Kevin Kelly doesn't think Jay White is done in NJPW.
The wrestling world is still buzzing after Hikuleo defeated White in a Loser Leaves Japan match at NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka on February 11. White previously challenged Hikuleo after he lost the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship to Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17. Fightful Select subsequently reported an update about White's contract, which cast doubt on his long-term future with the promotion.
Speaking on the Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast, NJPW commentator Kelly commented on White's match against Hikulwo by stating that nobody was happy about it, given the stipulation. He stated that it was a lose-lose situation, as NJPW would either be left without an All-Pro player or a first-round draft pick that could grow and eventually surpass that current top star.
“None of us were happy about it. It was a lose-lose situation. It was either gonna be ‘Switchblade’ Jay White, the current top guy, or Hikuleo, the future top guy. Do I want to give up my All-Pro wide receiver, or do I want to give up my number one draft pick, who in a couple of years is gonna hopefully top all the records that the All-Pro set?" Kelly said.
Kelly went on to describe how Hikuleo being in the match in the first place spoke to his talent, as it showed that he's at a level that's comparable to White. He made a comparison by describing how, in a hypothetical situation where Ken Patera was leaving the WWWF, he would face a star like Chief Jay Strongbow or Pedro Morales.
"I think it speaks to the level of talent that Hikukeo has that he was in that spot. Let’s say Ken Patera wanted to leave the WWWF. He wouldn’t wrestle a Jose Estrada in a Loser Leave the Company match. He would wrestle a Chief Jay Strongbow, a top guy. He would wrestle a Pedro Morales, and the Intercontinental Title would be on the line. That’s what you’d have. So Hikukeo is in that conversation with Jay White, although Hikukeo hasn’t done what Jay White has done yet," Kelly said.
The idea that the loss could mark the end of White's run in NJPW came up in the conversation, and Kelly noted that he didn't think that would be the case. He stated that all that's left for White to do is conquer the American wrestling scene, and there's no reason he can't do that while he's still under the NJPW banner.
“I don’t think so. I think this is just what he’s doing. What else is there for him to do except conquer America? Where in that is written that he can’t do that under the New Japan banner? I don’t know, we seem to have some operations that are based in the US," Kelly said.
Chris Bey commented on Jay White's loss to Hikuleo. Click here to see what he had to say.
White fired back after Will Ospreay recently said he'd miss beating him up. Check out his comments here.
White will compete at NJPW Battle in the Valley on February 18. Check out the card here.
Shining Wizards Matt also hosts Bread Club with Ciaran on Fightful Overbooked. Check out the newest episode here.
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