This review of NJPW: 46th Anniversary Show will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: Roppongi 3K VS El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru VS Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi; Desperado & Kanemaru win and become new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Minoru Suzuki VS Togi Makabe; Suzuki wins and retains the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
AXS TV and NJPW review what led to tonight’s two major matches.
The Meanest Man in the World, Minoru Suzuki, brutalized the Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi, to become the new IWGP Intercontinental Championship. But when Suzuki-Gun started doing the same to members of Chaos, The Unchained Gorilla stood in their way. Togi Makabe looks to get payback against Suzuki by taking that title away from him so soon after he got it, but will he be able to defeat such a violent veteran of the ring?
Meanwhile, Sho & Yoh, better known as Roppongi 3K, had just got their IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships back from the Bullet Club’s Young Bucks when El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru targeted them for Suzuki-Gun’s brand of beatings. On top of that, Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi racked up wins as a team in their own right, so it won’t be 2v2 but a Triple Threat for the titles! Can Chaos’ shining duo survive such an onslaught? Or will new tag team champions rise when the dust settles?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: Roppongi 3K VS El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru VS Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi!
Three top tag teams of the Jr. Tag Division, representing three major factions of NJPW! But only one team can be the champions, so who comes out holding the gold?
Things are already tense even before the bell as Desperado gets in Sho’s face. The teams back off to cool off while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns and we finally begin. The rules allow only two active men, so it’s Yoh and Hiromu to start. Yoh swaggers about and steps to Hiromu, who responds with an overhand chop. Yoh chops back and we immediately have a chop fight! They go back and forth, not slowing down or backing off. Hiromu gets the edge, but Yoh comes back for more, but Hiromu still gets the better of Yoh. Yoh’s chest is red as Hiromu’s hair but he still goes after the Ticking Time Bomb. They chop and chop all over again, Hiromu switches to a kick. Hiromu gets a headlock but Yoh powers out, Hiromu runs Yoh over but Yoh kip-up, into another chop from Hiromu. Yoh falls down and Hiromu catches his breath.
Hiromu brings Yoh up to whip but Yoh reverses, to chop Hiromu. Yoh whips but Hiromu reverses. Yoh rolls under, rolls back and sets flight with headscissors to throw Hiromu. He tags in Sho, and together RPG3K stomp Hiromu down. They bring Hiromu up, double whip, and then drop toehold to basement dropkick. Hiromu rolls out but Bushi slides in, into double dropkicks. Bushi rolls out, RPG3K rally the fans and build speed, but Desperado & Kanemaru trip them up to drag them out. Suzuki-Gun puts RPG3K into barriers, but Hiromu & Bushi return to double baseball slide dropkick Suzuki-Gun. Everyone is outside the ring now as Hiromu throws Kanemaru into barriers on the far side!
Bushi makes sure the other three stay down by clubbing and stomping them. Hiromu puts Sho in the ring, and he stomps and grinds Sho into the mat. He tags in Bushi, and Bushi uses his shirt to choke Sho. The referee sees this and counts, Bushi lets go at 4. Hiromu comes in and LIJ double whip Sho, double hip toss him and hit Tu Lo Sabes! Bushi covers, Hiromu guards, TWO! Fans rally while Bushi stomps Sho. Bushi runs but Kanemaru tags in, completely legal. Kanemaru and Bushi argue but a tag is a tag.
Kanemaru comes in and boots Yoh down. He whips Sho but Sho reverses while Desperado and Bushi scrap on the outside. Sho goes to dropkick but Kanemaru holds ropes to avoid it. Kanemaru drags Sho up to whip him, then throws him with a back body drop. He grinds a heel into Sho’s chin, then kicks at Rocky Romero. Kanemaru tags in Desperado, and Desperado toys with Sho. Desperado also grinds a boot into Sho’s chin before scooping him up for the slam. He turns Sho over and gives a splash to Sho’s back. Cover, TWO, but Desperado keeps Sho down by standing on his head. Fans rally and Sho chops back, then runs, but into a spinebuster! Cover, but Bushi drags Desperado off it.
Desperado scraps with Bushi but Hiromu comes in, and Hiromu rakes Desperado’s eyes! Hiromu throws Desperado at Kanemaru, then stalks Sho. He stomps Sho, then knocks Yoh off the apron, and chops Sho. He whips Sho corner to corner and hits him with a corner clothesline, but keeps moving to blast Sho with a basement dropkick! Cover, but Desperado pulls him off it, in return for earlier. Desperado puts Hiromu in a corner and Kanemaru tags in. Kanemaru goes after Bushi while Desperado scraps with Hiromu again. Desperado gets Hiromu out while Kanemaru goes after Sho. Kanemaru brings Sho up and whips him to Suzuki-Gun’s corner, and hits a running kick. Desperado takes Yoh out while Kanemaru hoists Sho up to the top rope. Kanemaru climbs up to join Sho, and hits a SUPERPLEX!
Cover, TWO, but Kanemaru puts Sho right into a Boston Crab. Desperado intercepts Hiromu then blocks Yoh, throwing Yoh out while Kanemaru completes the hold. Sho endures while Desperado intercepts and redirects Bushi. Desperado kicks Hiromu back out, and Kanemaru wrenches back into an almost Walls of Jericho hold. Sho powers up and drags himself towards ropes. Desperado continues to intercept but Sho gets the ropebreak. Kanemaru lets him free while we go to break.
NJPW returns, and Rocky rallies the fans for Sho. Desperado puts Bushi into barriers while Kanemaru stomps on Sho. Kanemaru toys with Sho, then brings him up, but Sho blocks the suplex. Kanemaru gets him up and over but Sho slips out and to a waistlock, but his back gives out. Sho falls and Kanemaru stomps on him again. Kanemaru brings Sho up but Sho suplexes Kanemaru! Sho crawls to his corner, and tags in Yoh! Yoh rallies on Suzuki-Gun with dropkicks back and forth, then fires up to run in at Kanemaru. Kanemaru boots him back and grabs him, but Yoh fights off Suzuki-Gun with more kicks. Yoh blocks and dragon screws Desperado, then whips Kanemaru. Kanemaru reverses but Yoh knocks him down with a forearm.
Yoh fires up again and drags Kanemaru up, but Kanemaru blocks the suplex. They trade forearms, Kanemaru kicks Yoh before he can run, so Yoh kicks back. Kanemaru grabs hair, Yoh breaks free to run, but into the low dropkick to the knee. Kanemaru stalks Yoh, elbowing him in the neck. He runs, but LIJ is upon him so that Bushi can tag in. Kanemaru still goes after Bushi, then runs, but Hiromu enters so that both LIJ jump over Kanemaru. Bushi stops Kanemaru with a kick and Hiromu blasts Bushi out with a dropkick! Hiromu goes after Kanemaru while Bushi hits Desperado. Bushi goes after Yoh, but Yoh enziguris him away. Yoh tags Sho, and Sho hits Hiromu before rallying on Bushi.
Sho whips, Bushi reverses but Sho forearms Bushi! Hiromu hits Sho and whips him, Sho holds ropes then dumps Hiromu to the apron, sweeps the legs to blast Hiromu with a baseball slide dropkick of his own! Bushi returns but Sho’s ready with a spear! Sho fires up, but Desperado kicks him in the head. Suzuki-Gun double whip Sho, but Sho spears them both! Sho fires up again as he stalks Bushi. He hits a corner clothesline, then whips Bushi to reel him into a knee and mule kick. Cover, TWO, but the fans are rallying. Sho drags Bushi up, German S1uplex! He brings Bushi back up, but Hiromu adds on. Sho lets go of Bushi and standing switches with Hiromu, but Hiromu elbows out. Hiromu spots Desperado and leaps for the sunset flip powerbomb!
Sho returns to Bushi and whips him to ropes, but Bushi evades to DIVE on Kanemaru! RPG3K regroup and build speed, but Bushi intercepts Sho while Yoh FLIES!
