NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka 2019 Results and Review

Finally, it’s time to watch the culmination of the New Beginning shows, “The New Beginning in Osaka. Alongside the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title bout, the main event of the evening was Hiroshi Tanahashi facing Jay White for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. This was Tanahashi’s first title bout since he captures the championship at Wrestle Kingdom in January. Let’s look through the show.

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

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 1 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 2 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 8 Recap

TAKA Michinoku, Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

The first six-man tag match centred around Tenzan and Iizuka. Surprisingly the Young Lions didn’t open the show. Tenzan said something on the microphone before the bell. There was a spot where Kojima gave Suzuki his chops but he didn’t seem to be too hurt by them. Kojima reversed a Gotch Style Piledriver into a Back Bodydrop. Iizuka was given a double team move by Tenzan and Kojima. Tenzan took a shirt of his and showed it to Iizuka. Iizuka got a chair and hit Tenzan with it to end the match. Lame. Tenzan was hit with Iizuka’s iron glove afterwards.

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. SANADA & EVIL

EVIL and SANADA recently defended their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, so tonight isn’t as challenging as a night for them. After a few minutes of competition, EVIL and SANADA landed a Magic Killer to end the match.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi & El Desperado vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito

The next match was a Los Ingobernables versus Suzuki-gun six man tag team match. Suzuki-gun got the jump start. Taichi, who is most likely salty about losing to Naito in a Intercontinental Championship match at The New Beginning in Sapporo show, targeted Naito from the start. Kanemaru and Takagi had a good exchange in this match. After Takagi did a Pumping Bomber, Naito gave Kanemaru a Destino to end the match. This was short, but very explosive and fun. When walking back, SHO and YOH came out and confronted BUSHI and Shingo Takagi. They attacked them and snatched the belts. They got boos from the crowd. They offered a challenge, which the champions took.

Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens w/ Pieter vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma

In the next contest, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi fought YOSHI-HASHI and Tomoaki Honma. Early on, Honma missed a Kokeshi attempt on Owens. He tried once again minutes later and landed it. The pin attempt after was broken up by Takahashi. Honma gave Owens chops and then went off the ropes but was given a double team Neckbreaker. Honma was given a Small Package Piledriver, which was horrifying, and ended the match. I don’t think anybody was expecting YOSHI-HASHI and Honma to win this.

Kota Ibushi Makes An Announcement

Kota Ibushi made a special appearance next. This was his first live event since Wrestle Kingdom, when he suffered a concussion against Will Ospreay. The crowd erupted when he announced that he will be staying in New Japan. Like, a huge reaction to this. He also announced that his return will be in the New Japan Cup next month.

Togi Makabe and Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa w/ Jado

When Togi Makabe and Toru Yano made their way to the ring for their match, they were attacked by their opponents. Tama Tonga is done being the good guy and has returned to his cheating ways. Yano did his trademark removal of a corner pad. He hit Tonga with the pad after dodging the pad. This was a real showdown between two cheating teams (although Makabe is a pretty clean fighter). Tonga Loa was shoved into Tama Tonga, who knocked down the referee. Yano gave Loa a low blow. After being distracted by Jado, Yano took a kendo stick to the head from Tonga. Tonga hit a Gun Stun to end the match. Tonga used a kendo stick even more after the match, also hitting Young Lions who tried to stop him, and ringside staff. The finish was good because it showed how Yano’s own attempt at cheating ended up costing him.

Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taiji Ishimori (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match)

The first of two championship matches on this show was Ryusuke Taguchi versus Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Taguchi mocked Taiji early in the match with a dance but got angry when Ishimori did it. Taguchi did a Springboard Crossbody to the outside, and then a Dropkick off the ropes in the ring. He did a Tope Con Hilo to the outside after. Taguchi went for a pin which gave him a two count. Taguchi landed a Three Amigos for another two count. Ishimori landed a Bloody Cross later on, and then followed it up with a move that Taguchi reversed into an Ankle Lock. Taguchi turned it into a Dodan for a two count. The crowd was very loud for this. They were very much behind Taguchi. Ishimori landed a double knee strike in the corner of the ring. He then did a Death Valley Driver which Taguchi kicked out of. Taguchi tried for another Dodan but Ishimori reversed it into a Bloody Cross to retain his belt. I liked this match, I thought it was well done. This was maybe one of the best if not the best Taguchi match that I’ve seen. While this was good, I don’t feel a victory over Taguchi will boost his reputation more, but I don’t know. Jushin Thunder Liger, who was at ringside on Japanese commentary was called out. Liger accepted the challenge and said other stuff, but the translator on this show wasn’t that good so I can’t really expand on what he said.

