Kota Ibushi (飯伏幸太 Ibushi Kōta, born May 21, 1982) is a Japanese professional wrestler currently working for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he a fomer one-time and inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, a former one-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, a two-times IWGP Intercontinental Champion, a one-time IWGP Tag Team Champion, a one-time NEVER Openweight Champion, a three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, and a one-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion.
He started his career in Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) in 2004, before having his breakthrough year in 2005, after he won the KO-D Tag Team Championship. Afterwards, Ibushi went on to establish on DDT's midcard, leading him to hold the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship for a year. In January 2009, Ibushi formed the "Golden☆Lovers" alongside Canadian wrestler Kenny Omega. The duo were quickly a success, leading them to hold the KO-D Tag Team Championship for three months. In the summer, Ibushi had his breakthrough year, establishing himself as one DDT's stars, winning DDT's premier tournament, the King of DDT in July and the KO-D Openweight Championship just a month later, before losing it to Shuji Ishikawa, three months later. Later that year, Ibushi started working for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), leading him to reach the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors in June 2010. Shortly after, Ibushi and Omega won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship holding them for three months. In the following year, Ibushi managed to win the 2011 Best of Super Juniors in his second consecutive final, leading him to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Ibushi eventually signed with the promotion in 2013, working for both DDT and NJPW. Over the following years, Ibushi went on to hold the KO-D Openweight Championship twice, the KO-D Tag Team Championship three times, and KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship two-times and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship two times and the 2015 New Japan Cup, before making a transtion to the heavyweight division in 2014. In 2016, Ibushi resigned with both promotions, becoming a freelancer.
Ibushi worked as a freelancer until 2017, working in promotions such as WWE, where he took part of the Cruiserweight Classic, Wrestle-1, and made a return to DDT, before starting returning to NJPW in 2017. In his return to NJPW, Ibushi reformed the Golden☆Lovers with Kenny Omega, before reaching the finals of the G1 Climax in August 2018, losing to Hiroshi Tanahashi. Shorlty after, Ibushi won the NEVER Openweight Championship, holding the title for almost a month, before losing to Will Ospreay. In April 2019, Ibushi won the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, defeating Tetsuya Naito, which he would hold for two months before losing it back to Naito. During this time, in April, Ibushi signed with NJPW full-time, ending his days as a freelancer. In August, Ibushi won his first G1 Climax, becoming the the first wrestler to win the Best of the Super Juniors, G1 Climax, and the New Japan Cup. In January 2020, Ibushi headlined NJPW's biggest annual event—the Wrestle Kingdom. The following month, Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi won the IWGP Tag Team Championship, holding for four months. In October, Ibushi won his second G1 Climax, becoming the first wrestler to reach three consecutive finals and the third wrestler after Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan to win back-to-back finals. On January 4, 2021, on the first night of Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi won the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships, becoming NJPW's third Triple Crown Champion. In March, Ibushi became the first IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, following the unification of the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 1.1 Dramatic Dream Team / DDT Pro-Wrestling (2004–2016)
- 1.2 Other promotions (2004–2006)
- 1.3 Dragondoor and El Dorado Wrestling (2005–2008)
- 1.4 American promotions (2008–2009)
- 1.5 New Japan Pro Wrestling (2009–2016)
- 1.6 Freelancer (2016–2017)
- 1.7 WWE (2016)
- 1.8 Return to NJPW (2016-present)
- 2 In wrestling
- 3 Championships and accomplishments
- 4 References
Professional wrestling career[edit | edit source]
Dramatic Dream Team / DDT Pro-Wrestling (2004–2016)[edit | edit source]
On July 1, 2004, Ibushi made his professional wrestling debut for Dramatic Dream Team (DDT), losing to Kudo. On June 25, 2006, he lost to Danshoku Dino in a match for the GAY World Anal Championship and spent most of 2006 competing in multiple tag team matches. In 2007 Ibushi's fortunes fared better and began to win more matches, including defeating BxB Hulk in a joint promotion event between DDT and Dragon Gate. Also in 2007 Ibushi defeated Madoka to win the vacant Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship. In February 2008, Ibushi defeated Tanomusaku Toba to retain the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship and win the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship. He would lose the Ironman championship to Danshoku Dino. Ibushi would defeat Kudo in the final of Next KO-D Openweight Championship one day tournament and then lost to the champion Dick Togo a month later.
