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David Marquez Recalls NJPW Wanting Finn Balor To Be “King Devitt: King Of The Leprechauns”


David Marquez Recalls NJPW Wanting Finn Balor To Be “King Devitt: King Of The Leprechauns”

On today’s episode of The Daily podcast, United Wrestling Network owner David Marquez was on to discuss the many relationships UWN has with other promotions. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Marquez about UWN’s relationship with NJPW, and Marquez noted that UWN and NJPW Strong run their shows in the same venue at the moment.

“It’s in the same theater. We all own that theater,” Marquez noted. “That’s ours, so we shoot Hollywood there. We have for the last, close to, eight years now, and what we’ve done is I changed the aesthetics for the New Japan show. One, they were originally using our ring, which I didn’t think was a good idea because the New Japan ring is so iconic.

“They even saw that, and they brought their ring in. And we’re shooting against black and all that back there, I think, are a couple of New Japan logos or something, some banners. The Hollywood show, so it doesn’t look the same when we went back to start shooting our series, we shot into the set, same room. So we’re just shooting this way, and they’re shooting this way.”

Hausman asked Marquez if there is a future with UWN and NJPW working together. Marquez hopes there is as he talked about his past role as vice president of NJPW’s international division.

“I would sure hope there’s much more to it,” Marquez admitted. “You may not know this, but I was Vice President of New Japan Pro Wrestling, their international division, for five years. I ran the New Japan dojo, the first one in Los Angeles with Simon Inoki where I recruited Fergal Devitt, and Karl Anderson, and Samoa Joe, and Rocky Romero, and Bobby Quance, and Alex Kozlov and the names go on and on and on.

“That was also through the NWA. That was why the NWA system was so important because you find all these diamonds and you pull them all in and you shift through them. The influx of Australians in the United States was because of the New Japan dojo in myself with EPW Perth and Adelaide in Australia. So Hartley Jackson, Mikey Nicholls, who was in NXT (Nick Miller) for a minute and Shane Haste (Shane Thorne), who is still there, but they all started with me.

“I have a Christmas photo on the wall over here that’s pretty funny, a Christmas card from the dojo from years and years and years ago that I legitimately walked everybody, TJ Perkins as Puma into Sara Del Rey wearing a mask [and] a couple other people walked him right into the Sears Portrait Studio. We took Christmas card photos.”

As Marquez was showing Hausman the photos, he talked about being an executive in the business. He talked about the “’70-’80s Vince McMahon aura” that he had, and he talked about his production company having to change it’s name to his name in order to be taken more seriously.

“For the longest time, I had that ’70s and ’80s Vince McMahon aura of being on camera, doing interviews or whatever,” Marquez said. “People didn’t know that it was my company or I was an executive within the company, and it was great to have that autonomy. And now, because of others and investments and other things, I’ve been pushed to put my name on my own the company. So now it’s David Marquez Productions outside of Championship Wrestling From Hollywood to build that brand.

“It sounds a little selfish, but they really wanted to put a stamp on it, that someone’s behind it because we do other things too. We do other programming. It’s not just wrestling, and in Hollywood and out here in the media, you kind of have to be universal that way, so I didn’t want to call it ‘Happy Pants Productions or anything like that.’ I wanted to be taken seriously, as much as my own name could be serious.”

Hausman noted that NJPW Strong is a pivot off of NJPW’s original plans that were forced to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked Marquez’s thoughts on NJPW seemingly having two separate rosters, one in Japan and one in the U.S.

“I really like it,” Marquez admitted. “It gives a lot more opportunity to people that you probably would never see in Tokyo, especially during my time there. I had a hell of a time getting people booked in New Japan and from the dojo. Even Samoa Joe back in the day, they didn’t want him. There’s many others. The whole Fergal Devitt piece, and they wanted to call him ‘King Devitt: King of the Leprechauns’ back then. And I was like, ‘no, no, no, don’t do that. Please don’t do that.’ I pitched the ‘Prince’ name, and luckily, they went with him. I was like, ‘he’s young. He’s exotic-looking, and he’s a very handsome man. He looks like an underwear model. He’s a prince. He’s royal.'”

Marquez continued noting that many wrestlers from his programming are also on NJPW Strong. He highlighted talents like Max Caster and Chris Dickinson as guys who have a bright future in the business.

“A lot of people who are featured from United Wrestling Network programming are also featured on Strong shows like Danny Rivera, or Jordan Clearwater [or] JR Kratos, people who are known from my programming. Now, they’re being seen on a much broader scale, and that is exciting to me too and people from across the country. I’m even meeting people for the first time because my generation is not the current generation.

“30 years is a long time to not meet any people, and I don’t travel anymore. I don’t go to as many shows as I used to go to, so it’s very difficult for me to to meet new people, like Max Caster. Not to go off but he’s been featured twice now on Primetime Live, and that guy’s a star, 100%. He won’t be with us long. Someone’s going to snatch him up quickly. Maybe it’ll be New Japan, or Chris Dickinson, I’ve known of Chris Dickinson for years, of course. We’ve just never been able to make it work. I was introduced to him by Drew Gulak years ago.

“He’s on both Primetime and Hollywood, and I wish him nothing but the best. And I hope that the New Japan folks see him not being this aggressive internet, whatever the fans might say about him, scary guy. He’s actually a fantastic performer, and he deserves to be on the New Japan show as well. So as much as I can push for North American talent to be in the New Japan show, I will.”

The UWN World Title tournament is currently underway, and it features stars from the indies, MLW, NJPW and AEW. Marquez said that having AEW star Peter Avalon on the tournament was not a difficult task as he discussed his relationships with the people at AEW.

“It wasn’t that difficult. We worked with AEW in the past,” Marquez pointed out. “Of course, Serena Deeb is on the show next week and this week coming up as well just like Peter. It was just a phone call. The talent relations person there and I go way back. Tony Khan was involved in the decision, and they said yes.

“I have not talked to him one-on-one. I was on a few emails with him early on. We helped them or consulted with them in the very beginning in getting work visas for some of the Chinese performers they wanted to bring in because I did a show in China about two years ago. It’s the first North American broadcast to originate from China, and we brought that back and ran that across the country.

“We played it a few times because it’s pretty spectacular and special. No one else has done it. It was only through legal lawyers and whatever, and I’m pretty sure he was attached to things, but everybody there in his office, Chris Harrington and other folks, we know of each other from a while back. So I’m very familiar with the people in the office.”

The United Wrestling Network presents Primetime LIVE every Tuesday night, 9/8c, via Marquez’s full interview aired as part of today’s episode of our podcast, The Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.