It’s the AXS finale of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2019!
AXS and NJPW give us TWO hours and two championship matches! Jeff Cobb defends the NEVER Openweight Championship while Kazuchika Okada defends the IWGP Heavyweight Championship!
Coverage of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2019 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Jeff Cobb VS Taichi; Taichi wins and becomes the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
- EVIL VS Tomohiro Ishii; Ishii wins.
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA; Okada wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene for this epic Wrestling Dontaku 2019 finale!
“Legacies will be defined” as The Rainmaker pushes past redemption and moves on to reestablish himself. It was through the 2019 New Japan Cup that Kazuchika Okada earned another chance at the IWGP Heavyweight Champion and Jay White, and it was at G1 Supercard that he took that title back! The now five-time champion keeps his promise of giving Cold Skull Sanada the first shot! The story of Okada and Sanada goes back to Sanada’s debut in 2016, in which he attacked Okada on Los Ingobernables de Japon leader Tetsuya Naito’s behalf. Sanada has climbed the ranks in the singles division, but is this the night he finally proves he is worthy? Or will Okada continue to prove he’s on another level?
Meanwhile, the Stone Pitbull and the King of Darkness have recently renewed a rivalry. They teamed with Okada and Sanada in a tag team match on the first night, and it went Evil’s way when put Tomohiro Ishii in the Scorpion Deathlock, a move copied from Ishii’s mentor! However, it was the referee who called the match for the sake of Ishii’s well-being, Ishii did not submit. Will Evil finally make Ishii give in? Or will Ishii get revenge for Evil adding insult to injury?
NEVER Openweight Championship: Jeff Cobb VS Taichi!
The Hawaiian Hulk has a title belt in both ROH and NJPW! But that only means more work for the Olympic wrestler, and that includes facing the Sliest Wrestler in the World, backed by Suzuki-Gun! Will all the tricks in Taichi’s book amount to nothing against the colossal cross-promotion champion?
The introductions are made, the belt is presented, and the dramatic Taichi takes his time removing his entrance gear. Miho Abe takes care of his coat but Cobb makes sure Taichi puts his knapsack down, too. Taichi does, the bell rings, and we begin!
Cobb and Taichi slowly circle. Taichi goes back to his corner to have Miho fix his hair. Cobb grows annoyed but Taichi is in the corner so he can’t be touched. They circle but then Taichi bails out to regroup with Miho, Taka Michinoku and Kanemaru. Taichi takes his time returning, all to troll Cobb. Miho gets on the apron to be a distraction, and Taichi gets in from behind! He clubs Cobb, but it only annoys Cobb more! Cobb kicks Taichi then CHOPS him! Cobb CHOPS Taichi more, but Taichi rakes the eyes! Taichi whips but Cobb reverses and things speed up. Cobb hurdles and dropkicks Taichi! Fans applaud Cobb’s agility while Taichi bails out. Cobb builds speed, but Taichi uses Miho as a shield!
Fans boo but Cobb bails out. Cobb tells Taichi to man up but Taichi still “cowers” behind Miho. Red Shoes reprimands Taichi, but he doesn’t see Kanemaru attack Cobb from behind! Kanemaru’s forearms do more to Cobb than Taichi’s. But Cobb whips Kanemaru into railing! And he throws forearms on him! Taichi uses his mic stand on Cobb! Taichi chokes Cobb while Red Shoes is down. Red Shoes gets up with help from a Young Lion, and stops Taichi. Taichi whips Cobb into railing then brings him to NJPW commentary. He bounces Cobb off the announce desks then chokes him with cables! Taichi leaves Cobb behind long enough to take the NEVER Openweight belt. Taichi holds it up as if it’s already his. Fans boo and Red Shoes shakes his head.
Cobb drags himself up and gets in the ring before a count begins, but Taichi stomps away on him. Taichi stands on Cobb’s back and head, but lets up at Red Shoes’ count. Taichi smirks as he stands Cobb up to choke him into a corner! Red Shoes counts again but Taichi lets up, only to grind Cobb’s face on ropes. Taichi smirks more as he rakes Cobb’s face! He stops at Red Shoes’ count but then brings Cobb up for a snapmare and swift kick. Cobb only gets mad and stands back up. Cobb throws big forearms on Taichi! Taichi mule kicks Cobb away, then runs in for a big corner clothesline. Taichi keeps moving, but Cobb dodges. Cobb wants a belly2belly but Taichi rakes the eyes! Taichi runs, but into a scoop to suplex! Cobb puts Taichi on the top rope, to CHOP him.
