ROH/NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2019 Day 2 Results and Review

This show was the second of two Honor Rising shows this year. Ring of Honor sent over some of their talent to compete with NJPW’s talent. The first night had three title matches, and so did this one. Let’s look at night two.

Honor Rising Day 1 Results and Review

Toa Henare & Johnathan Gresham vs. TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr.

Before the first match, TAKA Michinoku cut a promo on his team’s opponents. He didn’t or at least pretended he didn’t know who Johnathan Gresham is. Man, TAKA’s slogans and all of that are so cool. I wish he would do the English promo more often. Henare jumped his opponents to start the show. ZSJ and Gresham showed a great battle of grappling at the start. Henare got a hot tag and hit a combo of moves on ZSJ. He got a two count from a Samoan Drop. ZSJ turned a vertical Suplex attempt into a Guillotine. Henare fought out of it and landed a Clothesline after getting hit with a kick. ZSJ landed a DDT off the ropes, allowing him to tag in Michinoku. TAKA was given a Samoan Drop off the ropes, and then Johnathan Gresham was tagged in. Gresham was in a 2-on-1 situation, landing a Moonsault onto ZSJ and then a Tope Suicida onto Michinoku. Gresham did a Shooting Star Press onto TAKA but ZSJ broke up the pin. Gresham put in the Octopus Lock, making TAKA tap out. Gresham really stuck out to me in this match. We didn’t get to see much of him on day 1 because his tag match was so short.

Robbie Eagles vs. Marty Scurll

They showed the wrong image on the screen in Korakuen Hall for this match. Robbie Eagles fought Marty Scurll in this bout. Right out the gates both of these guys traded blows. Eagles did a Huricanrana and then was given a clothesline by Scurll. Eagles got thrown out of the ring and hit a Springboard Dropkick when getting back in. Later on, Eagles tried for a 450 Splash but Scurll avoided it. They traded roll-up pin attempts after. Scurll did a Small Package Piledriver, but Eagles kicked out at two. He attempted to follow it up with a Crossface Chickenwing but had to settle with a German Suplex. On the top rope, Eagles hit a Huricanrana. This was impressive cause when I said they were on the top rope, I meant they were both standing on the top rope with no support for balance except each other. Scurll took some kicks and then spat at Eagles. The crowd booed when Eagles avoided his fingers getting snapped. When Eagles went off the ropes he was hit with a strike and then given a Crossface Chickenwing to end the match. I thought the finish was a little abrupt but the match was still good. The top rope spot was impressive.

Cheeseburger & Delirious vs. Colt Cabana & Toru Yano

It’s time for a comedy match. Cheeseburger and Delirious faced Colt Cabana and Toru Yano. Cabana teamed with Cheeseburger and Delirious last night for 6-man titles but lost, which caused some beef within the trio. Cabana helped promote Yano’s curry line during his entrance. Cheeseburger teased leaving the match when the crowd was chanting against him. Yano wasn’t as successful with undoing the turnbuckles tonight. Instead, Cabana brought in a long corner pad that NJPW usually uses. Delirious hit Yano with it. When Cheeseburger was trying for a Sunset Flip, Cabana gave Yano another corner pad, letting him hit Cheeseburger in the head with it. Cheeseburger gave Cabana his palm strike, but he kicked out. When the ref wasn’t looking, Delirious took a play out of Yano’s book and gave Cabana a low blow for a two count. Cabana gave Delirious a Chicago Skyline to win the match.

Dalton Castle & Jeff Cobb vs. Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay

The next match combined both of yesterdays singles matches that were for titles. Cobb got a hot tag late in this match. He was striking Goto when Ospreay came in and was given a huge belly-to-belly German Suplex. Cobb did a Samoa Drop and then a Standing Moonsault onto Goto for a two count. Ospreay tagged in and prevented Castle from coming in. After Ospreay did a Springboard Forearm, he did a flippy move off of Goto’s back. After other tag members came in and out of the ring, Ospreay did a Robinson Special. He tried for an Os-Cutter but it was reversed into a slap. Cobb tried for a Tour of the Islands but Ospreay escaped. Goto and Ospreay both gave him strikes, and then Ospreay did his elbow strike which is still terrifying. Ospreay lifted Cobb in impressive fashion for a Storm Breaker to end the match. Ospreay never ceases to amaze. Simple as that. Also, Cobb is quite the competitor as well.

Vinny Marseglia & Matt Taven vs. Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito

The next match was The Kingdom versus Los Ingobernables. Colt Cabana joined the English commentary team at this point. The Kingdom jumped their opponents before the bell. In this match Takagi avoided a Swanton Bomb and then gave Marseglia a Back Bodydrop and a Shoulder Tackle, finally allowing him to tag in Naito. He gave Taven a dropkick and then spat at him. Naito was given a backbreaker by Marseglia but kicked out at two. Takagi and Naito teamed up at the end, letting Naito hit the Destino to win the match. I thought the teamwork from LIJ at the end was good, but overall I wasn’t a huge fan of this.

TK O’Ryan vs. Jay Lethal (ROH World Championship Match)

The first championship match was for the ROH World Title. It’s odd that the biggest title was the first defence on the show. Lethal caught O’Ryan off guard, diving to the outside before the bell. Jay did a Suplex on the floor. They got in the ring eventually and the match started. I liked a spot where Lethal had a Figure Four in, and when O’Ryan would lie down he would get counted for a pin, and have to sit up. When Lethal tried for it again, O’Ryan tried for a roll-up. Lethal tried for a Lethal Injection but O’Ryan stopped it. O’Ryan nearly almost won the match with a roll-up but the ref stopped counting before three. Lethal did his own roll-up and then went off the ropes to hit a Lethal Injection to retain the belt. After the match, Matt Taven attacked Jay Lethal. That’s the matchup set for Ring of Honor’s anniversary show. I thought this match was good. I haven’t seen a ton of O’Ryan but he worked well with Lethal.

Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa w/ Jado vs. SANADA & EVIL (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match)

The next championship match was for the IWGP Heavyweight tag belts. The team’s last defence was at the second night of New Beginning in Sapporo against Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. For anyone who hasn’t watched recently, Tama Tonga isn’t a good guy anymore. During the match, SANADA took out Jado with a Crossbody while Tonga Loa was in a Paradise Lock. There was some weird spot where Tonga dodged a dropkick from SANADA but also awkwardly brushed into him. It didn’t look like it was meant to be done the way it was. EVIL almost got a hot tag but was stopped by Tonga, who pushed him off the apron. Minutes after EVIL got tagged in he found himself on the top rope with Loa. Loa landed a Superplex for a two count. SANADA leapfrogged over Tonga twice and then did a dropkick.

After many reversals, Tonga hit the Tonga Twist. SANADA did a Dropkick on Loa and then EVIL clotheslined him out of the ring. They called for the Magic Killer but Tonga escaped it, giving EVIL a DDT. Tonga tried for a Gun Stun but SANADA caught it and turned it into a Skull End. Tonga wasn’t tapping, so he let go of the hold. SANADA tried for a Moonsault off the top but Tonga escaped. The English team was criticizing SANADA for letting go of the hold. They tried again for a Magic Killer but Tonga escaped, shoving SANADA into the referee. Jado came in and tried using a kendo stick. He didn’t use it, and almost got hit with a Magic Killer but Loa came in to stop it. Loa and Tonga hit a double team move on EVIL. SANADA went off the top and was hit with a Gun Stun. The team landed a Super Powerbomb while EVIL was being held back by Jado. The pinfall after made them win the match and crowned them as the new champions.

The finishing combination of this match was amazing. I’m really enjoying Jado as a manager for this team. He has a purpose every time he is out there. It’s also good that at least one title changed hands on this tour since there were six title matches. It would be too predictable if everyone retained.

David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe (ROH World Tag Team Championship Match)

The main event for this show was the team of Lifeblood challenging The Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Titles. Early in the match, Mark did an Elbow Drop off the apron onto the floor. Later on Mark also did a Moonsault off the top onto both of his opponents. Robinson ran into both Briscoes and then gave Mark a Juicebox after spinning around. Off the ropes, Jay did a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Lifeblood did dual summersault dives off the apron onto the floor. They also did cannonballs into the barricades. On the top rope, Finlay was given a Superplex and then an Elbow Drop for a two count. They tried for a Doomsday Device but Finlay escaped. Finlay hit a Spear on one Briscoe and a backbreaker on another. The team landed their own Doomsday Device, but Jay kicked out. Finlay was held down while being hit with a Froggy-Bow to end the match. The Briscoes retain.

