Root of all EVIL? SHO interviewed

SHO seeks KOPW in Kobe September 24

Do not let the cover picture of this interview fool you- SHO is not the KOPW 2023 champion. Yet after a barrage of illegal attacks in Ryogoku back in August, he is the next challenger to Taichi’s title, and currently has illegal possession of the belt. In a rare interview, we attempted to get in the mind of the Murder Machine ahead of the Road to Destruction.

Watch Destruction in Kobe September 24 live in English on NJPW World!

We’re the best team, we’re the most respectable team. We’re trying to have the world take our lead

–So SHO, this is our first official interview with you in about a year and a half. 

SHO: After we’ve been carrying the whole wrestling world on our shoulders? Why haven’t you come to us sooner?

–Well, maybe you could reflect on your time in HOUSE OF TORTURE so far with us a bit?

SHO: What’s to say? We’re the best there is, and we’ve had to deal with small fry night in and night out. It’s too easy for us. 

–…You went 4-5 in Best of Super Jr. this year for eight points…

SHO: I’m the only one in that division that plays fair. All the other junior heavyweights are spineless cowards who will do anything to avoid a fair fight. With the amount of corruption that’s made the division rotten to its core, it’s no wonder the results are so misleading. The very fact that I should have no issues wiping the floor with the rest of the juniors but I don’t have the trophy with me right now? That says much more about the state of the division than it does about me.

–You’ve… been fighting fair….

SHO: That’s clear for everyone to see, right? But you had all of these cowards, all of these scrubs who can’t fight fair and don’t deserve to be in a tournament like Best of the Super Jr. I’m on a mission to clean up and set the world right.

–What does H.O.T mean to you as a team?

SHO: I’m sorry to say that I used to be in a faction full of the worst of humanity in CHAOS. If I’d spent much longer there I would become a hateful, cheap scummy wrestler like all of them. Ah, I feel so happy that I was able to wash the scales from my eyes! So glad to be a part of the greatest team in all of professional wrestling! So delighted to fight for truth and justice!

–…Fans around Japan have been allowed to cheer over the last year, and every town we’ve been in has had HOUSE OF TORTURE heavily booed.

SHO: What a warped mindset- no, the people are on our side. They’re booing our opposition, not us. Booing the twisted injustice of these ne’er do wells. This next tour will see us wipe away all that discontent. We’ll make sure that everyone gets to see justice in the ring. 

–Nobody would boo what you would do. Nobody would boo the actions you take in the ring, you’re saying.

SHO: I mean, who would boo what HOUSE OF TORTURE does? We are the best team, the strongest team, and we’re changing the world for the better.

–OK. Recently All Star Junior Festival 2023 was held in Philadelphia, but you… weren’t on the lineup.

SHO: Well that was all politics by that bastard Hiromu Takahashi. In March, it was me against three other wrestlers from other companies, and I beat them all up by myself, had them all crying. Hiromu and Riocky didn’t want that to happen again and didn’t want to be embarrassed so they made sure I wasn’t booked, the chickens. 

 –Well, you did end up wrestling Isami Kodaka in BASARA this past July as a result of what happened in March.

SHO: He picked a fight with me and I made him regret it. Even though three other guys interfered in that match I sent them all packing. If there’s one thing I can’t forgive, it’s people running in, interfering and spoiling the sanctity of a pro-wrestling match. I made sure they paid the price, and I’d be happy to torture them all again. 

–You called Hiromu a ‘chicken’?

SHO: Well he’s doing all that he can to avoid me. But for as terrible a champion as he is, I can beat him for that belt any time I want. In that case, I want him to be right on the cusp of living his dream… and then take it from him, heheh. 

–When might that be?

SHO: Oh, I don’t know, when he’s just a finger tip away from the defence record, or when there’ll be a live match on prime time… I want to make sure he’s so close to what he’s always wanted before I take it all away. That’s a fitting punishment for what he tried to pull with that festival of his. But the point is I can take that title when ever I want, so as soon as I say it’s time, it’s time.

That title was mine ever since I was number one in the ranbo.

–Well, perhaps the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title is on the back burner, but in the meantime is September 24 and Kobe. Now, Taichi is the current KOPW champion. So why is it you have that belt with you?

SHO: Because it’s my belt! Remember, I was the first in at the Tokyo Dome, in the New Japan Ranbo. That was me being officially named the year’s good luck omen, and therefore the belt was always mine. 

–Well, Shingo Takagi won the four way to become the first KOPW 2023 holder.

SHO: Since the KOPW 2023 was mine, I had this whole idea for a cool trophy design, but then that punk Takagi went and made it a belt…

–What kind of design would you have?

SHO: If small fry like Takagi get to have belts, then someone as strong and tough as me deserves a fort- no, a castle!

–A.. castle.

