Thursday, August 27, 2015

CJ Parker Is Not Retiring, but Instead Going to NJPW

Parker is headed to NJPW to become Juice Robinson
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Earlier this month, CJ Parker tweeted out that his last match was going to be on August 29 in Connecticut against Ethan Carter III. I construed it as a retirement announcement, obviously, but apparently, he was being very literal about it being "CJP's" final match. As it turns out, New Japan Pro Wrestling has signed the former NXT superstar, and he will be competing in the world's second largest wrestling promotion starting on September 4 under the name "Juice Robinson," which is a name he's used in some other assorted independent promotions.

The news is better than another early wrestling retirement, especially since Robinson still has a lot left in the tank. He was just starting to reach his potential in NXT when he was let go, and then his tour of the indies showed he had more worth than what he was allowed to show in WWE's premium brand/developmental territory. Getting to go to New Japan should be a boon for all parties involved. I doubt he'll start right away against the AJ Styleses and Kazuchika Okadas of the world, but the promotion's midcard could always use the boost.

In other news blurring the lines between NXT and NJPW, it appears that the winds of change are starting to blow across the Pacific Ocean. NJPW currently has a partnership with Ring of Honor, which currently is in WWE's crosshairs for daring to try and carve out a niche larger than "biggest swinging dick on the indies." When Jushin "Thunder" Liger was announced for Takeover: Brooklyn, the general immediate reaction was that WWE was coming for ROH's most prestigious exclusive macguffin.

However, emphasis was placed on Liger's contractual status with NJPW that allowed him to take bookings independent of the company and that this was only a one-time thing to pop a crowd. Well, apparently, that explanation wasn't exactly true. Dave Meltzer reported in this week's Wrestling Observer newsletter that Liger will appear again for WWE in the future, and that he's on the "Rhyno" contract. Once you add that in with co-head booker Gedo and company president Naoki Sugabayashi blowing off Field of Honor for Takeover, and that partnership between the King of Sport and ROH seems more tenuous than ever. It has Meltzer convinced that a reckoning is coming soon:
If you believe the rumblings, the pincers are closing in around ROH, and WWE is coming after everything it has to win a war that right now feels more like the United States' invasion of Grenada than any fair conflict in history. Yes, Sinclair Broadcasting Group has assets that make WWE's look like a piggybank full of quarters, but if it's not using that money to put ROH on a level playing field with WWE, then what good is it? For as "hot" as wrestling is right now, the future is even more uncertain than it was in 1999. Hopefully things turn out better than they ended up, because more places for guys to work is a good thing, regardless of political posturing and the like.