(01/04) Prince Devitt (c) vs. Kota Ibushi

New Japan Pro Wrestling
Tokyo Dome (Tokyo, Japan)
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

Since capturing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the 3rd time in November, 2012, Devitt has made only four defenses of the championship.  Prior to this match, he had not defended the championship since a July defense versus Gedo.  A championship that was once the cornerstone of New Japan in the mid-1990’s has become a virtual afterthought.  Devitt himself is not completely free of blame for this either.  He is a passable wrestler at best who often lets his current heel persona detract from rather than add to the quality of his matches.  With New Japan making a big deal of Ibushi signing a split contract with NJPW and DDT, this match was all but a slam-dunk title change.

That’s what happened, of course, but even with the predictability of the finish the title switch still stands at as the most memorable portion of the match.

As mentioned, the Bullet Club’s interference in Devitt’s matches often does more to detract from the match than it adds to it.  Interference is fine when done right, but it is overkill here to the point hurting whatever flow the match might otherwise have.  The Bullet Club is eventually ejected from ringside which gets rid of one problem but the match still is subpar.  Both wrestlers get a little too big-move friendly with an apron power bomb that becomes an after-thought thirty seconds after it is hit as the biggest offender.  Ibushi is a bit hit or miss and is more “miss” on this night.


Juniors | Avoid | Title Match

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