Cobb adjusts and climbs to join Taichi. Taichi holds on but Cobb gets up for a stalling SUPERPLEX! Taichi bounces up from momentum alone then flounders to a corner. Cobb slowly stands and gets himself to a corner while Taichi slowly sits up. Cobb runs in but Taichi dodges. Taichi misses his kick but Cobb chops and clotheslines with no wasted motion! Cobb whips corner to corner then runs in for a BIG elbow! Cobb fireman’s carries Taichi for a Samoan Drop! “Gochimuchi” Moonsault but Taichi dodges! Taichi kicks but misses and Cobb waistlocks. Taichi elbows free but Cobb shoves. Cobb runs but misses in the corner, Taichi hits his enziguri! Taichi brings Cobb in, but he can’t lift Cobb! He kicks away on Cobb’s face, then tries again, but that doesn’t change anything! Cobb back drops Taichi instead!
Taichi wrenches and hook kicks Cobb! Taichi hits the buzzsaw! Cover, TWO!! Cobb is tougher than that, so Taichi focuses his power. Off come the pants! Taichi aims and kicks, but Cobb deflects to hit back with a big right. Taichi kicks but it barely bothers Cobb. Neither does the next kick or the next kick. If anything, Cobb starts liking it. Cobb forearms Taichi and dares him to come back. He throws more forearms, and Taichi falls to his knees. Cobb dares Taichi to stand, and Taichi fires himself up. Taichi kicks away on Cobb’s chest, but Cobb blocks and brings Taichi in for a Fall Away Slam! Cobb runs as fans rally, but Taichi dodges to mule kick! But Cobb forearms back, so Taichi enziguris! Both men are down but fans are fired up!
Miho, Taka and Kanemaru coach up Taichi but the fans rally behind Cobb. Taichi grabs Cobb for a dragon sleeper, but Cobb powers out. Cobb arm-drags Taichi off, then scoops him for- No, Taichi gets out of the Tour for a BIG saido suplex! Taichi drags Cobb up again, dragon sleeper and armlock, but Cobb endures the “stretch bar.” Cobb reaches but Taichi cranks back. Fans rally again but Taichi shifts to a cover, TWO!! Cobb still has life and Taichi grows frustrated. Taichi stands Cobb up and brings him up in an Alabama lift. But Cobb is just too much! Cobb clubs Taichi and gut wrench suplexes! He holds on and rolls to bring him up for another! Cobb still holds on, for a PILEDRIVER! Cobb can’t cover, he’s too tired!
Fans rally as both men are down! Cobb stirs but goes the wrong way. Miho panics and almost cries for Taichi but it’s Cobb who slowly stands up. Fans duel as Cobb drags Taichi back up. Taichi is dead weight but Cobb gets him up and whips him, but Taichi boots! Taichi is alive and whips, but Cobb reverses to the Athletic Plex! Cobb drags Taichi up, throws him, but Taichi holds ropes. Taichi boots and roundhouses! And rabbit ax bombers to another enziguri! Both men are down again, and it’s Taichi who can’t make a cover! Taichi revives and fires up! He takes aim at Cobb, who staggers over. Superkick blocked, for a Tour- No, Taichi escapes, but gets a LARIAT! GACHIMUCHI! And then, a Tour of the- No, roll up! TWO!!
Taichi pushes Red Shoes to LOW BLOW Cobb! Chicken wing cradle, TWO!! Not even a kick to the balls can stop Cobb! But Taichi aims, SUPERKICK!! Then Alabama lift, BLACK MEPHISTO!! Cover, Taichi wins!!
Winner: Taichi, by pinfall; NEW NEVER Openweight Champion
For the second time ever, the Sliest Wrestler holds this belt! And most surprisingly, he barely had to cheat! Cobb is no longer champion in both ROH and NJPW, but will Cobb be back for a rematch?
EVIL VS Tomohiro Ishii!
Again, the Stone Pitbull did not submit to the Scorpion Deathlock as put on by the King of Darkness. However, he was still trapped in it with no way out. Will Ishii fall for that trap again? Or will he have an escape plan this time?
NJPW returns after the entrances and we get right to the bell!
Evil and Ishii collide, then collide, then collide. Ishii runs and bumps Evil, who comes back on the rebound, but so does Ishii! They just keep ramming into each other! Evil and Ishii each fire up as the fans fire up. Evil throws a forearm but Ishii gives it back, and repeat. They go back and forth like this, fast and furious, and the fans rally up with them! The brawl keeps going, forearm for forearm, elbow for elbow! Evil gets rocked and Ishii keeps on him. Ishii runs but into Evil’s elbow! Evil runs but they go shoulder to shoulder again! They both run, and they both collide! Evil finally knocks Ishii down!
Fans cheer while Evil catches his breath and Ishii writhes. Evil drags Ishii up to toss him out. Evil follows to club away, then whip into barriers! Ishii hits the floor but Evil doesn’t let up. Evil brings Ishii up to throw into the post! You could hear that *BING* of head hitting metal! Evil stomps Ishii then drags him back up to throw back into railing. He puts Ishii’s leg through the rails to kick! Ishii hobbles as the ring count passes 15! Evil puts Ishii in at 17 and fans cheer. Evil stomps the leg now, but Ishii eggs him on! So Evil slams the leg and puts on a toehold. Ishii endures while pulling Evil’s hair. Evil pulls back on the leg and ankle, but Ishii drags himself to a ropebreak. Red Shoes counts and Evil lets go.
Evil looms over Ishii but Ishii throws body shots. Ishii chops but it doesn’t hurt. Evil CHOPS Ishii and he staggers back! Ishii chops but Evil CHOPS! They keep going back and forth, Ishii’s chop meeting Evil’s CHOP! Ishii fires off many chops but Evil just needs one double hand CHOP to floor Ishii! Evil keeps on that leg, clearly preparing for the Scorpion Deathlock. He puts it on, but Ishii resists being turned over! Ishii slaps Evil so Evil chokes and CHOPS Ishii. Ishii just takes the chops and stands up. He wobbles over to Evil to fire off forearms, but Evil kicks the bad leg out. Evil whips Ishii to a corner but Ishii comes back with a clothesline! However, Ishii hobbles, showing that Evil’s plan is working.
Evil stands but Ishii CHOPS him in a corner. Ishii CHOPS and forearms and repeats. He whips corner to corner but Evil reverses to forearm, only to run into a powerslam! Both men are down but Ishii’s up first. Ishii drags Evil up but Evil resists the back suplex with elbows. Evil brings Ishii towards a corner but Ishii rams his shoulder in! And again and again! Ishii runs back in but into a boot, only to clothesline Evil anyway! Fans rally both ways as Ishii gets his back and legs moving. Ishii drags Evil up and hoists him onto the top rope. Ishii climbs up to join Evil, but Evil resists. Evil holds onto the crossbars so Ishii headbutts him! Ishii lifts Evil for the SUPERPLEX! He crawls to a cover, TWO!
Fans rally up as Ishii stands. Ishii wants Evil to stand, then he runs, but Evil boots the lariat and blocks the other. He passes Ishii’s kick to Red Shoes to mule kick Ishii’s leg! Evil suplexes Ishii into buckles! The Pitbull bails out of the ring but Evil pursues. Evil goes under the ring and tosses chairs around. Ishii hits back and brings Evil over. Evil blocks the suplex, but Ishii still tries. Evil suplexes to put Ishii on the rails, Anarchy Suplex! Almost a Magic Killer! Evil gets back up and grabs one of those chairs. He puts one around Ishii’s head and has the other! Red Shoes runs out to reprimand Evil but Evil shoves him away! Evil then swings and SMACKS the chair off around Ishii’s head! The Pitbull goes down while we go to break.
NJPW returns again as Evil drags Ishii up. Fans cheer as Evil wants to end this in the ring. Evil rallies the fans and takes aim at Ishii. He runs corner to corner and hits a BIG corner clothesline! Evil roars while Ishii flops to the mat. Evil drags Ishii up for a suplex and he puts Ishii on the top rope. Now Evil joins Ishii up there but Red Shoes is worried. Evil stands Ishii up, for a SUPERPLEX of his own! He crawls to a cover, TWO!! Ishii’s far tougher than that, so Evil goes after the legs! Scorpion Deathlock! Ishii endures this hold all over again, but he also powers up! He crawls himself towards the ropes but Evil sits down deeper! Fans rally as Ishii powers up again. Ishii crawls again, but Evil sits back down.
