This review of NJPW: New Beginnings in Sapporo Part 1 will be as broadcasted by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Hiromu Takahashi; Ospreay wins and retains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS EVIL; Goto wins and retains the NEVER Openweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
AXS and NJPW take a look at the build to tonight’s two amazing championship matches.
Chaos, one of the top factions in NJPW, and the rising Los Ingobernables de Japon have been locked in intense rivalries as of late. While Hirooki Goto took the NEVER Openweight Championship back from Minoru Suzuki in a Hair VS Hair match, EVIL wants back at the title that he only held for 10 days. At the same time, EVIL and Sanada successfully held onto the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships against Goto’s team, so this match will settle their back and forth over gold.
Meanwhile, Hiromu Takahashi was in an insane Fatal 4 for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, but not even he, Kushida and Marty Scurll were enough to ground the Aerial Assassin, Will Ospreay. Ospreay himself finally got a win over long-time rival in The Villain, and defends his belt for the first time against Hiromu. Can the Ticking Timebomb blow Ospreay away and grab the gold now that things are 1v1?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Hiromu Takahashi!
Eccentric though he may be, LIJ’s Hiromu is as talented as they come. Can Chaos’ Ospreay retain his title now that The Villain and the Time Splitter are not factors in the match?
Hiromu bows to the title he wants so badly, and we begin.
They go right at each other, Ospreay kicks Hiromu’s opening move away, and it’s a brawl with fast forearms. Ospreay kicks then runs but Hiromu follows and headscissors Ospreay. Ospreay stays on his feet, throws a dropkick but Hiromu dodges, then Hiromu hits that headscissors again to throw Opsreay out. Hiromu taunts Ospreay then builds speed, only to fake Ospreay out. He jumps into sitting down cross-legged, and dares Ospreay to return. Ospreay smirks before he rolls in, then swings a kick. Hiromu dodges that and the flip, but Ospreay keeps going to headscissor Hiromu all the way out in return. Ospreay builds speed but Hiromu gets clear, which is fine because Ospreay handsprings and lands. He sees Hiromu coming and boots him back out, then builds speed to handspring and FLY out, only for Hiromu to get clear again. Hiromu gives Ospreay a German Suplex to the floor!
Hiromu winks at the camera before dragging Ospreay up. He chops Ospreay, and then whips him from the barriers, but Ospreay reverses to send Hiromu into barriers instead! Ospreay is still recovering, but he gets distance to then run at Hiromu, only for Hiromu to throw him overhead into the barriers!
Ospreay screams in pain while Red Shoes comes over to check on him. Hiromu stands up and walks off his own pain before returning to grind a foot into Ospreay’s face. The 20 count begins, Hiromu brings Ospreay up to throw into more barriers. The count reaches 10, then even 14, but Hiromu gets Ospreay in by 16. He keeps on Ospreay with a knee grinding into Ospreay’s chin. Ospreay gets away to a corner, but Hiromu chops him. Hiromu brings Ospreay out to chop again, then covers, TWO. Ospreay grits his teeth, but Hiromu brings him up and whips, only to reel Ospreay in for a forearm, a shove to the ropes, and a kick to the ropes to jack his jaw.
Hiromu keeps going with another shove, then runs to dropkick Ospreay in the back. Cover, TWO, but Hiromu brushes it off. He stands up and stomps on Ospreay’s bad shoulders and neck. He toys with Ospreay, but Ospreay hits back. Hiromu chops Ospreay, then drops him with a side slam back suplex, cover, TWO. Hiromu keeps on Ospreay with a headscissors hold. Ospreay starts working his way out with a roll, then lifts Hiromu up Electric Chair style, only for Hiromu to slip out and club him in the back. Ospreay screams in pain again, and Hiromu whips him corner to corner. Hiromu clotheslines in the corner and rolls Ospreay as he keeps moving, but Ospreay ducks under to handspring for the enziguri!
