By Sports Hochi
”This is why Naito deserves to be the MVP of Pro-Wrestling”
The Spots Magazines “Number” revealed the current standings of the “Puroresu Sousenkyo (fan vote)”.
Naito Tetsuya has a clear lead over the man in second place, Tanahashi Hiroshi. We can expect that he’s likely going to repeat as winner.
On April 29th, “Wrestling Hi No Kuni 2018” took place in Kumamoto. Naito showed exactly why he is so popular. After Naito defeated Suzuki Minoru, he spoke to the crowd.
“Did you guys enjoy Los Ingobernables de Japons’ great pro-wrestling, for the first time in over 2 years, Kumamoto?” he said, “There was a big disaster two years ago here in Kumamoto”. The venue, Grand Messe, served as an evacuation center in Kumamoto, after an earthquake hit, two years ago. Naito continued, “I know that many of you still haven’t got over it, but I want to tell everyone to not be afraid of the the future and change. I want you to have courage.”
Naito had momentum years ago, while being known as the “Stardust Genius”. An injury in 2012 forced him to step back. He struggled, eventually being booed every time he stepped into the ring. After an excursion to Mexico in 2015, he had a breakthrough, with his own faction ‘Los Ingobernables de Japon’. He encouraged fans in Kumamoto to take inspiration from his own struggles.
Backstage, he told press, “Even though they probably had forgotten, I promised Kumamoto 2 years ago that we’d be back, after the last canceled show here. I was finally able to fulfill that promise.”
If he was only conceited, he would have only spoken of regaining the Intercontinental title. Instead, he spoke of the people in Kumamoto. This is pure Naito.
Every time takes the mic, the first thing he does is thank the fans. If we look back to the G1, we remember him saying, “I said this in the ring, I am thankful to the fans who made this moment great for me.”
We asked Naito if this attitude is something he learned in Mexico, or was he always like this.
Naito looked straight at us, “I think I’ve always been that way. I was always a big fan of New Japan. I don’t want to forget how I felt then. I believe I can reach these fans more than anyone else.”
That was 8 moths ago, and Naito hasn’t changed a bit. In every venue, we see fans with Los Ingo’s hats and T-shirts (more than any other faction). Naito’s attitude, ‘Fans come first’ has never changed.
He still says that the Intercontinental title is meaningless, even after becoming champion, and always complains about the decisions the company makes. But his ‘rebel’ attitude comes from being the biggest fan of New Japan, he knows what the fans want.
And we see through his speeches and in his fights, that the fans matter to him. As soon as his theme music, ‘STARDUST’ hits, they chant, ’Naito’. The fans have the ability to see what is real and true in a wrestler.