Kota Ibushi says he was calm inside the Tokyo Dome on January 4 when headlining night one of Wrestle Kingdom 14 against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but that wasn't always the case.
In an interview with the official website of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Ibushi would discuss the highs and lows of that January night in Tokyo.
“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. And to an extent, having that in my moveset eliminates other moves. But I wanted to know if I could still do it if I had to. The place to find out was at the Tokyo Dome; if I screwed it up, I had the most to lose, embarrassing myself on that big a stage. Yeah. I missed, and it hurt, but I’m happy I tried to hit it at least. Especially against Okada."
Night one of Wrestle Kingdom 14 was recently made available for free viewing on NJPW World. Learn more at this link.