NJPW continues in Osaka with a major grudge match! Will The Rainmaker get revenge on the Underboss? Plus, the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship!
This coverage of New Beginning in Osaka will be as aired by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori VS Ryusuke Taguchi; Ishimori wins and retains the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
- Kazuchika Okada VS Bad Luck Fale; Okada wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set up the scene for more action in Osaka!
The Rainmaker has been falling since losing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Kenny Omega. Kazuchika Okada has slowly made his climb back up, but now he faces a truly massive challenge. Bad Luck Fale has gone from Underboss to Rogue General in the Bullet Club’s return to its roots. Will Fale cause Okada to fall even further? Or can the former champion regain a glimmer of his former self?
Plus, The Bone Soldier joined Bullet Club and became IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom, and he has his first defense. The Funky Weapon and his eclectic trio took the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships from Taiji Ishimori & The Guerrillas of Destiny, but looks to take even more. Can Taguchi prove he’s still got it? Or will Bone Soldier Reborn still reign?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori VS Ryusuke Taguchi!
We cut right to the chase as Bone Soldier steps into the ring and takes off his mask to glare at Taguchi Japan’s namesake leader. Him and his green overalls. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and Taguchi pulls off the overalls to reveal his wrestling tights. The bell rings and fans rally for Taguchi as he circles with Ishimori. Taguchi gets a leg but Ishimori counters to a facelock. Taguchi puts Ishimori on the ropes and gives a clean break. Fans applaud and the two go again. They tie up and Taguchi wrenches to a wristlock. Ishimori rolls, handsprings and cartwheels to reverse the wrench. Taguchi roll and rolls and rolls, but only makes the wristlock worse for himself. He rolls once more but Ishimori shifts to a hammerlock.
Ishimori shifts to a headlock but Taguchi powers out. Things speed up and Taguchi gets an Ankle Lock! Ishimori gets free, but falls for Taguchi’s fake! Taguchi dances as he taunts Ishimori, but Ishimori mockingly applauds. Ishimori eggs Taguchi on and baits him into a dropkick. Taguchi is down on the outside, but now Ishimori fakes him out! And Ishimori copies the dance! Fans love it but Taguchi is very upset. Taguchi says that’s his Sailor Boy dance, not Ishimori’s! But Taguchi gets back in, only for Ishimori to stomp him. Ishimori throws hands but Taguchi hits back. Ishimori puts Taguchi in a corner and whips corner to corner. Taguchi reverses but Ishimori goes Spider-Man to go under and around. Ishimori shoulders in then springboard seated sentons Taguchi down! Fans applaud while Taguchi bails out.
Ishimori waits as the ring count climbs. Taguchi gets back in at 5 but Ishimori is on him with a cravat. Taguchi endures as Ishimori jams his shoulder in. Ishimori stalks Taguchi to a corner, then brings him around for an over-the-shoulder backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Taguchi sits up but Ishimori is on him. Taguchi throws body shots and runs, but into Ishimori’s kick. Ishimori snapmares and cranks the neck with his feet! Taguchi clutches the neck but Ishimori is on him with a chinlock. Ishimori grinds Taguchi but Taguchi fights his way up. Taguchi fights out, runs, but back into the chinlock! Ishimori throws Taguchi down and pulls back! Taguchi endures and reaches, ropebreak with his leg! Ishimori lets go but brings Taguchi up. Taguchi throws up and runs, but his Funky Weapon gets an atomic drop! Ishimori runs, Taguchi follows, but again the Funky Weapon gets the atomic drop!
Ishimori grins as he brings Taguchi up. He whips but Taguchi reverses and he dropkicks Ishimori out of the ring! Taguchi’s back keeps him from pursuing right away. Fans rally up as Taguchi runs, triangle crossbody! Direct hit! Taguchi puts Ishimori in fast, springboard missile dropkick! Ishimori bails out but Taguchi builds speed to FLY! Direct hit at the ramp! Fans fire up for Taguchi as he drags Ishimori up. Taguchi puts Ishimori in at 7 out of 20, then covers. TWO, but Taguchi keeps his cool. Taguchi drags Ishimori up for a snap suplex. He holds on and spins, that’s Uno Amigo! Then Does Amigos! Ishimori resists the suplex, but Taguchi resists the counter suplex, to hit Three Amigos! Cover, TWO!
