After his critically acclaimed match with Kenny Omega at the NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 11 event, Kazuchika Okada published a statement about the match. Here is what he had to say, courtesy of Chris Charlton:
I’ve had some intense matches, but nothing ever like that. I thought I was going to die in parts of that match. But against someone as good as Kenny is, to defend the belt successfully gives me a lot of confidence. And I think it not only wowed the Japanese audience, but fans all over the world, so with that in mind, it was a fantastic match.
I’ve heard a lot of people say it was a great match, or from fans relieved I retained the belt. That’s normal from Japanese fans, but this time I was really floored by the number of responses from fans all over the world who loved the match. And other wrestlers from abroad saying they loved it, that’s been really special. That’s a credit to Kenny, that the match had the ability to, and did, resound all over the world. Perhaps Okada v Tanahashi didn’t pull in the international crowd, but Okada v Omega can.
I still hurt today. My neck hurts, I fell on my head, my back was cut. But that comes with the territory, and that’s what it means to compete for the IWGP title.
I think you can treat Wrestle Kingdoms 1-10 as one chapter and 11 as the beginning of the next. That said, it was an awesome start to the next chapter, and an awesome start to 2017.