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Wrestling / Los Ingobernables de Japon

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From left to right: SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito, and EVIL. Not pictured: Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, Titan, Daryl

"Tranquillo! Assen na yo! EVIL, BUSHI, SANADA, Hiromu y Naito, Nosotros Los Ingobernables de Japon!"Translation 

Los Ingobernables de Japon (translated from Spanish into "The Ungovernables of Japan") is a professional wrestling stable, originally heels but now tweeners, in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. While it is a Spin-Off of the Los Ingobernables group in the CMLL promotion, this page is more about the New Japan group. The group has gone on to become wildly popular with crowds and fans with merchandise of the group being often seen at shows.

Tetsuya Naito for the longest time, was one of the top faces in New Japan but was seen as someone who never could get over the hump as despite flirtations with the main event scene, never could get the fans to rally behind him and was labeled as an Underachiever having not tapped into his potential. But that all changed in spring of 2015 when he left New Japan for an excursion to Mexico and wrestled there for a time.

When he came back he had undergone a metamorphosis. Gone were the bright outfits and jacket and combed over hair; Naito, to the shock of everyone in New Japan from the roster to the announcers to the fans, had changed. He now was barely putting any effort into his matches and often could be seen dozing off during the matches and not trying to help his teammates. He didn't even take off his gear and wrestled in it, becoming a full on slacker who couldn't be bothered to help out as he didn't care about what was going on anymore as it took him minutes for him to make his debut and would walk out on people or steal the win whenever it suited him. He then revealed after the 2015 G1 Climax that he had joined up with the group Los Ingobernables in Mexico and was creating his own port of the faction, having adopted its catchphrase and lifestyle "Tranquilo".

Two months later at King of Pro Wrestling 2015, in a match against Hiroshi Tanahashi, a mysterious masked man clad in a dark suit entered the arena with Naito, and during the match attacked and interfered and unmasked himself as Takaaki Watanabe, who had returned from his excursion to America as the second member member of Naito's Power Stable. But this was not the same Watanabe people had remembered as a Young Lion; he had underwent a change, becoming much more vicious and brutal. In his place was EVIL, "The King of Darkness".

During the opening match of the World Tag League 2015, a third man accompanied Naito and EVIL to the ring as the newest member, a returning BUSHI, returning from injury. BUSHI would begin spraying opponents with a mist-like substance in matches as he too became more vicious. The Deadly Duo had now become a Terrible Trio.

In March 2016 at the New Japan Cup finals, Naito defeated Hirooki Goto to win the New Japan Cup and afterwards was challenged by IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada to face him. Naito agreed to do so, and they were set to face another at Invasion Attack 2016. The chance to become IWGP Heavyweight Champion at last presented itself to him and Naito was ready to do whatever it took to capture it. As the two fought on, a skull-masked man entered the ring and assaulted Okada, laying him out. The man unmasking himself to be Seiya Sanada, now wrestling as SANADA, a newcomer to New Japan, invited by Naito. Naito took advantage and, with Okada weakened, hit his finisher on him and won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

Hiromu Takahashi for the past three years had been on excursion in Mexico and the US under the name Kamaitachi, but returned in November under his own name and issued a challenge to IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kushida for New Japan's biggest show, Wrestle Kingdom. A month later, Takahashi would appear during a tag match between Naito and the original Los Ingobernables leader in Mexico, Rush, against Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida. After the match Naito offered him a Los Ingobernables hat and Hiromu accepted, bringing the group up to five.

The group found much success winning numerous titles, as Bushi won the CMLL World Welterweight and IWGP Junior Heavyweight titles, whilst EVIL won the NEVER Openweight title and Naito would add the IWGP Intercontinetal title to his mantle as well, becoming arguably the most successful of New Japan's groups at the time. But LIJ was not done adding either titles or members. Japanese sports newspaper Tokyo Sports cited LIJ's impact on NJPW as one of the main factors in the magazine naming Naito the 2016 Wrestler of the Year, ending a five-year run in which the award had been won by either Tanahashi or Okada. In addition to Naito, SANADA and EVIL made it clear that they, like Naito, would challenge the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champions, whoever they may be. This did mean a possible inter-LIJ challenge was likely.

After Hiromu was injured and had to give up the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, LIJ recruited a new member, referred to as "X". At King of Pro Wrestling 2018, X was revealed to be Shingo Takagi, formerly of Dragon Gate. Shingo started at Junior Heavyweight (at least, he claimed to be one) before eventually moving up to heavyweight, around the same time Hiromu would eventually return from his almost career ending injury, on the Road to Wrestle Kingdom 14.

