Juice gives his take on why he did not find much success in NXT.
Formerly known as "CJ Parker", in 2011 the man that is now known as Juice Robinson signed with WWE and was sent over to their then-developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling that was soon converted into NXT. Throughout his five years in WWE developmental Juice was not able to get over the hump so-to-speak with the NXT crowd and went through a series of character changes and tweaks. In 2015 Juice departed from the company and then ventured to New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Three years out from his WWE departure and Juice is challenging for the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship at NJPW's G1 Special show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on July 7th. Ahead of his bout against the champion Jay White, Steven Muehlhausen of Sporting News had the opportunity to speak with "The Flamboyant" Juice Robinson and Robinson went on to explain why things in WWE did not work out for him.
"I didn't have confidence because I was 22 years old just learning how to hit a cross-body," Robinson said. "I was just green to the business but at the same time trying to get over in the biggest company in the world. That’s really a tall order. I just didn't have it and a lot of patience. I kind of knew who I wanted to be. I had an idea of who I was but I couldn't portray it. I couldn't exude what I can exude now. I was walking on eggshells," he said. "I was always really nervous, constantly critiqued, which I wasn't afraid of, unlike others. I know if the match sucked or not. I don’t need a 45-year veteran telling me what I already know. These days, I now just go with the flow because I have more confidence."
Juice also spoke on the differences between WWE and NJPW that resulted in him finding success in one company over the other. Robinson stated that it simply boils down to having the time to connect with the crowd and tell a story in the ring.
"Freedom and time," Robinson said. "Like time to get over. New Japan gave me time to get over and still going that way, it’s never done. It wasn't like, ‘Well, let’s just throw this guy on TV. He’s not over in two weeks, oh next guy’, that’s what WWE does. That’s not what I wanted to be when I was a little kid. I didn't want to practice pro wrestling, hell no. I wanted to go out there and do it all over the world. I wanted to be these guys coming in: Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Neville, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Cesaro, who I thought were so f*****g cool. I somehow accidentally got signed when I was 22. I wasn't figuring it out in that pressure cooker of an environment. You got to figure it out. You got to figure it out yesterday, it’s chaotic. I got fed up with it. I was beating myself up about it and was down on wrestling. I just had to get out, do it my own way and now I love it. New Japan gave me time to blossom."
The IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship match is one of many title bouts on tap for tomorrow's G1 Special. To take a look at the match card for the Cow Palace show, click here.