Finally, it’s time to watch the culmination of the New Beginning shows, “The New Beginning in Osaka. Alongside the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title bout, the main event of the evening was Hiroshi Tanahashi facing Jay White for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. This was Tanahashi’s first title bout since he captures the championship at Wrestle Kingdom in January. Let’s look through the show.
TAKA Michinoku, Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
The first six-man tag match centred around Tenzan and Iizuka. Surprisingly the Young Lions didn’t open the show. Tenzan said something on the microphone before the bell. There was a spot where Kojima gave Suzuki his chops but he didn’t seem to be too hurt by them. Kojima reversed a Gotch Style Piledriver into a Back Bodydrop. Iizuka was given a double team move by Tenzan and Kojima. Tenzan took a shirt of his and showed it to Iizuka. Iizuka got a chair and hit Tenzan with it to end the match. Lame. Tenzan was hit with Iizuka’s iron glove afterwards.
Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. SANADA & EVIL
EVIL and SANADA recently defended their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, so tonight isn’t as challenging as a night for them. After a few minutes of competition, EVIL and SANADA landed a Magic Killer to end the match.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi & El Desperado vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito
The next match was a Los Ingobernables versus Suzuki-gun six man tag team match. Suzuki-gun got the jump start. Taichi, who is most likely salty about losing to Naito in a Intercontinental Championship match at The New Beginning in Sapporo show, targeted Naito from the start. Kanemaru and Takagi had a good exchange in this match. After Takagi did a Pumping Bomber, Naito gave Kanemaru a Destino to end the match. This was short, but very explosive and fun. When walking back, SHO and YOH came out and confronted BUSHI and Shingo Takagi. They attacked them and snatched the belts. They got boos from the crowd. They offered a challenge, which the champions took.
Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens w/ Pieter vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma
In the next contest, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi fought YOSHI-HASHI and Tomoaki Honma. Early on, Honma missed a Kokeshi attempt on Owens. He tried once again minutes later and landed it. The pin attempt after was broken up by Takahashi. Honma gave Owens chops and then went off the ropes but was given a double team Neckbreaker. Honma was given a Small Package Piledriver, which was horrifying, and ended the match. I don’t think anybody was expecting YOSHI-HASHI and Honma to win this.
Kota Ibushi Makes An Announcement
Kota Ibushi made a special appearance next. This was his first live event since Wrestle Kingdom, when he suffered a concussion against Will Ospreay. The crowd erupted when he announced that he will be staying in New Japan. Like, a huge reaction to this. He also announced that his return will be in the New Japan Cup next month.
Togi Makabe and Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa w/ Jado
When Togi Makabe and Toru Yano made their way to the ring for their match, they were attacked by their opponents. Tama Tonga is done being the good guy and has returned to his cheating ways. Yano did his trademark removal of a corner pad. He hit Tonga with the pad after dodging the pad. This was a real showdown between two cheating teams (although Makabe is a pretty clean fighter). Tonga Loa was shoved into Tama Tonga, who knocked down the referee. Yano gave Loa a low blow. After being distracted by Jado, Yano took a kendo stick to the head from Tonga. Tonga hit a Gun Stun to end the match. Tonga used a kendo stick even more after the match, also hitting Young Lions who tried to stop him, and ringside staff. The finish was good because it showed how Yano’s own attempt at cheating ended up costing him.
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taiji Ishimori (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match)
The first of two championship matches on this show was Ryusuke Taguchi versus Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Taguchi mocked Taiji early in the match with a dance but got angry when Ishimori did it. Taguchi did a Springboard Crossbody to the outside, and then a Dropkick off the ropes in the ring. He did a Tope Con Hilo to the outside after. Taguchi went for a pin which gave him a two count. Taguchi landed a Three Amigos for another two count. Ishimori landed a Bloody Cross later on, and then followed it up with a move that Taguchi reversed into an Ankle Lock. Taguchi turned it into a Dodan for a two count. The crowd was very loud for this. They were very much behind Taguchi. Ishimori landed a double knee strike in the corner of the ring. He then did a Death Valley Driver which Taguchi kicked out of. Taguchi tried for another Dodan but Ishimori reversed it into a Bloody Cross to retain his belt. I liked this match, I thought it was well done. This was maybe one of the best if not the best Taguchi match that I’ve seen. While this was good, I don’t feel a victory over Taguchi will boost his reputation more, but I don’t know. Jushin Thunder Liger, who was at ringside on Japanese commentary was called out. Liger accepted the challenge and said other stuff, but the translator on this show wasn’t that good so I can’t really expand on what he said.
Bad Luck Fale w/ Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
Before the main event, we had a grudge match between Bad Luck Fale and Kazuchika Okada. Okada got a pop when revealing his shorts. Early in the match there was a near countout spot with Okada. Back in the ring, Okada lifted Fale but fell under his weight. Later on, Okada landed an Elbow Drop off the top rope and then called for a Rainmaker. He did not land it, as Fale escaped and then landed a running clothesline. Okada accidentally struck the ref because Fale pulled the ref into the crossfire. Owens and Takahashi came in the ring and did moves on Okada. Fale tried for a Powerbomb but Okada escaped and landed two dropkicks. Okada tried again for a Rainmaker but couldn’t land it. On another attempt, he was hit with a Grenade for a two count. On the second rope Okada landed a Superplex. Okada landed a Rainmaker to win the match. Great match.
Jay White w/ Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match)
The main event of this show was, of course, Jay White versus Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. White had Gedo in his corner. Early in the match, White dumped to outside the ring and then threw him into barricades at ringside. Outside the ring, Tanahashi was thrown stomach first onto a table. Later on, Tanahashi landed a Crossbody off the top rope to the outside. Gedo distracted the ref when they got back in the ring. White tried using a chair but was run into Gedo, hitting him with a chair. After numerous reversals, Tanahashi landed a Twist & Shout. He followed up with two more weaker ones. Tanahashi did a German Suplex which bridged into a pin, but White kicked out. Gedo got on the apron when Tanahashi headed to the top but was knocked down. Tanahashi did a High Fly Flow onto White’s back. When trying to do it a second time, on his stomach this time, White escaped. White put in the TTO (Tanahashi Tap Out, known traditionally as an Inverted Figure Four) but Tanahashi made it to the ropes. White did a Death Valley Driver for a two count and then a Kiwi Crusher for another kickout. Tanahashi started to make a comeback, and then put White in the Cloverleaf. He was pretty close to the ropes when this move was put in but was at such an angle where it was hard to reach. Tanahashi transitioned into a Styles Clash from the submission. White almost landed a Blade Runner, but instead, Tanahashi landed a Swingblade. After landing another, Tanahashi got a close pin attempt. Tanahashi did a Dragon Suplex into a pin attempt but White kicked out. On the top rope, Tanahashi tried for a Crossbody but it was reversed into a Blade Runner that ended the match. Jay White is your new IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
This was, to me at least, a shock. I wasn’t expecting that White would win because for one, Tanahashi won the best just over a month ago, and because I didn’t think they wanted White to win just yet. But I was wrong. I love Jay White, and I feel his current character is great. How he was built on this tour was very well done. The finish to that elimination tag, and the run-in during KUSHIDA’s goodbye match were the top moments for me. My only worry is how Tanahashi looks from this. With such a short title reign and a clean loss, does it devalue him? I found it interesting how Jay White won the match clean. He was billed as a dirty cheater in the whole build up to this, but didn’t really show that in this match. This wasn’t one of the best title matches I’ve ever seen, but it was still good.
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