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Ibushi Kôta In His Return Interview: “Being patronized by Generico was frustrating”
The DDT official interview team conducted an interview with Ibushi Kôta, who will face El Generico at the 5/4 Kôrakuen show in his return match for the promotion. We bring you the candid thoughts of the Golden☆Star in two parts. He will once more climb into the ring after overcoming a long absence and surgery of his left shoulder. In the first part, [he talks] about his match with Generico on 5/4 in Kôrakuen.
From here on, play-wrestling will become my usual fighting style
You have finally returned after a long, long absence.
Ibushi: I’m glad I was able to return before I turned 30.
Looking back, you dislocated your left shoulder in a match on September 10th last year, and decided to get surgery for it, but this was your second time dislocating your left shoulder, wasn’t it?
Ibushi: I trained so it wouldn’t dislocate [again], but I felt that this injury would be [even] more prone to dislocating [again], so I thought getting surgery would be better.
How is your shoulder currently?
Ibushi: [Movement] is prevented in the direction of where it dislocated, so my range of motion is small. It feels like rehab is helping me move it again.
You’re gradually and slowly increasing your range of motion with rehab?
Ibushi: However, when I try moving it, I have a habit of hold back so it doesn’t dislocate, so then a different muscle will hurt.
The surgery went well, but does it feel like your movements as a wrestler are still restricted?
Ibushi: The doctors told me this pain would go away if I did my rehab.
But the shoulder surgery must also have had an impact on your fighting style.
Ibushi: The kicking and high-flying I have done until now [I can still do]…
Adding play-wrestling to that.
Ibushi: Correct. It’s about the “play” part. From now on, in this “play” era, I’m going to bring out my power fighter [style].
Does this mean this isn’t “playing” anymore, but your personal wrestling [style]?
Ibushi: I’ve always wanted to do that. I want to have a style that mixes play-wrestling, or rather brawling and high-flying. I do lariats too, but I also do moonsaults.
You mean you’re going to do that mixed style once you return.
Ibushi: I want to do that around my return.
I felt patronized by Generico. It was frustrating, embarrassing.
Your return match will be a singles match against El Generico. You have a win over him from when you faced him in ROH (April 19th, 2008), right?
Ibushi: It was really good. We were clicking in the match, and the fans were really amped up as well. More than anything, Generico’s technical skill is amazing. It’s extraordinary.
Do you look at him as a high-level wrestler?
Ibushi: I do. He’s technical, each and every move is brutal, and he has a connection to the fans too.
Is there a part of you that [looks at] Generico as the ideal [wrestler]?
Ibushi: It’s not like my ideal, but there are quite a lot [of things] I think would be better if I had them [too]. I thought that in this sense, Generico was better than me in everything.
I don’t think there are that many people who think that.
Ibushi: I also had confidence when it came to the technical skill and moves that are convincing for the fans, but when I faced Generico, I realized there was such a gap between us. I thought, this guy’s a genius.
Genius recognizes genius. You were quite charmed with each other.
Ibushi: Oh, but what was awful for me, was when he told me after the match I was amazing, and it felt [like] being patronized to me. He told me I was amazing, but that’s not actually what he thinks. I’m wrestling guys that are way, way better. You’re like, 5th place among those. I felt patronized by him.
You won the match, but that part had you in a sour mood?
Four years ago was when you were picking up steam.
Ibushi: I was tagging with Marufuji in NOAH’s Junior Tag League and stuff like that, yeah.
So you mean you were knocked down a peg when you then faced Generico.
Ibushi: I felt how below average I was. It was embarrassing.
Did you ever want to fight Generico again after that?
Ibushi: I said [this to] everyone after I came back home to Japan.
Did you feel it was your chance [to fight him again] when it turned out he would be in Union?
Ibushi: I was in a hurry at first.
In a hurry?
Ibushi: He had finally come to DDT’s home turf. He was appearing in Dragon Gate, so I thought next he’d come up in New Japan or NOAH, but it ended up being Union, so.
Like, sooner or later there had to be an opportunity to face him?
And just when you were about to, you got injured.
Ibushi: However, I did get more and more excited while I was out. I just wanted to have my return match. But right now, I’m anxious as well.
Ibushi: First, I said that [the fans] at ROH were amped up, but that was in America, and the fans in Japan have a different way of getting excited.
