Pancrase 311 Full Report

Quick Results (Click to Skip to Bout):

Prelims:

  1. Satoshi Date def. Kenji Yamanaka via Split Decision
  2. Daiki Nishimura def. Kento Mizutani via Unanimous Decision
  3. Kazuki Itaya def. Nobuhisa Kudo via Unanimous Decision
  4. Yuki Takahashi def. Kaneaki Watanabe via Triangle Choke (RD 1, 1:40)
  5. Sho Sekihara def. Shigeki Iijima via TKO, Punches (RD 1, 2:17)
  6. Karen DATE def. Diana via Unanimous Decision

Main Card:

  1. Naoki Arikawa def. Ryosuke Kano via Split Decision
  2. Taiyo Hayashi def. Shinmare Komori via Unanimous Decision
  3. Teppei Maeyama def. Takafuma Ato via TKO, Punches (RD 1, 2:29)
  4. Ryuichi Miki def. Masatatsu Ueda via Split Decision
  5. Mariya Suzuki def. Nori DATE via Split Decision
  6. Victor Hugo def. Shinsuke Kamei via Unanimous Decision
  7. Luthando Biko def. Taiki Akiba via Unanimous Decision
  8. Saimon Oliveira def. Wataru Mimura via Submission, Guillotine Choke (RD 1, 1:14)
  9. Emi Fujino def. Hyun Ji Jang via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 3, 3:20) (Interim Pancrase Strawweight Championship)

Bout 1: Tiger DATE (7-11-7) vs. Kenji Yamanaka (7-7-1) (Flyweight) (3×3)

The first bout of the evening was Tiger DATE facing Kenji Yamanaka. The DATE team was represented quite well on this card. Yamanaka landed a trip takedown off of a body lock in the first minute of the fight. DATE got back up, putting Yamanaka against the fence still in the body lock. He landed knees to the back of Yamanaka’s legs while in the clinch. Yamanaka landed some punches as he started to push DATE against the cage. They returned to stand-up striking for a moment before the round ended.

Yamanaka put on another body lock at the start of the second round. DATE took the back of Yamanaka halfway through the round. He tried for a rear naked choke until the round concluded.

The final round started with a good striking battle. Yamanaka landed a jab halfway through the round that dropped DATE. They went to the ground after that. Yamanaka threw DATE to the ground in the final seconds of the fight as they got back up. The fight went the distance with the win going to Tiger DATE via split decision. He was wearing a tiger mask and cape after the fight.

Bout 2: Daiki Nishimura (1-1) vs. Kento Mizutani (2-3) (Flyweight) (3×3)

In another flyweight fight, Daiki Nishimura fought Kento Mizutani. Nishimura’s last fight was a win at Pancrase 307 over Yuma Nakajima. Mizutani attempted a takedown in the first minute of the fight. He eventually secured the takedown, although Nishimura was able to flip over into top position. He landed strikes from above. This continued until the round concluded.

The second round had more striking at the start than the first one. Nishimura got a takedown with a minute left in the round. Mizutani got up and tried for a takedown of his own, but Nishimura fought it off until time ran out.

Mizutani got a double leg takedown after a minute of inactive stand-up from both fighters in the third round. They got back up with 30 seconds left in the round. Nishimura had the better striking in the final moments. Mizutani shot for another takedown as the fight ended, but didn’t finish the takedown. Consulting the scorecards, it was Daiki Nishimura that walked away with the unanimous decision win.

Bout 3: Kazuki Itaya (6-10) vs. Nobuhisa Kudo (9-8) (Bantamweight) (3×3)

In the next preliminary bout, two bantamweights in their 40’s in Kazuki Itaya and Nobuhisa Kudo fought. Kudo kept on the outside of the cage for most of the first round. Itaya didn’t throw many punches though. Kudo got a takedown, then landed another in the last minute after Itaya got back up. They went to the ground again in the closing moments of the round. Kudo tried for an armbar, but ran out of time while trying to finish it.

Kudo got a single leg takedown as the second round started. Kudo landed on his back, with Itaya getting up and throwing kicks to the legs. The referee stood them back up, where Itaya went back to being the better striker. Kudo fell on his back, and Itaya went into top position on the ground. When they returned to stand-up, Itaya stuffed a takedown from Kudo.