Both men are down but the fans applaud. Hiromu stirs while Ospreay slowly fires himself up. He brings Hiromu up for knees and a jawbreaker, then a stiff kick that puts Hiromu in a corner. Ospreay runs in and hits a European Uppercut, then sweeps the legs to sit Hiromu down. Hiromu gets out of the way as Ospreay returns, but Ospreay stops Hiromu with an enziguri. Ospreay gets moving again and hits the elevated 619, but Hiromu runs back to slingshot over! He wants the sunset flip powerbomb but Ospreay desperately holds onto the second rope! Ospreay fights Hiromu off, but Hiromu gets under the shooting star press from the apron! Hiromu lunges but Ospreay rolls over him, to hit the bicycle boot.
Deja vu from earlier as Ospreay runs at Hiromu near the barriers, but this time Ospreay lands on the other side of the barriers to punch Hiromu back. After seeing the railing is sturdy, Ospreay uses them to springboard for a flying forearm! This time Ospreay winks at the camera, in return for the wink Hiromu gave. Opsreay drags Hiromu up into the ring, then takes aim from the apron. He springboards again, for a flying clothesline, cover, TWO. The Aerial Assassin is back in control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns to find Ospreay bringing Hiromu up and back into the dragon sleeper. He lifts but Hiromu knees out. Hiromu kicks then runs, but into Ospreay’s backflip kick, followed by an enziguri! Fans fire up for Ospreay while Hiromu gets to a corner. Ospreay runs in, Hiromu throws him overhead again, but Ospreay stops from going into the buckles, to then jump and corkscrew senton onto Hiromu!
Cover, TWO, but Ospreay keeps his cool. He fires himself up while Hiromu stirs. Ospreay makes sure the cameras are watching closely as he gets up and aims at Hiromu. Hiromu swings a kick but Ospreay dodges, and Ospreay gets the dragon sleeper suplex. But Hiromu slips out to get the waistlock, but Ospreay elbows him away. Ospreay runs but Hiromu follows, Ospreay dodges and keeps going to run into Hiromu’s powerbomb! Hiromu doesn’t stop there, he suplexes Ospreay up, but Ospreay counters with a stunner! Ospreay runs, handsprings, but into a high German Suplex! Both men are down, but stirring. Ospreay manages to get to a corner. Hiromu gets up and runs at him, but Ospreay boots him back while also getting to the apron. Ospreay bumps and kicks Hiromu, but Hiromu runs–running Red Shoes over in the process–to clothesline Ospreay on the apron!
Hiromu sees what happened to the ref but brushes it off to build speed and hit that Sunset Flip Powerbomb! Hiromu catches his breath after that, and Red Shoes recovers to start a count. Ospreay stirs and Hiromu stands up. Hiromu gets in at 10, but Ospreay takes a little longer. Hiromu stops the count by pushing Red Shoes aside, to then climb up top. He sees Ospreay is back on his feet, then leaps for a super senton onto the champ! Hiromu hurries to get Ospreay back into the ring, then lifts in the fireman’s carry for the Dynamite Plunger powerslam!
Cover, TWO! Hiromu can’t believe Ospreay survived. He drags Ospreay up again for another try, but Ospreay slips out of the swing. Ospreay blocks Hiromu’s punch, and hits the hook kick, but runs into a big lariat! Both men are down again but the fans are loving this. They stir, Ospreay getting to a corner once again. Hiromu stands up and runs in to hit a clothesline, then hoists Ospreay up to the top rope. He chops Ospreay before climbing up. Hiromu jumps and spins but Ospreay blocks the wheelbarrow and drags him up, to German Suplex Hiromu into buckles! Both men crash land but Ospreay fires himself up again. He gets to a corner and takes aim at Hiromu, to run out and hit the Essex Destroyer flipping DDT! That’s not all, as Ospreay climbs up. The fans make noise, and he stands up, to hit the inverted 450!
