Rocky Romero

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Rocky Romero
Rocky Romero 2015.JPG
Romero in September 2015
Birth name John R. Rivera
Born (1982-10-28) October 28, 1982 (age 34)[1]
Havana, Cuba[1]
Residence Los Angeles, California, United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) El Mono Negro
Rocky Romero
Black Tiger (IV)
Grey Shadow
Mr. Azucar
Tornado Azteca
Azteko
Dr. Pepper Man
Billed height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[1]
Billed weight 173 lb (78 kg)[1]
Billed from Havana, Cuba
Trained by Kevin Quinn
Jesse Hernandez
Bill Anderson
Antonio Inoki
Shinya Makabe
Negro Casas
Debut September 13, 1997

John R. Rivera (born October 28, 1982)[1] is a Cuban professional wrestler better known by his ring name Rocky Romero[2] and as the fourth incarnation of Black Tiger. Romero is a well known tag team wrestler. He was member of tag teams like The Havana Pitbulls/Los Cubanitos, No Remorse Corps, Forever Hooligans, and Roppongi Vice. As a singles wrestler, Romero won three times the CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship, one time the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and one time the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. Also, he is a former three-time ROH World Tag Team Champion and a record-tying six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. Romero's wrestling style incorporates stiff shoot-style kicks and multiple armlock variations.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Rivera made his wrestling debut in 1997, using the ring name Rocky Romero. He was trained at NJPW Dojo in Los Angeles. His career has taken him through promotions in the Southern California region to Mexico, where he competed successfully for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (the world's oldest wrestling promotion) and in Japan where he has worked most notably in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he was chosen to become the fourth incarnation of Black Tiger, the villainous gaijin opponent of Tiger Mask (in this case Tiger Mask IV). On October 8, 2005, Romero, as Black Tiger, defeated Tiger Mask for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. After a four-month reign, Tiger Mask regained the title from his nemesis.

Mexico (2003–2010)[edit]

In late 2003, Romero began working for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. On September 12, Romero became CMLL's first-ever World Super Lightweight Champion after defeating Volador Jr. in a tournament final.[3] Romero has since won the title two more times and held the title for 1,168 days during his third and final regain.[3][4][5] In early 2008, Romero began competing as "Grey Shadow", a masked gimmick, without CMLL opening acknowledging that it was Romero under the mask.[6] On October 5, 2008, Romero jumped from CMLL to rival promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) while still holding the CMLL World Super Lightweight Title. He made his surprise debut at the promotion's television taping in Puebla, Puebla and was announced as a member of Sean Waltman's D-Generation MEX stable at the show.[6] On July 4, 2010, Romero turned rudo and joined La Legión Extranjera instead.[7] However, just four days later it was reported that Romero had left AAA, after the company had asked him to take a pay cut.[8]

Ring of Honor (2004–2005)[edit]

Romero's main exposure in the United States came while he was one-half of the Havana Pitbulls tag team, with partner Ricky Reyes, in Ring of Honor where he and Reyes set a record for the longest reign as ROH Tag Team Champions, a record they held until it was broken by the team of Austin Aries and Roderick Strong.[9] While in ROH, he and Reyes were also members of Homicide's stable, The Rottweilers. He left the company at the end of 2005 to focus on working in Japan.

Japan (2007–present)[edit]

Romero in February 2012

Romero made his debut in Pro Wrestling Noah on March 4, 2007, versus Mushiking Terry, casting into doubt the future of the Black Tiger persona, although his participation in the debut show of the Inoki Genome Federation could have been more of an issue. Romero, however, did compete as Black Tiger in August 2007 in Chikara to compete for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship against champion Mike Quackenbush. At NJPW's Resolution '09 on April 5, Romero lost in a mask vs. title match against Tiger Mask, thus ending his role as Black Tiger.[10] On October 12, 2010, New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that Romero would return to the promotion in November, teaming with Davey Richards in the Super J Tag League, as a member of the promotion's top heel stable, Shinsuke Nakamura's CHAOS.[11] The five-day-long tournament ended on November 13, with Romero and Richards winning their block and advancing to the finals, where they were defeated by their CHAOS team mates Jado and Gedo.[12] On May 3, 2011, Romero and Richards unsuccessfully challenged Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[13] On May 21, Romero won Mach-1 Pro Wrestling's the Hall of Fame Cup, defeating Ryan Taylor, Famous B and Karl Anderson.[14] On October 10, 2011, at Destruction '11, Romero and Richards defeated Devitt and Taguchi in a rematch to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for the first time.[15] Romero and Richards made their first successful title defense on November 12 at Power Struggle, defeating the team of Kushida and Tiger Mask.[16] On December 23, Romero unsuccessfully challenged Prince Devitt for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[17] On January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, Romero and Richards lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship back to Devitt and Taguchi.[18] No Remorse Corps regained the title from Apollo 55 on February 12 at The New Beginning.[19] On May 2, Romero and Richards were stripped of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, after travel issues forced Richards to miss the following day's Wrestling Dontaku 2012 event, where the two were scheduled to defend the title against Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask.[20]

