Double IWGP title matches see last statements made
Jay White, Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito all exchanged in a war of words at the Wrestle Kingdom 15 press conference in advance of the two main events on January 4 & 5.
Naito and Ibushi were first to issue statements, Ibushi stating ‘I don’t have much to say particularly as the challenger here. But Tetsuya Naito is a special opponent to me. I’m looking forward to facing him at the Tokyo Dome. And as for Jay White on January 5, I plan to win that match too.’
In response, Naito stated ‘I was really hoping you would do the whole ‘winning both nights, becoming God’ line. It’s been over a month since this match was set for January 4. I’ve wrestled him a few times since, and remembered just how fun it is. I asked for this match, and I made it happen, so maybe you could say that I’m getting what I hoped for; or maybe less generously, that it’s going as expected.
Of course, there are a lot of risks in facing Ibushi and then Jay White on January 5. But this is the biggest event on the calendar for NJPW, and for two nights as well. Being in the main event, two nights in a row? The benefits far outweigh the risks.
As a professional wrestler, I can’t really get behind the thinking of Jay White, wanting to take a night off and just wrestle on Jan. 5. But if that’s what he wants, I hope he relaxes, rests up and comes in on January 5 ready to go. This year, we can’t have everyone yell together, but I will get to experience something that thanks to KENTA, I couldn’t do in 2020. Walking back up that ramp as the champion after the main event. That’s something very few wrestlers ever experience. Not Ibushi, not Jay, not even me after last year. I have never walked back up the ramp after the main event, as the champion. I wonder what that feels like; and now I get to do it, not once but twice. That’s exciting.’
To the irritation of the January 4 contenders, Jay White made an interruption to ask pointed questions such as ‘why do you two suck so much, and why is Jay White so great’; both men reaffirmed their desire to beat White should they emerge victorious on January 4, leaving White to make his own address later in proceedings. After asking for Yota Tsuji to keep him company during the conference, he remarked
‘I forgot when I made my demands, I don’t want Red Shoes as my referee for my match on Jan. 5. I want the old, shorter tanned one. You saw last night in Korakuen Hall, I was in a hold and I had the ropes. It’s supposed to be a five count, but Unno didn’t know what was happening.
And another thing. why don’t you just give the belts to me to hold onto, and I’ll defend them? Because all the roads, all the paths lead to me. The match with me is what really matters. Whoever wins on January 4, they’re going to lose to me anyway, so you might as well just give the belts to me now.’
After polling Tsuji on who he thought would be victorious, Jay White left the press conference well aware of his strong position at the Tokyo Dome, and with the appropriate confidence to suit.