NXT star Bobby Fish talks to Daily DDT about teaming with Roderick Strong, the future of Undisputed Era, thinking he may never make it to WWE, and more.
One year removed from when they originally fulfilled their prophecy by holding all the gold in WWE NXT, Undisputed Era is looking to do it for an unprecedented second time, starting with the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong will have their chance to reclaim the tag titles when they take on current champs Breezango on Wednesday’s episode of NXT on USA Network. If they win, it will mark the group’s fourth reign as NXT Tag Team champions but the first for Fish and Strong as a unit.
Beating Breezango will be no easy feat, however, as they have been at the helm of NXT’s tag team scene since reuniting at the start of the summer. The two teams have never done battle before on the black-and-gold brand, but Undisputed Era has proven to be the standard-bearer of tag team wrestling in these last three years and will do anything to get the twin titles back in their possession.
Bobby Fish on chasing the WWE NXT Tag Team Championship
“I’m very familiar with both Breeze and ‘Dango,” Fish told Daily DDT in an exclusive interview over the phone on Tuesday. “I have an appreciation for their uniqueness. There is nobody in the company like them that can run that spectrum that they’re able to, which is pretty cool.”
Fish noted how he’s known about Fandango since the beginning of the career as they both cut their teeth on the independent wrestling scene in the northeast. He believes Breezango don’t often get the credit they deserve for being as versatile as they are, but at the end of the day, the belts belong with Undisputed Era.
“Undisputed Era, we are the workhorses. That’s why we were hired. That’s why we have the jobs we have. There’s certainly a list of detractors people would love to throw at you as to why we don’t deserve to be in the position we’re in. It’s time we get those tag titles back on a couple of workhorses.” loves tag team wrestling, interested in singles stuff, wants to do the second coming of the prophecy, stresses diversity
Interestingly enough, Fish is the only member of the group to not branch off on his own at all. He’s had his fair share of singles matches over the years but has yet to chase singles gold of any kind.
Despite that, he couldn’t be happier being a tag team expert and is excited to help complete “the second coming” of the prophecy for Undisputed Era. Him and Strong teaming is a sign that any combination of the four can be successful.
“I think give Roddy and I reps,” Fish said when asked about how the tag team division can be improved. “I thought the beautiful thing about how Roddy and Kyle came together was when Roddy jumped aboard and they just plugged right in. They were instantly in matches they could sink their teeth into creatively and show you why we are who we are. For the tag division, it’s no secret because I’m biased, but give Roddy and I reps. I don’t want to say ‘save’ the tag division because I don’t think it needs saving, but I think we can spark a flame within that tag team division overall. Give Roddy and I reps.”
Bobby Fish on Undisputed Era’s bond
Since August 2017, Undisputed Era has been a staple of NXT, largely because their undeniable chemistry and ability to bring the best out of everyone they work with. Better than everything they’ve accomplished in NXT is the incredible amount of history they have dating back almost 20 years.
Fish doesn’t take the bond they share lightly and thinks the wars they’ve been through together is why they’ve managed to stay fresh and relevant for so long, along with their willingness to put their own desires aside for the greater good of the group.
“The Undisputed Era has been a vehicle that the four of us have loved immensely and we have all sort of settled into positions. It’s been the collective and the brand and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that we’ve fought each other a lot previous a lot and we’ve fought with each other a lot previous to here. Having that dichotomy, you don’t have a lot of selfishness within the four of us. We each want what’s best for the other guys and everybody’s got patience and is willing to wait their turn knowing that their turn will come.
“You’ve got a very unique situation with the four of us,” he continued. “We all do what’s required in this business well, all to various degrees. There’s such diversity that can be explored with the four of us and hopefully we’re going to start to see more of that now as we start to explore where things can go while still being the brand that all four of us have worked so hard to create. That brand is synonymous with NXT. Undisputed Era is NXT.”
Bobby Fish on almost not making it to WWE
Strong was the first to join NXT in October 2016 followed by Fish the subsequent summer. Prior to that point, both men had doubts they’d ever make it to WWE and all but accepted the idea that the company wouldn’t come calling.
For Fish, specifically, he was on the verge of calling it quits right before WWE offered him a contract in mid-2017. As a father to two girls and knowing that age and size weren’t on his side, he contemplated either going to New Japan Pro-Wrestling more regularly or finding something outside of wrestling to make a living off of instead.
