New Japan is one of the first promotions to let wrestling fans back into arenas for shows even though they aren't near capacity. Rocky Romero has experienced fans at these events and he discussed the atmosphere when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I think things will continue the way that they are and so far so good. It seems like as long as people are safe at the shows then they will continue and more importantly that the wrestlers and staff are safe," said Romero. "I think everybody's doing a really good job and the fans are respecting to try and not shout even though they wanted to with the stuff that's happened in storylines over the last couple of weeks."
Romero then talked about the storyline developments in recent weeks and how the excitement of those made it hard for fans to stay calm and not scream or shout.
"Kudos to the fans who have really respected that because you can see how much they don't want this to be taken away. They wanna continue to be a part of the shows live and I think it might be like this for a while. Who knows how to say how long? I think we're going week-by-week just like the whole world is. So, it could be like this for another six months or year but either way I'm glad that they were able to come back the way that they did," stated Romero.
"Even though I did think the no-fan shows that they had were pretty good. The New Japan style is kinda like the best style for no fans because it's so much about your opponent and what's going on in the ring than other shenanigans that go into pro wrestling."
Promotions always love to go retro and bring back elements from different eras into today's wrestling landscape. Romero was asked if there's anything from the 80s or late 90s that New Japan could conceivably use in today's times.
"I think there's some elements rooted in that. I think New Japan now is very rooted in the 80s," said Romero. "If you really break it down, there's always a good guy, bad guy element which is super-important. It's so funny because it's just kind of different. Back in the day when a bad guy would screw over a good guy such as interference, you'd get boos. But now it's wrestling purists saying, 'Why wasn't it a clean finish?' It's the same kind of heat; it really is. It's just that wrestling purists are just not getting it [laughs] but it's the same kind of heat. They're still gonna come back for more because they wanna see the clean match. It's just kinda presented different and we all have a different way of taking it in as fans. But it's pretty much the same thing. There's quite a bit of characters and stuff that could fit in the 80s but it's just a modernized version of it. But also 90s New Japan has an influence there too."
There's been much discussion about the relationship between New Japan and Ring of Honor and if the partnership is still in place. Romero was asked about that and he also talked about other crossover relationships.
"ROH and New Japan are still working together. I think it's been hard as obviously with COVID you can't see New Japan stars in ROH or ROH in New Japan. But it's definitely still going on. Obviously, we saw Tom Lawlor who's an MLW guy on Lion's Break Collison and we're talking about Karl and Doc possibly being a part of New Japan and they have Impact contracts," stated Romero.
"Then there's been AEW guys who have shown up in New Japan too. The world is kinda changing and opening up. I'm not saying everybody is gonna be the best of friends and have maybe even the relationship that ROH and New Japan has had. But I think, especially with the COVID situation, that opportunities are definitely opening up. You kinda have to change your mindset a little bit because we're all trying to get past this situation and not being able to have live events hurts us all. So, instead of fighting each other it's easier to work together in a way to get through this. And I think that will show after COVID in that hopefully that will continue."
As for New Japan's relationship with AEW, Romero admitted that there's still work to be done on both sides.
"That's a tough one. I think there's been a lot of progress and it's taken some time to happen. I feel like one day there will be some kind of a relationship there. I don't know when that will happen and obviously there's some feelings on both sides," said Romero. "I don't blame anybody and I'm definitely a person who's in the middle. I understand both sides and how they feel about it. But never say never and especially coming out of this and where AEW is gonna be and where New Japan is gonna be. They are two very strong companies with a lot of amazing talent that I think one day people wanna see how those two will interact. So, we'll just have to wait and see. I feel like that's the big question on everybody's mind – if it will happen and when will it happen? We'll see; I don't know [laughs]. There is some deep feelings on both sides so we'll see."
Rocky's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.