Ishii grabs at Red Shoes to keep himself from tapping, and then he gets the ropebreak! Evil lets go and wipes the sweat from his brow. Evil looms over Ishii and drags him back up. He lifts Ishii but Ishii slips out. Ishii waistlocks but Evil elbows out. Ishii swings but Evil dodges to waistlock, only for Ishii to swing again, which Evil again dodges. Evil swings but Ishii blocks, and Ishii waistlocks only for Evil to elbow out. Evil swings again, but into Ishii’s back suplex! Both men are down but fans fire up again. Evil goes after the legs again with elbows to the knee. But Ishii eggs him on! Evil mule kicks the knee but Ishii fires off forearms. Evil ROCKS Ishii with that right!
Fans rally as Ishii falls to his knees, but Evil runs. Ishii blocks a clothesline with a clothesline, then runs. Evil runs from the corner, but Ishii sees it coming and clotheslines him down! Ishii grits his teeth while fans are thunderous. He puts Evil in the Scorpion Deathlock! Evil endures the move now as Ishii sits down deep! Evil powers his way over, but Ishii cranks back harder! But Evil still gets the ropebreak! Ishii lets go and is frustrated, but he doesn’t let up. He goes after Evil again, dragging him up by his singlet. Ishii goes after a leg with a knee jammer! Evil fights off the shin breaker, then spins, but into Ishii’s elbows from all sides! Evil spins again but into another big forearm! Ishii sits Evil up for the sliding lariat! Cover, TWO!!
Fans are thunderous all over again as Ishii stands Evil up. Ishii suplexes, but Evil knees out. Evil shoves and German Suplexes! But Ishii’s up to clobber Evil! Evil headbutts and LARIATS back! Ishii flounders but Evil is up again. Evil wants another and runs, and LARIATS again! Cover, TWO!! Ishii still lives! The fans are at a fever pitch as Evil catches his breath. Evil slashes the throat to say it’s over. He drags Ishii up, spins, but Ishii slips out! Evil spins Ishii again, but Ishii gets a waistlock and German Suplex! But now Evil’s up in an instant! Only to run into Ishii’s LARIAT! ONE?! Evil hits another lariat! Then lariats collide! Both men fall over! Red Shoes checks on both men but they’re somehow okay to continue.
Fans rally up and gives both men new life. Ishii and Evil stand, and head for each other. They collide with clotheslines again, and stagger on weak legs. Evil and Ishii run and collide yet again! Evil roars and runs, but Ishii tanks the clotheslines! Ishii headbutts then forearms then headbutts Evil again! Evil falls to a knee but Ishii stands him back up, only for Evil to hook the arm! Ishii spins Evil around but Evil spins out of the full nelson to suplex Ishii! Ishii knees free and spins Evil, only for Evil to get him with a Half ‘n’ Half Suplex! Evil drags himself to a corner while Ishii slowly stands. Evil runs but gets caught! Ishii wants to steal the STO!
But Evil spins Ishii around, full nelson to fireman’s carry, but Ishii slips out, clothesline blocked! Rolling elbow hits! Enzugiri! Evil is out cold but Ishii isn’t done with him! Ishii runs and LARIATS! Cover, TWO?! Evil still lives and Ishii can’t believe it! But he won’t stop, he suplexes to the BRAINBUSTER!! Cover, Ishii wins!!
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii, by pinfall
Finally, after a human demolition derby, the Stone Pitbull is victorious! Two of the toughest in NJPW went head to head and Ishii proves the tougher, but when and where will we see this match again?
NJPW Media Backstage Interviews
Ishii says “That’s what you get, facing me in a singles match.” Did Evil learn his lesson? If not, Ishii will happily teach him it again.
But then Taichi walks in to smirk at Ishii. “Oi. Congrats on earning the right to challenge me.” What? You heard Taichi right, Ishii now has the right to challenge for the NEVER Openweight Championship. So Taichi wants after Ishii, huh? Well there’s no one else, so Ishii might as well be the new #1 Contender. Be happy to be chosen. Well if Taichi wants this, Ishii’s game. No it’s about Taichi throwing the Pitbull a bone. Then ask him nicely? As if. The Pitbull should be begging. Accept it and be grateful. Yeah, Taichi seems so grateful, the way he’s treated that belt already. It was broken when Taichi got it from Cobb. Whatever. Ishii accepts the challenge. No, no, Ishii is challenging Taichi, got it? Whatever you say. Weirdo.
But it’s been awhile since Ishii’s seen that belt. Taichi just wants revenge from the New Japan Cup. Reminds Ishii of another wrestler in NJPW. But Ishii’s up for this match anytime, because the results will be the same. When and where will NJPW give us this new NEVER Openweight Championship showdown?
Hiroshi Tanahashi returns to NJPW!
