–So, you’re coming off your first G1 in three years. How was the tournament for you?
Suzuki: Hm? I don’t remember.
Suzuki: What’s done is done right? All I know is I added a few more people to my shit list.
–Your final record was 4-4-1. Was that disappointing to you?
Suzuki: I said I don’t remember. Poring over the past, going ‘what if this had happened’, ‘what if that had happened’, that’s for jokes like you. Not my style. I’m only interested in here and now, putting my life on the line to fight.
–I see your point..
Suzuki: But there’s one thing I can’t forget. One thing I won’t forgive. At the G1 finals, those TV Asahi announcers kept saying, over and over ‘you have to put your life on the line to win the G1’. Oh, so the guys that didn’t make the final didn’t put their lives on the line either? Are you mocking this business? Is pro wrestling a joke to you?
–Speaking of putting your life on the line, your August 8 match with Okada was such a hard fought encounter. Do you have any thoughts on your thirty minute draw?
Suzuki: Not really. I didn’t win, so.
–It always seems like we see a different Okada when he gets in the ring with you.
Suzuki: Whatever. I mean, I do know he hates me, heh.
–It always feels like your matches with Okada are very different to ones with other opponents.
Suzuki: Well, he is where he is. You want a reason, that’s it. He is where he is.
–Before the G1, you said there should be just one king in pro wrestling. Right now, there are a lot of champions in New Japan. How do you feel about that situation?
Suzuki: I don’t know. OK? You wanna call me a champion, I’m a champion. Great. But it doesn’t matter if I have a belt or not: if I say I’m the King, then you’d better believe I’m the King.
–You’re not interested in being compared to the other wrestlers on the roster?
Suzuki: Look, New Japan, and New Japan fans, you’re full of BS admiration and fake praise. You see a guy who just lost in the ring, getting a round of applause. ‘Oh wow, great match, clap, clap, clap.’ Patting losers on the back, acting emotional. What a load of crap! It’s the winners that make headlines. It’s the winners you end up talking about. Don’t be hypocritical.
–There is that..
Suzuki: Don’t pretend I’m wrong. I’m right! Everybody’s special? Everybody’s great? Don’t make me laugh. In a dog eat dog world, what marks you out as special? It’s simple. Winning. That’s it.
–Since becoming NEVER champion, you’ve held onto the belt against Hiroki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI. Next you have Michael Elgin on September 10.
Suzuki: It’s not a matter of holding onto anything. They’re not worthy of me handing it to ‘em. That’s it. This time, they’ve found someone I couldn’t give a single damn about and dragged him in front of me. That’s all there is to it.
–Have you grown an attachment to the NEVER title since winning it?
Suzuki: Attachment? Attachment? I’ve said before, right? Before I even started back here. Every single belt that New Japan has belongs to me. It’s a collection. See? All I’m doing is beating people that I never gave permission to hold titles, and taking them back.
–Your opponent on the tenth, Michael Elgin, beat you in your G1 match. Do you think that played a part in him getting a title match?
Suzuki: Michael Elgin? He’s a bitch. I don’t have any time for people stupid enough to think he’s on my level.
— Well a lot of people say Michael Elgin is the second biggest foreign name in New Japan right now, only behind Kenny Omega.
Suzuki: See! That’s exactly what I was talking about. ‘Second biggest’. Who gives a crap about your rankings, they all suck, I don’t care.
–It’s not often we’ve seen you against a foreign powerhouse like Elgin.
Suzuki: ‘Not often we’? Or ‘not often you’? Do your goddamn homework. Elgin, to me, he’s a big piece of shit. That’s all he is to me.
–Do you think your submission work will be able to counter Elgin’s powerful offence?
Suzuki: You do this every time, and every time my answers the same. It’s not up to you to put words in my mouth, and it’s certainly not on me to tell you exactly what my plans are for every match. Got it?
–At any rate, the power of Elgin presents a very different challenge to how your other defences have tended to be.
Suzuki: Trends, huh? Listen, if you line up every single one of the ‘my favourite top 100 wrestlers’ you have in the scrapbook under your pillow, I’m here to tell you, I have 100 different ways to fight, to face every single one of them. And if suddenly they wake up in a different mood that day, well I have 200. And in case I gain or lose a few pounds, well I have 300 different ways to fight.
–You have a strategy in mind for Elgin.
Suzuki: Oh yeah. I’m full of confidence. Have been since I set foot in a wrestling ring. By saying that all the time, when I win all I’m doing is being a man of my word. If I lose just once, suddenly I’m a liar. But that doesn’t change who I am. Full of confidence.
–After Destruction in September, there’s King of Pro Wrestling. So in a short span, there’s big shows in Fukushima, Hiroshima, Kobe and Ryogoku all with title matches in the main events. Are you mindful of those other title matches?
Suzuki: I told you, I don’t care. That stuff’s for you with your pencil and graph paper and power rankings. All I care about is ‘when are they going to put this son of a bitch in front of me?’ All you care about is the direction of the company, right?
–You’re not interested in the other title matches?
Suzuki: Who cares? I’m number one, that’s all that matters, right? Doesn’t affect me in the least. But what I have to do from now on, is I have to head into your world. Get in your mind, and the minds of the New Japan fans. See their goofy rankings, and tear them all up. Burn down the tiny little worlds you live in, and stamp all over everything you hold dear.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Michael Elgin on NEVER Openweight Championship at the show “Destruction in Fukushima” on 09 Sep at 16:00 JST
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