Tetsuya Naito was reportedly offered a WWE deal this year, only to turn it down.
According to Tokyo-Sports, the New Japan Pro Wrestling star was offered a WWE contract following the NJPW Dominion show on June 9th. Naito wrestled Chris Jericho at that show, losing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in the process.
Chris Charlton translated key points of the article on Twitter:
https://t.co/lCYX6Fm3Ze Naito received a WWE offer after Dominion and turned it down. ‘I didn’t even give it thought. This New Japan ring is already the world’s number 1 stage. The fans know this. That’s why I think we should focus on our home crowd before looking international’
— chris charlton (@reasonjp) November 6, 2018
Naito may be alluding to New Japan’s recent change in management, and an accompanying interest on placing titles on Western stars. Another key title change at Dominion saw Kenny Omega won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Kazuchika Okada – a further example of a North American talent taking a championship from a Japanese star.
Naito also stated:
‘You should understand that I have no interest in “WWE Superstar” Chris Jericho. What I want to do is get revenge for what happened in a New Japan ring, in a New Japan ring.’
This seems to be a reference to Y2J’s numerous ambushes on Naito and other members of his stable, Los Ingobernables de Japon. Recently, at last week’s Power Struggle show, Jericho successfully defended his Intercontinental title against LIJ member EVIL, before continuing the attack after the match was over. Naito came out to make the save, and yesterday a match between himself and Jericho was announced for Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4th, 2019.
Curiously, Jericho has since denied that he has accepted the match on Instagram, accompanying his post with an image of the match graphic with Naito’s face crossed out.