WWE superstar Shinsuke Nakamura recently spoke with Tokyo Sports about the death of the great Antonio Inoki, and how important Inoki was to his career as a pro-wrestler. Highlights from the interview are below.
Says he had not been in contact with Inoki for a long time, but is very sad to hear of his passing:
“I haven’t been in contact with him [Antonio Inoki] for a long time, but I heard through Simon Kelly that he said hello to me. It is very sad, but at the same time, I feel that we are at a turning point in time.”
How Inoki was a key part of his journey in pro-wrestling:
“I was not sure what was right or wrong at the time, but I made a connection with him, and he guided me through my life as a professional wrestler. I don’t think there is anyone else who has led such a unique life in pro wrestling as I did, but I think it was Antonio Inoki who helped me take the first step on that path.”
Recalls calling out Inoki after winning the IWGP World Title:
“I caused a lot of trouble, but not as much as Mr. Inoki (laughs). I’ve only been wrestling for 20 years, but I think I can be proud to have made Antonio Inoki a part of my story.”