Tetsuya Naito is coming off the biggest victory of his career at Wrestle Kingdom 14, winning the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships. But 2019 was rougher than fans may have imagined for the Los Ingobernables de Japon leader.
According to a report from Nikkan Sports, Naito underwent secret right eye surgery in November 2019. He reportedly noticed unusual vision in May 2019 in a match against Kazuchika Okada. "It looked like there were six ropes and the second and third floors to the stage seemed to overlap," said Naito. "At that point I thought 'I'm going to be retiring this way' ... I was worried about doing G1 Climax in the summer, that I wouldn't be able to get back into the title picture."
He visited various doctors who specialized in ophthalmology, brain surgery, and otolaryngology. At a college hospital in October, it was diagnosed that the eye muscles were paralyzed. After wrestling on Nov. 27, he underwent eye surgery at a hospital in Tokyo on Nov. 29. The muscles around the eyes that had been paralyzed were sutured, allowing his focus to be restored.
Naito missed three weeks of action, returning to the ring on Dec. 19.
In an interview prior to Wrestle Kingdom 14, Naito discussed his "crisis of confidence" in 2019 where he thought he couldn't wrestle anymore. You can view his full comments by clicking here.
Thanks to Berry Meijer (@dartvader_one) for the translation.