Bad Luck Fale w/ Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada

Before the main event, we had a grudge match between Bad Luck Fale and Kazuchika Okada. Okada got a pop when revealing his shorts. Early in the match there was a near countout spot with Okada. Back in the ring, Okada lifted Fale but fell under his weight. Later on, Okada landed an Elbow Drop off the top rope and then called for a Rainmaker. He did not land it, as Fale escaped and then landed a running clothesline. Okada accidentally struck the ref because Fale pulled the ref into the crossfire. Owens and Takahashi came in the ring and did moves on Okada. Fale tried for a Powerbomb but Okada escaped and landed two dropkicks. Okada tried again for a Rainmaker but couldn’t land it. On another attempt, he was hit with a Grenade for a two count. On the second rope Okada landed a Superplex. Okada landed a Rainmaker to win the match. Great match.

Jay White w/ Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match)

The main event of this show was, of course, Jay White versus Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. White had Gedo in his corner. Early in the match, White dumped to outside the ring and then threw him into barricades at ringside. Outside the ring, Tanahashi was thrown stomach first onto a table. Later on, Tanahashi landed a Crossbody off the top rope to the outside. Gedo distracted the ref when they got back in the ring. White tried using a chair but was run into Gedo, hitting him with a chair. After numerous reversals, Tanahashi landed a Twist & Shout. He followed up with two more weaker ones. Tanahashi did a German Suplex which bridged into a pin, but White kicked out. Gedo got on the apron when Tanahashi headed to the top but was knocked down. Tanahashi did a High Fly Flow onto White’s back. When trying to do it a second time, on his stomach this time, White escaped. White put in the TTO (Tanahashi Tap Out, known traditionally as an Inverted Figure Four) but Tanahashi made it to the ropes. White did a Death Valley Driver for a two count and then a Kiwi Crusher for another kickout. Tanahashi started to make a comeback, and then put White in the Cloverleaf. He was pretty close to the ropes when this move was put in but was at such an angle where it was hard to reach. Tanahashi transitioned into a Styles Clash from the submission. White almost landed a Blade Runner, but instead, Tanahashi landed a Swingblade. After landing another, Tanahashi got a close pin attempt. Tanahashi did a Dragon Suplex into a pin attempt but White kicked out. On the top rope, Tanahashi tried for a Crossbody but it was reversed into a Blade Runner that ended the match. Jay White is your new IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

This was, to me at least, a shock. I wasn’t expecting that White would win because for one, Tanahashi won the best just over a month ago, and because I didn’t think they wanted White to win just yet. But I was wrong. I love Jay White, and I feel his current character is great. How he was built on this tour was very well done. The finish to that elimination tag, and the run-in during KUSHIDA’s goodbye match were the top moments for me. My only worry is how Tanahashi looks from this. With such a short title reign and a clean loss, does it devalue him? I found it interesting how Jay White won the match clean. He was billed as a dirty cheater in the whole build up to this, but didn’t really show that in this match. This wasn’t one of the best title matches I’ve ever seen, but it was still good.