Taguchi keeps moving as he brings Ishimori up. He double chicken wings but Ishimori resists. Taguchi clubs Ishimori and back suplexes, but Ishimori lands on his feet! Taguchi kicks and whips but Ishimori handsprings and enzugiris! Both men are down but fans cheer Taguchi on. Taguchi gets to a corner while Ishimori stands up. Ishimori runs in, blocks boots and enziguris Taguchi in the back. Ishimori runs side to side for the Sliding German! The Bone Soldier is in control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns and Ishimori aims at Taguchi from across the ring. He runs in but misses in the corner! Taguchi still clutches his neck but Ishimori is on him. Ishimori fireman’s carry but Taguchi slips out to a waistlock. Ishimori standing switches but Taguchi drop toehold. Taguchi has the Ankle Lock, but Ishimori throws him off. Taguchi dropkicks the leg out, then La Majistrol! TWO, but right to the Ankle Lock! Ishimori endures and crawls for the ropes. Ishimori gets the ropebreak and Taguchi lets go. Taguchi keeps his cool as he brings Ishimori up. Taguchi gives Ishimori a shin breaker to a gourd buster! Fans fire up as Taguchi shouts out the King of Strong Style! Taguchi runs in, Bum-a-ye! Cover, TWO!! Ishimori survives but Taguchi’s right on that Ankle Lock!
Ishimori endures the hold again as Taguchi goes in deep. But Ishimori crawls and gets the ropebreak again! Taguchi lets go but brings Ishimori back up. Double chicken wing but countered to a victory roll! TWO, and Taguchi tilt-o-whirls, but into the Bloody Cross gutbuster! Both men are down but fans are rallying. Ishimori is up first and says BANG! He drags Taguchi up again, but Bloody Sunday is countered with a roll, into the Ankle Lock! Ishimori reaches again, but Taguchi pulls him away! And smashes the knee into the mat! Taguchi puts all he has into the crank, but Ishimori refuses to quit! Ishimori drags himself towards the ropes again, but Taguchi reel shim in, DODON!! Cover, TWO!? Ishimori somehow survives! But Taguchi won’t let up, he fires up! Taguchi drags Ishimori up again, torture rack, but Ishimori pops out. Taguchi runs but into a big clothesline!
Both men are down again and Taguchi’s eyes are wide and glazed. They both get to opposite corners, but Ishimori fires up and runs in! Double knees! Taguchi slumps over but Ishimori isn’t done. Ishimori fireman’s carry, pop-up to a powerslam! Cover, TWO!! Taguchi survives that Death Valley Jackhammer fusion but Ishimori drags him up again. Bloody Sunday denied again, enziguri! Chicken wings, but Ishimori slips out of Dodon to get Taguchi up for Bloody Cross! Cover, Ishimori wins!
Winner: Taiji Ishimori, by pinfall; still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
The Funky Weapon shows he’s still got it, but Bone Soldier shows he has more! Ishimori makes his first defense a success, and is calling out Jushin Thunder Liger?! Liger is at commentary, but he takes off the headset! Liger heads to the ring as fans cheer. Ishimori watches the legendary Junior Heavyweight take up the mic. Liger acknowledges the champion, and knows Ishimori wanted him to get in the ring. And the reason why seems Ishimori wants to defend his title against Liger. Ishimori confirms by holding the belt up. Liger says Ishimori will regret it. “You shouldn’t be messing with the big boys.”
Liger tells “sonny boy” that if he wants to call out a superior, then he’s ready to take that belt from him, any time, any place. Fans cheer the legend, and it seems the challenge has been accepted! Will the legend have one more run with the belt? Or will Bone Soldier Reborn grow his own legend off of Liger?
Kota Ibushi heads to the ring!
The Golden Star surprises Osaka as he walks out not to wrestle, but to speak. Ibushi lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to Will Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom, and hasn’t wrestled since because of injuries from that match. Ibushi takes up the mic to tell Osaka he wants to talk to them about something. “My neck, and my head, and my everything else… I apologize for making you worry.” But Ibushi is happy to be able to speak to them like this. Ibushi says that he’s “going to remain in NJPW!” Fans are excited to hear the hottest free agent is staying with them! “And next month, the New Japan Cup will be my comeback!” Ibushi promises he’s not going anyway. “I’m gonna leave it all in the ring of NJPW! Thank you for your continued support!” Ibushi bows and fans cheer, because the Golden Star will rise again!
Kazuchika Okada VS Bad Luck Fale!
Last Summer, The Rainmaker dropped the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Kenny Omega and dropped off from his usual excellence. He lost to The Ace, he lost to the Switchblade, and he lost Gedo when he defected to the Bullet Club. But Okada has scratched and clawed his way back in hopes of returning to the top. Can Okada get past the Rogue General? Or will he be felled by a Tongan Grenade?