Cover, TWO! Now Ospreay has a turn being surprised. The fans make noise while he stands up, and hits the Robison Special spinning kick! Ospreay calls for it, then runs, but Hiromu counters the springboard with a jumping neckbreaker! Both men are down again, and now a count begins while they’re stirring. The count reaches 7, but Hiromu and Ospreay stand. They turn to each other, stumbling into a brawl of forearms. Ospreay and Hiromu hit back and forth, then Hiromu stands up to hit Ospreay again. Ospreay stands and rocks Hiromu with his response. Hiromu hits back, so Ospreay hits harder! Ospreay keeps hitting Hiromu, a strike fest and EuroUpper, but Hiromu chops Ospreay overhand!
Ospreay ends up in a corner and Hiromu chops him until he sits down. Hiromu drags Ospreay up for more, but then Ospreay suddenly springs up and puts Hiromu on the ropes upside-down, for Cheeky Nandos! Then after that, SUPER Reverse-Rana spikes Hiromu down! Cover, ONE!? Ospreay can’t believe Hiromu is still up. He rocks Hiromu with a roundhouse, then another strike fest, but Hiromu SUPERKICKS and SUPERKICKS and SU- No, back heel kick from Ospreay! Ospreay says it’s time, and brings Hiromu up for a fireman’s carry. He prepares to steal the Time Bomb itself, but gets a Canadian Destroyer counter instead! Hiromu crawls to the cover, TWO!! And Hiromu can’t believe it.
Hiromu drags Ospreay up, but Ospreay resists to drive elbows into Hiromu’s head. Hiromu powers through, Ospreay slips out, Hiromu back elbows but Ospreay hook kicks again. Ospreay hits a Dragon Suplex, then swears to finish it, only to springboard into another German Suplex! Hiromu is ready to blow, but he runs into a standing Spanish Fly outta nowhere! Ospreay drags Hiromu up again, to hang him up on the top rope and get to a corner. He climbs up and aims at Hiromu, and uses the BURNING Star Press to knock Hiromu off! Ospreay’s still not done, as he brings Hiromu up again, dragon sleeper lift to inverted DDT! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay grits his teeth while Hiromu stirs, and takes off that elbow pad. He aims at Hiromu, back hand elbow shot, then springboards to finally hit the OSCUTTER!
Cover, Ospreay finally wins!
Winner: Will Ospreay
The Aerial Assassin successfully retains after his first defense, despite the toughness of Hiromu. Who will be next to step up to Chaos’ two-time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion?
Hiromu Takahashi speaks backstage.
The Time Bomb vows not to give up. Only he can fulfill his own dream. “Ospreay, for now, you’re the best.” When will Hiromu come back around and prove he’s the best?
Will Ospreay holds his press conference.
“That is what Junior Heavyweight wrestling is all about. Two guys being defined straight away for their size but not for their ability. Now we’ve just put the world on notice.” Ospreay and Takahashi fought for the richest prize in their division! But he’s not done yet, he has something else on his mind. He wants something else, so stay tuned to find out what that is. What more could the best Junior in NJPW want?
NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS EVIL!
Another Chaos with gold takes on an LIJ challenger as The Fierce Warrior meets the King of Darkness in 1v1 competition. Can Goto stay atop the NEVER Openweight Division or will EVIL reign as Darkness Falls?
Red Shoes brings the title over to EVIL, but his gaze seems to be more focused on the man who owns it. Either way, the bell rings and we begin.
The two stare menacingly at each other before circling. They tie up, EVIL gets the headlock and grinds Goto to the mat. Goto pries his way out but EVIL puts the hold back on. Goto powers out and reels EVIL into a headlock of his own. EVIL works his way out, but Goto brings him back in. He tries to power out but Goto holds on tighter to bring him to the mat now. EVIL tries again and succeeds, and the two collide, but neither man falls. Goto dares EVIL to try that again. EVIL runs and they collide, Goto staggers back but returns to shoulder EVIL. EVIL staggers back to swing a clothesline, Goto evades and comes back to finally shoulder EVIL down!
