Former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion and Los Ignorables de Japon member Hiromu Takahashi has spent the last year trying to reclaim the title. He took the first grand step toward that goal by winning the 2018 Best of the Super Juniors Tournament.
The Ticking Time Bomb will get his next shot at the championship against current titleholder Will Ospreay at Dominion on June 9.
Takahashi won Block B with 10 points and losing only two matches to El Desperado and Current CMLL World Lightweight Champion Dragon Lee. In the tournament finale, Takahashi defeated newcomer and Bullet Club member Taiji Ishimori, who had won Block A to qualify for the final match.
Takahashi’s victory marked the first time he won the BOSJ Tournament – it is also the first BOSJ tournament championship for LIJ.
It is also the latest success for LIJ in the calendar year. Last August, current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito won his second G1 Climax Tournament. Evil and Sanada claimed their first World Tag League Tournament and would go on to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
While the 2018 BOSJ victory is another feather in Takahashi’s cap, it’s also the climax in what has been a year-long redemption story arc for the Ticking Time Bomb.
Takahashi has been chasing the Jr. Heavyweight title ever since he lost it last June to 2017 BOSJ winner Kushida, who he defeated in this year’s tournament. He won his first Jr. Heavyweight title from Kushida at Wrestle Kingdom 11. During his 158 days as champion, Takahashi had four successful title defenses and formed a deep bond with the title. Calling it “Belt-san,” Takahashi would take baths with the belt and take it out to dinner. It was humorous, like many things Takahashi has done – this is a wrestler who has gotten a cat doll over with the crowd – but when he lost the title it was devastating for him. It was also a contrast to Naito, who treated his Intercontinental Championship horribly, going to great lengths to destroy it.
Takahashi unsuccessfully challenged for the title throughout late 2017 and early 2018 – one of those bouts was a fatal four-way at Wrestle Kingdom 12 that featured Ospreay, Kushida and Marty Scurll.
While Takahashi has been unable to win back the Jr. Heavyweight title, he had the support of the fans, who are waiting for him to accomplish his goal and carry Belt-san.
Even if Takahashi doesn’t win the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title from Ospreay at Dominion he at least claimed his perch on the division and will be featured in various bouts for the title in the next couple of years.
Eventually Takahashi will become the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion. The last two BOSJ winners have go on to win the title at some point. Kushida won the title from Takahashi after winning the tournament. Also Ospreay didn’t claim the title after he won the 2016 BOSJ Tournament, he would eventually win the belt in late 2017.
If he doesn’t win the belt, Takahashi may do what many other Jr. Heavyweights have done in the past – declare his move up to the Heavyweight Division.
Cody Rhodes Said Bullet Club to WWE in January “Pretty Possible”
IWGP United States Champion and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Cody Rhodes may be on his way back to the WWE, with some of his friends, when he officially hits free agency at the start of the 2019 year.
Shortly after appearing at New Japan’s Fighting Spirit Unleashed event this past Sunday, Rhodes spoke to WrestlingInc and discussed a potential return to WWE in January, along with the possibility of the Bullet Club joining him.
“Everyone has different opinions and it’s hard to get the opinion of someone when it’s, ‘Hey what do you wanna do? What is the next thing you wanna do?’” Rhodes said, adding that; “There’s five of us [Bullet Club] that’s a core unit that plan to stick together, and hopefully we can really do that.
I don’t want to make any judgments as I’ve had a great time with these guys. I’d like The Elite to continue and I’d like to bring you guys something like an All In sequel.”
Cody and the Bullet Club to WWE is a hot rumor, and one that will be constantly discussed leading up to the moment he officially becomes a free agent on January 1st, 2019.
PWI 500 Ranks Kenny Omega at Top Spot
Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s annual PWI 500 list has ranked IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega as the number 1 professional wrestler in the industry.
Here is the Top 10 of PWI 500’s list:
- Kenny Omega
- AJ Styles
- Kazuchika Okada
- Brock Lesnar
- Seth Rollins
- Braun Strowman
- Roman Reigns
- Tetsuya Naito
- The Miz
Juice Robinson Vows To Never Go Back To WWE
IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson has been rumored to be a name of interest to the WWE, where he once performed in Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT as CJ Parker, but is shooting down those rumors.
Robinson has made it clear that he fully intends to never go back to WWE, making the comments backstage from Night 8 of the G1 Climax 28 tournament.
“I ain’t going back. I ain’t ever going back.”
Juice Robinson on NXT/WWE pic.twitter.com/KHpVbKpQCV
— JJ Williams (@JJWilliamsWON) July 26, 2018
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