson, he'll throw that cartwheel out, we'll fly around that ring just as good as anybody else. The difference is, if I hit you once, that's all that takes."
On winning the IWGP Tag Titles
"Literally a dream come true, especially when you add the fact we beat TenKozy [Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima] for those belts. … These two are literally walking living legends. And to beat them, first off just to compete with them in New Japan, on that level, is dream-come-true stuff. But then to hold a victory over them, in Sumo Hall, in Ryogoku, that's where Tenzan won two G-1 tournaments. I mean that's like the house that Tenzan built. And to be able to be victorious there and to have the crowd organically respond to us and really get behind us, support us, is mind blowing. It's something, wrestling in Japan has been a goal of mine my entire career. To go there and have that level of success is literally a dream come true.”
On which ROH wrestler he would pick for a potential 'breakout' star in New Japan
"Shane Taylor. He is a star waiting to be made. He's starting to heat up in Ring of Honor. We had some blistering matches when he was teamed with Keith Lee and they did some stuff with War Machine that blew people's minds … I know what he's capable of because I've known him so long. He's just waiting for the right opportunity and the second someone lets him get a little bit of a spotlight, man, he's off to the races."