At Wrestle Kingdom 14, Hiromu would regain his title, and retire the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger. The two night Wrestle Kingdom would be a near clean sweep for LIJ as well, with EVIL, Shingo, and Bushi winning the NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Championship. But the biggest story, in LIJ's greatest moment of crowning, was Tetsuya Naito winning the "Double Gold Dash" to become the first ever dual IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion. Naito was at the top of the mountain.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Naito would have few opportunities to defend his dual titles, though he did retain against KENTA prior to the start. After the pandemic, LIJ would continue its year of success: the pandemic resulted in almost every non-Japanese wrestler unable to enter Japan, so the 2020 New Japan Cup saw three members of LIJ in the semifinals, with Hiromu losing to Okada, and EVIL defeating SANADA in 20 minutes. EVIL would go on to win New Japan Cup, earning the right to challenge his friend and LIJ co-founder Naito for both titles.

EVIL would quickly challenge, and in the biggest surprise of LIJ's history, EVIL would defeat his former friend and teammate, successfully winning both titles with the help of Bullet Club, to whom he defected. Hiromu would then announce himself as the next challenger. Despite falling short, it would open the door for Naito to subsequently avenge himself by defeating EVIL to regain both belts at Summer Struggle 2020, and would go on to keep his titles until losing it to Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 15. At the same event, SANADA would defeat EVIL in a battle between the former tag team partners, while Hiromu (fresh off winning the Best of the Super Juniors) would walk away from the Tokyo Dome as the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion once more by defeating Taiji Ishimori.

2021 would see a reversal of roles within LIJ, as Shingo began amassing amazing singles performances as NEVER Openweight Champion. He came close to winning the 2021 New Japan Cup, eventually losing to future winner Will Ospreay, who would go on to become the second IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. An injury to the Assassin left the belt vacated, which saw Shingo successfully challenge for the open spot by defeating Kazuchika Okada and become New Japan's top star. Elsewhere, Naito and SANADA began teaming regularly within the tag division, and earned a reign as IWGP Tag Team Championships through their rivalry with Suzuki-gun's Dangerous Tekkers.

2022 saw Shingo lose the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship to Kazuchika Okada, which in turn led him to achieving glory elsewhere with his reign as the King of Pro Wrestling trophy holder by competing in various gimmick matches. Naito renewed acquaintances with Okada in various challenges for the big belt, but to no avail. In the fall, LIJ saw the addition of Titan from CMLL as their newest recruit, as well as the first non-Japanese full-time member of the faction.

In March 2023, SANADA would become the second member of LIJ to leave the group (apparently under amicable circumstances) shortly after beating his mentor Naito in the quarterfinals of the 2023 New Japan Cup, citing a desire to move on and develop his own identity as a wrestler. He subsequently announced that he would be joining four former members of the recently disbanded Suzuki-gun in the new stable "Just 4 Guys", which was renamed "Just 5 Guys" after he became the fifth member.

Three weeks later, SANADA took the IWGP heavyweight title off Okada at Sakura Genesis, which would set the stage for the arrival of the newest LIJ member. In SANADA's first defense at Wrestling Dontaku 2023 in May, he defeated Takahashi, and J5G entered the ring to celebrate. The celebration would be cut short by the playing of a video of a mystery man that NJPW had teased for weeks. This was followed by the entrance of Yota Tsuji, making his return from a foreign excursion. He immediately laid out all of J5G, ending with a spear to SANADA. He performed LIJ's signature gestures, silently proclaiming his allegiance to the group, raised the title belt, and then announced his plans to challenge SANADA for the title. After putting the belt down, Tsuji further cemented his allegiance to LIJ by picking Takahashi up and taking him backstage. He officially joined LIJ a month later.

At Dominion 2023, Tsuji put up a valiant effort in his challenge against SANADA, but ultimately failed to take the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship away. Following that year's G1 Climax, Naito would emerge victorious with his third tournament win, setting him up as the challenger for Wrestle Kingdom's traditional World Heavyweight title defense. In doing so, he will once again cross paths with SANADA, fresh off a victory against former stablemate EVIL, in a match where both men have something to prove against each other: SANADA seeking to finally wrap up his business with LIJ and become his own man, and Naito having one last chance to attain a proper Tokyo Dome main event victory and roll call.