Kudo tried for a single leg takedown at the start of the third round but had no luck. He failed again moments later. Itaya was aware that all Kudo wanted to do was bring the fight to the ground, and did everything possible to avoid that. Kudo chased a takedown until the round ended. Kazuki Itaya walked away with the win via unanimous decision.

Bout 4: Yuki Takahashi (7-2) vs. Kaneaki Watanabe (6-8)(Featherweight) (3×3)

In the next preliminary fight, featherweight with an impressive record Yuki Takahashi faced Kaneaki Watanabe. Takahashi landed a triangle choke to Watanabe who was on his knees in the first minute of the fight. He kept with the choke until Watanabe went out cold in what was a disturbing way. Nonetheless, an impressive return for Yuki Takahashi, who hadn’t fought for three years prior.

Bout 5: Shigeki Iijima (3-5) vs. Sho Sekihara (2-0) (Bantamweight) (3×3)

In the next fight, undefeated bantamweight Sho Sekihara faced Shigeki Iijima. Both guys were landing hard fists early on. Sekihara was landing the better combinations. Iijima engaged in a clinch, and was put against the cage by Sekihara. With a minute left in the fight, Iijima got clipped with a right hook. Sekihara kept coming forward with punches to a retreating opponent. He kept going with punches until the referee stepped in. Sho Sekihara finished his first year as a professional MMA fighter with three straight wins.

Bout 6: Karen DATE (0-0) vs. DIANA (0-0) (Strawweight) (3×3)

The final preliminary bout saw two debuting pros in Karen DATE and Diana face-off. Diana was throwing lots of leg kicks early on. As people from Team DATE tend to do, DATE was throwing side kicks. When Diana would catch a kick, DATE would throw and connect with many punches. They were in a clinch against the cage in the final minute of the first round, where DATE continued to go to work.

DATE showed some good counter-punching at the start of the second round. They were in a clinch against the cage for a while which was eventually broken up by the referee. DATE got some more good shots in then got a trip takedown in the final minute.

DATE had Diana up against the cage in a clinch for most of the final round. It could be imagined that both fighters were very fatigued at this point. The fight went all three rounds, with Karen DATE getting the win via decision.

Bout 7: Ryosuke Kano (7-6) vs. Naoki Arikawa (4-1-1) (Flyweight) (3×3)

Before the main card, a promo was played for Pancrase 312. The commercial included mention of Yoshinori Horie, who will be on the next card, returning from the UFC.

In the first main card fight of the evening, Ryosuke Kano and Naoki Arikawa fought in a flyweight bout. This was Arikawa’s third appearance in Pancrase this year, both previous outings were wins. Arikawa was on the outside of the decagon at the start of the fight. The first round had a good striking battle. Kano got a takedown in the final minute, although Arikawa got up immediately. Kano secured another one in the final 10 seconds of the fight.

Kano went for a single leg takedown in the second round. Arikawa tried to defend the takedown by trying for a guillotine. They stood back up and returned to striking. Kano started to bleed from the nose. Arikawa got a trip takedown, but like all of the other previous takedowns, they got back up. At the end of the round Kano was walking very flat-footed while Arikawa was still bouncing on the balls of his feet.

Kano shot for a takedown in the first minute of the third round, but this time Arikawa fully stopped it. They went into a body lock against the cage. They returned to normal striking halfway through the round. Kano was landing the better punches in this round. Arikawa shot for a takedown this time, getting it but getting his back taken right after. They finished the fight on the feet. After nine minutes of competition, we had a split decision. Winning on two of the three scorecards was Naoki Arikawa.

Bout 8: Mayo Komori (9-2) vs. Taiyo Hayashi (7-7) (Featherweight) (3×3)

The next featherweight fight was between Mayo Komori and Taiyo Hayashi. With an even record, Hayashi came into this fight after losing his last two appearances in Pancrase. Komori wore a Christmas hat and party sunglasses during his walkout. Shintaro Ishiwatari, who will fight on RIZIN 20, was in Hayashi’s corner for this fight. Hayashi scored a takedown early on from a body lock. Komori worked his way up to his feet, still being pinned up against the fence. They stayed against the fence until the referee separated them. Komori landed a great head kick in the final minute of the first round. Komori put Hayashi up against the cage then hopped on his back. He landed hammerfists from the position until the round ended.

