Tetsuya Naito Acknowledges SANADA's Skill in NJPW, But Questions Superstar Status

Naito shares candid thoughts on NJPW's top contender.

by Noman Rasool
Tetsuya Naito Acknowledges SANADA's Skill in NJPW, But Questions Superstar Status

In a recent interview with NJPW ahead of the highly anticipated G1 Climax, Tetsuya Naito, the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ), shared his thoughts on IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA. While recognizing SANADA's impressive abilities as a competitor, Naito expressed his reservations about considering him a true superstar in the promotion.

SANADA's Championship Reign Fails to Impress Naito

Naito admitted that SANADA holds the championship title but believes that he hasn't been able to stand out in the way a champion should. He remarked that if a random fan on the world's streets were asked about the current New Japan champion, they would likely struggle to recall SANADA's name.

Despite acknowledging SANADA's victory in the New Japan Cup and subsequent championship win, Naito emphasized that he doesn't perceive him as a superstar. When asked about his preferred opponents in the G1, Naito did not mention SANADA, citing his status as the champion as a contributing factor.

Instead, he expressed interest in facing the likes of Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, and Kazuchika Okada, whom he considers more fitting opponents for a significant final match. Reflecting on being grouped with Shota Umino, Yota Tsuji, and Ren Narita as the "Reiwa Three Musketeers," Naito initially found it difficult to believe the announcement.

He questioned the reasoning behind NJPW's decision to publicize it in a lackluster manner, expressing his concerns about being associated with the other two young talents. Naito confessed that he was relieved to witness Tsuji's response, as he shared a similar sentiment of not wanting to be labeled as part of the new trio.

To Naito, the term "New Musketeers" seemed unnecessary and merely prolonged the association with the legendary trio of Chono, Muto, and Hashimoto. Instead, he emphasized the importance of creating something new rather than dwelling on the past.

With his candid remarks, Naito's statements shed light on his opinion of SANADA's position within NJPW. While recognizing SANADA's undeniable skill, Naito questions his ability to captivate and transcend the boundaries of a regular champion.

As the G1 Climax approaches, fans eagerly await the unfolding events to witness the clashes between Naito and his chosen opponents, hoping for an electrifying and remarkable tournament.