Being a general, Fale of course has back-up in the form of Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi. The Crown Jewel and Tokyo Pimp will surely need to be watched closely. Okada makes his entrance and this special singles match begins. Okada tosses his jacket at Fale then throws forearms! The bell rings and Okada runs, but into Fale’s boot! Fale tells Okada off for that move, but Okada goes to scoop him. Fale clubs and forearms Okada away but runs into Okada’s boots. Okada runs and fires forearms but Fale only staggers. Okada keeps trying and gets Fale down to a knee. Fale shoves Okada away but Okada dumps him out. Okada slingshots and takes him out! Fale clutches his arm after the impact with the railing! But Okada’s right up and on an announce desk! Fans fire up with Okada as he goes back to Fale.
Okada clubs Fale then stares Chase down. Chase plays innocent, and Okada turns around to get run over by Fale! Fale pulls barriers aside and grabs a chair! The referee is too busy with Fale to see Chase and Yujiro stomp Okada out! Fans boo but they get away with it while Red Shoes takes the chair from Fale. Fale returns to the ring and Chase again plays innocent. Red Shoes begins the ring count, and it reaches 8 before Okada stirs. Okada gets up and in at 12, but Fale’s on him with more stomps. Fale stands on Okada to use that 350+ pound frame to crush him! Fale backs off at 4 but stomps Okada again. Chase and Yujiro cheer Fale on as he forearms Okada in the back.
Fale stalks Okada along the ropes to give him more forearms to the back. Okada falls over and Fale uses one knee to cover him. ONE, but Fale keeps on Okada with forearms. Okada hits back but Fale clubs him down again. Fale stands Okada up and whips, big back drop sends Okada flying! Okada bails out but he falls to the floor as he coughs and gasps for air. Another ring count begins and passes 10 before Okada really moves. Chase fans Fale off while the count climbs to 15! Okada stands at 16 and gets in at 19! Fale drags Okada up but Okada hits back with forearms! Fale swings but Okada dodges. Okada tries and manages a scoop, but Fale’s weight brings him down! Cover, TWO! Okada still has life but Fale drops an elbow on his back.
Chase and Yujiro taunt Okada’s pain while Fale drops another elbow. Fans cheer Okada on as Fale pulls him back by his hair. Fale covers, TWO! Chase and Yujiro taunt Okada, but Okada tries another scoop. Fale is still too big so Okada throws forearms. Fale body blows then whips, but Okada dodges and rams him with the elbow! It staggers Fale, Okada manages the scoop slam! Fans fire up but Okada’s back still slows him down. Okada throws more forearms into Fale then whips. Fale reverses but Okada holds the ropes. Okada drop toeholds Fale into ropes, then runs to basement dropkick! Okada fires up and fans join him. He runs in corner to corner for a big elbow! Then he kicks to hit the DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his cool while Chase and Yujiro coach Fale up.
Okada drags Fale around and then climbs up top. Fale gets up but Okada leaps over him. Okada turns around but Fale runs him over again. Fale drags Okada up to the fireman’s carry, Samoan Drop! Cover, TWO! Fans applaud Okada’s resilience but Fale grows frustrated. Fale wants to end this and he brings Okada back up. Fale prepares the bomb but Okada resists. Okada manages a back drop of his own! But his bad back bothers him again. Both Okada and Fale are down again while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again as Okada and Fale slowly sit up. Okada suddenly kips up! He throws forearms on Fale but Fale only staggers. Fale hits back hard, but Okada stays on his feet. Okada throws several forearms but Fale throws one and it staggers Okada again. Fans rally up and Okada brings more forearms to Fale. Fale falls to a knee but gets back up for another heavy answer. Fale eggs Okada on so Okada dropkicks him to a corner! Okada brings Fale out and wants the Alabama lift. He swings Fale around for the reverse neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his cool as he positions Fale again. Okada climbs and fans rally, Okada hits the Macho Elbow! But he’s not done there, he hits the pose!
Chase warns Fale but Okada still wristlocks. Fale fights free but Okada clubs him. Okada runs but into a clubbing clothesline! Cover, TWO!! Fale looks to be slowing down, but he still whips Okada to a corner. Fale runs in for a big corner splash, and Okada flops to the mat. Big splash from Fale! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and Fale can’t believe it. Fale drags Okada up again, and wants to finish this. He lifts, Bad Luck Fall escaped as Okada uses the ropes! Okada shoulders in then forearms back. Okada climbs and leaps for a missile dropkick! Fans fire up with Okada as he brings Fale up again. Okada gut wrenches but Chase distracts on the apron. Okada knocks Chase down, then runs at Fale, but Fale uses Red Shoes as a shield! Yujiro attacks!
