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Interview with SHigehiro IRie after wXw 16 Carat Gold 2024

Dan: Your match against Robert Dreissker at wXw 16 Carat Gold was an absolute highlight. Would you confirm that he has given you one of the toughest matches in your professional career?

Shigehiro Irie: Absolutely. Not only did I have strong feelings about wXw, but it was also the decisive match after a long feud with Robert. The emotions were unlike any I'd experienced before, and it seemed Robert shared the same mindset. He gave me everything he had, making it one of the toughest matches of my career.

Dan: This championship match was really intense, or let's say brutal. There were lots of hard strikes, loud chops, nasty forearms, big crashing maneuvers, and in the end... your blood was all over the place. Was it scary for you at some point when you realized how much blood you had lost (in and outside of the ring)?

Shigehiro Irie: I was surprised by the amount of bleeding myself. With blood in my eyes and everything tinted red, it was intense. But rather than breaking my spirit, it fueled my determination. The warmth of the blood all over my head and face. There is a word "hot blood" in Japan, I felt once again that there is such hot blood flowing in me.

Dan: Robert kind of took away some of your faith in yourself after you lost the championship to him in 2023. After a while, you made a great wXw comeback, including victories over Amboss and Robert in some multi-man matches, but you did not get the singles competition win (even if it was close) at 16 Carat. How do you feel about this?

Shigehiro Irie: It's incredibly frustrating. I truly hate not having defeated Robert yet. However, my wrestling motto is "Never surrender. Stand up and fight." I will face Robert as many times as necessary until I overcome him.

Dan: What else do you need to do to defeat Dreissker?

Shigehiro Irie: Honestly, I'm not entirely sure myself. That's why I'm committed to continuous learning and self-improvement in wrestling every single day.

Dan: After the match, Robert left you in the ring, bleeding, heartbroken, and crying. The audience gave you lots of applause, standing ovations, and "Shige/Beastmode" chants. Could you feel all the love for you in the arena?

Shigehiro Irie: Feeling the love and support from the wXw fans meant everything to me. There's a favorite quote of mine: "Not everyone who lives on this planet can be a winner. But there is a way to win on this planet: to be loved." Receiving love from everyone was as meaningful to me as winning.

Dan: What does it mean to you?

Shigehiro Irie: This is precisely why I continue to return to wXw. I cherish wXw and its fans deeply.

Dan: Hanami, your student, became the first-ever Japanese "wXw Academy" champion. You must be really proud. How was his wXw experience?

Shigehiro Irie: Hanami's experience at wXw was incredible. It was his first overseas expedition, and while he had to adjust to many things such as cooking and daily life, he truly enjoyed training at the wXw Academy every day. He was enthusiastic about practicing because he wanted to learn at wXw. Before returning to Japan, he assured me that he would do his best in Japan without forgetting his experiences in wXw and Germany, and I have full confidence in his words.

Dan: You've opened the doors of wXw for many other athletes from Japan like Kohei, Akane, Abe, Watase, etc. Can you share any new "Shige" talent you have in line already?

Shigehiro Irie: While I don't have a specific wrestler in mind at the moment, I'm always on the lookout for someone with passion. Competing in front of the wXw fans, the best and most passionate audience in the world, is sure to be the highlight of any wrestler's career.

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