Recently on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness, professional wrestling greats Edge and Christian welcomed NXT's Bobby Fish to the show. Among many other things, Fish talked about getting his start in Japan, his ROH run, how KENTA's stiff style may have hindered the former Hideo Itami's WWE run, and always having more to learn in professional wrestling.
According to Fish, he really got his feet wet in his professional wrestling odyssey working in Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH. The former Jerk Jackson divulged that his first tour of Japan was eye-opening.
"Yeah, I mean, to be honest, like, it was a complete mind-eff, for lack of a better term," Fish said. "So I remember being there on my first tour and Low Ki was there. I get to the hotel and they were going to go eat somewhere and I was like, 'okay, let me bring my bags in.' He's like, 'no, you can just leave them there.' We're out in the street basically. We're by the hotel, but we're outside. He's like, 'no, just leave them there. Nobody's going to touch them.' And obviously, being a kid from the [United] States, you don't trust that, but I did. I left them there and we go eat. I come back and sure as s--t they're right there. The little things like that about Japan, there's no handbook to clue you into these things, but it's an amazing place."
Fish claimed that he would get beaten up pretty badly working for NOAH. The former NXT Tag Team Champion thought that all professional wrestling was that stiff and this negatively influenced his work style early on.
"If I look back to the time at NOAH, man, we got beat up pretty good," Fish remembered. "Not in a hazing sort of way or anything, but, like, as the foreigners, we were there to make them, put the Japanese guys over and whatever. Especially a young guy, a green guy, who doesn't really know his ass from his elbow, yeah, they really put it to us. So it was tons of head drops and it was pretty stiff and at the time, I just thought, 'well, this is how you do it.' So I would think, at that point in my career, I came out of that kind of as a stiffy wonder and it kind of took me a bit after that to kind of wash that off myself because I thought, 'well, that's how you do it.' So I think I was gaining some understanding, but at the same time I was also gaining some knowledge that was incorrect."
On the subject of starting with Ring Of Honor, Fish said his time with ROH was "choppy".
"My history with Ring Of Honor is a little bit choppy because when Tony [DeVito] trained me, he was working for Ring Of Honor," Fish recalled. "ECW had just closed. Tony had then been wrestling for Ring Of Honor, so, as one of his kids, students, or whatever you want to call it, we would go, set up the chairs and 'pay the dues'. So I definitely did a few Ring Of Honor spots over the years here and there, but nothing ever stuck. And you couldn't have told me this at the time, but I certainly wasn't ready for a place like Ring Of Honor at the time, but I sure as hell thought I was."
Fish suggested that KENTA's injuries during his WWE run were the culmination of working stiff over the years in Japan.
"I think everybody was probably going a bit too hard. I think everybody should have laid off the coffee a bit at NOAH and Ring Of Honor at the time because we were really putting it to each other." Fish continued, "I hate to say it because I worked with KENTA a lot over there before he came here and to see the unfortunate circumstances of some of the injuries that he had here, I don't know. I've got to think that maybe some of that is left over from the years on top there where they were going out and working half-hour matches where it was three, four, [or] five head drops and kicks to the face. And stuff looked real because the s--t was real."
Fish divulged that he did not understand what being a worker really meant till 10 years into the professional wrestling business.
"Just being able to work and knowing what working actually is because I'm sure, I'm pretty sure, for the first 10 years that I called myself a worker, I didn't actually know what a worker was." Fish admitted, "I thought I did, but I don't think I was working much."
Fish indicated that he now sits in class with WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels at the WWE Performance Center three or four times per week and he has realized that there is always more to learn about the professional wrestling genre.
"Yeah, I think as you go along you start to understand there are layers to it," Fish explained. "I find myself now three or four times a week sitting in class with friggin' Shawn Michaels. And some of the ways he sees the [professional wrestling] business, and things that stick out to him, and just the little details and stuff like that, you just realize you couldn't possibly understand it all at once even if you tried. It's just not possible."
A special thanks to ROH Wrestling for the video above. Check out the podcast here or via the embedded player below. If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness