NJPW on AXS wraps up the 28th G1 Climax with what else? The Finals! Will Hiroshi Tanahashi or Kota Ibushi win that Wrestle Kingdom title match contract?
This coverage of the G1 Climax 28 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Kota Ibushi; Tanahashi wins and earns the Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship match contract.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene for this tournament finale!
The Ace looked to be reaching to end of his illustrious career given injuries and defeats. But Hiroshi Tanahashi would not give up so easily. He has done the best he’s ever done in his 17 years of competing in the G1 Climax and took the A Block! The 7-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion seeks his third G1 Finals victory, but the B Block’s Golden Star stands in his way. Kota Ibushi battled hard against every opponent, especially his best friend in the Best Bout Machine, Kenny Omega. Ibushi won the block and reaches the finals, but must now surpass Japan’s Wrestling God! Will the Ace ace the tournament? Or will the Golden Star make himself into a mega star to then again be able to battle his best friend?
G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Kota Ibushi!
There’s no time to waste, we get right to the action! Who will win and earn that coveted Wrestle Kingdom 13 contract for a match with THE IWGP Heavyweight Champion?
Ibushi has his best friend in Kenny Omega ringside as his corner man while Tanahashi has Shibata, who sadly had to retire early from his own serious injury. This match truly begins after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns with the bell and we begin! There is NO time limit for this amazing match, because there has to be a winner! Fans are already thunderous as Tanahashi and Ibushi circle. They approach and feel it out, but then back down to calm themselves. They circle again and tie up. Tanahashi gets a waistlock but Ibushi pries his way out to a wristlock. Ibushi wrenches but Tanahashi reverses to a wristlock of his own. Tanahashi brings Ibushi to the mat, but Ibushi counters with a leg takedown. Ibushi resists Tanahashi’s half nelson while going after the knee. Tanahashi powers his way to a rear mount and grinds his forearm into Ibushi’s head. Ibushi slips around to get lose, but Tanahashi gets the arm. Ibushi gets ropes, so Tanahashi lets go.
The fans rally up again as both men stand. Tanahashi and Ibushi circle, approach, and Ibushi lunges in. Tanahashi gets away and they circle again. Now Tanahashi lunges in and gets a waistlock. Tanahashi shifts to a hammerlock then a headlock but Ibushi gets free again. Fans enjoy the even exchange as the two men circle again. They continue to feel this out, and Ibushi tries a jab. Tanahashi is ready to put his dukes up but Ibushi goes for a kick. Tanahashi avoids it and gets the hammerlock again. He gets the headlock and brings Ibushi down to a knee. Ibushi gets up and tries to power out, but Tanahashi holds on. Tanahashi throws Ibushi with the headlock takeover but Ibushi counters with the head scissor. Tanahashi moves around and pops out to get the headlock. Ibushi gets the head scissor again, and squeezes.
Tanahashi works his way out of the hold again to float to a headlock. Ibushi reverses but Tanahashi reverses back. Ibushi endures the squeeze and fights out with elbows. He powers out but Tanahashi comes back with the big shoulder, only for Ibushi to kip right up! Ibushi roundhouses Tanahashi down, but has to catch his breath a moment. Tanahashi sits up but Ibushi is on him with forearms. Ibushi has Tanahashi in the corner, then whips corner to corner. Tanahashi comes out with the basement dropkick! He takes out Ibushi’s legs, and then focuses on them with stomps. Tanahashi drops elbows on each leg, then stomps more. He then drags Ibushi around and wants the Sharpshooter or some such. He does the same modified deathlock he used against Okada in the A Block finals!
Ibushi endures the Ace’s Scorpion Triangle and gets a ropebreak! Tanahashi lets Ibushi go, but he comes back to bring Ibushi up. Ibushi fires forearms, but Tanahashi kicks the bad leg. Tanahashi runs but into the flying enziguri! Both men are down, as Ibushi’s legs are slowing him down now. Ibushi still stands first, then whips Tanahashi corner to corner. Tanahashi reverses but Ibushi goes up and over to get the powerselam! Then the moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up while Ibushi gets those legs moving again. Ibushi stands but Tanahashi follows. Ibushi gets a waistlock but Tanahashi kicks his way out. Tanahashi runs but into the dropkick! Tanahashi bails out while fans rally again.
Ibushi takes aim, runs, and fakes Tanahashi out on the Golden Triangle. He sees Tanahashi going to dropkick, so he jumps for double stomps on the apron! Ibushi catches his breath and Tanahashi rolls into the ring while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Ibushi slides into the ring. He stalks Tanahashi, then brings him up. Tanahashi fights back with furious forearms, then he blocks a kick to elbow it. Ibushi kicks with the other leg, but Tanahashi blocks that to elbow that knee, too. Tanahashi runs but into a roundhouse! He still runs but takes another roundhouse. He tries again and blocks the kick into a dragon screw! Fans fire up while both men are down. The fans chant for Tanahashi while Omega coaches Ibushi up. Tanahashi stands and runs in for a corner dropkick, but Ibushi immediately double stomps Tanahashi’s back! Ibushi stands but Tanahashi dropkicks him back down! Ibushi bails out now but Tanahashi climbs up. Tanahashi reaches the top but Ibushi stops him there. Ibushi drags Tanahashi out, aiming for the other corner, but Tanahashi turns it into a crossbody drop!
