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.

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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.

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NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka 2019 Results and Review

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.

Road to The New Beginning Day 2 (With Day 1 Recap)

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 1 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 2 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 8 Recap

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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NJPW Road to New Beginning Day 8 Results and Review

After a few days off of NJPW being televised, the promotion came back on Saturday with a Road to The New Beginning show from Osaka. Let’s look at the show.

Road to The New Beginning Day 2 (With Day 1 Recap)

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 1 Recap

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Yota Tsuji & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

This show’s start was different from the rest because it did not have a video package. Instead, we just went right into the show. The first match included three Young Lions and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Don Callius is back on English commentary after being absent for most of the month of January. Late in this match Tenzan gave Tsuji a hot tag onto Umino. He gave him a back bodydrop for a two count. He landed a great dropkick and then a Boston Crab which Yoshida broke up. Yoshida made a comeback, landing a missile dropkick for a two count. He put in a Boston Crab which Tenzan ended. Yoshida did a kick, and then Umina landed a Fisherman Suplex which bridged into a pinfall to end the match. Nice move, but doesn’t beat the Belly-to-Belly that Narita has been landing lately. I’m a real big fan of these Young Lions, to be honest.

Ren Narita vs. YOSHI-HASHI

In a singles match, YOSHI-HASHI battled Ren Narita. Narita jumped YOSHI, which surprised me. These two battled for a very long time. Narita escaped a Boston Crab by going to the ropes. After Narita tried two roll-up attempts, YOSHI landed an amazing kick. He followed it up with a neckbreaker for a two count. YOSHI-HASHI put on some sort of Masterlock submission move that made Narita tap out. Felt a little long of a match but not bad.

Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens vs. Toa Henare & Tomoaki Honma

The next match was a tag team bout between Bullet Club and the team of Henare and Honma. Honma and Owens started the match. Early on Owens avoided a Kokeshi. Later on another one was missed on Takahashi after a Running Bulldog. Bullet Club used their cheating tactics numerous times during this match. Tama Tonga wasn’t there to tell them otherwise. Henare got a hot tag on Owens. He landed a Shoulder Tackle off the ropes. He gave Takahashi a Samoan Drop when he came in to save Owens. Honma landed a Kokeshi and Henare did a chop on Owens but he kicked out. Henare gave his takedown type of move, but Takahashi broke up the pin. Owens tried for a Small Package Piledriver but Henare got out. He landed it a few minutes later, putting away Henare for good.

El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki vs. BUSHI, SANADA & EVIL

In the fourth match, Suzuki-gun faced Los Ingobernables de Japon. As expected, people started brawling all around the venue eventually. EVIL got barricades and chairs stacked on him by Suzuki. BUSHI did a dive to the outside onto Desperado during this match. EVIL and SANADA did a Magic Killer onto Kanemaru to end the match. Magic Killer is such a great finishing move.

TAKA Michinoku & Taichi vs. Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito

After Tetsuya Naito and Taichi had their close battle earlier this week for the IC title, they met once again in a tag match that also included TAKA and Shingo. Early in the match Taichi did the laying down pose that Naito usually does. Takagi gave Michinoku the “Last of the Dragon” to end the match. I wasn’t expecting that Takagi would get the win for his team.

Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White w/ Jado & Gedo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, Togi Makabe, Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi (Elimination Tag Team Match)

The main event was a ten man elimination tag team match. The rules are that you can take someone out is via pinfall, submission or over the top rope elimination. Jay White was in Hiroshi Tanahashi’s face before the match started. They both started the bout. They are the obvious focus in this match as their match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship was on the next show. Surprisingly, no team jumped the other before the bell. Jado put his kendo stick to use during this match, hitting Taguchi in the head with it when he got out of a roll-up pin. When Makabe was on a roll against Tanga Loa, he was shoved off the top rope by Fale. During this whole match, Tama Tonga was doing his “good guy” gimmick. Makabe was the first elimination by being thrown over the top rope by Loa. Makabe was distracted by Jado who was at ringside. Yano was the next in for his team. He was hit with a double team move, but the pin attempt was broken up. Yano gave Loa a roll-up while he was distracted to make it four on four. Tama Tonga was handed a kendo stick and had the option to cheat. He eventually unleashed after weeks of being the good guy. He was disqualified after hitting everyone. Odd that the good guy gimmick went away on a Road To show. He turned so bad that Loa was actually holding him back at one point.

