Well we told you Mathew was gonna cover it, and he had a small break from Stardom to add his expertise to the first two days of New Year Wars 2019. All Japan coverage time!
Welcome to our first All Japan Pro Wrestling show of the new year and last time I covered AJPW, I did the Real World Tag League where The Bomber won the whole thing and they’ll be fighting Violent Giants in this show.
If you’re reading the title right, it’s showing two days on there and that’s because I will be covering the two title matches that happened on the January 2nd show and then cover the whole January 3rd show.
We got a lot to cover and 2018 was a great year for AJPW but now let’s see how 2019 will go for them. Let’s find out as we…dive right in.
World Junior Heavyweight Title Match
Koji Iwamoto (c) vs. Yusuke Okada
Review: Our first title match for this show is for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship where Koji Iwamoto will defend his title against Yusuke. The junior division I’m not too crazy about in the company due to the lack of depth, so I didn’t pay much attention to it during the last few months but gonna give it a shot instead of just covering one match on this show. Yusuke came back a couple of months ago and he looks to be back in the mix for a title opportunity as he fights Koji, who won it back from Shuji Kondo. Will Koji retain the title or Yusuke becomes the new champion?
Now that I’ve seen this match, I can say it’s a step in the right direction for the division as a whole since you got Koji Iwamoto, who is a very talented individual that could very well be the one that would be a great leader to the division and then someone like Yusuke Okada to be a strong contender. Koji is someone I’ve always enjoyed when I see him wrestle in the ring but the lack of depth in the division made it hard for me to care about it as a whole that this was a very pleasant surprise to see. Okada came back better than ever since his return from injury and would show his progress in the ring.
Okada would start to destroy Koji with his Lariats to weaken him a little bit but Koji would still find a way to kick out of them. Okada attempts to finish him off with a Fisherman Buster but Koji would fight out of it and hits a quick STO before he would get him up for a Superplex and the competitors are down. Koji went to look to finish Okada off as Okada would struggle for a little bit until he got caught in a Dragon Suplex and a German Suplex Hold for a two count. Koji would finally hit the Koko no Geijutsu for the pinfall victory and I wish Ronda Rousey would use this throw as her finish instead, would look amazing. Okada puts up a good fight but not at that level where he needs to be just yet, so hard to make it a bit believable for him. Nobody else came out to challenge Koji as he celebrates his victory in a solid bout.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
World Tag Team Title Match
Violent Giants (Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama) (c) vs. The Bomber (Dylan James & Joe Doering)
Review: Our main event of this show and final match is Violent Giants defending their titles against the Real World Tag League winners, The Bomber. The two teams would fight in the finals of the tournament when The Bomber was able to pick up the win to know how this match here. We also found out on this show that Shuji Ishikawa is no longer a Freelancer and is now apart of the AJPW roster full-time. Will Violent Giants get some revenge to retain the titles or will The Bomber make lightning strike twice and take the titles with them this time?
The match is pretty much what you would expect it would go between these two and if you liked their first encounter during the finals, then chances are you’re going to like this one a lot better. The to would start off fairly evenly matched and the two teams would start to fight outside of the arena to the point where they would even fight up into the audience until they went back into the arena to get back to the fight. Dylan James keeps on improving and it’s about time he starts finding his voice in All Japan instead of just being a bust like the first half of his year in 2018, so I guess him teaming up with Joe Doering turned out to be the best thing to happen to him at the end of things. Violent Giants are always on point when it comes to tag team wrestling and no surprise why they’re Tokyo Sports Tag Team of the Year two years in a row.
