The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship co-headlined the Osaka Jo Hall saw Hiromu Takahashi make his much-anticipated defense against Ryu (Dragon) Lee. Hiromu and Ryu Lee have wrestled one another on numerous occasions going back to 2014 when Hiromu went on an excursion to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), developing unique chemistry with one another.
On July 7, 2018, Hiromu suffered a neck injury in a match against Ryu Lee at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. Yet, the two remain respectful rivals — even during the build-up to their match in Osaka. While their match at The New Beginning in Osaka featured a series of chop trades, harkening back to Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasuke — the contest was more of a psychological story than a display of supernatural athleticism.
Ryu Lee attempted the Dragon Driver technique, the move which injured Hiromu, to build drama, and the two used the top turnbuckle to tease a risky high-risk display, but it all played into the underline story between the two. The narrative between Hiromu Takahashi and Ryu Lee centers on competition and not that of animosity or hatred.
While the matched featured athleticism accustomed to modern junior heavyweight matches, the psychology was what kept the live audience on the edge of their seat.
Hiromu was able to have a successful V1 defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in his third reign as champion. With him being a strong merchandise mover, he will likely have a lengthy reign, yet it wouldn’t be surprising if Lee defeats him for the belt someday (Ryu Lee is 0-3 in IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship matches against Hiromu). With Wrestle Dynasty looming on August 22nd, it’s not out of the question to see Marty Scurll challenge for the title at Madison Square Garden.