“I had a moment, and this was well prior to it, where I was at a crossroads where it was almost like, ‘Okay, maybe I take the shoot job and still wrestle as a hobby,'” Fish said. “Then I had another moment between Ring of Honor and we had a good thing going with New Japan, but it didn’t seem as though WWE would be in the cards for me.
“There was a point where I resigned myself to, ‘Yeah, I don’t know if WWE is in the cards,'” he continued. “To be where we stand today and it’s truly surreal to know that Triple H is my boss and that Shawn Michaels is a guy I’ve spoken extensively with about the business, about life, about love, and about God. If you told the 12-year-old me, I would not have believed you. But I probably wouldn’t have believed that I would’ve gotten the shot that I have here when I got it. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I did get.”
Before arriving in WWE, Fish made a name for himself alongside O’Reilly in the tag team ranks in Ring of Honor, New Japan, and other companies. The duo known as reDRAGON quickly captured gold in NXT, but when Fish suffered an injury right before TakeOver: New Orleans, Strong replaced him for the better part of 2018.
With O’Reilly currently chasing singles glory, Fish finds himself teaming with Strong on a near-weekly basis. They haven’t wrestled enough tag team matches together for Fish to know what the biggest differences are between the two partners, but he feels they’ll develop even stronger chemistry the more they partner up.
“I think with Roddy, we’re still exploring [that dynamic] because he and I have become such different workers since we’ve been with NXT. We’ve become much different wrestlers being exposed to NXT but also the outside of it. I have a very strong martial arts influence in the stuff that I do and since I’ve been with NXT, I’ve been doing a ton of muay thai. I do a lot of jui-jitsu, but when it comes to muay thai, it’s my zen. I feel like that’s changed a lot of my style.
“I think we have yet to scratch the surface of what Roddy and I can do together. I don’t know necessarily what the difference is [between Roddy and Kyle] because I don’t know that we’re there yet, but I’m chomping at the bit to see what this will be with Roddy and I.”
Bobby Fish on favorite moments and Undisputed Era’s future
Among Fish’s favorite NXT matches to date is his outing against AOP at TakeOver: Philadelphia. Having grown up an NWA and WCW fans, he also enjoyed the three WarGames matches he’s had with the rest of Undisputed Era and was honored to take part in them.
As far as moments he’s had with the group that stand out as special to him, the episode of UpUpDownDown they did with Xavier Woods earlier this year ranks high up on that list.
“We went there and played some games,” Fish said. “Kyle and Cole are a little bit more into gaming. Roddy is at least up to speed. I’m old, my daughter’s 16. I’m embarrassed sometimes because I’m clueless, but holy cow, but that UpUpDownDown episode was so much fun. Those laughs were genuine. We were five peas in a pod that day and it really felt awesome just to connect with my brothers and to connect with a guy like Xavier Woods in that way. I’ll speak for the five of us, that’s a day we all remember fondly.”
Fans have been speculating for some time that the Undisputed Era could soon be going their separate ways. That rumors heated up again when Cole and O’Reilly started doing their own thing recently while Fish and Strong focused on their tag team goals.
To break up the Undisputed Era before they can have the chance to move over to the main roster as a collective unit would have to be considered a mistake. There’s still so much more for them to do beyond NXT, and although they could easily fare well for themselves individually, Fish thinks the best is yet to come for Undisputed Era.
“I don’t think there’s a single one of us that’s afraid of doing something different or [going on our own]. However, I think also there’s not a single one of us that has a whole lot of interest in not doing what we’re already been doing. I think there’s more layers to be explored and I think there’s more things we can do. I think people identify with it because it is real. In a business that gets a lot of criticism for being less than real or whatever you want to call it, we are real. Those smiles up and down the road are not fabricated. It’s not a story.
“Dare I say, and it’s less than humble, but WWE gets to benefit from that because a guy like Triple H, and for me I’m not sure if I want to work for anyone other than him, he has a brain for this business like no other. He saw it and said, ‘Oh yeah, those four guys are together.’ Even before Roddy was with us, I think that was a plan somewhere in the back of his head. He saw it, he capitalized on it, and man, do we have more land to conquer.”
Watch Undisputed Era vie for the NXT Tag Team Championship on WWE NXT this Wednesday at 8/7c, only on USA Network.