Ibushi rolls to a corner, but Tanahashi takes aim. Tanahashi runs in for the basement dropkick! Shibata coaches Tanahashi up as he drags Ibushi up. Ibushi throws a forearm, but Tanahashi gives on back. Tanahashi eggs Ibushi on and now we have a forearm brawl. They go back and forth, Tanahashi then Ibushi then back to Tanahashi. Ibushi shakes the cobwebs out to throw another, but Tanahashi does the same. They accelerate and are fast and furious now! Tanahashi gets the edges with the body shot and kick to the leg. Tanahashi runs at Ibushi but into the boot! He comes back but Ibushi dumps him out. Tanahashi skins the cat, but Ibushi is ready as he grabs Tanahashi in a wheelbarrow. Package Tombstone! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi was so close right there!
Ibushi keeps his focus while fans build up energy. He drags Tanahashi up but Tanahashi counters with a leg takedown, to immediately dragon screw the bad leg! Then again! Ibushi clutches that leg, but now Tanahashi has him for the Cloverleaf! Tanahashi has the legs, then follows through to turn Ibushi over. Tanahashi sits down and Ibushi endures from legs to spine. Ibushi crawls as Omega coaches him up. Tanahashi drags him away from the ropes, then sits way down! Ibushi digs his fists into the mat and drags himself back, for the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets Ibushi go, but then comes back to stomp that bad leg. Ibushi gets to the apron but Tanahashi drags him up. Ibushi hits back but then Tanahashi grabs a leg to dragon screw it between ropes!
Fans fire up again as Tanahashi climbs up top. He aims for Ibushi, and leaps for the High Fly Flow Crossbody! Direct hit! The Ace fires up from having toppled the Golden Star. Tanahashi goes back into the ring to rest, leaving Ibushi at the mercy of the 20 count. Ibushi stirs at about 8, but doesn’t rise until 18 to finally get back in. Tanahashi runs at Ibushi, but into the huricanrana! Tanahashi ends up outside now, and fans build to another rally. Ibushi gets himself moving, and slingshot springboards for a GOLDEN Asai Moonsault! Both men are down from exhaustion, but the 20 count motivates them to move. Ibushi stands at 6 this time, to drag Tanahashi up and over. He puts Tanahashi in at 12, then takes aim from the apron. Ibushi wants Tanahashi to stand, then springboards for a missile dropkick!
Ibushi fires himself up and he puts Tanahashi on the top rope. He climbs up to join Tanahashi, and wants a superplex, but Tanahashi SLAPS him! Ibushi hops down to the apron but then hops right back up, SUPER STEINER! Cover, TWO!! He was again so close, but Ibushi still hasn’t won. Ibushi drags Tanahashi up, full nelson for the Dragon Suplex! With bridge! TWO, and Tanahashi still lives while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Ibushi wants to finish Tanahashi. He grabs both hands but Tanahashi resists. They struggle for control, but Ibushi still pries the hansd apart. Ibushi thrusts the knee, but Tanahashi dodges and rolls him up! Cover, TWO, and Ibushi runs in with a knee! Ibushi hits Tanahashi in the shoulder but can’t cover from exhaustion. Omega is there to coach Ibushi up, but fans are dueling. Ibushi stands and drags Tanahashi up. He wants the powerbomb, but Tanahashi slips out to palm strike! He stays standing from that strike, and Tanahashi dares him to come back. Ibushi does with a clobbering haymaker! Ibushi throws more heavy hands, then kicks Tanahashi into the corner.
The Golden Star toys with the wrestling god, but Red Shoes works to pull him away. Ibushi keeps getting kicks in while he backs off, but Tanahashi comes back with a palm strike! Ibushi gives it back, then another, but Tanahashi grows stronger with each hit. Tanahashi eggs Ibushi on, and that alone is backing Ibushi up. Ibushi keeps hitting Tanahashi but then Tanahashi barrels into him! Ibushi hits Tanahashi again but is immediately met with a strike from Tanahashi. The two start throwing palm strikes without stopping or backing down. Sweat flies as fingers slap face! Tanahashi gets shots on Ibushi and Ibushi starts wavering. He hits Ibushi hard enough to turn him around, but Ibushi comes back with a discus clothesline! Both men fall but everyone fires up, even Omega and Shibata.
Ibushi and Tanahashi slowly stir. They grind forehead to forehead, then Ibushi throws a forearm. Tanahashi gives one back. Ibushi drags Tanahashi up by his hair to give another, but then Tanahashi returns it. Ibushi gives another forearm, but Tanahashi stands up and powers up, brother! Tanahashi hits Ibushi, but Ibushi shakes his head before giving back another. Tanahashi hits Ibushi, and Ibushi shakes his head. Ibushi hits Tanahashi, and Tanahashi stomps his feet. Tanahashi hits, Ibushi hits, and repeat. They pick up speed again, and Ibushi winds up for his. Tanahashi stands up tall before firing off European Uppercut after uppercut! Tanahashi gives not just one, not just two, but nine EuroUppers in a row, but Ibushi chops! They stagger, Ibushi whips but Tanahashi reverses to a slingblade! Cover, TWO!!
Tanahashi grabs Ibushi for a full nelson but Ibushi breaks free, only to end up in a straitjacket waistlock! Straitjacket German, with bridge, TWO!! Ibushi survives and fans fire up, but Tanahashi climbs to the top again. High Fly Flow meets knees! Both men are down, gasping for air. Fans are thunderous while Ibushi stands. Tanahashi sits up, to get a shining wizard from behind! Ibushi isn’t done with Tanahashi, either, as he hits the knee-sault! The same move he used on Omega in the B Block finals! Then Ibushi drags Tanahashi up, scoops him, and aims for a corner. Human Long Dart! Tanahashi clutches his wrist while Red Shoes checks on him. Tanahashi doesn’t want to quit, so Ibushi kicks him in the side. Ibushi kicks Tanahashi more, then drags him up from the apron. Ibushi gets the waistlock, the deadlift, and the SUPER GERMAN SUPLEX!
But that’s not all, Ibushi calls for his finish. The powerbomb lift, Golden Star sit-out! Cover, TWO!? Whether the Ace is a wrestling god or not, he’s surely not human to survive that! Fans are thunderous all over again as Ibushi drags Tanahashi up. He still has one more move to try, but Tanahashi knows it. Tanahashi dodges the Kamigoye, but then Ibushi dodges Tanahashi’s clothesline. Ibushi uses the Straitjacket German Suplex on Tanahashi now, with bridge, TWO!! But Ibushi still has wrist control. He turns Tanahashi around and sits him up, but Tanahashi body blocks Ibushi into the swinging neckbreaker! And now Tanahashi holds on to bring Ibushi up again, for a second! But he wants the trifecta, only for Ibushi to suplex. Tanahashi slips out, but Ibushi breaks free of the full nelson again, and we return to palm strikes!
Ibushi swings a kick, misses, full nelson and Dragon Suplex, with bridge! TWO!! But Tanahashi won’t let up, he climbs up! Tanahashi leaps, High Fly Flow to the back! Then Tanahashi turns Ibushi over and climbs up again, High Fly Flow Crossbody! Ibushi is down in the drop zone a third time, so Tanahashi climbs a third time. HIGH FLY FLOW!! Cover, Tanahashi wins!!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; Tanahashi is the G1 Climax 28 Champion, and earns the WK13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship contract
Three forms of the High Fly Flow in a row, and it gives the Ace his third G1 Climax title. The Once in a Century Talent recovers while we take a break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Shibata helps Tanahashi stand. Shibata even lifts Tanahashi onto his shoulders for a triumphant lap around the ring. He then carefully sets Tanahashi back down and raises his hand in victory. Omega helps Ibushi up to his feet. Fans chant for Ibushi to show their appreciation of all his amazing effort. Ibushi stands with Tanahashi a moment, and the two clearly still respect each other. Ibushi takes his leave with Omega, and now the final presentation can begin. Tanahashi is presented with the big golden trophy of the G1 Climax, has his photo op, and is then presented the NJPW banner from Masahiro Chono. Tanahashi proudly stands with Chono, the flag resting on his shoulder.
The banner is placed back in its stand, the fans cheer for Tanahashi, and Tanahashi takes a moment to soak it all in. Then Tanahashi takes the mic to speak. “I won the G1 Tournament!” Tanahashi also admits he survived the G1. But what does that mean? It means he survived in NJPW. From here, to the Tokyo Dome and beyond, Tanahashi promises to lead NJPW forward! With that, he thanks the fans, then says to Budokan, “Let’s rock!” Air guitar session! That’s how The Ace celebrates the G1! He thanks the fans again, and promises “The Ace is back for good. Stay tuned!” And finally, “I love you~!” The streamers fly, and the Once in a Century Talent is ready for Wrestle Kingdom. Will he make it all the way to the New Year to then become the new champion?
Kota Ibushi can barely stand, but he manages to say that “I worked really hard to get here.” He worked harder this last month of the G1 than he has his entire 36 years of living. But even still, he didn’t win. Ibushi just wasn’t good enough yet.
As for Tanahashi, he says that “Ibushi’s power, emotion, technique” and everything is superior, he admits it. But the difference was the heart. That is Tanahashi’s best attribute, and that is something surely Ibushi understands. Tanahashi will surely show that same superhuman heart in every match he has between now and Wrestle Kingdom, but will his body make it there? Will Kenny Omega even be IWGP Heavyweight Champion by the time Wrestle Kingdom comes?
What a great episode! And since it was just one match, what a great match! There was great story with Ibushi looking up to Tanahashi, as well as the general wear and tear of the G1 Climax being such a difficult tournament just on its grueling schedule. Both men had body parts to sell damage on, but they did a great job of having Tanahashi go after Ibushi’s legs. Ibushi’s legs are such an important part of his offense, from the kicks to his moonsaults and powerbombs and Kamigoye knee strike. Tanahashi anticipating that knee strike was also a great story element, as even one Kamigoye could’ve likely won it for Ibushi.
However, Ibushi is a freelancer and is therefore not 100% under NJPW, so it makes sense as a business for NJPW to not give Ibushi the guaranteed IWGP Heavyweight title match. Tanahashi has been NJPW’s pillar for a long time, so naturally he wins out. Of course, the contract is like a title in itself, so there will be challenges for it like any other belt. Tanahashi has a long way to go before challenging the champion in January, but perhaps if anyone can make it there, it’s Tanahashi.
My Score: 8.8/10
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling Uncaged Ratings & Review
With the tag titles changing hands last week, do we see more changes with Impact Wrestling Uncaged?
With the tag titles changing hands last week, do we see more changes with Impact Wrestling Uncaged?