The match became three on three after Jay White gave Yano a Blade Runner for a pinfall. Okada took Fale out of the match via over the top rope elimination but took himself out at the same time. This left it down to the final four wrestlers, who all were involved in title matches on the next show. Ishimori and Taguchi fought next. Taguchi gave Taiji a hip attack move on the apron, eliminating both of them. So they basically did the same spot that was done in the two eliminations before. Tanahashi and White were the final two left. While White fought with the referee over a chair, Gedo tried putting Tanahashi over the top rope. He avoided elimination. When turning around he got out of a Blade Runner but was given a Rock Bottom. The match ended when Tanahashi gave White a Swingblade on the apron to eliminate him. This ending felt sort of anticlimactic, but not horrible. After the match Jay White attacked Tanahashi. White cut a promo afterwards, saying how he will be the new champion. He got some boos from the crowd.

NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo 2019 Day 2 Results and Review

After a packed day one of The New Beginning In Sapporo, NJPW brought an even bigger card for day two. Along with three title matches, including Naito versus Taichi, this card had five other matches. Let’s look at the second night.

Road to The New Beginning Day 2 (With Day 1 Recap)

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 1 Recap

Yota Tsuji vs. Toa Henare

The first match was a Young Lion versus Toa Henare match. Yota Tsuji nearly fell over when running down the ramp in this venue. To be fair, the ramp has tons of level changes. Henare’s first big move in the match was a Samoan Drop, with a kickout at two afterwards. Tsuji started to get on a roll, landing a dropkick and then a Boston Crab. Henare escaped, making it to the ropes. Henare reversed a move from Tsuji, landing a takedown. They traded slaps, ending with Henare giving Tsuji a headbutt. Henare did a clothesline off the ropes for a close kickout. Henare finally put away Tsuji with a Rock Bottom. Not a bad match. I wonder when Henare will finally escape these Young Lion matches.

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Tiger Mask & Manabu Nakanishi

The next match was a classic Young Lions versus veterans bout. Nakanishi gave Shota a Standing Splash for a two count. Umino got a big pop from the crowd when he landed a slam on Nakanishi. As everyone else was outside the ring, Tiger Mask had a leg move on Yoshida. Luckily he reached the ropes. Mask landed a Tiger Driver, but Umino broke up the count. Tiger Mask did a Superplex onto Yoshida to end the match.

TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka vs. Ren Narita & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Before the next match, Iizuka and TAKA made their chaotic walk to the ring from through the crowd. They faced Ren Narita and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. The match started outside the ring, with Iizuka putting chairs on Tenzan. Narita and TAKA battled in the ring until Tenzan got the hot tag after Narita landed a Slam. Tenzan was on a roll until his brainbuster was reversed. Iizuka tried taking out his iron glove but Narita stopped it from happening. Tenzan went to the top, but got kicked off by TAKA. Iizuka had the iron glove slid to him and landed it, making the ref end the match via DQ. Iizuka got a mic after the match and strangled Tenzan with it. The crowd popped for him grabbing the mic because they thought he would speak. Tenzan passed out from the microphone. The crowd applauded afterwards, I assume because Iizuka will retire on the 21st.

Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga & Bad Luck Fale w/ Jado

The next match worked as a preview for Taguchi versus Ishimori, which will happen later down the line. Why does the NEVER Openweight Title look so comically small? We’ll never know the answer. Taguchi and Ishimori got separate entrances from their teams. Tonga kept doing his comedy gimmick of being the good guy. This is a good gimmick but I feel there’s no progression with it, just the same thing every match. Honma landed his Kokeshi on Takahashi, and then gave Makabe a hot tag. He did his punches and laugh in the corner on Yujiro. Later on, Taguchi put Taiji in an Ankle Lock that got broken up. He put it back in once everyone cleared out. The ref got taken down, letting Jado hit Taguchi in the head with a kendo stick. Yano got tagged in and undid a corner pad. Of course he was the one who ended up going into it. Tonga protested this. Against his will, Tonga was thrown into Yano while being the illegal man. Jado got on the apron, distracting the ref. Tonga stopped a kendo stick spot, which leg Yano hit a low blow and a roll-up to win the match.

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

This match was an extended version of last night’s main event, with Chase Owens and YOSHI-HASHI being added to the match. Okada had a good exchange with Fale, landing a slam. He then tried for a Tombstone Piledriver, but couldn’t land it. He did land a Back Body Drop though. He called for a Rainmaker but didn’t get it, getting hit with a Samoan Drop. HASHI got a close count on White after a Neckbreaker. White also got a kickout with a Death Valley Driver. Okada stopped a Blade Runner attempt. HASHI landed a clothesline on White and then a Fisherman Buster for a very close pinfall attempt. The crowd was unglued for this. He went to the top for a move but White put his knees up. White put in the reverse Figure Four to win the match. He calls it the TTO (Tanahashi Tap Out). HASHI tapped out to end the match. Everyone brawled after the match. Gedo got slapped by Tanahashi. White kicked Tanahashi’s injured knee once and then landed a Blade Runner. White walked out with Tanahashi’s belt. This Jay White build has been truly amazing.

El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Shingo Takagi & BUSHI (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match)

The first of three championship matches on this card was for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles. Kanemaru and BUSHI were defending their belts. They came out very dressed up for this bout. Togi Makabe joined the Japanese commentary team. The match had some pretty good moves throughout. They kept a pretty quick pace. BUSHI and Desperado traded blows at one point, with BUSHI getting the upper hand then then tagging in Kanemaru. Kanemaru and Takagi fought each other. Kanemaru landed a DDT after pushing the ref out of the way. Kanemaru landed a Moonsault for a two. He went to the second rope and tried for a Deep Impact, but it got reversed into a Belly-to-Belly German Suplex. Takagi landed another after. He landed an impressive Death Valley Driver, catching Kanemaru mid-move. He then tried for Last of the Dragon, but it got reversed into a Sunset Flip. Takagi landed a clothesline for a count but then Desperado pulled the ref out. Desperado tried to use a chair but instead was hit with it. Kanemaru tried for a Satori Surprise but was blocked by the chair. BUSHI then gave Kanemaru his mist. BUSHi did a Suicida to Desperado, letting Takagi do a Pumping Bomber which Kanemaru kicked out of. BUSHI and Takagi landed the double team move “Rebellion” to win the match and retain. Great work in this contest by all of them. This reign can really help Takagi as he has only been with the company for a short amount of time. I hope they get a few more months out of this reign at least. Desperado was unmasked after the match by BUSHI, with his mask being thrown into the crowd.

Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. SANADA & EVIL (IWGP Tag Team Championship Match)

The second Suzuki-gun versus Los Ingobernables match was ZSJ and Suzuki challenging SANADA and EVIL for their tag belts. As EVIL was getting his name announced, they were attacked. Suzuki attacked EVIL with a barricade and chairs in the first few rows of the crowd. SANADA made it in at the 19 count. ZSJ had SANADA in the ring in a submission move that he escaped, but he had no help since Suzuki was targeting EVIL at ringside. Suzuki and ZSJ tried for dual piledrivers but both got reversed into big moves from LIJ. The duo hit a Magic Killer on Suzuki, but ZSJ broke up the pin. SANADA tried for a Skull End but Suzuki got out of it. Suzuki got hit with another Magic Killer, and then SANADA did a Moonsault off the top to win the match. Wow, it looks like no belts are moving on this show. This was a good match, with a little less exciting of a finish compared to the match before. Not going to lie, I was starting to get a little burnt out at this point. We were approaching the three hour mark, and we were watching the second of three long matches.