Things start to get more intense in the ring once Suwama starts beating Doering down onto the mat before he tags in Shuji for the hot tag as him and Dylan start pummeling each other with strikes and slams. Shuji would deliver a Double Stomp onto the middle rope as he goes for a pin but Dylan kicks out at two as Joe helps his partner out by giving Shuji a Lariat and am Elbow Drop to top it off. Violent Giants start to go for a Double Powerbomb onto Dylan but Joe would break it up before he got tossed into the ropes as Joe catches them both with a Diving Body Press and the crowd goes nuts. The Bomber would look to go for their Double Piledriver onto Shuji as Suwama would fight Joe off before they could finish them off. Violent Giants start acting in sequence onto Dylan as they would hit him with a German Suplex, Backdrop Driver, and a Double Lariat to knock him down. Shuji would hit the Fire Thunder Driver but Joe breaks the count before being tossed back out again by Suwama. Shuji then has Dylan all by himself as he hits him with multiple knee strikes and does the Giant’s Slam as the Violent Giants retain the titles! After the match, Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi challenged them to a title match at the Big Japan Wrestling show on January 13th and it’s sure to be a fun time. Great match and very hard-hitting, what more could you ask for?
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half
Tag Team Match
Danji Tamura & Hokuto Omori vs. Atsuki Aoyagi & Yusuke Okada
Review: Our opening match is a regular tag team match with Yusuke Okada teaming up with Atsuki Aoyagi taking on the team of Danji Tamura and Hokuto Omori. Danji, Hokuto, and Atsuki are all new All Japan’s young lions as they made their debut on the January 2nd show and now I get to see them for this one. Will the new guys win or does Yusuke guide Atsuki to victory?
So how did our new guys fair off in this tag match? Well, I think that all three of them have potential and I don’t know who is who due to the music being cut out along with their names, but one of them had a really nice sequence with Yusuke. The match itself was an average tag match with the young lions getting showcased and all three of them had an equal chance to shine in this one. The match was about six minutes and Yusuke would have one of them in a Boston Crab to make them tap out for the victory. I wish all three of these men luck on their journey in the world of professional wrestling.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Tag Team Match
Hikaru Sato & Osamu Nishimura vs. Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshitatsu
Review: Our next match is another tag team match with Hikaru Sato and Osamu Nishimura taking on Masanobu Fuchi and Yoshitatsu. It looks like another tag match with probably some humor involved due to Fuchi being apart of it. Which one of these teams will win?
Yoshi, dude, please get rid of that Hunter Club shit. What purpose does it provide for you now? Nothing, so why keep wearing anything related to it at all? Just get rid of anything related to it already. Anyway, not that I got that little vent out of my system, I thought the match was a little bit average. The pop Fuchi still gets is an incredible feeling with the fans showing their love and support to him in the ring and even has fans resent his opponents, like how Hikaru would just kick him down and the boos he gets, is one of the loudest I’ve seen for an undercard or most of the time in general, it’s incredible. Fuchi would be in the match for pretty much the majority of it since Yoshi was only in for the beginning sequence before tagging in Fuchi. It would be Fuchi and Osamu in the ring and they would be cradled up to try and go for the pinfall as the two kick out to hold the position to pin the other but wait, Hikaru would push his partner to make him pin Fuchi and they steal the victory!
Rating: Tony Schiavone
Six Man Tag Team Match
Sweeper (Jake Lee, Koji Iwamoto & Ryouji Sai) vs. Atsushi Maruyama, Jun Akiyama & Zeus
Review: Our next match is a six-man tag match with our Sweeper members, Jake Lee, Koji Iwamoto, and Ryouji Sai taking on the team of Atsushi Maruyama, Jun Akiyama, and Zeus. I guess The Bodyguard is out with an injury since he’s not booked on this show at all. It’s always good to see Jake Lee in the ring and I feel like 2019 is going to be kind to him, but he needs to get a victory here to get some momentum. Can Sweeper sweep up the victory or will Uncle Jun and Daddy Zeus take it?
Ryouji and Zeus started the match off as the two would trade in some blows until Jake got tagged in as him and Zeus would have a little staredown before they got right into the action to fight each other. During the majority of this match was pretty much Zeus and Jun abusing Jake any chance they would get and I mean it since they just chop him down, stiff him, pretty much just beating the crap out of him and I feel like it’s tough love for Jake at this point. Once Jake was done being abused during this match, Koji would get tagged in now as he’s now in the ring with Atsushi for the remainder of the match and I wonder if he could be a potential contender for the Junior Championship? That question seems to be out of the question since Koji would just make quick work of him and hits the Koko no Geijutsu for the pinfall once Zeus was unable to break the pinfall in time. Decently paced match with more progression with Jake Lee and I wonder if he will encounter Zeus in singles action soon.
