Jeff Cobb made an appearance on The Wrestling Inc. Daily where he talked about the current wrestling landscape under the COVID-19 pandemic. Cobb is part of NJPW Strong in the New Japan Cup for the IWGP United States Championship, but he also wrestled in the main event for Warrior Wrestling this past Friday in Chicago.
Wrestling Inc. Daily host Nick Hausman also serves as a commentator for Warrior Wrestling, and he noted how Cobb has seemingly not missed a beat after his extended time off. Cobb's last shows before that were when he wrestled for NJPW for Lion's Break Collision in June and for wXw in March.
"I mean there's not much to do now anyway, so definitely working out has taken up most of my time and then just trying to stay in the best shape as possible, but realistically, it's not the same as being in a ring, Cobb pointed out. "But I mean you do the best that you can with what you got and kind of just run with it, and hopefully, I mean you said it, I didn't really miss a beat. And I didn't miss the beat."
Unlike the Warrior Wrestling event, there were no fans in attendance at NJPW Strong. Cobb talked about working with the situation presented and making the best out of it.
"I mean like mentally it's kind of weird just because a lot of times like if you're hurting, just the adrenaline rush of the fans is gonna get you through it. That will definitely get you through a match," Cobb said. "It's kind of tough sometimes, but you kind of just gotta roll with it, and it's definitely a little rough at times. And it hurts a little bit more because you can't have the fans cheering you and booing telling you what they like and what they don't like, but I mean that's the cards we're dealt with. And we're making the best of that situation."
NJPW remains the only major promotion in the world to have welcomed live audiences back, though with limited capacity. Cobb credited the return of crowds not just in NJPW but also in other Japanese promotions to the normalcy of mask wearing in many Asian countries including Japan. Cobb hopes that many in the United States follow that lead so that promotions can welcome live audiences back as well.
"I'm happy for the fact that I believe it's a third of whatever building they're running's capacity, and I definitely attribute it to just the Japanese culture. They've been wearing masks even before this thing broke out," Cobb noted. "So I think that's pretty cool, and I kind of wish everybody would kind of just follow that suit so we can kind of go back to a little normalcy, but yeah, it'll eventually go away. And we'll go back to normal, but I'm super excited at what New Japan's doing. And I'm happy for them.
"I think even other companies in Japan are doing the same thing where they're having, obviously not full capacity, but fans are coming back to. They're taking a step in the right direction, and hopefully, everybody else can follow suit because I don't mind the time off, but at the same time, I kind of miss throwing people."
AEW was one of the first promotions to institute a COVID-19 protocol in which talents must take a COVID-19 test before entering. WWE has since required talent to undergo a COVID-19 test, and Acey Romero revealed that while Impact does implement COVID-19 testing, social distancing and temperature checks are being done at Impact tapings. Cobb revealed on The Wrestling Inc. Daily that NJPW does have similar protocols with talent getting a COVID-19 test the week of the NJPW Strong tapings.
"It was definitely safe," Cobb stated. "They had protocols, which they followed, and every took temperatures. Everybody got their COVID test the week of, and we social distanced from each other. Everybody pretty much wore masks if they weren't wrestling. Everybody just followed the rules that they placed out so we can have these shows. I was very impressed with what they had to do to put this show on."
Jeff Cobb can be seen Friday nights as part of NJPW Strong via NJPWWorld.com. You can follow him on Twitter @RealJeffCobb. Cobb's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.