The pseudo-PPV atmosphere is sure to bring in more consistent viewership, but they’re in an interesting spot. Taya and Tessa are really the only two credible Knockouts unless Gail comes out of retirement (since Rosemary, Su and Jordynne are in the same storyline), so we’ll probably see this get extended somehow. As for the other title match, The Machine has a lot of support and wrestling fans all know the money is in the chase. So I could see Cage getting “screwed” again, but I’d much rather see Cage with the title.
So let’s get hype for the show with a video package of the returning Reno Scum!
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
- Knockout’s Championship Street Fight: Tessa Blanchard vs Taya Valkyrie (c) – Taya retains via Double Footstomp through Table – *** 3/4
- ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page vs Willie Mack: Mack wins via Stunner – ** 1/2
- Elimination 4v4: Team Impact (Fallah Bahh, Sami Callihan, Eli Drake & Eddie Edwards) vs Team AAA (Puma King, Psycho Clown, Hijo del Vikingo & Aerostar): Team AAA 4-3 – *** 3/4
- Fatal 4 Way Impact World Championship: Killer Kross vs Moose vs Johnny Impact (c) vs Brian Cage: Johnny retains via Starship Pain on Moose – *** 1/4
Both women come out with throwback shirts. Tessa comes out with the old school Four Horsemen shirt and Taya comes out in her Perros de Mal shirt (old Triple A stable she was in with Perro Aguayo Jr). This match was a little awkward at times, and the first table they had ” La Wera Loca vs Diamond” painted on, didn’t break after two spear attempts. Really good hardcore style action, with chairs, insults, ring posts and another table. Definitely more of a brawl than wrestling, but after the table didn’t break the subsequent spots seemed to be a little off. Still a solid match, entertaining to watch, good way to start off the Uncaged show. Dios perdona, los perros no.
After a quick promo with Team Impact, Scarlett joins Melissa during the commercial break moment and she’s barely dressed and her and Melissa start doing squats. I mean they’re doubling down on sex sells, and I’m not even mad.
Mack and Page was a solid match. Good brawling, Willie’s agility outlasted Page’s strikes. One would assume the winner should be closer to an X Division title shot at least. So it should be interesting where this leads.
Killer Kross follows that with his typical chilling, slightly unhinged promo, and damn it was well done.
The interesting thing about the commercial break stuff tonight is Melissa doing live interviews with different people. It’s kinda neat, like extra content.
Team Triple A has a clap back promo after the commercial, which says the Cup is staying in Mexico. If memory serves, Team Triple A beat Team TNA in the first World X Cup, so I’m curious if they’ll pull from that for a storyline.
Sami Callihan calls out Swann one more time, Swann throws the shirt at Callihan, so a fight ensues. Swann gets the best of things momentarily, but an eye gauge allows Sami the opening to toss Rich around a little, Piledriver him on the stage and then Powerbomb him off the stage through a table. So I guess Sami will get the X Divison shot, but might have to go through Willie Mack first in the following weeks before Rebellion.
A lot of fun fast paced action, good dives, good strikes, nice story telling and only one slip so far from Aerostar. Eli Drake is the first one eliminated by Puma King because he tries to tell Eddie to not use the kendo stick, but tries to use it himself, Eddie catches him and takes his stick back, then pushing Eli. So one Gedo Clutch later, Eli is eliminated by pinfall. Fallah Bah eliminates Vikingo after a Twisted Running Powerslam. Aerostar eliminates Bahh after a Crucifix Pin when Bahh misses the Banzai Drop. Boston Knee Party from Eddie eliminates Aerostar. Piledriver from Sami eliminates Puma King. Two on one advantage with Sami and Eddie against Psycho Clown. Eddie hits a Boston Knee Party lays out Psycho Clown, but Sami pushes Eddie off and tries to steal the spotlight, only a two count, Psycho Rolls Up Sami for the pinfall elimination. Eddie has Psycho on the ropes, but Eli returns, takes Kenny the Kendo Stick and distracts Eddie. Then he hits Eddie to give Psycho a shot to hit a Backstabber, followed up the La Magistral for the victory. So Impact kinda played themselves, but it was a damn good match with a lot to unpack.
Melissa finally returns after a few commercial breaks off, with Sami Callihan and David Crist. This was ridiculous but great. Just erratic idiocy, they steal Melissa’s sandals at some point, David sings “Hey there Samuel” and Sami does a pitch like a dating service while Melissa is getting her sandals. So dumb, but great.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
Small promotional video package for Reno Scum. Returning to Impact for the first time since the first wave of GFW “invasion” (nearly 2 years).
A quick little moment with Dark Allie, Su Yung and Rosemary, followed by a commercial with Melissa and KM & Fallah Bahh. Very funny, Melissa plays off the wrestlers well. She needs to stick around since she’s got a nice personality and seems to work well with most of the guys.
Scarlett with a weird video package, her in a bed, a little moan and showing cleavage is her formula. So if it ain’t broke, I’m not gonna fix it, shut up, stop judging me!
LAX joins Melissa before the main event and the Latina comes out in her. She’s more animated that usual, very fun and entertaining. She even busts their chops a little, but they take it in stride and seem to enjoy each other’s company.
Since the match starts with only about 12 minutes before time limit the match wasn’t going to be a technical masterpiece, but for what it was it was fun. It was more of a brawl, since there were 3 bigger guys. Kross had a bunch of moments looking like a beat, Cage looked like a million bucks hitting the Drill Claw on both Moose and Kross. But Johnny pulled the opportunistic thing, and while Kross and Cage were tied up, Johnny pulls Moose to the corner, barely hits Starship Pain and sneaks in a pinfall before Cage finishes the Drill Claw + pin on Kross. So Johnny retains while looking like a punk, and the crowd wanted nothing to do with him. Terminator claps most of the match.
