Naito’s G1 Press Conference Wrap-up

New Japan World Video


Announcer: “Thank you for your patience. Now we begin the press conference. There were 19 days of many high-level matches this year. We have the contract to challenge for the IWGP championship in the main event of Tokyo Dome 2018 (Sugabayashi, the chairman signs the contract). Now we have the winner, Naito.”


Naito: “Well, I said it in the ring, yesterday, I want to say thank you to the fans who made the moment great for me. I believe this year was the best G1 ever. I have one suggestion for you guys (the company), or, the argument I want to make, is about the selection process. I believe the first eight matches of the entire block were just regular matches, because we only needed the last two days to decide the ones who get to the final. Did we really need 20 wrestlers in the G1?  I feel like, recently, G1’s trademark has become the number of matches (19 days and 9 matches). Then you select enough wrestlers to fill in the schedule. But it shouldn’t be that way. It should be the wrestlers first, not the matches. First, decide the ones who really deserve to be in the G1 and then pick the days for it. To provide a higher level G1 next year, you need to consider my suggestion. But I know whatever I say will never make it. Another thing is the contract for the IWGP title in Tokyo Dome; I wasn’t really sure if I was going to get this. I thought that someone would say, ’Ok, since Naito won the G1, let’s change the rules.’ So, I’m a little surprised I got this without any trouble. But how I will use the contract, is what you already know… the answer is, Tranquilo.”


Press: “You’ve won the G1 twice in 4 years. I’m sure you were very confident. What feels most different now from 4 years ago?”

Naito: “It’s only been a day, so it hasn’t really hit me, yet.”


Press: “Which is the most challenging about facing Okada; being in the main event in the Tokyo Dome, or winning the IWGP title?”

Naito: “To main event in Tokyo Dome. I have never main evented Tokyo Dome. Well, no, I have. But it was the first of a double main event. So, actually, it was a semi-main event. And I’ve had the IWGP belt before. I find nothing really interesting about Okada. Tokyo dome is much more attractive to me than other points.”


Press: “You were defeated by Fale and Ishii. What do you think the reasons were?”

Naito: “Well, they were just another match. But I lost to Ishii recently, in L.A., too. If I have to fight to protect my contract, then I would choose Ishii. If anybody wants to challenge me, then he has to say it out loud. So far it has been only ishii that said he would challenge me. I will be expecting there will be more who will bravely say that they want to challenge me.” (Again, he’s talking about the importance of saying things aloud, what he credits Los Ingobrenables in Mexico for teaching him)


Press: “You always show your gratitude to the fans, first. Is that something you also learned from Mexico, or is that how you are as a wrestler?”

Naito: “This is how I have always been. I was a huge fan of New Japan before I became a wrestler. So, I don’t want to forget how I used to feel. I believe that I’m the one who is closest to the minds of the fans. We can’t have the great matches and stages without the fans. That’s what I think.”


Press: “What’s your reaction to LIJ’s success in selling merchandise? Everyone’s wearing LIJ. It’s becoming a new trend, just like NWO in the 90’s.”

Naito: “I’m so glad, honestly. I never want to forget how I started. I also feel a bit that they flip-flopped. But more than that, gracias. Also, I don’t want people to think that we are just the same as NWO.”


Press: “It looks like EVIL is trying to reach for IWGP title. Will that affect you?”

Naito: “Not at all. The impact of EVIL defeating Okada was so huge. It motivated me. We, LIJ. are always competing against each other. So everyone is trying to be the best. It’s synergy. The most important thing is that Naito is in the main event in Tokyo Dome.”


[Someone’s phone starts ringing]


Naito: “You did it again (to a staff member). Are you doing it on purpose? You have become popular. Fans talk to you in the hall. Getting carried away, aren’t you? You’re trying so hard to stand out from everyone else. But this is my conference, today. If you want to stand out, why don’t you do Twitter live or something?”

(Someone of authority, possibly): “Naito, please stop. Don’t start a pointless argument. It’s not nice to the fans. This is broadcasting live.”

Nato: “Ah, okay.” 

(Interview is over. Next is a photo shoot.)

Naito: “Adios.”

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