KUSHIDA has been a big star in NJPW for quite some time, but he’s really ready to help the promotion grow their presence in the Unite States.
The former IWGP Junior Champion and NXT Cruiserweight Champion spoke on this topic during a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. In his chat (through a translator), KUSHIDA mentions how he is looking forward to Mercedes Moné’s new title reign, and how her presence has already helped put more eyes on the product. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
How Mercedes helped usher in a great transition for NJPW:
Mercedes Moné had a match at Battle in the Valley in San Jose, and I think that was a great beginning for this. Japan still has a culture that cherishes tradition, so there are arguments both for and against the IWGP women’s championship. Japanese people don’t like ‘change.’ I want to create an atmosphere to challenge from junior heavyweight in 2023. We can change little by little. I think we can challenge and create change more in New Japan Pro-Wrestling America. That is why I chose this lifestyle that is back and forth between Japan and the U.S.
Says he wants to transition to the heavyweight division:
It is great that we can challenge a lot of things in New Japan Pro-Wrestling America. That is why the top title says NJPW Strong Openweight championship, and KENTA has that. I think that title is very innovative for Japanese wrestlers. I am looking forward to Mercedes Moné’s reign, and I will show you that I can overturn the weight difference.
Hopes to help grow the NJPW brand in America:
My goal was for myself before, and now I am carrying everybody’s goal so we make New Japan Pro-Wrestling of America bigger than ever. “It is a very exciting time for me, and I want to carry it on my back.