.@MrGMSI_BCage had the World Championship right within his fingertips once again…
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Solid solid show from start to finish. Tessa and Taya got things kicked off well, Melissa doing backstage interviews as the Twitch commercial break stuff was great. World Cup match was fun and set up a few storylines for the Impact stars while Team Triple A got the home field advantage win. Main event was a little disappointing to be honest. Johnny has worn out his fan support both in Mexico and on Twitch chat. Granted yes, I’m hopeful this is building towards a big blow off at Rebellion, maybe with Cage going over and Austin Aries returning, but I guess we’ll have to see.
Also from the main event, we see some cracks in the Moose and Kross alliance, so that could definitely be an interesting match in the near future.
So yeah, we have a lot to chew on moving into TV tapings for the shows leading up to Rebellion, but from a completely playlist mentality view point, Cage got screwed. Brian Cage better be getting this damn title soon, or I want him to put Don Callis through the announce table.
Now the weekly Twitch viewers portion:
- Week 1: High – 10,350 / Low – 8,500
- Week 2: High – 8,000 / Low – 6,500
- Week 3: High – 8,500 / Low – 7,900
- Week 4: High – 7,100 / Low – 5,300
- Week 5: High – 7,450 / Low – 5,650
- Uncaged: High – 9,000/ Low – 8,000
Well it looks like people just need a reason to tune in. Not only was this week mostly main event talent, but since the event had was named, I feel like people just expected better quality. So still no record breaking high, but solid numbers throughout the entire show.
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Beginning in Sapporo Part 2!
Who leaves Sapporo with the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles?
NJPW continues in Sapporo with two HUGE tag team matches! The Rainmaker and The Ace look for further revenge while EVIL & SANADA defend their tag titles!
This coverage of New Beginning in Sapporo will be as aired by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki; EVIL & SANADA win and retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
- Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale; White & Fale win.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene!
The Ace is once again IWGP Heavyweight Championship after dethroning The Best Bout Machine at Wrestle Kingdom 13! But the record-setting 8-time champion has a very determined challenger in The Switchblade. Jay White has Gedo and the Bullet Club by his side, and now has his title match in Osaka! But before then, Hiroshi Tanahashi will look to slow White down with the help of his old rival, Kazuchika Okada! Will this amazing tag team be able to defeat White and Bad Luck Fale? Or will it only be a sampling of the Cutthroat Era’s coming?
And before that, Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Heavyweight Tag Team Champions broke even with their challengers in singles competition. Now it is time to face off for the titles! Can the two-time Tag League and Two Time Tag Champions be able to overcome the Undisputed British Tag Team Champions? Or will Suzuki-Gun have two tag titles around their waists? That match is now!
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki!
Why wait for bells when you just wanna fight? Suzuki and ZSJ go right at Evil & Sanada as they enter the ring! ZSJ stomps Evil while Suzuki mugs Sanada on the outside. Red Shoes holds the belts, but Suzuki gets one to choke Sanada with it. Suzuki whips Sanada but Sanada reverses to send Suzuki into railing! Evil and ZSJ end up the leg men and brawl while the introductions are made. Evil whips ZSJ and goes to hip toss, but ZSJ counters to an abdominal stretch. ZSJ denies a counter but Evil still hip tosses out! Tag to Sanada, and LIJ go after ZSJ together. Double whips, clothesline, back senton! Cover, TWO! ZSJ rolls away but Sanada stalks him to a corner. Cold Skull whips ZSJ corner to corner but ZSj goes up and over. He fakes Sanada and rolls him up, TWO!
Sanada knees and whips ZSJ but ZSJ denies the dropkick. ZSJ misses the Peantly Kick, and Sanada trips him up! Sanada gets ZSJ in the Paradise Lock, but ZSJ slips out and toys with him. ZSJ kicks Sanada, but Sanada knees back. Sanada whips but ZSJ reverses. Suzuki gets a cheap shot and gets Sanada in a hanging armbar! ZSJ hits Evil just because. Suzuki lets Sanada go then goes after Evil. ZSJ keeps on Sanada and Suzuki mugs Evil. Suzuki brings Evil out to the crowd to bowl him through chairs. Suzuki laughs as he rams Evil with the railing. Then he throws chairs onto Evil! ZSJ twists Sanada around for a modified Octopus, then he hammerlock stomps an arm! Suzuki searches under the ring while ZSJ gives Sanada a shoulder breaker. Suzuki has a folding chair to jab Evil in the head!
