For the first time in six months, Minoru Suzuki will return to AEW on Wednesday.
Suzuki’s last match in AEW was against Bryan Danielson in October. His next opponent is another top name in the industry, as he will square off against former WWE, ROH and Impact star Samoa Joe on Dynamite.
The reigning ROH television champion, Suzuki presents a frightening, sadistic approach and display of the craft. A 33-year wrestling veteran, he won the TV title earlier this month when he defeated Rhett Titus at ROH’s Supercard of Honor pay-per-view, and the upcoming title defense against Joe represents a meeting of brawlers who both fight with violent intentions.
“Many fans think this matchup is very special, but for me, I have to stay true to myself,” Suzuki says through a translator. “I am here to hurt people. The opponent truly does not matter. This week, I will make Samoa Joe suffer.”
Suzuki’s home base is New Japan Pro-Wrestling, but he has been especially active as of late throughout several different promotions. He has collected wins in his past six matches, stepping in the ring for New Japan Strong, VIP Wrestling and, most recently, GCW, where he defeated “Speedball” Mike Bailey at the Devil in a New Dress show on Sunday.
The 53-year-old from Yokohama, Japan, works a snug and authentic style. His matches feel more like fights, and he takes genuine pride in instilling legitimacy in his work. He is eager to showcase that brand of brutality on Dynamite.
“People are brave until they step into the ring with me,” Suzuki says. “Hopefully Samoa Joe is not scared. I don’t know him well, but he will know me by the time we are done.”
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Despite his sojourn away from Japan and exploration of different promotions and opponents, Suzuki still holds aspirations of dethroning Kazuchika Okada and becoming the IWGP world heavyweight champion.
“I am wrestling for New Japan Pro-Wrestling,” Suzuki says. “And that is what I want—I am aiming for the IWGP title.”
Considering Samoa Joe signed full-time with AEW, it would make sense for him to win the TV title. But Suzuki will bring a different feel to AEW if he retains, and he vowed to bring his signature style to this Wednesday’s Dynamite.
“I hurt people, that is what I do,” Suzuki says. “Samoa Joe is going to feel a lot of pain.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.