IN THE ROOM: Kevin Kelly on G1 Climax Tournament, on losing their US TV deal with AXS, difference in style vs WWE, and more

Posted on 10/17/120 by VOC Nation

Kevin Kelly on G1 Climax Tournament, on losing their US TV
deal with AXS, difference in style vs WWE, and more

Former WWE, Ring of Honor, and current New Japan announcer
Kevin Kelly was a guest on VOC Nation’s In the Room podcast.
He talked about the difference in styles between New Japan
and WWE, the difference in developmental between dojo and
NXT, the Austin/Pillman angle, and more. Here are some

On the G1 Climax Tournament this year: “This year it’s a
little different… There seems to be a lot more strategy.
There seems to be a lot more targeting of a body part.
Beginning the match with a game plan in mind, and kind of
laying the foundation along the way… There’s been a lot less
risk taking in this tournament, so the guys are fresher
toward the end. Plus, in an effort to keep down headcount…
only the wrestlers that are wrestling on the block are on
that card… Instead of having to get dressed and suited up
and compete 19 times over 30 days, you now cut that number
down to 10. So the athletes are a lot fresher down the
stretch. It’s been different, the shows are shorter, it’s
an easy watch.”

On losing the US TV deal with AXS: “At the tail end of last
year when AXS was bought by Anthem, and the TV deal came to
an end, we knew that was going to happen once they had
purchased it. They own Impact, so there’s no way they’re
going to have a competing brand on. (So we wondered) will
we have television in the United States. And everything of
course immediately shut down (due to COVID-19) and I would
imagine that any conversation that were being had were
probably put on hold as well, because there’s not one
business that hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19, and the
television business certainly has been impacted. So that
changes everything… (After a few months of strategizing, we)
put together a television show that we could record here in
the States, with wrestlers of New Japan that were basically
sitting at home, but (we would) bring them in, bring
everyone to a closed set, strict testing…and that became the
New Japan Strong Show which is airing on New Japan World.”

On the New Japan Strong TV Show: “It’s a mix of US based
New Japan wrestlers, a lot of Bullet Club, and a lot of
independent guys that are mainly on the west coast that may
have been seen on Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and
various independent promotions…We were able to put together
a pretty deep roster, plus the LA dojo is out there so we
were able to use some of those guys.”

On the different between WWE and New Japan Developmental:
“There’s a lack of reliance on wrestling when you get up to
Raw and Smackdown because there’s less emphasis on it (than
there is in NXT or the Performance Center). It works in the
dojo system because the same things that you do in the dojo
system, you can still do when you get up to the main roster…
We (New Japan) don’t ignore our history. Tetsu Inada
wrestled Kazuchika Okada when they were both young lions,
and that was part of the highlight package when they
wrestled in the ultimate main event in the second night of
Wrestle Kingdom for the first ever double championship…. So
that’s really all you need to know about the differences
between the two companies.”

On New Japan vs WWE Interviews and Promos: “The New Japan
stars are never told what to say. There’s not a script
here. After you get done with your match, you go stand in
front of the backdrop and you say whatever is on your mind,
and you let the chips fall where they may… the post-match
comments are a must watch for fans during the G1… It’s like
truth serum; they’re not thinking they’re just reacting.”

On business during the Attitude Era: “It was because it was
so fun, that everybody was encouraged to do their best, and
everybody would do their best. Not everything would work,
but everything was available and everything was on the
table. And everybody was making money, from the opening
match guy all the way to the main eventers. Guys made money
like they had never made before. That certainly can cure a
lot of ills. When guys are making money, you’re not going
to hear people (complaining). Now as they start to take
more things away - - more revenue streams - - and guys are
just getting paid their down side and there’s no more PPV
bonuses…work isn’t as fun and they don’t enjoy it as much.”

On the Pillman and Austin gun angle: “USA wasn’t happy.
Internationally nobody was happy. Poor Tommy Carlucci had
to go back and re-edit Raw every week so it could play,
because there’s different rules for content depending on
what time of day the show would air. I don’t know how he
was able to get five minutes of content for some of those

In the Room airs live every Tuesday night at 900pm ET on VOC
Nation, with the podcast dropping after the live show.

VOC Nation provides daily, interactive talk radio, geared
toward the professional wrestling community.
Other notable show hosts include former WWE/TNA star Shelly
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Maestro (WCW Retro – Thursdays), former TNA Impact talent
Wes Brisco (Brisco and Big Ace), Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s
Brady Hicks, and more!

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