Rocky Romero Shares His Initial Reaction To New Japan Asking Him To Portray Black Tiger
Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images (Rocky Romero)
New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Rocky Romero was a recent guest on The Sessions with Renee Paquette to discuss a wide variety of subjects. When asked how he knew New Japan was the right fit for him, Romero joked that they were the only place that would employ him.
“They were the only place that would employ me,” Rocky Romero said jokingly. “I started at like 15; then I think around like that time, I really started to get into Japanese professional wrestling. I was a fan of the cruiserweight division in WCW. That was a big effect on me. Obviously, I’m a smaller guy.”
When asked who his favorites were from the division, Romero immediately pointed to Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero.
“Rey [Mysterio] and Eddie [Guerrero], of course,” Rocky Romero said. “But like Juvi, Psychosis, I mean, they’re all just these crazy amazing athletes, [Chris] Jericho as well. I just thought that they were — I’ve never seen anything like that, and obviously, like they also became personalities as well. In the beginning, it was just about the matches, but then they started to really become personalities, especially with Jericho and Guerrero.
“So yeah, I started to really get into them. I was like, oh, this seems feasible. I could make a living doing that, trying to become a cruiserweight. So I started getting into ECW, and I was like, oh, that really seems like that’s possible. I could totally fit in here. So that was always the dream was if I can just make it to ECW, and maybe I could get a WCW cruiserweight contract, and then I’m made.
“But then with that, discovering New Japan Pro-Wrestling, [Jushin Thunder] Liger, like I said, and some of the other Japanese wrestlers that would come over to WCW, and I started doing a deep dive into that, I found the J cup series, which is so iconic, and then I was like, oh, I really want to wrestle in Japan because this is where everybody kind of like, if you’re good, that’s where you go.
“And then your career kind of like blossoms from there, hopefully. So that was always the goal was to get to Japan. But then, once I got there, I realized how hard it was to actually stay there for the first year. I went, and then I didn’t go back for another year and a half or something like that, two years. They were basically like, go get more experience. You’re not ready for this yet.”
Rocky Romero then spent some time in Mexico with CMLL and did very well there. It was at that point that New Japan welcomed him back into the fold and told him that they wanted to make him Black Tiger, something he thought they were joking about at first.
“I thought they were joking. I really did,” Rocky Romero said. “Because Black Tiger, if you don’t know, is this iconic, legendary character. So there’s Tiger Mask, which is the good guy, and his archnemesis is Black Tiger. So Mark Rollerball Rocco, an iconic wrestler from the UK, and Eddie Guerrero, who’s my hero, became Black Tiger, then Silver King. And then I’m the fourth generation.
“So when they told me, I was like, ‘Are you serious? Me? Rocky?’ They’re like, yes, we want you to be him. So I guess Tiger Mask IV, which is the guy who I worked with. He’s the fourth generation of his masked wrestler. So he wanted me to become Black Tiger. So that’s kind of a cool compliment. So obviously, I got to work with him, and that was a really great experience.”
What do you make of Rocky Romero’s comments? Did you know he was one of the wrestlers to dawn the Black Tiger mask? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below.
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