Yoh wipes Hiromu out, but Bushi and Sho brawl with forearms. They go back and forth, Bushi gets the edge and runs, but into RPG3K double knees! Yoh suplexes Bushi onto Sho’s shoulder, for the dominator cutter! Cover, TWO! But Sho and Yoh keep going, giving Bushi a European Uppercut into Sho’s backstabber, followed by Yoh’s dropkick. RPG3K fire up, the fans rally for them, and they call for their finish, but Hiromu comes in to German Suplex Yoh while Bushi fights off the flapjack! Hiromu holds onto the ref so that he doesn’t see Bushi hit Sho with the green mist!
Bushi goes for a backslide, but Kanemaru spits his alcohol into Bushi’s face! Desperado tags in, Suzuki-Gun goes after everyone else. Desperado drags Sho into a modified crucifix pin, Suzuki-Gun wins!
Winners: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Desperado pinning; NEW IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
The Rogue Luchador and the Heel Master snatch their new title belts and head out, having proudly outsmarted four other competitors. This makes for Desperado’s first but Kanemaru’s third reign, cutting Sho’s & Yo’s second reign at only 37 days.
Backstage interviews after the match.
Rocky Romero is “so sick and tired” of Suzuki-Gun. As far as he’s concerned, Suzuki-Gun, “you’re shit!” Desperado wasn’t the legal man, but he gets the pin? “What kind of bullshit is that?” If Suzuki-Gun wants to play games, they’re up against “The King of Sneaky Style”! Rocky says “revenge is a bitch.”
Meanwhile, Hiromu Takahashi is actually excited. He wants another go at Suzuki-Gun and those titles! He’s so excited, he can barely control himself as he goes walking off, laughing all the way. But Bushi tells Suzuki-Gun, “You’ve really done it now.” They may have the belts, but he and Hiromu will come to snatch them back. “Remember that!”
As for the champions, Desperado & Kanemaru, themselves, “We do the same as everyone else.” They fought fair and square, following the rules the whole time. “Such honorable champions like us are rare”, unlike those “useless idiots.” Those four were nothing special, so how did they make it this far? They’re just not cut out for this. And to LIJ specifically, “You guys aren’t championship material. But we are, and that’s why we got the belts.” They do indeed have the belts, but with the tables turned, how long will they have them?
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Minoru Suzuki VS Togi Makabe!
The Man with the Worst Personality in the World has shown as much with how he’s treated everyone from young lions to various opponents, but the Unchained Gorilla will no longer stand idly by. Can Chaos’ King Kong teach Suzuki-Gun’s ruthless leader a lesson while also taking his belt? Or will Suzuki just make Makabe another one of his victims?
Referee “Red Shoes” presents the belt to the challenger, and we begin.
The two men stare down from across the ring as the fans cheer and chant. Suzuki and Makabe slowly step towards each other, ice cold looks on their faces. But then Suzuki ignites things with a boot to Makabe’s face! Makabe fires off forearms, then Suzuki fires off forearms, and Makabe fires back. They go back and forth with forearms, no slowing down or backing off. Makabe throws more forearms, but Suzuki throws a harder one. Suzuki dares Makabe to hit him again, and Makabe does, but Suzuki hits him back harder again. Makabe falls to a knee, Suzuki whips him, but Makabe dodges the boot to shoulder Suzuki down. Suzuki gets to ropes but Makabe is on him with forearms. Makabe stands over Suzuki but Suzuki just eggs him on. Makabe gives forearms, Suzuki boots Makabe, so Makabe throws in more forearms.
Suzuki gets up and gives Makabe those forearms back, then a harder one. He even slaps Makabe. Makabe fires off more forearms, Suzuki just slaps him again. Makabe forearms Suzuki into a corner, Suzuki boots back again, so Makabe rocks him with more forearms. Suzuki keeps egging Makabe on, so Makabe rocks Suzuki with more forearms, sitting him down! Makabe goes outside and whips Suzuki into barriers! And yet Suzuki just glares back at Makabe. Makabe grabs Suzuki and throws him into more barriers. Suzuki slumps to the floor but Makabe drags him up and into the ring. Makabe hits Suzuki with another forearm, but Suzuki hits back with body shots. Suzuki gives more forearms, Makabe gives them back. Makabe whips Suzuki but Suzuki reverses, only to run into Makabe’s shoulder.
Fans cheer for Makabe as he stalks Suzuki to an apron. Makabe drags Suzuki up, but Suzuki catches him into a draping triangle hold!
