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 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 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.

NJPW World Tag League 2018 Day 2 Results and Review

Show: NJPW World Tag League Day 2

When: 11/18/18

Where: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

After an explosive first day in Kanagawa, New Japan heads back to the famous Korakuen Hall for day 2 of the World Tag League. Chris Charlton and Don Callis were on commentary alongside the usual Kevin Kelly.

Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay

The first undercard match was Robinson and Finlay versus Young Lions Uemura and Tsuji. Robinson and Finlay are coming off a win from Saturday with Tsuji and Uemura losing to Cobb and Elgin in a non-Tag League match. Uemura got a hot tag on Finlay late in the match after Robinson was taken out by a Back Body Drop from Tsuji. The Young Lion duo did the Two Man Boston Crab, a spot that was done on FinJuice the night before but by a different duo. Robinson head butted both Young Lions in an attempt to get them off of Finlay but they endured. They let go after a Double Dropkick. Finlay finished the match with a Brainbuster.

Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (Guerrillas of Destiny) w/ Jado

Honma, who is still on his comeback tour teamed with Young Lion Ren Narita in the next match. Jado came out with the Guerrillas of Destiny and an airhorn. GoD jumped their opponents early. Early on Honma tried for a Kokeshi onto Tama Tonga, but when going off the ropes Jado hit him with a kendo stick. After Honma was beaten up by Loa he acted unconscious in the ring. Tama Tonga tried to do his own Kokeshi but Honma dodged it. This got a big pop from the crowd. Honma didn’t land his Kokeshi when he tried, but got a DDT then gave Narita a hot tag onto Loa. When Loa was put in a Boston Crab Honma took out Jado, but Tama Tonga broke it up. Tonga got taken out then was given a Kokeshi from Honma. Back with Loa in the ring Narita did a bridging pin after failing to land a suplex. Narita went off the ropes and got hit with a Clothesline for a two count. Loa landed his finisher to end the match. Narita looked great in this match. He really stuck out as the star in the matchup. I thought that maybe he could have gotten more time since Honma is obviously still getting back to 100%. I know it’s in their gimmick, but I wished that Loa had a less profane name for his finisher.

Shota Umino, Ayato Yoshida, Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs. Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi

The entrances came in an odd order for this next match with teams taking turns with their entrances. Umino got a hot tag late in the match onto Henare. He delivered a great looking Missile Dropkick, with the pin after it being broken up by Kojima. After a scramble involving most wrestlers Henare gave Umino a Samoan Drop and a Rock Bottom for the win. I really liked the exchange between Henare and Umino in this match. The rest didn’t really appeal to me.

Yujiro Takahashi, Hangman Page & Kota Ibushi vs. Beretta & Chuckie T (Best Friends) & Hirooki Goto

This next match was a rematch from yesterday in a sense. On Saturday, Beretta and Chuckie T defeated Takahashi and Page in what I considered an upset. Page got a great combo of moves when tagged in against Beretta. Page took out both teammates of Beretta, then took him outside the ring and landed a dive. After both wrestlers were in the ring for a long time Ibushi and Goto both got hot tags. Chuckie T landed a Pop-Up Powerbomb on Ibushi for a two count and tried for the top rope but got a kick instead. Takahashi tagged in and got hit with a Soul Food. Best Friends did Stereo Crossbodies to the outside. After a crazy combo from many wrestlers involved, Page gave Chuckie T a Buckshot Lariat, then Takahashi did a DDT for the win. Looked like a night off for Goto. After the match Goto asks Ibushi if he wants a title shot. Goto says he’s done asking Ibushi if he wasn’t to fight him. This made Ibushi say he wants the fight, making Goto say it’s going to happen. So there’s the next defense for the NEVER Openweight Championship.

Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs. RPG3K (SHO & YOH) & Kazuchika Okada

The final preliminary match was RPG3K and Okada versus a trio of LIJ members. This match was essentially a boiled down version of the main event from night one. Naito and Okada started this match. Not long into the match LIJ started to throw members into the barricades at ringside. SHO hit hard, almost going into the crowd. SHO and Takagi had a great exchange in the ring. When BUSHI got tagged in he hit a Dropkick off the top rope and then his patented Bushirooni. RPG3K did a Double Suplex onto Takagi and then tagged in Okada to work on BUSHI. He exchanged blows with Naito after he broke up his pinfall. BUSHI and Okada took the match home with Okada following up a Dropkick with the Rainmaker for the win. Maybe I’m crazy, but it felt like I hadn’t seen a Rainmaker in a while. I was hoping to see more teamwork between RPG3K, but only really got one spot out of it.

Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) (0-0) vs. Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki (0-0) (World Tag League Match)

After quite the extensive undercard we finally began with the Tag League matches. KES faced Iizuka and their own group’s leader, Minoru Suzuki. Iizuka entered through the crowd without anyone from Suzuki Gun walking him out. When Suzuki-gun faces themselves you can bet that they’ll be starting with a brawl around the venue. After a lengthy fight outside the ring the match finally began. Suzuki’s strong style was tested as many times KES would no-sell his shots. After Suzuki was gotten rid of, KES hit a Killer Bomb on Iizuka for the win. The way I perceived the match is that Iizuka’s dirty tactics didn’t work and because of this actually distracted and detrimented him. After the match Suzuki shook hands with KES.

Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (0-0) vs. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii (0-0) (World Tag League Match)

The next match was Suzuki-gun versus CHAOS. After maybe 8 minutes of the match Yano got a tag to fight Taichi. Yano undid two corner pads. When turning around from undoing the second one, Taichi hit him with the first one. Taichi ran into an exposed corner then got his long pants ripped off by Yano. A roll-up pin only gave Yano a two count. Yano’s corners worked against his team as Ishii ran into one once he got tagged in. After Ishii was thrown in the corner once again, ZSJ put him in a submission move that Ishii escaped. Yano came in and gave both of his opponents a Fireman’s Carry and another move for each. He gave ZSJ an Inverted Atomic drop after running him into a corner, then Ishii hit a German Suplex for a two count. Taichi took care of Yano while ZSJ did a Penalty Kick and then a roll-up for a two count. Yano hit a clothesline for a close count. The crowd was unglued at this point. ZSJ turned a Vertical Drop Brainbuster into a Triangle Choke. While the ref was looking at Ishii, Taichi hit Yano with a mic-stand. Ishii passed out, ending the match. The match was enjoyable but the ref spot was lazy. The ref was looking for a tap from Ishii, but was also shielding his eyes for no reason? They weren’t even trying with the finish. ZSJ raised Yano’s RPW Championship after the match.

SANADA & EVIL (0-0) vs. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (0-0) (World Tag League Match)

The main event of the second night was SANADA and EVIL facing Michael Elgin and Jeff Cobb. Cobb and SANADA started the match. Cobb and Elgin repeated their spot from Night one where they took turns holding someone upside down. Cobb did an impressive Standing Moonsault but got hit by EVIL’s knees on the way down. When Elgin got tagged in at one point he gave both opponents a Spinning Forearm and then dove to the outside where EVIL was. Elgin tried for a German Suplex but SANADA escaped. SANADA went off the ropes but got Superkicked then hit with the German Suplex upon second attempt. While Cobb was being held back by EVIL, SANADA tried to end the match with with a Skulls End, but Cobb eventually stopped it. Later on SANADA let go of a Skulls Ends to let EVIL do a Magic Killer with him. After Elgin and SANADA were in the ring for the longest time Cobb and EVIL got tagged in. Cobb gave EVIL a Tour of The Islands for a pin that was broken up by SANADA. With SANADA now outside of the ring, Elgin gave EVIL a Superplex, and Cobb did a Standing Moonsault for a kickout. I genuinely believed that would be the finish. After Cobb dodged an Everything Is EVIL, EVIL escaped another Tour of The Islands, did another Magic Killer with SANADA. EVIL landed his Everything is EVIL move to finish the match.