Ibushi would start teaming up with Kenny Omega as the "Golden☆Lovers" and on January 24, 2009, they defeated HARASHIMA and Toru Owashi to win the KO-D Tag Team Championship and lost them in May to Dick Togo and Taka Michinoku. In the summer of 2009, Ibushi won King Of DDT 2009 and went on to win KO-D Openweight Championship from Harashima. During his time as champion he also won the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship and would lose the Openweight Championship to Shuji Ishikawa. After winning the Best of the Super Juniors in New Japan Pro Wrestling his matches in DDT were mostly tag team matches with his partner Kenny Omega or matches involving IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Ibushi's fortunes in 2011 were better, he teamed up with Danshoki Dino to win the KO-D Tag Team Championship, however, after dilocating his shoulder he vacated the title.
Ibushi made his return to a DDT event on May 4, 2012, losing to El Generico. On June 24, Ibushi defeated Yuji Hino to win DDT's KO-D Openweight Championship for the second time. On August 18, Ibushi defeated Kenny Omega in the main event of DDT's 15th anniversary event in Nippon Budokan to retain the KO-D Openweight Championship. On September 30, Ibushi lost the title to El Generico. On October 3, Ibushi won the third annual DDT48 general election and, as a result, earned an immediate rematch with El Generico. Ibushi received his rematch on October 21, but was again defeated by El Generico. On May 26, Ibushi, Gota Ihash,i and Kenny Omega defeated the Monster Army (Antonio Honda, Daisuke Sasaki and Yuji Hino) to win the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship. Their reign lasted 28 day, before they lost the title back to the Monster Army, now represented by Honda, Hin,o and Hoshitango. On August 18 at DDT's annual Ryōgoku Peter Pan event, Ibushi faced New Japan representative and reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada in a losing effort in a special non-title match. On January 26, 2014, Ibushi and Kenny Omega defeated Yankii Nichokenju (Isami Kodaka and Yuko Miyamoto) and Konosuke Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo in a three-way match to win the KO-D Tag Team Championship. On April 12, Ibushi and Omega became double champions in DDT, when they teamed with Daisuke Sasaki to defeat Team Drift (Keisuke Ishii, Shigehiro Irie and Soma Takao) for the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship. Their reign, however, lasted only 22 days, before they lost the title to Shuten-dōji (Kudo, Masa Takanashi and Yukio Sakaguchi) on May 4. On September 28, Ibushi and Omega lost the KO-D Tag Team Championship to Konosuke Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo. On February 15, 2015, Ibushi won the KO-D Openweight Championship for the third time, defeating Harashima. He lost the title back to Harashima on April 29. On August 23, Ibushi won the KO-D Tag Team Championship for the fifth time, when he and Daisuke Sasaki defeated Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi for the title. They vacated the title on November 2, when Ibushi was sidelined indefinitely with a cervical disc herniation. On February 21, 2016, Ibushi announced his resignation from DDT.
Other promotions (2004–2006)[edit | edit source]
Ibushi competed in Wrestling Marvelous Future teaming with Onryo and lost to Garuda and Masa Takanashi. He would go on to compete for NJPW and Big Japan Pro Wrestling for a few months. Ibushi teamed with Kudo to take on KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji in the first round of Differ Cup 2005 and lost.
Ibushi would go on to become Hustle Kamen Orange for Hustle, teaming with Hustle Kamen Red and the rest of the stable. Ibushi went on to team up with Fuka to win his first accomplishment in professionally wrestling, Dragon Mixture Tournament, by defeating Shinjitsu Nohashi and Yoshitsune in the final.
