New Japan Pro Wrestling
Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship was awfully stale during Prince Devitt’s just concluded 3rd title reign but a switch to Ibushi was not necessarily a cure for that problem. Since June of 2010 – a span of 42+ months – only Devitt (3 times), Ibushi (3 times), and Low Ki (2 times) held the championship. Devitt’s lack of title defenses were partially a function of New Japan have so few quality juniors available. Moving the title from Devitt to Ibushi does little to improve that staleness.
What should help is a small influx of talent, including the debt of El Desperado. Desperado showed up at the end of the Tokyo Dome title change wearing a white tasseled mask and carrying a guitar case. He teased attacking Ibushi before handing him a bouquet of black (dead) roses. You don’t need to speak the language to understand that when someone gets handed a dead object, that doesn’t bode well. This match on the show the very next day is Desperado’s debut.
What really works about this match in regards to being an in-ring debut is that the focus is entirely on Desperado – as it should be – without being heavy-handed about it. When the Ibushi/BUSHI tandem decided on BUSHI to start the match, Desperado defers to Liger and goes so far as to not even stand on the apron. The newcomer only tags in when Ibushi is the legal man, making his intentions of being after Ibushi well known.
The match itself is a sprint of sorts but a controlled one – there are no apron power bombs found here. Ibushi is much better than he was the night before and everyone else is fine as well. The finish comes when Desperado hits his finisher on BUSHI for the pin. The post-match is equally effective in establishing Desperado. He leaves the ring immediately – perhaps partially because he wants to get out of harm’s way but also with the feel that he has done what he set out to do and is gone. This leaves the three other participants – all of whom Desperado angered in one way or another – at ringside. The veteran Liger stares towards the entrance way, angered by his partner’s conduct. BUSHI winces on the ground in pain after taking Desperado’s finishing move. Ibushi – hands on hips – looks like someone who realizes he might be in for more than he bargained for. That little post-match detail builds off the match before it, further defining what Desperado is all about.
Junior Tag | Watchable | Booking