On October 15 in the TV Asahi building in Roppongi, Tokyo, a press conference was held concerning Wrestle Kingdom 14, which takes place in the Tokyo Dome on January 4 & 5.
After the official announcement that Kota Ibushi would be taking on Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP heavyweight Championship in the main event on January 4, Kota Ibushi made his statement:
Kota Ibushi’s statement:
‘Yesterday, I put my contract on the line, and I won. Right now, it feels great to be here. From the start, the press conference after I won the G1, I said I wanted to hold both the Intercontinental and Heavyweight championships. That feeling has not changed. It’s all because I want to spread the word about professional wrestling. But I’m not taking the heavyweight title lightly at all. I don’t look down on Okada, I look up to him.’
Kazuchika Okada’s statement:
‘Hello. (silence). Yesterday I made a big rah rah speech about tearing it up and making wrestling bigger than ever, and everyone gives me a big pop, and today I can’t even get a hello? You’re all adults here. Let’s try again. Hello! (room responds). That’s better. Well, the main event has been set, but it’s still a long way away, there’s lots to be done. I think this title is the most important there is, and it is on me to make sure that the Tokyo Dome is sold out. I do however recognise that Ibushi beat me during the G1, and I do intend to repay that debt.
Questions to participants:
–Ibushi, your thoughts on standing in the main event at the Tokyo Dome?
Ibushi: A few years ago, I wrestled in a match that was called the ‘Double Main Event’ but really that was the semi-main. This is the first time I’m properly in the main event, and I’m really excited.
–Okada has talked about wanting to fill the Tokyo Dome. Do you have any expectations on attendance at Wrestle Kingdom?
Ibushi: Well, if he wants it to be ‘No Vacancy’, I want it to be ‘Super No Vacancy’.
–You will be back in the main event, for the first time in two years. After you defended the IWGP title in 2018, you said that the Dome had to be fuller next time. Are your comments today a continuation of that?
Okada: Right. Back then, even though people said then that pro wrestling was hot, there were still empty seats. We can be proud of wrestling being in this state, to have come from a time where nobody was coming to selling out Madison Square Garden. But we can’t have fans look at a Japanese crowd and see empty seats. I have to make sure that the Tokyo Dome is completely full. And I, we, have to show the crowd the kind of wrestling that makes fans proud to say ‘pro wrestling is awesome.’ On January 4 and 5.
–Ibushi, can you speak more as to why you want two championships?
Ibushi: I’ve never held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. So when I say what I do, some people think that I don’t feel it has any value. The truth is, I respect the hell out of that title. IWGP Heavyweight Championship matches show you the strongest is. I think the IWGP belt is a gold medal. But the IWGP Intercontinental Championship is the best. That, too, is a gold medal. They both are, and I want them both.
–The strongest and the best?
–Okada, you have commented that if someone wins a gold medal at the Olympics, they wouldn’t turn around and ask for a silver. What’s your response to Ibushi’s comments?
Okada: Well, I’ve only ever held this one belt. Apart from tags, I’ve only ever challenged for this belt. Maybe the Intercontinental Championship holds its own appeal, but I don’t see it.
In the past there has been a person that’s elevated the Intercontinental Championship to a status over the heavyweight, but that isn’t the case now. The IWGP Heavyweight Championship is the strongest and the best.
–Ibushi, you alluded to the fact that some people are tired of the Okada era when it comes to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Ibushi: (To Okada) You’ve had that (IWGP title) too long, haven’t you? I really think you are truly the best. To have held onto the IWGP for that long, you really are the strongest. But I want to show you that I can surpass even you. I am the strongest and the best.
Okada: I’m very sorry for being so good.
–This is the main event on January 4, but we still don’t know what January 5 will look like. Ibushi, has talked about wanting the Intercontinental Championship. What kind of match, what kind of card do both of you want to see on January 5?
Ibushi: I think I’ve explained enough times by now, but what I expect is to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight on January 4 and win, then on January 5, have a double IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship match.
Okada: I said I want January 4 to sell out and for January 5 to sell out as well. To that end I’m perfectly willing to defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on both nights, January 4 & 5.
–Last night, you did not use your usual phrase of ‘making it rain’ in the middle of the ring. Was there any meaning to that?
Okada: None in particular. (laughs)
–After you won in the main event at the Tokyo Dome two years ago, you talked about making it rain happiness. Have you been able to do that?
Okada: I think my only real job is to make sure the pro wrestling fans are happy. So from here on I have to keep making wrestling bigger and bigger, have more people know and love it, and have more people, happier, than ever.