Ibushi did another episode for his NJPW mobile site-exclusive podcast, “Ibushi’s World”, together with commentator Murata Haruo.

I’ll be dumping my summary here for now, because the episodes are always an hour long and translating the whole thing would take a long time (but I might do this latest episodes and the others ones one day if I have the time and concentration).

As always, [] are annotations by the translator. The original content as well as the image are © New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Murata introduces Ibushi and asks him if he’s feeling well enough to do a podcast. He says that physically his innards feel sore/tired because of the dislocation and fraction, but that he’s feeling really energetic and healthy spiritually. Him and Murata discuss the worry of the fans and everyone else and that Ibushi has no problem talking, so that’s why he was able to return to the podcast so early [this is technically the third episode of his podcast, since they did an episode 0]. Ibushi mentions that he hopes he can still help make pro wrestling bigger despite having a dislocated shoulder right now.

They cover the topic of Ibushi’s previous dislocation of the left [this time it’s the right] shoulder 11 years ago, and how at that time, he was able to have it inserted and continue the match despite the staff trying to stop him. In both cases it hurt like hell. He says it was the absolute same pain as back then, but since he fractured the anterior joint this time, it was difficult, if not impossible, to have it inserted easily. His muscles are also harder and bigger than when he was a junior heavyweight, so the shoulder wasn’t as easily set back in.

He can’t move his shoulder at all, but he can move below the elbow just fine, and because of the way it’s fixed/set in place right now, if he for example turns the hand to the inside, it hurts.

Murata explains that when he watched the match live in Budôkan he knew right away that he had dislocated his shoulder. He’s seen a lot of matches and the one from 11 years ago as well, and says that someone holding their arm or wrist is a typical sign of a dislocation, since gravity tugging at the arm alone will hurt a lot. Ibushi says that he had no strength in the right shoulder at all, so his arm was just threatening to fall out.

Murata continues on to mention that it will take about 2 months to heal and asks Ibushi about his thoughts. He says the same thing he has said in interviews and on twitter before: he wants to heal and return as fast as possible, but that he wants to heal completely instead of just recovering. [The two terms,全治 and 完治, Ibushi uses here can both be translated as “full recovery”, but the former refers to the bare minimum time it would take for injuries to heal without great hindrance to a normal life, while the latter refers to a “true” full recovery, where you are returning to the level of physical ability that you were before. Basically he is saying that he is going to need another 1 or 2 months after the 2 months of healing the dislocation and fracture to return to his prior self.] Taking care of your body via rehabilitation etc is also part of the work of being a pro wrestler. Like he said before, he doesn’t want to rush coming back.

They talk about the high risk of re-dislocation if you rush coming back, as many former pro wrestlers or other athletes are able to confirm. Ibushi says he did his own research about this and found out that if you don’t give yourself about 3 months, you’ll just most likely dislocate your shoulder again [a thing that happened to him in 2011]. He promises to return when he has truly fully recovered [meaning he has trained to gain back the lost muscle mass etc].

The topic moves on to Okada and the fact that he’s coming out with the 4th generation IWGP Heavyweight belt instead of the briefcase. Murata mentions the article in Tokyo Sports where Ibushi says he believes Okada wants to bring back and then retire the old IWGP Heavyweight title [read my translation of this article here]. Upon Murata inquiring, Ibushi explains that, at first he thought Okada wanted to bring back the Heavyweight belt and seal the current World title away [by winning against Takagi]. But now he thinks it’s the opposite: by gaining the World title from Takagi, Okada might seal the old Heavyweight title away once and for all.

Murata says that technically, Ibushi was the first one to retire the old Heavyweight belt [by fusing it with the Intercontinental belt]. Ibushi interjects once again that he didn’t make the Intercontinental title disappear, but that he had no other choice. At the same time, Murata mentions, Okada has also said that he wears the belt as a sign of his wish to fight Ibushi again.

They arrive at the conclusion that what Okada means to do is, carry the old Heavyweight belt around until he fights and wins against Takagi, then become the next World Heavyweight champion. Then, he means to win against Ibushi, who was the first champion, and thus retire the 4th generation title for good [if he can successfully defend against all briefcase challengers until the Dome, that is]. This is Murata’s and Ibushi’s hypothesis anyway, and they remark that it is a difficult and risky move by Okada.

If the G1 finals match had continued, Ibushi gives himself about a 5-20% chance of winning. They discuss the match with Okada a bit more and how Ibushi wasn’t able to put him down with the [normal, non-kneepads rolled down] Kamigoe and Okada wasn’t able to put him down with his Rainmaker. Murata says that he was really enjoying the match as a pro wrestling fan as well because he couldn’t decide who was going to win, and that at the 20 minute mark he thought Ibushi might put Okada away with the Phoenix Splash.

