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Kota Ibushi Recalls Working Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom 15 With a Foot Injury

May 17, 2021 | Posted by Joseph Lee
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 Kota Ibushi

In an interview with NJPW1972.com, Kota Ibushi spoke about suffering a foot injury at night one of Wrestle Kingdom 15, but going on to work night two anyway. He defeated Tetsuya Naito on night one to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship, then retained both titles against Jay White the next night. Here are highlights:

On the foot injury he suffered at Wrestle Kingdom: “It was that first match with Naito, January 4. I think it was when I took a Frankensteiner off the top, and just landed right on my instep. So I think it either sprained or tore a ligament. It’s an injury soccer players get from time to time; I was told it’s best not to move it for three months, but then I had Jay White the very next night. I got to the building early the next day and got it patched up and treated well enough to just about wrestle. I was able to jump, and put some power into it. Then it was really a matter of getting what treatment I could and working around it. It wasn’t so much about healing as it was to stop it getting worse. It’s about the same as it was around when I wrestled SANADA. I’m having to train around it, since I can’t really run like I would normally.”

On losing the title to Will Ospreay: “That match… I was too fixated. Fixated on approaching things differently. That really wasn’t my usual physical match. I wanted to play a mental game, I guess, use my pro-wrestling mind. And at first that was working tactically, but Ospreay completely changed the flow of that match. He has this kind of instantaneous power that really surprised me. When he used that, I couldn’t get back into the match at all. It’s more than explosiveness, but obviously he has that, but an ability to use that explosiveness. It took me off guard.”

On being disappointed at the loss and taking a break: “At first, it was just a wave of disappointment. After all I’d said and done, to not even get one defence, that was really tough. There was maybe a little about me that thought ‘well, things will get easier now, at least’. But yeah, I think most of all, it was really sad. It didn’t quite feel real. There was a lot going on in my mind, how tired I’d been, how hard I’d been pushing, and for what? The truth was I hadn’t even had one defence. It was a release, but not in a positive sense. I think there was a bit of me that was ready for a break as well.”

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Kota Ibushi, Joseph Lee