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NJPW Road to New Beginning Day 8 Results and Review

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

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

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 1 Recap

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

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

Ren Narita vs. YOSHI-HASHI

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

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

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

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

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

TAKA Michinoku & Taichi vs. Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito

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

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

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

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

NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo 2019 Day 2 Results and Review

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

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

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

New Beginning in Sapporo Day 1 Recap

Yota Tsuji vs. Toa Henare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Road to The New Beginning Day 3 Recap

Road to The New Beginning Day 4 Recap

Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minoru Suzuki vs. SANADA

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

Zack Sabre Jr. w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. EVIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2 Recap (With Day 1 Results)

Day 3 Recap

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

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

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

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

Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Shingo Takagi

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

El Desperado vs. BUSHI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2 Recap (with Day 1 Results)

Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KUSHIDA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

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

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

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

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

Source: cagematch.net

Let’s look at day two now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jay White & Gedo vs. KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi

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

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

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

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NJPW New Year Dash 2019 Results and Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestle Kingdom 13 Results and Review

It is time to look at one of the biggest days of the year on the wrestling calendar: Wrestle Kingdom! This show will be an interesting one as it might be the last time we see such a stacked card, as a ton of talent will be soon leaving for new promotion “All Elite Wrestling.” What this card will be like a year from now will likely be wildly different.

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Title #1 Contender’s Match Gauntlet

1st Pairing: Yujiro Takahashi, Adam Page & Marty Scurll vs. Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb & David Finlay w/ Chase Owens

Starting off the pre-show match, which is replacing the New Japan Rumble this year, was a gauntlet match to find the new NEVER Openweight 6-man title #1 contenders. Starting the match was Yujiro Takahashi, Adam Page and Marty Scurll versus Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb and David Finlay. I’ve seen some people mention how this match seems to be a way to just pack as many dudes on this show as possible. Finlay tried for a Generation Finlay but got stopped by Chase Owens who was at ringside. Owens held onto Finlay for a kick, but Finlay dodged and it was Page who kicked Owens. Page was angry so he pushed Yujiro unintentionally into a roll-up that cost them the match. Not the most elaborate spot, but hey, it’s the pre-show.

2nd Pairing: Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb & David Finlay vs. Chuckie T, Beretta & Hirooki Goto

Goto got the jump on the already warm team. Chuckie did a dive over all three ropes onto Finlay and Cobb, and then Beretta followed it up with a Springboard Moonsault. The two veterans Nagata and Goto fought in the ring. Cobb did an amazing combo off Tour of the Island and a Standing Moonsault onto Goto. Chuckie T tried for a Moonsault that Finlay dodged, and then David landed the second roll-up in the match.

3rd Pairing: Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb & David Finlay vs. Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Minoru Suzuki

A loud “Kaze Ni Nare” echoed through the Tokyo Dome as Suzuki and his trio hit before the bell. Suzuki apparently was attacking Nagata with a chair while Cobb and Smith fought in the ring. The Killer Elite Squad hit a Killer Bomb to get rid of the long-standing team in this match, in quick time.

4th Pairing: Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Minoru Suzuki vs. Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi & Toru Yano

The final pairing of the matchup was the Killer Elite Squad and Suzuki versus Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi and Toru Yano. In the ring, Makabe and Suzuki traded blows, with it ending with a clothesline. Yano and Smith got the hot tag. Yano didn’t fight because he waited for Taguchi to give him a play call with arm signs. Yano removed a turnbuckle, but then got hit with two double team moves. Archer held down the ref and pleaded him to count to three. Taguchi came in to break up the pin and then everyone else in the match followed. Suzuki tried for a Gotch Style Piledriver but Taguchi broke it up with his hip attacks. Yano escaped a double team move and then stopped himself from doing double low blows. As Makabe was fighting KES, Yano hit his low blows from behind and then hit a roll-up for the win. It’s wild to think that Minoru Suzuki is on the pre-show of this card. It was lame that there were three roll-up spots in this match, but like I said before it’s not the end of the world since it’s the pre-show. Personally, I would want Suzuki in the title picture, but maybe they have something else for him. Did I like this match more than the New Japan Rumble? Not really, because the Rumble felt like a more fun way to start the show. While the Jeff Cobb impressed me the most out of everyone in this match. He’s the right mix of agile and strong.

Before the pre-show ended they showed the 2019 schedule for big shows. This included an announcement of the G1 at the American Airlines Center on July 6th and a show at the Copper Box Arena on August 31st. The biggest announcement of all was that Wrestle Kingdom will be a two-day event in 2020, on the 4th and 5th of January.

Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi (NEVER Openweight Championship Match)

What started off the main card was Will Ospreay challenging for Kota Ibushi’s NEVER Openweight Championship. Like Don Callis said at the start, this match was too quick to call. Ospreay countered a Moonsault the outside with a kick, and then landed a dive of his own. Ospreay landed a great move on the ropes called the “Cheeky Nandos Kick.” There was an amazing spot where both fighters countered each other for a long time before Ospreay landed a Spanish Fly. Ibushi got a close count with the Last Ride Powerbomb. On the ground, Ibushi and Ospreay traded slaps. Ospreay put Ibushi on the top rope as Ibushi’s head snapped forward and hit the ring post. Ibushi landed a Double Stomp on Will’s back on the top rope. Ibushi was bleeding at this point, which might have been from the post. Ibushi Deadlift Suplexed Ospreay off the second rope, but Will landed on his feet. Ibushi hit a Bridged German Suplex for a two count. Will got hit with a Piledriver for another close count. As Ibushi was getting up, Will nearly took his head off with an Running Elbow. Ospreay hit a Storm Breaker for the win.

Will Ospreay is the new NEVER Openweight Champion. It looked like Ibushi got knocked out from the elbow, as he was stretchered off. If that’s the case, they shouldn’t have done another move afterwards. Besides that, the match was good. In the replays, you could see Ibushi got hit hard with the elbow. The match was good before that, but to me, that didn’t seem safe at all.

SHO & YOH (RPG3K) vs. BUSHI & Shingo Takagi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship Match)

The next match was the first of two three-way matches this evening. SHO did a double German Suplex early on. BUSHI did a great dive to the outside onto YOH. Takagi hit SHO with a Last of The Dragon for the win, which looked like death. This match was very short but not bad.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tomohiro Ishii (RevPro British Heavyweight Championship Match)

Now, this match is an interesting one because it’s for the RevPro title, and we don’t usually see defences of that belt in NJPW. Never have we seen it in the Tokyo Dome. They even brought in a RevPro referee to sanction this bout! Ishii hit a Superplex but ZSJ no-sold it into a move where he stomped on Ishii’s arm. There was a great chain of moves between these two that ended with Ishii being put in a standing submission move. ZSJ turned it into a powerbomb. ZSJ himself got Powerbombed minutes later. As usual, ZSJ put in a submission move that I can’t name and became the new champion. This was a good match, I like how these two made the crowd really get behind all of the submission moves. With the win, Zack was given the new RevPro title, as the old one was retired after this match.

Matt Jackson & Nick Jackon (The Young Bucks) vs. SANADA & EVIL vs. Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga (Guerillas of Destiny) w/ Jado & Bad Luck Fale (IWGP Tag Team Championship Match)

The next match was the second of the two three-way tag title matches. Nick and Tonga started the fight, with Loa offering a handshake. Nick didn’t buy the handshake and tagged in Matt instead. Loa shook EVIL’s hand, but also tagged himself out. After that, the match lost all order, with EVIL slamming mat on the ramp. EVIL then ran all the way down the ramp for a fast clothesline. GoD tried for stereo Frogsplashes but the Bucks stopped the second one from happening. The Bucks did a great combo of moves, with most of them targeted on the legal man, EVIL. SANADA got a hot tag, attacking everyone, including four Crossbodies to outside the ring. Loa got hit with a top rope Huricanrana, then both of the Bucks did a Superkick onto SANADA, who was coming off the ropes. A Meltzer Driver was ended by a Stun Gun by Tonga. SANADA and EVIL hit a Magic Killer, and then SANADA hit a Moonsault off the top rope to win the match. SANADA and EVIL are the new champions. They clanked their belts and their Tag League trophies after the bout.

Out of the two three-way matches, this one was way better. I thought that the finish for this bout was really clever. It was predictable that The Bucks wouldn’t win this one, but it’s nice that SANADA and EVIL are the champs.

