On episode 337 of The Art Of Wrestling, independent professional wrestler and pro wrestling podcast impresario Colt Cabana spoke with Juice Robinson, formerly known as NXT’s CJ Parker. Among other things, Robinson talked about his stint in WWE’s developmental system, deciding to leave WWE, and his future plans.
Robinson shared that he enjoyed being in WWE’s developmental system for the first couple of years, as he liked training under Dr. Tom Prichard and working in the ring with the likes Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Cesaro. When ‘The Doctor of Desire’ was removed as head trainer, things changed for Robinson and he stopped enjoying his work.
“It was great. Two years with Dr. Tom Prichard. I felt good. I was working more than I ever have. I was learning. It was a great place for the first few years. It was a lot of fun and I was getting better and I was learning how to work. I was learning how to work there.”
Robinson continued, “the first few years, no, I’m like, ‘this is going good!’ I’m 22, 23 [years old]. I’m learning how to work. I’m wrestling all these guys. Colby [Lopez] was down there, Ambrose. Sorry, Seth, Ambrose, a lot of the guys were there. Cesaro was eventually there. The boys were awesome. It was really good. Everything was going the right way, and then, we were doing TVs in this itty-bitty thing in FCW with one camera and it was nothing and it was easy. And I felt like I was getting better. And then, eventually, Dr. Tom out, new guy in. And then, it kind of totally all changed.”
The master of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Clutch recalled that talent entering the system such as Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Finn Bálor, and Neville leapfrogged him, though Robinson acknowledged that it was justified.
“Eventually, that guy became what he was, a guy just to come out and put over people and I felt like, ‘oh man.’ And all these guys were coming in, right? Sami Zayn came in. Kevin Owens came in. Prince Devitt came in. All these guys, Pac. And they instantly went above me, which they should’ve, 100%, but they had things that I was never going to learn in the PC. Like, they had outside experience. They were great wrestlers for 10 years on the outside.”
According to Robinson, he never had nostalgia for the indies while he was in NXT because he was not on the indie scene very long before signing with WWE. Robinson went on to say that he never had a good match before he went to NXT, given how early on in his professional wrestling journey he signed with WWE.
“[Chris] Hero would always tell me that. He’d be like, ‘man, you don’t even really know what it’s like to just kind of,’ yeah, [be a goofball] and still work hard and put on a good match and I didn’t. I never had a really good match before I went. I went there way too young.”
On the subject of deciding to leave WWE, Robinson said he took personally the fact that he was not on the first NXT TakeOver special even though he was used on NXT TV regularly. Robinson told head coach Matt Bloom of his decision to walk away from WWE.
“I knew I was done right before whatever the WrestleMania was in San Francisco [California] San Jose [California]. I knew, ‘okay, I’ve got to go now’. I figured I’d hang around and get fired. They did the first NXT special and, in, like, a big arena and I wasn’t on it and I took it personally because I was on all the f–king TVs putting people over. You’d think I’d come out. It’d be fine if I came out and put somebody over, but I wasn’t on it and I was so angry and I made up my mind right there, ‘yup, I’m done. I’m out. I’m going to figure it out.’ Then I told, I pulled [Giant] Bernard, Baldo, aside and I told him that.”
In Robinson’s view, New Japan Pro-Wrestling is the best professional wrestling promotion in the world and he would like to work for NJPW forever. Robinson averred that New Japan understands the importance of a slow build.
“Since I started with New Japan, I’ve always just felt like it’s how it should be in wrestling. Like, you’re working hard, you’re doing better, you are, and they’re seeing it and you’re moving up slowly, not fast. It’s about slow. It’s not like, ‘okay, here he is.’ ‘Alright, put him on TV! Oh, he didn’t get over in two weeks? No? Now, you’re a jobber.’ ‘No way!’ They get it there. it’s just a slow burn, a slow climb. It’s the best wrestling in the world. I love it.” Robinson added, “I want to work there forever. It’s funny, sometimes, my friends will be like, ‘when are you coming back?’ and I’m always like, ‘I don’t know how to answer that because if I’m just going to answer you, I’m not, but you never know.'”
Check out the show here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Art Of Wrestling with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Art Of Wrestling