"Los Tropes":

  • The Ace: Notable in that they can be considered a group consisting entirely of Aces, as every member save BUSHI has held a prominent role at the top of the company in some fashion:
    • Naito is self-explanatory, being one of the top stars of New Japan as a whole and multi-time Intercontinental and World Champion with several main events at Wrestle Kingdom and wins over the likes of Tanahashi and Okada under his belt.
    • Hiromu is the top star of New Japan's Junior Heavyweight Division, with multiple Junior Heavyweight Title reigns and the most wins of the BOSJ tournament in company history. To wit, he's only the second person in the Bushiroad era, the first being Prince Devitt, to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight or World Heavyweight Championship while still being a Junior Heavyweight.
    • SANADA and EVIL were at the top of New Japan's tag division prior to EVIL's betrayal of the group, and SANADA has also found significant midcard success as a single star. 2023 would prove to be SANADA's biggest year yet, seeing him capture both the New Japan Cup and the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (with a win over Okada, no less) in the span of less than a month—albeit shortly after leaving LIJ.
    • Shingo quickly established himself as a powerhouse member of the group almost immediately, first by taking Hiromu's role as the top threat of the Junior Heavyweights while the latter was injured, and then transitioning into becoming the second most prominent member of the group after transitioning into the Heavyweight division. After winning the IWGP World Heavyweight Title in 2021, coinciding with Naito taking a less prominent role in the company for various reasons, there can even be an argument made that Shingo has transitioned into becoming the major Ace of LIJ.
    • Yota is more of an Ace-In-Training, but regardless shortly after his return from excursion he was named as one of the Reiwa Musketeers - young prodigies that New Japan has explicitly earmarked as being likely major players in the company in the future - along with Shota Umino and Ren Narita.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Since 2017, the group's overall popularity saw them being portrayed more as tweeners who could act as either faces or heels depending on who they were pit against. Their use of underhanded tactics never diminished either; you're as likely to see them cheat out babyfaces as they do against heels without any questions.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Naito has two, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada. His hatred for them seems to stem over the fact in 2014, the fans voted and elected Tanahashi's match to main event Wrestle Kingdom over his match — against Okada, who took things much more in stride and defeated Naito that night. Naito has never forgotten that.
    • Bushi's arch enemy is Kushida as the two have faced one another over the IWGP Jr. title.
    • Hiromu is looking to not only have KUSHIDA, who he beat for the IWGP Jr. title at Wrestle Kingdom 11, but also Dragon Lee as well, the two having been longtime bitter enemies since Hiromu's time in CMLL, as Lee defeated the former Kamaitachi in a mask versus mask match. And now Bad Luck Fale is on his hit list for (almost) "killing" Daryl.
    • Shingo's is Will Ospreay, with Will being the one to hand Shingo his first loss in NJPW and going on to become the one opponent Shingo cannot seem to find an answer for - most of their encounters usually end with Ospreay securing the win over Shingo, even as he has ascended to becoming LIJ's secret weapon and ace in the hole.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Wrestle Kingdom 11 saw all members of the group hold championship gold: Naito successfully defended the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Evil, Bushi and Sanada dethroned David Finlay, Satoshi Kojima and Ricochet to become the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag champions, and Takahashi defeated Kushida to obtain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title. Happened again at Wrestle Kingdom 13 and at Wrestle Kingdom 14.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Say what you will about them, but they do dress up nicely in the tuxedos and suits they wear to the ring.
  • Batter Up!: SANADA carries a baseball bat to the ring and is fond of using it to choke out people. Funny, considering his boss was a former baseball player.
    • Played even more straight with LIJ merch which Naito often wears: his baseball cap is often punctuated with a special pin-striped baseball jacket.
  • Blood Knight: Shingo Takagi brought a lot of his aggression from his work as Verser K's leader with him.
  • Cargo Ship: invoked Hiromu Takahashi formed an... attachment to the IWGP Jr. title, or Belt-san as he called it: staring at it longingly in photos, declaring that Belt-san spoke to him, even taking baths with it. After losing the title to Kushida at Dominion 2017, he has started carrying around a stuffed toy cat that he's named Daryl, who was later destroyed by Bad Luck Fale, though Hiromu has since posted a picture of Daryl recovering.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Evil likes to put a chair around his opponent's neck, get another chair and SWING it at the chair on his opponent's neck. Meanwhile Sanada prefers choking out people with a baseball bat.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Hiromu Takahashi, who will sacrifice his body just to hurt his target; apt given his moniker of "Time Bomb". Much of his promos are done with him screaming "MORE!", as he willing accepts the opportunity to give and receive pain in equal measure.
