Earlier today, Genji Yamato ventured into what may be considered "enemy territory," as he appeared on Riki Fudo's well-renowned FIGHT! Radio program, in the run-up to KING X KING this Friday night. Fudo, of course, is very close to the "Nansei Terrorist" Ryo Inoue, who has been extremely critical of Yamato all throughout his career.
Yamato was not alone, however, as his FIGHTING LOVE! trainee Kohei Obata joined him on the program.
Here now are some edited highlights from that interview:
RIKI FUDO: So, Yamato-san. After nearly ten years away, why return? Why now?
GENJI YAMATO: It's a very good question. Essentially, I consider this, now, a way to return to the life I had before... well, as I mentioned in my return press conference with KJPW and Fujita-san, I had a lot to deal with in life, as well as being in what we can very nicely say was an "ill-advised relationship" that went on far too long, and I fell into a depression so deep that, well, I didn't even realize I was in it for so long. And by then, years had gone by and I hadn't set foot in a wrestling ring.
RIKI FUDO: Ryo Inoue says you were running from him. Is that true?
GENJI YAMATO: Ryo Inoue says a lot of things, and I know you are his good friend. Any conflict between myself and Inoue is one-sided, at best. I have never had anything but good things to say about Inoue, while he slanders me. So you tell me, Fudo-san. It's more like, I had a child with a disability to care for, and a toxic marriage to deal with as well. Ryo Inoue's feelings were the furthest thing from my mind during that period.
RIKI FUDO: You admitted yourself, you have a tendency to run away when things go bad for you...
GENJI YAMATO: Well, no, I have a tendency to run when I FAIL at something, there's a difference. With JPA folding, I went to the USA and Mexico and ended up breaking my leg. I left Burning Spirit Pro Wrestling after arguments with the management became too unbearable, and I ended up becoming a football commentator for NHK. I think the catalyst to my 2006 disappearance was my illness in Germany, during the World Cup that year, and it was a downward spiral from there. I really do regret that, as I was in PROMO*JAPAN at the time, before it became Pro Wrestling ZION, and I was actually having a great time in P*J, working with everyone there. But, it took a lot more out of me than I thought, and I had to scale back, and by then I was already losing myself. I went back to football announcing as a job. I still love it, but... really, now that my bad marriage is over, and my daughter is doing better than anyone could ever have dreamed of given her condition, I have a chance here to regain the years that were stolen from me.
RIKI FUDO: There are those that doubt you even were ill in Germany, and were trying to get out of your PROMO*JAPAN contract.
GENJI YAMATO: Had social media and smartphones been more prevalent in 2006, I could have Instagram'ed myself in hospital. Sadly, you'll have to take my word for it.
RIKI FUDO: Let's move on to Kohei Obata for a moment. You came from POWER KYOTO, correct?
KOHEI OBATA: Indeed, indeed.
RIKI FUDO: How did you attract such attention?
KOHEI OBATA: Pure luck and circumstance. Yamato-sensei, he came to a show, and was so impressed by what I did that night, he arranged for me to become his student, and later turned that into a contract with the revival of KJPW.
RIKI FUDO: You have an awful lot of hype surrounding you. Do you feel it is deserved, when you've yet to debut in the big time?
KOHEI OBATA: I don't know why there is so much attention towards me. Maleko Momoa, Yusuke Kishimoto and my partner on Friday, Hajime Kon, we all have our great puroresu talents. But, I'm not complaining either. I look forward to showing what I am made of.
RIKI FUDO: So what makes YOU so special?
KOHEI OBATA: I don't know, compared to others. I just know it's not my fault that I have become Yamato-sensei's prized pupil.
GENJI YAMATO: There are certain... intangibles I see in Kohei. Let's just leave it at that.
RIKI FUDO: That's sure to start the rumor mill again.
GENJI YAMATO: It would not be the first time.
RIKI FUDO: Yamato-san, we are running out of time for this segment, we all just want to know, what are your thoughts going in to Friday's historic clash with Kazuma Fujita? You said that the Double Titles were an "albatross," are you prepared for this fight?
GENJI YAMATO: When I said that, Fudo-san, I meant being the OWNER of the Double Titles were an albatross, one that I had to carry for all these years. The Titles should have been defended and competed over, instead they were sitting in a glass case in my home. I am still a proud champion. But I do not wish to have the responsibility of being their caretaker anymore. Hence, I sold them to KJPW, and my old mate, AND enemy, Hiroyoshi Tenzaki, are their Administrator. I recommended him personally. I have every faith in his abilities as Administrator.
RIKI FUDO: And the fight itself? You've had some harsh words for Fujita over the years...
GENJI YAMATO: That was another decade, and, frankly, another Genji Yamato. I'm a lot less flippant than I used to be. Things I said then were as much false bravado as it was "playing the puroresu game." Now, after all I've been through, I no longer fear anything. I don't wish to lose to Kazuma Fujita, but I have no fear of it happening.
RIKI FUDO: Are you ready for this bout, after being away for close to ten years?
GENJI YAMATO: I am as prepared as I will be. I have been getting myself back into wrestling shape for close to four years, and I am ready for what comes next. I am defending the Double Titles with all my heart, mind, and skills.
RIKI FUDO: Are there any other matches you look forward to on Friday at KING X KING?
GENJI YAMATO: Out of all of them, besides the matches my trainees will be in, I am most excited for Shinji Uchikawa versus Tsutomu Nishioka, I think that has potential to be one of the best matches of the night.
RIKI FUDO: Lastly, will you ever meet Ryo Inoue in the ring again?
GENJI YAMATO: I don't know. Maybe. I'm going to wrestle Kazuma Fujita first.
RIKI FUDO: Yamato-san, Obata-kun, I thank you for coming on today...