NJPW recently interviewed Tetsuya Naito, who discussed several topics that included IWGP United States Champion Jon Moxley’s match with Juice Robinson, Los Ingobernables De Japon member Shingo Takagi, Jay White, KENTA, and when he was in his best shape.
Naito was asked about Jon Moxley’s match where he beat Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States Championship. He revealed that he wasn’t too impressed with the former WWE star.
“I saw it. But that Moxley match didn’t really move me,” Naito said. “I know it was a hot crowd in Ryogoku, that came through on the TV even, but I was left thinking ‘why are the people making that kind of noise?’ I couldn’t put my finger on it, myself.”
Naito will be in a match against fellow Los Ingobernables De Japon member, Shingo Takagi on August 4 in Osaka. He was asked about facing him in the G1 tournament and Takagi’s self-centered behavior.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t have brought Takagi in if I didn’t think he would make a big impact, but I never thought we’d be facing each other in a singles match so fast,” Naito revealed. “The guy doesn’t care about anybody else around him whatsoever (laughs)! But I want that. I want him to be hungry. I want him to come in trying to take LIJ from me. I mean, I’m not going to let that happen, but still.”
Jay White will be his last opponent for the G1 tournament, which Naito admitted that when White was a Young Lion he was a jerk to him, though he is amazed at how young White was when he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
“I picked on him quite a lot when he was a Young Lion,” Naito confessed. “He’d be holding the ropes open for me on my entrance and I’d kick him away, stuff like that. He might have a bit of a grudge toward me, heh. He did something I couldn’t, winning the IWGP title in his 20s,” he admitted. “He’s certainly got a full head of steam. I think when you look at him post excursion, his in-ring approach and his size, you can see that change, but the biggest change for me is in his face. When he was a Young Lion, there was a softness to his face, frailty almost. Now he has results under his belt, you see that in his face, you see that confidence.”
When asked about KENTA, he shared why KENTA’s WWE failure interested him.
“I mean he openly admitted he was a failure in WWE,” Naito said. “To be in that much of a hole and stand in an NJPW ring, that’s very similar to the position I was in four years ago.”
At the end of the interview, Naito discussed when he was at his best shape and the future of his career.
“If I’m honest, the best shape I’ve ever been in was for my debut,” Naito disclosed. “But if I were to really look out for myself, perhaps I should take a tour off and rest up. But I want to go to every arena in the country and show every fan the Tetsuya Naito that’s around right now. You can only see this Tetsuya Naito at this point in time. For the rest of my career, if it’s a choice of being a part-timer for 10 years or going all out for three, I’m choosing the latter.”
Naito also discussed Los Ingobernables De Japon members EVIL and SANADA. To read the whole interview, please click here.