Exclusive interview with Yuji Yamashita!
In an attempt to get a follow-up to our last story on Yuji Yamashita, we sent a crew to the motel where the exhausted, yet content Japanese super rookie was staying and managed to get this interview. Several versions of this have been released, but they were only small snippets of the original with a few comments given by Yamashita in relation to our questions. In a Fight 1 exclusive, we have the entire interview, totally uncut and unabridged, here for your reading pleasure. We hope this helps shed some light on Japan's newest up-and-coming star and some of the comments he made during the interview he gave for NewsAsia before his departure to the States.
Thank you for your time, Mr. Yamashita. We understand that you're a busy man and hope that we aren't taking up too much of your day.
- No. No need to worry. I'm here for a few days rest, anyway, and I made sure this'd be the last thing I did before taking a break. I wanted to give you all the time you need in order to have your questions answered.
All right! We have some questions here sent in by our readers, so let's get to those first.
- Sure thing.
Okay, first question. Let me see here... How did you get into pro-wrestling and who were your influences growing up?
- Well, I've loved wrestling all my life, so when I got to high school and learned that my district was raising funds for several teams, I suggested a wrestling team. In the end, we had a football, basketball, and volleyball team. I was kind of disappointed, since I thought a wrestling team was a good idea, but the school was poorly run and the money raised quickly drained away.
Yikes. What happened?
- Oh, just internal problems and political stupidity. See, the schools had been in trouble for a while and the principal was a prick, so when the city came up with the genius idea of dropping school funding in place of tourist attractions and the like, the principal took it upon himself to get in the ear of the super-intendent and convince him that this was the way to go. All the money that should have gone towards extracurricular crap went into a bunch of theme parks and **** that failed and about 150 lost their jobs.
- Yeah. I spent about half a semester there before leaving to another high school. The one I was at eventually folded. I haven't heard of either principal nor super-intendent since then.
Sounds like you had a rough time.
- Nah, things smoothed out once my family relocated. The district I wound up in already had a wrestling team, so I joined that. I managed to nab a scholarship and headed to college where I took up kick boxing and judo before getting a try-out at a local wrestling school. The rest is history. From that point to the day I die, wrestling will be my blood and passion.
Did anyone influence you to get in the business?
- Oh, yeah. My influences. Ahhhh, man, that's kind of hard. *laughs* I grew up watching a lot of American television, you know, so I wound up seeing my first wrestling match on American TV. Guys like Witch King, Eddy Love, Apocalypse, Eli Flair, Kevin Powers, you name it. Then I turned my attention to Japan and watched Koji Kurasawa and Takeshi Ishimura tear it up over there. I didn't really have one single influence. I loved professional wrestling from the moment I checked out a lucha libre match on this tape I borrowed from a friend. It was love at first sight, I guess. *both laugh*
Going back to your other training, another reader mail here asks about your right leg injury.
- Oh, yeah. I get asked about this a lot. It was some stupid accident in the training center I was at and I wound up fracturing my knee, tearing my ACL, and completely ripping my quad in half. It hurt like hell and took forever to fix and rehab. I went under the knife in late January, I think, and didn't get started again until about a year and a half later. The doctors said I was lucky to come back that early, since the quad tear and fracture alone were bad enough to put me out for quite some time. That's on top of the torn ACL.
Wow. Did the kick boxing and such help?
- Yeah. It helped a lot. Not so much the kick boxing itself, but the excercises and strength training and all that went with it. My body was already in good condition to begin with, but the extra "oomph" helped my body heal faster, I guess. I was determined to get up and start walking as soon as possible. The sooner I did that, the sooner I could get back in the ring.
Heh. One reader's asking what "saikyou" means.
- It means "strongest". It was given to me by my wrestling instructor and some of the press that followed the small training center. I guess they liked the idea of some guy laying waste to his knee and fighting back like somebody out of a movie.
Guy follows his passion, gets hurt really bad, comes back in a storm of determination...
