Matt Sydal Opens Up About His 2016 Arrest In Japan, Says He's Still Traumatized

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In October of 2016, Nikkan Sports first reported the news that Matt Sydal was arrested at the Kansai International Airport in Japan in September after he was caught with just over two grams of liquid cannabis in his backpack that were hidden in pipes. At the time, Sydal was a co-holder of the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships with Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima. NJPW vacated the titles and David Finlay went on to join Ricochet and Kojima to capture the titles at Destruction in Kobe in 2016 by defeating Adam Cole, Nick and Matt Jackson.

Matt Sydal recently joined Airey Bros. Radio and during the conversation, he was asked about his arrest. Sydal stated that it’s still difficult for him to talk about and that he’s still traumatized by the sequence of events and still processing it. He added that he was whisked away for quite some time because of that incident and went on to talk about some of the current laws regarding marijuana.

“No, I mean no way. I can’t talk too well about a traumatic event that I’m still traumatized from having and still processing. I mean you gotta understand, very severe when you get whisked away from an airport to a police detention center and held for quite some time for something that… any ideological person can comprehend that the current policy towards all drugs is wrong and needs to be adjusted based on fact. My personal policy — I believe in this thing called harm reduction, so any time people talk to me about this, I just like to talk to them about harm reduction because that’s a fight that’s worth pushing forward. Whatever happened to me, it is what it is but we live in a world, where in Illinois, people are getting their marijuana condition expunged. In the neighboring state, there’s people still being arrested and put in jail for it, and it’s a public health issue. If drugs are a problem, it’s a public health issue, not a criminal issue.”

Wrestling journalist Fumi Saito appeared on the X-Pac 12360 podcast several months after Sydal’s arrest was made public and said the prosecutor wanted Sydal to serve 18 months in jail or three years of probation.

“He was in jail for quite some time, over a month or so. It took them eight, nine weeks to have the court date set. There was finally court this week, and he plead guilty right away. It was a rather simple court case procedure, and verdict. He takes that, then he goes to the airport and goes home.”

Sydal recently worked EVOLVE’s shows in Michigan and Illinois on the weekend of December 6th. Sydal’s last match at a New Japan affiliated event was in May of 2017 when he challenged Marty Scurll for the ROH World Television Championship during ROH and NJPW’s War Of The Worlds tour.

If the quote in this article are used, please credit Airey Bros. Radio with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.