The Shoot: Robbie E on the challenges of wrestling in Japan with a young family at home

The Shoot is a first-person point of view piece written and shared directly from the people inside the business of professional wrestling. In this week’s edition, Impact Wrestling’s Robbie E details his current trip to Japan with Pro Wrestling Noah through Impact Wrestling’s talent exchange program.

It’s not easy leaving Jersey.

New Jersey is home for a lot of reasons. My home changed drastically in 2016–November 3, 2016 to be exact–when my wife Tara brought twin boys into our world.

Cash and Carter were such a surprise to my wife and I. We didn’t realize that we were having two until a few months into her pregnancy, but go big or go home. Now I can’t even imagine having only one best friend as opposed to two. I also have a stepson, Caleb, who is 16, and a five-pound diva Chihuahua named Prancer, so we have a full house. The hardest part of every day is leaving home, so a trip to Japan only magnifies that pain. I am so sad when I leave home; my babies are the best and I don’t want to miss anything.

I travel all the time for wrestling, so I’m used to life on the road, but it is a lot harder to leave now. I can deal with a few days, but long overseas trips like Japan are so hard. FaceTime helps, but there ain’t nothing like the real thing.

Now I’m in Japan, and I love the wrestling scene and culture of this country. I am representing Impact Wrestling and wrestling all over for Pro Wrestling Noah in their Global Tag League. Our first show was April 22 and the last show is May 5, points are awarded for each tag match that you win, and the finals are held at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

The teams in the tournament are pretty amazing. There are Japanese greats, like Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya, as well as Naomichi Marufuji and Maybach Taniguchi. Scott Hall’s son, Cody Hall, is also teaming with Randy Reign.

This is my first time competing for Noah, and I’m super stoked about it. I am very grateful for the opportunity from Impact Wrestling to go to Japan in our talent exchange. Wrestling for Noah is huge, but repping Impact makes it even bigger. I love traveling and getting to experience new styles and competitors.

I started by teaming with Bram, who is great. We ate together, worked out together, and we gelled so well outside of the ring that it really helped us have chemistry inside the ring. I love all kinds of wrestling, but it is no secret that I’ve had my share of tag team partners–Rob Terry, Jessie Godderz in the BroMans, and Grado–and my share of success as a two-time TNA tag team champion. I’ve been X Division champ and TV champion, so I’ve had some success as a singles wrestler, but I’ve really enjoying what Bram and I have done together. Noah called us the New BroMans, but we consider ourselves Beauty and the Beast. If we are given the opportunity to team in Impact, Beauty and the Beast will take over the tag division.

I changed partners in the middle of the tournament from Bram to Kazma Sakamoto. Changing up the tag team was a pretty crazy situation. Without getting too deep into it, people make mistakes. Life happens and everyone is moving forward in a positive manner. I love Bram and think we have a great future together, but my new partner is Sakamoto and he’s awesome. We are finishing the tour on a very strong note with a Nagoya, Osaka and two huge Korakuen Hall shows in Tokyo.

You would think it’s super hard to communicate with wrestlers who speak a different language, but no matter who you are and where you are from, the moves and movements are the same. Wrestling is a universal language, so it always works out. I’m looking forward to being in the ring with everyone, but, of course, I really want to test myself against Marufuji!

The wrestling is the easy part in Japan. There are some pretty serious differences in the culture.

The streets are so clean, literally no trash around, but the two biggest culture shocks are when we go to the gym. We have to bring a different pair of shoes and then shoes are not allowed in the locker room.

The best part of wrestling is that you are always learning. There are many personal goals I would like to accomplish during this trip, and that includes picking up some cool things – some new moves, a little psychology, and a new respect for the culture–but also to make an impression where we are remembered. So far, the fans here are really responding.

The highlight of this trip is the entire experience. Getting to compete for Pro Wrestling Noah and repping Impact Wrestling has been amazing. The fans love this “Broman” right here and it’s a pleasure to bring my style to Japan.

Pride has always resonated through my work, but I’m even more serious about my craft now that I am feeding my family. Some people play pro wrestler. I am a pro wrestler.

This is my job. I love my job. I also love money and will hustle and work hard to support my family.

See you back in Jersey.

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