Jay White discusses his bout with Tetsuya Naito for the Intercontinental Championship January 4, and his hopes of double gold on January 5.
It’s simple. I want to be double champion so nobody can deny me anymore.
–Let’s get straight to January 4, and your match with Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. After a long silence, Naito seems to have been more vocal in recent weeks, how do you feel about his change in attitude?
White: I was a little surprised when he showed a little bit of life. Myself, and the fans have come to expect somebody that’s a little bit too tranquilo. At the end of the day though, he can put all the life into this that he wants, but it’s about Wrestle Kingdom January 4. Against anybody else, maybe he can toy with their minds, but I’m on another level, especially mentally, and especially compared to Naito. Maybe he’s made things a bit more exciting, but it’ s not going to make a difference.
–You talked about not being used in the promotional material for Wrestle Kingdom, do you feel like you’re mistreated as champion?
White: What do you think? I said it in the press conference and online. You can see, by this piece of gold right here that I’m the champion. Wouldn’t you think that as the champion, if there’s a championship match that my face would be on the graphic instead of the challenger alone? In fact, not alone! My belt was in the picture! On the mat! With Naito holding his eye open, looking at it! All that was there was my name. That’s NJPW, taking a mental edge on me, and taking the mental edge away from me. They can’t stand the thought of me being the first ever double IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion, so they’re giving him the edge.
That’s even more evidenced by the fact that he’s in the match in the first place. I beat him in the G1 and I beat him for (the title) in Kobe. That’s two wins for me, zero for him. And what did he do? Beat Taichi? And that puts him at the front of the line? No, no, but apparently New Japan thinks that’s OK. They do what they want anyway.
Like earlier in the year, I should have had my IWGP Heavyweight title rematch against Okada, but instead Tanahashi comes out and says he wants to be number one contender. So we have a match that you would think would be a number one contender match. And I win, of course, because it was against that old decrepit Tanahashi. You’d think that I’d be top contender but no. The company has a history of pulling the rug from under me. The evidence is all there, you just have to open your eyes and see it.
–With a lot of the focus on the Double Gold Dash, why are you aiming to become double champion?
White: So they can’t deny me anymore. The fans are more responsible for this than they realise. Even the ones that act like they’re behind me, they’re all to blame. They’ve been begging for Naito to have his opportunity. NJPW have listened to the fans and given Naito every opportunity that they could because they know that Naito can’t do it on his own; that he’s not good enough.
So why do I want to be double champion? It’s so the fans, the office, the other wrestlers, nobody will be able to deny that I am what I say I am. The best wrestler in the world. Look what I’ve done the last two years! You might try and hide from it, but when I am double champion you can’t hide anymore. You’ll have to use me on the graphics, you have to use me on posters. You’ll have to put me over and admit the truth that I am better than everybody. Especially you, Naito, especially you. I have to prove it one more time and go 3-0 against you. Then on January 5, I can’t wait to stand over Okada and Ibushi, knocked out, looking at the lights and just breathing. While I’m double champion. Try and deny me then.
The office, America, other companies, I’ll go everywhere and spit in everyone’s face
–Who do you think will be opposite you January 5, and who do you want it to be?
White: How many times have I been asked that? The answer doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter. I don’t have a preference because I know, just like Okada Ibushi and Naito know that I’m better than all of them. Who do I want to face? Whoever has the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. That’s who I want to face, and who I’ll beat.
–Why are you so confident in your success at the Tokyo Dome?
White: How many times have I beaten Naito? How many times has he beaten me? Zero. Okada? I beat him twice, he beat me once. Ibushi? OK he beat me, but you go back and you’ll see why I lost, because of poor officiating. From the start of the match the referee is pulling me back. Why am I so confident? My word is Gospel, just take it. What I say is the truth, and on January 5 what I’m saying now will be the present not the future. It’ll be me holding both belts.
–What are your goals for after the Double Gold Dash?
White: When I become champion, what I’m going to do is go on a worldwide tour, starting in Japan, rubbing this in everybody’s face. In the wrestler’s face, the company’s face, President Meij’s face, Chairman Sugabayashi’s face. I’ll flip his table over while I’m doing it. Then I’m going to go over to America. I’m going to march into the LA Dojo, slap Katsuyori Shibata right in his face and rub the belts in his face too. I’ll show all his students what a real champion looks like.
