Tetsuya Naito Says His In-Ring Retirement Is 'Coming Into Focus’

Tetsuya Naito has one eye on retirement

Tetsuya Naito may be climbing the ranks of NJPW’s heavyweight division once more, but the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion has admitted that his in-ring retirement is coming into focus.

Naito sat down with the official NJPW website to talk about his recent G1 Climax victory, with it noted how Naito’s win at 41 mirrors the last G1 wins for Masahiro Chono and Hiroshi Tanhashi at the same age:

“I said as much on the mic, but I hate the word ‘forever’. Time waits for no man, after all,” began Naito. “I heard that talk when I watched the match back on World. But to give the flip side to that comment, I was at Ryogoku as a fan when Chono won his last (in 2005), and backstage when Tanahashi won his last (2018). I think if you put Chono at 41 against Tanahashi at 41 and me at 41, I’m better than them, and I have more in the tank.”

Naito continued, admitting that time is not on his side:

“At the same time, I know my time is limited. I have knee troubles, eye troubles. The end of the line, that image of retirement that was so far away for so long is now coming into focus a little. But I think that’s just another reason to enjoy where I am as a wrestler and to live in the now, right now. I need to make the most of every moment. That’s not just in the ring, either. Being in the gym, it’s a big motivator for me to push harder, knowing I can’t afford to delay anything,” said Naito.

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Written by Jack Atkins

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