Dragondoor and El Dorado Wrestling (2005–2008)[edit | edit source]
Ibushi made his debut in Dragondoor on its debut show on July 19, 2005, taking part in Taiji Ishimori's babyface team along with Milanito Collection a.t. and Little Dragon. They were pitted in a handicap match against Aagan Iisou (Shuji Kondo, Takuya Sugawara and Yasshi), but they were defeated. Ibushi then teamed up with Ishimori to take part in the Aquamarine Cup tag tournament, beating at the first round a team of Aagan Iisou (Toru Owashi and Shogo Takagi) but being eliminated at the second by another (Kondo and Yasshi). After wrestling in the short-lived promotion for some months, Ibushi did a special apparition in its last show, figuring as a new member of Italian Connection (Milano Collection AT and Berlinetta Boxer) under the name of "Ibushino", in parody to Yossino, to defeat Aagan Iisou.
After Dragondoor folded, Ibushi was revealed as a part of its new incarnation, El Dorado Wrestling. He wrestled in El Dorado debut show on April 24, 2006, teaming with Ishimori and Jumping Kid Okimoto in a losing efort against Aagan Iisou and their new member Pineapple Hanai, later known as Ken45º. He got his revenge in El Dorado's first big show, teaming up with El Blazer and Milanito Collection a.t. to defeat Kondo, Yasshi, and Ken45º after a miscommunication among those. In late 2006, Ibushi teamed with Milano Collection AT to take part in Treasure Hunters Tag Tournament and reached the finals before being knocked out by Dick Togo and Shuji Kondo. Ibushi and Kagetora won a number one contendership match for the UWA World Tag Team Championship and went on to win the championships by defeating Tokyo Gurentai (Mazada and Nosawa Rongai) and would later vacate the championships due to inactivity. Ibushi gained a total of four points in Greatest Golden League 2008 which was not enough to progress out of block A and to the semi final.
American promotions (2008–2009)[edit | edit source]
It was announced on January 26, 2008, that Ibushi would be competing for Ring of Honor in the United States. On April 11, 2008, in Boston, he made his debut in a match against Davey Richards, a match in which he was cheered as a winner despite losing. During his brief tour of ROH, he wrestled against Claudio Castagnoli and teamed with Austin Aries against The Briscoe Brothers only to come up on the losing end. The last appearance of his U.S. tour of ROH ended with a singles victory over El Generico. Ibushi competed for ROH during the promotion's second tour of Japan, teaming with Kenta against Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima in a tag team match. It was announced on April 6, 2008, that Ibushi would be competing for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in Burbank, CA. However, Ibushi would end up injured before his scheduled appearance, and was forced to miss the PWG event. On March 27, 2009, Ibushi made his debut for Philadelphia based Chikara at the promotions annual King of Trios tournament where he formed a team with Kudo and Michael Nakazawa. After his team was eliminated in the first round by Equinox, Lince Dorado and Helios, he went on to wrestle in the Rey de Voladores tournament over the next two days. On March 29, Ibushi defeated Player Dos to win the tournament and become the 2009 Rey de Voladores. On January 16, 2010, Ibushi participated in Evolve's first show, losing to Davey Richards in the main event.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2009–2016)[edit | edit source]
In May and June 2009 Ibushi participated in the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament held by New Japan Pro Wrestling. Ibushi fought the likes of Koji Kanemoto, Taichi Ishikari and Jushin Thunder Liger, before losing in the semi-finals to Prince Devitt. Ibushi was a participant in Pro Wrestling Noah's NTV Cup with tag team partner Atsushi Aoki and advanced to the finals before losing to Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Kotaro Suzuki.
