NJPW's Tetsuya Naito Discusses Nearly Retiring In 2019

During a recent interview with New Japan's official website...

On January 4th at Wrestle Kingdom 14, Tetsuya Naito will face Jay White for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. If he emerges victorious, he will go on to face the winner of Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi for both the Intercontinental title and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on January 5th.

Naito could have found himself without anyone to wrestle on Saturday, however, as he revealed In an interview with New Japan that he almost retired in 2019. El Ingobernable explained that from May until November, he had "a crisis of confidence," and that he was constantly uneasy while trying to wrestle through the pain. He did admit that ultimately he sought medical assistance which allowed him to overcome his problems.

Naito elaborated: "I don’t want to go into specifics, but for a while I thought I couldn’t wrestle anymore...Truth is for about six months, maybe since May, I had this kind of crisis of confidence. From about May, I’d felt something was up, and I couldn’t put my finger on it."

The interviewer then asked if he thought his injury was visible during his matches, to which Naito said: "I thought I could cover it up, but I think the result was that it did come through. I was constantly wrestling in that state of unease. I hate going to the hospital, but I really wasn’t myself for a time."

The four-time IWGP Intercontinental champion later added: "Right. It’s like any injury, and I’ve had bad knees for a while. Things don’t get back to 100%, but when it comes to this issue I’ve had, I’ve managed to recover well enough during the time off. Bear in mind, 100% or not, I came pretty damn close to zero."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons