Q&A with New Japan star Prince Devitt

Credit to boards.ie who conducted the interview:

Is Japanese life still treating you well? Would you say you have adapted well to a completely different culture and are you happy enough to stay your entire career with Japan as your base?

Japan is treating me brilliant, as far as life goes out there I love it, I’m 100% settled, obviously i miss home if I’m there for long spells, but in general I’m very happy. It was a very different culture to adjust too but I’m probably more relaxed and at home over there now than I am in Ireland.
For the moment I’m happy staying there, but you never know what will happen or how ill be feeling in a year or so…?

It was a question I asked you last year along the lines of what was the dojo like – Just to further that one – how many hours a day were you in there? And what was a typical day? Did it get easier after a while, or did the trainers continue ramping up the training? If you were to give advise to a young Irish guy who had just been accepted to start training in the dojo, what would it be?

We would normally train for about 4 to 4 and a half hours a day Monday to Saturday. Like any sort of training, as your body adjusts to strain, you become accustomed to it. It’s doesn't become easier, its becomes normal through repetition - it becomes habit.

Obviously the trainers will change things up to keep it challenging and interesting, but at that point it’s not so much a physical test any more but a mental test to see who has the guts to carry on when others a folding around them. This is what is sometimes described as Japanese fighting spirit. Or in Irish terms, having the guts and the balls to carry on when your body is steaming at you to quit.

Since our last Q&A you have had, by anyone standards, a pretty incredible year, but is there one overall longterm goal you want to achieve in wrestling?

I don't really set individual goals for myself, you get out exactly what you put in. So my aim is to keep working and training at the highest level i can and that will determine how i continue.

What is your schedule generally like? How many days a month do you wrestle; and how many days traveling?

Well, I’m sure you can easily find the list of NJPW dates online so that will answer that question, i just turn up and do my job, traveling is part of it. Obviously I travel back and forth for Japan to Ireland a lot, it take about a day each way. And then there is traveling within Japan which is deceptively big, but again, im traveling around the world doing something I love so why would it bothers me.

To add to that, how do you spend your downtime?

I get home for most of our downtime, normally about a week at the end of a 3-4 week tour. Im very easily pleased, I’ll go to the gym, have a dip in the sea, watch the football, catch up with my family and pals at home, a few beers here and there. I’ve gotten into hill walking recently too, it’s a nice break from the hustle of the big cities.

In Japan, are you seen as “Irish” or as you seen primarily as a “westerner”?

I don't actually know. I would imagine at the start I was just another westerner, but I think by now most people know me as Irish.

Has there been any development in pro wrestling recently which has excited or disappointed you?

Yes, EASY! What excited me is more people pay for tickets to NJPW shows this year. I was also happy to go to USA this year with NJPW, hopefully we will be doing more touring next year….

How do you feel about recognition such as making it so high up the list of this years PWI 500? Does stuff like that register and spur you on? Or is it more of a hindrance?

I couldn't give a flying fiddlers **** about pwi 500. However if Nakamura and Tanahashi are not no.1 and no.2 then its surely rubbish. Let me tell you a little secret, no wrestler with half a clue goes out to the ring trying to impress magazine writers. We are going out to perform and entertain for the people that are spending their money for tickets to see us. The most important thing is that those fans go home happy, and if by some sheer chance you happen to impress a magazine writer too then thats a bonus.

How much are wrestlers "fans" of wrestling themselves? Do you watch much wrestling in your spare time outside the company you work with? What about other wrestlers in the locker room? And do Japanese and American wrestlers differ in this aspect?

Every wrestler was I’m sure at one stage was a huge fan, why else would they get into it?? And although some people may claim to not be anymore, for wrestlers to continue doing what they do they have to love it.
I watch a lot of wrestling, I would say I’m my life i have probably watched more wrestling than just about anyone on the planet. I will have an open mind to watch anything and hopefully learn something from it at the same time. I still love going to live shows too, sitting down the back and watching how people react to what going on in the ring. It takes me back to my childhood, As far as Japanese and American lads being different, maybe…. i don't know, i can only judge myself.