On June 1, 2010, Ibushi entered his second Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After winning his block with six victories out of seven matches, Ibushi defeated Ryusuke Taguchi to advance to the semifinals of the tournament, where he was once again defeated by Prince Devitt. On October 11, 2010, Ibushi returned to New Japan at Destruction '10 and teamed with his regular DDT partner Kenny Omega to defeat Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, after Ibushi pinned Devitt. As a result of the pinfall victory, Ibushi was granted a shot at Devitt's IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at New Japan's biggest event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2011. At the event, Ibushi was unsuccessful in his attempt to win the title. On January 23 at Fantastica Mania 2011, a New Japan and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre co-promoted event in Tokyo, Ibushi, and Omega lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship back to Devitt and Taguchi. On May 26, Ibushi entered New Japan's 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After losing his first two round robin stage matches, Ibushi came back with a six-match win streak to finish first in his block and advance to the semifinals of the tournament. On June 10, Ibushi first defeated Davey Richards in the semifinals and then Ryusuke Taguchi in the finals to win 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament and earn a shot at Prince Devitt's IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On June 18 at Dominion 6.18, Ibushi defeated Prince Devitt to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Ibushi made his first defense of the title on July 24, defeating Devitt in a rematch at a DDT event, and his second on August 1, defeating Devitt's tag team partner Ryusuke Taguchi. Ibushi then attempted to repeat Devitt's feat of holding both of New Japan's Junior Heavyweight Championships simultaneously, but on August 14, the Golden☆Lovers failed in their attempt to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship from Apollo 55.
Ibushi returned to New Japan on June 16 at Dominion 6.16, when he, Daisuke Sasaki, and Kenny Omega defeated BUSHI, KUSHIDA and Prince Devitt in a six man tag team match. Later in the event, Ibushi challenged Low Ki to a match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On July 29, Ibushi defeated Low Ki to also win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the second time. Ibushi made his first successful title defense on September 7, defeating Kushida. Ibushi followed up by also successfully defending the title against Ryusuke Taguchi on September 23 at Destruction. On October 8 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Ibushi lost the title back to Low Ki. On January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi unsuccessfully challenged Prince Devitt for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in a three-way match, which also included Low Ki. On July 5, Ibushi was announced as a surprise participant in the 2013 G1 Climax. He increased his weight from 84 kg to 88 kg to prepare himself for the heavyweight-level tournament. Ibushi finished the tournament with four wins and five losses, failing to advance from his block.
On October 7, 2013, Ibushi, along with Naoki Sugabayashi and Sanshiro Takagi, representatives of both DDT and New Japan, held a press conference to announce that he had signed a dual contract with both promotions; three years with DDT and one year with New Japan, making him the first wrestler to have such a contract and officially have two home promotions. Ibushi wrestled his first match under a New Japan contract on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, where he, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma were defeated in a six-man tag team match by Bullet Club (Prince Devitt, Bad Luck Fale, and Karl Anderson). Returning to the junior heavyweight division, Ibushi then began chasing Devitt for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi defeated Devitt to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the third time. Ibushi made his first successful title defense against El Desperado on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka. On April 3, Ibushi made his second successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Nick Jackson. Three days later at Invasion Attack 2014, Ibushi and El Desperado unsuccessfully challenged Nick and his brother Matt, The Young Bucks, for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Ibushi's third defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship took place on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, where he defeated Ryusuke Taguchi. On May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena, Ibushi unsuccessfully challenged Tomohiro Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship. On June 21 at Dominion 6.21, Ibushi successfully defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against the winner of the 2014 Best of the Super Juniors, Ricochet. On July 4, Ibushi lost the title to Kushida in his fifth defense. During the match, Ibushi suffered a concussion, which forced him to pull out of the 2014 G1 Climax. On October 3, it was announced that Ibushi, now billed as a permanent heavyweight wrestler, had signed a one-year extension to his NJPW contract.
Ibushi would make his return after the G1 and at Power Struggle on November 8, attacked Shinsuke Nakamura after his match, issuing a challenge for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Ibushi received his shot at the title on January 4, 2015, at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome, but was defeated by Nakamura. On March 5, Ibushi entered the 2015 New Japan Cup, defeating IWGP Tag Team Champion Doc Gallows in his first round match. After defeating Toru Yano in the second round on March 8, Ibushi first defeated Tetsuya Naito in the semifinals and then Hirooki Goto in the finals on March 15 to win the tournament and earn the right to challenge for the singles heavyweight title of his choosing. Following the final match, Ibushi announced he had decided to challenge A.J. Styles for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The match took place on April 5 at Invasion Attack 2015 and saw Styles retain his title. From July 20 to August 14, Ibushi took part in the 2015 G1 Climax. He failed to advance from his block with a record of four wins and five losses, scoring big wins over former IWGP Heavyweight Champion A.J. Styles and reigning NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe. As a result, Ibushi received a shot at the NEVER Openweight Championship on September 23 at Destruction in Okayama, but was defeated by Makabe. On November 2, NJPW announced that Ibushi was sidelined indefinitely due to cervical disc herniation. In February 2016, Ibushi announced his resignation from NJPW.
Freelancer (2016–2017)[edit | edit source]
On February 21, 2016, Ibushi announced that while he had been cleared to return to the ring from his herniated cervical disc, he had decided to resign from both DDT and NJPW and continue his career as a freelancer due to feeling he could not handle the burden of working two schedules. As a freelancer, he was billed as a representative of Ibushi Puroresu Kenkyujo ("Ibushi Pro Wrestling Research Institute"). He wrestled his return match and his first match as a freelancer at DDT's 19th anniversary event on March 21, where he and Gota Ihashi defeated Jun Kasai and Sanshiro Takagi, and KENSO and Michael Nakazawa in a three-way tag team match. In April, Ibushi returned to the United States to take part in events held by Evolve and Kaiju Big Battel, while also appearing in the audience at WWE NXT's TakeOver: Dallas event. On May 29, Ibushi made his debut for Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), defeating Tanomusaku Toba. On August 11, Ibushi made his debut for Wrestle-1, defeating Jiro Kuroshio.
WWE (2016)[edit | edit source]
On June 13, 2016, Ibushi was announced as a participant in WWE's Cruiserweight Classic tournament. The tournament kicked off on June 23 with Ibushi defeating Sean Maluta in his first round match. On July 13, Ibushi made his NXT in-ring debut, defeating Buddy Murphy at NXT tapings. The following day, Ibushi defeated Cedric Alexander in his second round match in the Cruiserweight Classic. On July 15, it was reported that Ibushi had signed an NXT contract with WWE. In an interview published July 25, Ibushi admitted he had been offered a contract, but denied having signed it. On August 26, Ibushi defeated Brian Kendrick to advance to the semifinals of the Cruiserweight Classic. On September 14, Ibushi was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by T.J. Perkins. Afterwards, Pro Wrestling Torch went back on their earlier report and stated that Ibushi had not agreed to a WWE contract beyond the tournament, which was a factor in him losing the semifinal match. On September 29, WWE announced that Ibushi would be teaming up with NXT's Hideo Itami in the upcoming Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. When Itami was injured, Ibushi was paired up with T.J. Perkins. The two entered the tournament on October 13, defeating Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali in their first round match. Later that same day, they were eliminated from the tournament in the second round by Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton.
Return to NJPW (2016-present)[edit | edit source]
Tiger Mask W (2016–2017)[edit | edit source]
On October 10, 2016, Ibushi returned to NJPW, taking part in a dark match prior to the King of Pro-Wrestling event. Ibushi wrestled the match as the masked character "Tiger Mask W", based on the anime series of the same name, defeating Red Death Mask. The following day, NJPW announced that Tiger Mask W would return to the promotion in January 2017. Tiger Mask W returned on January 4, 2017, defeating Tiger the Dark at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome. On February 5, after successfully defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada brought up Tiger Mask W as his next possible opponent, leading to a program between the two heading into NJPW's 45h anniversary show. On March 1, Tiger Mask W teamed with Tiger Mask to defeat Okada and Gedo in a tag team match. On March 6 at the 45th anniversary show, Tiger Mask W was defeated by Okada in a non-title main event.
