It's not much of a secret that New Japan Pro Wrestling and IMPACT have had a contentious relationship across several regimes.
In 2009, under Dixie Carter & company, then-TNA switched the IWGP Tag Team Titles without New Japan's permission. Vince Russo -- whether deserved or not -- is often used as the scapegoat for one year later, when Okada never won a match via pinfall in the company over 14 months. Bad business dealings with founder Jeff Jarrett, and newer IMPACT owners Anthem throwing NJPW off of AXS TV have contributed to that. However, there's an effort to rebuild that bridge.
Recently, IMPACT's Chris Bey was announced as participating in the NJPW Super J Cup. Fightful asked Rocky Romero about how that could help things, and NJPW's reaction to Romero himself working with IMPACT stars.
"I think it’s just him being involved is obviously important to rebuilding a relationship with IMPACT! and New Japan. I’ve gotta say, like you said with the Full Keg special being a part of it was a big deal. Even IMPACT! being so cool with shouting out New Japan Strong and New Japan World on the special as well. I think it’s just little steps here and there. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future obviously, but I think it’s definitely moving in the right direction. They’re definitely are more friendly than they have been for a very long time. That’s for certain. I think it’s a testament to the Good Brothers and their relationship with both companies and how they’re so important for both companies and the respect is deep there. I think they have a lot to do with it as well," Romero told Fightful.
Romero himself works for New Japan Pro Wrestling, but still appears on both TalkNShopAMania, as well as the AXS (Anthem-owned) Full Keg special. That leads Karl Anderson to think things are pretty smooth.
"That was part of the Bullet Club love. You actually got to see us just be us for a little bit. Then it got to be on TV like that. I think all that’s going to be repaired as well. Because there’s a whole new regime at IMPACT! right now. I think us moonwalking into IMPACT! and being so close with the higher ups there and then with Rock working with us and us being close with the higher ups in New Japan as well. We’re all working really hard to repair everything. I think by the summer 2021, there’s going to be a lot of big shit that’s happened by then. Especially once we can get the world opened back up. It’s a game changer," said Anderson
Gallows and Anderson definitely aren't given free reign, and never really were. Both men actually laughed when remembering being asked to stop dropping F bombs on the air.
Gallows said "Do you remember when Gedo pulled us aside and said, ‘[Chad and Gallows,] please.’ We said, ‘Yes, Gedo-san?’ ‘Please, American TV, maybe no more fuck.’ We’re just going ‘Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!’"
"I go, ‘Oh, man. Okay.’ So, for a short while I stopped cussing," Anderson laughed.
You can see our full interview with Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and Rocky Romero at the top of the page. TalkNShopAMania can be ordered on FITE, airing November 13. Fightful will have a post-show watch along of the event.