My translation of an interview with Ibushi Kôta that appeared on the New Japan website here on 12/26 2013.

Original content and images © New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co., Ltd..

As always, my annotations are [], and annotations by the original publication are in ().

(WK8) 9 Days Until the 1.4 Tôkyô Dome! Ibushi Kôta Interview: “For this match at the Dome, I’m going to make sure I win as Ibushi Kôta from New Japan”

Finally it’s here, Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tôkyô Dome on January 4th (Sat). We are bringing you a series of interviews to count down the days to New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of the year! In part 3, Mr Double Contracts in New Japan and DDT, Ibushi Kôta, makes his appearance!

A really important thing for me in that match is wanting to put my true self out there

You’ll face Prince Devitt for the IWGP Jr. [belt] on 1/4 in the Tôkyô Dome. It’s been a while since [you took a shot at the title].

Ibushi: The way I see it, I get the impression that I’m at a disadvantage when it comes to singles (matches) with Devitt. That’s why I want to secure the victory this time, although there’s no way it will be our last time [fighting in a singles match]. Devitt probably seeks total control over New Japan, but if I can take the belt off him, he’ll be contained, or at least not be able to [gain control] as he is now. I’ll bring him back to the world of the living.

How do you feel about Devitt right now?

Ibushi: Something’s different. Something doesn’t feel right. I think he’s become a punk, but he doesn’t need to break the rules. He’s supposed to be amazing without [the cheating], so why did he go down this path?! 

So does this match feel a little bit different then?

Ibushi: Yeah. But I think (Devitt) has incorporated a lot more things [into his wrestling] than he had before, and gotten better through that. And besides, the thing about other wrestlers interfering in the match, that hasn’t really changed from before. He fights in a way now that’s less risky, injury-wise, and he should be more healed up in a lot of ways too. So his condition all in all is better. I think athletically he’s sure to have improved as well.

In that case, do you need to be adequately cautious?

Ibushi: I think that, no matter which one he is going with, his heel part or his old baby(face) part, I might be in a little bit of danger.

Be that as it may, you were in the G1 CLIMAX this year. You achieved quite a lot, even being chosen for Tôkyô Sports Best Bout Award (an award for the best match of the year) for your match with Nakamura Shinsuke (August 4th, Ôsaka). Considering that you were able to cause even Nakamura to have his back against the wall, do you think it’s likely you’ll defeat Devitt too?

Ibushi: Hmmm. It was very important for me that I was able to put my true self out there in that match. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do the same thing in the match with Devitt or not, but because of that, it gave me the confidence to become a heavyweight. Devitt has also been challenging for heavyweight belts, but I think I’m not going to change all that much depending on the context. I think that we are probably about the same amount of [leaning towards a heavyweight style].

Does that mean it’s going to be an amazing match that will transcend the Jr division?

Ibushi: Well, how far will the old Devitt go? I think it will change depending on that.

If this “murder mode” of yours is [like] going Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball (by Toriyama Akira), then I expect you to bring that out at critical moments in the future, but [what do you think about that]?

Ibushi: I see (laughs). I have always had that, but when I go fully into that…It’s like, it felt like I couldn’t go there, or it was hard to go there, but it has become easier to do it (than before), I guess.

Earlier, you mentioned expressing your true self, [is that connected to that]?

Ibushi: Right. That was probably my true self. There is no reasoning and things like that, and when I get like that I just put out whatever I feel. That’s probably my true self, since I move according to my instincts.

Interesting. If Devitt reacts to being driven into a corner by you like that with his own “murder mode”, then it’s going to be quite dire (laughs).

Ibushi: Yeah (laughs).

It would be great if I could win the belt on my first challenge after coming to New Japan.

Which one of your matches with Devitt so far has stayed with you the most?

Ibushi: I’d have to say the match where I won the IWGP Jr [belt] (June 18th 2011, Ôsaka). It was the first match I won [against him]. Concerning the Dome [on 1/4], that’ll be our third time, and all of them have been title matches for the IWGP Jr [belt]. And the other two (2011, 2013) I was defeated by Devitt (the 2013 match was a threeway with Low Ki).

Do you feel angered by the fact that illegal actions are overlooked in Devitt’s matches?

Ibushi: The interferences are unforgivable. If (he himself) breaks the rules, there’s nothing you can do, but it is absolutely wrong for other people to get into singles matches like that, so…

Are you also considering answering his cheating with cheating?

Ibushi: Hmm. If [he] actually cheats, then I won’t say there’s no possibility I will [also cheat].

Either way, the interferences by Bullet Club members are a problem. Will you fight with Nakazawa Michael at your side?

Ibushi: Oh, no, this is a one-on-one for me. That includes interferences, for me. I’m prepared for those.

So does that mean it might turn into a difficult battle for you?

Ibushi: Well, it might, yeah. But I’m like, lucky when it comes to that. I have been in 1 vs 2, or 1 vs 3 [situations] before, or I have done that in a lot of different styles. I think I can still hold my own even if there are interferences while making full use of that part. I’m confident.

If you made it through that, it would be a true battle between you and Devitt, right?

Ibushi: Yes. I’m sure it will be a very close one between us.

This is your first Dome show after you came to work under double contracts for both NJPW and DDT. Please let us hear your vision for after you become IWGP Jr champion.

Ibushi: I want to become a champion unlike any before me. I want to wrestle the heavyweights too [and all that]. I want to defend the belt in matches that are as unique as my style.

I think the fans are also strongly expecting [you] to put a stop to Devitt and Bullet Club. 

Ibushi: For this match at the Dome, I’m going to make sure I win as Ibushi Kôta from New Japan.

Is this different from your previous Dome shows?

Ibushi: It is [different], because the fans are telling me that they want me to get the belt and win. I want to meet those expectations.

It might truly be your era if you become IWGP Jr champion a second time here.

Ibushi: Hmm. Before, the atmosphere was probably different because I came here from DDT, like “an outsider winning the belt”. It would be great if I could win the belt on my first challenge after coming to New Japan.