AXS begins coverage of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2019!
Dragon Lee will defend his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Taiji Ishimori 1v1! Who will be THE top Junior Heavyweight in NJPW?
Coverage of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2019 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii VS EVIL & SANADA; EVIL & SANADA win.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Dragon Lee VS Taiji Ishimori; Lee wins and retains the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene for Wrestling Dontaku 2019!
The Golden Week tradition continues! The Bone Soldier lost his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in a fast and furious Triple Threat at G1 Supercard! When the dust settled, CMLL’s Dragon Lee pinned ROH’s Bandido to take the title! But Taiji Ishimori gets a 1v1 rematch to see if he can take that title back! Who sets the pace for the Summer’s Super Junior tournament?
But first, it is Chaos VS Los Ingobernables de Japon in a tag match with major implications! It was in the New Japan Cup that Kazuchika Okada defeated Sanada to win it all! The Rainmaker then finished his road to redemption by taking the IWGP Heavyweight Championship back from Jay White! And now, Okada will keep his promise to the Cold Skull that his very first defense will be against him! But Okada VS Sanada happens next time! Tonight is a preview as Okada has the Stone Pitbull by his side while Evil joins Sanada! Tomohiro Ishii has a fight with the King of Darkness next time as well, so which duo gets the most out of this 2v2 before they all go 1v1?
Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii VS EVIL & SANADA!
We skip the intros to get to the action! Okada has to keep Ishii back so that he can start against Sanada. The bell rings and fans are already thunderous with dueling! Sanada and Okada give us the preview of the title match already as they circle and feel it out. They tie up and Okada wrenches Sanada to a wristlock. Sanada reverses the wrench but Okada reverses it back. Okada headlocks and grinds Sanada, but Sanada fights with body shots. Sanada powers out but Okada runs him over! Fans cheer as things speed up. Sanada hurdles and Okada leaps, but then they each dodge clotheslines. Okada kicks and whips but runs into an elbow. Sanada moonsaults but Okada gets under it only to run into a dragon sleeper!
Okada arm-drags free and reels Sanada but Sanada dodges the Rainmaker to try and steal it! Okada ducks it to get a dragon sleeper! Sanada slips out to a roll up, TWO! Fans exchange this amazing opening exchange, and both men take a breath. Okada and Sanada circle, but Ishii and Evil want in. Their partners oblige and now Ishii and Evil collide! Neither backs down so Ishii fires forearms. Ishii runs but Evil tanks the shoulder again. Ishii goes again and Evil rebounds to come back with another shoulder. But Ishii does the same only to run into Evil’s forearm. Evil runs but Ishii stays up! They start throwing forearms and CHOPS! Ishii dodges and runs to bump and then finally runs Evil over!
Ishii drags Evil up but Evil throws forearms. They do nothing to Ishii, so now they start trading shots again. Ishii hits, Evil hits, repeat! They pick up speed as fans rally behind them! Ishii and Evil finally slow down, but throw even bigger forearms. Ishii staggers! But comes back to stagger Evil! Evil stays up to hit back, so Ishii hits and runs. Into Evil’s sidewalk slam! Sanada hits Okada for good measure, classic LIJ tactics. Chaos is in trouble while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Sanada whips Okada into railing! Evil stomps Ishii then CHOPS him. Ishii eggs Evil on so Evil CHOPS him again. And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Ishii still wants more so Evil CHOPS him off his feet! Evil stomps a mudhole into Ishii but the ref backs him off. Ishii slowly stands but Sanada tags in. Sanada elbows Ishii but then Ishii hits Evil! Sanada rakes Ishii’s eyes and tags Evil back in. Evil stomps Ishii down then drags him up for a scoop slam. He drops the senton, too! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer but Evil tags Sanada. Sanada stomps Ishii and then brings him to a corner. Sanada CHOPS Ishii a few times, but Ishii springs up. Ishii takes more CHOPS, then gives CHOPS! He backs Sanada down but gets a European Uppercut for it.
Sanada whips Ishii corner to corner but runs into a boot. He staggers away but dropkicks Ishii’s legs. Ishii staggers, and still gets Sanada for a powerslam! Fans rally up as both men crawl, hot tag to Evil! Evil drags Ishii away just in time, then goes after a leg. Evil fisherman but Ishii counters to his own suplex! Both men are down and Ishii tags in Okada! Okada rallies on Evil with forearms and elbows! He whips but Evil reverses, but Okada dodges to elbow Evil down! Evil bails out but Okada slingshots out onto him! Okada gets on the announce desk to fire up with the fans! He goes back to Evil and puts him in. He runs in corner to corner for a big elbow! And then a kick to DDT! Cover, TWO!