Taichi w/ Miho Abe vs. Tetsuya Naito (IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match)

The main event of the evening was Taichi versus Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP IC title. As Naito was making his walk down the ramp, Takashi Iizuka came and hit him with a ladder. Taichi acted innocent as if he didn’t expect that this would happen. On the ramp Taichi landed Black Mephisto on the ramp. Naito was down on the ramp for a long time, getting checked out by doctors and Young Lions. Taichi got on the mic and got some boos. They carried Naito through the corner aisle, and disappeared. Taichi went up to the Japanese commentary team, where Makabe got up and considered fighting him. There was a few awkward few minutes where Taichi walked around doing bits. I thought maybe he was improvising. After a while the announcer told the crowd that the doctor was checking on Naito. Referees and NJPW employees came out and delegated. Eventually we saw a limping Naito be helped out by BUSHI. The match became official, and it started.

Five minutes into the match, Taichi gave Naito a great Clothesline on the apron that made him go upside down. Taichi took out a table and set it up at ringside. Taichi tried for a move onto it but Naito stopped it. Naito did a great piledriver through the table. Taichi got in the ring at the 18 count. Naito went to the top rope to land a Huricanrana that got a two count. Taichi did a side-suplex and then did the tear off of his long pants. He landed a Clothesline after an exchange. Naito landed a Gloria for the two count. Naito tried for the Destino, but then Iizuka came back. He attacked BUSHI, and then got on the apron. Naito threw him into a guardrail at ringside. Taichi picked up the IC title in the ring and tried to hit Naito with it but couldn’t. Naito put down the title and picked up Taichi’s microphone stand. He hit him with the microphone. Naito tried using the mic for the third time but was hit with a chair from Taichi. Naito was hit so hard with a chairshot to the head that it scared me. I didn’t catch what happened to the ref that made him absent this whole time. Naito kicked out once again after Taichi hit a side suplex.

Taichi attempted another Black Mephisto but it got reversed into a move. Naito tried for a Destino but it got stopped. Taichi pushed the ref and then kicked Naito in the groin. He tried for a roll-up but wasn’t successful. This was an spectacular combo. Taichi did a Superkick for a very late kick out. Taichi tried for a Powerbomb but Naito slipped out. He shoved the ref, kicked Taichi in the groin, then did a Destino that got kicked out of. Yes, I said that right. A Destino was kicked out of. Another Destino got reversed, but then Naito did a Reverse Huricanrana. Naito did a Brainbuster for a two count. For the last time, Naito landed a Destino to end the match.

This was a truly great main event. You know, I didn’t know how I’d feel about this match. I thought the gap between Naito and Taichi wouldn’t make this match believable. And while there was that gap, the attack at the start made it all make sense. The attack made it so that Taichi actually had a chance. Taichi came out of this match looking better than he did before, in my opinion. This was a great main event, and a not bad show overall. NJPW returns on the 9th for their next Road to show.

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NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo 2019 Day 1 Results and Review

After the Road to New Beginning shows have wrapped up, we got two days at the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center in Saporro for The New Beginning in Sapporo. Let’s look at day one.

Road to The New Beginning Day 2 (With Day 1 Recap)

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita

We had a singles Young Lion match to start off the show. Late into the match, Uemura put Narita in a Boston Crab which he escaped eventually. Both these guys traded blows, and then Narita tried for the Belly-to-Belly German that got him a win recently. He got stopped, and then Uemura landed one of his own for a two count. Narita escaped another Boston Crab. Uemura landed a few strikes and then went off the ropes but got caught with the Belly-to-Belly German Suplex, which bridged into a pinfall to end the match. That move is beautiful.

