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 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 Fantastica Mania 2019 Day 5 Results and Review

Let’s look at night five of the NJPW Fantastica Mania tour. A full review of the first night can be found here. Here are the results of the four non-televised nights of the tour:

Night 2 – 1/12/19 – Imabari, Ehime, Japan:

  1. Audaz, KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Gedo, Taichi Ishimori & Templario
  2. Flyer & Titan def. Forestero & Taichi
  3. Okumura, Sanson & Yoshinobu Kanemaru def. Atlantis, Atlantis Jr. & Tiger Mask
  4. El Barbaro Cavernario, El Cuatrero & Ultimo Guerrero def. Andel de Oro, El Soberano Jr. & Mistico
  5. Dragon Lee, Jushin Thunger Liger & Volador Jr. def. Caristico, Gran Guerrero & Namajague
  6. BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetusuya Naito & El Terrible def. Fujin, Raijin, Satoshi Kojima & Toa Henare

Night 3 – 1/13/19 – Kyoto, Japan:

  1. Gedo, Taichi Ishimori & Templario def. Audaz, Jushin Thunder Liger & Ryusuke Taguchi
  2. Angel de Oro & KUSHIDA def. El Cuatrero & Taichi
  3. Atlantis, Atlantis Jr. & Flyer def. Okumura, Sanson & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  4. El Soberano Jr., Mistico & Titan def. El Barbaro Cavernario, Forastero & Ultimo Guerrero
  5. Caristico, Gran Guerrero & Namajague def. Dragon Lee, Tiger Mask & Volador Jr.
  6. BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & El Terrible def. Fujin, Raijin, Satoshi Kojima & Toa Henare

Night 4 – 1/14/19 – Gifu, Japan:

  1. Audaz, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask def. Gedo, Taichi Ishimori & Templario
  2. El Cuatrero & Taichi def. Angel de Oro & Flyer
  3. Atlantis, Atlantis Jr. & KUSHIDA def. Okumura, Sanson & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  4. Dragon Lee, El Soberano Jr. & Titan def. El Barbaro Cavernario, Forastero & Gran Guerrero
  5. Jushin Thunder Liger, Mistico & Volador Jr. def. Caristico, Namajague & Ultimo Guerrero
  6. BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & El Terrible def. Fujin, Raijin, Satoshi Kojima & Toa Henare

KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Titan vs. Taichi Ishimori, Gedo & Sanson

The first match had four NJPW wrestlers and two CMLL luchadors. Taguchi is still wearing his emperor outfit, and KUSHIDA is still walking out with a huge robot head. Very early on Titan did an impressive dive to the outside onto Sanson. KUSHIDA and Taguchi tried following suit, but both came up short. Sanson being the rudo he is, tried unmasking Sanson only minutes deep into the contest. Sanson put Titan in his finishing move to end the bout. This was a very short bout with no real substance besides the diving spot early on. After the bell Ishimori and Gedo continued their submission moves outside the ring. Taguchi had a face-off with Taguchi after the bout as well.

Fujin & Raijin (RPG3K) vs. BUSHI & Shingo Takagi

While at first glance this match seems like it has a crossover in it, it doesn’t. SHO and YOH from RPG3K are masked and under the aliases of “Fujin” and “Raijin” for this tour. They faced BUSHI and Shingo Takagi at this event. Late in this match, Fujin and BUSHI got hot tags, with RPG3K trying for the 3K but not landing it. BUSHI did a double Huricanrana to fight off RPG3K. BUSHI and Takagi picked on Fujin, with BUSHI delivering a Backbreaker at the end of a combo. While BUSHI was laid out Takagi gave both RPG3K members a Clothesline and then took Raijin out of the equation. Fujin gave BUSHI a roll-up to end the match. This match felt disappointing from start to finish.