Komori took Hayashi’s back again at the start of the second round. Hayashi worked on the ground until he was in top position. They stood back up and traded wild punches. Hayashi put Komori against the cage and threw more punches. He threw knees and punches to a cornered Komori. This moment in the round was the most dominant part for either fighter.

Komori opened the final round with a takedown. They got back up a minute later. Hayashi clinched up with Komori up against the cage. They had a good back and forth battle up against the cage, ending with Hayashi landing a hip toss in the final 10 seconds of the fight. When going to decision, Taiyo Hayashi got a unanimous decision victory.

Bout 9: Takafumi Ato (9-9) vs. Teppei Maeyama (4-7) (#10) (Strawweight) (3×3)

The next fight was a strawweight clash between two fighters who have both fought many times in Pancrase before. Maeyama was the first ranked fighter on the card, coming in at #10. Ato was the faster worker early on. Maeyama avoided a spinning backfist and shot for a double leg takedown. When they got back up, Ato had good strikes. Ato hurt Maeyama with a left hook, dropping him with a right straight. Maeyama attempted to recover with wrestling, throwing Ato around the decagon. Maeyama took Ato’s back on the ground. They got back up and returned to stand-up with a minute left in the round. Maeyama caught a leg kick, throwing a counter right hook which floored Ato and ended the fight. Showing exactly how to recover and make a comeback, Teppei Maeyama snapped a two-fight winning streak with a first round stoppage. He showed lots of remorse after the stoppage, staying on the ground with Ato for a minute or so.

Bout 10: Ryuichi Miki (20-12-4) (#9) vs. Masatatsu Ueda (16-4-2) (#3) (Flyweight (3×5)

Before the next fight, 2019 IMMAF bantamweight silver medalist Reo Yamaguchi announced that he will try for a gold medal next year at the IMMAFs. Moving to five-minute rounds for the rest of the night (apart from one more fight), the next bout was between experienced flyweights Ryuichi Miki and Masatatsu Ueda. Ueda had a clear height advantage over Miki. Both fighters traded leg kicks early on. Miki put Ueda up against the cage. Ueda tried for a trip takedown but Miki got up immediately. They went back to striking for the final minute. The first round was a real feeling out process between the two.

Miki shot for a takedown early in the second round but couldn’t get it. Ueda was throwing a head kick which didn’t connect but looked powerful. Miki caught a low kick for a takedown in the third minute, but Uedaz was able to flip it over into his own takedown. Miki took top position despite being taken down. They traded short distance strikes on the ground. Miki landed some more substantial strikes as the round ended.

Miki landed a good knee to the body during an exchange in the first minute of the third round. With a minute left in the round, Miki chased a takedown, but Ueda stopped it and put him against the cage in a clinch. They went back to striking in the final moments. Miki scored a spinning backfist before the fight ended. Quite a slow-paced fight from the start to the end. When going to a decision, it was a split decision that went in favour of Ryuchi Miki.

Bout 11: Nori DATE (3-3) vs. Mariya Suzuki (1-3) (Flyweight) (3×3)

In the next fight, new-ish MMA fighter Mariya Suzuki fought Nori DATE. DATE has been on a layoff since 2017, having last fought before Suzuki debuted in MMA. This fight was the Pancrase debut for DATE. She was supposed to fight on Pancrase 308 against Hyun Ji Jang, but that plan went out the window when she missed weight. DATE assumed the outside of the cage as where she would fight from right as the fight started. Suzuki clinched up against the cage. When they approached the blue corner, the tape for the blue corner came off of a wall and became attached to DATE’s left foot. As the round was closing, DATE scored a takedown and took the back of Suzuki.

Just like in the first round, DATE started the round up against the cage. DATE charged at Suzuki a minute into the round, putting her up against the cage. When they returned to striking, Suzuki struck DATE with a good counter right hook. DATE landed a good spinning backfist. Suzuki put DATE against the cage again with a minute left in the round. She secured a takedown with 30 seconds left.