The ring count passes 17, but Sanada manage to make it in at 19.5! ZSJ is on Sanada with an arm bar, to hammerlock, then digs his elbows into Sanada’s spine. ZSJ pulls back on Sanada’s free arm from wrist to elbow for another hammerlock. He makes it a buttefly of sorts, then a cover, TWO! ZSJ drags Sanada over and tags in Suzuki. Suzuki takes Sanada and wrenches, but then ZSJ wrenches, and they keep passing Sanada for wrenches. ZSJ boots the arm and then Suzuki boots the arm. Sanada clutches that tortured arm but Suzuki goes after it more against the ropes. REd Shoes counts but Suzuki lets go at 4. Suzuki toys with Sanada now, but Sanada hits back. Suzuki just laughs again and throws forearms back. They go back and forth, but Suzuki hits hard. The champs are in trouble while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns while Suzuki taunts Sanada. Sanada does sit up but Suzuki’s right on him with fast forearms. Suzuki kicks but Sanada dragon screws, only for Suzuki to counter into an armbar! ZSJ hits Evil to keep him away, but Sanada resists the arm. Suzuki gets the arms apart and has Sanada at full extension! Sanada flails while ZSJ keeps Evil down with his own armlock! Suzuki pulls as hard as he can, but Sanada gets a ropebreak with his feet. Suzuki holds on to slam the arm on the mat. Tag to ZSJ and he hands the wrench off to ZSJ. ZSJ hammerlocks and tweaks Sanada’s arm. ZSJ sits down on the arm to practically triangle it! Suzuki keeps Evil at bay with an armbar on the ropes! ZSJ shifts his weight into a modified Labell meets Rings of Saturn!
Suzuki tortures Evil on the apron but Red Shoes can’t do anything about that while he watches ZSJ and Sanada. Sanada shifts again and gets another ropebreak via feet. Suzuki keeps on Evil with body shots while ZSJ lets Sanada go. ZSJ dares Sanada to stand, and then rock shim with a European Uppercut. Sanada returns the EuroUpper, but his arms are hurting. ZSj shoulder breakers, then catches the leap frog for a flapjack! Penalty kick is CAUGHT! Dragon Screw! Suzuki runs in and gets a dragon screw, too! Fans rally for LIJ as Evil tags in! The King of Darkness rallies on ZSJ! He scoop slams ZSJ hard, then rocks him with forearms. Evil whips but ZSJ reverses, only for Evil to run him over!
Fans rally as Evil drags ZSJ up. ZSJ kicks but Evil blocks it to elbow the knee. ZSJ grabs the arm but Evil counters to a shoulder breaker! Evil blocks another kick, Fisherman Buster! Cover, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as fans fire up again. He drags ZSJ up again and turns him, but ZSJ turns and suplexes Evil! Then the neck twist! Both men are down from exhaustion, but they still come back for more. ZSJ wants revenge for Sapporo Part 1 as he throws EuroUppers. Things speed up and each man dodges the other, but then ZSJ runs into Evil’s lariat! Evil drags ZSJ up, fireman’s carry, but ZSj reverses to a Pele! ZSJ kicks then sweeps the legs! Both men are down again but Suzuki returns. Suzuki tags in and goes right at Evil with forearms.
Suzuki whips Evil corner to corner and boots him. He snapmares and Penalty Kicks! Cover, TWO! Evil barely escapes, but Suzuki toys with him now. Suzuki throws haymakers, then boots, but Evil hands it off to Red Shoes! Evil SUPERKICKS Suzuki down! Tag to Sanada! Sanada whips but Suzuki reverses. Sanada tumbles, springboards, but into Suzuki’s sleeper! ZSJ hits Evil again, and then helps Suzuki corner to corner train on Sanada! Snapmare, DOBULE Peanlty Kicks! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives that string of attacks, but Suzuki stomps him down. We can hear someone throw the other into railing while Suzuki hammers away on Sanada in the corner. Red Shoes backs Suzuki off, but Suzuki runs back in. Sanada dodges, and Evil returns for a corner clothesline! He feeds Suzuki to Sanada’s back suplex!
Evil hits ZSJ and now LIJ has Suzuki isolated! They call for the finish and fans are thunderous! Evil lifts Suzuki, but ZSJ stops Magic Killer. Suzuki rolls Sanada into an Ankle Lock! ZSJ has Evil in the Octopus! Suzuki shifts to a kneebar! Sanada endures teh grapevine’d move, and Suzuki even grabs an arm! Sanada grabs Red Shoes to keep himself from tapping! ZSJ has shifted Evil into a grounded twist! Neither LIJ can get free as Suzuki shifts the position of his kneebar! Sanada endures, as does Evil. Fans cheer LIJ on, but Suzuki just twists the ankle harder! Sanada uses one last gas to get the ropebreak! Suzuki lets Sanada go, to come back for a sleeper. And then ZSJ Penalty Kicks! Suzuki also Penalty Kicks! Cover, but Evil breaks it in time!
Suzuki-Gun drags LIJ up but LIJ fights back! Suzuki wants his piledriver, and ZSJ wants his, but Evil and Sanada deny those, for Darkness Falls and TKO in stereo! LIJ fires up as they go after Suzuki again. MAGIC KILLER!! Cover, but ZSJ breaks it just in time! Sanada grabs Suzuki and Evil gets ZSJ. Skull End, but ZSJ counters the STO! Evil counters back, EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! And then for Suzuki, True Skull End, but Suzuki slips through! Sleeper, Gotch hold, but Evil saves Sanada! Everything is countered, but the Sleeper is escaped. MAGIC KILLER AGAIN!! Sanada climbs while Evil takes ZSJ out, Moonsault! Cover, LIJ wins!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, Sanada pinning; still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
The King of Darkness and Cold Skull are still golden! Suzuki-Gun’s quest to have two different companies’ tag titles has not worked out, it’ll be back to the drawing board for them. However, will Evil & Sanada now have a claim to the British Heavyweight Tag Team Championships?
Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale!