Okada keeps his cool as he looms over Evil. Evil slowly stands and Okada lifts him. Evil resists and turns but Okada elbows out. Okada boots but Evil sends that to the ref! Evil mule kicks Okada in the gut! Tag to Sanada and he brings Okada up. Okada kicks but is countered with a takedown. Okada kicks Sanada away but runs into a fireman’s carry. He rolls through to a sunset flip but Sanada rolls through, too. Sanada grabs the legs but Okada shoves him away. Sanada runs back in, but into a flapjack! Okada drags Sanada up and scoop slams him down. He goes to the corner, but Sanada gets under. Things speed up again and Sanada dropkicks Okada! Then hits Ishii for good measure. Sanada HIGH back suplexes Okada! Cover, TWO!
Sanada keeps his cool as he drags Okada back up. He wants the dragon sleeper, but Okada fights with his legs. Okada reaches but Sanada drags him away. Okada keeps kicking, but Sanada pops him to chicken wings. Sanada lifts but Okada escapes the tiger suplex for a cobra clutch! Sanada endures and arm-drags out, but runs into a gut wrench! He slips out to a dragon sleeper! But Okada lifts for the air raid neckbreaker! Both men are down but Okada heads over, tag to Ishii! Ishii runs but Sanada ducks. Ishii bucks Sanada off but runs into a kick, only to roar! Sanada knees low then whips but Ishii reverses. Sanada tumbles out and springboards in with a missile dropkick! He takes Ishii down and tags Evil!
Evil hits Okada first then aims at Ishii. Evil runs but Ishii blocks the clothesline. Ishii swings but Evil counters and whips. Evil blocks the boot but not forearms, yet still gives a clothesline! Fireman’s carry, Darkness Falls! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives but Evil doesn’t let that scare him. Evil slashes the throat and drags Ishii up. Spin to STO but Ishii fights out! Ishii saido suplexes Evil down! Both men are on the mat but crawling to opposite corners. Ishii runs in but Evil dodges, and Sanada hits Ishii with an elbow! Feed to mule kick, front kick and LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! The Stone Pitbull survives but LIJ vows to end this! They drag Ishii up, but Ishii fights out of Magic Killer to German Suplex Evil! Okada dropkicks Sanada!
Okada kicks Sanada further out and Ishii runs to LARIAT Evil! Cover, TWO!? Evil survives but Ishii just grits his teeth. He drags Evil up, suplexes, but Evil fights out. Ishii forearms while Sanada whips Okada into railing. Evil swings into Ishii’s spin, but it’s Evil who suplexes! MAGIC KILLER!! But Evil’s not done with Ishii, he puts on the leg lock with a Scorpion Deathlock! Ishii endures the Sharpshooter, a move his own mentor helped popularize. Ishii crawls while Sanada keeps Okada out. Evil drags Ishii away! Sanada has Okada in the dragon sleeper, and SKULL END! Dual submissions are on but Okada and Ishii both endure! Fans rally both ways as Ishii powers his way back up, only to fall back down. Ishii is out, LIJ wins!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, by referee stoppage
Ishii didn’t give up, but it was too dangerous to continue. Will Evil make Ishii truly give up in their 1v1 match next time? As for Okada and Sanada, will the Cold Skull get Skull End on again to truly become the best in NJPW? Or will Okada make it rain once again?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Dragon Lee VS Taiji Ishimori!
The Bone Soldier Reborn issued an open challenge for the title to any Junior Heavyweight in the world. And he didn’t just get one challenger, but two! It was NJPW VS CMLL VS ROH, and CMLL won! But now Dragon Lee will give Ishimori a fair rematch that’s just 1v1. Will Lee stay the best Junior in NJPW? Or will Ishimori get the belt back to add it alongside the stolen mask of Lee?
The introductions are made, with Lee wearing one of Hiromu Takahashi’s masks as a shout out to his friend and rival. The belt is then presented and we begin!
Fans cheer as Lee and Ishimori circle. Lee offers a handshake but Ishimori kicks it away. They tie up and Lee waistlocks. Ishimori standing switches but Lee headlocks, only for Ishimori to slip down to a single leg and headlock of his own. Lee slips out to a float over but gets a headscissors. Lee pops out and fans cheer this fast opening. They go again and Lee gets a takedown to toehold. Ishimori goes after the arm but Lee blocks and turns to lace the legs to a lock. He floats to a headlock but Ishimori stands. They roll and Ishimori wristlocks, but Lee handsprings and arm-drags. Ishimoari arm-drags but Lee sweeps, only for Ishimori to sweep. They both handspring and fans applaud this second, even better exchange.
