Katsuyori Shibata informed Gabriel Kidd that he has graduated from the Young Lion system.
Dating back to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gabriel Kidd was in Japan and it was only several months ago that he left Japan. Kidd competed against Jonathan Gresham at the NJPW STRONG ‘Detonation’ taping and on 12/9, he’ll be going one-on-one with Eddie Kingston at the STRONG taping in Los Angeles, California.
To promote the event, Gabriel appeared on Wrestling Observer Live and shared that he has officially graduated from New Japan’s Young Lion system. He had a conversation with Katsuyori Shibata and was informed that his current run in the U.S. is his excursion.
So, I don’t think it’s really been announced officially really, but I’ve graduated the Young Lion system. I’ve had that conversation with Shibata-san and I’m on my excursion in [the] United States now. This is like — so I wrestled on the U.K. scene for a little bit and then went to Japan for a year-and-a-half and I’d never wrestled in America until recently so, I’m on excursion in the States and I’m doing some independent shows and New Japan STRONG too, yeah.
Kidd went on to speak about his past interaction[s] with Eddie Kingston. They crossed paths in England in 2019 and Kidd pulled Eddie aside and asked him not to step away from wrestling. He feels that Eddie inspired a whole generation of wrestlers without knowing it.
You know, I love Eddie [Kingston] to be honest and I’ve said this publicly before and you know, I’ll say it a thousand times over and you know, what he’s done right now, just like the past year because I had a conversation with him in 2019 in England and he was thinking about stopping and he had some stuff going on and he was thinking about stopping wrestling and I just said to him, I pulled him aside and I just said, ‘Please don’t give up on this because we need more people like you’ and you know, he’s a real inspiration. I think he’s inspired a whole generation of young wrestlers without even knowing I feel and you know, I really look up to him but, when I’m standing in the ring and I’m looking at him, I’m not — we’re not friends anymore. It’s go-time, you know? And I’ve had six months off and I’m not coming back just to slow down again. So…
Gabriel Kidd continues to train at the NJPW L.A. Dojo which is ran by Shibata. On December 15th, Shibata is appearing at the Best of the Super Juniors/World Tag League final show to make what is being billed as a ‘major’ announcement.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Wrestling Observer Live with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.