"Beyond Misawa and Kobashi" ~ an interview with Go Shiozaki

Puroresu Weekly
June 2019

Q: First of all, how are you looking back on finishing second in "Global Tag League 2019?"
SHIOZAKI: Before it started, I thought about competing as a champion. I guess I was also thinking about the winning team.
Q: What if you were not participating?
SHIOZAKI: Yes, but I did participate, and there was a result.
Q: What kind of result?
SHIOZAKI: I was ready because I didn't want AXIZ to lose to everyone. The league there were good matches to see; there was everything from quickly made tags, to teams that have always been together, but it was a good league.
Q: On the 30th April, there was friction with Taniguchi?
SHIOZAKI: As a result, it was the last match of him as Maybach, but I want to see it again. He can do it again. I think is is tough, and a great wrestler. More than everyone thinks. I'm glad I could feel his strength.
Q: On the 5th May at Korakuen Hall, Maybach Taniguchi was born again as Shuhei Taniguchi
SHIOZAKI: For me, that match (8th April in Yokohama), was like "scrapping a car", but when I saw his face after taking the pin, I saw he was not dead at all. I wonder if Shuhei was born from that moment, but I don't know what is in his heart (wry smile). The other, was reaffirming how tough Sugiura is again. I was able to see the various faces of the teams in the league. 
Q: The winners were Takashi Sugiura & KAZMA SAKAMOTO. 
SHIOZAKI (first part does not translate, as I think he says something like Sugiura was obliged to team with him), this time because it is a title match, I do not know what KAZMA SAKAMOTO will do, but I am looking forward to it.
Q: Sugiura's strength was reconfirmed? 
SHIOZAKI: That was something that I did not understand at first, but when coming directly at me, I will never run. I will return it. I want to break his willpower.
Q: How is Sugiura & KAZMA as a tag team?

Next part doesn't really translate well, but Shiozaki says something like Sugiura is a good opponent in terms of strength as he doesn't back down. 

SHIOZAKI: They are good opponents in strength for AXIZ.
Q: How have the pre-matches been?
SHIOZAKI: He hasn't tagged with his partner at this point. How is KAZMA SAKAMOTO going to emerge? I am thinking about that. It is not interesting otherwise. We lost in the final, so we have to bring out more than last time. 

Shiozaki is asked about AXIZ

SHIOZAKI: I have teamed up with senior wrestlers and juniors, but I didn't really have any synchronization with them. Each of us do as we please, Katsu does as he pleases, and we do not bother each other. Skills are born quickly anyway, it is instinctive.
Q: For example?  
SHIOZAKI: The chop kick sandwich was born in the middle of a match. When I chopped, Katsu matched. That is where the trust is built in freedom, so he is a very rewarding partner.
Q: Speaking of those who have debuted in 2004, they have become the focal point of their promotions.
SHIOZAKI: It is the axis generation.
Q: Speaking of which, Kazuchika Okada, Kota Ibushi, Takagi Shingo and Suwama are all synchronous wrestlers. 
SHIOZAKI: Of course I am worried, but honestly are there more tags? With AXIZ, the response is increased. Now, the singles are in focus to lead now, but who is impressed? The feeling is that we are leading Noah, in singles or tags. I think I would like to work with Katsu for a long time. 
Q: What about the liberty of Nakajima?
SHIOZAKI: It is okay, isn't it? (laughs) I am grinning while watching the match on the apron. Katsu is in a good place, and other wrestlers cannot pull it off. A new door has been opened. It's fun to watch as he is fighting in a way that I don't have. He's not a heel, and that way of fighting is now Katsuhiko. He's not a baby face either. If the wrestlers are not entertaining, then the customers are not happy either. Noah is a promotion that is aiming for the top.
Q: It will be June soon, do you have emotional feelings when this month comes?
SHIOZAKI: June is a special month to me, I came back to Noah three years ago then. It is when Shiozaki as a wrestler also emerges. When it comes to June, I think Noah reopens. 
Q: Are you ready?
SHIOZAKI: Can it be built up? Are the matches fun? To think about Misawa, equals thinking about Noah. The same was true when I was in All Japan, but I especially think about it in June. I think that I must boost Noah, which Misawa created, even more. Noah is a promotion that can rise. More and more we should be able to show this in the future. 
Q: Noah always has a strong past
SHIOZAKI: Wrestlers change in Noah, and there are other changes too, but the essential Noah does not change.
Q: Both yourself and Nakajima have spent half of your careers on the Noah mat?
SHIOZAKI: To talk about the present and future, does not need extra skills. I have not been with Noah since its founding, but I know the Noah that Misawa was with. Because I know the past, I can connect it to the future. 
Q: The strains are Misawa's green and Kenta Kobashi's purple?
SHIOZAKI: When I speak of Noah, they are people who are vital in assisting me. I learned from them. I am the one who has succeeded them, and I want to exceed them. If I do not, then where is my future? (next part does not translate)
Q: There is a deep meaning of the GHC Tag Team Championship match being held on June 13th. It is the same title as ten years ago.
SHIOZAKI: It is a day when I want to push myself further. I have something that none of the other three have, and I think that I will do the match in my own way.
Q: Noah became a new business in March of this year?
SHIOZAKI: Everyone thinks as one about Noah, and how to raise it, but I cannot pass beyond the original Noah (rough), even though currently it is the old Noah vs the current Noah. Although I said that I would surpass Misawa and Kobashi, the current Noah cannot surpass the old Noah. I don't want to forget that part.
Q: What do you think of Kaito Kiyomiya, the current heavyweight champion who is the face of Noah?
SHIOZAKI: Well, he is doing his best as champion, but he is approaching the limit. He doesn't know in what sense he carries emerald green, and for his sake, I have to stop it.
Q: What is your stance in response to the challenge of Sugiura on the 9th June at Korakuen?
SHIOZAKI: This is the second title match with Sugiura, and it will be a cornerstone for Kiyomiya. I will make sure I watch as I think it will be a match where what the true value of the champion is, will be asked.
Q: On the 13th June in Osaka, you face Sugiura for the GHC Tag. Sugiura or Kiyomiya, who would you like to win?
SHIOZAKI: It doesn't matter who wins (laughs). If Kiyomiya can break through there, there will once again be a different scene again. I also lost to Kiyomiya in last year's "Global League", but I think I am the only one who can hammer Noah into Kiyomiya (rough). It is hard to explain in words, but there will be no doubt that it will be a Noah match; it is wrestling that cannot be found anywhere else.
Q: If you trace the past geneaology of the world of Japanese puroresu, it is the flow from All Japan to Noah (rough).
SHIOZAKI: The puroresu that Misawa tried to keep in All Japan until he quit, is the puro that he created in Noah. You don't find it in any other promotion. The wrestlers who are in Noah, are the only ones who can do that style of puro, and together with the fans we want to work to make it rise. Of course, we are at the centre of it, we are AXIZ.

Picture credit: Puroresu Weekly