Independent wrestling star Lio Rush recently spoke with the NJPW press to hype his participation in this year’s Super J-Cup, where the former NXT cruiserweight champion discusses what he hopes to achieve in the tournament, and reveals that NJPW was always his main goal. Highlights are below.
What he hopes to achieve competing in this year’s Super J-Cup tournament:
I hope I can cement my legacy with the Japanese audience. There are some people who have seen me in WWE, I’m sure, but there will be a lot of people who have no idea who I am, so I’m going into this tournament like I’m making a first impression. I’m nervous, excited, and hungry. Maybe more than at any point in my career. So it all means a lot to me.
On who he is:
I’m a loud, brash, confident 26 year old. I try to differentiate myself from everybody else, I try to innovate in the ring, and I use that to get the upper hand on people. I guess you could say I’m a trickster? I like to play mind games, I like to play tricks when it comes to being in the ring. I think that label sums up who I am. But I don’t back down from any challenge, I always try to make the impossible possible.
His training and how NJPW was his goal:
I went back home to Maryland and trained there. That exposed me to the independent scene, and travelling, wrestling in front of different audiences. I wanted to go to Mexico, Canada, Europe, everywhere. My goal at that point was actually New Japan.
What he learned in WWE:
I think the biggest thing I learned was patience. I’ve always been wanting to progress quickly, get to the next step quicker than anyone else. But in WWE there are so many people involved you can’t move at the pace you want to. That challenged me, but I’ve come out the other side more patient and able to focus on myself.
The key differences between WWE and NJPW:
Take from this what you want, but at the end of the day, they put on a show. There’s much more in the way of theatrics. With New Japan, there’s so much respect for the sport itself. Both the company and the fans have a lot more respect for professional wrestling itself.