Rating: Eric Bischoff
Six Man Tag Team Match
The Bomber (Dylan James & Joe Doering) & Gianni Valletta vs. Evolution (Atsushi Aoki, Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama)
Review: We got ourselves another six-man tag match with The Bomber teaming up with Gianni Valletta since TAJIRI has a title match coming up tonight as they take on Evolution and no, not WWE’s Evolution. Evolution has Violent Giants and Atsushi Aoki in it. Yesterday, Violent Giants defeated The Bomber to retain the World Tag Team Championships as it looks like they’ll be fighting again in this match-up. Wonder if Bomber wins again they would get another rematch for the titles, only time will tell.
The Bomber would start the assault to Evolution to the outside of the ring once the bell would ring and they would start to get some of that heel heat in. Atsushi would now be the victim for the assault as he would just get chopped, slammed down, or just suffer a Lariat or two between the three men that are fighting him and Violent Giants. Suwama would help his partner out to get a little bit of offense in when he fights of Dylan a little bit, but Dylan would end his momentum with a few chops and a Lariat to the corner before hitting an Elbow Drop for a two count. Shuji would duck a Lariat for an STO and would tag in Suwama for a hot tag as he would start cleaning house for Evolution until Dylan tagged in Gianni for all three of them to try and gang up on Evolution, but Suwama would fight off Gianni and Joe for a little bit until Gianni was alone in the ring for Violent Giants to land their assault onto him. Suwama would pick Gianni up right away as he hits the Backdrop Driver for the victory as Evolution stands tall! Solid match and wonder who will Violent Giants defend the titles against next.
Rating: Eric Bischoff
GAORA TV Title Match
TAJIRI (c) vs. Minoru Fujita
Review: Our first title match for this show is TAJIRI defending the Gaora TV Championship against Minoru Fujita. TAJIRI has been on quite a roll with this title run with four successful title defenses under his belt with his last one being against Super Crazy. This is Minoru’s first match in AJPW during his entire career and he could very well take that title with him to Tokyo Gurentai. Can TAJIRI retain it again or will we have a new champion?
What can I really say about this match? I mean it wasn’t horrible by any means but at the same time, it just felt like a regular match without a title on the line, like just a special singles match. We all know TAJIRI’s glory days are long gone and he’s pretty much just having a good time with a lighter schedule to do as much as he can before he decides to fully hang it up for good. I haven’t really followed Minoru’s career all that much but I will say that he was still pretty mobile and would hit the moves he wanted to do without a problem like his dive to the outside and such. Don’t think were was anything really big that happened in the match except that Minoru would place a bag over TAJIRI’s head to blind him a little and hits a Splash off the top rope for a two count. Minoru would go back to the top rope and TAJIRI takes the bag off to spit green mist into his eyes once he jumped off the rope and does a Small Package to retain the title. Again, not a terrible match but just really standard.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
All Asia Tag Team Title Match
NEXTREAM (Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi) (c) vs. Black Menso-re & Takao Omori
Review: Our next title defense for this show is NEXTREAM defending their All Asia Tag Team Championships against Takao Omori and Black Menso-re. These two teams are no strangers to each other as the two fought on October 10th where NEXTREAM would retain the titles and it looks like they want a rematch this time around. NEXTREAM has retained their titles twice during this run and would like to add a third defense if they can beat their opponents. Can NEXTREAM retain or do they lose it in the revenge match?
If we’re going to compare the two title matches these teams had against each other, I would say they were both equally as good but this one probably had a better flow throughout, so I think I would give the edge to this one at least for the time being, I don’t really recall how the partnership between Menso and Takao happened but for some reason they would work pretty well together with their different styles of speed and impact to make them a pretty solid team. NEXTREAM would keep proving themselves as a tag team and rise up in the ranks to better themselves as partners and individuals as Naoya and Yuma are both very talented wrestlers. Black Menso-re really is a talented guy and I hope to see him as a contender for the Junior title in the future since he would have a great match with Koji.
