Image © New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co., Ltd.

A new episode means a new summary of Ibushi’s NJPW mobile site-exclusive podcast, “Ibushi’s World”, with commentator Murata Haruo.

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

After the usual introductions and wishing each other a happy new year, Murata asks Ibushi how he spent his January. Ibushi says he doesn’t remember at all. For years now, since the Tokyo Dome shows are in January, he hasn’t really had time to be festive around New Year. Even though this year felt like a “real” New Year’s holiday in a long time, because of his injuries etc, he still didn’t celebrate it much. He doesn’t watch TV even though he owns a set, and he hasn’t really played any video games either [on TV] because he just gets a black screen on his TV no matter what signal he puts it on.

He didn’t eat mochi [rice cakes, often filled] or osechi [traditional New Year’s food set] because he hates both. He thinks mochi are inconvenient/difficult to boil or fry, and he hates most of the foodstuffs traditionally featured in osechi. Murata sums up that Ibushi didn’t celebrate New Year’s at all and they move on.

He asks about how the rehab for his shoulder is going. Ibushi says it’s going ok-ish. For the most part, he can move and do the things he’s told he [should be able to do] at this point. However, he still hasn’t started arm training. He says it’s not because he’s late [with rehab] or anything. He recently got to a state where he can do anything normal people do in their everyday life again. Like a few episodes ago, he emphasizes that while he has completely healed, he will take his time and only return for a match when he has reached the level as a wrestler he was at before.

After the opening is over, they congratulate Okada on becoming IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Murata sums up what an impressive feat it was to fight Takagi on the first night in such an incredible match, and then Ospreay on the next night in another incredible match. He adds that, just like Ibushi predicted, Okada emerged the stronger wrestler because against Takagi he fired himself up just like Takagi always does.

Murata repeats what Okada said backstage at the Tokyo Dome show, that his thoughts about Ibushi haven’t really changed, but that he, after putting away the 4th generation IWGP Heavyweight belt for good, is now carrying the World Heavyweight belt, and that this is a different belt [than the one he was carrying as a sign that he was still waiting for Ibushi].

Ibushi inquires if this means that he is no longer waiting for him, instead having sealed away the old belt just like Ibushi himself once sealed away the other two belts [to make the World Heavyweight belt]. Murata thinks it was just Okada’s way of giving the belt he hadn’t held at the end a proper sendoff before it was put to rest. He thinks it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t recognize or accept what Ibushi did.

At first, Ibushi jokes that he thinks so too, before admitting he was taken aback and even angry at Okada for bringing out the belt he specifically merged [with the Intercontinental title]. However, he seems satisfied now that he and Murata talked about this. Murata says this whole story will become a nuisance again when Ibushi returns, and Ibushi agrees, joking that they’ll go around and around in a loop with bringing back and sealing away belts.

The discussion moves on to Naito, who originally said he was against the unification. Murata mentions Naito might make difficulties [when Ibushi returns] as well, and Ibushi says that he’s remembering the hell that was last year [in regards to the unification and such]. He thinks it was interesting/fun, though. After more joking around, Murata asks Ibushi if he properly accepted Okada’s message, and Ibushi says yes. Both him and Murata think Okada is waiting for him still.

Murata says that as a fan, he’s looking forward to 2022 insofar as Ibushi is concerned, because both Takagi and Ospreay also seem to be waiting for Ibushi’s return. Ibushi talks a bit about how much Okada has been killing it lately, and that the belt really fits him, but that it also fit Takagi and Ospreay. He says it didn’t really fit him. Murata intervenes and says they will talk about this later.

Thus, they move on to the part of the episode where Ibushi answers listener questions. The first question asks if there are any other stories like the one where Ibushi cut off the strings of other people’s kites, something where he messed up. First, Ibushi says that he doesn’t really know what would qualify as a messy story because even with the kites he didn’t think [as a child] he screwed up doing that. Or rather, he knew he could get away with it because he was a child.

Murata mentions the 2nd volume of Ibushi’s autobiography [a interview-like supplement to the “main” volume], and how there were many stories from Ibushi’s childhood in there where he did unhinged things. Ibushi jokes that those stories would probably be no good [to recount] on a podcast like this. Murata adds that these stories aren’t about Ibushi messing up, though. He may have done a lot of unhinged things, but [not really something where he screwed up in the sense that he knew he had to apologize, etc]. He asks Ibushi if he does have any anecdotes where he knew he screwed up and that he did something bad [that caused harm to other people, etc].