Goto stomps EVIL, drags him up and snapmares him down to kick him hard. Goto stomps EVIL to ropes, then brings him up for an elbow to the back. He brings EVIL up and whips, to back elbow and elbow drop, cover, TWO. Goto keeps on EVIL with a chinlock, then drives an elbow into EVIL’s forehead. EVIL gets to a corner but Goto stomps him again. EVIL shoves Goto away but Goto stomps him again. He chops EVIL overhand, then gives elbow after elbow. Goto whips EVIL but EVIL fires out with a lariat!
EVIL lets Goto slump to the outside then pursues. He shouts for people to move aside as he brings Goto up, and whips him at barriers. EVIL keeps going, bringing out a chair from under the ring. He opens the gate and brings Goto with him, then puts the chair around Goto’s head! EVIL takes aim, and runs to throw Goto right into the post!
“Everything is EVIL”, according to EVIL himself. He has control while Goto is down and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns and EVIL waits for Goto in the ring. Red Shoes checks on Goto, but the champion is okay to continue. Goto stirs but EVIL grabs Goto to put him in the ring. EVIL covers, ONE, and EVIL argues with Red Shoes. He puts Goto in a chinlock, but Goto reaches and crawls for ropes. EVIL grinds him down, but Goto still gets the ropebreak. EVIL frees him, to stomp him, then whip, into a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO, but EVIL keeps his cool. He taunts Goto, daring him to take a shot. Goto chops and chops but EVIL chops back, back senton on top, TWO!
EVIL stalks the gasping Goto, then whips him into a corner. He runs in but into Goto’s boot, then more boots. Goto comes out to kick but EVIL elbows the knee. EVIL runs but Goto follows, to run him over with a lariat! Both men are down, but Goto is first to stand up. He drags EVIL up for elbow shots, then a roundhouse. Goto whips EVIL corner to corner and hits the running heel kick, to saido suplex! Cover, TWO, but Goto keeps his cool. Goto drags EVIL back up, fireman’s carry, but EVIL slips out. Goto elbows out of the waistlock but EVIL reels him back in, only to take another elbow. EVIL blocks Goto’s kick, hands it off to Red Shoes, and mule kicks Goto down.
EVIL nods as he gets up while Goto gets to a corner. He runs in for the clothesline, then the bulldog! Cover, TWO! EVIL starts to grow frustrated, but he drags Goto up again. Goto fights off the fireman’s but EVIL still lifts. Goto’s flailing causes them to go to ropes, where Goto gets to the apron. He puts EVIL in a sleeper! Red Shoes tells him to break, but EVIL uses that to hotshot the arms, then lariat Goto down on the apron. Goto goes down to the floor, and EVIL comes out to take out more chairs. EVIL plots something and Red Shoes knows it, but EVIL shoves the referee down to stop him from interfering. EVIL drags Goto up, fireman’s carry, but Goto fights out! Another mule kick stops Goto, and EVIL lifts him again, but Goto slips right out to snap suplex EVIL onto the chairs!
The fans applaud while EVIL writhes in pain. Goto stomps and clubs EVIL before putting him back in the ring. Goto stomps more, then drags EVIL up for elbows and forearms. He whips corner to corner, and hits the corner clothesline. Goto stomps EVIL but EVIL is out cold while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns once more, and Goto drags EVIL up, only for EVIL to flop down as dead weight. Goto stomps EVIL, that wakes him up, then kicks EVIL to drop him again. He drags EVIL up again to hoist him onto the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Goto gives furious forearms, then tries a fireman’s carry but EVIL resists! EVIL elbows back, but Goto gives more forearms, so EVIL rakes the eye. The fans make noise as EVIL notices the big Buddhist bead necklace. He shoves Goto off, and Goto falls on Red Shoes. EVIL climbs down, and prepares those beads as a weapon. Goto gets up and runs in, but EVIL boots him away, to then clobber Goto with his own necklace!
