Image © Tokyo Sports

The following short interview appeared on the website of Tokyo Sports (Tokyo Sports Web) on 10/28.

() are annotations by the original publication, [] are annotations by me. Ibushi answers in bold.

New Japan: Ibushi Kôta confesses his thoughts about the shocking end of the G1 finals match and his return

In an interview, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Ibushi Kôta revealed his current state of mind. He was injured after doing a Phoenix Splash, and regrettably lost to Okada via referee stoppage in the G1 Climax finals match in Nippon Budôkan.What really happened to Ibushi after the shocking conclusion? And what are his thoughts about a rematch with Okada and his return?

It ended in a disappointing way, but tell us again about [your] G1.

I returned (in October) right from aspiration pneumonia. I had singles match after singles match, and to me it was an up and down. I would think, oh, I feel good today, and then (the next day) it would be like, wait, my physical condition is completely different today. I couldn’t really nail down the timing of when I was getting better.

Not everything went right.

Of course I had set my sights on winning [the G1] for a third time in a row, but halfway through, I had no leeway to think about that anymore. Each day I had to win against myself. It came down to how I could overcome this [condition].

How was your condition at the time of the finals match?

There was a pressure, and I was about to seize control [of the match]…and then I did it.

What were you thinking at the moment of the Phoenix Splash?

I was in a hurry, on the inside. I wanted to seal the deal quickly. One way or another I wanted to go through with the move.

You’re the world-leading master of this move. I don’t remember you ever failing at it in a real match [meaning not missing it but suffering some kind of mistake during/after it].

It’s the first time [that’s ever happened]. There’s a reason for that: body weight control. This time, my body weight went up and down before [the match]. I could practice the Phoenix Splash, but there were too many fluctuations. With a 100g difference it (feels) completely different, because it’s such an advanced move. There was a 3kg difference between my match against KENTA (on the 18th) and this [match]. I had purposefully gained weight for the finals, but I was quite fatigued [and everything]…I’m sure my body weight (had an effect) on [the outcome].

The fluctuations in body weight due to your aspiration pneumonia flustered your senses?

I saw the video. When you look closely, you can see that I’m heavier than usual, closer. The position (I prepared my) opponent (in) is closer too. I had to land close by, and for that I had to make sure I didn’t jump [and so on]…

You came down in a faulty way and you dislocated your right shoulder.

I knew I had dislocated it, but this time it took me about 4 seconds (to realize it). I don’t know whether it was because I had hit my face or because of the adrenaline. But when I tried to move and get up, the sensation of something being out of place suddenly hit me. I thought, I can’t win this anymore, and I gestured to Okada to get a clean three-count over me.

You did raise up three fingers at Okada after the match and appealed for a fall.

It was already over, but (I myself) hadn’t realized the match was over. Maybe because I hit my face. So I think (Red Shoes) Unno made the right decision when he stopped [the match].

You apologized [to Okada and the fans] profoundly in the ring after the match.

Everyone tells me there’s no need to apologize, but to me it’s like—everyone paid a lot of money [to see the match], and came to see it on a weekday no less, and I didn’t want it to end in such a weird situation, at the very end [the G1]. I felt sorry for my opponent and for the fans.

I heard that [your shoulder] was finally reset not in the ring, but when you returned to the doctor’s office?

In the past (in the BOSJ 2010 finals when Ibushi dislocated his left shoulder), it went back in during the match, but now my muscles are too strong. I’m a heavyweight [now] and it’s different from being a junior. I was told my shoulder [muscles] are too strong and it wouldn’t go in. I took painkillers and it took about 5 or 6 people in the doctor’s office to set my shoulder back in.

Okada’s carrying the 4th generation IWGP Heavyweight belt in place of the challenger’s briefcase, saying that he wants a rematch [with you]. How are you viewing his words and actions?

At first I thought he wanted to restore (the IWGP Heavyweight title), but if that’s the case, then the people who have had matches before, like me or Naitô (Tetsuya) or SANADA or (El) Desperado… And then Takagi Shingo is the current champion…I don’t know what his intentions are, not yet. But it’s strange, isn’t it? Why is he carrying [the belt instead] of the briefcase, like is usually the case?

You don’t understand?

No, I get it, actually. Why it’s me, out of all people. It’s because I established the IWGP World Heavyweight title. It’s [just] a hunch, but I’m wondering if (Okada thinks that) if [he] beats the first champion [=Ibushi], then [he] can bring back the Heavyweight title. Somehow [I just have that hunch].

In any case, the rematch [between you two] is a big talking point.

I too feel bad that [the match] ended before it could really get started. So does Okada. That’s why I think [he] means too that we should continue where we left off. Otherwise he won’t be satisfied. The match would have continued if I hadn’t dislocated my shoulder, and I myself wonder about how that would have went.

The results of the examination were a dislocation and fracture of the right anterior shoulder joint and damage to the labrum. It was diagnosed that complete healing would take 2 months.

Of course it would better if [I could return] sooner than later, but I want to recover completely and then return. If I don’t, then it would be just disrespectful to my opponent if (the shoulder) dislocated again.

The left shoulder you dislocated in June of 2010 dislocated again in September 2011, and had to be operated. You were out for a long time.

Because I’ve had this experience before, I want to [return] as soon as possible. But I don’t want to rush it. I want to fight again completely healed and better than ever.