They went into a clinch in the opening seconds of the final round. Suzuki eventually got a trip takedown. From the bottom position, DATE tried for some sort of leg move, but it did not hurt Suzuki. In yet another split decision on this card, Mariya Suzuki got the victory.

Bout 12: Victor Hugo (19-4) vs. Shinsuke Kamei (3-1) (#13) (Featherweight) (3×5)

In the next fight, the much more experienced Victor Hugo faced Shinsuke Kamei. Hugo was aggressive from the start, charging at Kamei and trying for a clinch. Hugo got a takedown after a minute of battling against the fence. Hugo was dominant throughout, eventually starting to pour strikes on.

At the start of the second round, Hugo landed a counter right hook which floored Kamei hard. Kamei recovered but was taken to the ground because of the shot. Kamei got up halfway through the round, but Hugo stayed on his back. They returned to striking with two-minutes left in the round. Kamei came forward with a lot of punches in the final minute of the round, but Hugo’s use of space and movement allowed him to avoid most of the strikes. Hugo got another takedown as the second round ended.

Both fighters had good punches at the start of the third round. Hugo stopped the back-and-forth momentum by scoring a takedown. Not much happened on the ground until Hugo got up and took the back of Kamei in the final minute. He tried for a rear-naked choke but let go once Kamei flipped onto his back. The fight went all three rounds, with all three judges giving Victor Hugo the nod. In a dominant performance, Hugo earned the 20th professional win of his career.

Bout 13: Luthando Biko (6-2) vs. Taiki Akiba (10-8-1) (#4) (Flyweight) (3×5)

Successful EFC fighter Luthando Biko made his Pancrase debut in his next fight, facing longtime Pancrase fighter Taiki Akiba. Akiba shot for a double leg takedown in the first minute, but Biko out-muscled him, keeping it on the feet. Biko tried for a takedown for numerous minutes as well, and Akiba was able to fend it off. While Biko fought for a takedown and never got it, he was on the offence for most of the round.

Biko finally got a takedown at the start of the second round, catching Akiba off guard after he threw punches. When Akiba got up, Biko kept a body lock on him. Akiba landed a good trip takedown, although Biko got right up because of momentum. Biko threw Akiba down with two minutes left in the round. He eventually got on his back and tried for a rear-naked choke. Akiba rotated around and took top position.

Biko was throwing Akiba around in the third round. Akiba would get up, get thrown back down, then the cycle would repeat. From start to finish in the third round, Biko was the better fighter. Winning via unanimous decision, Luthando Biko put on a strong performance for his Pancrase debut.

Bout 14: Saimon Oliveira (16-3) vs. Wataru Mimura (10-2-2) (Catchweight 148 lbs) (3×5)

In the co-main event of the card, Wataru Mimura stepped in on short notice to face Saimon Oliveira in a catchweight bout of 148 lbs. Mimura was charging at Oliveria early, shooting for a double leg takedown. Oliveira tried for a guillotine choke from the clinch. While holding Mimura’s head, Oliveria threw knees to the body. He tried again for the guillotine, dropping to the ground with the choke on deep. Mimura went out cold, ending the fight. With a scary choke victory, one-time ACB fighter Saimon Oliveira made a good Pancrase debut.

Bout 15: Hyun Ji Jang (3-2) vs. Emi Fujino (24-11) (#1) (Interim Pancrase Strawweight Championship) (5×5)

 

In the main event of the show, JMMA veteran Emi Fujino fought Hyun Ji Jang for the Interim Pancrase Strawweight Championship. When Fujino did her walkout, she had fellow women’s fighters cheering her on. Among them was Mei Yamaguchi, Mina Kurobe and RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki. Also, included in her corner for this fight was Shizuka Sugiyama. The first round purely a close stand-up battle.

Fujino had her first good combination of punches in the second minute of the second round. Fujino then clinched up with Jang against the cage. In the clinch, Fujino landed good knees to the head. She tried for a guillotine choke to Jang, who was stuck up against the cage. She ran out of time in the round while trying the choke still.