I wasn’t as interested in this match compared to the one before. Although that could be because I’m more invested in the teams in the match before. Finlay was being checked out after the match with something happening to his elbow. I’m unsure about whether that’s a real injury or not. If it is real then I hope he is okay. After the match, The Briscoes cut a promo. They talked about how the Guerillas of Destiny won the IWGP tag belts in the match before. They challenged Loa and Tonga in a title versus title match on the April 6th show at Madison Square Garden. The team came out and took the challenge. This was a good way to finish the show since the MSG show is a big one between these two promotions, and it’s worth having an angle on this show about it.

This show was pretty good. My favourite match was probably the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title match. These were two fun shows to watch this weekend as NJPW takes a week or so off before their anniversary show.

Sign up for e-mail updates when articles are posted: 

ROH/NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2019 Day 1 Results and Review

Finishing off the February calendar for NJPW is their two collaborative shows with Ring of Honor, called Honor Rising. Live from Korakuen Hall, let’s look at the first night of the tour, including three championship matches.

Ren Narita vs. Marty Scurll

Tonight’s show took place in a ring that had Ring of Honor turnbuckles and aprons. Chris Charlton was on the English commentary team with Kevin Kelly. I think the last time he was at the desk was Wrestle Kingdom or New Year Dash. In what is a pretty big way to start the show, Young Lion Ren Narita fought Marty Scurll. Late in the match, Scurll did a Powerbomb into a Boston Crab, but Narita escaped. As you could expect, Scurll won the match. Scurll finally ended the match with a Crossface Chickenwing. Honestly, this went way longer than I expected.

Shota Umino vs. Zack Sabre Jr. w/ TAKA Michinoku

Before the next match, TAKA Michinoku cut a promo fully in English. I don’t often hear what he says in his pre-match promos, but this one sounded pretty cool. When Michinoku called the “Young Boy” Umino to “come over ever,” he kicked Michinoku right in the gut. Umino put ZSJ in an Armbar during this match but put his leg on a rope to escape. This crowd was very enthusiastic tonight. ZSJ put in a Guillotine but Umino lifted him for a slam and escaped. Umino went to the top rope and landed a Missile Dropkick for a two count. ZSJ won the match with a Fisherman Suplex into a leg move that made Umino tap. This match made Umino look very strong. ZSJ tried hurting Umino more after the bell.

Johnathan Greshman & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Robbie Eagles & Taiji Ishimori

This next tag match helped promote the upcoming title match between Ishimori and Liger. This was a debut match under NJPW for Johnathan Gresham. When Ishimori and Liger got in the ring, Liger did a roll-up to win the match in very short time. This caught my off guard and very much annoyed Ishimori. Hey, if I put facepaint on for a five-minute match I’d be mad too. This was a fun little way to promote their upcoming match. I hope we get to see more of Gresham on the second night.

Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Tonga Loa, Tama Tonga, Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe w/ Jado & Hikuleo

In the biggest match of the evening (in size), The Guerillas of Destiny teamed with The Briscoes to face Lifeblood and the team of Henare and Honma. Hikuleo returned to be at ringside for this match. Late into this match with it was Mark and Juice who got hot tags. They exchanged punches, and then Juice reversed a Irish Whip into a Spinebuster. Finlay and Jay got into the ring, making it a two on two situation. Lifeblood did double clotheslines and then put each Briscoe in a corner. Finlay was thrown out of the ring and then Robinson was given a double team neckbreaker. The pin attempt that followed it was broken up. The Briscoes tried for a Doomsday Device but Juice escaped. He got Loa to run into Mark instead of attacking him. Robinson tried for a Pulp Friction but Mark escaped. He rolled to the ropes where Jado accidentally hit him with a kendo stick instead of Juice. Robinson scored a pinfall to end the match. Hikuleo, Loa and Tonga beat up The Briscoes afterwards.

Cheeseburger, Delirious & Colt Cabana vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match)

The first of three title matches on this show was for the NEVER Openweight 6-man title belts. The challenging team was ROH’s Cheeseburger, Delirious and Colt Cabana. Toru Yano has been promoting his line of curry instead of his DVDs recently, and I seriously want to give them a try. The trio was wearing Taguchi Japan jerseys, all with custom names and numbers on them. The match started with Yano and Delirious. Yano was terrified of him. Cabana said some Japanese lines during the match which got a pop from the crowd. Yano did his unbuckling of the corners spot, but struggled since ROH’s turnbuckles had more tying involved and only undid the top of the three. Cabana and Yano battled with two turnbuckle pads. As the ref was distracted with Cabana, Delirious was given a hip attack from Taguchi, a low blow from Yano and a chop from Makabe to end the match. This was a decent comedy match. It felt weird that this was for the titles though since this team was an impromptu one.

Dalton Castle w/ The Boys vs. Will Ospreay (NEVER Openweight Championship Match)

It took a little time before the next match because people had to put turnbuckles back on.  The next match was Will Ospreay defending his NEVER Openweight Championship for the first time since he won it at Wrestle Kingdom in January. Jushin Thunder Liger joined the Japanese commentary team. The fight went outside the ring early on with Ospreay hitting a barricade hard. Ospreay did a Space Tiger Drop later on. There was a move during the ring where Ospreay went off the ropes and was supposed to land on Castle but sort of went right over him. Ospreay got a close count after a Spanish Fly. Ospreay tried for his elbow attack but Castle avoided it. Castle did an impressive Powerbomb for a two count. Ospreay did a Superkick and then his Hidden Blade elbow strike (which looks terrifying), and then a Storm Breaker to win the match. After the match, they shook hands. That elbow move looks so convincing, it’s really terrifying.

Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb (ROH World Television Championship Match)

The third and final championship match was Hirooki Goto versus Jeff Cobb for the ROH World TV Title. Goto got some boos from the crowd during this match when he slammed a Young Lion onto Cobb. In the ring Goto did a kick in the corner and then went to the top rope for an Elbow Drop, but Cobb avoided it. Cobb caught Goto and did an impressive Belly-to-Belly German Suplex. He followed that up with a Standing Moonsault, which gave him a two count. Minutes later, Goto started to mount a comeback, landing a great clothesline at one point which flipped him around. Goto went for a pin attempt after a kick to the chest, but Cobb kicked out. Goto landed a reverse GTR for a two count. He tried for another GTR but Cobb escaped and landed a kick. With Goto going off the ropes, Cobb landed a Tour of the Islands to win the match and retain his belt.

Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia vs. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jay Lethal

The main event of the show was The Kingdom versus a Okada, Tanahashi and Jay Lethal. As Vinny Marseglia was coming to the ring he let a balloon fly to the ceiling of Korakuen Hall. This match previews tomorrow’s ROH World Title match between Jay Lethal and TK O’Ryan, though the illusion of the match was kind of ruined when Kevin Kelly mentioned that Matt Taven is facing Lethal for the belt farther down the line. Lethal did a dive to outside the ring onto Taven, and then dragged him back into the ring for Okada, who landed a reverse neck breaker. Kingdom tried for a Rockstar Supernova, but Okada and Tanahashi came in to save it. They both did dropkicks while Lethal did a Huricanrana to escape his move. Lethal gave Marseglia a Lethal Injection to win the match. After the match, Taven got some extra shots in on Lethal. After the match Lethal cut a promo on The Kingdom. The match was somewhat short, but I enjoyed it.

This show, in general, had a lot of good matches. ZSJ versus Shota Umino was great, especially for a Young Lion match. I really enjoyed Cobb versus Goto and Castle versus Ospreay. I look forward to tomorrow’s second and final show.

NJPW New Japan Road “Takashi Iizuka Retirement Match” Results and Review

In a special show, NJPW said goodbye to Takashi Iizuka, giving him a retirement match at Korakuen Hall. Along with the match was a full card of other contests. Let’s look at the event.

Yuya Uemura & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Robby Eagles & Taiji Ishimori

The show started with a video package showing the past between Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Takashi Iizuka. The first match on the show was Yuya Uemura and Jushin Liger versus Robby Eagles and Taiji Ishimori. Liger got a hot tag in this match, doing a combo of moves on Ishimori which culminated with a Romero Special. Later on, Uemura gave Eagles a Boston Crab, but he eventually made it to the ropes. Eagles did a great looking 450 Splash onto Uemura to end the match while Ishimori beat up Liger outside the ring. After the bell Ishimori continued to fight, taking Liger into the seats. I’ll admit I haven’t seen a ton of Eagles, but he seems pretty good.

Yota Tsuji, Ren Narita, Manabu Nakanishi & Satoshi Kojima vs. Toa Henare, Tiger Mask, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe

The next match was a big matchup between Young Lions and veterans. Satoshi Kojima was on a roll against Tomoaki Honma, doing an elbow drop off the top for a two count. He landed a Cutter but then got a Brainbuster reversed. Honma landed a Kokeshi after Makabe and Tsuji ran in to help their teams. Toa Henare and Tsuji were the next entrants in the match. Tsuji put on a Boston Crab, but it was undone by Tiger Mask who kicked him a few times. Henare and Tsuji traded strikes, ending with Henare landing a headbutt. Henare did a Clothesline and then a Rock Bottom to win the match.

YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata

Tomohiro Ishii had his first match since New Years Dash on this show. Throughout this match, Nagata and Ishii would trade strikes. Umino fought really well in this match. YOSHI-HASHI won the match with the Butterfly Lock. Ishii and Nagata continued fighting after the bell but were separated.

El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. SHO & YOH

The next match was El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru versus RPG3K. Kanemaru did a nice move where he hung up SHO on a barricade and then gave him a curb stomp, jumping off the same barricade. Kanemaru and Desperado brought the fight into the floor seating. Desperado threw SHO into a table at ringside. This brawl outside the ring is what gave the Suzuki-gun team the advantage for a while. SHO was hit with a Deep Impact from Kanemaru, but YOH broke it up. Kanemaru tried for a Moonsault but SHO escaped. SHO landed a German Suplex and then a double team combo of moves with YOH. Desperado stopped a big move that they were planning for until he was dropkicked out of the ring and then given a Crossbody. Kanemaru missed a Satori Surprise on SHO and then was given a lariat. Kanemaru escaped a Powerbomb but was given a 3K when going off the ropes to end the match. This was definitely one of my favourite matches on the show. After the match, Shingo Takagi and BUSHI faced off with RPG3K. YOH said that they will go after the belts on the Anniversary show. Looks like that will be the next IWGP Jr. Tag Team Title match. The two teams brawled after that. The Los Ingobernables duo got the better part of the fight, with both of them cutting a promo afterwards. I forgot that this is one of the last shows where NJPW has the chance to shoot angles for the Anniversary show.

TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Hirooki Goto

TAKA Michinoku and ZSJ fought Taguchi and Goto in the next match. Early in the match, there was some comedy that revolved around Taguchi. He was struck by his own teammate, and then, later on, he was given some uppercuts to his behind. Goto gave ZSJ a slam onto TAKA at one point. When Taguchi got a hot tag he did his hip attack to Michinoku. They retried their double team spot that messed up earlier and succeeded. Taguchi did a roll-up which got double reversed, giving him the win. It’s nice to see Taguchi rebound after he failed at chasing Ishimori’s belt. I liked the comedy in the match. English commentator Kevin Kelly did a good job at portraying how the team had trouble at the start but eventually got it figured out.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Will Ospreay & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Hiroshi Tanahashi made his first in-ring appearance after losing his title in this match. In this match, Archer did a shoulder tackle on Ospreay which he sold amazingly. As ZSJ was trying for a tag he was nearly caught in a Chokeslam but found his way out. Tanahashi got the hot tag on Archer. His momentum was stopped when given a Black Hole Slam. DBS Jr. did a leg drop for a two count. Tanahashi reversed a Vertical Suplex into a Twist and Shout.

Ospreay got tagged back in and did a top rope 619. He did a forearm strike off the top rope. Ospreay was selling one of his legs heavily. He tried for a Hammerlock move on DBS but he escaped. Smith landed a German Suplex and then Hammerlock German Suplex, but Ospreay escaped it and did a Robinson Special. He tried for a Os-Cutter but it got reversed. When going off the ropes he was given a double team slam, but kicked out at two. DBS gave Ospreay a Powerslam off the second rope but Tanahashi broke it up. They tried for a Killer Bomb but it was escaped by Ospreay. Tanahashi landed a Swingblade on Archer and Ospreay gave DBS a Spanish Fly. Ospreay hit an Os-Cutter off the second rope to end the match. Ospreay was heavily carrying the matchup for his team. Nonetheless, a fun bout.

Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka vs. Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Kazuchika Okada

Before the main event, veteran commentator Shinpei Nogami made a special appearance to call this match. Takashi Iizuka made his walk through the crowd one last time. When he made it to ringside he ripped off the tops of Nogami, leaving him just in a tie. Taichi and Minoru Suzuki made their entrances under Iizuka’s music. Suzuki-gun did their world famous jump start to the match. Tenzan was beat up by Iizuka with chairs and did a near count out spot. Iizuka got his mask taken off and bit Tenzan when in the ring. While Taichi tried to undo a corner pad (and failed at it because he took too long), Yano hit Taichi from behind with a corner pad of his own. Yano tore off Taichi’s long pants. Suzuki attempted to give Okada a Gotch Style Piledriver but Okada reversed it into a Backbody Drop. Iizuka got a hot tag onto Okada and bit him in the head. He bit his boot as well. Okada gave him a Neckbreaker after he tried using a chain. Okada went to the top rope and gave him and Elbow Drop and then called for a Rainmaker. Iizuka escaped the Rainmaker and then dodged a dropkick. After a good combo, Okada did two dropkicks and then tried for another Rainmaker but it was reversed into a leg lock by Iizuka. The crowd was very behind Iizuka. Okada picked up Iizuka and did a Death Valley Driver.

Tenzan got tagged in. Tenzan found himself in a sleeper hold but escaped because Taichi broke it up. While the ref was distracted by Taichi, Iizuka brought out his iron glove. Tenzan pleaded him to not use it. Iizuka fought his own hand, trying to fight it. He eventually tried but missed Tenzan. Goto hit him with a low blow, and then Okada did a Tombstone Piledriver. Tenzan went to the top rope for a headbutt and then put a shirt on Iizuka from when they were a tag team. With the shirt was on him, Tenzan did a Moonsault off the top to end the match.

Tenzan cried on Iizuka as his music played. When Iizuka got up, Tenzan tried to bring Iizuka back to his old self. The crowd chanted his name too. Iizuka finally found the power to shake Tenzan’s hand. When Tenzan tried to hug him however, he was bit, and the old Iizuka was back. He grabbed a chair and hit Tenzan with it. Iizuka got to use his iron glove on Tenzan. All of Suzuki-gun came out to be with him. Iizuka started to leave through the crowd. Minoru Suzuki did a ten bell count, and Iizuka’s iron glove was left in the middle of the ring. Taichi was in the ring alone and picked up the iron glove. He teased that he would put it on, but then just left with it. Afterwards the crowd chanted for Iizuka in hopes that he would come back out (presumably). I didn’t follow Iizuka’s career or even have much knowledge about his past, but this felt like a great sendoff for him. I enjoyed this match and this show was pretty good overall.

Sign up for e-mail updates when articles are posted:

NJPW Road to The New Beginning 2019 Day 3 Results and Review

While Road to The New Beginning isn’t a huge tour, day three was a special event. In the main event, KUSHIDA faced Hiroshi Tanahashi. This match was his send-off match for NJPW, before he heads to WWE. Let’s look at the show.

Day 2 Recap (with Day 1 Results)

Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita

The first match was a battle between Yuya Uemura and Ren Narita, two Young Lions. On this tour Uemura is 0-1-1, while Narita is 1-1. Early in the match, Narita put in a Boston Crab. Uemura escaped since he was close to the ropes. Uemura landed two impressive dropkicks which gave him a two count. Uemura landed a Backbody Drop and then tried for a Boston Crab of his own. He was really bending Narita. Narita escaped the hold eventually. The match ended after Narita landed a very good looking Belly-To-Belly German Suplex bridged into a pinfall.

Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

The next match was a Young Lions versus veterans match. Umino landed a slam on Nakanishi during this match which got a big reaction. Umino went off the ropes but was hit with a Spear. White Umino was in a Torture Rack, Tenzan put in an Anaconda Vice to end the match.

