Jeff Cobb was the Belle of the Ball ahead of the pandemic, with several companies working with him, and even more reaching out.
Cobb, once known as Matanza in Lucha Underground appeared for AEW, ROH and NJPW between a matter of weeks. The normally reserved and quiet Cobb admitted to Fightful in an exclusive interview that the experience of being wanted was fun.
"There was a point, I think it was, maybe, right around the AEW time, those appearance, I definitely felt like a new girl in school ‘cause everybody was trying to court me. Like, giving me flowers and little chocolates and little love notes and stuff. It was so cool to be wanted like that. It was a weird time. It was a great time. It definitely felt cool to be wanted. It was great to just show up on random things. I think I wrestled in Atlanta for three major promotions in the span of a month. So, that was pretty cool, man," Cobb said.
Cobb noted in a recent interview that he has signed a contract with a company, but wanted to leave that up to him to announce. It's worth noting that this interview was in conjunction with New Japan Strong, but both AEW and ROH have wrestlers that also work with NJPW. Cobb is hopeful that things can get back to where they need to be, and getting back to wrestling in a safe environment for NJPW is a part of that. Cobb got back to work for the company in June.
"Yeah, that was my first match since the first week of March. I don’t even know how many—four, five months, I guess? Because of travel restrictions and travel bans and what not, I think every company is kinda just doing their own thing right now. I don’t know if treading water is a good term, but everybody’s stagnant right now trying to figure out what’s going on. That’s the crazy thing. Nobody really knows what’s going on. I think some places I was seeing about maybe a month ago that New Japan in Japan are starting to have some fans, like a third of the capacity of the buildings and I think that’s super cool. They’re definitely going in the right direction. Not just for professional wrestling ‘cause I know other companies in Japan are doing some fans. I think that’s super cool. Like, I mentioned, they’re doing the steps that are necessary to get back to “normalcy” I guess," Cobb said
One of the things Cobb has enjoyed about NJPW Strong specifically are the stakes associated with what he does.
"Yeah. Like, they don’t just throw out matches to throw out matches. Everything means something and everything’s for a reason. I’m happy about that ‘cause that’s what it is. Pro wrestling is is a sport and you’re entertained by the sport. So, I’m liking everything that they do," said Cobb. He was primed for a big run in the New Japan Cup before the pandemic threw a wrench into those plans, and was riding a hot streak just before, noting "I was definitely trying to carry that momentum into the New Japan Cup. Unfortunately the world happened. It was kind of hard, but you know all it is, is now that we started taping some things for New Japan, now I just gotta find that momentum again and ride what we did in the Lion’s Break into this tournament and win this tournament, just ride the momentum train."
Cobb has been in both New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor for years at this point, and has witnessed regime changes across both. Over in Japan, Harold Meij has taken over, while in ROH, Marty Scurll is now head booker.
"For the New Japan side, it’s been great. It was great before and it’s getting even better now. Even in Ring of Honor, it definitely, not a breath of fresh air, but you kind of could see a little bit of difference. Both companies have been going on the upward tracks. So, I think it’s been a good thing. Sometimes you need a little shake up, if you will. I don’t want to turn this into a knocking of other companies, but you’ve seen in other companies where they don’t really have a shake up and it’s been kind of stagnant. So, I think New Japan and Ring of Honor are definitely going in the right direction," Cobb stated.
It wasn't just ROH and NJPW that procured Jeff Cobb's services in 2020. Cobb made a couple of appearances for All Elite Wrestling, but hasn't been seen since. Although he's not shown up there after February, Cobb has a pretty good reason why.
"I’d like to think it was a good relationship while we were there. I haven’t heard any negativity on their side. Like I mentioned, I’ve seen maybe 95% of the roster on a regular basis for the past couple of years. So, I feel like we had a good relationship. Definitely, traveling to Florida at this time is not on my to-do list, I guess. Not my priority list. Not because of them, but just because of what’s going around in Florida. I’m trying to stay away from that kind of stuff. Sorry, Florida," Cobb stated.
So New Japan, Ring of Honor, AEW all had contact and worked with Cobb -- who else expressed interest?
"WWE, yes. IMPACT!, no," Cobb said of companies that reached out to him.
You can see Jeff Cobb on New Japan Pro Wrestling Strong, Friday nights on NJPW World!