Juice Robinson gives first interview as part of BULLET CLUB
On a shocking Dontaku card in the Fukuoka PayPay Dome May 1, one of the most lasting scenes was that of the newest BULLET CLUB member attacking new IWGP United States Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi from behind, and revealing himself to be Juice Robinson.
The newly rechristened ‘Rock Hard’ Robinson would quickly be thrust into the main event scene, as he joins WIll Ospreay, Jon Moxley and Tanahashi in a four way bout for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Saturday in Washington DC at Capital Collision. We spoke to Juice about his change in demeanour, new allies, and his thirst for gold and the money that comes with it.
I should have walked into NJPW and punched Hiroshi Tanahashi right in the face.
–So Juice. You recently gave an interview in wrestling media where you said your contract with NJPW would expire and that you would be leaving the wrestling business. You seemed to give your goodbyes at Windy City Riot, but at Dontaku we saw that was not the case.
Juice: Not that I owe anyone any explanation, but I was never going to retire. That was just me lying to a bunch of gullible idiots. People believe that if they read something on the internet it has to be true. So all I had to say is make sure it landed on the internet, and everybody believed it, hook line and sinker.
–What went through your mind, what did you feel when you did what you did to Hiroshi Tanahashi at Dontaku?
Juice: 100% elation. When I got in the ring at the PayPay Dome, all I was thinking was that this was a long, long time coming. I should have done this in 2015, right from the get-go! I should have walked into New Japan Pro-Wrestling and punched Hiroshi Tanahashi right in the face. It was a long time coming but I had to make it right, so that’s what I did.
–So the question now becomes, why did you do what you did with BULLET CLUB?
Juice: Sometimes things line up at the right place at the right time. Did you ever think that BULLET CLUB needed Juice Robinson? I gave them a shot in the arm. They got rid of dead weight in that group so that somebody could step up. So this is a win-win relationship. I win and BULLET CLUB wins.
–You have a long history with Jay White. You both trained in the Dojo together, but after he returned from excursion, you seemed at opposite ends of the spectrum, including when you fought over the IWGP United States Championship. Can you give some insight behind the scenes? Is this purely a business relationship, or did you settle personal issues with Jay?
Juice: I don’t think what happens behind the scenes is any of your business. As far as you’re concerned, as far as the fans are concerned, it’s purely business. I’m here to do a job, and I’m using BULLET CLUB to further my career. I’m in this for me, and BULLET CLUB respects that. Most people in that group are the same way, it just so happens that mentality helps BULLET CLUB.
I don’t care about David Finlay
–BULLET CLUB have just celebrated their ninth anniversary and are active all over the world in AEW, IMPACT and NJPW. Where do you see BULLET CLUB in the wrestling landscape in 2022?
Juice: Well, let me say happy birthday to BULLET CLUB. Happy birthday BULLET CLUB. Nine years. So almost to a decade. It’s time to shake things up in BULLET CLUB, and that’s exactly what Jay White has done. He got rid of dead weight and brought in new blood. That’s where I come in. I’m the booster for BULLET CLUB, and with me there, I see BULLET CLUB going right to the top of the wrestling world.
–How do you feel about Jay White as the leader of BULLET CLUB?
Juice: If you think about where BULLET CLUB was when Prince Devitt was at the head of it, or AJ Styles, or Kenny Omega, Jay White is better than all of them. He’ll prove that at Dominion when he takes the big (IWGP World Heavyweight) belt. He’ll have the world championship, I’ll have the US Championship and when we have all the belts, everyone will realise this is the best version of BULLET CLUB ever.
–If you do become US Champion, it stands to reason that you would be a part of the AEWxNJPW Forbidden Door. What are your thoughts on that event?
Juice: I don’t give a rat’s ass about AEW. Next question.
–Understood. We touched on your history with Jay White, but you’ve also been with David Finlay since you were both in the Dojo. With that partnership now ended, are there any ill feelings with David Finlay? Have you spoken with him?
Juice: I haven’t spoken to David Finlay, because I don’t care about David Finlay. David Finlay can now do whatever he wants to do in his career. I made a choice to do what’s best for Juice Robinson, and what’s best for Juice Robinson does not involve David Finlay. He was starting to remind me of old fruit on the kitchen counter. He was going bad, gathering flies, and the right thing to do was to throw it away. He was dead weight, but now we don’t have to worry about one another anymore.
