New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s ‘Switchblade’ Jay White was recently a guest on Talk Is Jericho. Among many other things, White talked about how current WWE Superstar Finn Bálor and long tenured Bullet Club member Bad Luck Fale helped recruit White to NJPW. Also, White discussed the “culture shock” he experienced moving to Japan to begin working at NJPW’s dojo. Additionally, White shared how he got the ‘Switchblade’ nickname.
According to White, he met Bálor, formerly NJPW’s Prince Devitt, at a RevPro show. Bálor told Bad Luck Fale about White, a fellow New Zealander and the two began a correspondence. Later, Bálor, Fale, and WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura returned to the United Kingdom to recruit White for NJPW.
“What was funny though is Revolution Pro works with New Japan now and we trained out of the back of what was an automotive shop,” White recalled. “There were a lot of different units. We were in the unit next door to them and you could call us competition if you want because they did shows in a similar area as well, but so we trained next door to them, obviously, for a year until they booked Devitt, so he came over and did shows for our little company. Yep, Finn Bálor, so he came over and I met him. He gave me his card and said to stay in touch. And a hen he got back to Japan, he talked to Fale, being a fellow Kiwi, and he said he met a Kiwi in England, so he got in touch. And in June 2014, Nakamura, Fale, and Devitt were flying back over to do shows for Rev Pro, so I messaged them to say ‘hi’ again, and he said, ‘yeah,’ so I met those guys up there. And from there, I think Fale did the work behind-the-scenes, based on [Bálor’s] recommendation, did the work behind-the-scenes to get me a spot in the dojo.”
White admitted that he experienced a major “culture shock” moving to Japan from England. Making matters worse, White was largely unfamiliar with NJPW, its history, or the dojo before meeting Bálor.
“Oh man! A big culture shock! I had no idea what I was actually coming over to do. All I knew was what I had heard from Fale and that was very little. Looking back, man, I really should have looked into the workings of New Japan. I I was more trying technically wrestling-wise to be as good as I can. I had no knowledge of the background of the company really.” White continued, “once I met Devitt, I started watching his stuff more. But a lot of like the history to [NJPW] or the older guys, I didn’t really have much knowledge of it, so that was a big shock to me, obviously, learning that stuff. Yeah, I had no idea how the dojo worked in terms of these young boys.”
Interestingly, White did not even know what a ‘young boy’ was or what his role would be for the promotion before moving to Japan to train at the NJPW dojo.
“I didn’t know what a young lion or young boy was,” White acknowledged. “I really had no information on what I was coming over to do. Am I training? Am I Wrestling? Are we getting paid? I had no idea.”
On the subject of White’s ‘Switchblade’ nickname, apparently NJPW booker, Gedo, wanted White to have a name that would reference White’s “razor sharp” technical skills. White and pro wrestling veteran Alex Shelley supposedly came up with the winning nickname together.
“The first one [Gedo] came up with, he was like, ‘Razor Sharp,’ and one, first, straight away, I was like, ‘I don’t want to have anything in the name of ‘Razor’ because I feel like people will go to ‘Razor Ramon’. Yeah, he wanted it to be kind of aggressive and a cut-throat type [of] thing, which is what they play with these days. And, obviously, kind of the original idea was that he wanted me to be an aggressive guy. And I always did watch a lot of [Chris] Benoit, and I kind of had that snappy, aggressive style. That was one of the original kind of ideas. And it kind of built on from there. Me and Alex Shelley came up with the name ‘Switchblade’ instead when we were driving home from that show.” White remembered, “because we were driving, I think we said it at the same time. ‘Oh, it can’t be ‘Slingblade’ because that’s the move.’ And then, me and Alex Shelley both go, ‘oh, ‘Switchblade’!’ And we go, ‘oh, that actually could work.’ Yeah, exactly. It’s nice and simple. I think Sami Callihan might have had something with ‘Switchblade’ in it, but it wasn’t his [ring name]. I think it might have been a group years ago.”
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Source: Talk Is Jericho