Makabe holds Suzuki up, and pries his arm out, to then hammer away on Suzuki with it! Suzuki falls to the apron, Makabe grabs at him, but Suzuki gets him back in the draping triangle! He ends up falling off to the floor, but he just gets up and drags Makabe out to join him. Suzuki clears out the crew ringside, to throw Makabe into the railings now. He puts Makabe back in the ring, but then brings him over to a post to sling the leg against it! Suzuki then confiscates a chair, but Red Shoes stops him from using it!
Suzuki shoves Red Shoes down, and gets a different chair to SMACK Makabe’s leg! Makabe writhes as he clutches his knee, but Suzuki’s far from through with him. Red Shoes reprimands him as he grabs the second chair, but Suzuki gets pissed. Suzuki comes close to smacking Red Shoes with the chair, if it weren’t for the fact a disqualification would lose him the title. He lets go of the chair, and Red Shoes holds onto it so Suzuki can’t have it back. Suzuki goes into the ring and stomps Makabe’s damaged knee. Red Shoes checks on Makabe while the fans rally for him, but Suzuki won’t let up on that leg. He drags Makabe up but Makabe fights back. Suzuki gives body shots in return and puts Makabe in a headlock, but Makabe powers out, only for Suzuki to give him a headbutt.
Suzuki drags Makabe back up, rolls him into the Kneebar! Makabe endures and works to pry his way out, but Suzuki has him trapped. Suzuki gets the heel hook in, but Makabe reaches for ropes. Fans rally as Makabe crawls, dragging Suzuki with him, and he gets the ropebreak! Suzuki lets go but knows he’s in control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Suzuki stalks and stomps Makabe. He toys with his challenger, but Makabe stands up to kick, only for the bad leg to bother him again. Suzuki laughs as he runs, but into a powerslam! Makabe works to get that leg going while Suzuki rolls away. Makabe runs and hits Suzuki with a corner clothesline, then whips him corner to corner, for another clothesline! The Unchained Gorilla climbs up to give Suzuki corner punches, getting all 10 before bringing Suzuki out for the Northern Lights suplex and bridge!
TWO, but Makabe keeps his cool. The fans continue to cheer and chant as Makabe brings Suzuki up for a forearm. Makabe grabs Suzuki in a waistlock but Suzuki elbows his way out. Suzuki drags Makabe up and slaps him around again, then whips him corner to corner for the big boot. He keeps going with a snapmare and running kick, but Makabe blocks it! Makabe clubs the leg, then forearms Suzuki’s head, both men take a moment to stare down. Suzuki throws a forearm, Makabe staggers, but Makabe gives one back. Suzuki answers, then back to Makabe, and so on. Both men stagger, but both men come back to egg the other on. Makabe hits first this time, and Suzuki grins. Suzuki pats Makabe on the shoulder before holding him still for the stiffest forearm yet.
Makabe falls to a knee, then to his forehead on the mat, but Makabe shakes his head, refusing to give in. He stands back up and gives Suzuki a strong forearm of his own. Suzuki grins again, and gives an even stiffer shot. He dares Makabe to stand up, Makabe fires himself up and gives one back. Suzuki doesn’t hesitate to give yet another shot back, and now it’s a brawl. Suzuki gets the edge again, and gives Makabe a third, incredibly stiff forearm. Makabe falls to the mat again, and Suzuki practically claims victory already as he stands over Makabe.
But the match isn’t over yet as he eggs Makabe to get back up. Suzuki gives Makabe a fourth forearm, then runs, but into Makabe’s fireman’s carry and Death Valley Driver! Makabe can’t make the cover from exhaustion, but fans are rallying for him again. Suzuki and Makabe slowly stand up, Makabe runs in for a clothesline to the back of Suzuki’s head. Makabe hoists Suzuki up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Suzuki resists the waistlock, so Makabe clubs him in the back and bumps his head off the top of the steel post! Then Makabe pulls Suzuki back into the Spider German Suplex!
