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Malakai Black discusses growing up watching New Japan Pro Wrestling, didn't have access to WWE

This week, while speaking with Denise Salcedo, Malakai Black talked about being a fan of New Japan wrestling when he was growing up.

"My goal in professional wrestling was always Japan and preferably New Japan," Black said.

"When I grew up, I never watched WWE because we didn't have access to it. I come from Amsterdam. It's a really small country. It does not have a lot of wrestling. I am probably the most successful Dutch wrestler that has ever existed. I'm sure within five to 10 years someone will come out of there and top everything I've done, which is obviously a good sign. So we don't have a lot of heritage or anything.”

“So I grew up watching New Japan because we had a channel called Eurosport and Eurosport had New Japan Pro Wrestling. So that was my introduction to wrestling as a whole, that's what I grew up with, and later on, WCW. So New Japan always had a very special place in my heart. It's also how my style somewhat got orientated. I watched that as a four or five year old and you see two men in a ring fighting, and obviously, Japanese wrestling is much more martial arts influenced. So I started doing martial arts because of what I saw.”

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“So right before I moved, there were talks between a company that I worked for that had a good working relationship with New Japan at the time, and myself as to bring me over for a tour or multiple tours. That was obviously the big question for New Japan. I had the contract right next to my table. Even though New Japan was the goal at the time, NXT or WWE at the time, you know, it would have been three to five year contracts guaranteed. Whereas with New Japan they run multiple tours. We don't know, they might have kept it with one tour. So I went with the route that we all know.”

“So I always felt in the back of my mind that I still wanted to do New Japan in any capacity. I worked for them when they did the European tours. I did some work on them, but not on a scale like we're about to do on Sunday, where it's an actual collaborative event between the two companies. So when Tony made this announcement, I was hoping that I was going to be involved."

You can view Malakai Black's entire talk with Denise Salcedo below.

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Denise Salcedo with a h/t to for the transcription.