Take us back to you earliest days in Japan. What was your mind-set going into the almost completely foreign land of the rising sun?
Truthfully, when I came to Japan from WWE for the first time, I wasn’t enjoying what I had always dreamt that I’d be doing. I thought I was doing the right thing with WWE that first time around, but I wasn’t. I was really down on the whole thing, and then I got an offer in Japan. It was always on my bucket list. So first I toured there and had my first match with Kensuke, who was a really well respected individual in Japan. It was just awesome. It reminded me that I love what I do. I want to be one of the best big guys to come out of Japan. I know I finally have the respect of the people that I’ve worked with, and that’s what matters.
What are some of the differences between the two sports-entertaining cultures?
Wrestling in Japan is not featured on TV as extensively as it is here. It’s usually televised on Fridays and Saturdays, but often in clips and not complete matches. What really pushes the programming is their magazines. They help people follow all the action on a weekly basis. Also, WWE rings are much larger. I’m not sure of the exact specifications. The ropes are a different width as well. Japanese rings use cables, while WWE uses the classic ropes, so hitting off them is a much different experience.
Could you please translate the Japanese characters that appear on your face?
They state a variety of things, such as, “Destruction Is Coming” and “Beware of Tensai,” as well as “Be Afraid, Very Afraid.” But if you are close enough to read them, it’s probably too late.