Tetsuya Naito is one of New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s biggest stars, and it’s easy to see why. Since the former Stardust Genius returned from a stint in CMLL, his compelling comeback story, cool and unique character, and top-notch wrestling ability have made him a fan favorite. And, according to a recent interview Naito with in Tokyo Sports, WWE took notice of the man once described by one of his storyline enemies as “a pseudo-Stone Cold Steve Austin.”
As Naito prepares for a revenge-based rematch against Chris Jericho for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 13, he told the newspaper that he rejected an offer from WWE right after their match at Dominion in June. But apparently, there was no temptation for the L.I.J. frontman to go sports entertainment. Naito said, “I didn’t even give it thought. 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.”
He applied this to his feud with Jericho, adding, “You should understand that I have no interest in ‘WWE Superstar’ Chris Jericho. What I want to do is get revenge for what happened in a New Japan ring, in a New Japan ring.” (It should be noted that the wrestler’s interviews tend to be kayfabe, and there has been a strong Japanese pride element to Jericho’s recent NJPW storylines, including Y2J insulting Japanese people in promos and saying he has never lost a match against a Japanese wrestler in the promotion.)
For the time being, it looks like the closest wrestling fans will get to seeing Tetsuya Naito in WWE is that time Andrade “Cien” Almas hit the Destino at a Tokyo house show.