Juice Robinson vs. Cody w/ Brandi Rhodes (IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Match)

For this next bout, Brandi Rhodes was at ringside and had lots of involvement in the match. Both guys blocked their finishers from happening on the apron, and then Cody pushed Juice into a ring post. As the ref was distracted, Brandi landed a Spear and beat up Juice. The referee kicked out Brandi because he saw the last few punches she landed. She shoved a ringside member on the way out. As this was happening Cody hit a Cross Rhodes for a two count. Minutes later Juice hit a Cross Rhodes of his own for a close pin attempt. Cody stole Juice’s move, Pulp Friction for an even closer count. Juice got on a roll and did a Forearm and Pulp Friction. Instead of going for a pinfall he picked him up for another Pulp Friction. This gave Juice the win, to make him the new IWGP US Heavyweight Champion. This was a very short match, but was the expected outcome. It was a good match, but I was hoping would be a little quicker.

Taiji Ishimori vs. KUSHIDA (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match)

Before this match, KUSHIDA had a special entrance, with a small, child-size KUSHIDA being turned into the real one with the help of Ryusuke Taguchi as the doctor from Back to the Future. Both of these guys were doing some great stuff. Ishimori did some German Suplex that I have never seen before, sliding out of the ring while throwing KUSHIDA. Frequently KUSHIDA would reverse moves into submissions. KUSHIDA hit a Small Package Suplex and then a punch that took down Taiji. Off the ropes, Taiji gave KUSHIDA double knees. Ishimori ended the bout with a Bloody Cross. Ishimori is the new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion. I didn’t know who would win this one, but I guess it makes sense that they want to boost Ishimori by giving him a belt.

Jay White w/ Gedo vs. Kazuchika Okada

The video package leading up to this next match was very well done. The old Okada is finally back, as he came out to his old theme, has blonde hair, and is wearing shorts again. Shorts! Finally! Early on in the bout, Okada showed off his amazing vertical when delivering a dropkick to Jay White, who was sitting on the top rope. Gedo tried jumping Okada but got beaten up instead. Okada did a Crossbody to both White and Gedo over a guardrail. Okada landed a picture perfect Elbow Drop off of the top rope and then called for the Rainmaker. He did not get the move, with White landing a DDT and a German Suplex instead. White also hit a Rock Bottom for a two count. He tried for the Blade Runner but Okada escaped. Instead, he hit a clothesline. Gedo put a chair on the ring mat for White and then distracted the ref. Okada dodged a chair shot and then pushed White into Gedo. He landed two Dropkicks but couldn’t connect on the rainmaker. White hit another German Suplex, then hit a Kiwi Crusher for a close count. He tried again for a Blade Runner but it did not work. Okada got a Tombstone Piledriver, which put them both down. A chain of reversed moves ended with Okada landing a dropkick and calling for the Rainmaker. Both guys reversed many moves, including finishers, with Okada landing a Clothesline. He tried for the Rainmaker but White finally landed the Blade Runner to win the match.

I was very surprised that Okada wouldn’t win this match because it felt like this would be Okada’s return back to his old self. I was hoping it would be that way, but it wasn’t. But despite this, it was still an amazing match. The ending combo was a work of art, especially when you take into account that this was all thought through.

Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho (IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match) (No DQ Match)

This is probably the match that I was the most excited for. This match is a No Disqualification match with the IC title on the line. Before Jericho entered the ring Naito jumped him, which I saw coming since they announced Jericho while he was walking down the ramp. The brawl immediately went around the arena. Jericho got his head bashed on a table, then brought to the ramp for a Piledriver. The piledriver looked either deadly or good. Back in the ring, Naito took off a corner pad. Jericho was thrown outside the ring, and as Naito came to the ropes he got hit with a Kendo Stick. He continued to use it for the new couple of minutes. Jericho did a Dropkick to Naito who was on the apron, which Naito sold incredibly, landing on his head. Jericho picked up a camera but didn’t really use it. Over to a commentary table, Jericho did a DDT which did not make the table break. It looked truly brutal. Jericho did a Crossbody off the top rope for a two count.

