Kota Ibushi has won the 30th annual G1 Climax tournament after defeating SANADA in the final, winning the tournament for his second consecutive time.
Ibushi’s victory came after a gruelling 35 minutes and 12 seconds when he managed to hit the Kamigoye twice to finally pick up the pinfall win. The match was very even throughout with SANADA looking like he was about to pick up the win multiple times, at one point locking in the Skull End and nearly causing Ibushi to pass out before releasing it to attempt a moonsault which missed.
By winning the tournament, Ibushi now has a title match against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion (currently Tetsuya Naito) at Wrestle Kingdom 15 next year – which is set to be a two-night event once again. It looks like Ibushi already has his first challenger for the title opportunity in the form of Jay White, who confronted Ibushi backstage following his victory and challenged him – though the ‘Golden Star’ simply responded “Denied. Nope!” to Jay’s request.
This is the second year in a row that Ibushi has won the tournament after winning last year’s G1 by defeating Jay White. He successfully defended his title shot against KENTA and EVIL late last year before failing to defeat Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in the main event of the show’s first night. With this win, Ibushi joins Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan as only the third man in history to have won the G1 Climax twice back-to-back.
Kota Ibushi reached the finals of this year’s G1 by becoming the winner of the A Block with 14 points. He only lost once throughout the entire tournament, falling to Bullet Club leader Jay White on day 3 – who would have won the block himself had he defeated Tomohiro Ishii on Friday to equalise with Ibushi. SANADA, meanwhile, became the B Block winner with 12 points to equalise with both EVIL and Tetsuya Naito. As he managed to defeat both earlier in the tournament, however, the ‘Cold Skull’ of Los Ingobernables de Japon was the one to advance to the finals.
Elsewhere on the show, Will Ospreay’s newly-formed alliance with Great O-Kharn was dubbed ‘The Empire’, with the duo getting a tag victory over SHO & Kazuchika Okada after Ospreay caused SHO to submit.
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