Jake Roberts has revealed that he never enjoyed wrestling in front of Japanese audiences.
Between them, Jake Roberts and Diamond Dallas Page have decades of experience in the wrestling business. While both men are now retired, they continue to be involved in the industry, with Roberts appearing in AEW and DDP hosting his own podcast and regularly appearing in the wrestling media.
During their time in the ring, the WWE Hall of Famer’s wrestled all over the world, and in front of a number of very different audiences.
Speaking on a recent episode of their DDP Snake Pit podcast, the pair reflected on their very different experiences of wrestling in Japan.
During the conversation, Roberts explained that he was never a fan of performing in the country as audiences tended to be much more reserved. This meant that matches were often greeted with polite applause, rather than raucous cheers as they would be in the United States.
“Yeah, they are different,” Roberts said. “I don’t enjoy the Japanese audiences at all, man. They’re very reserved. You go out and bust your ass, you want some type of reaction out of these people. But they’re very reserved and very inside. And you might get (clap noise) and that’s it. ‘Now wait a f*cking minute, come on! Is that it?’ I believe I was wrestling Boss Man (when that happened), I think.”
However, DDP said that by the time that he wrestled in Japan as part of a WWE tour in 2002, the culture appeared to have shifted.
“What’s interesting about that is it just shows you what American culture and wrestling, how it changes the way people are,” DDP said. “We were there in 2002, WWE, and I was on that card. And Shane McMahon, he was the one who was coordinating everything of that trip. And I’d seen all the quiet clapping and ‘oooh’ and no big pops.
“Well now we’re there, and I’m hearing what sounds like, kind of like what our crowds would be. And we went out there and I said, ‘hey, on the way out there, Shane, let me do my thing. Let me go out there, grab the mic, and let’s see what the people do.’ And he goes, ‘sure, go for it.’ I went out there and they hit all of the catchphrases, ‘it’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing.’ I was like, ‘wow. They know those words.’
“You’d think they don’t speak any English. They could speak it. It’s like learning a song. And really, it’s changed a lot over the years. That was still 20 years ago. Today, and I look at the way some of their guys work today, they’re still stiff as hell. But those guys, they tell stories too, their stories.”
Japanese wrestling has been back in the news in recent days with the announcement that AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling will be joining forces for a super-show in June. It has been confirmed that the show will be called “Forbidden Door” and held in the United Center in Chicago.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.