The Ace has been gone since suffering an elbow injury and going through the subsequent surgery to repair it. He surprises the fans here at Wrestling Dontaku, because he has something he wishes to say.
“Tanahashi desu. I had surgery on my left elbow. The cast came off the other day, and I got my stitches out. But I wish I could have competed here.” It was a year ago that here, in Fukuoka, that the crowd was behind him. He rode that wave of energy to win the 28th G1 Climax that August. And then he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the Tokyo Dome. But then in February, he lost, and his losses piled up. And he feels as low as the floor right now. Fans cheer, wanting him to rise back up.
Tanahashi knows he’s starting from the bottom. But as he stands back up, he vows that on June 5th, at Ryogoku, he’ll make another comeback! He continues to say that after that, he’ll again go after the IWGP Heavyweight title! Will the Once in a Century Talent make yet another heroic return?
But wait, here comes Jay White and Gedo! Fans boo as the Switchblade takes the mic from Tanahashi. Gedo tells White some things, and then White grins at Tanahashi. Fans boo as White begins to speak. “You want the IWGP Heavyweight Championship? You think you deserve the IWGP Heavyweight Championship?” The line starts behind White, and Tanahashi is at the back, even behind Hirooki Goto! White is the REAL champion, and it doesn’t matter who wins between Okada and Sanada, White’s turn is next. “Do you understand me?” Gedo makes a move on Tanahashi, but it’s just so White can get his cheap shot in! White stomps Tanahashi as fans boo and the bell rings. White rains down rights then stomps him more.
Gedo ups the ante by bringing out chairs! White grabs one and puts it around Tanahashi’s newly recovered arm! He grabs the other chair, but Young Lions save Tanahashi! White fights them off but Tanahashi is safe from further harm. White picks up the mic again to tell Tanahashi, “I am next!” Fans boo White and cheer Tanahashi. Will the Switchblade and The Ace settle things in the ring to decide who really is next to face the top champion in NJPW? For that matter, we still have the main event to go. Who will be the top champion in NJPW after the dust settles?
NJPW and AXS advertise G1 Climax 29!
Mark your calendars, because on July 6th, 2019, AXS will begin coverage of the Summer’s major heavyweight tournament! The biggest and best of NJPW will once again compete in a round robin tournament to crown a #1 Contender to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship!
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA!
The Rainmaker’s redemption was completed in Madison Square Garden during the history G1 Supercard event! Now Okada returns to give Cold Skull first crack at this fifth title reign. With the Switchblade already calling his shot, who will have the Bullet Club’s cutthroat leader targeting them through the Summer?
The introductions are made, both men take off their elaborately decorated jackets, and the belt is presented. The bell rings and fans are already thunderous as we begin!
Okada and Sanada hear the fans duel before circling. They approach and watch the other closely. Okada backs off so Sanada does the same. They circle again and tie up. Okada waistlocks but Sanada wristlocks and standing switches. Okada switches back but Sanada drops to an armlock. Sanada waistlocks but Okada wrenches free. Okada wrenches more but Sanada reverses it back. Okada rolls and trips up Sanada, and gets the toehold. Sanada endures as Okada cranks back. Sanada tries to chinlock but Okada cranks again. But Sanada manages to sit up and gets Okada’s arm, but Okada blocks the armbar. Okada rolls but Sanada denies a cover. Okada has the leg for a standing toehold, but Sanada works on an escape. Sanada rolls and rolls and breaks free, and fans applaud.
Okada backs off and takes his time circling with Sanada. Sanada and Okada go again, and Okada rolls to get the wristlock. He brings Sanada to the mat then back up for a wrench. Okada gets both arms for a standing stretch, but Sanada endures. Sanada goes to power up but Okada brings him back around. Okada digs his head into Sanada’s back, but Sanada works on turning it around. Sanada and Okada struggle but Okada gets it back. Sanada tries again, and though he gets it, Okada quickly turns it back around. Okada throws Sanada down but Sanada throws Okada from the mat. Okada rolls Sanada, ONE! Sanada rolls Okada, ONE! Okada sweeps Sanada but Sanada gets off to sweep. Okada gets out and both men knip up!
