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NJPW’s Rocky Romero Explains How Merchandise Can Build A Greater Connection With Wrestling Fans

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.

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Rocky Romero Just Dropped An Album, And It’s Crazy

04.06.16
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If you’re familiar with New Japan Pro Wrestling, then Rocky Romero is already someone you’re well acquainted with. For those of you not in the know, he’s a longtime tag team specialist and the occasional face under the mask of Black Tiger, a legacy gimmick once held by none other than Eddie Guerrero. And as long as we’re comparing him to other wrestlers, he’s got something in common with John Cena, Shawn Michaels, and Tyler Breeze… he performs his own theme song.

Not only is he the vocalist on “RPG Vice Theme,” but he produced the track himself. And now, Romero is branching out into the hip-hop world even further. Yesterday, Romero released Six Trees Vice, a ten-track album available on his Bandcamp page. Wondering about the title? Don’t worry, he’s got you covered.

Roppongi Vice brings a strange brand of music with this collection of songs dubbed “Six Trees Vice.” Confused? You should be… Roppongi in Japanese literally translates to “Six Trees.” Get it now?

Look at that, you just learned some Japanese! Don’t ever let me catch you saying that wrestling never did anything for you. As the description implies, both Romero and his tag team partner Trent Baretta are featured on the album. It’s all very straightforward, synth-heavy hip-hop, which is okay when you consider that Rocky is probably busy devoting most of his time to the pursuit of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles. Tracks include “K.O.S.S.” (an obvious shout-out to Shinsuke Nakamura), “Dustin’s Song” (a mournful salute to Chuck Taylor), and a remix of “RPG Vice Theme” featuring verses from MVP and Kenny King.

Six Trees Vice is available now on Romero’s official Bandcamp for a minimum of six dollars, but you have the option of pitching in more or buying tracks individually. If you were around for my first posts on With Spandex and you checked out Ultramantis Black’s album, you should know how the whole Wrestlers On Bandcamp thing works.