Namajague, OKUMURA, El Barbaro Cavernario vs. Audaz, El Soberano Jr. & Angel de Oro

This six-man tag was one where I wasn’t too familiar with anyone in it. I thought that Namajague’s mask looked very pretty. Soberano Jr. delivered a Huricanrana at one point where he got so much air that it was amazing. Soberano Jr. did a Springboard Moonsault onto OKUMURA who was hanging on the ropes to end the match. The time that he got in this match really made him stick out. The match kicked into it’s highest gear around 10 minutes in, and then just went full speed to the finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Toa Henare & Satoshi Kojima vs. Tetsuya Naito & El Terrible

In the next match, El Terrible teamed with Tetsuya Naito to face Toa Henare and Satoshi Kojima. Naito took this fight into the crowd quickly. Naito hit Henare with a chair. Henare and El Terrible had a good spot where they traded slaps. El Terrible ended the match with a Styles Clash on Henare. This was a fun match with Naito and El Terrible working well together.

Templario, Gran Guerrero & Ultimo Guerrero vs. Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger & Caristico

This was the final match before the two tournament matches. We saw quite a bit out of Tiger Mask in this matchup, with him doing a Crossbody to the outside at one point. Caristico did his Armbar move to win the match. The stock music he was given for this broadcast was horrible.

El Cuatrero (Horseshoe) & Sanson vs. Atlantis & Atlantis Jr. (CMLL Family Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals)

The two final matches on this card were part of a four-team tournament running on two shows of the tour. The tournament is for families from CMLL. The newly debuted Atlantis Jr. teamed with Atlantis to face El Cuatrero and Sanson. Sanson did a dive to the outside onto Atlantis Jr. early into the match. The match ended in the corner when Atlantis Jr. and Sanson were on the top rope. Sanson reversed whatever Atlantis Jr. was planning and turned it into a slam of some type. Like I said in the first report, Atlantis Jr. looks very good despite being only days into his debut.

Flyer & Volador Jr. (Blue Spider) vs. Dragon Lee (White) & Mistico (Gold & Silver)

In the main event, Flyer and Volador Jr. faced Dragon Lee & Mistico. Dragon Lee and Flyer had a good exchange at the start. Flyer did a Moonsault off the ropes, and Volador Jr. did a Tope Suicida right after. Minutes later, Dragon Lee and Mistico returned the favour, delivering dives of their own. Dragon Lee gave Volador Jr. a double stomp in a corner of the ring, and then took a DDT from Flyer. Mistico and Volador Jr. both landed Canadian Destroyers like it was nobodies business. Dragon Lee was going to do another double stomp, but Flyer came up to the top and turned it into a Spanish Fly. This got a two count which was broken up by Mistico. Mistico got a close count by doing a Huricanrana off the second rope onto Volador Jr. He followed it up with a Moonsault outside the ring. Flyer landed a Canadian Destroyer in the ring on Dragon Lee for a two count. Flyer also kicked out of a Powerbomb from Lee. Lee landed a knee strike and then another Powerbomb to end the match. This was a very fun main event, and I have no complains at all.

NJPW Fantastica Mania 2019 Night 1 Results and Review

The first night of the Fantastica Mania tour took place on Friday at the Osaka Prefectural Gym #2 in Japan. Let’s go through the card which included CMLL and NJPW talent.

Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask & Audaz vs. Taiji Ishimori, Gedo & Templario

For the first match, Ryusuke Taguchi was wearing some sort of Egyptian emperor outfit. Taguchi and Tiger Mask teamed with Audaz to face Gedo, Taiji Ishimori and Templario. Ishimori was sporting his NEVER Openweight 6-man belt along with his NJPW Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Tiger Mask and Gedo started the match. Gedo was wearing a Jay White t-shirt. Very early into the match, Audaz did an impressive dive to the outside onto Templario. This made both of them crash into a commentary table. Audaz and Templario were of course given a pretty big spotlight in this match. There was quite a bit of time where both guys were specifically battling each other. Templario landed a Powerbomb onto Audaz to give his team the win. Taguchi also had some pretty good spots on this match, doing a Crossbody of some sort to Ishimori at one point.

Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Forastero vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Flyer & Titan

The next segment started off amazing because we were treated to a live performance from Taichi. If you aren’t a fan of how you can’t heat Togi Makabe’s music, you would hate this show. A chunk of the songs on the program was muted because they were CMLL songs. The CMLL fighters weren’t used to Suzuki-gun’s attack before the bell tactic and fell victim to it. Taichi took his fight against Liger to the ringside seats. Fly did a Springboard Moonsault to the outside onto Kanemaru during this match. Forastero was trying for a Powerbomb off the second rope, but Titan reversed it into a Huricanrana for a two count. The match finally came to a stop after Forastero put Titan in an Armbar of some sort for the submission. This match felt a little too short since all of these guys were really pulling off some pretty good stuff.

Okumura & Sanson vs. Atlantis & Atlantis Jr.

This match was a big one, as Atlantis Jr. made his pro wrestling debut. It was the original Atlantis that started in the match against Okumura. Jr. seemed to have a good amount of experience, being able to do moves, including dives. His second dive was followed up by a crossbody from Atlantis. His moves inside the ring seemed a little rough around the edges, but it felt like a good debut. In the ring, Atlantis did another Crossbody off the top. He then had to fight off both of his opponents at once. He tagged in Atlantis Jr., who traded chops and strikes with Sanson. Atlantis Jr. got hit with a reverse Cross-Rhodes from Okumura for the win. This was because he was distracted pleading the ref to count three when hit in the back by Okumura. I guess he has some more to learn about turning his back on opponents. After the match, Sanson and Okumura unmasked their opponents and flaunted the masks to the crowd. This was a pretty good match to be quite honest.

El Cuatrero, Gran Guerrero & Ultimo Guerrero vs. Angel De Oro, Dragon Lee & Mistico

After the last match, we saw something that we haven’t seen a while in NJPW, an intermission. The first match back was an all-CMLL wrestler match. Out of all of the six, it sounded like Dragon Lee got the biggest reaction. Although it’s hard to tell for sure since Mistico’s reaction couldn’t be heard over the broadcast’s very loud altered music. The match started with Mistico and Ultimo Guerrero. There was an interesting move where both of the Guerrero’s slammed Mistico from the top rope. Angel De Oro, Lee and Mistico all faked dives to the outside at one point. At some point I lost track of all of the dives and other crazy moves that were done in this match. It was an absolute ball. Angel De Oro and El Cuatrero were in the ring with everyone else outside the ring. Cuatrero did a Powerbomb to end the match.

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

In the next match, KUSHIDA was fighting. KUSHIDA will be leaving NJPW at the end of the month. Soberano Jr. and Barbaro Cavernario started the match with a good exchange. After a few dives from both parties, Caristico put Volador Jr. in an Armbar for the win. This, like another match earlier was way too short. I felt that Kushida didn’t get much time to shine.

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

The main event of the show was CHAOS versus Los Ingobernables in an 8-man match. El Terrible started in the ring against Kojima. SHO and YOH were dressed as Fujin and Raijin, the characters they played when working for CMLL. At one point in the match, Takagi was on a roll against RPG3K, giving one of them a Rock Bottom, throwing him on their teammate. Kojima did a crazy amount of chops to El Terrible then went to the top but got stopped. Fujin and Raijin both worked on BUSHI, giving him a Double Knees, but not being able to follow up with the 3K. After that, it was a wild amount of people who came in the ring and did a move. BUSHI got the win with a roll-up to end the match. While it was a decent match, the roll-up felt somewhat disappointing, especially for the main event. It felt like it was missing one more exchange that would have given the match a truly grand finale. After the match, Takagi and BUSHI had a face-off with Fujin and Raijin. BUSHI spoke as well.