Naito started to finally get offense after being down for a while. Naito’s corner kicks got reversed into a Walls of Jericho. Once Naito got out a Codebreaker was reversed into a Swinging DDT. He followed it up with a Gloria for a two count. A Destino got reversed into another Walls of Jericho. Naito escaped the move by hitting Jericho with the kendo stick over and over. Naito threw Jericho off the ropes and swung the kendo stick at him like a baseball bat. He tried to do it again but Jericho avoided it and hit a Codebreaker. Jericho went under the ring to get out numerous chairs. Jericho tried for a Powerbomb but Naito turned it into a DDT into the pile of chairs. Naito did a Codebreak of his own but couldn’t win the match with it. Naito went to the second rope but was slowed down by Jericho, who threw a chair at him. Naito did a German Suplex and then tried for a Destino but Jericho dodged it, shoved the ref and then kicked Naito in the crotch and did a Codebreaker for a two count. I mean, it’s no DQ, but okay. Jericho then took the IC title into the ring and was going to hit him with the belt. Naito put Jericho into the corner with an exposed turnbuckle and hit a Destino, but Jericho kicked out! Naito hit him with the belt, threw the belt off into the distance, and then hit Destino for the win. After the match, Jericho angrily left.

This match was, as I expected, lots of fun. I thought that Naito had a high chance of winning the match coming in, but didn’t know. I love the storytelling of Naito still having a disdain for the belt, as he threw it far out of sight after using it on Jericho. I would say that they used the No DQ rules to their full potential, but they didn’t since Jericho still felt the need to shield the ref’s eyes from a move that was fully allowed.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match)

Finally, it’s time to discuss the main event. Kenny Omega’s entrance was great, especially with the attire he was wearing. As the two were getting close at the start, Tanahashi slapped Omega. Omega gave him a light slap on the ropes, which Tanahashi followed with an even harder slap than before. Tanahashi early on almost got caught in a One Winged Angel as he was on Omega’s shoulders. Both guys traded hard slaps again when in a leg move on the ground. Early on both of these guys were hitting each other hard. Outside the ring, Tanahashi was thrown into a guardrail but came back with a Dropkick. Omega picked up Tanahashi and slammed him onto the edge of a commentary table, making him plummet to the floor. Kenny went on the guardrail and did a Moonsault. He picked up Milano Collection A.T., who went down when Tanahashi first went through the table. Kenny raised his arm. Omega brought out a table and put it at ringside. Back in the ring now, the two wrestlers were trading blows once again. Tanahashi did a Summersault Senton that looked good. Later on, Omega did a dive over the ropes onto Tanahashi, absolutely slapping onto the ramp. Kenny gave Tanahashi a V-Trigger in the ring. When he went to the middle rope for a move Tanahashi grabbed onto his right leg and did a Dragon Screw. Tanahashi landed a Twist & Shout and then did a Boston Crab. Tanahashi gave up the move and did a Styles Clash. Off the top rope, he tried for a High Fly Flow, but Kenny put his knees up. A V-Trigger was dodged in the corner, making Omega smash his leg into the corner. Through the ropes this time, Tanahashi delivered another Dragon Screw.

Tanahashi put Omega on the table that has been on the outside for some time now. He tried for a High Fly Flow off the top rope and through the table, but Omega got out of the way. Omega did a double stomp off the top rope to Tanahashi, who was draped on the ropes. A kickout came three times, after each powerbomb that followed the move before. After a combo of moves, Kenny hit a Swingblade and a High Fly Flow of his own. Kenny hit a V-Trigger which made both of them fall onto all fours. Kenny hit another V-Trigger, then tried for a One Winged Angel but Tanahashi turned it into a Reverse Huricanrana. After a close count, Tanahashi hit two High Fly Flow’s for a very close pin attempt. A very tired Tanahashi went to the top rope but was hit with a V-Trigger while getting up. Omega did a German Superplex off the top rope, with Tanahashi landing on his stomach. Yet another V-Trigger was hit. Kenny tried ending it all with the One Winged Angel, but Tanahashi escaped once again. He hit a Swingblade and then went to the top rope for a final High Fly Flow, to win the match.

This match, and the whole show, in general, was amazing. I always worry with shows this long that they will drag, but I didn’t sense that at all with this show. Would I consider this match the as good as the years before? Probably not, but it was still very good. In my heart, I still consider Okada vs. Omega 1 as the best Wrestle Kingdom match that I’ve seen.

NJPW World Tag League 2018 Day 2 Results and Review

Show: NJPW World Tag League Day 2

When: 11/18/18

Where: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 3 (Tuesday):

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

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