Return as Kota Ibushi (2017–present)[edit | edit source]
On June 20, NJPW announced Ibushi, under his real name, as a participant in the 2017 G1 Climax. NJPW billed this as Ibushi's return to the company after two and a half years, not acknowledging his stint as Tiger Mask W. Ibushi finished the tournament on August 11 with a record of five wins and four losses, failing to advance from his block. On September 16, Ibushi challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, in which Tanahashi accepted. Later, it was announced that the match would take place at Power Struggle in the main event. On November 5 at Power Struggle, Ibushi unsuccessfully challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
On January 4, 2018, at Wrestle Kingdom 12, Kota Ibushi defeated Cody. The following day, Ibushi was then attacked by Cody at New Year Dash after losing a match to the Bullet Club, where Kenny Omega saved Ibushi from Cody. Returning the favor, Ibushi reunited with Kenny Omega at The New Beginning in Sapporo after saving Kenny, who was involved in an altercation with other Bullet Club members Cody and Hangman Page, reuniting the Golden☆Lovers. On February 24 at Honor Rising: Japan, the Golden☆Lovers made their tag team return defeating Cody and Marty Scurll. After the match, Omega claimed that Golden☆Lovers were the best tag team in the world. This led, The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) moving to the heavyweight tag team division and challenging the Golden☆Lovers to a match. On March 25, at Strong Style Evolved the Golden☆Lovers defeated The Young Bucks. After the match, Omega offered a handshake to The Young Bucks, but Matt refused. Matt, however, reconciled with Omega, and the Golden☆Lovers continued to feuding with Cody and Hangman Page, facing them at Sakura Genesis in a losing effort. On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku, Ibushi was defeated by Cody. On June 9, at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, after Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, The Young Bucks reunited with Omega and Ibushi. Later that night, Omega dubbed the stable as the "Golden Elite" consisting of Omega and Ibushi team the Golden☆Lovers and Omega and The Young Bucks trio The Elite. From July 14 until August 11, Ibushi took part in the 2018 G1 Climax, finishing the tournament with a record of six wins and three losses, advancing to the finals of the tournament. On August 12, Ibushi was defeated by Hiroshi Tanahashi in the finals. On December 9, Ibushi defeated Hirooki Goto to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. On January 4, 2019, at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi lost the title to Will Ospreay. During the match, Ibushi suffered a concussion. On February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka, Ibushi announced that he would be staying with NJPW, after rumors were spread that he leave NJPW, after his teammate Kenny Omega left the promotion. He also announced that he would take part in the 2019 New Japan Cup.
Ibushi made his return match on March 8, teaming with Hirooki Goto and Sho in a losing effort against Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito). He would be eliminated by Zack Sabre Jr. in the second round of the tournament. During the 2019 New Japan Cup, Ibushi started to pursue the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, which later Tetsuya Naito taunted Ibushi during the other nights of the New Japan Cup. Ibushi also expressed his disapproval on the conditions Naito treated the IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt and asked for a title match. On April 6 at G1 Supercard, Ibushi defeated Naito to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Afterwards, Ibushi nominated Zack Sabre Jr., as his first challenger for the title due to Sabre defeating him in the second round of the 2019 New Japan Cup. On April 20 at Sengoku Lord in Nagoya, Ibushi defeated Sabre to make his first successful title defense. Following the match, Ibushi announced that he had signed with NJPW full-time, ending his days as a freelancer. Afterwards, Ibushi was challenged by Naito to a rematch for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, which Ibushi accepted. He lost the title back to Naito on June 9 at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall. From July 6 until August 10, Ibushi took part in the 2019 G1 Climax. Ibushi started the tournament losing his first two