Ryusuke Taguchi & Toa Henare vs. Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi

The Young Lions were done for the show, as the next match was Taguchi and Henare teaming with Ishimori and Takahashi. The crowd was chanting for Taguchi when the match started. Taguchi and Ishimori started the match. They had a good combo of attacks that concluded with Taguchi hitting a hip attack that sent Taiji to the outside. Henare and Takahashi got tagged in right after. Henare was on a roll with an Armdrag, Slam and Shoulder Tackle which got him a two count. Takahashi took control of the match and got to double team Henare because Ishimori took out Taguchi and then came in the ring. Henare and Yujiro traded chops, and then Yujiro landed a kick to the head against the ropes. Taiji was tagged back in and was controlling Henare, but then Henare fought out and gave Taguchi a hot tag. He did a dive off the second rope to the outside onto Ishimori. Taguchi did a Springboard Hip Attack for a two count. Ishimori did a good spot where he dipped in-between ropes to juke Taguchi and eventually land a move off the top. Taguchi put in an Ankle Lock that Ishimori escaped. Ishimori landed a kick which gave him time to tag out. Henare and Takahashi came back in. Henare landed a Shoulder Tackle off the ropes and then a Samoan Drop for a two count. Taguchi brought his rugby ball into the ring. Taguchi did a Hip Attack in the corner onto Takahashi. Henare did a Spear for a pin attempt that Ishimori broke up. Ishimori was taken out of the ring by a Hip Attack, and then Henare did a type of Spear for a two count. Yujiro landed a Fisherman Buster for a kickout. He then landed a DDT with Henare on his knees to end the match.

I really enjoyed this match. I’m slowly becoming a fan of Henare. I don’t really know his gimmick but he’s a good wrestler. After the match Taguchi was on the apron and spoke to Ishimori. Taiji stole Taguchi’s rugby ball and kicked it into the crowd. This made Taguchi look sad. He got his ball back and left.

Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. Chase Owens, Tonga Loa & Tama Tonga w/ Jado

The Guerillas of Destiny fought in this next match before they were set to defend their NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championships on the next night with Taiji Ishimori. Tonga Loa and Togi Makabe started off, fighting for a minute or so. When Tama Tonga and Tomoaki Honma came in, Tonga tried to shake Honma’s hand to continue the good guy gimmick. He shook hands and hugged, but couldn’t get a shake for the other two members of Honma’s team. Owens and Loa came in and attacked the two other members, which Tonga didn’t like. He apologized while continuing to fight. The Bullet Club trio had frequent tags, isolating Honma in their corner. Tonga refused to participate in certain antics with his team. Commentator Kevin Kelly has stayed vigilant about if the good guy gimmick is genuine. Honma gave Loa a clothesline which finally let him tag in Toru Yano. Yano undid a corner, but Tonga tried putting it back on. While he did this, Yano took apart another corner and tried using it. He tossed it to Tonga, who then gave it to the referee. Yano gave Tonga a neckbreaker of some sort and then tagged in Makabe. Makabe did his punches in the corner which are always followed by a evil laugh. Owens tagged himself in on Makabe. The trio picked on Makabe in the corner. Owens tried for a Package Piledriver but couldn’t land it. Owens shoved Makabe into the referee, which let the group do a double team spot. Yes, it let them, but they didn’t because Tonga hesistated. Yano and Honma came in, with Honma trying for a Kokeshi which Jado stopped with his kendo stick. Jado tried for a draping DDT on Homna which would have been ultimate disrespect, but it was stopped. Makabe landed a King Kong Kneedrop on Owens to end the match after his teammates help take out other members. I can assume the referee spot done tonight was planned for the match the night before, but didn’t work. Not a bad match. I liked the callback when Jado tried landing the draping DDT.

Jay White & Bad Luck Fale w/ Gedo vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada

White and Fale faced YOSHI-HASHI and Okada next. The Bullet Club team jumped Okada and Hashi. Fale tried for a Bad Luck Fall on the floor but Okada escaped it. Everyone fought outside the ring at the start. After YOSHI-HASHI was picked on for a long time, Okada finally got tagged in. Okada slammed White and then went to the top, but White got up. Okada was hit with a Side Suplex, and then tagged in Fale. Okada was given a huge Back Body Drop. After that, HASHI was taken off the apron. Fale landed a standing Elbow Drop for a kickout. He tried for a Bad Luck Fall but Okada reversed it into a Back Body Drop. HASHI got the hot tag, taking out White and finally taking down Fale. He landed a top rope Blockbuster, but then White came in. White tried for a Blade Runner but Okada came in and gave him a Dropkick. Fale took out Okada and then did a standing Frogsplash for a two count. YOSHI did lariats off the ropes, but the third time around was hit with one instead. Fale gave YOSHI-HASHI a Grenade to end the match. I thought there wasn’t enough focus on Okada in this match, since White versus him is what’s next. Okada tried saving HASHI but was given a Grenade. The Young Lions stopped a Bad Luck Fall attempt. Fale gave Uemura a Grenade as well. Gedo was sort of invisible during this whole match. YOSHI-HASHI came off as real dead weight in this match for Okada.

El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki & Taichi w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito

We got a rematch from the night before, except it is normal stipulations for this match. All of Suzuki-Gun came out to Taichi’s music. Taka Michinoku cut a short promo before the match. The main program being built out of this match is Taichi versus Naito. Taichi held the ropes open for Naito, and then Naito jumped Taichi seconds after. As expected the fight went all over the place at the start. SANADA and Minoru Suzuki had a good exchange of slaps and moves in the ring. Taichi went after Naito. He hit his head against the “WEST” sign in Korakuen Hall. Suzuki hit SANADA with a chair and barricades. After SANADA and Suzuki battled more in the ring, Naito and Taichi got tagged in. Both guys tried doing Suplexes but got it stopped by holding onto the referee. BUSHI was hit with a Deep Impact by Kanemaru, but teammates came in to break the pin attempt that followed it. BUSHI tagged in EVIL who took out ZSJ on the apron and then went to Kanemaru. EVIL landed a Clothesline and then a Darkness Falls for a two count. He tried for an Everything is Evil but ZSJ stopped it. Tons of people came in and out of the ring. Taichi did his pants pull off spot. The ref was distracted when Naito kicked Taichi in the groin and hit a Destino. Takagi landed a Clothesline and then EVIL hit the Everything is EVIL to win the match. The middle of the match lost me but the finishing combo was good. Naito taunted Taichi after the match, teasing that he would snap his microphone.

KUSHIDA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

The main event of the evening was the goodbye match for KUSHIDA. The crowd all had orange KUSHIDA signs that they held up during his entrance. There was a “Thank You KUSHIDA” flag on the balcony. During Tanahashi’s theme, KUSHIDA laid on his back in the ring. This match started slowly with lots of technical wrestling. KUSHIDA landed a Cartwheel Dropkick and then tried for a DDT which got turned into a Cloverleaf from Tanahashi. A knee of KUSHIDA’s was targeted by Tanahashi throughout the match. KUSHIDA put Tanahashi in a Hoverboard Lock for quite some time, but eventually, KUSHIDA tried turning it into a Back to The Future. The move was turned into a Twist & Shout. Tanahashi followed it up with a Swingblade for a two count. Tanahashi went to the top for a Crossbody and then a High Fly Flow, except KUSHIDA put his knees up. He followed it up with a Back to The Future for a two count. KUSHIDA put in another Tanahashi landed a Bridging German Suplex for a two count. Tanahashi put in a Boston Crab which made KUSHIDA tap out. This was a slow paced match but an enjoyable one. It’s sad to see KUSHIDA go, but he has other things in his career to do. As Tanahashi was sitting over a hurt KUSHIDA, Jay White came in and hit Tanahashi with a chair. This was amazing because White got some real boos from this crowd. He wedged a chair in between his right leg, and then smashed it with another chair. After the attack Tanahashi and KUSHIDA hugged outside the ring. Tanahashi was helped backstage and KUSHIDA went back into the ring to talk to the crowd.

Subscribe to the website to receive e-mail updates:

NJPW Road to The New Beginning 2019 Day 2 Results and Review

After the collaborative Fantastica Mania tour between NJPW and CMLL, New Japan has returned to their regular roster. The three Road to The New Beginning shows acted as the finale for January. The first day wasn’t televised, here are the results of that card:

  1. Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura (Draw)
  2. Toa Henare def. Ren Narita
  3. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi def. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
  4. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa def. Tomoaki Honma & YOSHI-HASHI
  5. Togi Makabe & Toru Yano def. Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi
  6. El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr. def. BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito
  7. Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, Jay White & Taiji Ishimori def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi.

Source: cagematch.net

Let’s look at day two now.

Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs. Ren Narita & Manabu Nakanishi

The first match on the show was a Young Lion battle, with Nakanishi teaming with Narita to face Uemura and Tsuji. Narita was put in a Boston Crab my Uemura while Tsuji kept Nakanishi out of the ring. Narita made it to the ropes to escape the move. Narita took a double dropkick and then a double team suplex for a pin attempt that Nakanishi broke up. The team tried to do a double team suplex on Nakanishi but both go suplexed instead. Narita and Uemura were back in the ring with Narita looking impactful with shoulder tackles. He did a belly-to-belly for a pinfall that Tsuji broke up. Nakanishi took Tsuji to the outside, and then Narita did a Boston Crab to end the match. I enjoyed the ending sequence of the match.

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Toa Henare & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

This is a good time to point out that Ayato Yoshida has an amazing theme. Henare was getting in the face of Umino before the match. At the start of the match Umino knocked down Tenzan after landing many moves kept him standing. Yoshida and Henare traded chops, and later on Henare landed a combo of a clothesline in a corner and then a Samoan Drop. Umino did a Missile Dropkick off the second rope onto Tenzan for a two count. After that Tenzan landed a move that gave him time to tag in Henare. Umino reversed a Vertical Suplex into one of his own and then gave Yoshida a hot tag. While Henare was put in a Rear Naked Choke, Tenzan was put in a Boston Crab. Henare made it to the ropes to escape the hold. Henare landed a bad looking Spear, with the pin afterwards being broken up by Umino. Yoshida did a roll-up that Henare kicked out of, and then Henare landed a Rock Bottom to end the match. Henare and Yoshida had a good battle, although the finish felt sort of unceremonious.

Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Chase Owens, Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa & Taiji Ishimori w/ Jado

In this next match, Ryusuke Taguchi was still running with his rugby gimmick. He had gotten rid of the pharaoh outfit that he wore during Fantastica Mania. Makabe and Loa started in the match. After Makabe took down Loa with a clothesline he tagged in Yano. Yano got big chants from the crowd. Tama Tonga got tagged in as well. Tonga tried to tell Yano that he is now a good guy, but Yano didn’t buy it. Yano took off a corner pad, but then Tonga tried putting it back on to show that he is a good guy. This might be the most comedy I’ve seen Tama Tonga do. Tonga was thrown into a corner but Chase Owens held up the pad that was taken off. When Yano went into the corner Owens took off the pad, letting him hit the exposed corner. After that everyone brawled into the crowd. At ringside Yano was hit in the head with a corner pad by Owens. Yano made the count back into the ring at 14, and then Ishimori got tagged in. For what it’s worth, Ishimori got a separate entrance from other Bullet Club members on this show. Yano was thrown into the exposed corner once again when Owens was tagged in. Tonga even avoided doing a double team when Loa wanted him to. Tonga got thrown into the exposed corner and then stopped Yano from tagging in Taguchi. Moments later Taguchi and Ishimori got hot tags. Ishimori and Owens were both given hip attacks. He did his B-Triggers off the ropes for a minute. Taguchi put Ishimori in an Ankle Lock which he rolled out of, knocked down the referee as well. The referee bump seemed to have no significance in the match. Honma finally got tagged in and missed a Kokeshi after a Running Bulldog. Loa got tagged in, and then all of Bullet Club picked on Honma while others were out at ringside. After the Guerillas of Destiny hit a combo of moves on Honma everyone started coming in. Honma landed a Kokeshi on Tonga, took out Jado on the ring apron, and then gave Loa a Shoulder Tackle for a two count. Honma gave Loa two clotheslines but the third one got reversed. Going off the ropes Honma was hit with a Kendo Stick from Jado, and then was given Loa’s finishing move to end the match. This match was pretty good besides the unnecessary referee bump.

Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada

The next match was a traditional tag team match with “The Tokyo Pimp” Yujiro Takahashi and Bad Luck Fale facing YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada. Okada got a lesser than first time, but still audible pop when showing his wrestling shorts. Okada and Fale started, with Okada being thrown around the ring. When Yujiro got tagged in he threw Okada off the ropes, which made Okada fly at Fale and take him off the apron. Okada gave Takahashi a big boot and then tagged in YOSHI-HASHI. The fight went outside the ring after this. Fale choked out Okada with a microphone cord. Back in the ring, Takahashi slammed HASHI and then tagged in Fale. This match was a real slowing down of pace compared to the one before. Yujiro landed a good kick when he got tagged in, and go a two count on HASHI. The Bullet Club members frequently tagged each other in. HASHI finally worked his way out out of the situation, giving Okada the hot tag. Fale got taken down with a DDT, taking his first bump of the match. Okada tried slamming him but did not land it. Fale tried for a slam which Okada escaped, and then Okada got his slam in. Okada landed an Uppercut but when going off the ropes was given a Clothesline. Takahashi came back in and gave Okada a Fisherman Buster for a near fall. Fale came in and charged at Okada in a corner. HASHI broke up a pin after Yujiro landed a kick. Yujiro landed a good Tour of the Islands type of move for a two count. HASHI came in again, this time giving Yujiro a clothesline and Fale a Superkick. Okada clotheslined Fale out of the ring, and then gave Yujiro a dropkick. Okada landed an Elbow Drop and then a Rainmaker to win the match. This match did what it was meant to do. After the match Fale attacked Okada and YOSHI-HASHI. He tried to give Okada a Bad Luck Fall on the floor, but Okada escaped with the help of the Young Lions.

Jay White & Gedo vs. KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi

On the way to the ring before the next match, Jay White clutched the face of a Young Lion, asking him if he’ll beat Tanahashi. This was Jay White’s first match back since the start of Fantastica Mania. In this match KUSHIDA teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi. They will face each other on the next show, which will be KUSHIDA’s New Japan send-off. Tanahashi and White started the match. Ryusuke Taguchi joined the Japanese commentary team at this point. They barely did any moves on each other, and then KUSHIDA was tagged in. KUSHIDA called White “Dojo Boy” at some point. The two CHAOS members tagged in and out frantically. KUSHIDA was on a roll against White but Gedo kept getting in his way. White did a Belly-to-Belly Suplex on KUSHIDA, sending him over the ropes. Outside the ring Gedo had KUSHIDA up against a barricade. White slammed a Young Lion onto Tanahashi. Gedo used a chair on KUSHIDA. Outside the ring White bashed KUSHIDA into the barricade and ring apron. He’s not going easy on him at all before he goes to WWE. After KUSHIDA was fighting an uphill battle for quite some time he tagged in Tanahashi. There was a good combo where Tanahashi landed a Twist & Shout, and then got set up for a Blade Runner but was hit with a Rock Bottom instead. Gedo put Tanahashi in a roll-up for a two count and then landed a few kicks for another close count. Gedo took brass knuckles out of his jacket which distracted the referee. White came in with a chair but KUSHIDA gave him a Springboard Dropkick. KUSHIDA did a Crossbody to the outside, letting Tanahashi hit a Swingblade and a High Fly Flow for the win. I really liked this match. Good that Gedo took the pin since he isn’t involved in the Tanahashi and White program. Out of frustration, White attacked a Young Lion on the way out. KUSHIDA embraced the crowd after the match.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. Shingo Takagi, SANADA, EVIL, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito (Elimination Tag Team Match)

Minoru Suzuki unveiled a new haircut at this show. This match was done in an elimination tag format, except eliminating someone of the top rope counted as well. The fight spread throughout Korakuen Hall very quickly. During this match there was a spot where Naito gave Taichi a kick to the back of the head and then spat on him repeatedly. Suzuki went wild around the ring, using a chair on SANADA in a hallway of the venue. It felt like this match was really testing my attention span with how little happened at the start. Suzuki tried for a Piledriver but SANADA escaped and tried throwing him over the ropes. Suzuki did a Guillotine but SANADA got out and went over the ropes with Suzuki. This eliminated both of them, making them the first eliminations, fifteen minutes into the match. They fought to the back. Takagi and Desperado were the next two in the ring. Desperado was thrown over the top by a strong clothesline from Shingo. Takagi tried for a second rope move but Desperado stopped it. He escaped near elimination, but then got eliminated because BUSHI was thrown into him, knocking him off the ring apron. BUSHI did an arched pin to eliminated Kanemaru. ZSJ nearly got pinned as well but kicked out. ZSJ reversed a Huricanrana into an Ankle Lock into an STF which made BUSHI tap out. EVIL gave ZSJ a Darkness Falls but he kicked out. EVIl tried tossing ZSJ over the top, but was instead given an Arm hold through the ropes. EVIL got pulled over the top and onto the apron. ZSJ kept cranking on the arm hold until he let go, and got hit with an Everything Is EVIL which eliminated both of them. The final two were Taichi and Naito. After Taichi threw the referee into Naito, he picked up Naito’s Intercontinental Championship and tried to hit him with it. This didn’t work, with Taichi getting hit with a kick instead. Naito shoved the referee once again, which let Taichi kick Naito in the groin. Naito was thrown over onto the apron and given a kick which nearly eliminated him. Another kick gave Taichi and his team the win. The kick felt sort of lame but I liked this finish. The match was way too long, especially at the start, but not horrible. Taichi cut a promo after the match.

