Summer Struggle 2020 August 7th Marquee
Ibushi Turns Down Suzuki-Gun
The marquee match of the August 7th Summer Struggle 2020 event from Korakuen Hall saw the fourth match of the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Title Tournament take place.
The Hontai team of Golden Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi/Kota Ibushi) and Master Wato were able to defeat the Suzuki-Gun team on Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr/Taichi) and Yoshinobu Kanemaru at the 16 minute and 53-second mark when Tanahashi pinned Taichi with a Double Leg Nelson.
The match was built around the internal confliction Ibushi has felt over the past several weeks regarding Tanahashi ‘failing’ the Golden Ace tag team. Part of his frustration likely stems from Ibushi’s climb back towards IWGP Heavyweight contention hitting a road bump during the 2020 New Japan Cup, where he suffered a defeat to Taichi in the second round.
Upon turning down a chance to attack Tanahashi and join the Suzuki-Gun faction, Ibushi returned to his ‘focused’ version and helped spark the comeback for his team.
Despite a locked in Ibushi, Dangerous Tekkers and Kanemaru kept their form and nearly captured the victory before Tanahashi was able to capture Taichi — with help from Ibushi.
Despite moving on to the semi-finals, questions continue to surround whether Ibushi has truly made up his mind concerning Tana’s current in-ring ability.
A focused Ibushi would make his team the favorites to win the tournament, however, Ibushi has snapped before at a moment’s notice. If he feels Tana is at fault for another loss, that could be the spark that sets Ibushi down a darker path as he strives to capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Tana’s fall over Taichi could set up the Golden Ace team as challengers for the August 29th Summer Struggle in Jingu featured event, that is prime to do big business at the gate for NJPW if Ibushi remains a team player.