Robbie Eagles Discusses IWGP Jr. Title Win, COVID Restrictions Nearly Costing Him

Robbie Eagles made history at NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam on July 25 by becoming the first-ever Australian IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.

Eagles, who returned to NJPW on July 17, defeated El Desperado to capture the championship.

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Appearing on the On The Turnbuckle podcast, Eagles explained how COVID restrictions to leave Australia could have cost him his shot.

"I struggled to leave the country and I was delayed by two days to here when I was supposed to because of our government saying I wasn't allowed to leave Australia after I called and said, 'Do I need an exemption?' They said, 'You're cool.' I get there and it was the exact opposite and I needed to prove this, this, and this. I missed my flight and it was all up in the air. This whole situation might not have happened and I might not have been IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion if things didn't work out. It was a lot of stress and scrambling, but luckily I got the exemption," he said.

Eagles made his NJPW debut in 2018 and has competed in Super Junior Tag League and Best of Super Juniors.

Speaking about his title victory, Eagles said, "It means absolutely everything. That combination of everything I was working towards at that point. That's been my feeling for any championship I've won anywhere in the world, all of them being in Australia. Since having those aspirations of wanting to be part of the Japanese wrestling culture, back from watching the Super J Cup with Hayabusa and Jushin Liger and Great Sasuke, it always felt like a bit of a pipe dream or something that was achievable, but unachievable. As much as I got close to things, like being in Best of Super Juniors or doing a tour with NJPW, I still felt like those moments, like a championship match at the Tokyo Dome was not really on the table. When the opportunity presented itself, I use the word 'lucky' so much with my career and I am truly lucky to experience that. It didn't matter that there was only a small capacity of fans compared to what the Tokyo Dome experience has been like in the past. It still felt like there was 42,000 people there to me because I knew how much this meant to everyone back home who had been part of my journey and wanted to see where the next step was. I was so overcome with emotions from the morning to the evening that day. It still chokes me up a bit."

Eagles is set to defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Hirumo Takahashi at NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam on September 5.

You can find results from past NJPW events at Fightful's results section.

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