NJPW Sengoku Lord: Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the IC title

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/04/20/njpw-sengoku-lord-kota-ibushi-vs-zack-sabre-jr-for-the-ic-title/

New Japan Pro Wrestling presented Sengoku Lord on Saturday from Aichi and the card streamed on New Japan World with two championship matches taking place.

In the first title match, Juice Robinson retained the IWGP United States title over Bad Luck Fale.

This match greatly exceeded my expectations as coming off Robinson’s defense against Chase Owens, I was prepared for a match with a million run-ins and overbooking, which there was none of. The majority saw Fale attacking the back of Robinson with his goal to break it. Every bit of offense from Fale targeted the back and showcased Robinson’s innate skill of selling that worked so well with the size discrepancy.

It wasn’t until 11 minutes into the match where Robinson got a hope spot by struggling unsuccessfully for the Pulp Friction. Robinson attempted to body slam Fale several times with his injured back giving way on the first two attempts. Robinson also thwarted two attempts at the Grenade by Fale, before the Bullet Club member hit a spear and Grenade for the big near fall of the match.

Robinson fought back with two Lefts Hand of God and finally, body slammed Fale and hit the Pulp Friction to win at the 17:26 mark.

This was certainly one of Fale’s better singles outings and over delivered.

In the main event, Kota Ibushi defeated Zack Sabre Jr. in the first defense of the Intercontinental title he won at the G1 Supercard earlier this month. It also puts Ibushi ahead 3-2 in the all-time series between the two. Sabre had been 2-0 in past meetings at the New Japan Cup and Ibushi is 2-0 in the G1 Climax against Sabre.

The match layout was like Robinson-Fale with Sabre taking the first half while attacking Ibushi’s neck. He dumped Ibushi onto his head off the guardrail and apron using head scissors. The intensity grew when Ibushi broke free of the European clutch and applied one of his own. Each had their turn executing beautiful bridges for near falls.

After an exchange of slaps, Sabre hit the Zack Driver but was too worn out to make the cover. The move is a greatly protected one for Sabre, so he didn’t win with the move but Ibushi didn’t kick out of it either. Ibushi missed with a Bom A Ye, harkening back to the most famous Intercontinental champion in New Japan’s history in Shinsuke Nakamura.

Sabre applied a cobra twist and Ibushi countered out and landed a GTS to set up for the Kamigoye and the pin at 29:00.

After the match, Tetsuya Naito challenged Ibushi to a rematch for the title. The English announcers indicated the G1 Supercard rematch will take place on one of the Wrestling Dontaku shows in Fukuoka on May 3rd and 4th.

*Shota Umino and Ren Narita over Yuya Uemura and Yota Tsuji
*Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taka Michinoku over Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma, Toa Henare & Jushin Thunder Liger
*Dragon Lee, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe over Guerrillas of Destiny and Taiji Ishimori
*Mikey Nicholls over Chase Owens
*Hirooki Goto and Ryusuke Taguchi over Jay White and Hikuleo
*Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, Sanada, Shingo Takagi & Bushi over Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi & Roppongi 3K
*Juice Robinson over Bad Luck Fale to retain the IWGP U.S. title
*Kota Ibushi over Zack Sabre Jr. to retain the IWGP Intercontinental title