KUSHIDA spoke with Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard" section on a number of wrestling topics. Here are some of the highlights:
Being one of the wrestlers mentioned that Daniel Bryan wanted to face and if he was interested:
"Of course my answer is Yes! Yes! Yes! I was really honored to hear what he'd said. When I was a fan I really loved the American Dragon and Curry Man team and their chase for the IWGP Junior Tag Championships. A guy like Bryan, or Rey Mysterio, they aren't necessarily the biggest, but they still managed to get to the top of the business. As someone of roughly the same size, I really hold them in high regard. They're proof you can live your dreams if you believe and work hard. If he ever comes back, I'd love to wrestle him. I think it wouldn't be a case of looking to the crowd, we'd just be focused on each other and let our wrestling do the talking. I hope it'll happen sometime."
Winning the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors two out of the last three years:
"The Best of the Super Juniors really has a special significance to junior heavyweight wrestlers. Maybe from now on there'll be an even greater opening for the very best junior heavyweights all over the world. Certainly there's a greater pressure on my generation to maintain such a high quality in tournaments going forward. I never imagined growing up that I would take this prestigious honor not once, but twice. I'm already excited for next year."
Differences between wrestling in Japan and the United States:
"As far as New Japan goes, one huge difference is the opening match. We have the Young Lions [younger talent]. This is just my opinion, but I think the next time NJPW goes to America, the opening match should be a Young Lion match. Black tights and black boots, that's the origin of NJPW, it's iconic. You look at indies worldwide and from the first match to the main event, it's all the same style. For a lot of indie guys, this might be their first and last chance in front of an audience, so if they're in the opening match, they still feel they have to show off everything they have. Everyone's in such a rush to get everything done. Now, I understand where that comes from, and I'm not saying I dislike it. But New Japan is different. It's more basic. New Japan veterans know the importance of strong fundamentals and how important they are to protect. The title matches, the later matches on the card, they exist for doing more. Maybe I sound like a grumpy old man for saying it, but that is how I feel."
You can read the full interview by clicking here.
Source: Sports Illustrated