Subscribe to the website to get email updates

NJPW Fantastica Mania 2019 Day 8 Results and Review

After many days of Puroresu and Luchador action, the tour sadly came to a close. But before it ended we got one final day with a packed card. Let’s look at the final day of Fantastica Mania.

Templario & El Barbaro Cavernario vs. Audaz & Flyer

The first match was a traditional tag team match with CMLL wrestlers. Early in the match, Templario did a dive, with teammate Cavernario doing a top rope crossbody to the outside as well. There was a nice move where Cavernario got slammed and then Flyer gave Audaz a Headscissors, making him land on Cavernario. Flyer did a Spanish Fly off the top rope but got the pin attempt broken up by Templario. Back on the ropes, Templario landed a Gutwrench Powerbomb. Audaz came into the equation and gave Templario a Springboard Dropkick and Huricanrana off the top rope. Cavernario came in and put his back stretching submission move in to win the match.

OKUMURA w/ Mima Shimoda vs. Atlantis Jr.

This next match was Atlantis Jr.’s first singles match of his career. Before the bell, Atlantis started the fight and did tow Tope Sucidas. OKUMURA dodged the third one and then brought Atlantis Jr. into the rows of Korakuen Hall. Atlantis landed a Huricanrana in-between two sections of seats. After this, the fight went into the right. OKUMURA landed a Draping Cutter off the top rope for a two count. OKUMURA got Rana’d to the outside and then hit with a top rope Crossbody. Atlantis Jr. wasn’t missing a beat. There was some antics with the referee where he tried giving OKUMURA a quick count after he protested a pin attempt. After not being successful the first time, Atlantis Jr. won the match with a submission move. This was a great tour for Atlantis Jr., and this match was obviously the high point.

SHO & YOH (RPG3K), Toa Henare & Satoshi Kojima vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & El Terrible

After Fujin and Raijin were unmasked and revealed as SHO and YOH at the show before, the masks for RPG3K are gone. They teamed with Toa Henare and Satoshi Kojima to face Los Ingobernables. Even though Naito and his team would usually be the ones to jump their opponents, it was the CHAOS team that did that. Terrible gave Kojima a Frogsplash that Kojima kicked out of. YOH kicked out of a dropping elbow from Takagi. YOH got out of a Dragon Screw and did his own. Shingo and YOH had a good combo where YOH landed a Superkick but got taken out with a Clothesline. Naito and Henare got the hot tags. Henare landed a Samoan Drop for a pin attempt that Terrible broke up. Naito was setting up for a Destino on Henare, but then Taichi came in the ring and hit him with the IC title. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru joined the ring and beat up everyone from both teams. The match was ruled a no contest. BUSHI was unmasked and then Taichi cut a promo. I was kind of surprised by this since there haven’t been many angles done on this tour so far.

Atlantis, Angel de Oro & Titan vs. Forastero, El Cuatrero & Sanson (Mexican National Trio Championship Match)

This next match was for an actual championship. The Mexican National Trio Championship was put up in a six-man tag match. It was mentioned before the match that Forastero, El Cuatrero and Sanson have been champions for over 500 days. Atlantis did a Crossbody to the outside onto everyone which got a big crowd reaction. Angel de Oro did a good combo on El Cuatrero, when he did a Superkick and then Moonsault. There was a five-man Superplex spot with Angel de Oro landing a Frogsplash right after. Cautrero landed a Crucifix Powerbomb to win the match. I hardly covered every big move in this match, but it was absolute chaos. It’s worth watching for sure.

Gran Guerrero, Ultimo Guerrero & Namajague vs. Soberano Jr., Dragon Lee & Mistico

The next match was a six-man tag team bout. I want to tag this moment to appreciate the “raise the roof” dance that Gran Guerrero and Ultimo Guerrero do when entering. Namajague and Dragon Lee traded rough chops for a very long time during this match. After Dragon Lee did a Tope Suicide and Mistico did a Moonsault, Ultimo Gerrero did a great Superplex type of move to end the match.

Ginbae Mask & Gokiburi Mask vs. SweetGorilla Maruyama & Dragon George

Before the main event, we had an interesting match where we saw four wrestlers dressed as different characters to promote the “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler” movie. Kazuchika Okada was Dragon George, Tomoaki Honma was SweetGorilla Maruyama, Ryusuke Taguchi was Ginbae Mask and Hiroshi Tanahashi was Gokiburi Mask. Gokiburi Mask had a bug spray that he used as an attack on both George and Maruyama. This made the crowd boo heavily. Outside the ring, Ginbae used a fly swatter to hit Maruyama. They also used a toilet plumber and a brush. They put a trash can on George’s head and then did a hip attack and a punch. As the ref was distracted Ginbae Mask gave George a low blow, and then Gokiburi mask went to the top rope for a High Fly Flow that was reversed into a Dropkick. A Rainmaker attempt was reversed into a Swingblade. Later on, as George was down, Maruyama gave both Ginbae and Gokiburi a Clothesline. George landed a Dropkick, Tombstone Piledriver and then a Rainmaker to end the match. This match was good, but what really added to it was the absurdity of the commentators trying to make sense of what was going on, and the wrestlers playing different roles.

Volador Jr. vs. Caristico

The main event of this show was Volador Jr. versus Caristico. In the first few moments of the match, Volador Jr. was hit with a Tope Suicida. Volador followed this up by dropkicking Caristico to the outside and then did a Tope Suicida of his own. Minutes later Volador did another dive, over all three ropes this time. Caristico did the same thing after. Later on, Caristico tried for a Moonsault but Volador put his legs up to block it. Caristico did a Crossbody off a corner turnbuckle into a walking area in Korakuen. Volador did a Springboard Moonsault to the outside after that. Both guys were on the ground in the ring after Volador responded to a corner Clothesline with a Superkick. On the top rope, Volador Jr. landed a Huricanrana for a two count. The crowd was super loud for that. He landed a Canadian Destroyer for another two count. Caristico landed a Canadian Destroyer of his own for another close count. Caristico put in his submission move but Volador Jr. found his way to the ropes. On the top rope once again Volador Jr. landed a Spanish Fly to end the match. This was a good match, even though I thought the diving at the start felt a little excessive. The Fantastica Mania tour, in general, was pretty good, with the final two days being the best when it came to top to bottom cards. New Japan returns on the 28th for the start of the Road to The New Beginning tour. In a feel-good moment, mostly everyone from the tour came into the ring and rejoiced as the show ended.

NJPW Fantastica Mania 2019 Day 7 Results and Review

The Fantastica Mania tour is nearing its end as the second of three Korakuen Hall shows happened on Sunday. This was the first show on the tour that offered English commentary on NJPW World. Let’s go through the card.

Ryusuke Taguchi & Flyer vs. Gedo & Taiji Ishimori

The first match was a tag team battle between the team of Ryusuke Taguchi and Flyer and the team of Gedo and Taiji Ishimori. At the start of the match, Gedo and Taiji ambushed Taguchi and Flyer. Flyer was fighting a two-on-one battle, taking both Bullet Club members to the outside and then delivering a dive. Taguchi tried for a follow-up Crossbody but only landed on his teammate, Flyer. Taguchi did a Double Springboard Hip Attack and then did a B-Trigger many times. After Flyer seemingly was mounting some offence onto Ishimori, Taiji turned a roll-up pin attempt into an Ankle Lock to end the bout. After the match, Ishimori beat up Taguchi and took off his mask.

Templario & El Cuatrero vs. Angel de Oro & Titan

The second match had all CMLL wrestlers involved. Templario and Titan had a good starting combo of moves against each other. Templario delivered a nasty Powerbomb on the floor to Titan. All four guys were going fast from start to finish in this match. Angel de Oro landed a Springboard Moonsault for a two count on El Cuatrero. Templario and Titan had an impressive exchange of slaps, which made Templario land a Powerbomb afterwards. A second rope Powerbomb from Templario was reversed into a Huricanrana for a two count. El Cuatrero gave Angel de Oro a Crucifix Powerbomb for a close pinfall attempt. Angel de Oro put Cuatrero in a submission move to end the bout. What an exciting one this was!

