Yujiro Takahashi reflects on getting to be back in the G1 Climax tournament.
Prior to being a part of this year's 20-man tournament field, Takahashi didn't get to compete in NJPW's premiere tournament since 2015. It was a long road to get back to the G1 Climax and he had been campaigning backstage for a spot in this year's field. Speaking to NJPW, Takahashi said he was a little surprised that he was actually included.
"I’ll be honest, I was taken aback a little bit. Even though I’d put it out there, I was still like ‘for real?’ I had my match right after the announcement so I was standing by backstage and heard my name called. I couldn’t stop smiling on my entrance. Well, I think that reaction came from the fans being taken by surprise. There was a lot of shock, a lot of ‘really? Yujiro?’ and I take that as a good thing," Takahashi said.
Takahashi even admitted that he might have rested on his success in the early 2010s which included challenging Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. With his run of being in the G1 for years, Takahashi said he overvalued himself back then and when he didn't get the call to be in the tournament, it was embarrassing.
"It was a surprise, yeah. I was kind of thinking ‘nearly G1 season’, like I was taking it for granted that I would be in there, and then when I wasn’t… Well, cutting veterans is one thing, but here I was in my 30s, supposedly in my prime. Seeing the reality of the situation really hit home to me. I realized I had been over valuing myself. I had really rested on those laurels and let myself slip. Not making the cut was embarrassing. It sucked. I drank a lot of tequila that summer. A lot," Takahashi said.
Although Takahashi is finally in the G1, his win-loss record isn't too great, starting out with a 0-4 record in the A Block. For full standings of the tournament, click here.