New Japan Pro-Wrestling conducted a long-form sit-down interview with IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito after becoming “Two Strap Tetsuya” at Wrestle Kingdom 14 when he faced Kazuchika Okada in the main event. Naito talks about that particular moment but goes into quite the detail about not having general anaesthetic for the surgery on his right eye (careful if you’re a bit squeamish, his detailing is mighty graphic)
It sounds like a really tough procedure to have done. Were you under general anaesthetic?
Naito: I wanted to be, but the way the schedule worked out, the surgery was overnight. The surgeon said that in that case, general anaesthetic makes things difficult the next day, so it was just local.
So just your right eye was anesthetized?
Naito: Right, they used a long needle in the cavity right below and right above the eyeball.
Naito: That’s how they delivered the anesthetic, so it feels numb. I was kinda woozy.
So, if you weren’t put under, could you see what was happening?
Naito: No, because the eye was anesthetized, I didn’t know which way it was looking or anything like that. But even though I was woozy, I could feel that something was going on. Like a pushing sensation. I asked about it when I had my post-op check-up and the doctor said ‘ah, yeah, that’s when we were cutting into your eyeball’.
Naito: So they cut in, do what they need to do, and then stitch it up. After the surgery, I could feel this kind of irritation in my eye, and some pain, and that was because of the stitches. In my mind I figured they’d stick a needle right in the eye, but they actually cut it and stitch it afterward.
Wow. It’s a good thing they didn’t explain all this to you beforehand.
Naito: Oh yeah. I’d have run a mile. Or maybe they did say it and it just went right over my head.
Thank goodness. Back in November, when the Double Gold Dash was first announced, it really felt like you weren’t yourself. This was before the surgery?
Naito: Yeah. I had a tentative appointment, but I wasn’t sure.
So as all this talk was going on, it was a very real question mark over whether you’d make it to Wrestle Kingdom?
Naito: That’s right.
That main event in the Tokyo Dome against Okada really felt like the culmination of everything in your career. It was a phenomenal match.
Naito: I’d said beforehand that my heart and my head both said it’d be Okada opposite me in the main event on the fifth. I wanted that, to have a singles match, in the Dome, in the main event, with both the belts on the line. So when I was in the ring and waiting for Okada to make his entrance, it really felt like all the stars had finally aligned.
This was the third time I’d been in the Dome against Okada. It was always me to the ring first, waiting for him. But this was the first time I actually watched him enter.
What was different?
Naito: I’m not saying I was cocky about it, but I had much more confidence this time. Certainly 2014 was rough.
You had that blow of being voted out of the main event spot. But this year was phenomenal, especially the closing stretch.
Naito: I knew there were fewer fans on the fifth than the fourth. Watching the first half of the card, I honestly did feel that the reactions weren’t as big on night two. I had my doubts, but you wouldn’t knew there were 10,000 fewer people going by the reactions to that match.
There’s a lot more from this interview which you can check out by going here.