KUSHIDA Explains The Origins Of His Back To The Future Gimmick

From the Hoverboard Lock submission hold to his themed ring gear, New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Kushida has been paying homage to the iconic Back To The Future franchise for over a decade. Speaking to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, the six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion disclosed he began wearing the gear in 2012 after a VHS tape of the film inspired him to stand out from others in the division, such as Kota Ibushi and Ricochet. "I didn't have any characters like highflying or technical or anything else, and I thought I could not overcome their characters," Kushida said.

Embracing his inner Marty McFly, Kushida formed a tag-team with Alex Shelley called "Time Splitters." Together, the duo became two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions for a combined 313 days between November 11, 2012 and November 8, 2014. Their most memorable moment came at "Wrestle Kingdom 8" when Kushida drove them onto the entrance stage in a DeLorean as the main theme from Back To The Future played over the Tokyo Dome speakers.

Five years later at "Wrestle Kingdom 13," Kushida had another Back To The Future themed entrance, this time with the aide of Ryusuke Taguchi. Dressed ad Emmitt "Doc" Brown, Taguchi used a remote control gadget to "time warp" a small child dressed as Kushida (complete with lifelike oversized mask) and have the then IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion emerge from the cloud of smoke.

In a near 20-year career highlighted by memorable entrances, championships in four different promotions and a WWE Elite action figure by Mattel, there is still one more thing Kushida hopes to accomplish. "I want to make an entrance with Michael J. Fox someday," he said.