– This Monday, Cody spoke to the media via an AXS TV conference call in regards to the upcoming NJPW G1 Special on July7th. Here are some of the highlights from the call:
Matt Maher (aka The Implications) Lordsofpain.net – Similarly to here in the UK we’re now seeing shows in the US with New Japan specials and All In running in bigger venues, do you think these shows are a good measuring stick for the current state/popularity of wrestling?
CODY: Yeah, I think that’s exactly what they are. Whether they came from a position of, “Hey you can’t do this, oh yes we can,” or not, they’re still a really great indicator of what’s happening. And they’re still a great indicator of interest, I’ve gotten some heat because I often tell people my least favourite era in wrestling is the Attitude Era. To kind of amend my statement, maybe the reason it’s my least favourite is because we have to stop talking about it. It happened, yes it was outstanding. Steve Austin was printing shirts and printing money at the same time, it happened.
But now there are these guys like myself who are busting our ass and I feel it. When you’re out there you can feel it if the crowd is happy or sad, if they’re excited, enjoying their night. And that’s the indicator as far as, “Oh, we can do more,” that’s how All In came about. From a four show tour with Ring of Honour and we’re only 1100, 1200 people each night in these small venues and we said we can absolutely pull 10,000 fans together. Because that’s how many we’re able to touch with Being The Elite, and with AXS TV, and New Japan Pro Wrestling and with Ring of Honour.
I think it’s an indicator of where we’re at and I think this year and next year is going to be super important, as far as looking at where we’re going. A big mistake anybody could make is, we’re gonna keep getting bigger buildings and bigger buildings. When in reality, that’s what New Japan does better than anybody. Measured, discipline, taking their time and having a trusted product that when it comes to the G1 Climax on AXS TV they’re gonna deliver.
Jose Young, Fansided.com – Thought’s on Kenny Omega being spotlighted on WWE.com and their YouTube page.
CODY: I thought that was something that was good for business. That the New Day and The Elite – well I guess the Golden Elite – that cross promotional element is something they’ve wanted to do for quite some time. And you can’t pretend someone doesn’t exist anymore, Kenny Omega is a revered star worldwide. I was joking with a few of my WWE friends, “You can say thank you for the rub,” they reply with something similar (laughs).
Jim Varsallone, Miami Herald – Do you think New Japan can be more successful running more shows in America, or is it better running the occasional special?
CODY: Well, I think that’s the million dollar question, I have no doubt they could be successful running more shows in America. Look at the roster, the roster is flooded and it has two of the top five wrestlers in the world. It’s just an outstanding roster and I think when you look at specials, it might be the model the entire industry is headed towards.
I’ll give you an example. The NXT Takeovers are incredibly critically acclaimed, people love them and from what I’ve seen – I didn’t see the most recent one – but from what I’ve seen they are amazing. The model they’ve got set in place is these guys aren’t out there doing the old school on the road every night thing, you know, making it up as they go. There’s months and months of preparation for your Pay Per View or your live special.
So the concept of the specials are that every now and then, every once in a while events, it almost can’t lose. If you have a roster like New Japan Pro Wrestling does and you do run these specials throughout the United States as a part of your expansion, I can guarantee you that anyone who tunes in to the G1 special, anyone who watches on AXS TV, will be absolutely blown away. It’ll be the best wrestling show you’ve ever seen… until the next time New Japan come around to the United States.
Raj Giri, Wrestling Inc – What are your thoughts on Okada & Omega’s match at Dominion last week?
CODY: The thing I’ve enjoyed about the most about the matches they’ve had is that they obviously have a deep connection between the two of them, a great chemistry. The matches are all very different, that’s special when you can do that. I think, from my standpoint, that those matches are the best of what those guys can do.
But every wrestler is able to do something different. There’s this great moment in one of the Batman/Superman arcs where Catwoman tells Batman, “Hey, Superman’s the best at what he does,” and Batman says, “He’s the best at what he does, but not at what I do.” That’s very much what wrestling is, everybody provides a different ‘thing’, different elements.
But I don’t look at it in any way like, wow, I’ve got to have a match with him like that. No, it’s a different set of circumstances every time you’re out there. And I think five or ten years from now, we’ll see just how special that series of matches they’ve had are and how important they were. Anytime you can make somebody maybe mute their WWE Network and pop on New Japan World, pop on AXS TV, make somebody look the other way, that’s like the beauty of wrestling in 2018. It doesn’t mean you don’t like wrestling, it’s competition and they made people turn heads.
