Juice Robinson explains the wild set of circumstances that led to New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Juice Robinson was once known as CJ Parker in NXT. Perhaps best known as the first opponent for Kevin Owens in WWE, Parker was part of the first emerging group of NXT talent when the brand emerged on the WWE Network in 2014. Ultimately, Parker would never get called up to the main roster of WWE but would find himself starting anew in NJPW.
Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Juice Robinson explains how watching a Wrestle Kingdom event with Corey Graves opened his eyes to NJPW and the almost unexplainable set of circumstances leading him to his current home promotion of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
"That is such a process. From having what I thought the concept of Japanese wrestling in my head was very not me. But then Corey Graves bringing over Wrestle Kingdom 8 or 9 or whatever the hell it was and we watched it in my apartment. I saw Tanahashi, Shinsuke, Taguchi, and I saw the Young Bucks, I saw everybody. I said, ‘Wow. They have everything just like every other wrestling company. Oh, cool.’ Then got kinda negative in WWE for me, I wanted to leave and then that’s when Baldo said, ‘Well, hey. Have you ever thought about this?’ I started thinking about that. When you start thinking about things, you start wishing things into the universe and that’s kind of what I did. I’m a huge believer in that, obviously."
He continued, explaining how Tiger Hattori appearing at a WrestleMania Axxess would be the final push leading to him becoming a present-day top gaijin in Japan's top company.
"Next thing you know, Tiger Hattori is at WrestleMania Axxess and you’re out there wrestling and he’s watching with the Chairman. It’s just one thing after another and then you’re at Korakuen Hall wrestling, getting crucifixed by Tiger Mask IV, sleeping in the dojo, hanging out with Liger in the morning, watching him do laundry, and making his breakfast. It’s just wrestling. It’s a wild, wild time. I don’t know how I ended up there. I do not. I never thought in the beginning of my career I would ever, ever, ever be there. Dude, I somehow landed on my feet there. It worked."
Currently, Juice is going between IMPACT Wrestling and NJPW, taking full advantage of the open Forbidden Door with his tag team partner, David Finlay.
Speaking about the partnership, Robinson noted that despite past transgressions between the two promotions, time healed all wounds, noting that the unprecedented pandemic circumstances and the working relationships between all companies keeps things fresh and exciting.
"I think behind in the scenes in pro wrestling, it was obvious. You could kinda see. Time heals all wounds. People that made IMPACT and New Japan have a sour deal are gone. There’s new people and they’re friendly towards one another. Of course, we’re gonna work together. Especially when we’re in extraordinary times, which was when we were locked in the country. We were doing New Japan Strong. We had that opportunity to go play on their TV show. I think it’s awesome and now you’re seeing those guys on Strong. Before you know it, you’re gonna see IMPACT guys over there or Japanese guys on IMPACT people going to AEW. Anybody can end up anywhere right now. It’s awesome. Of course, we want to be a part of that."
FinJuice will be at Bound For Glory on Saturday, October 23, 2021. Fightful will have live coverage.