NEXTREAM would start to double team Menso with elbows into the corner as Yuma throws him into Naoya to catch him for a Gutbuster, then Yuma does a German Suplex, and Naoya finishes the combo with a Spear and goes for a pin but Takao jumped in to break the pinfall. Nomura would try to elbow Menso would counter it with a roll-up and no matter how many times Naoya would try to break out of it, Menso would somehow get him back into the same position until he was able to finally kick out and let go. Takao gets into the ring now and hits a few Ax Bombers onto Naoya before he had him up for a Package Driver as Menso tops it off with a Double Stomp for Yuma to break the near fall. Yuma would help his partner out by giving Takao a German Suplex and then Naoya does a German Suplex hold for Menso to break up the pinfall. Naoya isn’t done just yet as he would now hit a Splash off the top rope but Tako would kick out again as Naoya has enough and picks him up for the Death Valley Driver and NEXTREAM retains their titles!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Triple Crown Title Match
Kento Miyahara (c) vs. KAI
Review: Our main event for the night is Kento Miyahara defending his Triple Crown Championship for the first time in this reign against KAI. This match took place when KAI would pin Kento during the Real World Tag League and now he looks to be the one to dethrone the ace. Kento’s goal once he won the title back from Zeus was to surpass the record for most title defenses, which is currently held by Toshiaki Kawada with ten defenses under his final reign. This will be Kento’s first one so let’s see if he can fulfill this goal. Can Kento succeed in his first title defense or will KAI ruin his plans?
Pretty explosive start right away as Kento would attempt to go for the Blackout a couple of times once the bell rang but KAI would move out of the way every time he does and they have a stare down as the crowd starts cheering for them. KAI would pretty much outsmart him for the beginning of the match and it got to the point where Kento would even be outraged and throw him into the turnbuckle post, which looked like an okay idea but it would backfire once he attempted a Blackout onto the post as KAI moved out of the way and hits a Dragon Screw on his injured leg between the post. The two would keep fighting outside of the ring for a little bit until Kento would drop him against a guardrail and the two would get back inside. I think this was KAI’s best match that I’ve seen in quite some time as KAI is one of those wrestlers that can be a hit or miss depending on the opponent he fights and he was able to go toe to toe with Kento, even the crowd was supportive of KAI during the match at some point.
Kento starts to get a comeback in as he hits a German Suplex and then quickly gets up to hit not one but two Blackouts in the match to try and knock him out but KAI managed to kick out of it when he could. KAI would attempt to kick up Kento for a Powerbomb but he would struggle for a bit until KAI gathered enough strength to make it connect but Kento kicked out at two before KAI went to the top rope for a Frog Splash, only for Kento to put his knees up and risks hurting his leg a little bit more to get enough time to recover. KAI would deliver some kicks to the face and once he Irish Whipped him, Kento would duck and hit him with a Blackout and before he could hit one more, KAI would catch him to set up for a Fire Thunder Driver as he connected for a two count. KAI would have him up on his shoulders until Kento would get off to attempt a German, but KAI rolled out of it to get caught into a European Clutch for another two count. KAI attempts to go for his signature flash pin only for Kento to power out of it and catches him in a German Suplex Hold for a two count and he would eventually hit his Shutdown German Suplex Hold for the victory and his first successful defense in this reign.
So what was the big takeaway for this match? Well, it’s really because of KAI and not knocking his performance here since he did great but it was more of he wasn’t a very believable opponent for Kento and there was not one moment in the match where it seems like he had a chance to win the belt at all. If you have Kento make a claim to break a record, why would you have him lose in the first defense and against someone like KAI? So Kento retaining was the right call and a lot of people knew it would happen despite fans being behind KAI. No new challenger came out to fight Kento, so we’ll see who they pick next. Great match and a great way to close the show.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Overall: I thought this was a pretty solid show with only two matches that were mediocre while the rest deliver us some solid matches for the most part. All the title matches except for the GAORA one were the highlights of these shows and it’s showing us promise of what’s to come in 2019.
Favorite Match: Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama vs. Dylan James & Joe Doering
Least Favorite Match: Hikaru Sato & Osamu Nishimura vs. Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshitatsu
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