matches. However, Ibushi bounced back winning the remaining of his matches, culminating on August 10, Ibushi defeating reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada to in his block and reach the finals of the tournament. On August 12, Ibushi defeated Jay White in the finals to win the 2019 G1 Climax and earn a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2020. Ibushi also became the first wrestler to win all NJPW's singles tournaments the G1 Climax, New Japan Cup, and the Best of the Super Juniors. The following day, Ibushi was handed a contract, which gave him the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in Tokyo Dome, that he would have to defend for the rest of the year. Also after winning the tournament, Ibushi proposed a challenge for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship on January 5, 2020, on the second night of Wrestle Kingdom 14. Leading to the first defense of his contract, Ibushi unveiled his briefcase. On September 22 at Destruction in Kagoshima, Ibushi successfully defended his IWGP Heavyweight Championship number one contender's contract against KENTA. Following the match, KENTA destroyed Ibushi's briefcase and afterwards, EVIL challenged Ibushi for his contract. On October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Ibushi made another successful defense of his contract against EVIL, setting up his title match against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 14. On January 4, 2020, at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi failed in his title challenge against Okada. The following day, in the second night of Wrestle Kingdom 14, Ibushi was defeated by Jay White. On January 6 at New Years Dash, Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi made their intentions of challenging for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. On February 21, Ibushi and Tanahashi defeated the Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. In June, Ibushi took part in the 2020 New Japan Cup, being eliminated from the tournament by Taichiin the second round. On July 12 at Dominion in Osaka-jo Hall, Ibushi and Tanahashi lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr).
From September 19 until October 16, Ibushi took part in the 2020 G1 Climax, finishing the tournament with a record of seven wins and two losses, advancing to the finals of the tournament, becoming the first wrestler to reach three consecutive finals. On October 18, Ibushi defeated SANADA in the finals to win the 2020 G1 Climax for the second time, becoming the third wrestler after Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan to win back-to-back finals. His match against SANADA at 35 minutes and 12 seconds, became the longest match in G1 Climax history surpassing his record against Hiroshi Tanahashi in the 2018 final. He also earned a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2021. Afterwards, in a post-match interview, Ibushi was challenged by Jay White for his contract, after he was defeated by White during the G1 Climax. The following day, Ibushi was handed a contract, which gave him the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in Tokyo Dome, that he would have to defend for the rest of the year. On November 7, at Power Struggle, Ibushi lost his contract to Jay White, in his first title defense, becoming the first wrestler to lose the Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate. Despite losing the match, Naito proposed Ibushi as his opponent for the first night of Wrestle Kingdom, due to winning the 2020 G1 Climax and also as an attempt to avenge his loss against him during the tourmanent. 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. At 48 minutes and 5 seconds, their match became the longest match in the January 4 Tokyo Dome Show history. After the match, Ibushi was challenged to a title match by SANADA. Following the event, Ibushi expressed his ambitions of unifying the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships. On February 11, at The New Beginning in Hiroshima, Ibushi successfully defended IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships against SANADA. In a attempt to prevent his ambition, Tetsuya Naito which Naito deemed unacceptable, he challenged Ibushi to a match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. This led to on February 28 at Castle Attack, Ibushi successfully defending the title against Naito. Two days later, 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.