Fujin, Raijin (RPG3K) & Toa Henare vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito

The next match was all NJPW talent if Fujin and Raijin count. As Naito was still in the process of being introduced, Los Ingobernables jumped their opponents. Henare was sent into the third row, crashing through chairs because of Naito. Naito and Henare also had some time in the ring against each other as that is the next IC title program. Henare hit a Samoan Drop on Naito for a two count. Naito landed a Draping corner Neckbreaker. Henare fought out of a two-on-one predicament against Naito and BUSHI and then tagged in Fujin. Raijin came in shortly after to join Fujin. They tried for the 3K on BUSHI but Tagaki and Naito came in to break it up. BUSHI and Takagi gave Fujin a Backcracker, and then a double team Codebreaker to win the match. After the match, Fujin and Raijin were unmasked, showing the crowd that they were SHO and YOH. BUSHI cut a short promo after the match. Henare also wanted to come back into the ring and go up to Naito but chose not to since Takagi and BUSHI were present. This felt like one of the only matches we’ve seen on the tour so far that had real storyline progression. We should have sensed that since CMLL had no involvement in this one. Naito called out commentator Milano Collection A.T. to take Naito’s hat and put it on his head. Very cautiously, Milano did this.

OKUMURA, Forastero & Sanson vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Atlantis & Atlantis Jr.

In a six-man match, Liger and both Atlantis’ fought OKUMURA, Forastero and Sanson. During the match, OKUMURA’s manager came into the ring and got suplexed by Liger. This match had tons of moments with more than two wrestlers in the ring. OKUMURA did a back body drop DDT type of move to win the match. This match went a little too long in my opinion. After the match, OKUMURA, Saanson and Forastero cut a promo on Atlantis Jr. A brawl broke out afterwards where both Atlantis’ was unmasked.

Namajague, El Barbaro Cavernario & Caristico vs. Audaz, El Soberano Jr. & Volador Jr.

This next six-man tag match included El Barbaro Cavernario, who the crowd really likes. Volador Jr. also got a big reaction. He wore a Spiderman themed outfit for this match. Early in the match, the team of Audaz, Soberano and Volador did triple dives to the outside. There was a five-person Superplex followed right up by a Springboard Frogsplash by Volador. Caristico was unmasked while doing a Sunset Flip, and it seemed like maybe one side of the venue got to see his face for a good second. Caristico put in his submission on Volador Jr. to win. This match had the crowd absolutely amped up. I thought this was one of those fun matches where nobody seemed to ever relax.

El Terrible vs. Satoshi Kojima

Before the main event, we saw a singles match between El Terrible and Satoshi Kojima. I liked a spot in this match where both guys exhausted each other from trading chops. Kojima landed a Superplex for a two count. After clotheslining Terrible to the outside, Kojima did a Crossbody to the outside. After a Frogsplash, Terrible tried for a move but Kojima fought out of it. Kojima hit a Brainbuster for a two count. He took off an elbow pad and went for a Lariat but was met with a strike by Terrible. Terrible did nasty looking slaps in a corner and then did a Styles Clash for the win. This was a good match and a good change of pace with so many lightning fast tag matches on this tour. After the match, the Los Ingobernables de Japon trio from earlier came out to celebrate with Terrible.

Gran Guerrero & Ultimo Guerrero vs. Dragon Lee & Mistico

The main event was Gran Guerrero and Ultimo Guerrero facing Dragon Lee and Mistico. Mistico duped everyone during the match by taking off his mask to reveal a second, identical mask. Mistico also did a wild spot where he ran off of the first elevated row of Korakuen and did a Huricanrana. Lee and Mistico did Tope Con Hiro’s at the same time. In another great double team move, both of the Guerreros did double baseball slides to Lee and Mistico, who were on the apron. Ultimo did a jump off the top rope to the outside after Gran Guerrero went over all three ropes. Ultimo Guerrero did a face-first Superplex off the second rope for a close two count. The crowd was red hot at this point. Lee tried for a Huricanrana off the top but was reversed into a Powerbomb by Ultimo. Sitting at the top rope, Lee and Ultimo traded blows. Lee hit his Draping Double Stomp but Gran Guerrero came in to break the count. Lee hit a Tope Suicida to Ultimo Guerrero, and Mistico came in. Mistico was hit with a Powerbomb and kicked out at the pinfall afterwards. Mistico hit a top rope Huricanrana for a close count. Mistico put on the arm submission move to win the match. This was a truly great match, with a real main event feel. Great way to wrap up what was one of the better Fantastica Mania shows on this tour.

NJPW Fantastica Mania 2019 Tour Preview

Coming off New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest annual show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom, is the Fantastica Mania tour. The tour occupies most of NJPW’s January schedule and follows the theme of NJPW collaborating with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, also known as CMLL. The Mexican Lucha promotion sends over some of their wrestlers for crossover matches with New Japan.

When it started back in 2011, the tour only ran two shows. Now this year it will run eight shows, making it only the second time they have done this. Five of the shows are shown on New Japan World, with the final two offering English commentary. Let’s look at the tour date by date.

Night 1 – 1/11/19 – Osaka, Osaka Prefectural Gym #2 (Edion Arena Osaka)

The first night of the tour is in Osaka, with the main event being an eight-man tag match. SHO and YOH from RPG3K will go under the temporary names of Fujin and Raijin when they team up with Toa Henare and Satoshi Kojima to face Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito and El Terrible. Before that, the soon to depart KUSHIDA tags with Soberano Jr. and Mistico to face Barbaro Cavernario, Namahage A.K.A El Desperado and Caristico. Also on the show is the debut of Atlantis Jr., as he tags with Atlantis to face Sanson and Okumura. The announcement of his debut was broken in late October and early November in Mexican media. Jushin Thunder Liger also competes on this show after not having any involvement in Wrestle Kingdom or New Year Dash.

Untelevised Nights

There are three shows in-between the first and second televised events. The first two of those share the same main event as night one. After the tour goes through Ehime and Kyoto they go to Gifu for the final house show. On that show RPG3k face the same main event opponents, but they team up with Volador Jr. and Mistico.

Night 5 – 1/16/19 – Chiba, Makuhari Messe

Cameras are back on the talent on Wednesday in Chiba. This show kicks off a tournament that will take place over the course of the tournament. The “CMLL Family Tag Tournament” will hold it’s semi-final matches on this show. The first match is the newly debuted Atlantis Jr. and Atlantis versus Cuatrero and Sanson. The main event of the evening will be Dragon Lee and Mistico versus Flyer and Volador Jr.

Night 6 – 1/18/19 – Tokyo, Korakuen Hall

From night 6 until the end, the rest of the shows are held at Korakuen Hall. So far only three matches have been announced for this show. The two winning teams from the first round of the Family tournament will face off in the finals. In a special singles match, Soberano Jr. and Barbaro Cavernario will fight. In a memorial match for Black Cat, the same eight-man match from night one will be done.

Night 7 – 1/20/19 – Tokyo, Korakuen Hall

On night seven Satoshi Kojima will get his first singles match since September, as he faces El Terrible. The winners of the family tag team tournament will get one last challenge as they get to face Gran Guerrero and Ultimo Guerrero, the winners of the brothers tag tournament.

Night 8 – 1/21/19 – Tokyo, Korakuen Hall

The final night of the tour is the only one to include a championship match. The Mexican National Trios Championship will be defended by Forestero, Cuatrero and Sanso. The trio challenging them will be Angel de oro, Titan and Atlantis. To promote the Japanese movie “My Dad Is A Heel Wrestler,” wrestlers Kazuchika Okada and Togi Makabe will operate under different names for one match. Okada will be known as Dragon George, and Makabe will be SweetGorilla Maruyama. They will face Ginbae Mask and Gokiburi Mask.

At the end of the month New Japan will split into two tours at the same time. The first is will be their “Road to The New Beginning” tour in Japan, with the other one being “The New Beginning USA,” which goes through California, North Carolina and Tennessee.

