MVP Speaks Out - WWE Exit, Chris Benoit Tribute, More
On the G-1 Tournament: "Without question, it's the most prestigious wrestling tournament in the world, bar none. When I started training, my first goal was to wrestle in Japan. The WWE was an opportunity that came to me later, but my dream was always to wrestle in Japan. I had visions of wrestling in the Tokyo Dome, and I was a huge fan of Team 2000, but the tag team of Ten-Koji, I was just crazy about those guys. So, we fast forward a few years, and I've had some remarkable accomplishments with WWE. But on a personal level, the guy that used to sit on the couch studying tapes of New Japan wrestling, and fantasizing about wrestling there one day, is actually in the G1 Climax wrestling against Satoshi Kojima, wrestling against Hiroyoshi Tenzan, wrestling against people like Minoru Suzuki and Shinsuke Nakamura. I was just in awe the whole time, it was an absolute amazing experience for me."
On paying tribute to Benoit in his matches: "I can't comment on how the WWE organization chooses to run their business regarding Chris' memory. It's a business decision, and that's up to them. Personally, Chris Benoit was my friend and my mentor. The Chris Benoit that I knew that took me underneath his wing, that allowed me into his world, that allowed me into his home, that wasn't the guy that committed that heinous act that day. Anyone that knows Chris, the few people that were in his inner circle, know how much he loved his family. So what I say is, people forget how fragile the human psyche actually is. Everyday people lose their mind, snap, and do horrible things. Up until that point, Chris Benoit was one of the greatest people I'd ever known. He was as good a person outside the ring as he was a performer inside the ring. As much as it pains me to have to consider how he died, I have to consider why. He literally lost his mind, there's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. My friend and mentor made the ultimate mistake, and then he paid for it with the ultimate sacrifice. I can't forget everything that he was to me prior to that point. Everything that he did for me, everything that he offered to me selflessly of himself. I say that when I do that rolling German (suplex) spot, yeah, that's in honor of my friend and mentor. When I do that variation of the Crossface, that's a hat-tip to my friend and mentor. I can say that he was a huge part of the reason I was successful in the WWE, because he took me under his wing and helped me be a force, to be a player mentally, and I'll never forget that, no matter what anyone has to say."
On his WWE exit: "I just saw some things coming that just didn't feel right; it started to feel like a job, I felt like I was coming to work. I respect Vince's vision, but it just wasn't what I wanted. I didn't want to be a television soap-opera superstar, I wanted to be a professional wrestler. I always wanted to wrestle in Japan, it was always a dream of mine, and I just wasn't happy. I went to John Laurinaitis, who had been trying to get me to come to his office to re-sign a contract, because I had about a year left on my deal. I was just ready to go, and I explained that to him, and I said, 'I'd like to go to Japan.' He's known about my feelings for Japan, how I always wanted to go. Johnny Ace actually had a 10 year career in Japan, so we would talk about Japanese wrestling all the time. He was sympathetic to my position, and he spoke to Vince on my behalf, and they were gracious enough to grant me my release. We're on good terms, the door's open. I could come back at any time, at least that's what was discussed, but right now I'm literally living my dream in Japan."
You can check out the full interview at TheFightNetwork.com.