“Switchblade” Jay White is on a fast track to the main event in New Japan Pro Wrestling. The native New Zealander has been firmly establishing himself within NJPW’s ranks — not only as the leader of Bullet Club but also as a legitimate threat to Tanahashi’s reign as IWGP Heavyweight champion.
White was a recent guest on Chris Jericho’s popular podcast, Talk Is Jericho. During the course of their conversation, he would discuss how he ended up in NJPW, and which WWE Superstar was to thank for that. He also discussed the culture shock of living and working in Japan, as well as the origin of his nickname, “Switchblade.”
Jay White recalled his time working in the United Kingdom, in particular for the British company, Revolution Pro Wrestling (RevPro). It was during this time that White would meet Prince Devitt, now known as WWE’s Finn Balor. From this seemingly innocuous meeting, Balor would mention White to Bad Lack Fale, a fellow New Zealander.
The two would later meet in 2014, along with Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura. They were over in the UK to perform for RevPro so, sensing an opportunity, White reached out to Fale. He then met up with them and, “from there, I think Fale did the work behind-the-scenes, based on [Balor’s] recommendation, did the work behind-the-scenes to get me a spot in the [NJPW] dojo.”
“I Didn’t Really Have Much Knowledge Of It”
Arriving in Japan, however, turned out to be a major culture shock for the Kiwi.
“Oh man, a big culture shock! I had no idea what I was actually coming over to do,” he admitted. “All I knew was what I had heard from Fale and that was very little. Looking back, man, I really should have looked into the workings of New Japan. I was more trying, technically wrestling-wise, to be as good as I can. I had no knowledge of the background of the company really.”
“Once I met Devitt, I started watching his stuff more. But a lot of, like, the history to [NJPW] or the older guys, I didn’t really have much knowledge of it, so that was a big shock to me, obviously, learning that stuff. Yeah, I had no idea how the dojo worked in terms of these young boys.”
On the subject of his nickname, “Switchblade,” White and Alex Shelley would be the ones to create the moniker. NJPW booker, Gedo, apparently wanted a name that represented White’s “razor sharp” in-ring skills.
Gedo suggested “Razor Sharp,” which White didn’t like due to its potential association with Razor Ramon.
“Me and Alex Shelley came up with the name ‘Switchblade’ instead when we were driving home from that show. […] because we were driving, I think we said it at the same time. ‘Oh, it can’t be ‘Slingblade’ because that’s the move.’ And then, me and Alex Shelley both go, ‘oh, ‘Switchblade’!’ And we go, ‘oh, that actually could work.’ Yeah, exactly. It’s nice and simple.”