Cody Rhodes did a media conference call last Tuesday to promote his match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Kazuchika Okada at Saturday's New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Special live from Long Beach, California (results here). WrestlingINC.com owner Raj Giri was on the call and asked Cody to follow-up on his comment that pro wrestling is in the middle of a boom and what are the next steps he believes NJPW should take after this weekend's shows to further expand in the US.
"I think they need to take a long hard look at 'A markets' here in the United States," said Rhodes. "You know they're near the Los Angeles area here with Long Beach, as a wrestling hotbed. I think they obviously need to look at New York, at Chicago, at Miami, you know, they need to look at all the 'A markets' and determine where they'd like to go next."
Cody believes New Japan is committed to expanding into the US and the G1 special shows aren't just some experiment that will go down as a 'cool thing' in history.
"We don't want this just be another kind of mark in history, where it's like, 'remember when they came and did that one show in the US and it was really great' and just something that's talked about as something they did," Rhodes said.
"I don't think that's their plan, I don't think this is an experiment," he continued. "I think if it was they've already been proven right with the fact that the show sold out in three minutes."
Rhodes then reiterated that he believes NJPW should focus on the top markets in the United States and then what he hopes for the promotion going forward.
"I think they need to start looking at 'A markets' and shortly, you know, shortly after the G1 Special in the USA, I hope you some announcements of you know, 'coming here' and 'coming here,' youth have the ability to put the bodies in the building," said Rhodes.
"I hope this is the beginning of seeing a lot more shows in the United States. You know, they'll have a championship now that's represented as far as it's considered the United States Championship," Rhodes explained, while speaking of the new IWGP US Heavyweight Championship that NJPW will debut this weekend. "So that means you got to play to the United States. Whether that champion's from the United States or not, doesn't matter."
Last year, when Cody Rhodes left WWE he made a list of people that were not in the company that he would like to face once the non-compete agreement was up in his WWE contract. Raj asked Cody if there has been anyone he's worked with that wasn't on his list that surprised him.
"Yeah, I mean, so many people," said Rhodes. "And I don't want to single anyone out because I feel like I always single out the same guy and maybe because he's the one who impressed me the most. But Pentagon, Penta, for sure. I've had a couple of interactions with him and to me, I would pay money to see that guy. I would buy that mask. He's one for sure that should have been on that list and there's a lot of guys. There's a lot of guys — if Jerry Lawler, which I see him still out there wrestling now and again — I'd love to stand across the ring from Jerry Lawler."
Cody revealed that Kenny Omega was upset about being left off the list but attributed that to fate as they are the two carrying to Bullet Club on the United States.
"Maybe it was fate that Kenny wasn't on, wasn't on the list, if that makes any sense," Rhodes explained. "Because we were fated to do this Bullet Club thing together and represent it in America and Japan. But that's one that I don't know he was pissed he wasn't on it. I know some guys were pissed they weren't on it and I had to tell them flat out, 'Hey I couldn't make a three-page list and post it. We're looking for a simple picture on social media.' But yeah, Kenny, for sure."
Check out our NJPW G1 Special Results: (7/1): Okada Vs. Cody, Day 1 Of US Championship Tournament, Title Change. We'll have coverage of night two tonight right here at WrestlingINC.com.