IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
KOTA IBUSHI (c) vs. TETSUYA NAITO
Lots of leapfrogs and roll-throughs early on as neither athlete could connect with anything in a fast-paced flurry of counters. Ibushi caught the challenger with a running kick and charged the corner, but Naito hip tossed him and hit a dropkick to the shoulder. The Los Ingobernables leader struck his Tranquilo pose to test the crowd, but was met with a chorus of loud boos. He locked in an abdominal stretch and hammered away on the champion with elbow strikes, and the boos got even louder. Naito wouldn’t let up, following with a dropkick to the back of the head, and his signature slingshot dropkick in the corner.
Ibushi finally fired back with a stiff kick that sent his opponent to the floor, and followed with a corkscrew plancha to the outside, catching his chin on the apron on the way down. Both guys slowly roll back in and go for boots at the same time, Ibushi hits a nasty knee strike, but Naito hits him right back with a dropkick that turned him inside out. They battled up to the top rope and it looked like Naito was trying for an Avalanche Hurricanrana, but the champion landed on his feet and sent him crashing down with a Pele Kick!
Ibushi tried to deadlift suplex his opponent back into the ring, they fought back and forth, both guys milling over ways to murder each other on the edge of the apron as they delivered strike after strike, boot after boot. Naito with clubbing blows to the back, and finally got control with the WORST German suplex I have ever seen! Ibushi’s head SLAMMED against the ring post as his body snapped to the floor, possibly knocking him out cold legitimately. That is 100% a concussion…
The referee got to a count of 19 but somehow Ibushi, who couldn’t keep his eyes open, rolled back in just in time. Naito put him on the top rope and this time hit the Avalanche Hurricanrana, again dropping him on his head. Jesus. It’s time for the Destino, but Ibushi counters into a Package Piledriver! Both men down! The ref begins his count and gets to 10… gets to 15… He gets to 18 and the two stars wobble to their knees, breaking the count. Naito starts hammering the champ with headbutts, but Ibushi screamed into the air and destroyed him with a lariat, taking every bit of energy he had left. Both mend own again.
Ibushi stomped to the corner and got the crowd worked into an absolute frenzy, as he channeled one of his “gods” – the iconic Shinsuke Nakamura. He missed the Kinshasa and went crashing into the corner, and Naito immediately took advantage with the Destino! 1…2… NO! Naito pulled him back up and went for Destino again, but this time Ibushi rolled through the move and countered with the Golden Star Powerbomb!
The knee pad is down, and the champ is looking to put things away with the Kamigoye, but Naito spray at him like a cat using the moment of the finisher to hit another Tornado DDT. This time the challenger is done playing around, and takes Ibushi to the corner, climbing the ropes, and connects withs the spinning Gloria out of the corner. Destino coming, Ibushi gets him up on his shoulders, but Naito rolls through into a Poison Rana! One more time – Destinoooooooo! 1…2….3!
Winner & New Champion: Tetsuya Naito
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