In wrestling[edit | edit source]
- Finishing moves
- Kamigoye (Double wrist-clutch knee strike to a kneeling opponent's face) – 2017–present
- Phoenix-Plex (Bridging package fallaway powerbomb, sometimes from the middle rope) – innovated; 2009–present
- Phoenix Splash (Corkscrew 450° splash)
- As Tiger Mask W
- Last Ride-Style Tiger Driver (Double underhook elevated sitout powerbomb)
- Signature moves
- Ankle lock
- Bomaye (Running knee strike)
- Cartwheel into a standing corkscrew 450° splash
- Feint moonsault followed by a standing moonsault
- Multiple kick variations
- Backflip, sometimes while performing a handspring
- Bridging evasion followed into a roundhouse
- Dash Middle (Multiple shoot to the opponent's chest)
- Multiple powerbomb variations
- 24 Sai (Overhead gutwrench ganso)
- Golden Star Bomb (Sitout)
- Last Ride Powerbomb (Elevated sitout powerbomb) – 2012–present
- Reverse Yari Otoshi (High-angle crucifix)
- Multiple suplex variations
- Bridging dragon
- Deadlift German from the apron to the ring
- Northern Lights
- Three-quarter nelson
- Standing corkscrew moonsault
- Standing shooting star press
- Super spike piledriver
- With Kenny Omega
- Double-team finishing moves
- Golden Shower (Simultaneous 450° splashes from the same turnbuckle)
- Golden Trigger (Simultaneous wrist-locks into knee strikes)
- Double-team finishing moves
- "Independent Genius"
- "Hard Hit Prince"
- Entrance themes
- "27" by Breaking Point
- "Golden Star" by Yonosuke Kitamura
Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]
- Rey de Voladores (2009)
- Dramatic Dream Team / DDT Pro-Wrestling
- IMGP World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship (3 times)
- KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Gota Ihashi and Kenny Omega (1), and Daisuke Sasaki and Kenny Omega (1)
- KO-D Openweight Championship (3 times)
- KO-D Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with Daichi Kakimoto (1), Kenny Omega (2), Danshoku Dino (1) and Daisuke Sasaki (1)
- Go-1 Climax (2014)
- King of DDT (2009)
- KO-D Openweight Championship Contendership Tournament (2008)
- KO-D Tag League (2005) – with Daichi Kakimoto
- DDT48/Dramatic Sousenkyo (2012, 2014)
- Best Match Award (2012) vs. Kenny Omega on August 18
- El Dorado Wrestling
- Japan Indie Awards
- Kaientai Dojo
- Kaiju Big Battel
- KBB Hashtag Championship (1 time)
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (1 time, inaugural)
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- IWGP Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Hiroshi Tanahashi
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Kenny Omega
- NEVER Openweight Championship (1 time)
- Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate (2019)
- Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships challenge rights certificate (2020)
- Third Triple Crown Champion
- Best of the Super Juniors (2011)
- G1 Climax (2019, 2020)
- New Japan Cup (2015)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #40 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2015
- PWI ranked him #73 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- PWI ranked him #138 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2017
- Tokyo Sports
- Toryumon Mexico
- Young Dragons Cup (2006)
- Último Dragón Fiesta
- Dragon Mixture Tournament (2006) – with Daichi Kakimoto, Fuka and Seiya Morohashi
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- 5 Star Match (2015) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on January 4
- Best Flying Wrestler (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
- Pro Wrestling Match of the Year (2015) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on January 4
References[edit | edit source]
- Radican, Sean 2016-10-10. Kota Ibushi’s self-declared free agency takes a strange twist as he debuts as Tiger Mask W in New Japan after entering Dusty Classic (w/Radican’s Analysis) . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2016-10-10.
- 1月4日（水）東京ドームにもタイガーマスクWが参戦決定! 1月3日（火）はディファ有明で『新春プロレス祭り』! 1月5日（木）は後楽園大会！【WK11】 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2016-10-11). Retrieved on 2016-10-11.
- NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 live results: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega . Wrestling Observer Newsletter (2017-01-03). Retrieved on 2017-01-04.
- 【新日本】オカダ激闘４０分超 アモーレに捧げるＩＷＧＰ王座Ｖ３ (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2017-02-06). Retrieved on 2017-03-02.
- Rose, Bryan 2017-03-01. New Japan Road results: Tiger Mask & Tiger Mask W vs. Okada & Gedo . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2017-03-02.
- Rose, Bryan 2017-03-06. NJPW 45th Anniversary show live results: Okada vs. Tiger Mask W . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2017-03-06.
- ja:【『G1 Climax 27』出場メンバーが決定！】あの“飯伏幸太”が電撃参戦！ ザック・セイバーJr.が初出場！ 鈴木みのるが3年ぶりにエントリー!! (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2017-06-20). Retrieved on 2017-06-20.
- ja:ローソンチケット Presents G1 Climax 27 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Retrieved on 2017-08-11.