  • Cross Through: Rush, one of the leading members from the original Los Ingorbernables chapter from Mexico, has made several appearances alongside the Japanese faction; during these appearances they're simply called Los Ingobernables, suggesting that the LIJ members are accepted into Los Ingos wholesale. Naito's start in Los Ingobernables and formation of the Japon branch was the result of his own excursion in Mexico.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • SANADA in the opening day of the 2016 G1 tournament opened a lot of eyes when he not only defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, but forced him to submit.
    • In the 2017 G1 Climax, EVIL defeated Kazuchika Okada cleanly, the first time Okada had lost in a year.
  • Energy Weapon: Parodied. Evil carries a gauntlet in his entrance that shoots out frickin' laser beams.
  • EVIL Is Hammy: Yes he is.
  • Evil Is Petty: The group has a thing against referees for some reason, as they constantly attack them after matches. Even when the ref is just doing his job and raising their hands after they won.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Due to NJPW's faction warfare, they end up going against fellow Heel factions Bullet Club and Suzuki-gun a lot. Much like CHAOS before them, this allowed them to become face-leaning tweeners fairly seamlessly when the crowd's love for them became undeniable.
  • Evolving Credits: The logo represents LIJ's members in the imagery of the word "Japon", though it didn't reference the first added member BUSHI until recently.
    • The "O" represents co-founding member Tetsuya Naito's Tranquilo eye.
    • The original "J" represented co-founding member EVIL's scythe.
    • After SANADA joined, the "P" represented half of the "Cold Skull" nickname and mask.
    • After EVIL's defection, the "J" was changed to represent Shingo Takagi's "Dragon" nickname.
    • The diagonal midsection of the "N" represents the eye-hole in BUSHI's mask.
    • The two explosions at the bottom that hang off of the "A" and the "N" represent Hiromu Takahashi's "Time Bomb" nickname.
  • Four Is Death: Applied to the original group before Hiromu Takahashi's arrival, which helped when one of the members (Evil) cosplayed as the Grim Reaper.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The entire group is this; all of these men were unsuccessful or rejected before finding themselves as a band of outlaws who are now takin' the promotion by storm. As such, their name of "the Ungovernables of Japan" is not unwarranted:
    • Naito was dismissed as an underachiever and as boring by fans to the point where they wouldn't even react to him winning championships and is now the leader of them and the top Heel in the company.
    • Watanabe was a friendly if somewhat plain looking young man as a Young Lion, but that all changed when he became EVIL and now comes out to the ring with a Sinister Scythe in hand dressed as the Grim Reaper, wrestling a much more vicious and brutal style. (In his case, the nightmare unfortunately extended to the stable itself, betraying them to become co-leader Bullet Club in order to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
    • BUSHI was a mostly forgotten about Junior Heavyweight, and is now enjoying spewing poisonous and burning mist in people's faces, maintaining a presence as a trusted teammate to Takahashi.
    • SANADA was once a friendly young man who failed the Young Lion program and has now adopted the nickname of "Cold Skull" who beats people up with a baseball bat and forces them to submit in an especially humiliating hold.
    • Takahashi is also a former young lion whose sanity has gradually descended over the years to the point that he is now a psychopathic self-described "Ticking Time Bomb" who even the others find to be a bit insane.
    • Takagi was an extra at best in New Japan back in the mid-2000's before finding himself in Dragon Gate and returning a ruthless and experienced world beater on both sides of the Junior and World Heavyweight class borderline.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Naito, as the faction's leader and mouth piece, tends to introduce the group in Spanish as a homage to his time in Mexico with the original group. This also applies to SANADA, EVIL and Takahashi's nicknames as Gratuitous English, with Hiromu taking the time to scream "TICKING TIME BOMB!!!" whenever he makes his entrance. It at least isn't fully for show; Naito, Bushi and Hiromu are fluent to varying degrees in Spanish as well.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In its first couple of years, LIJ firmly wrestled as heels in spite of Naito's rising popularity with the crowds, but soon shifted its focus to being on the face end of the spectrum - not enough to be considered clean cut babyfaces, but within the lines that fans would openly cheer for them more.
  • Light Is Not Good: Don't be fooled by Naito's white tuxedo he wears, he's rotten to the core.
  • Masked Luchador: Bushi, although not from Mexico, wears a mask and wrestles in the Lucha Libre style. While not masked, Takahashi wrestles a similar style thanks to his excursion to Mexico and the US. The group later saw the addition of Titan, their first non-Japanese member.