Jang went into a clinch after Fujino threw strikes in the first minute of the final round. Fujino went back to throwing knees from the clinch. While Jang was reaching for a knee, Fujino took the back of Jang. She put in a rear-naked choke that got under the chin of Jang. After being in the position for quite a while, Jang tapped out. In an emotional moment, Emi Fujino won the Interim Pancrase Strawweight Championship. After her interview, all of her supporters got in the decagon to pose with her and congratulate her. As mentioned by the commentary, lots of DEEP Jewels alumni were in the cage.

Pancrase will have it’s first 2020 show on February 16th, with former UFC fighter Yoshinori Horie facing Yojiro Uchimura.

Emi Fujino Stops Hyun Ji Jang In Three Rounds, Becomes Pancrase Interim Strawweight Champion at Pancrase 311

Emi Fujino became the interim Queen of Pancrase Strawweight Champion on Sunday, defeating Hyun Ji Jang at Pancrase 311 at Shinkiba Studio Coast in Tokyo, Japan.

Halfway through the third round, Fujino put a rear naked choke on Jang, who was on her knees. Jang did not fight the position much before tapping out.

The win makes it the third in a row for Fujino. Her previous four-fight winning streak was lost to Viviane Araujo in 2018. Araujo was promoted to the UFC in her next fight.

In the co-main event of the evening, Brazilian pro Saimon Oliveira put Wataru Mimura to sleep with a guillotine choke in the second minute of the first round.

Pancrase 311 was the promotion’s last event of the year. They plan to return for 10 events at Studio Coast in 2020, with the first event in mid-February.

A full report of Pancrase 311 will be uploaded to the website later this week.

Pancrase 306 Full Report

Finishing off June was a 17 fight card from Pancrase. Pancrase 306 included the crowning of an interim Welterweight Champion, a clash of veterans and some fun prelim fights. Let’s start with the first bout of the evening.

Preliminary Card

Bout 1: Takashi Araya vs. Tatsuki Ozaki (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Semifinal Strawweight) (3×3)

Starting off the evening of fights was a Neo Blood Strawweight Semifinal matchup. In the first 30 seconds, Araya landed a takedown. Ozaki got up and put in a guillotine choke, which made Araya tap out.

Bout 2: Yota Tatsunari vs. Yohei Nada (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Semifinal Featherweight) (3×3)

The next Neo Blood fight was a featherweight semifinal. Nada landed a punch which dropped Nada. When he got up he was hit with knees up against the cage. Nada jumped and put in a guillotine which made Tatsunari tap out. The first and second fight felt like deja vu.

Bout 3: Real King Date vs. Masayoshi Watanabe (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Final Welterweight) (3×3)

In the finale of the Welterweight Neo Blood Tournament, Real King DATE fought Masayoshi Watanabe. In the first round both fighters were frequently throwing kicks. It became apparently in the first round that this would be a pure striking matchup despite DATE’s submission experience. Watanabe made DATE slip due to a kick to the chest. This became the first fight for DATE that went into the third round. Neither fighters ever really threw combinations, but instead just threw signular punches and kicks. The final round ended with DATE in top position. In a split decision, Masayoshi Watanabe won the fight.

Bout 4: Kento Mizutani vs. Naoki Arikawa (Flyweight) (3×3)

In the first bout between fighters not involved in a Neo Blood Tournament, Kento Mizutani faced Naoki Arikawa. Arikawa landed a good combination of punches at the start of the round. Mizutani circled the outside of the cage for all of the first round. Mizutani tried for a takedown in the opening moments of the second round although Arikawa got in top position. Arikawa kept the dominant position but didn’t get much done. Arikawa got the top position on the ground in round three as well. The fight went the distance with Naoki Arikawa getting the unanimous decision victory.

Bout 5: Toru Fujii vs. Yuki Tashiro (Bantamweight) (3×3)

The next bout was a bantamweight battle between Toru Fujii and Yuki Tashiro. Over a minute into the first round, Tashiro landed a left hook which knocked out Fujii. The referee ended the fight shortly after.