- It really does sound like a movie, doesn't it? *both laugh again*
Yeah. I'm glad you're back in the ring, though. We're all looking forward to seeing you compete in the States.
- I won't disappoint you.
Let's see if we can get another reader mail... Ah, this one is about your repeated excursions. She writes, "I'd like to know the reason behind Mr. Yamashita's journeys to the United States and what he hopes to gain by them."
- It's just a quest to better myself. I've been disappointed with my work in the ring so far and look to sharpen my game elsewhere. I chose GLCW, because I've never been there before. I'm a new face. I want to start from the bottom and work my way up. It's extremely challenging, but if I sit back and don't put myself to the test, I'll never learn anything and the trip will be a waste.
Well, that's it for the reader questions. One last from us, however.
- All right.
Since you mentioned GLCW, we might as well segue into this. Your debut match was announced during your flight over here. Did you hear about it?
- Uhh, yeah. Yeah, I did, actually. I was at the airport waiting for the next flight to come when I got a call from one of the agents that was handling my accomodations. She basically said that I'd be fighting Scotty Sanders on GLCW's internet show "Wired".
Yes. In Joliet, I think.
- Illinois. I like the city and I really dig outdoor events, too. It should be fun.
Any comments on Sanders?
- Ehhh, not really. I don't know too much about him. I'd say something about his apparent absence, but I can't really complain, since I just got here about a day ago. *laughs* Whoever it is, I'll put up a good fight and will hopefully get myself a win. Nothing's for certain, but we'll see.
Any last comments to our readers?
- Always believe.
Once again, thank you for your time Mr. Yamashita. See you in Joliet. ***
Yugi...ah finally...I'm not the new guy.
Welcome back to the United States.
To be completely honest I don't know much about you.
But, I do respect you. I respect the fact that you work
to improve your wrestling skill, and
your not just some jaw jacker who can't do
anything but talk.
I like that. You remind me...well...of me.
It will be an honor to face someone who has truely devoted his life to this great sport.
Yuji Yamashita I'll see in Illinois, and may the best WRESTLER win.
(Opens to Sanders in his apartment sitting in front of the TV.)
Since Yugi was so open and decided to share his past I've decided
to share mine.
(Grabs a tape and shoves it in the VCR.)
What I've got here is some footage of my past.
(The tape plays images of what appears to a Christmas party)
There's me with my lovely girlfried Jenn.
At this point you can see how nervous I am, I was planning on proposing
(Camera pans out and Sanders is seen watching the tape with a somewhat
She said yes, and for about a week my life was complete. But slowly
the feelings started to come back. I felt that there was a hole in my
life and there was. But unfortunatly Jenn couldn't fill it. No, I
felt that my dream was slipping away, so I started attending a
(Pops in another video from South Broadway Wrestling School.)
We taped all of our practices to see our mistakes. It was this tape
that cost me my relationship to Jenn and sent me searching for a new
(The video plays and you can see a young Scotty Sanders lifted high
into the air and violently crashing down. Then for a moment it is
That was when Geno powerbombed me. I hit so hard it knocked me completly
out. When I got back to my feet a was coughing up blood.
(The video again plays and you can hear Sanders yelling: That was
crap, how can I ever make it big when I do crap like that, do it again.
Geno: You need to go home. Sanders: Do it.)
And so he did and again it knocked me out and when I woke up I was
in the city hospital with blood in my urine and a badly damaged kidney.
It was the day after my surgery that Jenn broke it off with me,
she said she couldn't take seeing me like this, and she knew that
I wasn't going to stop.
(Fade out to Sanders)
Just wanted you to know where I've come from.
Voice: You took something that you did and made me the bad guy.
You act like it was easy for me to break it off with you. It wasn't.
You don't know how many times that I wished you would give this crap up.
I Loved You Scott, but I honestly can't take seeing you doing this
Sanders: First, it's not crap. This is the sport I've grown up with
since I was a little boy. My first memories are watching wrestling
on Saturday mornings with my Dad. How dare you call it crap.
