Bpbby Roode was recently a guest on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast. During the conversation, he discussed his acclaimed run in NXT.
After spending nearly his entire career with Impact Wrestling, Roode joined NXT in 2016. He credits former Impact superstar Samoa Joe for helping him make the decision to be a part of WWE's developmental brand. He quickly became the brand's top heel, leading to him winning the NXT Championship. Roode said he benefited from great timing, in that he joined the brand when some of its top stars were going to the main roster.
"I came in at a really good time. Timing is everything in this business and at that time I was coming in and a lot of guys were moving up. It was the year of the draft, so a lot of big names from NXT were able to be called up to Raw and SmackDown so a lot of holes to fill. That was when my experience came in and was able to work alongside Samoa Joe. Joe and I had a lot of history before and Joe knew me and I knew Joe," Roode said. "He was one of the main reasons why I came down to NXT so I was able to work with Joe, Austin Aries, got to be put into matches with Nakamura and Finn Balor. Then, when everybody kind of moved on and up I was able to have the opportunity to be the face of the brand and be put into a feud with Nakamura for around eight months. It was amazing, and such a great experience. We started travelling around domestically and be put on all the live events, it was a really rewarding experience."
Roode was called up to the main roster this summer and joined SmackDown Live in August. The WWE decided to push him as a face despite his success as a heel, and his run so far has been met with mixed reactions from fans and pundits alike. Roode said he knew it would be an adjustment because he'd be performing in front of an audience vastly different from the NXT Universe.
"I knew coming in the door that regardless of what I had done in NXT this is a new ballgame, and to be honest with you, a new audience," Roode said. "The NXT TakeOver crowds are great and everything else, you go to a TakeOver and the crowd is rowdy, but for whatever reason the next night it isn't as rowdy so there are some NXT fans that will follow you around, but majority of the time I will go into a town and nobody will know who Bobby Roode is for the first time, so that is different and I knew that so you really have to go out there and re-establish yourself. It's like starting from scratch again."
Roode said he didn't really consider working the independent circuit when he left Impact Wrestling. He had a desire to perform on the biggest stage possible, and he needed something that would help fuel his passion for the pro-wrestling business. He found it in NXT.
"I think people understood because the guys I worked with at other companies saw the writing on the wall. I have zero regrets in my career, and was treated very well, but I just came to the point in my career that I was part of a company for over 12 years and felt like I did everything that I could possibly do over there," he said. "I was doing well, supporting my family and have zero complaints, but this goes back to the question as I stated a while ago; I'm going to go to work for six days and then go sit for two months and then they'd want me to come back to work seven days, maybe twice in one day and then go sit down for three months, that is not why I got into the business for. I got into the business to be on the road, working live crowds and on television, being home for a couple of days and then going back on the road. That is the type of schedule that I want, and the type of schedule of why I got into this business. Working there I started to lose the passion for the business that I have always loved. I love the business and I had gotten to the point in my career while working for that company that I started to not love it anymore, so that was when I went home and figured out what I wanted to do to see if I still loved it. Fortunately for me I got the opportunity and it's been great."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.