With wrestling being mostly gone throughout the last few months due to the pandemic, Tetsuya Naito feels like everybody has taken wrestling for granted.
The double IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion recently spoke with NJPW and talked about being away from the ring for so long as the promotion shut down events due to the pandemic.
"Well, I think we all took wrestling for granted. I took wrestling for granted, being able to have a match for granted, wrestling in front of people for granted. That norm went away. So I think it reminded me just how important pro-wrestling is, and what a privilege it is to be able to wrestle in front of a crowd and do what we do. I always think every match is important, but now I’ll treat it with even more importance. So that’s how I felt. Plus, some frustration," Naito said.
Part of that frustration stems from the fact that other Japanese promotions ran a few shows before NJPW did. Although it was good to be able to check out other promotions, Naito believes it is NJPW's job to prove it is still the top wrestling company.
"Other companies were having matches and we weren’t. I was jealous to be honest. I’ve always been NJPW centered, but I actually watched some of the other promotions. Come to think of it, there might be other people like me who discovered new wrestling, or wrestling altogether, while they were in lockdown. I mean, it’s no surprise that NJPW fans might have checked out other promotions during this period. So it’s on us to make people think ‘ah, yeah, NJPW is better!’ For better or for worse, we were behind the other promotions when it came to the empty arena setup and now it’s tie to really show what we can do," Naito said.
The full interview can be read here.