Low Ki revealed in an interview with RealSport the reason behind his release from New Japan Pro Wrestling was because he refused to wrestle in Fukushima over nuclear radiation fears.
"It was based off of silent protest," Low Ki told RealSport about wearing a suit. "It originated in Japan, and I'm careful with my words because I don't want anyone to see New Japan Pro Wrestling as a negative, but it was the business practice is what led to that.
"I had put my foot down about wrestling in Fukushima. I did my research, both in the country as far as media and news outlets, and outside of the country as well, to get more of an informed position on Fukushima. I didn't want to wrestle there. At that time, I was the IWGP [Junior Heavyweight] Champion, and I spoke with the company and said I don't feel comfortable with this, I don't want to do that."
Low Ki's final match for NJPW was at their Wrestle Kingdom 7 show in the Tokyo Dome where he lost to Prince Devitt (now Finn Balor) in a three-way match that also involved Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. He worked the entire match in a full suit.
"We had a meeting, I believe a week later, where I was informed that the president thought that if I couldn't make that event, which would be scheduled for the following February, because it's a large television market, that I would be disqualified from performing. And I thought 'Well ok, I just won't perform at that one event', and they came back with 'no, you're going to be cut for the entire year'.
"So to me, that was utter disrespect, only because the first ten events I was a part of in 2012, we sold the events out. I like to think that my contribution to the company led to positive results. That was a complete disregard, and my stance was based off of safety, and it wasn't necessarily based off of me.
"My argument was, 'What about the rest of the people here? What about your staff? What about your wrestlers? You're more concerned with money, I'm more concerned with safety.' And when they told me that 'we won't use you for the entire year', I only had one more match under contract, which was the [Tokyo] Dome. And the Dome, that was my final stance."
Low Ki revealed NJPW didn't know anything about him working in a suit. He talked about the moments leading up to his final bout with New Japan.
"They didn't know it was coming," Low-Ki said, "we actually did some media for the DVD sale earlier on, where I was in my normal outfit. They didn't know anything about it.
"When we went into the holding pen, because in the Tokyo Dome, the locker room is on one side of the stadium, you have to take a minivan, go all the way to the other side, and there's a security entrance that you have to go through that has a vacuum seal. We go through there, and then there's a holding pen before we have to go out into the entrance.
"We get into the holding pen and I'm all suited up, and I just take my guns out and lay them on the table, and Ibushi and Devitt are looking at me like 'what's going on?'. I go, 'nothing, we're gonna have a match today.'"
"So, it was, to me, it was my silent protest by leaving New Japan, and it wasn't in the sense that I'm a 'hitman', it was in the sense that, I'm 'The Professional'. This is my last time here, I'm going out with a bang, but I'm doing it in a fashion that everyone is going to respect it."
GFW officials asked Low Ki to continue to perform in the suit, so that's why it's followed him there. RealSport reached out to NJPW to confirm Low Ki's account but had not received a response at press time. You can read more of their interview by clicking here.
Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.