LIJ Emerge From Elimination Warfare

BUSHI sole survivor with Shingo’s help

July 30’s Summer Struggle card in Korakuen Hall saw BULLET CLUB bring a team of EVIL, Dick Togo, Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo to take on Los Ingobernables de Japon in the form of Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, SANADA and Shingo Takagi in an elimination main event. 

As with Tuesday’s tag match, Shingo Takagi started with EVIL legal, only to have EVIL take advantage of Dick Togo tugging at his boot. Te advantage didn’t last however, EVIL being bowled over by the World Heavyweight Champion and taking a powder as Yujiro Takahashi tagged in. 

Yujiro requested Naito step in the ring with him, a clash between two former No Limit partners ensuing with Takahashi coming out the worse for wear. As Yujiro struggled, BULLET CLUB would bend the rules to get back into the game, and soon chaos ensued all the way around the ring, including the timekeeper’s position getting wiped out, as is tradition. 

BUSHI was legal as a removed corner pad and punishing rakes did a number on his back. Punishment continued, and when Shingo attempted to get involved, he would be sent again into the timekeeper’s table and the long suffering Makoto Abe. Inside though, BUSHI refused to be pinned, and bought enough time with a backcracker to allow a tag to Takagi.


Shingo rained in elbows to Yujiro in the corner, and though he would be jumped by El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori, the champion was able to take care of every opposition thrown his way. When Shingo turned his back on Takahashi to jaw with EVIL, Yujiro was able to summon a Fisherman’s Buster, but this didn’t stop the Dragon long, a Ryukon lariat finding its mark. 

Takagi tried to follow with the Ryukon Elbow, but was held up by Dick Togo’s presence on the floor. Yujiro tried to dump Shingo over the top rope, ending with both on the apron; a Death Valley Driver on the iron and Yujiro was out, but Togo hooked Takagi’s feet, and EVIL quickly eliminated Shingo. 

The match now three on three, SANADA tied up with Ishimori, and placed him in the Paradise Lock. ELP soon joined his partner in the hold, and both were dropkicked free as SANADA went for the cover for two. As the IWGP Jr. Tag Champions battled back, an attempt at a double team Cipher Utaki on SANADA saw Ishimori sent to the apron. SANADA used a Dragon Sleeper to stun Ishimori out of competition, but with a stomp from the loaded boot, Cold SKull was thrown off balance and sent out. 

Two on two, Naito almost knocked Phantasmo out of the match. Saved briefly by Ishimori, SANADA saw to it that a Combination Cabron put ELP out. Yet as was the theme for the match, Naito was left hanging by his boots off the apron, and with Dick Togo’s interference, fell to the floor, leaving BUSHI alone with EVIL. 

BUSHI dove through the middle rope with a tope suicida to take out the meddling Togo, and scored what offense he could, but was victim of a mismatch with EVIL. The King of Darkness hauled BUSHI up on a cover from a suplex, but BUSHI kicked out of Darkness Falls on his own as the crowd willed him on. 

A running codebreaker scored on EVIL, but again Togo’s interference stopped the referee making the cover. Thinking fast, Takagi distracted EVIL as he threatened to deliver Last of the Dragon on the floor to the Spoiler, and BUSHI capitalised, sending EVIL tumbling out of the match to give LIJ the win. 

Post match, Shingo addressed EVIL, saying he could easily crush his challenger before Wrestle Grand Slam, but that ‘a Dome debt needs to be repaid in another Dome,’ and that EVIL would be ‘humiliated’ at the MetLife Dome. Shingo Takagi faces EVIL for the IWGP World heavyweight Championship on September 5.