TJP has opened up about how important New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Super J-Cup tournament is to him, calling it his own “WrestleMania moment.” He also reflected on his time in NJPW’s training dojo, and praised their resident “Ace”, Hiroshi Tanahashi, who he believes is the Babe Ruth of the promotion.
“The Junior division is why I started wrestling in the first place. The J-Cup, that was my WrestleMania moment,” he confessed during an interview with WrestleZone. “I joke with people, but I’m being serious, I never had a Mania moment. Like when I went to WWE, I never cared when I would see ‘Oh, I’m not on the card this year.’ That was fine, I never cared about a Mania moment but I always thought, ‘Man! I’ll never get the J-Cup. There’s only been like five of them in history,’ so when that came up this year and they were like, ‘We’d like you to be part of it,’ it’s like, ‘Man, this does not come up every year.’”
TJP explained how being in contention for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship has always been a goal of his. He juxtaposed it to WWE’s Intercontinental Championship, explaining how it’s the “[…] most important title for like ‘wrestlers’ wrestlers.’”
TJP On Hiroshi Tanahashi
TJP then spoke about Tanahashi, a man he clearly has a lot of respect for. He noted how, when he was training with the promotion as a young boy, Tanahashi was just ahead of him as a Young Lion. To him, Tanahashi is akin to John Cena and Babe Ruth.
“He was the class right ahead of me when I was a young boy so he was a Young Lion graduating when I came in the dojo. It’s really cool now at this stage to be back a part of the organization,” TJP said, “and he’s been like their John Cena for so long. He’s been the Babe Ruth over there and arguably the greatest babyface of all time.”
TJP competed during last year’s Super J-Cup. He advanced through to the second round. He was eliminated by El Phantasmo.
H/T to WrestleZone for the transcription.