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Toa Henare & Manabu Nakanishi

The final match involving Young Lions was Umino and Yoshida facing Henare and Nakanishi. Umino had Henare in an Armbar at one point which was broken up by Nakanishi. Henare landed a Samoan Drop on Umino for a two count. He also landed a Spear but Umino kicked out. He landed a Rock Bottom to finally put him away.

TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka vs. Tiger Mask & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Takashi Iizuka made his way through the crowd with TAKA before this match. This is one of Iizuka’s last matches as he has his retirement match on the 21st. The fight went deep into the crowd here, with Iizuka taking a chair to Tenzan. They did a 19 count spot with Tenzan after. The match ended via DQ after Iizuka used a chair in the ring. Tenzan was hit with Iizuka’s iron glove. Nothing much to say about this match quite honestly. It was a thing.

YOSHI-HASHI, Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga & Taiji Ishimori w/ Jado

After winning their 6-man belts on the last show, Taguchi, Yano and Makabe teamed with Honma and YOSHI-HASHI to face Owens and Takahashi, and the former champions, Loa, Tonga and Ishimori. Early on in the match Jado hit Honma with a kendo stick when he tried for the Kokeshi. Tonga shouted at Jado since he doesn’t like cheating. Takahashi tried putting his boot in the corner for a ring, letting Owens shove Honma’s head into it, but Tonga stopped it twice. His teammate shoved him off the apron and talked to him. He was then tagged in and had to shove Honma onto boots, but did it so slow that Honma reversed it. Taguchi gave Jado a hip attack and then did a Crossbody to the outside onto Taiji. Yano gave Takahashi a low blow and roll-up to end the match. Not a bad match. If they’re trying to emphasize how Tonga is dragging the team down, maybe that should be more a part of the finish.

El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi w/ Miho Abe vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito

Tonight was the final preview match for Tetsuya Naito versus Taichi for the Intercontinental Championship match, which is on tomorrow’s show. Since this is a big show, Miho Abe was in Taichi’s corner. Taichi bent the ropes open for Naito and did not jump him before the bell. Wow. When the match started, others went outside the ring to fight while Naito and Taichi stared each other down. Later on when the fight went into the crowed, Taichi was fighting with Naito. Taichi finished the match against BUSHI, landing a Back Body Drop while Naito was held to watch in the ring. A good finish to promote the match tomorrow, while not making either guy look weak.

Minoru Suzuki vs. SANADA

The next match was a singles match between Minoru Suzuki and SANADA. YOSHI-HASHI joined the Japanese commentary booth. After a couple minutes of in-ring action, Suzuki brought the fight to outside the ring. He used a chair near the commentators, and then used a chair as a weapon, detaching it from a row. He threw a barricade on SANADA, and then put a few more chairs on him. Suzuki got a small cut on his cheek. SANADA got back in the ring around the 17 count. SANADA put in a Skull End at one point but SANADA let go of it. He tried for a Moonsault but Suzuki put his knees up. Suzuki tried for a Gotch Style Piledriver but SANADA reversed it into a Back Body Drop. SANADA did a roll-up which got reversed into a Rear Naked Choke which he got out of. After a combo of moves, Suzuki landed a Gotch Style Piledriver to end the match. I had no complains about this matchup.

Zack Sabre Jr. w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. EVIL

The second singles match was ZSJ versus EVIL. This match was a classic ZSJ match where it didn’t rely on big bumps to entertain. EVIL brought ZSJ to the rampway at one point and tried for a much but instead Zack put in a move. EVIL got out of the move by landing a Fisherman Buster. Back in the ring, EVIL landed Darkness Falls for it to be kicked out at like, one. EVIL did a good move where he made the ref hold ZSJ’s leg for a kick. EVIL landed a Superplex and then landed a clothesline off the ropes for a two count. EVIL then tried for the Everything is EVIL, but ZSJ reversed it into a roll-up. He was unsuccessful. Later on, another Everything Is EVIL got reversed, and then EVIL reversed ZSJ again to land an Everything Is EVIL and win the match. I like how ZSJ always goes at this slow but epic pace in singles bouts. I enjoyed this.