As in the Tokyo Sports article, Ibushi explains that the Phoenix Splash is difficult to perform if there are large difference in body weight etc [like the 3kg he gained between vs KENTA and vs Okada]. Ultimately, he shouldn’t have done the Phoenix Splash, because even though it uses his body weight as a weapon, it uses up a lot of energy, and he says he probably could have pulled off a Kamigoe or Reverse Kamigoe as well, but he was in a hurry to finish Okada and forgot about his additional gained weight [that would have made the Phoenix Splash harder to perform]. Also, Okada was closer than he had thought he would be, and that’s why he had difficulties measuring the right distance and power for the move and why he appeared to be so fast during the rotation.

Murata asks Ibushi which opponent he’s looking forward to face more, Okada or Takagi, and Ibushi says Takagi, because they made a promise to each other [although Murata mentions Ibushi has a promise too with Okada because of how their match ended]. Ibushi says that his sense of time was really warped at the end of that match and how he hadn’t realized it was over, telling Okada to get a three count over him, and that’s when he was told the match had already ended. They promised each other that they would fight again. Murata and Ibushi surmise that Ibushi must have hit his head hard.

Ibushi has had experience with matches before that had to end in referee or doctor stoppage, and he can deal with these kinds of things better these days than he could when he was younger. Murata mentions how he wanted the match to end the moment he saw how paralyzed Ibushi was by the pain, because he knows Ibushi is normally someone who tends to not perceive when he should stop, and that given how immobile he was in that moment despite his tendencies to just continue, he knew it was useless. He can’t remember many instances where Ibushi looked that defeated and unable to continue.

They praise Unno for recognizing this as well and acting quickly in ending the match, even though these were the finals of New Japan’s most prestigious tournament and the wrestler [Ibushi] didn’t want the match to end that way. Unno made the right judgement call because as a referee it’s his job to protect the wrestlers. Murata emphasizes once more that everyone was really worried and frozen in shock, and that there was no one who wanted Ibushi to “get over it” and continue. Ibushi seems hesitant about this still, because he mentions that he was worried how this would all come across, and leave the fans unsatisfied or disappointed.

However, he has come around mentally on his injury, saying that he used the time to reflect on how he got here and focus on how he can best heal and move forward. On the first day he couldn’t sleep until morning thinking everything through. He didn’t mind the pain, but it were the thoughts that kept him awake, about his other injury 11 years ago etc. He didn’t just feel regret or grief because he had been in the main event, but a complex mix of emotions he was working through. Still he feels sorry for the fans and everyone.

They discuss how there are probably no wrestlers who don’t carry around some form of regret [like having to vacate a title or missing an event due to injuries], and that the best way to deal with that is to give back to the fans slowly and bit by bit when they are able to. The fans are nice and will understand.

After this the section of the podcast begins were Ibushi answers questions and comments from the fans. This one is about the way Tanahashi resisted Ibushi’s Kamigoe by crossing his arms in Ibushi’s return match, which Taguchi Ryûsuke called the “Kamigoe Countermeasure” on his YouTube series “Monthly 69”. Ibushi no-sells it a bit for laughs and says that he would probably still go through with the move if he couldn’t uncross the arms, even if everyone crossed their arms from now on to counter it, and that you can’t underestimate him.

However, he goes on to say that he really thinks Taguchi is a great wrestler, and that his match against him in the 2011 BOSJ was his favorite match of that series. He thinks it’s in his top three favorite matches from his time as a junior heavyweight. Murata tells him that he saw that match live as a fan in the crowd, because he didn’t have to work as a commentator that day. He says it’s important to watch wrestling as a fan, live, and that’s it’s completely different [from watching on TV or as part of a one’s job]. Watching live is about enjoying the art and having fun first and foremost. Watching Ibushi vs Taguchi that day made Murata realize that it’s best to make that experience [of watching as a fan rather than a commentator].

Ibushi says he had about the same amount of fun during that match as well and thought that Taguchi was so good. He mentions the Golden Lovers vs Apollo 55 [Taguchi and Prince Devitt] matches of that time, and how Taguchi has only ever evolved and not regressed since his time as a junior, in fighting style and physical appearance. He thinks he’ll still look and be great even if he’s 60. Murata says Taguchi is mysterious, but clever and intelligent, and that he was probably the most athletic of his era (the Nakamura, Taguchi etc era). Ibushi says that he isn’t like him, who’s not so clever and will just use a move or do it when he has the opportunity to, but will instead think about it and choose the most efficient course of action. They think Taguchi is underrated compared to other technical wrestlers like Suzuki-gun’s Kanemaru, who gets praised a lot.

At the end, Murata tells an anecdote of when Taguchi was injured severely during a match with Douki during the 2020 BOSJ tournament, but continued through it and then went to the same physical therapy together with Ôtani Shôhei after it was over, citing that Taguchi didn’t feel anything at all.