Kota Ibushi has won both the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships at night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 15 and will go on to defend against Jay White on night 2.
Ibushi faced off against reigning double champion Tetsuya Naito in the main event of the 15th annual Wrestle Kingdom event, having been granted the shot by the champion after losing his G1 Right To Challenge Contract to Jay White. The two had a brutal match that went just over 31 minutes and saw each competitor hit their finishing manoeuvres at least twice. But it was Ibushi, utilising his patented Kamigoye knee strike, who ultimately came out victorious.
In the closing moments of the title bout, Naito attempted to hit Destino for the third time but Ibushi caught his ungovernable opponent mid-move. Ibushi then transitioned into a V-Trigger – the signature move of his former tag team partner and current AEW World Champion Kenny Omega – before hitting the third Kamigoye of the match to capture both titles. Afterwards, the new champion was confronted by his future challenger, Jay White, who promised that he’d take everything from Ibushi on January 5th.
This is Ibushi’s first-ever reign with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and his second with the Intercontinental. The ‘Golden Star’ originally won NJPW’s secondary singles title at NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard in April 2019 where, interestingly enough, he also defeated Tetsuya Naito. Ibushi has failed to capture the Heavyweight title three times prior to his win here: The first time against AJ Styles in April 2015, then opposite Kenny Omega and Cody at King of Pro Wrestling 2018 and finally versus Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 14 night 1.
Kota Ibushi will now go on to defend both titles opposite Jay White in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 15 night 2. The two have developed a storied rivalry over the last year and a half, with Ibushi beating White to win the 29th annual G1 Climax tournament to initially spark their feud. Since then, White has won every singles encounter between the two – most recently defeating Ibushi at Power Struggle 2020 to win the G1 Right To Challenge Contract – giving the ‘Switchblade’ a 3-1 lead over the current double champion.
Inside The Ropes will have live coverage of night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 15 when the show kicks off at 8am GMT on January 5th.
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