Ibushi answers that even as a child, he wasn’t scolded like that by his parents. They just asked him to stop, and as an adult, he wondered why he ever did these things to begin with. He says that in the 2nd volume, he revealed about 90% of the unhinged things he did, and that it made him realize just what chaotic things he had done. After the interview, he was asked by the people around him if he was all right, because he had become so pale and quiet from the realization. He says he hasn’t read the 2nd volume because he’s scared of [reading about what he did].

Murata says that Ibushi is thought of as pretty unhinged and messy by others, and that it’s not a character bit. He asks if he’s [doing that] to answer the expectations, and Ibushi answers that it’s all because of the expectations. He does it because people expect him to behave that way.

[There’s a part cut out of the podcast here, about one of the stories in his autobiography] Ibushi says that he doesn’t go so far as to break the law, though. Murata proposes that Ibushi apologize for something he did [and knew was wrong and should have apologized for] but didn’t, something that happened since he became an adult or pro wrestler. Ibushi is silent for a long time, and Murata jokes that he could see him going through a long mental list, not knowing what to choose.

[There’s a bleeping noise here to signal something else was cut out again] Ibushi is in the middle of talking about something he did while he was training, and about someone who was his superior and was fond of him at that time.

[Another sound to signal a censoring] Murata comments that they can’t air that, and jokes about that they can’t use most of the stories from before Ibushi became a pro wrestler, that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the New Japan of today. They reflect on how it’s been over 10 years since 2010 already. The discussion flows to Ibushi screwing up in the ring, and Murata says he’s witnessed many of those things, like Ibushi throwing a certain wrestler down from the turnbuckle in a messy way. Ibushi says this is nothing and there are even messier stories than this. Murata starts saying “███ really thought █ died”, but it gets censored again.

Murata and Ibushi lament that they can’t answer the listener question because it would need to be censored. It wouldn’t fit into New Japan and it would just be a series of censoring noises even if they only censored the really dangerous portions. They agree to answer such questions later in a more intimate, closed talkshow or on a “dark episode” of the podcast.

Next question asks Ibushi what kind of gear he would wear to the ring if he ever changed his costume to something really flashy. As they talk about how Ibushi’s hasn’t changed his gear since he debuted (circling through the same colors etc), Murata asks why Ibushi doesn’t wear gowns or similar costumes to the ring. Ibushi says that he was to wear one for his entrance for the Tokyo Dome 2015 [against Nakamura], but he forgot it at home. He goes on to explain that around 2013, he was told for several years by the company that he should change his gear or wear something to the ring, but that he opposed that every time.

Murata asks why, and Ibushi answers that it’s his ruling passion that his naked appearance is costume enough, and that gowns and such would only exaggerate. He feels like it wouldn’t fit him, but also feels bad for not wearing one, since everyone else does. They talk about flashy costumes such as Tanahashi’s and Okada’s, and about wrestlers who come to the ring in little or simple gear, like Makabe and Shibata. Ibushi asks Murata if he would dislike it if he wore something like that, and Murata says he wouldn’t.

After another cut, they return to the talk from earlier about the IWGP belt and how it fits the individual champions. Ibushi felt like the IWGP World Heavyweight belt didn’t look good on him, but the IWGP Heavyweight belt and the Intercontinental belt did (because of the white matching his silver). He doesn’t think the World Heavyweight belt looked bad, just that it didn’t match him. Seeing it look good on Takagi for example made him think that it must be something about him, rather than the belt. The segment ends with Ibushi declaring that he will change his gear the next time he wears a belt. They tease him maybe even going for longer tights since he’s seeing everyone else wear long tights, but definitely take this with a grain of salt. Ibushi also says that longer tights wouldn’t fit Naito, even though it looks like they might.

At the end, they discuss which of the Japanese Heavyweight wrestlers look good in long tights or short tights. Ibushi is thinking about changing his gear for his return. He teases he’s already come up with something new for that. About gowns, he says that he’ll wear it one day, but he doesn’t know yet for which occasion he should wear it, maybe the Dome or a Halloween show. Before the outro, they talk about the one show Ibushi and Honma changed their gear to match Tanahashi’s for Halloween.