Ibushi seeks G1 hat trick Thursday in Budokan
The main event victory came after Zack Sabre Jr had a heartbreaking exit from the tournament, losing as his Euro Clutch pin was countered by Tanga Loa into a flash pin of his own. Meanwhile Shingo Takagi’s exit came at the expense of Yujiro Takahashi, a double countout after Pimp Juice on the floor meaning that Takagi would not get the required seventh win to be part of Thirsday’s Budokan event.
KENTA had clearly indicated before the match began that he was not aiming to have a good match with his Golden Star opposition, and would use ‘any means necessary’ to claim the victory. That was evident from the get go; after some early strike based offense saw a running mid from Ibushi strike him higher than usually intended in the face, KENTA avoided an Ibushi plancha and sent him face first to the ring post.
Outside activity continued, and Ibushi would lean into it the offense, fighting with KENTA to the back with perhaps dangerous intentions in mind. It would be the BULLET CLUB member on top of the fracas however, as Ibushi was forced to sprint back to the ring at 19.
Once there, KENTA continued his quest to take away the wind of Ibushi, with a solid plan B of using an exposed steel turnbuckle. When referee Red Shoes Unno was sandwiched between Ibushi and the buckle, KENTA would grab a chair for a mighty swing across the back; Ibushi only fired up from the shot, but neglected to take his own, instead grabbing a table at ringside.
Sickening scenes would see the table half collapse under KENTA as Ibushi took flight off the top anyway. A huge welt now marking his back, KENTA nonetheless brought his hardest hits to stop Ibushi. Overhand rights and the Busaiku Knee scored, but didn’t win KENTA the match, while Ibushi didn’t clinch the finish with Kamigoye.
Down to the last rounds in their arsenals, Ibushi removed his knee pad, while KENTA prepared for Go2Sleep. Ultimately the latter didn’t connect, while Ibushi would drive the exposed knee into the back of KENTA’s head, and then the front to pick up the last two points of A Block.
Ibushi will now face either Kazuchika Okada or Jeff Cobb in the G1 final Thursday in the Nippon Budokan. Okada and Cobb meet in Wednesday’s Budokan main event.