Shingo Takagi and Kazuchika Okada square off ahead of title clash
The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship had the wrestling world’s eyes transfixed on December 27 as SHingo Takagi and Kazuchika Okada traded words at the official Wrestle Kingdom press conference.
In the official position of challenger, Okada would be first to speak, stating: ‘On January 4, I am the challenger. In all honesty, this is the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion versus the G1 Champion. This isn’t a once in a lifetime scenario, and myself and Shingo Takiagi don’t have an epic legendary story with one another. But I do want to show the world an incredible match with Takagi. We have January 5 as well, but January 4 has the most prestige, and I want to show a world class main event, to win, and then move on to the main event January 5, win that and keep on going. Lately there’s been a lot of runins, and matches that only seem to bring stress and frustration. I want to have a match that is a true NJPW style match, truly worthy of starting the 50th anniversary year, and which ends with myself as the new champion.’
In response Takagi declared: ‘I said this at the last Korakuen Hall event- I want the strong, serious Okada on January 4. I want no excuses. Only I don’t have any concerns going into this. I’ve got nothing but confidence. If I bring what I’ve brought for the last year, then it will be business as usual, and I’ll win. But one thing that sticks with me, Okada is when you said that I can’t carry NJPW into this anniversary. You know, I didn’t have a good comeback to that at the time, but I went home thinking about it. And when I thought about it, I realised that the anniversary isn’t something to carry. It’s enough for all of the wrestlers to carry this anniversary, and for me to be at the forefront as their champion.
But if we turn it on its head, can you really say you can carry this anniversary year? After as we came into the Reiwa era in Japan, the title to hold has been the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, and yet here you are digging that old belt from mothballs. That doesn’t qualify you to be the standard bearer for 50 years!
And then, January 5, Will Ospreay. Waiting high and mighty with your replica you made. I’m pissed off, but when I heard you were in Japan, I was honestly happy. Look, I don’t despise the guy. I don’t know if I respect him. But on every important point and in every important match, I lost to him. So I have to win on January 5. If I don’t, I can’t end my 2021, and I can’t start my 2022. With three belts right now, NJPW is losing its way. It’s down to me to show who the real deal is, and what the right way is. That’s why I’ll crush both these guys and win. That’s all I’ve got to say.