I’m going to go around New Beginning USA, and see all those American fans that think they know me so well, I’m going to spit in all their faces. They can boo me all they want, but they won’t be able to deny the fact that I’m better than every single one of them. Hell, I might even go into other companies and spit in all their faces too! I’ll go and prove to everyone that just like I always say, I am the BEST! I, and I alone.
–You said you saw aspects of BULLET CLUB in Kota Ibushi at the Wrestle Kingdom press conference. Where did that come from?
White: I saw actions from him that I would approve of. What Ibushi did to Okada with that briefcase, I would see myself doing that. So it was a bit shocking, but impressive. Before it didn’t work out with Ibushi in BULLET CLUB, there were other things going on, but things are different now. I don’t have a personal issue with Ibushi like I do with Okada and Naito. He’s a great athlete, strong and good looking, but he’s missing the support that we could offer in BULLET CLUB. So the offer is still there. Should you be interested Ibushi, there’s a spot open if you make the right choices. We can make things work to his advantage.
I’m the best wrestler in the world, and I am in control. Not you, Naito.
–After January 4, if you had to guess, what will Naito’s future look like?
White: Well one thing’s for sure, he’ll be the loser January 4 so he’ll be facing the other loser. And he’ll lose that match too, because he’ll be so heartbroken, so disappointed. He’ll be a broken shell of what he used to be. This is his last chance.
How many more times does he have to fail at the big one before he realizes he isn’t cut out for this? He’ll finish all this in fourth place. After that, I suggest he take a back seat and think about retiring. I don’t know how many more times he can be dumped on his head. Your time, just like Tanahashi’s, is done. Settle down, go and sell your Tshirts. You have guys like SANADA and EVIL in LIJ who have more gas in the tank. So take a rest. Permanently. And do it knowing that the gold and the destino of NJPW are in good hands. Right here.
–Naito always talks about his resurgence and flipping the script…
White: We’re all waiting for that moment. You think you have that power? Look at all the chances you’ve had! Why haven’t you done that already! You won the G1 and got voted out of the main event spot, and you still lost the match! What about this year’s G1? Or two years ago in the Dome! You got your main event at Wrestle Kingdom! Just what you wanted but you didn’t win that either! You talk about the feeling of winning in the main event at the Tokyo Dome, but you always fall short. It’s all in your power to flip the script? Don’t kid yourself! I see right through you and your BS.
G1 Climax 29, me and you, the last night of the block matches at the Budokan. If you have all that power, why didn’t you beat me then? Because you can’t flip the script when you’re in there with the best. You had another opportunity to beat me defending the Intercontinental title, and the fact that this belt is sitting here with me shows, proves you have no control in these big spots. 2-0! 2-0 for me! January 4 you have one more chance, well I’m still waiting for you to flip the script, and after January 4 we still will be. I am the best wrestler alive, and I’m in control, not you.
Bigger things are always on the horizon when I’m involved. You’re very welcome.
–Kazuchika Okada is talking about wanting to sell out the Tokyo Dome on January 4 & 5. You were very proud of selling out Madison Square Garden as you put it. Your thoughts on Okada’s statement?
White: He’s making that claim because he knows people will be there to see me. He’s trying to take credit for what I have been doing, which is carrying this company even if people don’t realise it. I mean imagine saying after this year that anybody but Jay White is pro-wrestling’s MVP? What a joke. Okada is just talk because he’s scared of what’s going to happen even if he makes it to January 5. Smoke and mirrors.
–After such a successful 2019, what do you expect from 2020?
White: Let’s go back to Okada for a second. The Tokyo Sports MVP. The same MVP that I embarrassed in record time to start this year. I beat him in 14 minutes! The man people saw as a legend in the making, the ‘Most Valuable Player’ I embarrassed in 14 minutes. Let me just let that sit. Now going forward into 2020, it’s going to start even better than this year. I’m going to have IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight titles, and that’s the start! Imagine where it’ll go from there. Bigger things are always on the horizon when I’m involved. You’re all very welcome.
–And what for BULLET CLUB in 2020?
White: I can’t give that away. What if I had told you about KENTA joining before he did? It wouldn’t be as sweet. Just believe me when I tell you BULLET CLUB will keep rising and rising just like it did this year. Look at the rest of BULLET CLUB. Everyone is at their peak. Everyone is doing better than the wildest expectations. And we will keep doing that because we know how good we are. As far as new acquisitions go? You’ll just have to wait and see.