ROH World Champion Jay Lethal spoke with Sports Illustrated about how his latest title run compares to his first, the Bullet Club, and playing Black Machismo at "All In." Here are some of the highlights:
If he'd ever team up with the Bullet Club:
"If I have my way, no. But who knows what different opportunities will present themselves, but if I have my way, I would say no. I love the fact that there is always that person to rival and go against them. I love that stand, and I want to be the one standing against them. Every time you're going against those guys, whether it's the Bucks or Cody or any of them, it's always something special. If I have my way, I want to go against them."
ROH's roster revolving and how this title run differs from his first run:
"The same fears from my first title run are still there in my mind now. Even though we've lost some pieces of our puzzle, like Ring of Honor always does because it's a great roster, and losing Roderick Strong was like losing a pivotal piece of the Ring of Honor puzzle, we have moved on and still strive to have the greatest roster. As the champion, I have the stress of following all of them, and that stress makes me a better wrestler.
"It is a different character, and only my name is the same in this run. I had a different persona and a group following me around, and I'm doing everything I can to make this run as good and as interesting as the run before. It's shaping up to be a good trip, especially when you put me in the ring with a guy like Jonathan Gresham, who is one of the best technically-sound wrestlers I've ever seen, and getting the chance to wrestle the best high-flyer—Will Ospreay—in all of wrestling today."
Portraying Black Machismo at "All In":
"There was a funny thing about the 'All In' show and me doing the Machismo character. When you have a show that is loaded with the best talent from around the world, you know every match is potentially going to be the greatest match ever. Every wrestler is going to go out in front of a sold-out Sears Centre and be the greatest match you've ever seen.
"I decided to bring something to the table that only I can bring and no one else can. I could go out there and have a great match, but hell, so could Kenny Omega, who is possibly the greatest wrestler in the world. So I tried hard to think of something only I could bring, and it was definitely the machismo. Flip was amazing. And when the 'Pomp and Circumstance' music hit, I knew I made the right choice."
Lethal also discussed the history of the ROH World Championship. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.