You debuted more than 10 years ago as a member of Special K and now you are considered the face of the company, How do you feel being the ROH franchise man?
“One of the best things about the roster today is that no fighter feels like he’s the face of the company. No one thinks that he is above the rest. I do not consider myself the face of the company, especially now that I am not world champion, that honor belongs to Cody Rhodes. The world champion is often considered the face of the company.
It’s an honor that people think so about me, I never would have imagined it. But yes, I think all fighters represent ROH with what we do over the ring. Unless you’re the champion, I would not put anyone above the rest. ”
This past year you have worked with Silas Young and helped them to grow in the company. When your rivalry ends, who would you like to work with?
“Good question. Who is the world champion. I am a big fan of Ric Flair and he was always in the orbit of the championship; So I always try to imagine myself in the starting scene. Besides the world champion, I would also like to work with the young guys. People who are still learning like Will Ferrara or Cheeseburger. Cheese is a guy that people love every time they leave. If I were in my hands, I would fight with every member of the roster. ”
Your character has evolved a lot in recent years. Your push to the main event started in The House of Truth as heel and now you’re a great babyface loved by people, how would you describe these months of change?
“It was organic. It’s interesting because they applauded me as a bad boy [ heel ]. You have to be very careful about that in the business of professional wrestling; Like heel , you always want to be booed. At first you think you’re doing your job wrong; But in today’s wrestling, people enjoy cheering on bad guys. In some ways, therefore, he was doing a great job.
I really enjoyed those months and I commented with the directive in plan, ‘hey, I would like to try it [to be face ]’. First they said no, but I kept saying it over and over until they let me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Many times, in wrestling, it is difficult to separate you from an old character. I am proud to have been able to. Like my idols, Ric Flair or Male Man Randy Savage, they could work both types of character. The transition from heel to face , of the character I had before that I have now, has flowed naturally. ”
Do you think, like many experts and legends, that it is bad for the business the fact that the fans applaud the heels ?
“Do not. It is something that I love and I think it makes it much more interesting. I love that fans can choose who to cheer. Years ago the fighters told the fans who they had to boo and whom they had to cheer. The best thing is that they can decide for themselves. ”
You fought a couple of times in Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). Your days here were a bit hard because you did not enjoy the same connection with the fans as in the United States, how did you feel working in Japan as world champion without being cheered?
“I expected it because I never fight there [in Japan]. I knew it would be hard. I would love to go on more occasions to prevent this from happening, but without a doubt, it was hard. The fans did not know me. I fought with Naito in a PPV (Pay Per View event). The guy is super over there and I was not even the first choice, he was replacing the injured Michael Elgin. I knew it was going to be difficult. I wish I could go more often to get used to me. ”
How did you feel in that main event with Naito? It was a long fight, 30 minutes, and the audience remained cool during it.
“More than cold, I would say they did not care much (laughs). Naito is very big and people were with him. I dare say that anyone else in my place would have felt the same.
They did not know who he was, he had never fought there. A very complex situation; But even so, it was an honor to be part of a major combat of these magnitudes in an enclosure with so many people. It was a dream come true, even if people passed me. ”
Would you like to return to Japan?
“Without a doubt. As much as I can. Every day, even for another main event where they do not know me (laughs) “.
– You have gained practically everything in ROH, what pending goals do you have in this company?
“At ROH I have never won the championship in pairs. If I won that championship, I would have had all the belts, even the pure championship. ”