Current IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito discusses in an interview recently to discuss what has happened in his career of late. Naito made history on January 5th, 2020 by becoming the first-ever dual singles champion in NJPW history.
Unfortunately, despite that major accomplishment, he hasn’t had many opportunities to show that he deserves being called the company’s ace. Like most wrestling companies, NJPW’s activities are completely on hold at this time due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Naito hasn’t defended his two belts since mid-February when he successfully defended both them against KENTA.
But since that match, Naito has done a lot of thinking and soul-searching and, like many NJPW wrestlers, has a lot of things to say about his past, present, and future.
On 2015 being ‘his year’:
Hmm. Well, I guess my key year was 2015, right? I went to Mexico that May, came back in June in Los Ingobernables. Then came EVIL, BUSHI, SANADA, Hiromu and Shingo Takagi. 2015 was the start of it all.
Tetsuya Naito discusses on Kota Ibushi calling the Wrestle Kingdom Double Gold Dash ‘unfair’:
“He did say that. And, hey, maybe he was right. But the fact is, he lost against Kazuchika Okada. So for him to say that after he lost two straight nights, that’s kinda uncool, right? It would be different if he’d have said that before Wrestle Kingdom. He loses two straight, and then comes back and says ‘Naito wasn’t fair’. That just makes him look like a geek. Why not say that before the Tokyo Dome, with us all gathered there? He could have turned to me and said ‘hey, you don’t belong’, and that would have been cooler. Instead, it’s just him whining because he lost. Nothing more.”
On whether he’d enter the tag team division to take on the Golden ☆ Ace team (Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi):
“Well, I have given it thought, but it’s not for me to talk about wanting this or that. Right now, everything is about me holding both belts and heading toward next year at the Tokyo Dome.”
On Kazuchika Okada only wanting the Heavyweight title and not both, and staying consistent with that mindset:
“I think it’s awesome, isn’t it? He has never once shifted from that position, from that obsession with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. I really do respect that. And I think it’s a good thing to have different stances and different viewpoints being put out there. It’s good to have guys that think there should only be one belt. I mean, I think I should only be putting one belt on the line. Maybe the company should listen to that and rethink everything? Do we really need to be running these double title defences into the ground?”
Tetsuya Naito discusses on what he hopes will happen later this year as he prepares for Wrestle Kingdom 15:
“So, how about I win the G1, stand in the ring at Ryogoku and call Hiromu out to challenge me at the Tokyo Dome?”
You can read what else Tetsuya Naito discusses in the interview in its entirety here.