Mike Johnson, PW Insider – What can we expect from the Bullet Club Is Fine marathon on AXS TV?
CODY: We had a lot of fun, the marathon heading into the G1 Special on July 7th on AXS TV we’re going to cover to this moment, to this match. That means an outstanding amount of wrestling, if you’re already a fan of what we do then you’re getting all the hits. If you are brand new and this is your jumping on point you couldn’t have picked a better point, because we’re going to cover the best stuff. Nothing is better than the Bullet Club. If you ever walked out of your house and looked to the left, then to the right, chances are you saw a Bullet Club shirt.
It’s a celebration, of everything that led to this match up. And it’s my opportunity to showcase the facts, the evidence that the Bullet Club is indeed ‘fine.
Mike Johnson, PW Insider – The first Omega vs Cody match drew Ring of Honour’s biggest crowd to date and now you’re re responsible for selling 10,000 tickets for All In, what are your expectations for the crowd in San Francisco? What are you goals in your mind for the crowd that night?
CODY: When you’re in the main event, in the thick of it, you want that to be your focus. I have a bad habit of trying to make everything my focus, trying to make the production my focus, I’m trying to wear all these hats that I’m not even qualified to wear. That’s actually something Vince McMahon told me once, we’re all producers, we’re all camera men, we’re all sound guys, we’re all wrestlers. Talking about when you put your segments together, put your moments together.
For this one I really want to focus on the match, want to be focused on what I can do bell to bell. And I think the people will come, right now they’ve got a great advance on ticket sales, contrary to anything else you read out there and I’m thinking that will pick up and pick up and pick up. I think that’s huge for them and the cow palace, that building needs that love. That spirit, to have wrestling back in. I mean, this is the same building Eddie Guerrero won the title in. There’s so much history in this building, but I’m trying to fix my focus, I got so much on my plate with All In already. AXS TV will put on a great production, New Japan will put on a great production. They just need to hit my music.
Brian Fritz, Sporting News – Can you see a time when we can see more cross promotion between bigger companies and possible between the biggest companies in the US?
CODY: That’s tough to say, because wrestling is definitely changing, I mean it’s already changed. Exclusivity is starting to seem less and less important, I think – as cliché as this sounds – it’s the fans. If there’s continued support and it’s something that they want. And I know that Triple H wanted to bridge between NXT and New Japan around the time they used the legendary Jushin Liger, when Liger wrestled Tyler Breeze.
That was a first step, but more need to be made. And I think it’s silly when they’re not, I’m glad that New Day/Elite thing happened. Because I’m sure these was some idiot, some just moron, in Stamford on that 4th floor who was like, “They’re gonna make our guys look bad! Blah, blah, blah.” And no, they’re gonna make the fans happy. It’s for the fans and you have to go with that, always. And I can see more happening. I don’t consider this an era of competition as much as I consider it an era of choice.
On writers and having creative freedom on his character he has in NJPW & ROH via Being The Elite
CODY: There is no reason why a YouTube show like Being The Elite should be driving as many narratives as it is. Like I said, wrestling has totally changed, everything we do on that show people connect to. We know right away, we say it once on the show and then the very next ROH show there’s a sign. I think the first time we did the FTR bit, the next day there was a fan dressed as a coffee cup with it written on there.
I don’t look at it as being in control of my creative, I literally just look at it as knowing myself. I guess knowing my act, knowing what I would do and what I wouldn’t do. Going out there and trying it out, the fans will tell if you got it right or got it wrong. But I think that’s one of the most backwards ass things about wrestling in the first place. Writers, what are you writing? What on Earth are you writing?
I have some friends who are writers in the WWE and the most they could ever offer was as far as pre-taped and backstage interviews, they were there to provide a little direction, a little coaching. In that they were very useful and I can see the value there, but as far as this industry, if anyone ever tells you it’s scripted I dare you to find me a wrestling script. It doesn’t exist.
We’re a rare thing, a rare bird in the world of entertainment. Same with producers, I love all those legends, some of them are like family to me. But how in the hell are you going to tell me what to do out there? You don’t, and that was my biggest mistake when I was with WWE. Is ever listening, there’s a difference between collaboration and advice and being told to do this. Because that’s not how it works, you go out there and you’re the one on TV, you take the heat if you suck.