Kota Ibushi isn’t exactly the most popular man in New Japan Pro Wrestling right now. After unifying the IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships to create the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship he lost a lot of his fanbase, and getting mauled by Jeff Cobb nearly every match since he lost the belt has left him broken. Cobb has even adapted the finishing move of Ibushi, the Kamigoye to add insult to injury. Tonight, Ibushi meets Cobb one on one in an attempt to get some payback.
Jeff Cobb Brutalized Ibushi To Start This Match
This is one that could end in a single well placed strike, and both men knew it. Ibushi threw a running knee and missed before dodging a lariat and hitting a dropkick on Cobb. Cobb was put to the ropes, but stayed on his feet. They’d trade forearm blows in the ring, before Cobb got a quick double leg on Ibushi before some ground and pound.
Ibushi rolled to the outside, and Cobb followed to pick Ibushi up and drive him into the ring post. Rolling Ibushi back into the ring, Cobb looked to keep the pressure on and he’d counter the standing moonsault. Cobb drove Ibushi into the corners hard before getting a two count off just this.
Ibushi hung onto the ropes to stay safe, and Cobb just stomped him down to get him free. He’d slow the pace with a chinlock before hitting a quick uppercut to the back, before just walking across the back of Ibushi. All of this damage was building up on Ibushi who was starting to go to that dark place known as ‘Murder Ibushi’, and this was the goal of Cobb.
Ibushi countered a standing moonsault before dodging a charge in the corner before hitting a quick strike combo to drop Cobb and getting the standing moonsault. Cobb dodged the next kick and got a back suplex before a Cobbsault landed for a two count. Ibushi put the brakes on to avoid Tour of The Island and sent Cobb outside.
Kota Ibushi Outlasts Jeff Cobb
Cobb caught Ibushi as he dove outside and nearly got the powerbomb to the ramp, but Ibushi got the top apron and hit a beautiful springboard moonsault from the top rope onto Cobb. This nearly got a count out, but Cobb made it to the apron and Ibushi looked top deadlift 280lbs into a German Suplex.
Cobb counterered and looked for the suplex to the floor. Instead, Ibushi picked him off the top rope with a hurricanrana, and Ibushi used the Boma-Ye and got a two count. Ibushi set up the Kamigoye, but Cobb countered into an underhook Belly to Belly Suplex. Cobb hit a running back suplex for a two count.
Ibushi would be pulled out of the corner into the Sidewinder suplex, before being tossed into the sky instead with a release F-5 for a two count. Cobb looked for Tour of The Islands but Ibushi was able to land on his feet and hit a roundhouse kick and Kamigoye for a near fall. Cobb avoided the bare knee Kamigoye, and worked to position Ibushi for his version of the knee strike.
The lights were out for Ibushi, but Cobb took so long to make the cover that Ibushi kicked out at two. Ibushi would counter a slam with a downward knee strike and hit the exposed knee Kamigoye to claim the win.
A perfectly paced brawl of a match between two of the best NJPW has in 2021. It almost felt like a G1 Climax match, the high stakes of this basically being a #1 contender’s match shining through. Cobb is an absolute beast, and really pulled a classic babyface performance from Ibushi in this match. Match Rating: 4/5 (****)
Will Kota Ibushi be first in line to challenge the next IWGP World Heavyweight Champion after this win? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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