Earlier this year, NJPW presented Wrestle Kingdom for the first time ever as a two-night event. In the main event of night 1, IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada defended his championship against Kota Ibushi.
In a new interview with the official website of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Ibushi, who would lose his championship opportunity, discussed what that moment meant for him and how it all went wrong.
“I wasn’t nervous at all. Completely relaxed. I think that was what was different; I’ve been in the Dome a bunch of times, but this was the most relaxed I’ve ever been there,” he began.” With the Okada match, like I said, I was very relaxed, but that wasn’t always the case. Around last December it hit me that I was going to be in the main event in the Tokyo Dome, and that gave me a lot of anxiety. But I was able to carry that with me, keep myself under control, and then release that tension in a calm and relaxed way.”
He continued, “I think that main event title match experience that Okada has paid off. There might be a few areas that I can’t beat Okada in, but I definitely felt in that match that there are areas where I’m the better man. Oh, and I was able to try something out in that match.”
In the end, Tetsuya Naito walked away from the two-night affair as the new champion. Kota Ibushi has thoughts about the new champion that will be revealed in the second part of the interview that is yet to be released.
In other news, WrestleMania this year will also be a two-night event. Learn more about that at this link.