Los Ingobernables de Japon: When Dreams Turn EVIL

Scar and Mufasa. Lando and Han Solo. Roose Bolton and the Starks. All names involved in the darkest of betrayals.

The freshest cut of them all; EVIL and Los Ingobernables de Japon.

Credit: NJPW

At the New Japan Cup final, EVIL found victory over Kazuchika Okada thanks to the surprising assistance of Bullet Club. Victory signified that he would be challenging his Los Ingobernables de Japon accomplice and long time friend Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships the next night at Dominion.

Naito headed to the ring to congratulate his LIJ brother on his win. Before the tournament began, Naito believed EVIL would win the tournament. He has always wanted the best for his teammates, even if that meant taking his place. Despite winning with the assistance of Bullet Club Naito was still proud of EVIL, “willing to do whatever it takes to get results. I like this guy.”

When Naito offered the signature LIJ fist bump EVIL countered with a Bullet Club too sweet and Everything Is Evil to leave the champion crushed on the mat. Joined by his new comrades, EVIL continued the beat down until the rest of LIJ rushed to Naito’s aid, sending Bullet Club scattering but leaving LIJ utterly shattered.

Credit: NJPW World

EVIL made his newfound Bullet Club allegiance clear. Consequently the next night at Dominion saw Naito searching for answers within the confides of the squared circle. Through nefarious means, Bullet Club interference and the shocking aid of Dick Togo, EVIL defeated Naito and became double champion, his decision to join Bullet Club already reaping inconceivable rewards. Seemingly still unsatisfied, EVIL along with Togo proceeded to assault Naito after the match until the lone Hiromu Takahashi rushed to the ring like he had been shot out of a gun to make the save.

Adorned with “WHY?” written continuously over his ring tape, Hiromu confronted EVIL. “What’s it like to betray your friends? Tell me now!” But EVIL remained coy, not saying a word. Even when Hiromu challenged EVIL for the titles he had just won, he picked up the mic to simply not respond and walk away.

A tortured soul, Hiromu broke down in the middle of the ring screaming. Heartbroken.
“I’ve said it before, I wanted to fight with Naito and EVIL. I chose LIJ so I could be with them. What is this cruel fate?”

EVIL joins a vulgar list of traitors, forever tainted as one of New Japan’s Judases. He will find solace among Bullet Club, a group experienced in treachery as recently as last year, when KENTA turned his back on Katsuyori Shibata.

The New Japan landscape has been darkened and the black cloud that now hangs over the cerulean blue ring is raining heavily on Hiromu Takahashi. What should be a dream coming true for him has taken the shape of a haunting nightmare.

At Sengoku Lord, Hiromu challenges his former Los Ingobernables de Japon brother EVIL for the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships in what will be one of the most emotionally charged matches in modern day New Japan. There are shared intricacies in their past that add a heavy weight to this match unlike any other.

It is a match infinitely more important than the championship titles being defended. EVIL is declining to speak for his unforgivable actions so Hiromu will force his actions to speak for him. Hiromu is fighting for a tarnished dream, for his broken mentor Naito and all his LIJ brothers.

Credit: NJPW

The relationship between Hiromu and EVIL extends to 2011 and is entwined with the former double champion and leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, Tetsuya Naito. It was Naito that trained Hiromu. It was EVIL who trained at the same dojo as Naito. It was Hiromu that EVIL made his New Japan debut against. It was Naito that recruited EVIL and Hiromu into LIJ upon their returns from international excursion.

It was EVIL that spat in the face of the brotherly bond they once shared.

Noticing untapped potential, Tetsuya Naito took a keen liking to Hiromu Takahashi and went above and beyond to personally train Hiromu when the Time Bomb was still a Young Lion. The day before Hiromu left for his Mexican excursion in 2013, they made a promise to have a singles match when Hiromu returned. A promise that they both held near and dear, a match they wanted to happen when they were both atop the New Japan mountain.

On November 5th 2016 Hiromu made his grand return. He joined LIJ at the invite of Naito on December 10th and wrestled his first NJPW match since returning on December 16th alongside his big brother figure Naito.

Credit: NJPW World

Planned for March 3rd this year, the 48th Anniversary Show was to be headlined by Tetsuya Naito versus Hiromu Takakashi, the double champ taking on the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. The culmination of a promise made over 6 years prior. A dream match for the fans and importantly Hiromu.

More than a promise, this match could further lead to the culmination of a literal dream Hiromu has been striving for, an aspiration of challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship whilst being IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Unfortunately the impact of Covid-19 led to the event being cancelled and the promise between Naito and Hiromu put on hold.   

The rescheduled New Japan Cup was announced and Hiromu found revitalised hope as junior heavyweights were entering the tournament. If Hiromu could win the tournament, he’d not only get to face Naito but it would be for the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships. A different road block put a stop to Hiromu’s dreams on this occasion, as Kazuchika Okada defeated him in the semi-final.  

Credit: NJPW

EVIL and Naito both trained at Animal Hamaguchi’s Gym before joining NJPW. It has been said that EVIL even purchased a ticket to see Naito make his New Japan debut in 2006.

EVIL’s debut match was against Hiromu Takahashi in May 2011, the two of them in the Young Lion system. For over two years they would share the ring, as allies and opponents, learning their craft side by side and improving every day. Living in the New Japan Noge Dojo, cooking, cleaning and training together. Building a bond inside and outside of the ring.

In October 2015, a masked man interfered in Naito’s match and was revealed to be EVIL, making his return from a two year excursion. Post-match, Naito introduced to the world “The King of Darkness, EVIL.” Five weeks later, Los Ingobernables de Japon was officially formed, Naito being the inaugural member, EVIL the first recruit and BUSHI joining the group third.

Credit: NJPW World

Since that day in October, EVIL and Naito have been forever by each other’s side. The only time they stood as opponents was during G1 Climax 26 in 2016. On that night, Naito picked up the win however the LIJ bond wasn’t in doubt with EVIL giving Naito the LIJ first bump after the match.

For five years they were indisputably the most united stable within New Japan. For almost two years they ran as a group of five until Hiromu was injured in 2018 which invariably led to Shingo Takagi’s introduction.

During the time when Hiromu was injured, it was EVIL that ensured Hiromu was represented and never forgotten. Shortly after the injury, EVIL dyed part of his hair red in honor of Hiromu and he often took Hiromu’s jacket to the ring with him. Although cool and calm in the ring, the relationship within the group and specifically between Hiromu and EVIL is undeniable.

Hiromu Takahashi and EVIL find themselves at the precipice. On July 25th they will stand in opposing corners of the ring for the first time in over 7 years.  

Hiromu’s dream to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship whilst being the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion is coming true within a hellish reality. A profoundly draconian twist on what fate had previously ordained for him just 4 months prior.

EVIL is insistent on burning his bridges. “I planned this all out. BULLET CLUB are the best team there’s ever been.” When asked about his former partners, “Those guys? Rotten.” His actions in the ring and the few words he has offered outside make it abundantly clear that his intentions transcend the titles he now holds. His match with Hiromu merely another opportunity to drive the dagger lodged firmly in Hiromu’s heart monstrously deeper. “Hiromu, in Nagoya I’m sending you straight to hell.”