When it comes to pro wrestling, most people don’t think twice about showing support for their favourite performers in the easiest way possible: merchandise. Forking over a twenty in exchange for a quick photo and a t-shirt is a time-tested ritual of any independent show, and where wrestlers build their reputation outside of the ring. A bad interaction can irreparably taint a fan’s perspective, but a connection built over those familiar folding tables can last for the rest of a wrestler’s career. That kind of experience gets lost without that venue for interaction, inspiring some wrestlers to take matters — and their merchandise — into their own hands.
New Japan’s Rocky Romero is one such wrestler who is hoping to recreate as much of that experience as possible for long-distance fans. We talked to Romero about his new website, embracing the independent spirit, and, of course, how the Young Bucks are setting yet another industry standard.
“I think the Bucks have done really a good job with being personable with their fans. Every item is personalized,” he explains. “I like that. For me it’s still do it yourself. I think that’s cool. That’s like being a hip hop artist, punk, or whatever. That’s still the cool part. The one on one interaction. When you’re really getting your start in wrestling you have to go through that whole process. I enjoy that now.”
While Romero has always loved the DIY nature of wrestling, his time in Japan gave him a unique perspective, and ultimately the inspiration to get back to his roots.