Fans boo as Chase helps Yujiro stomp Okada out. Yujiro hits Okada with a Fisherman Buster, and Chase adds the Shining Wizard! Fans boo harder as Chase brings Okada up again. But it’s YOSHI-HASHI to the rescue! The Head Hunter is still loyal to Okada and he fights off the Bullet Club! But gets run over by Fale! Fale returns to Okada but Okada fights back with forearms and uppercuts! Okada runs, dodges Fale’s clotheslines, but not the SPEAR! Fale drags Okada up and lifts, but Okada escapes Bad Luck Fall again! Okada dropkicks Fale in the back, then whips for another dropkick to the front! Fans fire up as Okada drags Fale up. Wristlock, swing out, but Fale grabs Okada by the throat! Fale lifts Okada but Okada dropkicks the Grenade away!
Okada swings Fale, spins, but Fale counters to GRENADE! Red Shoes revives as Fale covers, TWO!? Okada somehow survives! Osaka hits a fever pitch as Fale catches his breath. Fale positions Okada in a drop zone. Okada anchors a foot but Fale stomps with the other. Fale gets free of Okada, and goes to a corner to climb!? Okada stops him on the top rope, but Fale hits him back. Okada dropkicks Fale to sit him down! Fans cheer while Chase and Yujiro panic. Okada climbs up and brings Fale to the very top, for a SUPERPLEX!! Okada’s back takes some damage from that fall but he powers through the pain. He brings Fale up but Fale hits back with clobbering forearms. Fale swings, but into Okada’s spinning RAINMAKER! Okada keeps going, wristlock to THE RAINMAKER! Cover, Okada wins!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall
The glimmer of hope shines bright! Okada wins big against the Underboss and celebrates with Yoshi-Hashi. With the New Japan Cup on the horizon, will Okada go all the way and bring about the Rainmaker Redemption?
Bad Luck Fale and the Bullet Club warn Yoshi-Hashi. “Yoshi-Hashi, you are a cheater. Kazuchika Okada, you are a cheater!” Will the Bullet Club’s bad mood be uplifted with New Japan Cup success?
Meanwhile, Kazuchika Okada is happy to have finally hit The Rainmaker in a match again. And he’s happy that it got him the victory again. “Man, that match was long.” And Okada doesn’t care how many Bullet Club members hit the ring, Yoshi-Hashi is more than enough. The clowns better take Okada and Hashi seriously. A long match and a heavy opponent, that’s what pro-wrestling is about. This will definitely give Okada the momentum he needs for New Japan Cup. He’ll take on the “comeback kid” and the IWGP Intercontinental Champion. It doesn’t matter who, Okada vows to kick his ass, because he is THE history-making IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Who will Okada meet in the Cup? Who will stand in his way of returning to the top?
This was a solid hour for NJPW on AXS, and with something rare for NJPW as far as I’ve seen. I didn’t expect Kota Ibushi to come out and talk, though obviously it wasn’t going to be an in-ring promo like other promotions do. Ibushi gave us an honest update that he’s perfectly okay to return to the ring. Ibushi in the New Japan Cup is great, Ibushi in NJPW full-time is great, and Ibushi against just about anyone in the Cup, after the cup, for a title, it’s going to be great. It’d be amazing if Ibushi won the tournament, to then challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Ibushi staying in NJPW was surely part of why they gave him the NEVER Openweight title, and it could give them reason to give him more titles since he won’t be taking them to other promotions.
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship was a great match, I like the touch of “You Still Got It!” moment for Taguchi. In fact, an American crowd might’ve chanted something like that after that tope conjilo spot of Taguchi’s. But this was Ishimori’s first defense and Ishimori needs to look strong, so he obviously won. Ishimori VS Liger is going to be great, but with word that Liger is truly retiring soon, Ishimori is of course going to find a way to win this. Liger putting Ishimori over in a title match is great for Ishimori, that is going to boost Ishimori’s standings substantially. Okada VS Fale was pretty good, even with the Bullet Club attacking and Hashi making the save. It was great story for Okada to overcome the bigger and stronger Fale, and naturally Okada wins to feed his story.
Okada in the Cup is going to be great, and him calling out Ibushi and Naito means at least one of those matches happens. This is obviously too early to say who wins the whole thing, but any one of them would make a great opponent for Jay White as there’s story for all of them. Okada owes White for the many losses since the G1 Climax, Naito wants to be a dual champion, and Ibushi never faced Jay White in G1 Climax 28, so they’d be a completely fresh match-up.
My Score: 8.4/10