NJPW New Year Dash 2019 Results and Review

After such a big show yesterday at the Tokyo Dome, New Japan goes to the more intimate environment of Korakuen Hall for New Year Dash, the promotion’s RAW after Wrestlemania. We aren’t looking for a match of the year, but some stories are set to be told. I’m no Korakuen expert, but the venue looks extra packed since there is no projector on the wall. I could be wrong though. I’ve heard how much of a hot ticket this show is, which only makes sense since you can only put so many of those 30 something thousand from the Tokyo Dome into this small building.

Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr. (Great Bash Heel) & Takashi Iizuka vs. Rocky Romero, SHO & YOH (RPG3K)

The first fight of the evening was RPG3K versus Suzuki-gun members. Right off the bat, the heels took RPG3K to outside the ring. Rocky started off against Archer in the ring. He got him outside the ring but when going for a dive was caught and thrown down. When Archer tagged in Iizuka he took off his mask, which made him go around and bit everyone. Of course, the ref had no real authority over this. Later on, Rocky was getting pummeled by Smith Jr., until he made a hot tag after doing the BUSHI kick. Both SHO and YOH came in to fight Smith Jr. The three members of Suzuki-gun got rid of SHO and then singled out YOH. YOH was Powerslammed off the second rope, but SHO broke it up. YOH escaped a Killer Bomb with the help of SHO once again. Smith Jr. was given triple stereo knees and then reversed a move into a Double Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Iizuka was tagged in once again, biting everyone. While trying to bite SHO he reversed it into a roll-up to win the match. They ran to the back to avoid possible death from their opponents. Smith Jr. beat up a ringside member, Powerslamming him onto the floor. The commentary team told us about how in their first meeting they also won via fluke, so this is a good way to continue the trend.

Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter & Chase Owens vs. Toa Henare & Tomoaki Honma

It was a surprise to me that we were getting a two on two match here. Although I guess it is three guys who are pretty fresh since they weren’t fighting last night. Early on Honma tried for a Kokeshi but Owens rolled out of the ring. When Henare and Takahashi were in, Henare was the most dominant wrestler. Honma got the hot tag late in the bout against Takahashi. He tried for a Kokeshi after a combo, but Yujiro dodged it. Takahashi hit a Fisherman Buster for a close count. On the second attempt, he finally landed the Kokeshi. Owens and Henare were tagged in next. Henare hit a Shoulder Tackle and then lifted Owens for a Samoan Drop, not before hitting Yujiro with him. Owens gave Small Package Piledriver for the win after giving him a mini-Superkick, countering a roll-up. Not a bad match, with some really good wrestling from Owens at the end.

Chuckie T & Berreta (Best Friends) vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson (FinJuice)

This match was Juice’s first match after winning the US Heavyweight Championship. He seemed eccentric in his entrance. Early on in the match Berreta went into the stands and hugged his mother. Heading back to the ring the self-proclaimed “Best Friends” had some pushing and shoving before Berreta got back in the ring. Both members of FinJuice did a Crossbody to the outside. Finlay got hung on the guardrail at ringside, letting Berreta do a double stomp off the apron. When it was Juice and Berreta in the ring, Juice escaped a Dude-Buster but got hit with a kick to the head. He couldn’t connect with the Pulp Friction and got hit with a Shotgun Knee for all his troubles. Finlay got the tag against Berreta. Finlay hit a backbreaker for a close count. Chuckie T came in with a chair against Finlay to throw away the match. The storyline that Kevin Kelly was pushing was that Chuckie T has lost his mind. Juice came in to attack Chuckie T. Once Juice got hit with a chair as well, Berreta was shouting at Chuck, trying to figure out what happened. As they were leaving Chuck went back in and did a Piledriver to Finlay on a chair.

KUSHIDA, Jeff Cobb & Yuji Nagata vs. Will Ospreay, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii

This next match is Ospreay’s first one after becoming the new NEVER Openweight Champion. There was a good spot late in this match where Nagata and Ishii were trading blows. Those two battled it out in the ring where everyone else stayed at ringside. When Cobb got tagged in he had a great combo of moves with Goto. They both clotheslined each other to set up for another hot tag. KUSHIDA and Ospreay came in next. KUSHIDA landed a dropkick after some counters and took out both of Ospreay’s teammates. Will hit a Springboard Forearm. He tried for the Os-Cutter, but Cobb came in to catch him and take him down. KUSHIDA got suplexed onto Will by Cobb for a two count. That spot was very cool. After numerous reversals, KUSHIDA gave Ospreay a DDT. A Back To The Future was reversed by Ospreay, and he did a flippy move off of Ishii’s back. Ospreay gave KUSHIDA a Storm Breaker to end the match. This match was some real fun. Just wild stuff being done by KUSHIDA and Will, with the help of everyone else. Nagata and Ishii slapped each other after the belt, making others pull them apart. A similar thing happened with Goto and Cobb.

Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (Geurillas of Destiny) Taichi Ishimori w/ Jado (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championship Match)

The only title match on this card was Taguchi Japan challenging three Bullet Club members for their 6-man belts. They won the opportunity on the pre-show of Wrestle Kingdom last night. Just like last night, Yano got distracted because he would wait for Taguchi to call a play. Yano untied a corner pad while in there with Tama Tonga. GoD claims that they are no longer cheats. Tonga proved this by putting Yano into a normal corner instead of the corner with the exposed buckles. When Taguchi was tagged in he tried for a Three Amigos, getting two of the three suplexes. Jado hit Taguchi with a kendo stick when he went on the ropes. I guess Jado doesn’t share the same philosophy as GoD. As the ref was counting a pin on Tonga Loa, Ishimori dragged the ref out. Jado came into the ring to try to hit Makabe with a kendo stick, but Yano came behind and gave him a low blow. Makabe fought off both GoD members, bringing it back to just him and Tanga Loa. He slammed Loa and then went to the top rope, but Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens came out. Takahashi pushed him off the ropes, and Owens gave him a Small Package Piledriver. Loa hit his finishing move to let the team retain. I love this gimmick. That the Guerillas of Destiny don’t cheat, but their buddies do. All of the guys too sweeted after the match, so I guess all is good with them. Though really, it shows that Bullet Club is really bad at cheating. Jado couldn’t give them an advantage, so two more were needed.

El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Taka Michinoku & Minoru Suzuki vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito

In a 10-man match, Suzuki-gun faced Los Ingobernables de Japon. There was lots of gold carried into the ring, as all LOS members have belts. As Naito was still getting ready for the match, Taichi clubbed him in the head with a chair. The camera shot was perfect so that you didn’t see this coming. Right off the bat, this match turned into chaos. Taichi and Naito started the match. Naito was really selling the chair shot. Naito was thrown into a press table, and Suzuki took SANADA into the hallway of Korakuen. Naito somehow got the hot tag later against Taichi, despite being beaten to a pulp. Taichi hit Naito with his IC title while the ref was distracted, and then hit his finishing move to win the match. It looks like that will be the next program for Naito. After the match, Taichi called out Naito and threw his belt. I liked this segment. It’s obvious that Taichi won’t actually become champ, but it’s a fun angle to do in the meantime.

Gedo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi

In the main event, we got the return of YOSHI-HASHI. Along with that, we also saw the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Early on Gedo took a chair to Yoshi. He was in no way given a slow return. Okada was given a hot tag and had a face-off with Gedo. Okada fought off Bad Luck Fale before tagging in Tanahashi against Jay White. White gave Tanahashi a Snap Side-Suplex but got hit with a Swingblade after talking to the crowd. YOSHI-HASHI got the tag against White, hitting a Huricanrana. Moments later White hit a Rock Bottom and then called for the Blade Runner. Okada came in to stop it. White tried again for a Blade Runner but it got reversed into a Twist & Shout. YOSHI-HASHI came back in to do a clothesline and a suplex for a two count. He picked up White again and tried for a move but White escaped by hurting the ref. YOSHI-HASHI did a Superkick but got his move reversed into a German Suplex. White hit the Blade Runner to win the match. Welcome back, YOSHI-HASHI. After the match, White called out Tanahashi. This made him come back to the ring. He got jumped but the Bullet Club once he was in the ring. Okada came in to try to save Tanahashi but got hit with a Grenade from Bad Luck Fale. White did his Blade Runner move to Tanahashi. As the show was ending he hoisted the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Pretty good promo from White.

In general, this show was short and sweet. No huge surprises on the show, but I left satisfied. It’s obvious based off who was left off this show that a lot of people are either gone or still in question. We got two solid angles set up from this show, with other smaller ones also being showcased. New Japan returns on the 11th for the first televised event of the NJPW/CMLL Fantasticamania tour.