Robinson would move to New Japan Pro Wrestling after an NXT career that left much to be desired. When Robinson spoke to Fightful.com recently, he looked back on forging a relationship with NXT head trainer Matt Bloom, and how instrumental he was in the process of getting him into NJPW.
"Matt Bloom came down to NXT. He was Sweet T tagging with Brodus Clay, he came down and was transitioning and he was around a lot. We became friends because he liked the CJ Parker character, and it would turn into Grateful Dead and classic rock stuff. He knew I was frustrated the whole time and give me pointers, and he became a coach. The frustration continued to build and I said I had to get out of there. He said 'if you ever decide to leave, let me know and I'll get you a look from New Japan.' I said 'New Japan? No way I could work in New Japan!' I just didn't think I could. I saw Wrestle Kingdom 9 and really got into it. It's what I wish WWE was. Less talking and bullshit, classic pro wrestling, not so much 'this is sports entertainment.' I started to get fired up about it," said Juice.
The interest was there, but the connection had to be made. Fortunately for Robinson, WWE's recognition of a Japanese legend gave him the introduction that he needed to make the move. The former CJ Parker said that he already knew he was looking at his last weekend with the company, and Bloom had his in.
“I got lucky. We were in the Bay Area for WrestleMania and they were inducting Tatsumi Fujinami into the Hall of Fame. Tiger Hattori and the NJPW President were at Axxess and they came to see Matt Bloom, and I just so happened to be going out to wrestling Baron Corbin. I didn’t know they were there. I was joking around, just having fun, because I already told Matt that I was done and it would be my last weekend. I was calling myself "Mr. WrestleMania Axxess," tuning up the band, acting like a complete asshole. Finn Balor and Matt Bloom said 'Tiger you gotta take this guy to Japan, he'd be great." I got to the back and we got the ball rolling," Juice remembers.
Robinson experienced a career rebirth, immediately teaming with stars Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi. His popularity has surged, and his in-ring style has added more of an edge. According to Juice, it didn't take long to adapt.
"I think it just became a little more physical. I didn't consciously do it, I just went along. Whatever I took, I gave back. It took two or three weeks and I was pretty much how I am right now. I've never been shy to lay it in and bump around in there and hit each other. I like that. I think it's better than what you see in other companies. I like seeing spit fly and sweat fly and red around the chest. It didn't take me long to change the way I was in NXT," said Robinson.
Juice Robinson faces IWGP United States Champion "Switchblade" Jay White for the IWGP United States Championship on July 7 from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. The event will be broadcast by AXS TV, and covered by Fightful.com