After losing in the finals of the G1 Climax a year ago, Kota Ibushi bounced back this year by winning his first G1 of his career. His last two victories included defeating the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada, and former champion, “Switchblade” Jay White in the G1 Climax Final. With this victory, Ibushi has guaranteed his shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 14.
Ibushi won Block A when he defeated Kazuchika Okada, who had been the leader going into their match. Kota’s chances of winning the Block and getting to the final were simple. Win and you’re in. Go to a draw or lose to the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion and his dreams of winning the 29th G1 Climax would have been over. Ibushi and Okada went 25 minutes before not one but two Kamigoye’s at the end to win the bout and move onto the finals.
When he got to facing “Switchblade”, it was made personal the night prior after they shook hands and White instantly crossed him in the process. These two went to war as their bout lasted over 30 minutes before finding a winner. The finish was a classic with Ibushi reversing the Blade Runner finish of Jay White into a Kamigoye. Ibushi would hit another strike before hitting yet another Kamigoye which looked to finish off White. Kota had enough, hitting one final devastating knee via Kamigoye to the skull of Jay White for the victory and to become the G1 Climax winner.
Kota Ibushi lost to Hiroshi Tanahashi in the Final last year as Tanahashi went onto Wrestle Kingdom to defeat Kenny Omega in the main event and capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. While it is not for certain that Okada will be at the Tokyo Dome still holding the title come January, it is fair to believe that Ibushi taking on Okada will be the main event.
After hurting his ankle in match numero uno of this entire tournament, Ibushi managed to put on great match after great match on his way to becoming the 29th G1 Climax Winner, heading to the Tokyo Dome main event.
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