Golden☆Ace in February 2020
1.81 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)
1.81 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)
|Debut||January 6, 2020|
Golden☆Ace is a professional wrestling tag team made up of Japanese wrestlers Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi. The team name consists of the first part of Ibushi's nickname Golden☆Star and the first part of Tanahashi's nickname Ace of the Universe. Both began their team on January 6, 2020, working in the Japanese New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. The following month, the two won the IWGP Tag Team Championship, before losing them five months later.
Both Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi had a rivalry in 2017, during the 2017 G1 Climax, where Ibushi defeated Tanahashi on August 1 with his new finishing maneuver, the Kamigoye. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Tanahashi set out to avenge losses he had suffered during the tournament. After successfully defending his IWGP Intercontinental Championship on September 16 at Destruction in Hiroshima against Zack Sabre Jr., another wrestler who had defeated him, Tanahashi called out Kota Ibushi, offering him the next title opportunity. On November 5 at Power Struggle, Ibushi unsuccessfully challenged Tanahashi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Despite losing to Tanahashi, Ibushi always admired him, nicknaming as a God (神 Kami), leading Ibushi to be caught in the middle of a feud between Tanahashi and his Golden☆Lovers tag team partner Kenny Omega, until Omega left the promotion in January 2019.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2020–Present)
On January 6, 2020, at New Years Dash, Tanahashi and Ibushi teamed with FinJuice (David Finlay and Juice Robinson) in a winning effort against Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Loa). Afterwards, Tanahashi and Ibushi expressed their intentions of challenging Finlay and Robinson to a match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Tanahashi and Ibushi were supposed to face FinJuice on February 1 at The New Beginning in USA, but Ibushi was forced to miss the tour, due to contracting a Type-A Influenza, leading FinJuice to lose the IWGP Tag Team Championship to the Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) during the tour. Tanahashi and Ibushi received their championship match on February 21, defeating the Guerrillas of Destiny to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Shortly after, Tanahashi and Ibushi named their team "Golden☆Ace", consisting of the first part of Ibushi's nickname Golden☆Star and the first part of Tanahashi's nickname Ace of the Universe. On July 12 at Dominion in Osaka-jo Hall, Tanahashi and Ibushi lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr). From September 19 until October 13, Ibushi and Tanahashi took part in the 2020 G1 Climax with Ibushi in block A and Tanahashi in block B. Tanahashi was eliminated from the tournament, after finishing his block with a record of four wins and five losses. Meanwhile, Ibushi won his block with a record of seven wins and two losses, advancing to the finals of the tournament. On October 18, Ibushi defeated SANADA in the finals to win the 2020 G1 Climax and earn a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2021.
On January 4, 2021, on the first night of Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi defeated Naito to win the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships. The following day, on the second night of Wrestle Kingdom 15, Ibushi made his first successfull title defense of the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships against Jay White. Following the event, Ibushi expressed his ambitions of unifying the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships. On January 30 at The New Beginning in Nagoya, Tanahashi defeated Shingo Takagi to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. On March 2, during a press conference, NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi announced that both titles would be unified into the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship under a new lineage, while carrying both championships legacies, with Kota Ibushi being recognized as the inaugural champion. However at Ibushi's request, NJPW announced that Ibushi would make his last defense of the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships against reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion El Desperado, who had challenged him to a title match at Castle Attack, on March 4 at NJPW's 49th anniversary event, with the winner of the match being crowned the first champion. At the event, a new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship replaced the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships and Ibushi defeated Desperado to become the inaugural champion. He lost the title to 2021 New Japan Cup winner Will Ospreay on April 4 at Sakura Genisis. On May 3 on the first night of Wrestling Dontaku, Tanahashi lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to Jay White.
Championships and accomplishments
- New Japan Pro-Wrestling
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time) – Ibushi
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship (1 time) – Ibushi
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (1 time, inaugural) – Ibushi
- IWGP Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- NEVER Openweight Championship (1 time) – Tanahashi
- Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships challenge rights certificate (2020) – Ibushi
- G1 Climax (2020) – Ibushi