While fans left the Budokan on Monday August 12 ecstatic at Kota Ibushi’s triumph in G1 Climax 29, a major talking point was that of KENTA turning his back on close friend Katsuyori Shibata and aligning himself with BULLET CLUB.
On the evening of August 11, Tama Tonga posted a mysterious message to Twitter, saying he had recruited a ‘high caliber athlete’ to the group. Speculation was gathering as to just who that new member could be when Tonga and partners Tanga Loa and Bad Luck Fale headed to the ring to face the combination of YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii and KENTA.
Despite Tonga’s suggestion that KENTA start the match, it was YOSHI-HASHI who opened proceedings against the BULLET CLUB. He and Tomohiro Ishii fought valiantly against their opponents, but when Ishii created an opening to tag in KENTA, he dropped off the apron.
KENTA, who had been harshly booed by crowds several times during the G1 Climax tour, watched on as Ishii struggled in a sudden handicap scenario. He fought bravely, but when Ishii levelled Tonga with a lariat, KENTA entered and delivered a Busaiku Knee and then a Go2Sleep to the Stone Pitbull.
As the crowd poured scorn on KENTA, he gestured to give the world an answer, grabbing a ringside microphone. Before he could make comment however, Katsuyori Shibata rushed the ring, as the Budokan erupted in cheers.
Shibata, who was forced out of in-ring competition in April 2017 due to injury, and whose friendship with KENTA directly led to his inclusion in the G1, was in no mood to talk. He tore into KENTA and landed a huge corner dropkick to his now former friend. When Shibata looked to PK KENTA however, Jado swung his kendo stick into The Wrestler’s back.
This led KENTA to land his own PK to Shibata, and after a series of relentless kendo stick shots, KENTA mocked Shibata’s trademark cross legged pose, sat on top of his former friend’s chest in a display that shocked and appalled the Budokan crowd.
Backstage, Tama Tonga stated that with KENTA in the fold, BULLET CLUB would hit ‘top gear’. A furious Shibata questioned whether KENTA had ‘any idea how hard I struggled to get him here,’ before supposing ‘little boy lost found himself.’
We will have more on this situation on njpw1972.com as it develops.