Donning the names “Justin Gabriel”, “Paul Lloyd” and several other alias’ in pro wrestling, the man now known as PJ Black has been a part of the sport for the better part of two decades. PJ Black has been a part of TNA, WWE, NWA, Lucha Underground and spent many years on the independent scene in the United States, the United Kingdom and his home of Cape Town, South Africa.
Black competed in more than 900 matches throughout his career and with that many matches tallied up, one would think he wouldn’t remember most but when I had the opportunity to chat with PJ, he stated that since he’s signed with Ring of Honor in 2018, he remembers every match he’s had in the company. One match in particular that he opened up about was a three-way involving himself, Chase Owens and LSG that took place in the Summer of 2019 at Ring of Honor’s Center Stage show in Atlanta. Black added that he watches the match back at times and remembers that it was a good three-way and joked about his neck still hurting from the match.
“Right, you’re absolutely right, but that’s the thing with Ring of Honor; there’s so many amazing matches going on right now. Every once in a while, someone will be like, ‘Wow! That match was so good’ and of course I do remember it. I remember every single match I’ve had in Ring of Honor so far and that is what makes me so excited because, that was one of the deciding factors that led to me coming to Ring of Honor. I looked at the roster and I was like, ‘Wow. I can have great matches with all of these guys’ and yeah, it was definitely one of those matches that I had to watch back and I was like, ‘Oh wow, that was really cool, really fun’ and my neck still hurts.”
It is public knowledge that PJ Black re-signed with Ring of Honor and he has done a handful of interviews and spoke about why he decided to re-sign with the company. He reiterated sentiments of his in the past in-which he stated that Ring of Honor gave him everything he wanted and more. They gave him creative freedom to be who he is as a creator and wrestler and being in ROH allows for fans to see PJ Black for who he really is.
“Yeah it was a few things. I think for the first time in my life, I actually made a pros and cons list, because I had a couple of other offers on the table. Ring of Honor just came through and gave me everything I wanted and more. I consider myself an artist and wrestling is an art form, in a way and art is subjective and they give me creative freedom to be me. Other big companies, they tell you what to wear, what to say, what to do in the ring and what kind of moves to do. Now, I can just do… I can be me so people can see who PJ Black really is and that was for sure on top of my list.”
One of the highlights from PJ Black’s career was his run in Lucha Underground. He joined the show in its second season and was a part of the show until its last season in 2019. Black was a part of the Worldwide Underground faction with the likes of John Morrison, Jack Evans, Taya Valkyrie and more names. PJ Black explained from his point of view why Lucha Underground was able to separate itself from the pack of other wrestling companies, promotions and organizations out there.
Black stated that he’s had the chance to walk down the aisle and compete at WrestleMania but there is nothing like the feel inside of Lucha Underground’s “Temple” and if he could choose to go back to any venue to wrestle, it would be that venue.
“Totally, it was very different and that is what’s cool about it, because it wasn’t so much a wrestling show, it was a TV show about wrestling, and that’s what made it different. The vignettes, the backstage stuff was very cinematic, very movie like. That’s what made it fun and I’ve been to a few WrestleManias but I promise you, The Temple, that was the most electrifying crowd I’ve ever worked in front of and if I can ever choose to ever go back anywhere, it’ll be there man but it was super fun. I wish it lasted a little bit longer but, it was a great chapter in my life for sure.”
In 2018, PJ Black squared off with NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis in a match for the Championship Wrestling from Hollywood promotion. The two would face each other again at an ROH TV taping in January of 2019 and PJ Black shared that he has planted a seed for a match between the two to happen again and used the phrase that is common within the sport of pro wrestling and that is “never say never”.
“Totally man. I’ve actually planted that seed lately and I hope it’s gonna happen. Who knows? It’s wrestling so never say never, but I have a feeling that it’s gonna happen again.”
With 22 years of experience under his belt, PJ Black does think about the next phase of his career and that could potentially be coaching and/or producing. He said he thinks about it everyday and he also has a goal to open schools in South Africa to help teach the next generation. With those goals in place, PJ made it clear that he still feels good, healthy and creative and he’s going to keep going until his body decides to tap out.
“I think about this all the time and if you follow the current storylines, I’ve kind of taken a rookie under my wing — Brian Johnson and I’m mentoring him. Teaching him everything I’ve learned and that’s also a reason why I wanna open schools in South Africa because there’s a lot of young kids there who need just a little bit of guidance and I wanna teach them what I’ve learned so they can also make a living in professional wrestling, but in the same breath, I still feel good, my body feels good, I feel young. I feel like I’m very creative. I got some new stuff in the works too so, I’m gonna keep doing this until my body gives out but I definitely wanna give back in the future to the younger generation.”
PJ Black will be back in action for Ring of Honor at the company’s ‘Bound By Honor’ show on February 28th in Nashville, Tennessee as he, Brian Johnson, Joe Hendry and Dalton Castle take on Mark Haskins, Tracy Williams, Vincent and Bateman.
To keep up with PJ Black on social media, he can be found on Instagram @pj450 and on Twitter @darewolf333 and also, PJ has a YouTube channel entitled “PJ Black”. To watch the video version of our interview, head over to the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.