Desperate struggle, hardfought glory as El Desperado wins singles gold

El Desperado captures vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in Osaka three way


He had interjected himself into the bout that would determine the 89th IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion at the last possible moment, but once there, El Desperado was victorious, completing a seven year journey to the top of his division. Now with both junior heavyweight tag team and singles titles in his possession he is the first simultaneous junior champion since KUSHIDA, and has a huge opportunity next on his schedule. 

Yet the road to victory was a trying one for Suzuki-Gun’s masked agitator. Desperado started strong, sending BUSHI into El Phantasmo before suplexing the LIJ member, nominated for the bout by Hiromu Takahashi, onto ELP. Yet crotched by Phantasmo on the top strand, Desperado was subject to a top corner stomp, leading to two. Moments later, it was Desperado crotching ELP, but when he tried to follow up, BUSHI would intervene, landing his apron DDT before a top rope Frankensteiner got a nearfall. 

Keeping up the motion, BUSHI connected with a suicide dive to Desperado, but Phantasmo would leap on the subsequent pile with a spectacular springboard plancha that had the crowd gasp in spite of themselves. With Phantsmo sending BUSHI into the ring post, the BULLET CLUB representative saw a chance to eliminate one of his opponents, and chose to take out Desperado. A devastating cradle piledriver was followed by Phantasmo ripping away Desperado’s mask, leaving concerned trainers to check if he could continue. 

With the match now a one on one affair, ELP set to work on BUSHI, but the jet black death mask was just as hungry for his second IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. A slingshot headscissors over the top to the floor connected, but BUSHI’s momentum was soon stopped by ELP, who humiliated BUSHI by standing on his crotch in the corner. A beautiful quebrada demonstrated Phantasmo’s effortless athleticism, and the Thunder Kiss ’86 splash was equally effective. BUSHI kicked out of both moves however, prompting ELP to load his boot for Sudden Death. 

Desperado, with a new mask and an intense anger intervened however, and tore into the Canadian, and sent him to the floor where he was met with a tope suicida con giro. Desperado would place ELP on the top rope and looked for a superplex, but BUSHI would return to the ring, to his the Tower of Doom, getting near falls on both of his opponents. 

Phantasmo looked to Sudden Death, but BUSHI capitalised, misdirecting ELP into the ropes and leaving him tangled in the second strand. The Canadian did get free to try and pick up the pieces from a BUSHI Codebreaker, but Desperado kicked out of the move, and out of a follow up Styles Clash. Continuing to draw on BULLET CLUB leaders past, a V-Trigger connected to Desperado, but he couldn’t hit the One Winged Angel, countered into El Es Clero for two. 

Desperado would fire off a spinebuster and followed through with Numero Dos, but when he went for Pinche Loco, Phantasmo struck three times with his loaded boot before hitting the CR II. BUSHI cut off referee Marty Asami at the last possible second however, and landed an emphatic Codebreaker to BUSHI before heading up for the MX. 

The MX attempt met Phantasmo’s Sudden Death, but BUSHI was sent clear of the ring, and a pinfall did not come. ELP loaded up another shot for Desperado, but instead met Despe’s right fist; a pair of Pinche Locos later and Desperado was the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. 

Finally having won his first singles championship, Desperado’s night was not done, as he would end the night challenging Kota Ibushi for the double IWGP Championships. Could ultimate glory be within reach Thursday night?