New Japan Pro-Wrestling recently released the second part of their English-translated interview with Tetsuya Naito that was originally conducted in early July. It has him discussing the back half of his G1 matches including Jon Moxley, Juice Robinson, and Shingo Takagi.
Check out highlights below:
His thoughts on Jon Moxley’s NJPW debut (reminder: this was conducted before the two faced off in the G1) :
That Moxley match didn’t really move me. 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.
…I prefer technical wrestlers. Plus, with his new gear, he seems more subdued, less showy than how I imagine a WWE wrestler is. Then again, that’s just going off one match. Maybe he has something I haven’t seen just yet.
You don’t hold all the championships he has, or get as popular as he’s got purely on luck. Maybe I’ll see something in him after we actually meet in the ring, but for now, he’s an unknown quantity.
If Juice Robinson has reinvented himself:
He cut his hair short, too. That surprised me. It’s like he’s gotten accustomed to NJPW and now he wants to show a different side of himself. I think he’ll be a different Juice to the guy I’ve faced before.
He’s really grown since he first came to Japan. Since he was teaming with me and I kept beating him up. Maybe he lost the dreads to stop me from pulling them all the time? Quite the anti-Naito strategy, heheh.
On facing his fellow LIJ member Takagi:
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.
He’s gone above and beyond. After the Best of the Super Juniors final I was just looking at the guy. Heart, technique, physique, he has it all, and after that match he had in Ryogoku he wasn’t worn down any. The guy is tough as they come.
Getting to face Jeff Cobb for the first time:
I actually enjoyed wrestling Michael Elgin. I think I can have similar matches with Jeff Cobb. Just the way he’s able to move with his size. There’s just something different about Olympians and how they use their physicality. A lot of fans might look past it, but I’m excited for this match. He has to be tough, if he can beat EVIL. If I were a fan, I’d buy a ticket hoping that Cobb would toss that Naito guy all around the arena, haha.