SHO: And I am the lord of the KOPW Castle! A castle isn’t something that just changes at the end of the year, it’s forever! Who wants something as small time as a belt?

–So you’re saying that if you’d been the first KOPW champion this year, you would have… a castle.

SHO: Correct. I was first in that ranbo, and cut through the whole pack. Then the only way they could bring me down int he four way was to make it a one on three handicap match. That’s how Takagi won. The Dragon? They should call him the Hyena. 

–So you feel there was some injustice there.

SHO: Of course! I never lost that match, I should have been the champion from the start. For Taichi to carry this around and call himself champion is a disgrace. I’m just taking it back.

–So that’s why you stole the belt in Ryogoku.

SHO: Stole? The hell are you talking about? The hand of God took that belt. I am the year’s good luck omen, it’s all the way it should be.

–The fans in Ryogoku seemed to boo you pretty heavily for what you did.

SHO: No, no. I am in the right. Those boos were for Just Five Guys. I understand that, anybody would want to boo them. 

SHO: That was a whole arena of people saying that J5G don’t deserve to be champions. It’s our job to torture those evil doers and bring justice to the world. That’s why I carry this torture tool (his wrench). With this I fix all that’s broken and put a stop to these bad guys. Look at Taichi! He walks to the ring with a weapon, that mic stand. I just cannot forgive wrestlers bringing weapons into the ring. Inexcusable.

–I don’t remember Taichi using that mic stand in any matches lately…

SHO: I only have this tool as a deterrent! It’s there to make sure these terrible cheats don’t break the rules. I have never abused this tool in any of my matches. 

–You use it in most of your matches..?

SHO: I use it to deal with the villains around here, that is perfectly within the rules.

–….Ok then. You said in your backstage comments that Taichi has only been making easy matches for the title and that you planned to punish that.

SHO: That wasn’t empty speak. I was telling the truth. Look at how he took that title! A soft, easy match between two ham and eggers, with the cheapest finish possible. 

–Taichi and Shingo Takagi wrestled in a Takagi Style Ultimate Triad Match. The match went 43 minutes 40 seconds, a tough bout. 

SHO: A match that easy and they had to go over 40 minutes. That proves that neither of them are championship worthy. They just work to make sure the belt stays between them, that’s why there hasn’t been a title match in months. I could take care of both of them in a matter of seconds.

My rules will test body and soul

–What do you think of Taichi?

SHO: Taichi? He’s just a guy, one of five. I can’t believe he earns much money from YouTube. What’s he got, a couple hundred subs?

–Taichi’s YouTube channel is very popular.

SHO: We won’t be holding back any over the next tour! Just look at those Merit (shampoo) commercials! As long as they have the belts, there’s hardly any ‘merit’ to that! I’m sure the sponsors are grateful we took the belts off of them. Their sponsor money should be going to us!

–….. Well then. This is an openweight bout of sorts, with you a junior against a heavyweight in Taichi.  

SHO: I don’t care whether my opponent is 100kg, 200kg, 600kg or ten tons, I’ll smash them up. I’m not worried about this match at all, even though I7m less than 60kg right now myself. 

–I think you weight more than 130lbs. All the same, what rules are you thinking about for this match?

SHO: Rules… All the mnatches up to now have been between two curtain jerkers, having these easy rules just to have an easy match. So maybe I’ll come up with rules that really test the body and soul. 

–I think some of these stipulations have been pretty tough…

SHO: You really think so? It was like seeing two kids playing in a sand pit last time. And 43 minutes of it…

–So you plan to present harder rules than that. 

SHO: Right. perfectly fair. A Sinner’s Repentance Match.

–A Sinner’s Repentance Match? One wonders just what that might entail… For now though, how do you envision yourself as champion?

SHO: Well, being the great champion that I will be, there will be greedy worms coming after me at every turn. So I think I’ll be smashing the small fry for the rest of the year. And once we beat all of those villains, and set them right, won’t NJPW be a better place?

–I see. After Kobe, EVIL challenges SANADA on October 9 for the IWGP World Heavyweight title.

SHO: EVIL? Challenger? In Ryogoku, EVIL became the champion didn’t he? He’s the champion, not the challenger. Isn’t it your job to keep on top of this stuff? And we have such a wonderful champion in EVIL, too. He’ll sell Tokyo Dome out to the rafters. Be grateful.

–EVIL promised in a Tokyo Sports interview a new horizon with him on top in a sold out Tokyo Dome.

SHO: And that’s what will happen. Wrestlers, the staff, the fans all should show their gratitude to H.O.T. You should make sure everyone does. Send an all hands mail now! CC: staff all!

–Well, I’m sure we’ll have to if it happens… So what are your plans for the rest of the year?

SHO: To *defend* this title belt, and bring about the eternal era of the HOUSE OF TORTURE! Worry not, NJPW, H.O.T is here!