  • Not So Above It All: SANADA is generally the most stoic of the group. Hell, he didn't even speak in a promo for NJPW for about 2 years. Compared to his compatriots, he's a stone. However, at times, ESPECIALLY against Toru Yano he finds his goofier side. He also enjoys putting people in the humiliating Paradise Lock, even beating Yano with it by countout on an occasion.
  • Only Sane Man: Tetsuya Naito to his subordinates. While everyone has more outlandish gimmicks, ring names and outfits to go with them, he's the only member of the group to wrestle under his full name (until Takahashi arrived, plus SANADA is on a Last-Name Basis) and wears casual clothes to the ring.
  • Obviously Evil:
    • It should be obvious with the name alone, but EVIL dresses as the Grim Reaper, is nicknamed the "King of Darkness", carries a scythe to the ring, and likes to bite opposing wrestlers.
    • SANADA as well; comes out wearing a skull mask, with a bat slung on his shoulders that he's more than happy to use and the matter of his nickname "Cold Skull".
  • Red Herring: During September, a masked figure appeared accompanying the group and many pegged him as the newest member, only to disappear without a trace after the Destruction shows. Although it's possible that it was Hiromu Takahashi under it before he officially joined them, considering how the masked man attacked KUSHIDA, who Takahashi would challenge upon his return.
  • Shout-Out: Frequent recipients of them from Los Ingobernables founding member La Sombra following his entering WWE NXT as Andrade "Cien" Almas. He frequently indulges in the Tranquilo poses and catchphrase, to which his manager Zelina Vega alternates between joining in and scolding him depending on the situation, and even wore an "I feel like Naito" shirt once during a training vignette.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Subverted. Unlike pretty much every other faction in NJPW, LIJ is all equally competent. Both Naito and EVIL have picked up wins over Kazuchika Okada and SANADA has tapped out Hiroshi Tanahashi. Also both BUSHI and Hiromu have beaten KUSHIDA for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title. Make no mistake, it doesn't matter who it is, if you're in the ring with an LIJ member, you're in for a big fight.
  • Super Spit: BUSHI has adopted spitting out mist ala The Great Muta.
  • Supporting Leader: Naito effectively found himself in this role when Shingo became the group's primary ace competing for and even winning the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Averted in the cases of EVIL and SANADA, who defected before winning the title to Bullet Club/House of Torture and Just 5 Guys respectively.
  • True Companions: Probably the best example for a New Japan Pro-Wrestling stable. Compared to CHAOS who are mostly business associates who rarely come to each other's aid, Taguchi Japan who is still a bit raw in teamwork, Suzuki-gun who are just as liable to have Suzuki kill them all on a bad day, and Bullet Club who have their leaders kicked out every year or so, LIJ is often a band of brothers who never have issues even when forced to compete against one another. They truly care for one another as a family. That said, any time the members are forced to battle each other — such as, say, EVIL, Naito, and SANADA battling each other in consecutive G1 Climaxes — they do so with no reservations about it and spare nothing in the ring, culminating in a shared fist bump near the end. Notably, this plays into LIJ having the smallest member count of any of the major factions recognized by NJPW, with all six members being full-time talent and exclusively native Japanese, whereas other groups have the occasional talent — including foreigners — who have to split time with other promotions.
    • Solidified in 2018 when Hiromu got injured. LIJ brings his denim jacket to the ring and fist bumps it as if he were there.
    • This companionship extends to members of the original Los Ingobernables from CMLL, who Naito holds a deep respect for. Expect the same dynamic teamwork to follow if any of them team up during crossover shows. As covered in Shout-Out, even La Sombra keeps his ties to them strong despite being functionally in another universe.
    • This is a large part of why EVIL's claims during the 2020 New Japan Cup that "no one, not even LIJ", is going to stop him from achieving his goals of becoming double champion, as well as his subsequent betrayal at the end of the tournament to join Bullet Club, is all the more...well...evil. Naito would've had no problem being beaten for the championship by a fellow Ingobernable, so any claims that he wanted to stop EVIL are completely false. His desire for payback when EVIL did beat him was because of the dirty tactics and the betrayal above all else. When Naito fell out of the title picture after losing the belts again to Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 15, he had no problem with Shingo rising to the occasion and eventually becoming IWGP World Heavyweight Champion after Will Ospreay's injury in 2021, falling back into a tag team with SANADA shortly afterward.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Jay Lethal for a time was an associate and ally of the group, but that changed when during a match he continued getting in Naito's way and Naito had enough of it and walked out on him. Naturally, Lethal didn't take this lying down and a match was set between them, which Naito was victorious in.