Juice Robinson Compares NXT to NJPW

Jul 14, 2019 - by James Walsh

During an interview with the Wrestling Observer, NJPW’s Juice Robinson discussed the differences between the NXT system, and New Japan’s ‘Young Lions’ training regime. Robinson worked in NXT as CJ Parker before eventually requesting his release in 2015 and going over to NJPW. Robinson noted that NXT has likely changed since he was there, as he trained under Bill DeMott before DeMott’s firing in early 2015, but noted that the difference is in part due to the “sports entertainment” vs. “pro wrestling” debate.

Highlights from the discussion are below:

On his experience training in NXT: “You know, it probably changed since I was there. But when I was there, they had a different head coach, kind of had a different philosophy. And man, we used to just — they used to just blow us up in the ring. Mundane, easy things that we already had a grasp on, like dropdown, leapfrog, hip toss, you know. ‘Do that 100 times in a row.’ Just all-out blowing people up for the sake of blowing people up. And we didn’t have that many matches. When I left there, we didn’t — you didn’t go on tour yet, you just had the little town shows in Florida. If you were lucky, you had two matches a week at the most.”

On NJPW’s training system: “In New Japan, it’s kind of like — yeah, they work your tail off until you debut. And then when you debut they’ve already, I mean, you’re a year in and you’re already having 120, 130 match[es] a year, you’re wrestling every night. It’s just on the job training, and you get better so much faster when you’re in the ring in front of a live audience. You can’t really, really get the grasp of pro wrestling in a warehouse. You gotta to get out there in front of the people, and you’ve gotta learn as you go. And I think that’s what’s so good about the New Japan system, is they show you, they teach you the bare basics. You watch any of the Young Lions, they’re only allowed to use like, less than 10 moves, probably. And then they have to go out there and try to gain experience, gain the adulation of the fans. And what’s awesome about it, is it’s not about the moves and they know it. It’s about the personality, it’s about the fire, it’s about so much more. And I think New Japan understands that, and I don’t know — it’s just two totally different systems. And it’s just the difference between what they preach, sports entertainment, and what we do over here is pro wrestling.”

On the repetition of the NXT method: “I think it’s changed since then, but at that point it was like, ‘All right, we got six rings, they have to be filled at all times, everybody needs to be working hard at all times.’ And at a certain point for, not necessarily a guy like me, but let’s say a guy like you know, Chris Hero. He was in my class. Or Kevin Owens, or Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, I mean…KENTA, PAC. It just goes on and on, the names that I was in there with. Those guys, you know, they got the dropdown, leapfrog, hiptoss. They got that down. It becomes — it starts to affect your body, just training for four days, five days a week, four hours a day. And I think it’s changed since then, but I can only speak on what I remember when I was there. It was like, ‘Why do we got Braun Strowman doing front rolls and back rolls and leapfrogs and dropdowns. We know he’s 350 pounds, and he’s 30-plus years old, and he was the world’s strongest man, and he’s got bad knees, and he’s in the trainer’s room.’ I don’t know. I always just thought that was a little silly to have a guy like that training so hard when his body’s, it’s on a — it only has a certain amount of time before it starts to break down when you’re that big.”

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