No referee means it’s not a disqualification, and EVIL looks to take advantage as he chokes Goto with the necklace. EVIL pulls back and then stomps Goto into the mat like a slingshot. Red Shoes recovers but EVIL keeps going, so Red Shoes reprimands the challenger, only to be shoved away again. Goto starts fighting back with back elbows, but EVIL clobbers him again. EVIL runs, but into the fireman’s carry and USHIGOROSHI! The fans cheer while Goto tastes his own blood in his mouth. Goto prepares himself, waiting for EVIL to rise, for the hard left kick! He drags EVIL up, suplex but EVIL knees out. Goto tries again but EVIL suplex counters! Both men are down from exhaustion, but are both okay to continue.
They each get to a corner, and run out to collide. Neither man falls, so EVIL keeps going. His clothesline doesn’t down Goto, but neither does Goto’s clothesline to EVIL. EVIL does stagger, but he comes back to clothesline again, only for Goto to stay up. Goto goes again, and the clothesline is solid, to sit EVIL down. Goto drags EVIL up by his hair, and runs again, but EVIL fells Goto this time! EVIL keeps going, fireman’s carry, DARKNESS FALLS!
Cover, TWO! EVIL grows frustrated with Goto as he stands up and calls for the end. He drags Goto up, but Goto blocks the STO. Goto swings but ends up in a German Suplex! EVIL stands and lariats Goto down again, cover, TWO! Both men are down again, but EVIL stands up. He drags Goto up but Goto resists the Half ‘n’ Half. Goto reaches, ropebreak but not for long. He fights the Half ‘n’ Half but EVIL rocks him with a spinning forearm, so he rocks EVIL back with a headbutt! Goto brings EVIL back up, suplex hangs EVIL up on the top rope to then hit a high, draping, reverse GTR! Cover, TWO!
The fans love this, and Goto keeps himself fired up. He drags EVIL up once more, and brings him into the dragon sleeper, only for EVIL to slip around and fireman’s carry. Goto slips out, another dragon sleeper but EVIL turns that into his own, to then swing Goto around again. EVIL wants STO but Goto spins that back around for THE GTR!
Cover, Goto wins!
Winner: Hirooki Goto
With his beads and his belt, the Fierce Warrior of Chaos stands tall over the King of Darkness, also successful in his first defense. Given that Goto defeated the Minoru Suzuki to become champion, does anyone else have hopes of taking the title from Goto?
Hirooki Goto holds his press conference.
“I enjoyed my trip to the ‘Darkness World’.” But the NEVER Openweight Championship “lights the way for me.” Goto understands now, and is having a lot of fun. He hopes this belt takes him to “new and exciting places.” What’s important for EVIL right now is to realize he needs to change. “Okay! Who’s next? Anyone can step up.” Goto being the Openweight Champion is willing to give an open challenge of sorts. Will anyone be brave enough to take on the Fierce Warrior?
A really great start to the Osaka event. I didn’t expect two full championship matches but that made things all the better. Hiromu VS Ospreay was great, but it was lacking Daryl. Daryl would’ve made it perfect. But that aside, great to see Ospreay retain, and as we know in real time, Ospreay’s next goal is to see how he stacks up to the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada, aka his leader in Chaos. With this, Ospreay could find himself on a parallel route to Finn Balor/Fergal Devitt, as I remember there being an IWGP WHC VS Jr. HC between Rainmaker and Demon. Hiromu himself still has plenty to do even if he isn’t champion, given his great in-ring talent and magnetically enigmatic personality, he’ll surely be a two-time Jr. Heavyweight Champion down the line.
Goto-EVIL was great, and Red Shoes letting things get hardcore without disqualifying it is definitely different from most other promotions. Anywhere else, the referee would immediately call for the bell, but Red Shoes seems very dedicated to ending title matches with a true winner. Red Shoes seems to be as much of a fan of the action as we actual fans are, and we actual fans are thankful to him. Goto wins, but just like Hiromu, EVIL still has plenty of time and talent to do all sorts of things before getting a singles title, which will happen one day.
My Score: 8.5/10