Tetsuya Naito: NJPW vs. NOAH Is Drawing More Attention Than Wrestle Kingdom 16

Night three of Wrestle Kingdom is set to be a high-profile clash

The wrestling world has been buzzing with anticipation since NJPW and Pro Wrestling NOAH announced that night three of Wrestle Kingdom on January 8 is set to be a New Japan vs. NOAH show.

However, despite a high amount of buzz surrounding the forthcoming show, former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito thinks NJPW should have taken a more ‘dignified’ approach to their state of affairs after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying to Tokyo Sports:

“I want to be a driving force for the fans to get up from the Corona disaster through the power of wrestling that will be generated by the interaction. If that’s the case, why haven’t they [NOAH and NJPW] interacted for five years? If they really have such great power, why didn’t they just have them in the World Tag League instead of next year? To me, it looks like New Japan, which is suffering from Corona, asked NOAH for help, and I wish they would have taken a more dignified stance. I wish they would have taken a more dignified stance. They say they’re doing it for the fans, but in the end it looks like they’re doing it for their own organisation.”

Despite his feelings on the matter, Naito went on to say that if he is to wrestle at the show then he wants to wrestle alongside members of LIJ:

“If I really wanted to do it [compete on the show], I’d say so on a regular basis. If I had to pick one, I’d say… people who only watch NOAH usually come to watch, right? In fact, this tournament is now attracting more attention than the Tokyo Dome [January 4 and 5]. I’d like to have a match [with] LIJ there.”

Naito does admit that the NJPW vs. NOAH show will be a good thing for pro wrestling, but rues the timing of the announcement:

“I think it was a good announcement for the pro wrestling world in terms of attracting attention. However, I think it should have been after Best of the Super Juniors and [World Tag League] were over at least. I wish they would have thought more about the timing.”

NJPW are no strangers to co-promotion, having put on high profile co-branded events such as the UWFI invasion shows in 1995 and 1996, the NJPW/AJPW/NOAH All Together benefit shows in 2011 and 2012, and the 2019 G1 Supercard with ROH in Madison Square Garden.

H/T: POST Wrestling

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Written by Jack Atkins

Scripts, news, and features writer. Anything with words, basically.