I felt that A Tour of The Islands and the Magic Killer were both done one too many times. While this match entertained by I thought Cobb and Elgin both hitting high spots only to get a clean kickout made them look very weak. This ended the show.

Day 3 (Tuesday):

Note: The whole show won’t be shown as only some matches will be uploaded to NJPWWorld afterwards.

  1. Yuya Uemura & Ayato Yoshida vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page
  2. Ren Narita & Shota Umina vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.
  3. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yota Tsuji & Tomoaki Honma
  4. Toa Henare & Togi Makabe (0-1) vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-0) (World Tag League Match)
  5. Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin (0-1) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) (1-0) (World Tag League Match)
  6. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii (0-1) vs. Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki (0-1) (World Tag League Match)
  7. David Finlay & Juice Robinson (1-0) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga) (1-0) (World Tag League Match)
  8. RPG3K (SHO & YOH), Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta) & Kazuchika Okada vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito

NJPW World Tag League 2018 Day 1 Results and Review

Show: NJPW World Tag League 2018 Day 1

When: 11/17/18

Where: Chichibunomiya Memorial Gymnasium, Kanagawa, Japan

Before New Japan begins their Road To The Tokyo Dome, they have one last tournament: The World Tag League. Today was the first day of the round robin tournament. Let’s look at the show.

Yoya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb

The opening match was two Young Lions versus the big man team of Elgin and Cobb. Elgin and Cobb are working as a team in the tournament, but do not fight in the pool until tomorrow. Tsuji started with Cobb and seemed over confident against him. He got overpowered by Cobb. Tsuji tagged in Uemura and Elgin got tagged in as well. Uemura landed a good dropkick in the corner. Cobb and Elgin did a double team spot where both guys took turns holding Uemura upside down. Cobb hit a Standing Moonsault for a two count. Tsuji and Cobb got hot tags with Tsuji and Uemura doing a Boston Crab with each one taking a leg. After Tsuji landed a Sunset Flip pin on Cobb the fun and games was over for him. The big man duo did a double clothesline, a move for a close count and A Tour of The Islands from Cobb for the win. It was a nice little start to the card with the Young Lions getting a decent amount of offense in.

Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi

Before the next match Taichi sadly did not have a song to sing on his way to the ring. After Narita had a good opening battle with ZSJ he was sent into the seats by Taichi while ZSJ went after Honma. Honma was put in an armbar by ZSJ but he luckily made it to the ropes. Taichi got tagged in and got hit with a flying headbutt. Taichi Superkicked Narita for the win while ZSJ had Honma on the top rope with a submission. I’m happy to see ZSJ on this tour because he has the potential to deliver some amazing matches. Not all of the teams are dream teams, but some are definitely worth looking out for.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Takashi Iizuka

In the next match Suzuki-gun were pitted against each other. Kanemaru, Smith Jr. and Archer faced Suzuki, Desperado and Iizuka. Both teams brawled early, with Suzuki and Archer going deep into the crowd. Iizuka and Archer were the first two to formally start the match. When Suzuki got in the ring he landed a Gotch Style Piledriver on Kanemaru for the win. This match felt a little too short. They could have went maybe five more minutes, especially since it’s a six-man not a normal tag team.

World Tag League Matches

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida (0-0) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (0-0)

After three preliminaries we began the World Tag League portion of the card. Robinson was dressed as the Macho Man Randy Savage. Juice came off the top early on and got caught by Umino to get Belly-to-belly Suplexed. He landed a Missile Dropkick off the top with the help of Yoshida. Umino put Finlay in the Boston Crab but was taken out of it by Robinson. Umino was on a roll but got stopped by both Juice and Finlay. Robinson did a Left Hand of God with Finlay hitting a Stunner to win the match.

Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (0-0) vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (0-0)

The next tournament match was not a match of young prospects. Nakanishi and Nagata fought Kojima and Tenzan. Tenzan was on a roll late in the match and hit a Brainbuster for a two count. Tenzan did a Anaconda Vice on Nakanishi but Nagata came in to break it up. Nagata got tagged in on Tenzan and was landing kicks. Kojima replaced Tenzan and did a million chops in the corner. Kojima landed a Cutter and then a Brainbuster for a close count. Kojima was on a roll but caught himself in an Armbar of Nagata that Tenzan separated. Nakanishi did a Spear to Kojima then Nagata did an knee in the corner and an Exploder Suplex for the win. This was the sort of match that had me bored at the start, but had a real good finishing few minutes.

Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta) v (0-0) vs. Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi (0-0)

Before this match began Don Callis showed up to the English commentary table. Chuckie T looked explosive at the start versus Takahashi. Everyone in this match seemed so energetic. I liked a spot where Beretta got thrown into a corner but used the momentum to land a clothesline. Chuckie T tried for a Moonsault but Page dodged it. Takahashi landed a move after a Hotshot Lariat from Page onto Beretta, but Chuckie broke it up. After Chuckie T was thrown into the barricades Beretta became disadvantaged. Beretta was hard to put away. He survived a Powerbomb which lended Chuckie T time to get back into the match. Beretta landed a Piledriver with Chuckie T going off of the top rope as well to give them the win. This win came as a surprise to me because Page and Takahashi seemed like the ones that would be more likely to be put over. Also I assumed the Powerbomb would be the finishing spot.

Toa Henare & Togi Makabe (0-0) vs. Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga w/ Jado (0-0)

The Guerillas of Destiny were accompanied by Jado in this match. Jado threatened the commentary table with a kendo stick before the match. The crowd was hot for Makabe. Loa and Makabe started the fight off. Jado tried playing as a distraction at one point but got punched off the apron by Makabe. When Henare and Makabe were on a roll Henare hit a Shoulder Tackle off the ropes for a two count. After that Henare and Loa had a great combination of reversals that ended with Loa hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count, which was broken up by Makabe. Loa gave Henare a variation of a Piledriver for the win. Jado interfered with the kendo stick many times when the referee did not see. This was one of the best matches of the night. Makabe seemed to get more ring time that Henare. After the match Don Callis commented on Jado saying “how many gimmicks is this guy carrying?”

Main Event

Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Natio vs. RPG3K (Sho & Yoh), Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada

The main event of the evening does not apply to the tag league. It was a classic CHAOS versus Los Ingobernables de Japon matchup. It wasn’t long into the match that everyone brawled in many directions through the crowd. Yano got stuck in a Paradise Lock by Sanada. When Okada got tagged in he did a good combination with Sanada. YOH got the hot tag on BUSHI next. RPG3K tried for the 3K but BUSHI escaped it. Naito got tagged in and went to work on YOH with the help of EVIL and Sanada. He attempted a Destino but Yano came in to stop it which started a flurry of people coming in and out of the ring. Naito hit a Destino on YOH to end the match. It surprised me that YOH was given so much time. This felt a little short for a main event, but was a good way to wrap up the show nonetheless. To close the show Los Ingobernables spoke to the crowd.

Tomorrow:

    1. David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji
    2. Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs. Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga
    3. Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs. Shota Umino, Ayato Yoshida, Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata
    4. Chuckie T, Beretta & Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Hangman Page & Kota Ibushi
    5. RPG3K (SHO & YOH) & Kazuchika Okada vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito
    6. Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki (0-0) vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer (0-0) (Tag League Match)
    7. Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki (0-0) vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer (0-0) (Tag League Match)
    8. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii (0-0) vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. (0-0) (Tag League Match)
    9. Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin (0-0) vs. SANADA & EVIL (0-0) (Tag League Match)