Fans cheer as these two are evenly matched to this point. Okada and Sanada have to nod in respect to the other, too. They circle again and tie up. They stare down as they shift from knuckle locks to collar and elbow. Okada puts Sanada on the ropes, and Red Shoes calls for the break. Classic Okada fakes the chop to pat Sanada’s shoulder. But Sanada comes back with fiery kicks and forearms! Sanada whips but Okada reverses, and boots Sanada to a snapmare. Okada runs and basement dropkicks Sanada down! Okada catches his breath while Sanada checks his head. The champ stands Sanada up and laces the arm through for a modified stretch. Sanada endures but Okada lets go.
Okada brings Sanada around to scoop slam him, then slingshot senton! Sanada clutches his ribs while Okada takes his time returning. Cover, ONE, but Okada keeps on Sanada with a chinlock. Sanada endures the knee in his neck while Okada pulls back. Sanada works on an escape but Okada just brings him back. Fans duel as Sanada works his way back up. Sanada elbows free but Okada clubs him on the back. Okada whips and runs in, but Sanada boots him away. Sanada dropkicks Okada’s legs out! Okada grits his teeth and clutches his knee. Sanada brings Okada up, blocks Okada’s kick, and trips Okada up! Okada pushes him away but runs into a huricanrana! Sanada rolls through to get the arms and legs!
Okada powers out of Paradise and speeds things up, but Sanada dropkicks the leg again! Dragon screw, to Paradise! Fans cheer as Sanada hears them out. Fans duel and rally as Sanada takes aim from a corner, to kick Okada out of Paradise! Cover, TWO, but Sanada keeps cool. Sanada chinlocks but Okada endures. Okada works on an escape but Sanada elbow drops him down. Sanada puts the chinlock on again, but Okada reaches for ropes. Sanada wrangles Okada away and cranks back on the chinlock. Okada scrambles and uses his long legs to get the ropebreak! Sanada lets go but comes back to bring Okada up. He puts Okada in a corner to whip corner to corner. He hits a back elbow then snap suplexes Okada down! Cover, TWO!
Sanada keeps his cool while bringing Okada up again. Okada hits low with a shoulder, then throws forearms. Okada runs but into Sanada’s elbow! Sanada moonsaults but Okada dodges to hit a running uppercut! Both men are down but fans continue to cheer. Okada sits up first, and he runs at Sanada to rally with forearms and elbows! He whips but Sanada reverses. Okada dodges but so does Sanada, but then back to Okada and he runs Sanada over with an elbow! Fans fire up with Okada and whips Sanada corner to corner. Okada hits a back elbow to DDT! Cover, TWO! The champion is still in control while we go to break.
NJPW returns and Okada aims at Sanada on the outside. Okada slingshots but Sanada trips him up. Sanada whips Okada but Okada reverses to send Sanada into barriers! Then he boots him over! Okada fires the fans up as he gets space. He runs back to FLY and crossbody Sanada into more barriers! Both men are down and Red Shoes checks on them both. Okada clutches his leg again, that leap was double-edged. A 20-count begins and passes 10 before Okada stands. Okada drags Sanada up but brings him to ringside at 17! He gets Sanada in at 18 and fans cheer that he wants to end this in the ring. Okada still clutches that leg but manages to stand.
Okada drags Sanada up again to scoop slam him down. He goes to a corner and climbs up, but has to leap over Sanada. He uppercuts Sanada then runs, but Sanada hurdles and dropkicks Okada out of the ring! Now Sanada slingshots and wipes Okada out! Fans fire up as Sanada walks off the pascado. Sanada takes a lap around the ring while Okada is still down. Sanada returns as the 20-count begins again. He lets it reach 10 before bringing Okada up. He puts Okada in at 14 and covers, TWO! Sanada keeps his cool and brings Okada back up. Okada blocks the back suplex and elbows Sanada off. Okada runs but Sanada reels him in. Sanada suplexes but Okada lands on his feet. Okada swings but into the dragon sleeper! But he arm-drags out to flapjack Sanada down!
Both men are down, catching their breath and clutching their legs. Fans rally up and Okada forces himself to stand. Sanada follows but Okada boots him. It doesn’t have as much power, so Sanada boots. Okada blocks it and throws uppercuts to then go for a lift. Sanada fights out, but Okada blocks the boot. Sanada blocks Okada’s boot to give him a forearm. Okada staggers into a boot, then a rolling sabat! Sanada whips but Okada reverses, only for Sanada to fake out the dropkick! Sanada fireman’s carry but Okada slips out. They trade standing switches and Okada German Suplexes, but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada whips but Okada reverses again, but Sanada tumbles and springboards to missile dropkick Okada down! Fans fire up again as the tide looks to be turning.
