Tetsuya Naito is one of the most popular stars in New Japan Pro Wrestling. The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon is technically a heel in many cases but he’s so over with the crowd that more often than not, he gets one of the loudest pops of the night.
But what are the chances that WWE audiences would get the opportunity to cheer for Naito in Vince McMahon’s ring? According to Tokyo Sports (via Pro Wrestling Sheet), Naito says that an offer came from WWE following his match with Chris Jericho at Dominion on June 9. But what was Tetsuya’s answer?
“I didn’t even give it thought,” he explained. “This New Japan ring is already the world’s number one stage. The fans know this. That’s why I think we should focus on our home crowd before looking international.”
Jericho won the match against Naito at Dominion and became the IWGP Intercontinental champion in the process. Now it seems that the two men are headed for a rematch on January 4 at New Japan’s biggest event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom 13. Naito spoke about facing Y2J once again.
“You should understand that I have no interest in ‘WWE Superstar’ Chris Jericho ring,” Tetsuya said in reference to their upcoming match. “What I want to do is get revenge for what happened in a New Japan ring, in a New Japan ring.”
Many fans are perhaps happy with Naito’s decision to remain in New Japan, mostly because of how former NJPW stars have been handled in WWE thus far. Former IWGP champion Shinsuke Nakamura is a featured attraction and holds the United States title. But he’s not been elevated as a top guy.
He’s also never held the WWE Championship though he did work a program against current champ AJ Styles. Finn Balor was also a top star in New Japan but he’s yet to become a main event powerhouse in WWE. The same is true of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
WWE has not confirmed or denied Naito’s claim that he was indeed offered a contract to join the company.