Ishimori and Lee circle as fans rally up. They tie up and Ishimori kicks low. Ishimori headlocks and grinds but Lee fights with elbows. Lee is free and headlocks back. Ishimori powers out but Lee runs him over. Things speed up and Ishimori hurdles while Lee leaps. Ishimori handsprings and headscissors to a neck crank! Lee writhes but Ishimori takes a moment to adjust his pads. Ishimori stands Lee up to CHOP him in the corner. He whips Lee corner to corner but Lee reverses to hit a helluva kick! Lee throws forearms then runs corner to corner but Ishimori follows! Ishimori gets Lee with a clothesline! Ishimori runs in again but blocks boots. He turns Lee sideways to kick him in the back. Ishimori runs but Lee slingshots, dodges and whips. Ishimoari handsprings but Lee follows to huricanrana!
Lee keeps moving to FLY! Direct hit takes down the Bone Soldier! The referee checks on both men but they’re okay to continue. Lee stomps Ishimori and stretches him out as the 20 count reaches 10. Lee puts Ishimori in at 12 and then climbs up top. Fans rally as he slingshots and somersaults to a shotgun! Lee fires forearms on Ishimori in the corner, then goes corner to corner for a basement dropkick! Lee shouts out Shibata with the cross-leg sitting pose. Fans cheer as Lee toys with Ishimori. Lee dares Ishimori to get up but goes after him with a knee smash! Ishimori writhes but Lee goes after the leg again, knee-to-knee smash! Lee drags Ishimori up for underhooks but Ishimori drops to block. Lee clubs and whips but Ishimori handsprings to enziguri!
Fans cheer while both men are down. Ishimori sits up then gets his legs working. He goes back to Lee to bring him up in a cravat. Lee endures but Ishimori gives sharp knees into him. Ishimori hoists Lee up and climbs up behind. He goes after the mask! Red Shoes counts and Ishimori stops that. But he puts Lee in a Tree of Woe for a corner to corner basement dropkick! Lee flops out but Ishimori brings him up for a back to back backbreaker. Cover, ONE! Ishimori keeps his cool while Lee writhes. Ishimori drops a knee right to the head, then covers, ONE! Lee continues to survive but Ishimori snapmares him into a chinlock. Ishimori grinds Lee down but Lee fights his way up. Lee fights out but runs into the sleeper. Ishimori throws Lee down and has the chinlock again.
Lee endures and drags himself over, ropebreak! Ishimori lets go but keeps his cool. Lee gets to a corner and Ishimori runs in, but blocks the boots again. Another kick, and Ishimori runs side to side, Sliding German Suplex! Ishimori comes back but Lee flops out. Fans rally up while Lee catches his breath. But Ishimori runs to the corner, triangle moonsault! The Bone Soldier has control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Ishimori fetches Lee. He puts Lee back in the ring and then covers, TWO! Lee lives and fans cheer but Ishimori grows annoyed. Ishimori drags Lee up but Lee resists the suplex. Lee dodges but Ishimori follows, but Lee sees him coming! He catches Ishimori with a wheelbarrow roll-up! TWO, and Ishimori shotgun dropkicks Lee to a corner! Ishimori runs corner to corner for double knees! Ishimori drags Lee to a cover, TWO! Lee is tiring but he still isn’t done. Ishimori isn’t done, either, and he drags Lee up. Lee slips out of the suplex but Ishimori elbows him back. Ishimori runs, but into an STO! Both men are down but fans rally up. Lee gets up first and goes after Ishimori. He full nelsons but Ishimori breaks free, so Lee gets the straitjacket German instead! Bridging cover, TWO!
Lee stands up again and fires up with the fans. He goes to Ishimori in the corner to CHOP! And then he stomps away before whipping corner to corner. Ishimori goes Spider-Man to slide under and around and shoulder in. He springboards but into Lee’s arms! Lee suplexes to a fireman’s, but crucifix driver!! Cover, TWO!! Lee escapes by the skin of his teeth but Ishimori just grits his. Ishimori kicks but Lee rolls him, to a deadlift sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO!! Ishimori survives but Lee is too tired to be frustrated. Ishimori rolls away but Lee follows. Lee runs and leaps to huricanrana Ishimori to the floor! But Lee still had a rough landing, too. He still stands and whips Ishimori into railing. And then back into the ring, but Ishimori handsprings to arm-drag Lee into railing!
