Shota Umino just short of Will Ospreay in Ariake
Shota Umino made his official return to Japanese NJPW competition on November 20 when he challenged Will Ospreay for the IWGP United States Championship.
A high speed start to the bout would see both try to end the match early to no avail, before Ospreay would take control with some hard and heavy chops. Umino would use a short range body drop before a neckbreaker, and then a cannonball plancha off the apron, evoking Jyushin Thunder Liger to a champion clad in ring gear that paid tribute to Hayabusa.
Umino would follow up with a fisherman’s suplex for two, but wasn’t as aggressive as he needed to be with some downward elbows, leading Ospreay to battle back and connect with an aggressive plancha. As both men reset center ring, there was still an edge for the champion in strike exchanges to the challenger; changing his gameplan up, Umino spiked Ospreay with a pop-up powerbomb, but a flying assault from the challenger would be caught by Ospreay with a Liger Bomb of his own.
Digging deep, Umino landed a shotgun blast of a dropkick at the 15 minute mark, but would taste Ospreay’s boot with a vicious corner kick from the champion. A Hayabusa-esque Firebird would only get two for Ospreay, who wanted the OsCutter and got one on his second attempt. Umino kicked out, but the angered Ospreay would unleash 12-6 elbows to Umino in the ropes.
The official, and Umino’s father Red Shoes Unno considered calling off the bout as he had at Royal Quest II, but Umino refused to let the match end. Umino stood, only to fall to Ospreay’s thrust kicks and the Chelsea Grin, but he escaped the Hidden Blade, and launched the champion into a hard knee and then a European uppercut.
Umino used an elevated guillotine choke into a modified Death Rider, but the full version would be met with sharp repercussion. A pop up elbow, and Hidden Blade didn’t get three, but Stormbreaker did; Ospreay now carries the IWGP United States Championship into Wrestle Kingdom 17, and a challenge issued by Kenny Omega.