Bout 6: Ippei Takase vs. Ryo Iseki (Bantamweight) (3×3)

In another bantamweight matchup we saw Ippei Takase versus Ryo Iseki. Iseki shot for a takedown early in the bout. On the ground he took Takase’s back, but didn’t get anything done. They stood up in clinch against the cage. Takase threw down Iseki and took top position. They got back up with 30 seconds left in the first round. The second round started with decent striking from both fighters. Iseki tripped Takase to the ground and kept him there with a takedown moments after. In the final round they went into clinch up against the cage. Iseki landed elbows in the clinch. He took it off the cage and landed a takedown. The fight went the full three rounds, with Ryo Iseki getting the nod.

Bout 7: Juan Lizama vs. Mitsuhiro Taki (Bantamweight) (3×3)

Ending off the prelims of Pancrase 306 was Juan Lizama versus Mitsuhiro Taki in a bantamweight bout. Lizama had the better striking and movement in the first round. Taki landed a takedown in the final minute of the second round. The final round was somewhat close until Lizama dropped Taki with a punch with a minute left. Taki recovered and took the fight to the ground. Lizama got out of the ground position as the fight concluded. Throughout it looked like Lizama was pushing the pace of the fight. Juan Lizama was given the split decision win.

Main Card

Bout 8: Kyohei Wakimoto (3-3) vs. Toshikazu Suzuki (8-7-1) (Welterweight) (3×3)

Starting off the main card was a battle between two fights with shaky records. Toshikazu Suzuki had a significant height and reach advantage over Kyohei Wakimoto. Early on in the fight Wakimoto put Suzuki up against the fence. Suzuki flipped the script, putting Wakimoto against the cage. They broke the clinch and went to striking. Halfway through the round Suzuki got dropped by punches but recovered. Wakimoto put Suzuki up against the cage once again. The round ended in this position. Wakimoto got a takedown early in the second round. Suzuki gave up his back. Wakimoto stayed on his back until the round concluded. Suzuki was knocked down yet again in the third round, with Wakimoto taking top position on the ground afterwards. Wakimoto did some strikes while in the position. The fight went the distance with Kyohei Wakimoto undoubtedly getting the unanimous decision victory.

Bout 9: Ukyo Abe (9-5-1) vs. Genpei Hayashi (8-8-1) (Lightweight) (3×3)

The next bout was a lightweight battle between Ukyo Abe and Genpei Hayashi. Moments into the first round, Abe landed a takedown. Abe tried to a rear naked choke on Hayashi’s back. He then flipped around and started landing strikes. The elbows he landed were strong. Hayashi tried for an armbar after getting hit quite a bit. Abe escaped the armbar and gets landing strikes. The referee finally stepped in and ended the bout.

Bout 10: Ryosuke Kano (7-5) vs. Kohei Sugiyama (7-4) (Flyweight) (3×3)

Ryosuke Kano faced Kohei Sugiyama in the final three minute round fight of the evening. Kano tried for a takedown early on but Sugiyama stayed standing. Kano was often walking down Sugiyama. With a minute left in the round Kano landed a takedown. Sugiyama tried for his own takedown in the second round and took the back of Kano. He put in a tight rear naked choke which Kano survived until the bell. In the third round Kano got a takedown. There was a pause in the third round to check out an eye of Kano. Sugiyama threw two punches then went for another takedown. He landed strikes from above as the round ended. In a split decision, Kohei Sugiyama won the fight.

Bout 11: Toshiya Takashima (4-3-1) (#10) vs. Suguru Hayasaka (18-13-5) (#9) (Strawweight) (3×5)

Toshiya Takashima and Suguru Hayasaki faced off against each other next in a five minute round fight. Early on Takashima landed a good right hook which dropped Hayasaka. He couldn’t capitalize off it as Hayasaka got up and pinned Takashima against the cage. When they went to the ground it was Takashima in control. Hayasaka was able to transition onto Takashima’s back. In the second round Hayasaka got a takedown. He stayed on the ground but didn’t do much. On the open scoring Takashima was ahead. Takashima brought Hayasaka to the ground. He landed some strikes as the round closed out. Toshiya Takashima took the unanimous decision victory.