Romero soon reunited with his former AAA partner Alex Koslov.[21] On July 22, the team, dubbed "Forever Hooligans",[22] defeated Liger and Tiger Mask to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[23] Romero and Koslov made their first successful title defense on August 26 at a Sacramento Wrestling Federation (SWF) event in Gridley, California, defeating the team of A.J. Kirsch and Alex Shelley.[24][25] Forever Hooligans made their second successful title defense on October 8 at King of Pro-Wrestling, defeating the Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and Kushida).[26] On October 21, Forever Hooligans entered the 2012 Super Jr. Tag Tournament, defeating Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask in their first round match.[27] On November 2, Romero and Koslov were eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by Apollo 55.[28] On November 11 at Power Struggle, Forever Hooligans lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship to the winners of the Super Jr. Tag Tournament, the Time Splitters, ending their reign at 112 days.[29][30] On May 3, 2013, at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, Romero and Koslov regained the title from the Time Splitters.[31] They lost the title to Suzuki-gun (Taichi and Taka Michinoku) on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling.[32] For the first half of 2014, Forever Hooligans received several new shots at the title, now held by The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), but were defeated each time,[33][34] including in a three-way match, also involving the Time Splitters, on May 10 at Global Wars, a special event co-produced by NJPW and ROH in Toronto.[35] Forever Hooligans broke up in January 2015, when Koslov announced he was taking an indefinite break from professional wrestling.[36] On March 1, Romero revealed he and Trent Baretta were forming a new tag team named Roppongi Vice.[37] On April 5 at Invasion Attack 2015, the team captured the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship from The Young Bucks.[38][39] They lost the title back to The Young Bucks on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2015.[40]

In early 2016, it was reported that WWE was interested in signing Romero as both a trainer and a wrestler. However, on January 9, Romero announced he had instead signed a new two-year deal with NJPW.[41] On April 10 at Invasion Attack 2016, Roppongi Vice defeated Matt Sydal and Ricochet to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for the second time.[42] They lost the title back to Sydal and Ricochet on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2016.[43] On November 5 at Power Struggle, Roppongi Vice defeated ACH and Taiji Ishimori in the finals to win the 2016 Super Jr. Tag Tournament.[44]

Return to ROH (2007–2010, 2013–present)[edit]

Romero in March 2009

He returned on January 26, 2007 by defeating Davey Richards. The following evening, Romero walked out on his longtime partner Reyes in the midst of a match against the Briscoe Brothers. On March 31, Romero was introduced as the newest member of the No Remorse Corps. Romero and new stablemate Davey Richards lost to Jack Evans and Naruki Doi. Rocky Romero has been touring with NOAH recently and is currently teaming with Atsushi Aoki in the NTV Jr Heavyweight Cup. He also made his debut for Antonio Inoki's new promotion the Inoki Genome Federation defeating El Blazer. On January 26, Romero teamed with Davey Richards and defeated the teams of The Age of the Fall (Tyler Black and Jimmy Jacobs), Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson, and Brent Albright and B.J. Whitmer in an Ultimate Endurance match to capture the World Tag Team Championship.[9] Romero and Richards later lost the titles to the Briscoe Brothers,[9] and Romero later left ROH in mid-2008 to once again compete in Mexico. He returned at Final Battle 2009, where he won a match against rival Alex Koslov.[45] They had a rematch on March 26, 2010, in Arizona during WrestleMania weekend, which Koslov won.[46]

On July 27, 2013, Romero and Koslov, now working together as a tag team, returned to ROH and defeated reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly) to become the new ROH World Tag Team Champions.[47] They lost the title to The American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) in their first defense on August 3.[48] On September 20 at Death Before Dishonor XI, the Forever Hooligans defeated the American Wolves in a rematch to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[49] On March 13, 2015 Romero and Trent Baretta collectively known as Roppongi Vice defeated The Decade (BJ Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs). On March 14, 2016 at ROH tv tapings, they won a seven tag team gauntlet match to determine #1 contender for ROH World Tag Team Championships by defeating The Young Bucks after entering the match as the seventh team.[50]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Luchas de Apuestas record[edit]

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Tiger Mask (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship) Black Tiger (mask) Tokyo, Japan Resolution '09 April 5, 2009 [10]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0-1 Japan Masahito Kakihara Submission (kneebar) JF 3 - Jungle Fight 3 October 23, 2004 1 0:20 Manaus, Brazil [70]

Notes[edit]

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  4. ^ a b SuperLuchas staff (January 24, 2005). "Número Especial - Lo mejr de la lucha ilbre mexicana durante el 2004". Super Luchas (in Spanish). 91. 
  5. ^ a b SuperLuchas staff (December 23, 2006). "Lo Mejor de la Lucha Libre Mexicana duranted el 2006". SuperLuchas (in Spanish). 192. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "Lo Mejor de la Lucha Libre Mexicana 2008". SuperLuchas (in Spanish). January 6, 2009. 296. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
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Media[edit]

  • Let the Gates of Hell Open: The Best of The Rottweilers – ROH DVD

External links[edit]