It’s a stupid idea, so it makes sense NJPW and its fans think it’s a great idea
–After your attack on Hiroshi Tanahashi at Dontaku, a four way was made for the IWGP United States Championship at Capital Collision that will see you, Will Ospreay and Hiroshi Tanahashi all challenge Will Ospreay. Your thoughts on the match?
Juice: Do you think I’m stupid?
Juice: Do you think I’m an idiot?
–No, not at all.
Juice: Because Will Ospreay is an idiot. Basic mathematics would tell you the more people there are the less chance you have of leaving with the title. Why not make it five, six people? An even 100?
No I’m not happy with the four way. It’s a stupid idea, so it makes sense that NJPW and the fans think it’s a great idea.
–You would rather a singles match?
Juice: Those three should wrestle one another and then I should pick the bones at Dominion. That’s what I think should happen. But four way, singles match, whatever, that belt should be with me, so that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
–Let’s talk about the other wrestlers in the four way. Obviously your history with Jon Moxley is well documented.
Juice: In a perfect world, it would just be me and Moxley for this belt. When we were in the ring together before, he was biting my flesh. He was ripping the skin off of my forehead until I was bleeding. Here’s what I think of Jon Moxley. He should sharpen his teeth, because he’ll have to bite off a hell of a lot more than my forehead to get past me in Washington DC.
Tanahashi is a broken human being
–You’re determined to beat Mox.
Juice: I will beat Moxley, and when I have beaten Moxley, he can go back to AEW for good. In fact, I’ll throw you one further, he can go straight to hell.
–So moving on-
Juice (interrupting): And I bet you want to ask about Tanahashi. Everyone wants to know what I think of my former mentor. Tanahashi taught me a lot of things, but you know what the most important lesson is?
–What would that be?
Juice: I don’t want to be Hiroshi Tanahashi. Who would? Who would want to give their body to NJPW and its fans? Tanahashi can hardly walk. It’s like the old question, how many licks to get to the center of the lollipop? Well how many High Fly Flows until a man’s knees turn to dust?
–There was high praise from the fans for Tanahashi’s match with Tomohiro Ishii at Dontaku.
Juice: Everybody was talking ‘oh what a great match’. Do you know what I saw watching that? Two tired lions at the end of their careers. They’re out of time. And Tanahashi is an old insecure faded star looking for the adulation of the fans because he’s a broken human being. He’s going to be so tired in DC that he’ll barely have the strength to carry the belt out, and we’ll all smell the blood in the water and go for him.
–Will Ospreay went through a similar change to yourself in 2020, and formed the United Empire. Do you have some respect for what he’s been able to achieve since?
Juice: Do I respect Will Ospreay, no. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what that idiot does. “Do I respect him”. Please.
I’m here to make money, and I want to win championships, so I can make more.
–Fair enough. If you were to win the IWGP United States Championship, what kind of champion would you be, and who might you want to face in defences to come?
Juice: Who do I want to face? I don’t know, I don’t care. Look, just so you have an answer, SANADA. There you go. Fine. See, all that championship is, is a stepping stone. A means to an end.
–And what is that end?
Juice: Isn’t it obvious? I’m here to make money. I want to win championships, so I can make more. And when I’ve held that US title three, five years, and made all that cash, I’m going to leave New Japan, put it in the rear view mirror, and not give a damn about it.
–Finally, fans might have a certain image of you as the Flamboyant Juice Robinson. Obviously this is a different man. Can you sum up who this Juice Robinson is and what fans should expect from you going forward?
Juice: The Flamboyant Juice Robinson was a pretender. He was pretending to be someone he wasn’t. He was weak, he was soft. This current form of Juice Robinson? He’s the real Juice Robinson. The booster of BULLET CLUB. This Juice Robinson is Rock Hard. I’m Rock Hard Juice Robinson, and that means I’m laser focused. There’s no dancing, no caring about the fans. I don’t care about the fans, I just want your money. This is all about results now, and I will win my matches by any means necessary.