The Rainmaker and The Ace have fought hard over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the claim to being the best one ever, but now they are united in making sure the Switchblade does NOT become champion! Will this all-star alliance succeed against the new Bullet Club leader and his Underboss underling?
White refuses to let this dream team have their photo op. He insists he is the historic wrestler everyone should take pictures of, not the old generation. Tanahashi and Okada bite their tongues and bide their time, they’ll get at White after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns and White starts against Tanahashi. Fans are strongly behind The Ace but White just chuckles. They circle and Gedo can be heard shouting “You’re stupid!” at commentary. White lunges but Tanahashi stays away. They tie up and go around, and Tanahashi manages to power White to a corner. White turns it around, but backs off, only to get the leg! White grins as he shows how easy he could’ve gone after the bad leg. He backs off but tries a sucker punch! Tanahashi dodges and headlocks, and he grinds White down. White gets up but can’t power out of Tanahashi’s grip. Tanahashi grinds White down again but White fights out with body shots. White powers out this time, but Tanahashi fakes him out to get him back in the headlock!
Tanahashi grinds White on the mat but White powers back up. White again can’t power out so he pulls hair! Tanahashi pulls White’s hair in return! Tanahashi throws body shots then whips, but White reverses. White runs into an elbow, Tanahashi springboard crossbodies! Tanahashi air guitars and tosses it out. He brings White over and tags Okada. Okada and Tanahashi whip White and double elbow him down. Okada back sentons, then Tanahashi somersault sentons. The dream team shake hands and drop double elbows! Fans are loving this already! Okada drags White up and fans are thunderous for him. He snapmares White and then hits a running basement dropkick! Okada drags White up but White powers him to the corner. Tag to Fale, but Okada gets away.
Okada and Fale circle and tie up. Fale shoves Okada but Okada’s right back with hammering hands! Okada whips but Fale reverses and whips Okada hard into buckles! Fale looms over Okada then stomps him down. Fale drags Okada up and talks trash, so Okada hits back. Okada runs and handsprings over the back drop! He wants a sleeper and hops on as a backpack. Fale endures then drops back! Okada lets Fale go, and White attacks Tanahashi! White goes after Tanahashi on the outside and throws him into barriers! Okada bails out but Fale gives chase. Fale throws Okada into barriers, too! White chokes Tanahashi with camera cables! White says he IS the next champion! Fans boo while Fale takes a towel and chokes Okada with it. It was an Okada Dollar towel, too!
White keeps on Tanahashi in the front row with Euro Uppers. White takes apart barriers to throw the railings onto Tanahashi. He buries Tanahashi while the ring count climbs. Then White scoops slams a Young Lion onto Tanahashi! Fale chokes Okada on the ropes in the ring. Red Shoes backs Fale off, but he comes back to drag Okada up and dump him out. White goes right at Okada by ramming him into the apron and then the railing! And then the apron again, and then the railing! White rams Okada into the apron once more, then throws forearms. Red Shoes finally spots this and reprimands White. White plays innocent as he puts Okada back in the ring. Fale tags White in, and White soaks up the heat.
White runs corner to corner for a huge Euro Upper, and then suplexes Okada into the buckles! Cover, TWO!! Somehow Okada escapes! White takes his frustrations out on Tanahashi, then returns to Okada. White grinds his forearm into Okada’s face, then puts on a Half Crab. Fans rally up for Okada and Okada crawls for ropes. White pulls harder but Tanahashi comes it go after White. Fale throws Tanahashi out, and then tags back in. Fale goes after Okada’s leg with stomps. Okada hits back and clubs Fale. Okada hops on for a guillotine, but Fale simply puts Okada in the Bullet Club corner. Fale stomps a mudhole into Okada then tags White. White drags Okada up for a CHOP! White follows Okada to the open corner, then tells Tanahashi this CHOP is for him.
Fans continue to rally as White snapmares Okada into a chinlock. Okada feeds off the energy and fights out with body shots. Okada runs but into White’s back elbow! Cover, TWO! White keeps on Okada with another chinlock. Okada endures while Tanahashi and the fans rally up again. Okada gets up and fights back again, but White clubs him down. White puts Okada in a corner and whips corner to corner, but Okada reverses. Okada runs into White’s boot. White runs but into a flapjack! Both men are down but stirring while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns once more, and Okada crawls for his corner. Hot tag to Tanahashi! White stands and The Ace fires off forearms on him! Tanahashi whips but White reverses, only for Tanahashi to forearm him down! Tanahashi dropkicks Fale then goes after White again. He scoop slams White into a drop zone, then hops up. Second rope somersault senton hits! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his cool while fans rally up again. Tanahashi waits for White to stand then runs, but he runs into a CHOP! But he keeps going, only to run into another CHOP! Tanahashi still shakes it off, but runs into a waistlock. He elbows out but White chop blocks the bad leg! White catches his breath as he looms over Tanahashi.
White scoops Tanahshi but Tanahashi fights out. Tanahashi waistlocks but WHite standing switches to a saido suplex! Both men are down but White tags out to Fale. Fale corners Tanahashi and throws big body shots. Then he throws bit clubbing forearms! He taunts the fans and they boo back as he drags Tanahashi up. Fale whips corner to corner then runs in, but misses! Tanahashi waistlocks, but Fale’s too big for a German Suplex! Fale fights out of the waistlock, then suplexes Tanahashi. Okada saves Tanahashi, and then they double suplex Fale together! Fans rally up again and Tanahashi crawls, but he dropkicks White first! Hot tag to Okada!
