— njpwworld (@njpwworld) March 21, 2017
- 7TH MATCH UNLIMIT
NEW JAPAN CUP 2017 FINAL
Match time: 18m48s
‘Damn! He’s strong. That son of a bitch. That son of a bitch! I thought I had him. I lost my chance. F***. But I’m not gonna give up. So everybody relax! It’s my time to relax now.’
‘I'm sure you've got questions- let's hear them.’
-- What's your mental state now, having won the New Japan Cup?
‘That I've finally done it, now. After the journey I've been on these last.. three? Three, four years? I haven't had much of a taste of singles gold. The New Japan I came up in, the New Japan today, the New Japan of today is awesome! It's unreal, right? But I can never forget, we can never forget. The most important thing, at the root of what we do. Take on every challenge. Never turn down a fight. So I win, and it's onto the next fight. I get to be a challenger. No complaints about that!’
--You talked in the ring about making a promise to do with Okada.
‘That promise.. three, four years ago, in Osaka, I think. He said “this isn't the kind of belt anybody can just come to the ring and challenge for”. That might be true. It took more than three years to get to this point.’
--When Goto challenged for the title and lost, you were there with him. You could have challenged and chose not to.
‘Like I said, I kept my end of the bargain, it just took time. And as for him, he held that belt. All the stars have aligned for this to happen.’
-- Okada was very open about taking on whoever won the cup, so he'll likely accept your challenge.
‘I honestly never understood the stipulation. Choosing a title to challenge for, to me that's choosing between two classes. I don't get it. So for me, it was always just beating who they put in front of me. And that led me here.’
-- And that match will happen April 9 in Ryogoku.
‘Anywhere’s fine! Anywhere’s fine. Wherever.’
--The title itself means more to you than the venue?
‘The title that Okada holds, yes. I haven't won over New Japan yet. Well, this is my first time, winning something like this.. any other questions?’
--You once faced Okada in the G1. You stated afterward that you thought you'd found his weakness…
‘Do I have to say that now?’
--That's up to you.
‘Then maybe not now. There's still time.’
--If Okada hadn't been the champion, would you still have challenged for the IWGP title?
‘I really don't know. I hadn't given it any thought. I just decided to challenge after I won. There was no reason not to choose the IWGP.’
--Did you choose the IWGP champion, or did you choose Okada?
‘I chose *IWGP champion, Okada*. That's who I want to beat, that's who I will beat. No more, no less.’
--Why do you think Okada didn't come out to respond to you?
‘He went home, right? We’re pretty near the station. I'd go home. You want to get back, right? Well, I guess another way of putting it is he was avoiding me. But he said himself he'd take on the winner. Whether he was here and didn't come out, or had left and didn't come out, he didn't come out is all we know. If he's avoiding me, he can't anymore!’
-- You carry the pride of coming into New Japan in ‘that era’. Okada is of the ‘New’ New Japan. Do you see this as a generational clash of sorts?
‘Well, I don't know about being if ‘that era’. But I know a New Japan that Okada doesn't. And I know the New Japan of today. So I have twice as much knowledge as him. Thank you!’
(Shibata drinks a can of beer)
‘Thank you very much!’