From a mediocre mid carder, to the top heel in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Tetsuya Naito rise to the top has been memorable.
The rise of Tetsuya Naito has been quite memorable in New Japan Pro Wrestling. After years of trying to find himself and his place in the company, Naito has finally struck gold with his current gimmick. After serving mainly as an upper mid carder for most of his career Naito, has finally found his way to the top.
Tetsuya Naito’s career in New Japan began back in 2005. He soon formed a tag team with Yujiro Takahashi called No Limit. The pairing would become successful as the duo won both the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
No Limit would then travel to North America where they competed in TNA and down in Mexico for CMLL before returning back to NJPW in 2010. The duo would remain together until 2011, when Takahashi walked out on Naito during a match thus causing the team to split.
Tetsuya Naito would then begin his singles career. Naito would begin his push to the top in 2013 where he competed for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a losing effort to Kazuchika Okada. Naito would then win the 2013 G1 Climax Tournament in the Summer.
The reward for winning the G1 Climax Tournament is a main event opportunity at the biggest event of the New Year, Wrestle Kingdom. Naito was going to face Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, however after negative fan reaction to the main event, officials changed the main event to Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahahsi.
Naito would still compete for the title but lose once again to Okada. After falling back to the mid card in 2015, Naito left NJPW for a few months to rejoin CMLL. When he returned to NJPW he was a totally different character. While in CMLL, Naito joined the villainous faction Los Ingobernables.
When he returned to NJPW just in time for the 2015 G1 Climax Tournament, Naito had a totally different look and demeanor. Naito began wearing suits to the ring, and walked around with a emotionless stare having no real emotions. Naito at the end of matches would attack camera men and referees for no reason.
Naito had an impressive showing at the G1 Climax defeating Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi and AJ Styles. Come the fall, Naito would form his own version of Los Ingobernables. Along with Evil, Bushi and Sanada, Naito formed Los Ingobernables de Japon.
With many stars leaving for WWE in the beginning of 2016, Naito was finally able to get his shot on top. At Wrestle Donkatu, Naito defeated Okada to finally win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Naito would hold the title for about 3 months before losing it back to Okada at Dominion.
Despite recently losing the championship, Naito has showed that he is now one of the top wrestlers not only in NJPW but in the world. Naito’s new demeanor and attitude has transpired him into one of the top heel’s in wrestling. Los Ingobernables de Japon is becoming the hottest faction in the world.
At one point no one had Naito shirts, now big chucks of the NJPW are now wearing Los Ingobernables memorabilia. He has very much filled the void lost from Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles. Going into the 2016 G1 Climax Tournament, Naito is one of the favorites to win it this year.
The rise of Tetsuya Naito has been fun to watch. With a brand new landscape in New Japan, the rise of Tetsuya Naito might become a takeover of pro wrestling. With Naito and Los Ingobernables together, the future of Tetsuya Naito has never been brighter.