Rocky Romero is often jokingly called the human embodiment of the Forbidden Door, as he has competed for NJPW, AEW, MLW, IMPACT, and ROH over the past several months. It’s fair to say that performing for various companies.
During a recent appearance on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast, Romero described this experience and spotlighted the difference between competing on AEW television and performing on the independent scene. In an AEW match with stars like The Young Bucks and Adam Cole, one only has a moment or two to make the fans notice them. Romero also emphasized the way he emphasizes doing what’s best for the match rather than trying to make himself look good.
“I mean, definitely, each promotion calls for different skill sets, you know,” said Romero. “Sometimes whether you know, it be like more of a TV-style match, where you’re expected to have a little higher pace. Like AEW, we’ve been doing like The Best Friends/CHAOS group versus the Super Elite guys, so you really only got a couple of moments to really get a moment from all these demanding characters that are around you, you know?
“So like you’re in there with The Bucks or Adam Cole, you know, you got like one, maybe two moments where you can try to make a moment for yourself so people care about you, right? So then you try to just throw in your best stuff, but also serve the better purpose of the match and whoever else is in it. Because you know like, [I’m] definitely not one of those type of wrestlers that, like I’m the type of wrestler that you can put in any situation who’s gonna, number one, serve the better of the match more importantly than just themselves, you know. But if you can do both, I mean that’s where I feel like you’re a real winner, you know.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 20, 2022
By contrast, Romero described how wrestling at independent promotions lets him relax a bit and simply have fun because he doesn’t have to worry about strict time limits due to the broadcast being on television. That being said, he expressed his overall gratitude for the run he’s had the last few months on TV and otherwise.
“…When I go and do the indies and do West Coast Pro or something like that, [I] really have fun and just let loose and not really stress about like time or, ‘Hey, you got 10 minutes but if you go 15, it’s not a big deal if it’s going really well’, you know?” said Romero. “So that’s kinda nice to just kinda kick back and do that and really just have fun doing the wrestling and do whatever you want. I like that, that’s kinda nice too. So I’ve been really fortunate in the last couple of months, I can tell you that for sure.”
When asked about whether he thought he’d be where he is right now as a wrestler who’s performing on TV for multiple promotions, Romeri admitted that he never pictured his career going this way at this point in time. He recalled how, in recent years, he purposefully took a step back in NJPW to help elevate other talent before he realized that he should maximize the remainder of his run as a full-time wrestler.
“No, I mean, probably not at 39, almost going on 40, like I wasn’t probably expecting that the winds would turn this way for me exactly,” said Romero. “You know, and especially the last couple of years, I’ve been such a background in New Japan as well, you know, and that was by design, you know, was to use me to help the next couple guys and for SHO and YOH, you know Roppongi 3K.
“So all the success that I had was to put the shine on them, and [I] purposefully took a backseat, like I purposefully got terrible gear to make them shine. Like that’s the way that I was thinking about it, you know, was like, ‘How can I be in a managerial role and just have fun and not have too much stress about it?’ But like within those two or three years, it was also like, man, I better start wrestling because the clock is ticking down, like at 35, I’m definitely not gonna feel the same way that I do right now at 36 or 37. So I was like I better make sure that the office doesn’t forget like, hey, I can actually wrestle and maybe I should do that a little bit too.”
Romero also brought up how this stretch of his career has been “amazing” especially when considering the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“…To get the opportunity now to showcase that I can wrestle and also have fans actually care about what I’m doing, it’s pretty amazing,” said Romero. “And I did not think I would be here right now doing this, especially after the last couple years have been so crazy with the pandemic.”
The eight-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion continues to compete for NJPW, both in the primary company and on its STRONG brand, and other promotions on a regular basis. He was set to wrestle on the January 21 episode of AEW Rampage before he was pulled from the card when he tested positive for COVID-19. Many fans hope to see him return to AEW at some point soon.