The Rainmaker forearms and whips Fale, but Fale reverses. Okada hits Fale then hits the DDT! Okada kips up and fans fire up again! He drags Fale up and manages a scoop slam! Okada winces just a moment before climbing up top. Fale gets under and Okada rolls through. Okada runs back but into a Samoan Drop! Fale hits a big splash! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but White goes after Tanahashi! White puts Tanahashi into railing while fans cheer Okada on. Fale aims, grabs Okada, but the Grenade is denied with a dropkick! Okada wants to lift Fale!? Fale reverses but Okada slips out. Okada runs but gets run over! Both men are down but Tanahashi returns to the corner. Hot tags to Tanahashi and White!
The Ace and Switchblade each dodge each other. White trash talks Tanahashi but the brawl is on! Tanahashi hits, then White hits, repeat. They build up speed back and forth, then White throws several. Tanahashi gives them all back, but White kicks out the bad leg. White whips but Tanahashi reverses. Tanahashi dodges and slingblades White down! Cover, TWO!! Okada hits Fale then tells Tanahashi to finish this. Tanahashi gets the Cloverleaf but White rakes the eyes! White kicks Tanahashi away while Fale puts Okada into barriers. Tanahashi dragon screws White! Fale runs in but Tanahashi blocks, hands off to Okada and Okada dragon screws! Tanahashi returns to White, running, but Gedo swipes him! White gets Tanahashi with a Complete Shot to German Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!!
Fans are thunderous again as White slashes the throat. He drags Tanahashi up into position, and Fale chases Okada. Okada saves Tanahashi then has to fight off Fale. Fale rebounds, Tanahashi slingblades him down! White rocks Tanahashi, but Okada dropkicks him down! The dream team have each other’s backs! And they both power up to combine forces! Gut wrench to TOMBSTONE! Hand off, to STYLES CLASH! Tanahashi rolls White, for Okada’s elbow! Fans are at a fever pitch, but Gedo distracts Tanahashi. Fale attacks Tanahashi and dumps him off the top rope! Red Shoes reprimands Gedo but it’s too late. Okada leaps but into the Grenade! Fale corner splashes Tanahashi, and gives him a Grenade! Fale crushes Tanahashi with his boot while White crawls over. White has Fale stand down so he can finish Tanahashi.
White drags Tananashi up, fireman’s carry, Death Valley Driver! Cover, TWO!? Tanahashi survives but White isn’t done. He slashes the throat, drags Tanahashi, but ends up in Twist ‘n’ Shout! Fale whips Tanahashi but Tanahashi reverses to another Twist ‘n’ Shout! Red Shoes keeps Gedo out of the ring, but White gets a chair in the distraction! White swings but misses, Tanahashi slingblades White down! Tanahashi sees Fale coming, and manages a German Suplex! Gedo is in, but his brass knuckles miss to get a slap! White SMACKS Tanahashi from behind! Fans boo as White gets away with it. Dragon screw to the mat! And another! And then an inverted Figure Four! Okada wants to get in but Fale drags him back out. Tanahashi endures while Okada fights Fale off. So Gedo drags Okada out! Fale SPLASHES Okada! Fale lifts Okada, Bad Luck Fall!
Tanahashi still endures as White wrenches and pulls as hard as he can on the hold! Fale keeps his eyes on Okada while Tanahashi reaches and flails. Tanahashi taps, White and Fale win!!
Winners: Jay White & Bad Luck Fale, White by submission
The unthinkable has happened! The Switchblade has made the IWGP Heavyweight Champion tap out! Is the Cutthroat Era inevitable?
White picks up the belt and the mic to address Sapporo. White looks down at Tanahashi and says, “I told you that I would beat you and take this belt from you.” People think it’ll be a shock when White wins, but it will not be! White’s already beaten Tanahashi and everyone NJPW has to offer. And he made Tanahashi submit! Gedo rubs it in, but can The Ace pull off a miracle in Osaka?
White says “You can give it multiple names.” Call it Tanahashi is White’s “b*tch”, you can call it TGU: Tanahashi Gave Up. No, TTO: Tanahashi Tapped Out. That’s what the inverted figure four will be! Put it everywhere! #TTO!
Tanahashi responds by saying he used his knee as bait. White took that bait, but he wasn’t as big of a fish as Tanahashi expected. Is The Ace putting on a brave face? Or are he and his reign in more trouble than he knows?
A really great hour for NJPW, especially with big tag team matches. Evil & Sanada VS Suzuki & ZSJ was great because they knew how to play up all the story from the many, many matches all four men have had in the past. I honestly was surprised Suzuki-Gun lost, I thought they were going to end up double champions. But LIJ has been red hot, hence why they are all champions at this point, so it makes sense to keep that hot streak going. LIJ probably won’t lose those tag titles for a long time from what I can tell. No other heavyweight tag team looks strong enough right now.
Then in the special tag match for the main event, the dream team of Okada and Tanahashi had some really good chemistry with each other, and there was plenty of story to fuel this match, too. I’m a bit surprised White won, but NJPW doesn’t really use the kind of math a company like WWE would. WWE’s math would put it that White winning now means he won’t win the title in their New Beginning Osaka match, but NJPW isn’t so back and forth like that. White’s on his own hot streak, and literally has Gedo by his side, so Osaka might be the night we all Breath with the Switchblade.
My Score: 8.5/10