When you won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship did you anticipate you would hold the title for so long? How did it feel when you were told that such faith was put in you to hold such a prestigious title given some of the guys who held it previously?

You should never assume anything. Especially in this business. I was once told by Andre Baker -'If someone tells you it’s raining outside, you better go outside and check'! I never looked back at the past and i never looked forward, I just enjoyed every moment as they happened. I know there is a lot of history surrounding the Title, but I would never considered myself in the same league as those guys.

What did you make of this years BOSJ tournament?

I thought this years tournament was top to bottom maybe the best one we have done. Although personally for me it was a disaster injury wise. I got an infected and burst buras sac ( elbow ) in the first match. I was in hospital every morning for the entire tournament on a IV drip and antibiotics getting the fluid and infection drained so i could wrestle that night. Obviously I had to work around that which lead to me doing some more stuff outside the ring. And then in the final group match I’m throe my MCL against Kanemoto half way through but managed to finish the match. 2 days later I had 4 injections in my knee before the semi final against Taguchi, which I lost, and then again the following week for the title against Ibushi.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

I piss about 400 times before every match. If there is no toilet near to the entrance i sometimes take a water bottle with me to relive myself :-)
Ill chew gum too, which for the most part i manage to keep for the entire match. There is probably a 100 little things i do without noticing as well and I don't want to start reveling all my little OCD moments.

How long does a match generally take to put together?

How long is a piece of string?

Do you keep journals/diaries and do you see yourself writing an autobiography, like so many wrestlers seem to do these days, when your career slows down (in many years to come hopefully)?

I don't, but I should, because i have the worst memory imaginable. To be honest, I cant ever see myself writing a book that many people would be interest in anyway….

Do you have any funny backstage stories you can leave us in on?

No, None what so ever. Nothing funny happens back stage.

How did the Apollo55 tag team come about? Are yourself and Taguchi friends outside the ring?

It just kind of happened, i had been tagging with Minoru for a few years when he left the company and while he was more of a cool heel, i was still kind of considered a young boy- babyface. I think the office noticed the similarities both me and Taguchi shared and the put us together. They asked us to come up with a name and that was my idea. We are friendly, we have a common understanding that we don't take much stuff to seriously. With my limited Japanese and his limited english we get on alright!

As a tag team can you tell us what matches you competed in which completely blew you away? I like re watching your series with the Machine Guns which were all pretty awesome, and your match this years Vs Omega and Ibushi is up there as one of the most innovative and fast moving tags I have ever seen.

Honestly, all those opponents you mentioned are fantastic, but on a personal level I am much more impressed with the matches we had with Jado and Gedo or Taka and Taichi. People don't remember what moves they seen at a wrestling show, what they remember is the emotions they felt.

Would a match with anyone in America, tag or otherwise, appeal to you now, and if so, who and why?

I know he is retired but HBK by a mile. In my opinion simply the greatest ever.

Any fun Japanese sayings which you have learned you wish to pass on?

E-tie = ouch

Finally, Japan is in the aftermath of a horrendous natural disaster. What was those few days like, and how has “life gone on” since? We can only comment from TV shots, but it looked absolutely terrifying.

Obviously it was a scary time for everyone in Japan, We are used to having quakes and there had been quite a few the days prior so on that occasion i thought it was nothing more than the normal. However it clearly wasn't, the rumbling grew, stuff was starting to fall off the shelves and then the shelves themselves were falling over….it was at that point i could hear the other lads running out of the house. I still thought they were over reacting but decided to pick up my cutoff tea and follow them out. It was when i go outside that things started to really rock, cars were bouncing up and down, telephone poles swaying side to side, we were finding it hard to keep our balance. It lasted about 5 minutes in total with more shocks about every hour for the next week or so. People were afraid, but that is their home, there is nowhere to run to safety!! thankfully were we were in Tokyo we escaped the destruction that was caused by the exulting tsunami and within a few days people were back on their feet and trying to get back to normal.

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