On a scale 0 to 10, how would you rate Tetsuya Naito?
How hard is it to beat him?
- CandleLv 71 year agoFavorite Answer
Strength: 4. He can hit a backdrop, a piledriver, and a few other basic moves, but you're not going to see him pop off a powerbomb or a gorilla press. His style is very seated in lucha, so more often than not he's the one leaving his feet and not his opponent. There are still moves like Gloria and his rarely broken out piledriver move whose name escapes me, but he's all about dropkicks and jumping DDT variants.
Speed: 7. When Naito breaks out of the tranquilo mode he can move pretty quick. It really shines when he's in the multi-man tag bouts with the rest of LIJ, but there are a few other move sequences that he pops off in the blink of an eye. Combinacion de cabron comes to mind.
Aerial: 5. He doesn't go up top often or hit the ropes, and usually when he does it's for the Stardust Press, which he rarely hits. There's a big narrative connected to him rarely hitting it because it represents his past failures as a heavily pushed Tanahashi-lite styled "stardust genius" that was tailor made for him to become the next 'ace'.
Unfortunately Naito isn't Tanahashi and the crowd rejected the pale comparison being pushed straight out of his young boy blacks into Tanahashi's shoes. When Naito falls back on that move as a desperation or simply as a showboating attempt, it negates his desire to attain that 'ace' status by being his now successful tranquilo self, which is why it doesn't work. The audience gravitated to him because of his disaffected nature. When he tries to show them that he was right all along and almost reject their critique of his initial push by attempting the move, he misses the mark and eats a little humble pie. It's a big part of his redemption story for me. This is kind of a tangent. The move looks difficult, but because of it's failure rate and his lack of really breaking out any other high flying moves I'll have to mark him average to low on the high flier scale.
Agility: 7. He doesn't go full flashy all the time, but he's got hops when he needs them.
Technical Ability. I'd argue 6. He's not a submission guy or an amateur ground wrestler or anything, but he's got great textbook fundamentals that he knows how to make his own. He came up in the New Japan dojo and that's the kind of stuff they drill into you regardless to if you use it or not once you find your own style. Countering is a big part of New Japan's style and I'd consider that technical, and Naito can do that.
Striking: 5. I believe his strikes and there's something pleasantly rag doll about his dropkicks that reminds me of Michael Hayes for some reason. He's not a prolific puncher or a kung fu kicker or anything, but dropkicks are a big part of his game and he hits them with great impact. Same goes for enziguiris. I also think his punching is pretty decent when it happens. He wont win with them, but they definitely wear down opponents.
Match Quality: 8. His multi-man stuff with LIJ is always a must-see for me regardless to the opponent. His singles stuff is usually great, but he's hit a few sour notes with the likes of Jericho and Suzuki in the past. You can find a bad Naito match, but the opponent is usually a big variable in it being bad.
Charisma: 9. He's got a very quiet cool about him that translates even without hitting the closed caption button on his promos on youtube. Of all the Los Ingobernables out in the world now doing the tranquilo bit, I think he's gotten the most mileage out of it. For him it's not just lounging in the ropes or holding up a fist, the guys entire style is based around pacing himself, frustrating his opponent, and breaking out into full blast just at the match's crescendo. The story he tells without speaking a word of english is by far the most fascinating thing in New Japan to me. His disdain for the IC title, his drive to keep his faction a family, and his full on contempt for anyone that doesn't believe he's the true ace of the company. If I could understand his scathing promos without having to read them, I'd probably knock him up to ten.
Psychology: 8. There are times when I think he lets his opponents get a little too much in on him. That could be booking or that could be backstage dick swinging, but most of the time Naito's a hard man to keep down. Don't get me wrong, he sells more, and probably better, than anyone on the roster but that hot comeback is where it's at. He's like a one man Rock & Roll Express.
Toughness: 10. Part of his in-ring strategy is taking such a bad beating that his opponent tires out, he then spits in the opponent's face once they've given him everything they've got, only to come back and usually win. That's Rambo strats.
Cardio: U. Naito usually spends half the match on the mat taunting his opponent or selling their beating. It's hard to gauge how much of an engine a man has on him when he's laying around for most of the match. He does tend to explode toward the end, and that's after taking grueling punishment, so I'd assume it's good.
Selling: 10. As I said before, he sells better than anyone in New Japan.
How hard is it to beat him? I'm going to say 6. Naito's very defeatable, and you could argue that it's partially his fault for all of the self-destructive reasons listed above. I'm trying to think of a cutoff line for where someone would be incapable of beating him on the New Japan card. My best guess is most junior heavyweights wouldn't be able to beat him, but I think most non-dad heavyweights are fair game against Naito. I don't think Yoshi-Hashi would beat Naito. Taichi might be able to at this point, especially with Suzuki-Gun tactics...Throw a name out and I'd tell you if they stood a chance.