Minoru Suzuki captured the IWGP Intercontinental championship this morning at The New Beginning in Sapporo.
Suzuki focused on Tanahashi's leg throughout the match and eventually, it paid off. Suzuki relentlessly sunk in a knee bar and refused to let go. Tanahashi fought it off for a long while, but ultimately there came a point where he could no longer defend himself and the referee had to stop the match. Here is a portion of our live coverage covering the final moments of the match:
Suzuki waits for Tanahashi to get up before assaulting him with strikes, Suzuki reapplies the sleeper hold to Tanahashi. Suzuki goes for the Gotch style pile driver and Tanahashi escapes to apply a Texas cloverleaf, Suzuki escapes and he catches Tanahashi with a roll up for a near fall. Tanahashi recovers and he catches Suzuki with a sling blade for another near fall, Tanahashi and Suzuki get into another striking exchange. Suzuki gets Tanahashi and he reapplies the knee bar and Tanahashi gets to the ropes again, Tanahashi stands up and Suzuki kicks away at the injured leg. Suzuki hits Tanahashi with the Gotch style pile driver before reapplying the knee bar and the referee stops the match due to the injuries Tanahashi has suffered.
Hiroshi Tanahashi had held the Intercontinental title for 226 days. He defeated Tetsuya Naito back at Dominon on June 11, 2017. This is Minrou Suzuki's first reign with the championship.