The Los Ingobernables de Japon leader was recently honored with the Tokyo Sports MVP award. His Wrestle Kingdom 14 clash with Kazuchika Okada was also awarded Tokyo Sports Best Bout 2020 Award.
“To be honest, as soon as I did what I did in the Tokyo Dome on January 4 & 5, I had assumed that this award was coming,” Naito said. “But after the Tokyo Dome, thanks to the pandemic, the match I had wanted with Hiromu Takahashi for a decade didn’t take place. From there, this year took a rather different form to what I had expected. Then again, things not exactly going to plan, that’s pretty much on brand for Tetsuya Naito.”
Naito On Winning Match Of The Year
When asked about being the Match of the Year award, Naito acknowledged how determining a winner for the category can be difficult due to subjective taste. He shared how it’s a “difficult call to make.”
“Everybody has their own taste. Some people might think my match with Okada was the clear winner, and some might have a very different idea. It’s a difficult call to make, and this decision will certainly raise a lot of debate. But thinking back on the matches I’ve had this year, the (Okada match) certainly is one that stays with me,” Naito admitted. “I think a few years from now when I look back on my career, this is definitely a match that will leap out as an important one, and I’m happy it got chosen.”
Naito then reflected on the key moments from the matchup that stick out in his memory. One thing that still resonates with him is how the crowd was chanting his name.
“[…] not just during the match or my entrance, but afterward, with all of the Tokyo Dome chanting my name, that’s such an incredible memory. It wasn’t just a match and a moment that I created with Okada, but something everybody in that building help make, so all of you chanting have my gratitude. Gracias.”
If he successfully retains his championships, Naito faces off against Jay White on January 5 in another ‘Winner Take All’ championship match.