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JUL.11.2023

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The G stands for Green? Kaito Kiyomiya Interviewed 【G133】

Kaito Kiyomiya prepares for debut G1

When the G1 entrants were revealed this past June at Dominion, one name got a bigger cheer of surprise from the crowd, and one name has been the focus of a lot of attention and controversy int he week’s since. As Kaito Kiyomiya prepares to fly the flag for Pro-Wrestling NOAH as the promotion’s first G1 representative since 2016, we spoke to the Supernova to get his thoughts. 

Watch all of G1 Climax 33 live in English on NJPW World!

 

Being the focal point of G1 is a good thing for NOAH

 

–I thought we could start by talking about the Reiwa Three Musketeers. With Shota Umino, Yota Tsuji and Ren Narita all in the same block in the G1, New Japan gave the three of them that distinction, but it led to quite a bit of heated debate on line, some of it including you.

Kiyomiya: Well if it gets people talking, that’s a good thing, I guess. I’ll make sure by the end of the G1 people are talking about Kiyomiya and NOAH. 

–To get into the G1, how did you feel when you got the offer?

Kiyomiya; I was stoked, honestly. This is a big stage for all of wrestling. Back at the Tokyo Dome in February I lost to Kazuchika Okada, but NJPW still obviously felt that the G1 would be more exciting with Kaito Kiyomiya in it. 

–It’s certainly had pro-wrestling fans talking, but with you missing 13 NOAH events, including the N-1 Victory tournament to join the G1, how has the reception from NOAH fans been?

Kiyomiya: All I’ve seen has been positive. I want to answer that encouragement. If I’m the focal point of this G1, that’s only a good thing for NOAH. 

–Did you watch the G1 when you were a fan?

Kiyomiya: I was a NOAH fan first and foremost, but I would always watch the G1. Okada winning his first G1 and really putting himself on the map was something that stuck with me for sure.  

–You’re the sixth NOAH wrestler to be a part of the G1. Jun Akiyama in ’03, Takashi Sugiura in ’09, Go Shiozaki in ’10, Marufuji in 2012 and 2016, and Katsuhiko Nakajima, also in ’16 before you.

Kiyomiya: I was in Marufuji’s corner when he was in the tournament in ’16- I had only just debuted at the time, but I haven’t forgotten the excitement around it, the tension in the buildings.  

–So far, the best performance for a NOAH wrestler in the G1 has been Jun Akiyama being the runner up in 2003. 

Kiyomiya: The chance to make history is definitely exciting. I want to come back to NOAH as the G1 winner. Scratch that- I will go back as the winner!

–Have any of your seniors spoken to you about being in the G1?

Kiyomiya: Not directly, but Marufuji and Muro have said nice things in the media. 

–Muto said that he wanted you to be ‘hot enough that NJPW and NOAH feel the smoke’

Kiyomiya: That’s a Muto kind of thing to say. With the support of my seniors like that, I can’t lose. 

I’m confident I can out technique SANADA

 

–You’re in the A Block for this G1. There’s a real youth flavour to the block, including those Reiwa Three Musketeers as well.

Kiyomiya: Maybe so, but all I’m looking at in the block is SANADA. 

–You’re just here to win.

Kiyomiya: Obviously, I have to be here to take out the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, and that’s SANADA. 

–SANADA’s quite an orthodox technician in approach, not dissimilar to yourself.

Kiyomiya: Right. He has that classical style, but so do I, and I’m confident in what I can do. Confident I can out-technique SANADA, certainly.

–You also both carry the Keiji Muto influence, and you both use the Shining Wizard.

Kiyomiya: I’m definitely way above him when it comes to that move. There’s no doubt we’ll have Muto sitting up and taking notice of this one. 

I’ve been at the top of my game, while they’re just coming to the start line

 

–Looking at the Japanese members of A Block, you’re 27, Shota Umino is 26, Ren Narita 25 and Yota Tsuji 29. That said, you’ve won the GHC Heavyweight Championship twice- do you resent being included in the same conversation as them?

Kiyomiya: All those guys have just been thrown together because they came back from excursion recently. I’ve been at the top of my game while they’re just coming up to the start line now. 

–In your debut year in 2016 you wrestled at a Lion’s Gate event, where Ren Narita and Shota Umino had their pre debut match. You haven’t tangled since.

Kiyomiya: Before the matches that night I took part in the NJPW training, and I think those two had to be there, with their shaved heads. I don’t remember entirely though.

–You’re facing Yota Tsuji first July 15 in Hokkaido. He made a point of going to the NOAH card on June 22 to confront you.

Kiyomiya: Like I said back then, I’m not going to waste my time with small fry.

–Have you seen Tsuji wrestle?

Kiyomiya: Sure. Not because of the G1 per se- I try to watch wrestling from all over when I can. He’s got a lot of energy for sure, but that’s about all he has, I reckon. 

Umino’s tweets? TL;DR

–On July 21 in Nagaoka you face Shota Umino, who hasn’t exactly been charitable to you online.

Kiyomiya: You mean his Tweets? TL;DR.  He seems to be quite the emo type- if he has a lot of pent up emotion he’s welcome to try and release it in our match. 

–In another connection to Keiji Muto, he teamed with Muto and Hiroshi Tanahashi in Muto’s final NJPW match on January 4.

Kiyomiya: Be that as it may, I don’t see anything with him. Just like Tsuji, he has a lot of energy but that’s all he has. If anything, his massive tweets come to mind more easily than his matches.

–You face the other Musketeer on August 5, your last match. What do you think of him?

Kiyomiya: He’s trying, heh. What is he, in Suzuki-gun?

— Ah, no, Strong Style.

Kiyomiya: Sorry, I just saw him hanging with Suzuki and assumed. He’s working on climbing that ladder. He doesn’t talk as much as Umino and Tsuji, so I’m looking forward to having the match do the talking. 

I have to beat Okada

–You also face Chase Owens July 18 in Yamagata, Gabe Kidd July 27 in Ota and August 1, it’s Hikuleo in Takamatsu.

Kiyomiya: There are international wrestlers in NOAH too, and I’m experienced as far as that goes, but the more variety I have in my opponents, the better. How tall is Hikuleo?

–203 cm. Is he one of the tallest opponents you’ve ever faced?

Kiyomiya: Hm, that’s tall, but I’ve faced big guys like that overseas before. I’m not worried. 

–Owens and Gabe are representing BULLET CLUB. Do you have any thoughts on that group?

Kiyomiya: Taiji Ishimori was a senior of mine coming up in NOAH, and now he’s there. That’s an interesting note, but as for them as a group? I know they like to bend the rules, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. 

–Is there anyone from the other blocks you’ll want to face in the knockout phase?

Kiyomiya: Well, Okada. Gotta be. I have to beat Okada, and I want to do it in the final.

–Is it fair to say there’s still ill feeling after February 21 in Tokyo Dome?

Kiyomiya: No, I wouldn’t say ill feeling is the right word. I leave the past in the past. But I do want revenge. The key thing is winning the G1, and if I do that, Okada’s head is a matter of course. 

–Any final message for NJPW fans?

Kiyomiya: I want you all to take a good look at Kaito Kiyomiya. You’re going to see from me what you never see in NJPW, and you’re going to see what makes NOAH so great. NJPW has spent decades at the top of this industry in the eyes of the world, and in this G1 I’ll be fighting to change that.

 

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