When New Japan Pro Wrestling’s next premier event, The New Beginning in Osaka, comes to an end, either “Switchblade” Jay White or Hikuleo will have to leave Japan for good and continue with their professional wrestling journey elsewhere.

That’s right, after spending years together in Bullet Club, either White, a former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion with five different championship reigns in NJPW, or Hikuleo, the youngest adoptive son of Haku and the third member of Gorillas of Destiny alongside his brothers Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, will have to leave the promotion and either work exclusively on NJPW shows in America – assuming that’s allowed, it’s rather unclear – or jump ship to greener pastures elsewhere, be that in AEW, Impact, or even WWE, whether both men have reportedly drawn interest over the past few months.

Speaking with NJPW about his forthcoming contest, Hikuleo acknowledged just how valuable White is to any promotion he works for and just how momentous this match has the potential to be for both of their careers.

I know that Jay is valuable anywhere,” Hikuleo said. “It’s nice to know that I am too. But at the end of the day, this is about winning. At the end of that day in Osaka, one of us is leaving Japan, and people will remember tat for a long time to come. It’s destiny. When you think of what Jay White has achieved in the last five years, it puts us on entirely different levels, and I can instantly make my value skyrocket if I’m the guy that made Jay White leave Japan.”

Did Hikuleo know that a Loser Leaves Japan match was on the table when he and White were building towards their eventual match? Per the youngest adopted son of Haku, the answer to that question is a firm no.

“It was a shock to hear Jay ask for a Loser Leaves Japan match,” Hikuleo added. “In a way, I was surprised he came after me the way that he did. I know he was going to come for me eventually, after what happened in Kobe, but him doing what he did right after he lost to Okada in the Tokyo Dome really made it seem to me that he’d lost his mind. He’d been building this kingdom, this legacy, and it was all destroyed in front of him. So he’s taking it out on me, but I guess that it’s a compliment in a way. The Grand Slam Champion, everything that he’s done, and I’ve been in the back of his head so much that he blames me for losing it all. Jay White is the best at getting into people’s heads, and I’m now in his. It was a shock when I first heard about it, but I’m ready for it now.”

Hikuleo embraces Jay White’s NJPW challenge.

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While the idea of a Loser Leaves Japan match certainly took Hikuleo by surprise, White’s interest in a match did not, as he’s been gunning for the second-generation giant for years now.

“If you go back to his comments after Wrestle Kingdom, he was blaming that loss on me,” Hikuleo said. “But it’s all on him. I don’t know what he expected from me, I don’t know why he really expected that I wouldn’t go back to my brothers, that me being loyal to my family was such a shock to him. But something that small, surely that natural clearly hurt so badly that he feels it led to his loss. He just wrestled for the IWGP World heavyweight Championship in the main event of the Tokyo Dome, and I was in the kickoff match. So he’s put me on a much higher pedestal here, and that’s great for me in a sense, but it’s a game seven scenario- it’s either win or go home and that’s nerve-wracking for sure. There’s a lot of pressure, but pressure builds diamonds.”

A lot of pressure indeed, still, when it comes to the task at hand, Hikuleo believes that his appreciation for the Japanese fans may provide him with an advantage, as, unlike White, he wants to be supportive of the fans, not antagonistic towards the way they express their fandom.

“I feel like he wants more from them, from the country and the fans,” Hikuleo said. “For all that he’s done, he wants all the credit, wants the fans to be openly thanking him wherever he goes. Especially having wrestled in the US for NJPW STRONG like he has, and all the other places he’s been, it’s frustrating to him that they haven’t been vocal. And he’s right in a way, but he’s wrong in how he’s expressed himself.”

“But you know, having said it, I think it’s all part of his mind games. On the surface, it’s about getting mad at the Japanese way of doing things, but that’s about getting in his opponents’ heads. That he’s so above his opponent that he finds the time to complain to the people, it’s all about putting his opposition in a false sense of security.”

Can Hikuleo cement himself as NJPW’s next great superstar by kicking White out of the promotion? Can he elevate the promotion moving forward and change not only the face of Bullet Club but NJPW along with it? Fans will have to tune in on Saturday to find out.