Recap from Lee:
This is from a New Japan show in May, where Goto’s IWGP Intercontinental title was on the line. Double lariats to start. Then much trading of forearm strikes. Goto wins a charging exchange, but Ishii dodges a kick and lands a lariat. Goto sends Ishii to the outside with a lariat. So many lariats! Hot start to the match.
Back in the ring Goto gets the advantage. It doesn’t last long and they end up trading strikes again. A headbutt backs Goto into the corner, but he seems to enjoy the chops that follow then turns it around and lays into Ishii. He too has too much fighting spirit to be deterred, and they end up trading chops. Goto grounds Ishii, but I’m willing to bet they’ll be trading strikes again very soon.
I was right. Goto then gets him down again and scores a one count. Then they, you guessed it, trade forearms and chops. Goto decks Ishii with a lariat, then opens fire with various kicks, including a nice spinning heel kick in the corner. They run around for a bit then lariat #300 gets Goto a one count. Ishii wins a suplex power struggle, then follows up with a powerslam. A superplex gets Ishii a two count. Goto fights out of a back suplex, they run around, then end up trading them. They lariat each others lariats, until they are both lariated to the mat.
They get back to their feet, then…double lariats! Goto wins this instalment of the double lariat war, then gets a two count with german suplex. He nails a backdrop for another two count. Ishii fights out of what looked like a Shouten attempt and decks Goto with an enzuiguiri. This leads to more trading of forearms! Goto stays standing even after receiving a headbutt. Ishii nails a powerbomb for two. Goto endures lariats, then Ishii counters the champions lariat into a neckbreaker. Brainbuster for two! They end up fighting for control on the top rope, with Goto winning the war of the headbutts, before lariating Ishii all the way back to the mat. Ishii is busted open! Goto tries to kick him but he catches it. A step up enzuiguiri just motivates Ishii, who responds with a german. Goto jumps up and nails a lariat, but Ishii kicks out at one! Another lariat, but this one gets the champion a two count. Ishii doesn’t seem to be able to get up, and we get a nice close up of Shinsuke Nakamura eagerly watching his CHAOS stablemate (Ishii) in action. Ishii gets back up, and almost wins it with a sit out tombstone from a suplex position! Goto kicks out though. The champion staggers to his feet and gets lariated in the back of the head. They trade lariats and headbutts then Goto lands a neckbreaker from a fireman’s carry. Then he lifts Ishii up for Shouten! One, two, three!
Winner (and still champion): Hirooki Goto
Lee’s thoughts: They beat the hell out of each other! They spent the majority of the match hitting each other really hard, which never ceases to entertain me. Awesome back and forth stuff. Goto has done wonders for his relatively new championship.
Match rating: ***3/4
Thoughts from TJ Hawke:
This is one of the few IWGP Intercontinental Title matches that I have seen. I’m not a big fan of either of these guys, but they put in a hell of an effort here. They seemed to be trying to have the best match ever, and while they didn’t succeed, I was very entertained. I recommend this match for sure.
Match Rating: ***1/2