Second, if you did love me you could look past what I do and see
how happy this makes me. I've worked hard to get here, I'm not giving
it up now.
Voice: Scott I want to love you again. Please come home.
Sanders: You just don't get it. (Slams the phone down.)
(Sanders stares off somewhat dazed and then punches the wall.)
Sanders: Yuji I was going to use this time to wish you luck, but
needless to say your really not my top priority right now. So when
we step into the ring, be prepared because your not fighting the
goofball Scotty Sanders the fans know. Your fighting Scotty Sanders,
The Man. The man who is going to do anything it takes to prove himself at anyone's expense. To prove to those back home that I'm not wasting
my potential, but to prove that I can fight with the best of em. And
to prove that this is where I BELONG!!!
[updated:LAST EDITED ON Aug-06-03 AT 12:27 PM (EST)]10:20 PM
Silver Cross Field
&l;Yuji Yamashita is seated in the lobby as a river of people flood through the doors, adding to the growing ocean of those already inside. Everyone is buzzing about in the familiar swarm that comes before any big event. Many of the security, officials, and wrestlers alike seem to be extremely busy and stressed out, but none of this shows on Yuji's face. The only recognition he gives to any of it is a short moment to turn and stare over at the mass of swirling bodies and humming voices to his right.&r;
YAMASHITA: "Hmmm. So much to do, so little time to do it."
&l;Yuji turns back around and takes a large swig of the Mountain Dew sitting at the table in front of him. He leans back in his armless metal folding chair, holding the Mountain Dew in hand. Yamashita is bedecked in a black GNARKILL t-shirt, black, slightly baggy Spalding athletic pants, and black Vans shoes. A black watch adorns his left wrist, which Yamashita casts a quick glance at before setting his soda down on the table and returning to his relaxed position.&r;
YAMASHITA: "After a few days, I decided to finally get out of that cramped motel room and come down here to the Field to see what's up. I didn't think it'd be this busy, but I was told it'd be a good idea to sit and wait for a camera man in case I wanted to make a bit of a personal appearance for all the adoring fans out there in TV land. Well, it just so turns out that I do."
&l;Yuji chuckles darkly.&r;
YAMASHITA: "After I was asked by readers of a magazine I was giving an interview for to talk about my past, Scotty Sanders took it upon himself to do the same. Then he turned around and got a phone call from a loved one encouraging him to hang it up. Your past was quite interesting, really. It seems I'm not alone in having something taken from me. Unfortunately, I see this far too often. The one thing I dislike about speaking of my injury is that my opponent's always try to compare or outdo me. They sit down and waste time with some sob story about how their parents died in a plane crash and they were stranded on an island with their brotehrs and sisters for 25 years before their siblings were eaten by natives in front of their eyes and it traumatized them for life."
&l;Yamashita makes a vexed noise with his tongue.&r;
YAMASHITA: "Excuses. People tend to blame their upbringing on their situation when, in fact, much of their situation is their fault, themselves. If you go through a traumatic experience as a child, it's understandable that you need help, but you're not the only one with problems. People get used to the support from others. They'll grow up leaning on someone else and, when it's time to move on with their lives, they never manage to let go. During this time, they start doing things, stupid things, and blaming their upbringing on it. Going through hell when you were a kid is no excuse for stupidity."
&l;Yamashita gulps down some more of his soft drink, but doesn't put it down this time.&r;
YAMASHITA: "How does all of this relate to Scotty Sanders, you ask? Well, it's really quite simple. The problem with comparing and outdoing comes when people blame their actions and feelings on occurrences that happened long ago. Rather than sit back and realize that there's more than one side to the story, they're too bent on believing they were right and others were wrong. They'll either sit and hold a grudge forever or try and know absolutely everything in some sad, heart-wrenching story about how life isn't fair. What should happen is that, rather than treating their past as a roadblock they can't get over, they should use the experience as a stepping stone, despite what may have happened to you way back when. You see, Sanders, you'll never know everything and will never win unless you move forward. Oftentimes, moving forward will feel like you're giving something up and moving backwards. You'll certainly have to swallow your pride and give up your stance, but you're not moving back at all. It will seem like everything changes or nothing changes at all, but something does change and you can finally take those steps forward and heal. Part of wisdom lies in knowing that and part of courage lies in going on anyway."
