David Finlay has been on the shelf quite a bit since the start of 2019, but he's back at it and making his presence felt on New Japan Strong.
Finlay is in the finals of the New Japan Cup USA, taking on Kenta. After over five years in New Japan Pro Wrestling, he's quickly ascending up the card. Just 20 months ago, the man didn't even have a contract, which has since changed.
"Yeah, I'm signed to a contract. We were on technically a handshake deal for years. When AEW started they were like 'hey we kind of want to lock you down,' and I said that would be great. I lucked out because I got hurt shortly after that. I was very fortunate through all that," Finlay told Fightful.
The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively forced New Japan Pro Wrestling into a brand split, with their US-based wrestlers appearing on New Japan Strong. Finlay is all for this, and wants the competition to breed great content.
"I think it's forced the New Japan side and the USA side to have a friendly competition of who can have the better show. Japan is able to have some people at their shows, so they have that advantage. It's not the same without fans," Finlay said. "I had mixed emotions, because I wanted back in the ring, but I was apprehensive about wrestling in front of nobody. Everything was really safe, New Japan made sure everyone was tested. They were on the ball."
Even when things return to "normal," the Georgia-based Finlay said that he'd like to see the New Japan Strong expansion continue.
"I don't see why it can't be a part of a bigger plan. I don't see any reason it would have to be temporary. I like it, I think it's a great idea, it doesn't take too much time to do, and it's a great way to expand into the United States," Finlay noted.
After beating Tama Tonga and Chase Owens in the tournament's first two rounds, Finlay has now drawn Kenta in the finals. A world traveled veteran that Finlay even admits influenced him.
"Before I even started wrestling, I was watching Kenta. For me to be in the finals of a really big tournament with Kenta is surreal to me, but I take pride in that because I've made it to this level," Finlay stated.
The winner of the tournament will take on Jon Moxley for the IWGP United States Championship, though Finlay doesn't know when or where that will happen. Moxley is rumored to be prohibited from competing for New Japan in the United States, though that has not been confirmed.
You can check out our full interview with David Finlay above, and you can see him Fridays on New Japan Strong on New Japan World! This week, he's in the Cup finals against Kenta.