Bad Luck Fale & Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi

In a big main event, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi teamed up to face Bad Luck Fale and Jay White. White told the commentary table that they were a dream team since they were “the first Kiwi team to main event in Sapporo.” The commentary kept putting over White as the favourite for when he faces Tanahashi. Fale felt nearly invisible during this whole match. If there was an alternate dimension where a two on one match would still seem even, Fale wouldn’t have been booked for this. White fought with Tanahashi outside the ring at one point, putting a barricade and a Young Lion on him. Okada got a hot tag on Fale, doing a DDT and then a kip up. He landed a slam, and then went to the top for a move. Fale dodged the top rope move and then landed a Samoan Drop. Fale landed a standing Frogsplash for a two count. Tanahashi and White fought outside the ring. Fale tried for a Grenade but Okada got out. Okada tried to lift Fale, and then Fale tried for a Bad Luck Fall. Neither worked. Tanahashi got tagged in with White. They faced off and then traded blows. Tanahashi hit a Swingblade for a two count. Tanahashi went off the ropes but got his leg held by Gedo. This let White do a German Suplex into a pin, with Tanahashi kicking out. The crowd was chanting Tanahashi’s name at this point. Tanahashi gave Fale a Swingblade, and then Okada gave White a Dropkick. Both guys popped off at the same time.

Okada landed a Tombstone Piledriver, and then Tanahashi did a Styles Clash, and then Okada did an Elbow Drop, and then Tanahashi went to the top for a High Fly Flow but was stopped as Fale came in while Gedo was on the apron. Fale gave Okada a Grenade, and one for Tanahashi. White did a Death Valley Driver but Tanahashi kicked out. White tried for his finisher but Tanahashi turned it into a Twist and Shout. He also gave Fale one. Gedo got on the apron, giving White the chance to use a chair. He couldn’t use it as he was given a Swingblade. Tanahashi did a German Suplex on Fale which was impressive. Gedo got in the ring and swung at Tanahashi but didn’t succeed at attacking. When the ref was distracted, White used a chair to attack Tanahashi’s already injured leg. He did many more moves on the leg. Tanahashi was in an Inverted Figure Four, while Okada was held off by Okada, including a Bad Luck Fall being landed. Tanahashi eventually tapped out.

What a great match this was. This match did a great job at putting over Jay White. I love how they’ve been building him this whole tour. It’s truly been well done. I loved how the near perfect finishing sequence by Tanahashi and Okada was disrupted. I’m more than happy with this main event. After the match, White cut a good promo after the match while wearing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

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NJPW Road to The New Beginning Day 4 2019 Results and Review

The third and final taped night of The New Beginning nights moved locations and included a title match. Let’s get into night four.

Day 2 Recap (With Day 1 Results)

Day 3 Recap

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Yota Tsuji & Toa Henare

The first match was a Young Lion contest set for fifteen minutes. Umino and Henare got hot tags early in this match. Tsuji gave Umino a Boston Crab but Yoshida broke it up. Shota put Tsuji in a Boston Crab of his own, but Tsuji made it to the ropes. He then landed a Missile Dropkick off the top rope, and then a Fisherman Suplex for the win.

Tiger Mask & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Ren Narita & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

The next match was three veterans and a Young Lion in a tag match. Narita jumped his opponents before the bell. At one point Narita had a Boston Crab in and was getting hit with chops, yet enduring and keeping the hold. Tiger Mask gave Narita a leg lock that Tenzan got him out of. After a kick to the head from Tiger Mask, Nakanishi landed a chop off the top rope, and Tiger landed a Tiger Driver to end the match.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Shingo Takagi

We had the third singles match of the tour next. Yoshinobu Kanemaru faced Shingo Takagi. Or, as I like to call it, the battle of the two guys in their factions with normal names that aren’t the faction’s leader. Very quickly in the contest, the fight went outside the ring. Takagi was given a reverse DDT on the ramp. He was also given a kick to the head on the apron. Takagi tried for a Satori Surprise but Takagi dodged and then hit a Samoan Drop. He landed a clothesline after. As Tagaki was looking for another move, the match ended with a DQ after El Desperado did a run-in. BUSHI came in to even the odds.

