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Tetsuya Naito Thinks Shota Umino Could Be An NJPW Star

Tetsuya Naito sees potential in Shota Umino, but he wants to teach him a lesson first

Speaking ahead of their upcoming match, Tetsuya Naito admitted he thinks Shota Umino could be a star for New Japan Pro-Wrestling in a few years.

Naito told Sports Illustrated: "I think Shota is a great wrestler, and it's very possible he'll be a star in a few years. That is why I want to make him realise the difference with the current top players in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and then let him down. I think that is absolutely necessary for the future of New Japan."

Naito and Umino are set to go one-on-one at night one of The New Beginning in Sapporo on February 4. Their programme began at Wrestle Kingdom 17 where Shota Umino picked up the win for his team with Keiji Muto and Hiroshi Tanahashi against Naito, SANADA, and BUSHI. 

Umino returned from his excursion in late 2022 as "Roughneck" Shota Umino and he quickly unsuccessfully challenged Will Ospreay for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. Shooter looks set to receive a push in 2023 along with Ren Narita. 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

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