JR Kratos on his contract status with NJPW, in talks to do a bare knuckle fight, the video he produced in hopes of getting a shot at AEW’s TNT Title, his NWA Tag Team Title run with Aron Stevens, his excitement regarding NJPW Strong Independence Day, feels Rocky Romero doesn’t get enough credit


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

“Andrew Thompson Interviews” with guest JR Kratos
Host: Andrew Thompson
Full interview available at YouTube.com and PostWrestling.com

Kratos reflects on NWA World Tag Title reign with Aron Stevens, says Stevens changed his career and called him one of the greatest minds in pro wrestling: I feel at the time, yes (myself and Aron Stevens got the most out of our NWA Tag Team Title reign). I think we did and then for me personally, just to do it every time I can, to give kudos to Aron. How much that man has literally changed my career. The knowledge he has kicked down to me and being able to have conversations with him and then the chance I had to actually work with him and to see it happen in the ring and to see it happen with the crowd and actually apply it in the ring and watch it work, it’s been career-changing for me so, as a talent and me, I think I got the most of it. Now, I get to hang out with him all the time so it’s like, you know, that’s great but, yeah, it was cool. It was weird how it happened and it fell on my lap and then we just had a great, great run. We did some cool, cool storylines and stuff like that but again, Aron, he’s one of the greatest minds in professional wrestling hands down so I had the great opportunity to be alongside him so it was cool.”

Kratos reveals he’s in talks to do a bare-knuckle fight: “What’s funny man, you’re gonna be the first to hear it on your podcast. I’m in talks right now, maybe to do a bare-knuckle fight. So we’ll see but MMA, I mean, yeah, I’ve thought about it. I go to all the fights out here (in California) when I can. I got a bunch of friends that do it and I love it man but I don’t know, it’s just something about bare knuckle… So I’ve been talking to the guy that runs (a bare knuckle fighting promotion). I don’t know man. We’ll see. If the stars align, I would love to do it so, I think it’s gonna happen in the near future for me. I wanna do it so it’s just a matter of time.”

On his contract status with NJPW: “It’s been talked about (a deal with NJPW) but, it’s just been so much going on with so many companies right now that I’m just fortunate enough to just work with everyone but I’m in a position to be able to put everybody as a priority. So for me, it’s no contract but, it’s definitely, they have to be a priority. I guess that’s the easiest way to put it and I guess I’ve scheduled my calendar enough to make everyone a priority so it’s been cool for me.”

Kratos expresses how excited he is for NJPW Strong Independence Day, feels Rocky Romero does not get the credit he deserves for what he’s done with NJPW Strong: “We’re (NJPW Strong) going to Japan here in a couple weeks. So that’s gonna be so dope. I was so excited when we got the news and to be able to go because, just to be honest, I’m just very humble because Japan fans, they’ve been hitting me up since Strong started. ‘We can’t wait for you to come. We can’t wait for you to come’ so to know that there’s fans out there waiting for myself and Team Filthy to go and just do our thing, that they were able to see and Rocky (Romero) gave us a platform to do that on and now to be able to take it to Japan, bro, that’s a dream come true for me and it’s gonna be cool. I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait. It’s gonna be dope.

“It’s amazing. It’s what we talked about earlier. To be able to take it all in and sit back and be like, you kind of remember little moments in your career like pillars. I debuted in Korakuen Hall for All Japan and then now to go back for the promotion, you know what I mean? The biggest promotion in Japan and to wrestle in Japan at Korakuen Hall with the history there and what’s another big thing for me is just, again, going back to the COVID, to the pandemic, all of us, Rocky (Romero) pretty much honestly taking a chance on us and building this product and we’re able to build it and see it catch momentum and then now, be able to take it to the fans in Japan… it’s like, we’re all gonna be able to do it.

“That’s gonna be cool to be coming in with my boys, (Tom) Lawlor and the West Coast Wrecking Crew and to be able to walk into Korakuen Hall and see — we were talking about this when we were in L.A. in front of nobody and we’re like, ‘Dude, imagine if this shit takes off bro. We get to go to New Japan…’ One hundred percent, One hundred percent (it means something extra to know I was part of Strong at the beginning) and I know Rocky, it’s not that he don’t like it, I don’t think that man gets enough credit. For what he does and getting me all emotional on this podcast and for him to take a chance on guys that have really just loved this business and busted their ass and that are great talents.”

He looks back on putting out a video in 2020 in hopes of being selected for Cody Rhodes’ AEW TNT Title open challenge: One hundred percent (the feedback I got on my TNT Title open challenge video meant a lot) … At the time, he (person who shot the video) was just a little youngster. His name is Nick. You can find him on my Instagram. He’s the one that did all that videography and the media and all that for him and I just liked his vibe, he was a cool dude and I saw his work and I was like, ‘Hey man, I got this idea.’ I kind of wrote this down. I said, ‘You’re gonna have to roll with me to different places and just kind of hang with me for a couple of days and I wanna put this all together because I have an idea and I want this opportunity,’ obviously with the TNT Openweight Championship on AEW but, that didn’t happen, unfortunately but, the feedback that I got and the opportunities that I got from that was huge.

“It was definitely worthwhile doing it. Not getting the outcome that I wanted but the outcomes that came out of that were really, really cool and again, to, like you said, just to get the feedback from my peers and say, ‘Man, if this doesn’t happen bro, then wow. That was really well thought of, really put together.’ It was cool because a lot of people were like, ‘I don’t see how it’s not gonna happen. That was dope. You have to get the opportunity’ and unfortunately, it didn’t happen but, it was cool. I’m glad we did it and we got some other stuff in the works.”


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