&l;Yamashita drinks the rest of his Mountain Dew, crushes the can, and tosses it onto the table with a flick of his wrist. Before it even hits the surface, though, Yuji's attention is back to the camera. He leans forward in his seat, with his hands clasped together and elbows on his knees; staring straight at everyone sitting and watching this. It's quite clear, however, that he's glaring straight at really only one person.&r;
YAMASHITA: "Sit back and think, Scott. Think about what went wrong and why. It's rarely just a case of someone disapproving of what your love is and coaxing you to come back. It takes two people to **** a relationship up. Do you think noone else on the planet has experienced hurt, Scotty? Why do you want to prove something to anyone? Did the conversation you had with her jar your confidence so much that you feel the need to reassure yourself and everyone else of your ability to do your job? Wrestling is your life, right? Wrestling is your passion. So why, then, does a single phone call make you defensive and make you want to prove something to anyone? Confidence in yourself, Scotty. Too many people have gone out to the battlefield hoping to prove something and either come back empty handed or never came back at all. I'm telling you all of this, because I want you to stand back a moment and think of all the things that you may have done to **** this up. That is the first step in healing. Anger is fine, but you need to focus, friend. I don't want to step in the ring with someone who's half-cocked and thinking about someone else. If I'm not really your top priority, as you say, then I damn well need to be, or that will be your undoing. I mean, after all, what's the point in going out to prove yourself to someone if you wind up losing due to you not concentrating on the match, but rather the person you're looking to prove yourself to? An ironic end, hm?"
&l;A quick half-smile flashes across Yuji Yamashita's face as he leans back in his chair once again. His eyes, however, never move at all.&r;
YAMASHITA: "I want you to think about what I've said and deal with this little problem of yours. I don't want my first victory to be a tainted one. I don't want to go in there and beat some guy who isn't even into this. On the surface, it seems as if you're focused, but unless your mind, your body, and your heart are all sharpened to an arrow's point, you aren't even close to focused enough to defeat me. A half-ready, love-hurt sap who can't seem to admit that punching walls and feeling sorry for himself is going to help things isn't what I came here for. I traveled here to learn, but it seems that you very well need lessons taught to you, my friend. Focus on me and nothing else. Prepare your mind and give me a fight that I can be proud of. Do not disappoint me. I've come too far to be let down by mediocrity."
&l;A sharp whistle off to the left draws Yuji's attention. He thankfully takes those intense, unsettling eyes off of you and slowly turns his head towards the source of the noise. In a flicker of time, Yamashita's face no longer looks as if it were carved from stone. He nods his head upwards towards the person who whistled at him, then turns back to the camera. It's as if his earlier speech had never happened at all.&r;
YAMASHITA: "I'll see you later. I have some business to attend to."
&l;With that, Yuji Yamashita flashes a quick smile and stands up, his chair scooting backwards with a small screech. He cracks his knuckles absently and walks off towards the person waiting for him. The camera slowly pans to the left, over to the crushed can of Mountain Dew laying on the table.&r;
FWrestling.com was founded in 1994 to promote a community of fantasy wrestling fans and leagues. Since then, we've hosted dozens of leagues and special events, and thousands of users. Come join and prove you're "Even Better Than The Real Thing."
Add Your League
If you want to help grow the community of fantasy wrestling creators, consider hosting your league here on FW. You gain access to message boards, Discord, your own web space and the ability to post pages here on FW. To discuss, message "Chad" here on FW Central.