The marquee match of Sengoku Lord at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium saw IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi make the v1 challenge against IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental ‘Double Champion’ Evil.
This was only the second time a reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion challenged for IWGP Heavyweight Championship (and first time for the IWGP Intercontinental), with the first such occurrence happening on July 20, 2013 when IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Prince Devitt challenged IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada [NJPW World subscription required] during Kizuna Road at the Akita City Gymnasium.
Hiromu started the match with momentum, getting the early start on Evil (whose name he had written on his wrist tape) and would stand toe to toe against his heavier and taller adversary throughout the match.
While the former Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) unit mates would exchange strikes early going, Evil would take the advantage at several points and begin to wear down Hiromu. However, the crowd was consistently cheering the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion on as he continued to show his fighting spirit whenever pushed into a corner.
Evil would receive help from Dick Togo at several points, but Takahashi was mostly able to neutralize the veteran. Evil showed his resilience in kicking out of the Dynamite Plunger and Time Bomb.
It wasn’t until Hiromu hit the Time Bomb II that Togo pulled Red Shoes Unno out of the ring to preserve the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental ‘Double Championship.’
After the interference Evil was able to defeat Hiromu at the 33 minute and 57-second mark after hitting Evil. After the match, fellow Bullet Club member Taiji Ishimori would hit Hiromu with the Bloody Cross and make a challenge for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Despite the loss, Hiromu left the match strong and perhaps in an even better position to draw house money and push merchandise for NJPW.
Former two-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, five-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion, and first ‘Double Champion’ Tetsuya Naito came to the ring and made the following declaration after Hiromu took a beating from Bullet Club.
It is yet to be known when such matches could take place, but with the Summer Struggle tour beginning tomorrow, it’s like Ishimori could challenge Hiromu at some point in the near future.
Naito may not be next in line to challenge Evil, especially after Kazuchika Okada was able to defeat Yujiro Takahashi earlier in the night.