Protect Ya Neck (or don’t!)
In a battle to see who could kill each first that also coincidentally happened to be for the Intercontinental Championship, Kota Ibushi defeated Tetsuya Naito. This was wild, and probably the match of the night.
You don’t need to be told that Ibushi and Naito are both amazing wrestlers, but they’re both amazing wrestlers. These two already had an awesome match last month in the New Japan Cup and this was a great follow-up that lived up to the hype.
The adversaries held nothing back, laying into each other for 20 glorious minutes. The crowd was chanting “Holy S–t” before they even touched each other. And when they did, *chef’s kiss*. Ibushi’s hurricanrana to Naito off the apron was absolutely bonkers, and his deadlift German suplex while standing on the middle rope wowed the crowd. Every one of Naito’s signature moves looked particularly brutal, and when he followed up a devastating-looking reverse rana with the Destino, it looked like he might retain.
Except, Ibushi kicked out. Ibuhsi was repeatedly getting dropped on his head and neck — as we’ve come to expect and, in a twisted way, love — but kept coming back stronger. In contrast to Naito, the Intercontinental title means a whole lot to Ibushi. He was never going to let a few scrambles of the old brain keep him down.
Upon being presented with the white title belt after a Kamigoye knee, Ibushi held it close like it was the most meaningful thing ever. On the flip side, finally rid of the championship he absolutely despises, Tetsuya Naito is free to pursue a championship he actually desires: the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, now held by Okada. Start getting your Wrestle Kingdom bets in now.