From Daily Sports
Okada: “Naito is not big enough for the world spotlight.”
NJPW held the press conference for its Tokyo Dome event (January 4th, 2018) on TV Asahi, on Oct 10th.
They announced that the main event will be the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between the challenger, Naito, and the champion, Okada.
These two will face each other in the Tokyo Dome, 4 years after their previous Tokyo Dome match. That match demoted to the semi-final, due to the fans’ vote. This will be the fifth time for Okada to main event Tokyo Dome, the first time for Naito.
The two stayed calm during interview, however, they couldn’t hide their rivalry and fighting spirits. Naito acknowledges Okada, who has been the champion for 1 year and 4 months, saying, “It’s impossible for Okada to have kept the championship for such a long time, simply by chance. It’s absolutely because Okada has that ability.”
However, he denied Okada’s theory that Okada is booed because of his ‘greatness”: Naito, “It may be that, but I doubt that’s the whole reason that he gets booed. I, myself, used to be booed in every city, before.” Naito grins and continues, “Later, he may find the answer. He should be thinking ‘it’s because I’m so strong’ for now.”
On the other hand, Okada acknowledges Naito for gaining enormous popularity as the leader of LIJ. Okada says, “I think he’s amazing. He has charisma and I acknowledge that he is the absolute favorite of the fans. That’s why I’m excited to fight such an opponent. I think something new will be born.” Okada adds, “I have main evented Tokyo Dome many times, but the first time I was able to win was the match against Takahashi in 2016. Main eventing the Tokyo Dome is not like any other event. It’s not as easy to make the result happen in Tokyo Dome. Naito will surely experience the feelings for the first time.” He cites Naito’s ‘lack of experience’.
About NJPW’s newfound spotlight and attention from overseas, through the streaming service, New Japan World, Naito says confidently, “Puroresu is watched all over the world. I want everyone in the world to watch the Tokyo Dome match, by Naito.” Okada counters, “Honestly, I don’t think Naito is big enough for the world spotlight. He is not well-known all over the world. Even Kenny Omega was more influential at the last Tokyo Dome.” Okada adds, “Well, I want him to him to try hard, like Los Ingobern-aaa-bres (teasing Naito’s LIJ call).”