El Desperado has had quite a year thus far in 2021.
The Suzuki-Gun man captured the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships in February (alongside Yoshinobu Kanemoru) before collecting the division’s vacant singles strap shortly thereafter.
Hiromu Takahashi had been forced to vacate the belt due to injury, and it was subsequently up for grabs in a three-way contest, which also included El Phantasmo and BUSHI.
Speaking recently with New Japan’s official website, the masked man discussed his status as a double champion and detailed his disappointment in how he had finally attained that elusive singles championship:
It isn’t as if this was an end goal for me, not as if I can say ‘job done’ now that I’ve done it and hang it up. Of course I was working toward this though. But I always had this image of winning it from Hiromu Takahashi, and Ryu Lee; when he defended the title in Fukuoka, he called me out, even though I wasn’t a name then; I wanted to defend it against him as well.
And it was all nice, but it came about differently to how I’d imagined it, so it was a little anticlimactic at the end of the day.
When queried over his first set of title challengers, the masked man was quick to make his feelings known:
First thing is Phantasmo. No doubt. Out of all the juniors in NJPW, he’s the one I want to beat most. Be it the three way, or other matches with him, he stands out in a way nobody else does. Yes he’s ridiculously athletic, but he has something extra to him as well.
Regarding the tag belts, Desperado preferred a ‘generational’ tilt to his initial challengers, listing the legendary teams of Gedo and Jado, or Gedo and Dick Togo, as his preferred opponents.
Despy will be back in action at New Japan’s Sakura Genesis show, where he and Kanemaru will face the returning Roppongi 3K for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Straps.