Who’s Your God Now? – Cageside Seats (www.cagesideseats.com)

Rev. Claire Elizabeth

In the main event of night two of Wrestle Kingdom 15 (for full results, check here), Kota Ibushi’s quest to become god reached its final checkpoint as he defended against “Switchblade” Jay White, a man who not only beat him for his G1 Climax winner’s challenge briefcase, but has defeated him the last three times they met.

Like most New Japan main events, it started slow with White trying to force the dynamic and inventive Ibushi to the grindstone, hoping to take advantage of the wear and tear on the champion from last night’s main event and have an easy night at the office. But the usual back-and-forth was slow coming, and the match was all Switchblade for a long time.

It was honestly kind of distressing in a great way, seeing him cut Kota off at every turn, but eventually Ibushi rose with iron determination and got himself back in the fight to move the match into act two. Still Jay had a commanding level of control in the match, spiking the Golden Star high on his shoulders and neck again and again.

A more even back and forth developed, Gedo intervening on his man’s behalf but Ibushi’s resolve was unbreakable and White was forced to shift gears and go after Kota’s legs. But the Golden Star was well on his way to that place of pure violence in his heart and just starts shrugging off everything Jay tries to give him!

At this point the tables have truly turned and it’s White who’s staggering and stumbling and unable to compete, but he manages to find some reserves as the match begins its final awful crescendo of violence! Bomb for bomb, suplex for suplex, finisher for finsher, Gedo with one last desperate attempt at intervention, and in the end, thanks to an inverted Kamigoye followed by a normal Kamigoye, Kota Ibushi successfully retained his double title.

And in doing so, he became god.

Yes, it’s goofy wrestling business, this single-minded wrestling machine who doesn’t like to read books because they put ideas into his head and wants to be the first man to wrestle on the moon claiming to ascend to divinity based on the results of a pair of wrestling matches.

But also, after a match like that? A match that was an instant classic without the asterisk that so often comes with great pandemic-era wrestling matches? I’m not inclined to argue with the man. And in any case, he seems like a guy who can get stuff done, so why not?

Post-match, SANADA offered a challenge, so that seems a likely direction for New Beginning, and given that he beat EVIL tonight, challenging god next seems a logical career move.

There you have it, folks

Happy with your IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Cagesiders?