In addition, the expectation from the Japanese fans is big as well.
Ibushi: How do you think it’ll go, my return match?
Your fighting style is likely to be different from how it was four years ago, and furthermore this singles match will be the first clash between you in Japan…We won’t know until you look at the results.
Ibushi: Hmm, I’m thinking about a lot of things.
It means a lot to me that the DDT Takagi started has been going for 15 years and gotten so big that it can do Budôkan shows
DDT is preparing for their first Nippon Budôkan show, which will [be held] three months after your return. Have you always dreamed of [wrestling in] Nippon Budôkan?
Ibushi: I had, but my first time at Budôkan was for NOAH (July 15th 2007) where I tagged with Marufuji against KENTA nad Ishimori, and then when I first wrestled Misawa that was in Budôkan as well (October 25th 2008), and I was at ALL TOGETHER too, so I have wrestled in Budôkan a lot already.
What about the fact that this is DDT’s first time [there]?
Ibushi: I respect Takagi, and I think it’s amazing that the promotion he started has been going for 15 years and gotten so big that it can do Budôkan shows, it means a lot to me. However, since I’m thinking about wrestling [in the context of] going up against baseball or soccer, in that way, Budôkan shows are one of those [instances where] I have come to experience [that] many times.
Do you mean [wrestling] is fighting [established] society?
Ibushi: I think that holding events such as ALL TOGETHER regularly is my ideal, or that doing so makes it possible to go up against other sports.
My role is to make wrestling popular.
I’d be happy to become a chance for people to get to know wrestling
What’s the position you personally think you should be heading for?
Ibushi: As far as my ultimate role goes, it’s making wrestling more popular. I want to use a lot of different methods to make it more popular.
What about belts?
Ibushi: Of course I want to win belts. Like the IWGP Heavyweight [championship].
Will the IWGP Junior [belt] do?
Ibushi: I had to relinquish the IWGP Junior [belt] without losing, so I have to take [the belt] back from Devitt. I also want to be in the G1. I used to watch it way back when.
[All in for] New Japan.
Ibushi: I was a New Japan fan (laughs). But I have been on broadcasts and such in order to promote wrestling, and I think society looks at you differently when you’ve won at some amazing show because you’re the champion of [promotion] so-and-so, instead of when you’re a nameless wrestler. That’s the part that makes me want to have belts. But, I think wrestling isn’t going to become more popular with matches that are about winning belts. Because showing the world a title match is different from showing the world the wrestling that I think will become the most popular. I realized that with the Lords of the Warring States Festival (March 6th and 7th 2010, Saitama Super Arena; Ibushi fought as Ishida Kazushige).
However, opportunities like the Warlords Festival that bring those who don’t know wrestling at all closer to it, are rather rare, right?
Ibushi: In that sense, I think anywhere wrestling is the closest [to the Festival event]. Campground Wrestling is different because the fans come [there] to see that, but the best [scenario] is, for example, if an old lady passing by and she’s like, what is this?!
Do you think wrestling in a shopping street or at the Fukuoka Traffic Center building and such come closest to that?
Ibushi: Even for those the crowd is 100, 200 people. I want to do that in front of a thousand people. For example, I wish I could get the time to [wrestle] at a festival with several thousand people, or at an MMA show, or at a live concert or something. If we can sweet talk them into having wrestling [on their shows], then the fans who came to see those artists would watch us anyway. For [the non-fans] to develop an interest, I think that as long as you can have the best match [that you can have] that sets the entire venue on fire, that’s enough.
Doing that would increase the number of DDT fans as well.
Ibushi: Right. DDT is my family. It’d be wonderful if that family became bigger because of that.
You mean your future mission is to use means like that to make pro wrestling more popular.
Ibushi: Yeah. I’d be happy to just become a chance for people to get to know about wrestling.
You hope to become people’s gateway drug into wrestling.
Ibushi: I’m fine with being a salesman that shows people what there is [to wrestling].
A veritable pro wrestling salesman.
Ibushi: Yes. I’m a pro wrestling salesman. I hope to present wrestling, and have the people who show an interest fall in love with it. Also, my dream is to wrestle during prime time. Not wrestling on a wrestling show, but wrestling during prime time. I think if that were to happen, then I could get [people] interested in wrestling.