Okada gets to a corner and fans duel again. Sanada runs in but is popped up to the Air Raid Crash neckbreaker! Okada catches his breath but he crawls over to Sanada. He positions Sanada before climbing up top again. Okada leaps, Macho Elbow hits! But he’s not done there, Okada hits the Rainmaker pose! Okada drags Sanada up and wristlocks, but Sanada drops down to roll Okada! TWO, and Okada has a cover! TWO and Sanada has it back, TWO! Okada sunset flips, TWO! Sanada sits on Okada, TWO! Okada again, ONE, Sanada jackknifes! TWO, Sanada drop toeholds Okada to a leg nelson, Japanese Clutch, TWO!! Okada has Sanada in a cobra clutch! Sanada endures and flails while fans rally again.
Sanada sits up and Okada drags him up, to wring him out! But Sanada dropkicks the clothesline away! Sanada drags Okada up to whip but Okada reverses to hit his dropkick now! Okada drags Sanada back up, gut wrench but Sanada wriggles to the dragon sleeper! Sanada drops back but Okada rolls through to gut wrench! Tombstone piledriver! But Okada isn’t done, because he still needs his namesake. He wrings Sanada out but Sanada spins to Salida, into the dragon sleeper! Okada endures and maybe even fades under the first part of Skull End! But Okada fights back up and scoops, only for Sanada to counter lift to Anarchy Suplex! Just like Evil earlier, Sanada gets a Magic Killer style move!
Fans duel again as Okada and Sanada sit up. They might even be turning towards Sanada more. Sanada drags Okada up, double chicken wing to the Tiger Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!! Okada escapes but barely! Sanada keeps on him, scoop and backbreaker. He goes to a corner and climbs up, Moonsault! But he lands on his feet as Okada evades! Sanada staggers back, one of his knees buckling. He still runs at Okada, only to get a boot. Sanada tries again, but into another boot. Okada runs out but Sanada dodges the shotgun. Sanada spins but int a spinning Rainmaker! Okada roars as he drags Sanada back up, wristlock but Sanada full nelsons to another Salida! Okada blocks this one, so Sanada uses the buckles for the climb! He has the Skull End dragon sleeper again!
Okada endures but Sanada takes him for a swing! Then drops down for the body scissors! Skull End in full, but Okada refuses to quit! Red Shoes checks as Okada fades, but Okada revives. Okada flails with his arms then pops out! Sanada keeps the body scissors to get the sleeper with the other arm! He cranks back hard as fans duel and rally. Okada endures and flails again, not fading out. Red Shoes watches Okada like a hawk, but Okada pops out again. Sanada fights to get the head again but Okada crawls for ropes. Okada reaches, but Sanada wrangles him away with a wristlock! Skull End returns a third time, but Okada still flails. Red Shoes checks, his arm drops once. It drops again. Sanada gives up the hold to drag him over?! MOONSAULT to the back! And then again, to knees!!
Both Sanada and Okada are down again! Fans are thunderous again as they duel and rally. Sanada and Okada are exhausted but still push themselves back up. They head for each other, and grind forehead to forehead. Okada throws an elbow, but Sanada returns it. Okada gives Sanada another, but again Sanada gives it back. Another forearm from Okada, and another forearm from Sanada as they stand. Okada, Sanada, repeat. They pick up speed, but Okada dazes Sanada. Okada keeps hitting him, but Sanada refuses to fall. Okada hits Sanada a third time, but Sanada gives him an uppercut! Sanada shakes the sweat from his hair as fan return to a fever pitch. He drags Okada up for another heavy uppercut! Okada falls to his knees, but Sanada brings him back up.
Sanada throws another but Okada backslides! Sanada rolls of and dodges the rainmaker! He waistlocks but Okada bucks him off. Okada runs to shotgun dropkick Sanada down! Okada watches Sanada in the corner, then runs in, only to get elbows! Sanada springboard moonsaults to a dragon sleeper! But Okada uses the buckles to turn it around! Okada has the dragon sleeper, then gut wrenches! But Sanada wiggles to battle over the gut wrench! He gets Okada up, but Okada wiggles and flails! Okada manages to get the gut wrench back! But Sanada slips up and around to a waistlock. Okada tries but can’t buck Sanada off, and Sanada gets the dragon sleeper!
