On night two of Wrestle Kingdom 14, Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada to retain his IWGP Intercontinental Championship and to become the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Naito’s road to that accomplishment was not a smooth one as he underwent right eye surgery in November of 2019, as reported by Yahoo! Japan.
It is noted in the article that around May of 2019, the Los Ingobernables de Japon member began to notice something off with his vision. Naito told the publication that while he was in the ring, the ropes began to multiply and it started to look like six ropes instead of three.
“It looks like six ropes, and the second and third floors seem to overlap,” Naito said.
Naito is not a fan of hospitals but he could not concentrate during his matches so he decided to visit hospitals that specialized in ophthalmology, brain surgery and otolaryngology. None of the hospitals could find out what was wrong and Naito just figured that he’d finish out his wrestling career with the issue. Naito was worried about not being able to compete in the 2019 G1 Climax tournament. Prior to the G1, Naito defeated Kota Ibushi at Dominion to become IWGP Intercontinental Champion and lost the title to Jay White in September of that year.
There were no results regarding Naito’s eye issue until October at a college hospital where he learned that he had paralysis in his eye muscles. The dual champion continued to wrestle until November 27th and teamed with BUSHI to take on Jay White and Bad Luck Fale during a World Tag League event. The next day, Naito made his way back to Tokyo and on the 29th, he underwent right eye surgery in a hospital in Tokyo. His vision was fixed and he returned to in-ring action on December 19th at the Road to Tokyo Dome show.
“I looked after a long time. When I looked up, it was blurry, but I could see the front and the bottom properly. The viewable area was widened.”
A review of Tetsuya Naito’s title win on night two of Wrestle Kingdom as well as the entire card is up on the site and can be found at this link.