Rocky Romero talks making his Bloodsport debut, plans for Talk N Shop A Mania and hopes to unite with Gallows and Anderson
Bloodsport held their first show of 2021 last Saturday and we learned a few exciting things heading into the second show this on February 20.
Jon Moxley will return to face Harry Smith and Rocky Romero will make his Bloodsport bow against Simon Grimm, formerly known as Simon Gotch in WWE.
Romero, 38, is most famous for his time spent with New Japan Pro Wrestling and being a vital member of the Talk N Shop podcast with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
The trio have also launched the cult hit pay-per-view Talk N Shop A Mania and are essentially lovable entrepreneurs just having a good time.
But in Bloodsport, Romero will lean on his very real MMA background that spawns from his days in the fabled L.A. Dojo. talkSPORT had the chance to chat to Romero ahead of his debut fight and we discussed a wide variety of topics:
On how his deal with Bloodsport came about…
“Josh and I have had many discussions since he took over Bloodsport and made it his own and he always wanted a Japanese presence and we talked about it.
“You know, I used to train with Josh Barnett back in the original L.A. Dojo back in probably 2002 or 2003, so training with him and having some similar thoughts and ideas of professional wrestling, we’re fans of that original UWF style.
“So he knew I always wanted to do some cool projects like this when it comes to Bloodsport, presenting professional wrestling in a different way.”
On training at the L.A. Dojo with legends like Antonio Inoki…
It’s definitely a part of my DNA coming up in that strong style of professional wrestling. That catchers-catch-can style that is the base of that and Inoki is one of the student of the master, Karl Gotch, it trickled down to my generation and the guys that wrestled and were training at the L.A. Dojo.
“Josh was there putting his spin and his lighting on it and at that time an active MMA competitor and an active wrestler. Training with Inoki wasn’t easy [laughs]. And we took butt kickings in that dojo day in, day out from many teachers.
“Josh, Justin McCully, we would have Ken Shamrock come in every day and teach us how to manipulate leg joints, knee joints and stuff like that.
“So you never knew what you were going to walk into and you were constantly in this bubble of different styles. Steve Blackman came in one day and was showing us how to do front kicks!
“So you just never knew and it was really cool. To do this now and at this level, and you saw how it was presented on the first show, it’s just really, really cool and I’m glad to be apart of it.”
On what he thought about RAW Underground…
“I thought it was awesome, I thought it was better [laughs]. We just needed Shane McMahon to swoop down somewhere and do the opening promo for us [laughs].
“No, but it did look amazing and it did have that underground fight feel. The aesthetic was cool.”
On if he has any previous with Simon Grimm…
“Not much history, but we did both cut our teeth in California before making it. He obviously went to WWE and I wrestled in Japan and Mexico. First time we’re actually going to be in the ring together.
“I’m looking forward to it and I know he’s a hell of a grappler himself. He trains in Brazilian ju-jitsu and has a couple accolades under his belt so I think our styles are going to be really good and fitting.
“Obviously he’s a little bigger than me as well, so that will be interesting but I think we will compliment each other pretty well.”
On if there’s plans for Talk N Shop A Mania this year…
“Definitely. We’re working on a new concept for it. Obviously we were hoping that there might be a chance to do something with fans, so we may hold out a little longer to see if we can do that.
“Or the other option is to go completely the other way like we’ve been doing with no fans but in a way that would be even more cinematic. Really embrace the Sharknado-ness of Talk N Shop A Mania.”
On how special it is to create their own entity in Talk N Shop A Mania
“Absolutely; because this is different too, it’s our baby from start to finish. It’s all funded by us. If we don’t do well then it falls on us. We wrote the whole thing together, we’re producing it together, we’re starring in it together.
“There’s a lot of pressure on ourselves to make it as entertaining as possible. I won’t say good, because I don’t want to use that word [laughs]. We do say it’s the worst pay-per-view of all-time and we’d like to stick to that [laughs]. It’s been an important marketing tool for us!
“We got to stay true to our concept. I’m glad to have the opportunity to do this with my best friends and create something that is going to be iconic in the way of like Rocky Horror Picture Show or something like that.
“Where you pop in once a year and you say ‘hey, you want to watch Talk-N-Shop-A-Mania?’ Let’s watch all three. We can have viewing parties WrestleMania weekend or wherever it is to go along with the podcast, it would be a lot of fun.
“I’m sure people want to hear the stories of how we created it as well and all the crazy stuff that happens while we’re actually shooting it. Nothing ever goes right [laughs].”
On the possibility of linking up with Gallows and Anderson in-ring in North America…
I’d truly love for those guys to come back to Japan at some point. Obviously with the pandemic that’s been difficult, but I’d love to see them come back.
“Maybe there is a world where Rocky joins Gallows and Anderson in a New Japan ring. That’s never been done before, we’ve always been on opposite sides. I think that could be cool.
“But in North America, I’m open to it. There might be some convincing that I’d have to do in the head office, but I think it would be cool and especially as so many walls have come down in the pro wrestling business as of late, never say never for sure.”