One of New Japan Pro Wrestling's most notable factions is Los Ingobernables de Japon. Translated literally from Spanish, the name means 'The ungovernables of Japan,' which indicates an anti-authority inclination. While the Japanese version of the faction was formed in 2015, it was not the original incarnation of the group.
In fact, Tetsuya Naito joined Mexico's version of Los Ingobernables during his time wrestling in that country. However, after Naito finished his tour with the CMLL promotion in Mexico and returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling, he formed his own version of the faction, which over time has accumulated several members: Evil, Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi and Sanada.
LIJ: The Beginning
When Naito initially returned, he was met with jeers as he had now adopted a more heel-like persona. This role and the fan reaction proved to give him motivation and bring out the best in him. Since the group's inception under Naito's leadership members has at various times acquired the IWGP Heavyweight, Intercontinental, Junior Heavyweight, Tag Team, NEVER Openweight and NEVER Openweight 6-man Tag Team championships.
Success has come to all members of the group. Naito himself has won the New Japan Cup and G1 Climax tournaments and was named Japan's wrestler of the year for 2016.
The faction's inception was when Naito lead many to believe that he would be bringing in a 'Pareja,' which translated from Spanish means partner, to watch him face Hiroshi Tanahashi for Tanahashi's opportunity at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 10. The partner was revealed to be Takaaki Watanabe, a former 'young boy' returning from a tour with Ring of Honor in North America.
He came to the aid of Naito, attacking Tanahashi during the matchup. While this didn't prove to be successful for Naito, it certainly legitimized him as a heel that was willing to do all that was needed in order to become the IWGP Heavyweight champion. Once the match ended, Naito christened Watanabe with a new moniker, calling him his 'King of Darkness', Evil.
A Gradual Expansion
The following month, during the World Tag League, Evil and Naito debuted a new member in Bushi, who had just recently returned to the promotion. It was at this time they took on the name Los Ingobernables de Japon.
It was becoming clear that the group's success would only continue to grow, and the number of members grew as well. Bushi attempted to bring in Mexican luchador Mascara Dorada to the group, but the man now known as Gran Metalik refused the offer.
He, unfortunately, suffered the consequences of that decision, being beaten down and having his mask removed, which is considered sacrilegious in the Mexican wrestling culture. He also had his CMLL World Welterweight championship title taken from him because Bushi's action led to a championship grudge match between the two men that saw a new champion crowned
Bushi's win was the first championship brought into the Los Ingobernables de Japon stable, and despite, the fact he lost it back to Dorado a month later, it remains that important first accolade.
Shooting to Fame & Notoriety
The group's unity was on full display once again as, with the help of Evil and Bushi, Naito captured the 2016 New Japan Cup. This win finally gave Naito the opportunity to face IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, and the result was that the debuting Sanada aided Naito in capturing the IWGP Heavyweight championship at the 2016 Invasion Attack event. It was the first heavyweight championship brought into the stable by any member.
One of the most notable rivalries for the stable has been against CHAOS, the faction led by Okada. After winning the title, Naito successfully defended against CHAOS member Tomohiro Ishii. After that match, Okada challenged Naito for a championship rematch. That same night, Okada had already defeated Sanada.
LIJ's rivalries with others in the promotion along with their unity as a group has been their key story. Whether they are working as a unit or pursuing individual goals, the group continues to support each member's efforts. Thus, the members have participated in different divisions within the company.
For instance, despite Takahashi not being successful at the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors, he did win four of the seven matches he competed in and even defeated the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion Kushida during that tournament.
Looking Ahead to the Future
The biggest tournament that New Japan Pro Wrestling holds is their annual G1 Climax tournament, which runs nearly a month in duration. In 2016, Sanada, Evil, and Naito participated in the tournament, with two members participating in one block of the tournament and Sanada participating in the other block. What remains amazing about the group is that despite their individual goals they don't allow any animosity to separate them. This was evident when Naito defeated Evil during the tournament.
During the fall of 2016, Bushi earned an opportunity at Kushida's IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship. The match itself was marred by outside interference on both sides. However, despite that, Bushi was successful in capturing the title. Days after this event, Naito captured the IWGP Intercontinental championship from Michael Elgin.
However, when one door closes, another one opens, and thus during the Power Struggle event Bushi lost his IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship, but Evil captured the NEVER Openweight championship against Katsuyori Shibata. As mentioned earlier, group success is as important as individual success, and thus Sanada, Evil and Naito all competed on behalf of LIJ as part of the 2016 World Tag League.
The last year and a half have seen the group continue to participate in feuds, rivalries and capture championships. The members have all participated in high profile matches against the likes of Okada, Ricochet, Kojima, the Bullet Club, CHAOS and the Killer Elite Squad. The group continues to achieve victories and has solidified their place in the ongoing history of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
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