#NewJapanWeek: Katsuya Kitamura: The Future Of New Japan

Photo: NJPW

Katsuya Kitamura is big. Like legitimately scary big. He is also currently one of New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s Young Lions, a term used for newer wrestlers on their way out of the New Japan Dojo. The Young Lions run to the ring, wearing black trunks and black boots. But in a role where everyone dresses the same, has the same entrance theme, and the same moves, Katsuya Kitamura stands out.  That’s because he is roughly the width of all of the other Young Lions combined. It is no surprise then that in 2011, he was banned from amateur wrestling after testing positive for Drostanolone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid.

Katsuya Kitamura sits in a rather precarious position as NJPW looks to expand westward. Some fans have questioned whether he would be such a standout prospect if he didn’t look as he does. One of his more recent matches should answer that question immediately. His chops are ferocious, using his entire body to throw them. His spear and jackhammer combination are the best since Goldberg. He moves with an athleticism and agility you don’t find in most men of his stature.

新必殺技ジァックハマーも決めることができました!たくさん練習してよかったです! #北村克哉 #北村系女子 #北村系男子 #進化 #improve #best #beast #bestofthebest #最善を尽くす #katsuyakitamura

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American wrestling, and the WWE specifically, is a fan of big bodies, and bigger characters. John Cena, Batista, and Hulk Hogan all fit that bill. They might be giants, but they also are loaded with charisma. Kitamura has a build to rival these stars, but can he build the character?

After Lion’s Gate Project 10 on December 21st, Kitamura stated: “This tournament allowed me to take the next step as a pro wrestler. This was the last match of the year. Next year, I want to go overseas, and get even better. I’ll evolve, improve more. And when I come back, I’ll be even more awesome.” Continuing, he goes on to state that he wants to face the other super heavyweights in America.

ヤングライオン争奪リーグ戦優勝 まず八木選手、海野選手、成田選手、川人選手、岡選手。彼らとは共に道場生活を送って、苦楽を共にしてきた仲です。でも試合では試合で生き残りを賭けたサバイバルレースだと思っています。ただ彼らの一生懸命な闘いっぷり、僕の身体には爪跡を残していきました。彼らが頑張ったからヤングライオン杯は成功したんだと思います。 私はファンからの熱い応援や北村コールで僕の中で化学反応が起きます!それが勝利に結びついたんだと思います。地方からも来てくださったお客様で僕のタオルを作ってくださった熱の入ったファンの方もいました。 その応援の熱を感じて、 僕はこうしてヤングライオン杯の王者になれたと思います。そして、このヤングライオン杯を開催してくださった関係者の皆さん、スタッフの皆さん、皆さんに感謝しています。 この場を借りて御礼を言います。 この場を設けてくださったおかげで、一歩プロレスラーとして前進したと思います。 今年の試合は今日で終わりですけど明日からもガンガントレーニングして身体のケアして来年に備えます! 来年からもっともっと進化して、ヤングライオン杯を優勝したからには海外遠征に行って、もっともっと進化して、もっともっと“improve” して、また新日本プロレスのリングに戻ってきます! 私はスーパーヘビー級でいま試合をさせていただいています。だったらスーパーヘビー級がいる、猛者共がいるアメリカに行って一皮も二皮も剥けて、このリングに戻ってきたいと思っています。 プロレスラーとしても、人間としても成長していきたいと思います。進化していきたい。それが僕の思いです 過去の先輩達、偉大な先輩達。今日もたくさんの面々の方々がヤングライオン杯優勝して、現在も活躍している。これは正真正銘の事実で、僕もその中の1人に一歩近づきたいし、絶対その中の1人に入りたいと思っています。いや思ってますじゃないです、入ります!もっと色々な意味でBIGになって帰ってきます! まだ日本にいます。日本にいる間も変わらない全力ファイトで頑張りますので。 応援宜しくお願い致します!! #闘い #ヤングライオン #ヤングライオン杯 #katsuyakitamura #younglion #justdoit #ジャックハマー #jackhammer #muscle #swoleoclock #北村克哉 #北村系女子 #北村系男子 #bigbadwolf #bigkberg #bigk #進化 #improve #best #beast #bestofthebest #最善を尽くす #ナイキテニスキャップフェデラーモデル #エアージョーダンハーフパンツ #自作タンクトップ #ナイキフライニット #nike #gaspstraps #進化 #improve #best #beast #bestofthebest #ショートパンツブラックブーツ

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Truthfully, that might be what makes the most sense. Wrestlers like him have been wildly successful in the WWE and other American promotions. While he definitely has the look, does he have the other attributes of western wrestling stars? Something has to separate John Cena from someone like Nathan Jones. And if it isn’t something Kitamura has now, can it be taught?

Kitamura’s personal Instagram

This is where excursions come into play. Spending that time in America will do wonders for the Beast From The Far East. We could see him being a total success in Impact Wrestling. While the two companies haven’t had the best relationship since Kazuchika Okada‘s excursion, Don Callis makes a great bridge to a working deal once again. The new co-executive president of Impact and English color commentator for NJPW has recently found himself a part of the storyline between Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega. This could be just because of the Winnipeg connection the three share, or it could be a sign that he is taking a bigger role within the company. Either way, he can definitely help out on the road to recovery between the two promotions.

Photo: Kitamura’s IG

With NJPW World, which is available worldwide, YouTube, and plenty of wrestling related webpages fans can easily find information on Kitamura. The company has a show that airs on AXS TV regularly as well. In some U.S. markets, it is easier to find New Japan than it is to find Ring of Honor. With that said, he doesn’t need to necessarily enter the promotion with much of a following. If he’s treated like the monster he can be, people will be intrigued by him quickly enough.

Considering how quickly he has developed, Katsuya Kitamura could be a major part of New Japan’s success in the west. He can represent Bushiroad’s answer to the Goliaths who have dominated the U.S. and global wrestling landscape. New Japan has a stellar track record with developing talent through the current system. A renewed emphasis on the Young Lions only builds more faith in the success Kitamura can be. Clearly his ceiling is high, it is just a matter of if he breaks beyond it or not.

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