El Desperado vs. BUSHI

The next scheduled match was BUSHI versus Desperado, so we went right into the next match. Kanemaru got involved when the referee wasn’t looking, pushing BUSHI off the apron and slamming him on the floor. Desperado took BUSHI and threw him into barricades and rows of chairs. BUSHI just barely made the count, getting in at 19. BUSHI did a Tope Suicida on both Desperado and Kanemaru with the help of Takagi. The match also ended in a DQ after BUSHI was unmasked. In a brawl afterwards, El Desperado was unmasked as well.  I didn’t like these two matches, they felt sort of lame.

Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White w/ Gedo vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Tomoaki Honma & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Our next eight-man tag match was CHAOS versus Bullet Club. Hiroshi Tanahashi was sporting new red hair. White jumped Tanahashi before the bell and hoisted his IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Early in the match Honma failed at landing a Kokeshi. Owens tried a package piledriver on Honma but couldn’t land it. After being isolated for minutes upon minutes, Honma tagged out. Later on, Tanahashi got some shots in on White after he interrupted KUSHIDA’s goodbye match the show before. White landed a Rock Bottom after a combo of reversals. Okada gave Takahashi one of his great dropkicks, and then did a Tombstone Piledriver. Tanahashi gave Takahashi a Styles Clash and then Okada did an Elbow Drop. Tanahashi did a High Fly Flow to end the match. I loved this finishing combo, very well done.

Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito

Before this next match started, EVIL and ZSJ were in each other’s faces. Naito faced off with Taichi since they will face each other soon. There was no chaotic start to this match. Both teams civilly waiting for the bell to ring. The politeness would only last so long as the fight eventually made it’s way into the crowd. Naito was thrown over maybe three or four rows of chairs. SANADA at one point had Suzuki in a hold but he escaped it by holding onto the ref. It was EVIL and ZSJ who ended the match, with ZSJ reversing an Everything is EVIL into a bridged pinfall. Suzuki-gun walked off with all of the titles that LIJ brought in. I thought it was good that ZSJ got the finish to put the focus on the tag match while showcasing the Taichi match a little. The match itself wasn’t anything to write home about, but wasn’t bad either.

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

Togi Makabe’s copyright free music was cranked up extra loud for this main event. So much so that Kevin Kelly’s commentary was just a vibration in the background. The main event of the show was a NEVER 6-Man Openweight Tag Team Match. Taguchi got the hometown pop when starting the match. Just like in the matches before, Tonga was playing up his good guy gimmick. Taguchi landed a move on Taiji which would have been a three count, but Jado pulled the referee out. Chase Owens then came in and tried to give Taguchi a Package Piledriver, but then was given a low blow from Yano. When Taguchi had Taiji in an Ankle Lock, he rolled out, making Taguchi hit the referee. Then Bad Luck Fale came in, with Kazuchika Okada coming in for the save. Jay White made a run-in as well, with Tanahashi making yet another save. This could have been done without Okada and Fale. Taguchi did an O’Connor Roll and was hit with a kendo stick by Jado when Taiji kicked out. Taguchi kicked out of a pin attempt from Ishimori. Taguchi did another Ankle Lock, which got turned into a different hold which made Ishimori tap. We have new 6-man champs.

I don’t like this. I thought this was really going time for Ishimori to be pushed. I thought he could really look like a star. Sure, he can lose the belts, but all of this? Tapping out? Taiji looked completely weak by the end of this. He still has his other belt, but it’s the man who makes the belt, not the belt who makes the man. Taguchi cut a promo to finish the show.

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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.

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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.

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