Summer Struggle in Jingu: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Match Preview

Hirmou Makes His V2 Defense

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Hiromu Takahashi (left) and Taiji Ishimori (right) Summer Struggle In Jingu Match Graphic via New Japan Pro Wrestling

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi of the Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) unit last defended the title on February 9, 2020 during The New Beginning in Osaka against Ryu Lee. At Summer Struggle in Jingu he makes his V2 defense of his third reign as champion against Bullet Club member (and former champion) Taiji Ishimori.

Ishimori earned the opportunity after submitting Hiromu during a multi-person tag match during the Summer Struggle tour on July 27th. Hiromu recently returned from a shoulder injury that will likely play a role in Ishimori’s strategy come August 29th.

The match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship is one of three headline matches on the card for Summer Struggle in Jingu as New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) attempts to draw a sizeable house to the outdoor venue.

This is Hiromu’s first singles match since making the V1 challenge against Evil for the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental ‘Double Championship’ during Sengoku Lord. While Hiromu looked strong during the match, he was unable to defeat his former LIJ unit mate.

Since NJPW returned from its COVID-19 (Coronovirus, 2019) forced delay, Ishimori has looked on form — including taking former five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada to his limit during the New Japan Cup 2020 Quarterfinals.

If Ishimori can defeat Hiromu to begin his second reign as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion it could be viewed as a minor upset considering how well Hirmou has wrestled since returning from a severe neck injury at the end of 2019.

Ishimori retains his confidence as the path to Summer Struggle in Jingu continues, but he will need more than swagger to defeat Hiromu, who has shown the ability to fight through adversity and pain on his quest to show the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship is the strongest belt in NJPW.

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