Yesterday’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 final ended in controversial fashion when superstar Kota Ibushi landed awkwardly on his shoulder after a Phoenix Splash attempt, which caused the referee to stop the match and declare Ibushi’s opponent, Kazuchika Okada, the winner of the prestigious tournament.
Okada has since addressed the G1 ending in a statement to the press, where the Rainmaker hopes to not only face Ibushi once again, but potentially revive the retired IWGP heavyweight championship belt in place of the G1 briefcase.
Well, I was able to win G1 Climax 31. I want to take the time to thank the fans for all their support. Now it’s behind us, looking back on the last month, I think it was definitely a fulfilling experience. The final, obviously Kota Ibushi had his injury, but I want to view things in a positive light. Obviously I’m sure that Ibushi has taken it hard, but to view it positively, it was something that will absolutely go down in history. I know that history gets decided by the victors, but if I say so myself, it was a great G1 Climax. I want to face Ibushi again, but I feel there should be something concrete to represent that. I’m not a champion, and I don’t have anything to put up. The IWGP Heavyweight Championship that Ibushi retired though… I’m not saying that people should call me the ‘X-ieth Heavyweight Champion’ or anything, but I want to hold that belt, until Ibushi gets back. Usually (the G1 winner) gets a contract and defends that. But maybe I can- in fact, since the chairman is here today, I’m asking- to have the fourth IWGP Heavyweight belt in place of a contract.
He also says he’s ready to face the Bullet Club’s Tama Tonga once again, as Tonga was the only person to defeat him in this year’s G1.
Well, if it were to be a contract, last night Tama Tonga came to me after the match, and I have no qualms with putting it on the line against him. But I want to fire up New Japan in my own way. Not as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, but as the G1 Champion.
Okada’s full statement can be found here.