New Japan Pro Wrestling held their 49th Anniversary Show on Thursday. The event was headlined by the final defense of both the IWGP Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship & the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Kota Ibushi retained both belts over IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion El Desperado.
The fate of the Intercontinental Championship felt all but sealed when it was joined with the Heavyweight Championship to form the IWGP Double Gold, where both belts were defended simultaneously. When New Japan announced that, per Kota Ibushi’s request, both belts will be merged into the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, people became concerned. That the lineage of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship going away is one thing, but the IWGP Heavyweight Title, a title that has been one of the preeminent wrestling championships in the world since 1987; that was an entirely different matter.
Ibushi’s win got a chilly reception from the Budokan crowd. For many, the change represents a champion that is mad with power, and a company that shows little-to-no desire to reign in their mad king.
The United Empire also had a good night in Budokan. Jeff Cobb defeated Satoshi Kojima in a hard hitting battle to advance to the second round of the New Japan Cup. In the semi-main event, Great-O-Khan got a shocking stoppage victory over Tetsuya Naito. Khan used a variation on the reverse figure four leglock to get the win and also advance in the New Japan Cup.
The entire show is available on NJPWWord.com
NJPW 49th Anniversary Show
- Hirooki Goto, Gabriel Kidd, Tomoaki Honma & Master Wato def. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI) by pinfall. (10:39)
Hirooki Goto pinned DOUKI via GTR.
- Bullet Club (EVIL, Jay White, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens) def. Juice Robinson, David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Toa Henare) by pinfall. (7:39)
EVIL pinned Ryusuke Taguchi via EVIL
- CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Tomohiro Ishii) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & SANADA) by pinfall. (9:13)
SHO pinned BUSHI via Shock Arrow.
- New Japan Cup First Round Match: Jeff Cobb def. Satoshi Kojima by pinfall via Tour of the Islands. (11:50)
- New Japan Cup First Round Match: Great-O-Khan def. Tetsuya Naito by ref stoppage via Reverse Figure Four Leglock. (20:20)
- IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Heavyweight Double Championships Match: Kota Ibushi (c) def. El Desperado by pinfall via Kamigoye. (20:36)