Bout 12: Adam Antolin (13-5) vs. Teppei Maeyama (4-6) (#11) (Strawweight) (3×5)

In the next fight, American fighter Adam Antolin fought Teppei Maeyama. Antolin seemed to be the more composed and controlling fighter in the first round. Antolin kept landing harder strikes in the second. On the ground, he landed strikes as the round ended. Antolin’s dominance only continued in the third. He started to throw knees. In top position, Antolin landed hammerfist strikes and elbows until the referee stepped in and ended it.

Bout 13: J.J. Ambrose (31-8-2) vs. Akihiro Murayama (20-9-9) (#5) (Welterweight) (3×5)

In a fight between two fighters with experienced records, J.J. Ambrose fought Akihiro Murayama. Right off the bat in the fight Murayama put Ambrose up against the cage. They eventually separated and went back to stand-up. Ambrose landed numerous punches that dropped Murayama. He survived but was dropped three times and became very shaky afterwards. Murayama had a better second round, landing significant punches. Early in the final round Ambrose was in control in grappling. After Ambrose was in control for quite some time, Murayama flipped around and took top position. With a few seconds left, Murayama tried for an armbar but couldn’t finish the fight with it. In a unanimous decision, J.J. Ambrose got the victory.

Bout 14: Manabu Inoue (19-9-4) vs. Ryuichi Miki (19-12-4) (Flyweight) (3×5)

In the next bout Manabu Inoue faced Ryuichi Miki. Miki landed a takedown in the first minute. They got back up in no time. Miki landed a couple more takedowns in the round. Inoue kept trying for takedowns in the second round. In the final few seconds of the second round, Ryuichi Miki landed a walk-off knee KO. Afterwards, he claimed this was his comeback fight.

Bout 15: Kim Young Ji (1-3) vs. Yoko Higashi (3-1) (Featherweight) (3×5)

The next bout was the only women’s fight of the evening. Pancrase fighter Yoko Higashi fought Kim Young Ji, from Road FC. This was Higashi’s return to the featherweight division after fighting a few times in the bantamweight class. From the jump Higashi was throwing hard punches. Both fighters seemed to throw combos of punches with no guard. In the second round Higashi tried for a takedown. Heading into the final round it was apparent that Young Ji was behind. The whole fight stayed on the feet, with Higashi out-striking Young Ji. The fight went the distance with Yoko Higashi getting the unanimous decision victory.

Bout 16: Eiji Ishikawa (30-24-3) vs. Ikuhisa Minowa (65-42-8) (Middleweight) (3×3)

In the co-main event we had a bout that was nothing short of a veteran matchup. We went back to three minute rounds for this one. Ishikawa landed a takedown in the first minute. The round ended in this position. Ishikawa brought it back to the ground again in the second, after landing a couple of punches. He landed strikes from above as the round came and went. Ishikawa shot for a single leg takedown and got it in the final round. The final round was much like the ones before, with Ishikawa in top position. The fight went all three rounds. Eiji Ishikawa won the fight via decision.

Bout 17: Kenta Takagi (17-16) (#4) vs. Hiroyuki Tetsuka (6-3) (#1) (Interim Welterweight Championship) (5×5)

The main event of the evening was Kenta Takagi facing Hiroyuki Tetsuka for the Interim King of Pancrase Welterweight Championship. Tetsuka landed a left hook which caught Takagi in the first minute. Tetsuka landed a takedown after two minutes. Tetsuka put in a strong rear naked choke with a minute and a half left which made Takagi tap out. He celebrated with a backflip afterwards.

At the end of July, Pancrase will hold their 307 show. There is a special “Pancrase Osaka” show mid-way through the month, but coverage can’t be guaranteed as it is not listed on UFC Fight Pass.

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

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

Honor Rising Day 1 Results and Review

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

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

Robbie Eagles vs. Marty Scurll

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

Cheeseburger & Delirious vs. Colt Cabana & Toru Yano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ren Narita vs. Marty Scurll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. SHO & YOH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2 Recap (with Day 1 Results)

Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KUSHIDA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

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

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

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

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

Source: cagematch.net

Let’s look at day two now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jay White & Gedo vs. KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi

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

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

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

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