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Juice Robinson On NJPW STRONG: ‘I Love It’, It’s Like Indie Rock

Juice Robinson has quickly become one of the faces of NJPW STRONG, and it seems like he’s having a blast.

Previously, New Japan Pro-Wrestling hoped to expand into the United States, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this mission. Faced with a crushing setback, the company launched NJPW STRONG as a way to showcase its stateside talent and directly build its audience in the country. The series premiered in August 2020, and it has become a strong brand in its own right, as it now run shows across the United States.

In an interview with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, Robinson spoke highly of STRONG and described why it offers “the best wrestling.”

“Dude I love it, and the cool thing about it, every single time I go, it’s better and better,” said Robinson. “It’s a very small crew, and it was kind of birthed out of the pandemic, and we kinda were forced, that’s like the direction our U.S. expansion took. It went to a small studio in California and us all flying once a month and starting STRONG, which by the way, is on Saturday every single Saturday on FITE and New Japan World.

“Like you said, it’s the best wrestling right now. The thing that I like about it the most is, we get to see all the LA Dojo Young Boys, and we get to see the New Japan Young Boys change dojos, and this LA Dojo is like awesome. Shibata (?) is a huge part of our developmental system. It is what you want. It’s the organic process of growing a professional wrestler. It is beautiful, it is basic, but it is perfect. It will always work and it’s just a great platform.”

Robinson then pointed out that major stars regularly appear on the show; names like Minoru Suzuki, Tom Lawlor, Jay White and Hiroshi Tanahashi have competed on STRONG, so the program consistently features top-level talent. He went on to emphasize how the formation of the show was catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as filming stateside proved to be more appealing and practical for NJPW’s expansion into the United States, given the challenging circumstances.

Looking back on how STRONG turned out, Robinson stated that NJPW made the most out of an unprecedented obstacle.

“It’s funny how things work sometimes,” said Robinson. “And when people say it usually works out, it does. But I feel with New Japan and wrestling, things just always seem to work out. There’s a quote in wrestling. It’s called making chicken salad out of chicken sh**. And I think New Japan Pro-Wrestling made chicken salad out of chicken sh**. You know, that was the hand we were dealt ,and they made the best of it. And here we are.”

Looking forward to the future, Robinson expressed his excitement about NJPW STRONG’s continual growth. He pointed to the Showdown in Philadelphia show, a two-night event that spanned October 16 and 17, as a particularly postive step. In doing so, he noted how STRONG is like an “indie rock show” with its energetic fans.

“It’s gonna be great,” said Robinson. “We’re gonna keep doing this and it’s gonna continue and we got it out of the pandemic, but it’s gonna continue on now. And these are gonna be hot, awesome houses. And we’re gonna film wrestling TV shows and we’re gonna play them, and you’re gonna see yourself be like, ‘Oh, I was at the 2300 Arena, that match was sick.’ Then you’re gonna go home and you’re gonna watch it on New Japan World and be like yo, you know what I mean?

“It’s cool. It’s like an indie rock show. And it’s like, let’s all be part of it. Why would you not want to be part of that?”

The full interview is available here:

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