Okada endures again but flips over as Sanada drops back. He drags Sanada up but Sanada dodges! Sanada wrings Okada out but Okada still tries! Sanada ducks that clothesline, to wring Okada out and steal the Rainmaker! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives his own move! Sanada finally shows frustration, but then he vows to end it. He drags Okada back up, cravat to Salida, but Okada slips out. Okada spins but Sanada blocks to then spin for a roaring elbow! Cravat, Sliced Bread, but into a SPINNING TOMBSTONE! And the TRUE Rainmaker!! Cover, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion
The first defense of this fifth reign and The Rainmaker is STILL the top champion in NJPW! Okada goes 6-0 against Sanada all-time, but it gets tougher and tougher each time! Will we get to see lucky number 7 in the future? Will Sanada finally break through? Or is Okada just on too high a level?
Okada offers a hand to Sanada to help him up. Sanada declines, helping himself up. However, Sanada does take the hand in a small handshake, to then give a fist bump. It sounds like there will be a seventh round one day, we can only wait and see.
NJPW skips to after Okada is again wearing his IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt, to when Okada takes up the mic. “Sanada-san! At the signing ceremony, you honored me by calling me your rival.” That made Okada very happy. So in front of Hakata, he wants to say something to Sanada: he is Okada’s rival, too! Their story has just begun! “But I’m not gonna lose.”
Okada addresses the fans again as he notes “We have changed over from the Heisei Era to Reiwa.” What do the NJPW fans think? Hard to tell. But Okada wonders who will entertain the pro-wrestling world in this Reiwa Era. Okada promises he’ll bring the excitement. He vows to be the star of the new era for the true fans! He’ll bring the heat! “As the 69th IWGP Heavyweight Champion, I will keep the new era exciting.” As long as he’s NJPW’s top champion, he’ll- Wait, the lights go out! A video plays. Is that… CHRIS JERICHO!? The dark clown that Y2J has become says “I’m the Painmaker! And on June 9th at Dominion in Osaka, I will challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship! And I’m gonna win.” Jericho shouts he’ll win, but then hushes himself. Y2J is returning to NJPW and aiming for the top!!
Okada just tells Jericho, “Bring it on, you bastard!” Because Okada vows HE will win! Okada will win and return as champion, to again make it rain! Will Okada continue to be the best in NJPW by beating the Best in the World at What He Does? Or will Jericho completely turn NJPW upside-down at Dominion?
One hour of NJPW on AXS alone is great, so two hours is amazing! Especially when they know how to properly book surprises. I didn’t think Taichi would win the NEVER Openweight Championship off of Jeff Cobb in a mostly clean way. Sure he had Miho be his distraction and his shield, but the Suzuki-Gun antics weren’t even deciding factors this time. Well, an argument can be made that they amounted to something, especially the low blow. But for the most part, Taichi managed to just keep on Cobb until Cobb couldn’t get up. At the same time, Cobb being a dual ROH and NJPW champion wasn’t going to last forever, so it was a good move to make it someone mostly unexpected. Now Taichi VS Ishii will be a good first defense for Taichi, I’m just not sure Taichi survives.
For that matter, Ishii VS Evil was insane. It really was just a demolition derby slug fest type fight, and that’s exactly what it should’ve been. Ishii wins not just because he’ll challenge Taichi but because that was the story of him and Evil. Evil got him last time with the Sharpshooter, and that was a great part of the match’s story, but for that reason, Ishii survives the hold and puts Evil away with a standing finisher. And with another G1 Climax on the horizon, Evil can snap back in the NJPW Heavyweight ranks with an impressive showing. I’m honestly surprised Tanahashi is making another comeback, but NJPW without him would also seem odd. White obviously wants to finish Tanahashi for good, that’s another good story going into G1 Climax 29.
NJPW is also building stars properly. Sanada’s history with Okada has been building over the last three years, and it clearly works in getting fans behind Sanada as we heard from the Fukuoka fans. Okada VS Sanada VI, the longest and best match so far of their series, and I really do look forward to a seventh. If anything, the day Sanada beats Okada is the day Sanada reaches that heavyweight/world championship level. He will be the face of NJPW one day, but not until Okada stops. Okada has been such a strong force in NJPW and with that heavyweight championship, he’s almost the NJPW John Cena or Randy Orton. If it weren’t for his matches always being great, I’d say he should move on. If anything, he should still think about going after a different title once this fifth reign ends.
Jericho returning to NJPW is also great, Okada VS Y2J at Dominion will be great, but I don’t think Jericho is the one to end this fifth reign, and certainly not at this point. Beating Jericho will help build Okada’s fifth reign up, and perhaps solidify Okada’s legacy.
My Score: 9.1/10