NJPW interviewed IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito before his start of the G1 Tournament. In the interview, Naito discussed this year being his 10th G1, thoughts on those who complained about not being in it, his own past complaints about G1, his goal for being both the IWGP Intercontinental Champion and IWGP Heavyweight Champion and facing Tomohiro Ishii on July 24.
Below are the highlights from the interview:
Being in his 10th G1:
"That's right. To be honest, it's made me think 'Man, have I really been in that many times? I remember when I was going into my first G1 I heard the list of names and the people that were making their 11th, 12th, 13th entries. All of a sudden I've become one of those veterans."
Thoughts about wrestlers who didn't make the cut for G1 complaining about it:
To be honest, they probably needed to make a stronger case for themselves before the lineup was announced. Too little, too late. Eh, it's better than somebody just accepting it and not doing anything at all, but it's a case of going 'oh, so they did want in?' Take Suzuki. He doesn't get in and he's complaining about the G1, saying 'how dare you call this the tournament to determine the toughest man of the summer?' I thought 'why talk badly about a tournament your lackeys are entering? It's not like you have the right to say anything you want. You need to be more constructive, offer some idea to make things better."
Why he questioned the structure of G1 in the past:
"I have. I've wondered in the past, we have so many cards in the tournament, how are we deciding to let these people in? There've been entrants that definitely didn't deserve their spots. It really should be a case of this scale, with this strict criteria is allowing the G1 and NJPW to be as big as it is. What's the catchphrase for this year, by the way?"
Wanting to be the IWGP Intercontinental Champion coming in G1 to be closer to his goal of holding both belts:
"You win the G1 and no questions, no complaints, you get to have an IWGP title shot. That's why I wanted to have the Intercontinental title going in, and I just about made it."
Facing Tomohiro Ishii in the main event on July 24 in Hiroshima:
"The last time I had a G1 match in Hiroshima was four years ago, when I beat Tanahashi in the main event."
Naito also discussed his July 19 match with Hirooki Goto. You can read the whole interview here.