Cody Rhodes is eager to face Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
He spoke to Sports Illustrated about the upcoming match-up. Going in, he knows the connection between Ibushi and his colleague in the Bullet Club, Kenny Omega. He hopes that people watching the match like it.
“Kota Ibushi is one of Kenny Omega’s lifelong greatest friends,” said Rhodes. “Kenny and I don’t always publicly see eye to eye, and stepping through this match could be a minefield of explosions, but hopefully fans will like it.”
Talking about the match, Rhodes says he's wanted this match for a long time, and knows that it's an important match to him.
“This is really a dream match that is taking place on a dream card,” said Rhodes. “It’s one that I’ve wanted for a long time. I’m [incredibly] keyed up for the thought of wrestling Kota Ibushi. This match is incredibly important to me."
The match has been one of the more hotly promoted contests, along with the double main event of Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito. That caused some ire within the New Japan fan community, but it doesn't matter to Rhodes -- he loves what's going on here, and even hinted what happens tonight could lead to something more in the future.
“I know that in Japan there were actually some people upset that my match with Ibushi was profiled like it was even though it’s not an IWGP championship match," Rhodes said. "You’re hearing a lot of Kenny-Jericho, Okada-Naito, and Cody-Ibushi, but there are a lot of New Japan legends and stars you’re not hearing about. That upset some of the New Japan diehard fans, but I love what New Japan is doing and that we’re bringing over some new fans. There are ramifications of what will happen in Long Beach this March with what happens in my match against Ibushi.”
The match will take place at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Originally set for the Ring of Honor title, it has since been declared a special singles bout after Rhodes lost the Ring of Honor title to Dalton Castle last month.