Top NJPW Star Comments On SANADA Needing To Step Up

Top NJPW Star Comments On SANADA Needing To Step Up NJPW

Top star and new NJPW President Hiroshi Tanahashi has commented on IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA needing to step up.

At NJPW Sakura Genesis 2023, SANADA defeated Kazuchika Okada to become the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion for the first time.

Since then, the former Los Ingobernables de Japon member has become the longest reigning champion in the title’s history and has successful defenses against Hiromu Takahashi, Yota Tsuji and EVIL.

However, Tokyo Sports named Tetsuya Naito the MVP for 2023 based off his work in NJPW and winning the G1 Climax 33 tournament in August.

In a new interview with NJPW, New Japan President Hiroshi Tanahashi discussed SANADA not winning Tokyo Sports MVP. He said:

“I’m trying to put myself in SANADA’s shoes. He won the title in April, defended it for eight months, but he wasn’t in the Tokyo Sports MVP running, and Naito blew him away.”

“Didn’t win MVP or Outstanding Achievement either. So I’d like to see him really step up,”

“If it was me, and I lost the title to Naito in this situation, it would be hard for me to come back from that.”

On the importance of SANADA’s upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 18 match against Naito, Tanahashi stated:

“If things go the way they are, he’ll lose his title and his career to Naito. There’s enough Naito fans to where it could be an all Naito crowd in there.”

“I’d really like the SANADA fans to pull through for him. I mean, a gift in the Tokyo Dome would be a heck of a sight.”

“When I’ve wrestled Naito in the past and the support was all on him, I found the best way to deal with it was to shut out those voices and just focus on what I was doing.”

“I want SANADA to be selfish in there. SANADA isn’t the most expressive, and it’s hard for the fans to really see how he feels. He’s got that poker face to him.”

“But I want to see him get angry, to the fans if need be. If there’s a big chant for Naito, I’d like him to let everybody know who the champion is.”

“I think the people will see that frustration, and it might just swing the casual fans on the fence to be contrarian and cheer for him,”

SANADA will defend the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Tetsuya Naito in the main event of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 on January 4.

Meanwhile, Hiroshi Tanahashi will challenge Zack Sabre Jr. for the NJPW World TV Championship.

WrestleTalk will provide any news and notes for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 heading into next week’s show.

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6 months ago by SP3



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