Both men are down so the 20 count returns. It passes 10 before either man sits up. It passes 15 before either stands, and it’s at 19.9 that both men get back in! Lee and Ishimori crawl towards each other and they start brawling on the mat. Ishimori hits but Lee responds, and repeat. Neither one backs off, they only stand up. Ishimori hits, Lee hits, repeat. They pick up speed, but then Ishimori is dazed! Lee drags Ishimori back up to keep throwing forearms. Ishimori comes back again, and then gets the edge. Lee back kicks Ishimori down! Lee whips but Ishimori handsprings, into a German Supelx! But Ishimori lands on his feet!
They both clothesline, but Lee SUPERKICKS and Ishimori BOOTS back! Ishimori runs into a REBOUND German, but he’s up again for a running DESTROYER! Ishimori runs but Lee is right up for a Northern Lights to Falcon Arrow! Both men are down but the fans are thunderous! Lee crawls to a cover, TWO! Ishimori still lives, but both he and Lee are exhausted. Fans rally up and Lee stands first. Lee drags Ishimori up and to a corner. He puts Ishimori on the top rope then climbs up from the other side. He throws forearms to put Ishimori in the Tree of Woe. Lee hits Woe Stomps!! Cover, TWO!? Ishimori survives and Lee is beside himself! Fans rally as Lee drags Ishimori up. Lee pops Ishimori up but Ishimori huricanranas! And covers! TWO!!
Lee gets up right away to kick and whip Ishimori, but gets a tilt-o-whirl takedown to a crossface! Ishimori pulls Lee back but Lee endures. Lee drags himself towards ropes but Ishimori rolls him way! Lee is far away from ropes now as Ishimori just cranks back! He refuses to quit and drags himself along. Lee reaches but Ishimori rolls him away again! Fans rally and scream but Lee refuses as he reaches out with a leg, ROPEBREAK! Ishimori lets go and Lee is almost motionless. Ishimori drags Lee up and to a gut wrench, BLOODY CROSS! Cover, TWO!? Lee lives and Ishimori can’t believe it! Fans rally while Ishimori takes aim. Ishimori says BANG, then drags Lee up. Lee escapes Bloody Sunday but gets a knee! To give a knee! REVERSE-RANA! Ishimori’s right up! But into a Snap German!
Lee fires up again, knee trigger! Cover, TWO!! Ishimori keeps surviving and fans keep cheering! After all, this is to be THE best Junior in NJPW! Lee drags Ishimori up to another lift, DESNUCADORA!! Cover, Lee wins!!
Winner: Dragon Lee, by pinfall; still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
His first defense is successful! Lee is the best Junior in NJPW today, and we’ll have his celebration after the break.
NJPW returns once more…
And fans are chanting Lee’s name as he takes up the mic. Lee says hi to his pals, Rocky Romero and Kota Ibushi, at commentary, then hi to Japan and the fans in attendance. Lee is happy, and fans are happy he’s happy. He dedicates this win “with lots of love” to Hiromu Takahashi. Lee holds onto the old Kamaitachi mask, along with this belt, because he awaits Hiromu’s return! Because he wants “More, more, more!” Lee thanks Japan for all the love, “domo arigato”. The fans cheer Lee as the confetti streamers fly! Dragon Lee is perhaps the best Junior in NJPW and CMLL, but what will we see out of him and the rest of the Divison in the 2019 Super Juniors Tournament?
NJPW Media Backstage Interviews
“Gracias, domo arigato, and also thanks to the people of Japan.” For the cards, the gifts, the chants in support of a wrestler not of your land. Lee is very thankful Japan loves him, because he loves them very much, too. And because of that support, he has been able to complete a dream here in NJPW. But will his dream continue to come true through the Summer?
NJPW never ceases to deliver. Just two matches for this hour, which is standard for them, but both were really strong matches. Okada & Ishii VS Evil & Sanada was a great tag match, all four men are big stars and in the case of Evil and Sanada, they’re only getting bigger. Ishii VS Evil will be great but given Okada VS Sanada in the New Japan Cup for the cup being amazing, Okada VS Sanada for the top prize in NJPW will be amazing, I can’t wait. But even the Junior Heavyweights are amazing and allowed to be amazing in NJPW. Lee VS Ishimori was incredible, and it shows the strength of the working relationship between NJPW and CMLL. Lee’s interview after was very much the reality, that the Japanese audience is learning to love foreigners because they know it’s all about talent, period.
Everyone is hoping, maybe even expecting, Hiromu to return in the Super Juniors Tournament this year, and I really want that, too. Hiromu going through that tournament will make for a ton of great rematches and moments, and who knows, he might even win it to give us a title rematch with Lee at Dominion. And even if he doesn’t, it’ll just be great to have him back so that he can go after the winner from Dominion or whenever.
My Score: 8.5/10