Makabe sits back up, adjusts, and JUMPS, but the King Kong knee drop misses as Suzuki rolls away. Both men are down, but fans are rallying. Suzuki is upon Makabe, with the kneebar! Makabe endures the wrenching and bending, and crawls for ropes, but Suzuki gets up to drag Makabe away! Suzuki spins and puts the kneebar back on, hooking Makabe’s free leg at the same time! Makabe drags himself with just arms, but Suzuki drags him away again. Yet Makabe still gets the ropebreak! Suzuki can’t believe it, but he still has to let go.
The fans continue to rally while Suzuki stands up. He toys with Makabe, Makabe hits back, and it becomes a stiff slap fight! They go back and forth on their knees, Suzuki switches to a punch. Suzuki drags Makabe up for a knee, then a roll, but Makabe blocks the takedown and deadlifts Suzuki back for a German Suplex! Bridge cover, TWO, so Makabe stands Suzuki up for the full nelson. Suzuki mule kicks the knee, ducks one clothesline but not the other! Cover, TWO! Both men stand up again, Makabe runs, but into Suzuki’s dropkick! They’re both down again, but Suzuki stirs first. Suzuki drags himself up and turns back to Makabe. He brings Makabe up into a sleeper hold, but that’s not his planned finish as he turns Makabe around.
Suzuki gets the Gotch hold, but Makabe resists the lift. Suzuki keeps trying, and gets Makabe’s feet off the mat, but that’s not enough. Makabe gets back to his feet and lifts Suzuki up into the fireman’s carry. Suzuki slips out, but runs into Makabe’s overhand chop! Makabe hacks away at Suzuki’s neck and shoulder, but Suzuki ducks the last one to slap Makabe from both sides. Suzuki slaps and slaps, Makabe back hands, so Suzuki kicks out the bad leg. Makabe stands back up and roars at Suzuki, but Suzuki lands the body shot. Makabe tries again, but Suzuki slips around to the sleeper! Suzuki waits until Makabe fades, then spins him around again, lift and Gotch Piledriver!
Cover, Suzuki wins!
Winner: Suzuki, by pinfall; retains IWGP Intercontinental Championship
The baddest man on the planet is still the champion after this hard fought fight with Chaos’ Unchained Gorilla. As he picks up his belt, he also picks up a mic while the rest of Suzuki-Gun joins him in the ring.
“So the dregs of humanity have gathered in Ota tonight.” Yet they’re still complaining? It doesn’t matter to Suzuki what they think. Because “they’re still out there, stepping on my head.” But Suzuki vows he’s coming for them, so “they better be ready to die.” Who is he talking about, you ask? “Don’t you know anything about pro-wrestling?” The fans laugh and applaud for that, but he tells them to shut up. They think this is a joke?! “Shut up. Shut up. I don’t give a damn whether your cheer for me or not.” He dares them to all attack and once! He’ll destroy them all. But no takers. “Here’s your lesson for today: Suzuki-Gun is number one.” With the belts they hold, it’s hard to argue with that. Will Suzuki get revenge on those “stepping on his head”?
However, not everyone gets the message. Suzuki goes after Red Shoes, but a young lion comes to the referee’s defense. So Suzuki just goes after the young lion, decking him with a forearm! Suzuki is rather merciful this time, leaving it at that.
Backstage interviews after the match.
Suzuki says that “someday, without fail, it will all be within my grasp. Everything.” And when he says everything, he means everything. All the treasures, the wealth, the fame, the power! Everything. He already has one championship in his possession, will the Man with the Worst Personality fight his way towards another?
A really good hour of programming here with two full matches. It definitely all builds towards the story of Suzuki-Gun’s world domination. The triple threat tag was very high energy, lots of great teamwork in all three teams, and Suzuki-Gun comes away with the surprise win. Rocky Romero and LIJ do great post-match promos, as doe the new champions. We know in the present that these three teams have a great rematch at Sakura Genesis, and with The Young Bucks going to the Heavyweight Tag Division, these three teams will be holding down the Junior Tag Division down for a long time coming. Then, Suzuki is Suzuki, and he put on a great match with Makabe. Suzuki retains to continue this story of him defying whoever it is he sees keeping him down, and this has to be leading to him and Okada, IC vs WHC, winner takes all.
My Score: 8.5/10