On the most recent episode of McMahonsplaning, the With Spandex podcast, Emily Pratt and Bill Hanstock interviewed New Japan Pro Wrestling star Rocky Romero. Romero, who has been wrestling professionally for over two decades, is known for his past work in tag teams including the Forever Hooligans and Roppongi Vice, as the fourth incarnation of Black Tiger, for his current role as the manager of Roppongi 3K, and so much more.
Excerpts from our interview about his work with the NJPW LA Dojo, wrestling in Mexico, repackaging Sho and Yoh as Roppongi 3K, and long history with New Japan that includes training with Antonio Inoki, are below. The full audio interview also includes talk about how Romero wrestled in all three Best of the American Super Juniors tournaments, doing English commentary for NJPW, how he became Black Tiger, and more.
With Spandex: You’ve been helping out with the [LA] dojo, correct?
Rocky Romero: A little bit. I mean, I’m kind of more of just like an advisor role. It’s really Shibata, he’s the guy who’s really running things. The LA office will ask me certain things, like “Hey, you know, what do you think about this?”… Just because I have experience in the last dojo and I saw so many failures and so many things went wrong there, so I try to just, like, interject like “Oh, I know what’s going on here, I’ve seen this before,” and I can kind of interject and put my little two cents, and it’s up to them, you know? It’s really up to them what they want to do, and Shibata, I think, is doing a great job, obviously.
I thought that two guys that wrestled [in the Fighting Spirit Unleashed dark match], Clark Connors and Alex [Coughlin] they did a great job opening the show with that dark match. And you know, if you noticed, there wasn’t like striking or anything, it was just kind of pure wrestling, which I thought was really cool too, so whatever Shibata’s doing, I’ll just let the mastermind, you know, do his thing.