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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 9 A Block

Alright, the undefeated KENTA and Okada face each other in today’s matches. Who leads the block after today?



Alright, the undefeated KENTA and Okada face each other in today’s matches. Who leads the block after today?

Taking place in Aichi, we have an important night headlined by the hometown boy. Does Okada get his 11th straight win and overcome his usual weakness against former NOAH champions?

There’s also plenty of interest in the respective matches for Tanahashi and Ibushi, since the tournament hasn’t started how they would have anticipated.

Do we see this block get closer? Do we get a main event Draw?

Let’s find out!


  • Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs Ren Narita, Yota Tsuji & Jeff Cobb: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:45 – ***
  • Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:05 – ** 1/2
  • Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI: Yano wins via Roll-Up @7:15 – **
  • Jon Moxley & Shota Umino vs Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito: Takagi wins via Pumping Bomber @7:50 – *** 1/4
  • A Block: Lance Archer vs Kota Ibushi: Ibushi wins via Kamygoye @11:45 – ****
  • A Block: Will Ospreay vs Bad Luck Fale: Ospreay wins via DQ @9:10 – *
  • A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @16:00 – *** 1/2
  • A Block: SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via High Fly Flow @18:05 – **** 1/4
  • A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs KENTA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @26:55 – **** 3/4



Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs Ren Narita, Yota Tsuji & Jeff Cobb – Suzuki-Gun gets the early jump start and the match begins on the floor and in the crowd. After Suzuki brings Narita back into the ring, it was mostly Suzuki-Gun dominance. Taichi and Jeff Cobb have a decent amount of back and forth, but you’ve got to think that Cobb gets his win back from the NEVER championship loss. After the match Taichi offers his hand and actually shakes Cobb’s hand. He leaves with a big grin on his face, but nothing shady. Taichi and Cobb may end up being better than initially expected.

Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare – The best highlight of this match was early on when Yujiro sent Honma into the corner, Chase and Jay put up double boots, and after Yujiro drove Honma’s head into the boots, Jay and Chase sold their feet hurting. It’s a good little wrinkle since Honma’s big move is the Kokeshi which is a headbutt. Taking nothing away from the match, it wasn’t bad, it was just par for the course. Juice flirted with Pieter, Henare nearly pulled off a big upset but Chase Owens pulled a few dirty tactics and wins with his Package Piledriver.

Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI – Well this was what you’d expect from all four Chaos members and one of them being Yano.  HASHI was in the match to eat the pin, and it was generally forgettable and not all that amusing. So a little below average for an undercard tag.

Jon Moxley & Shota Umino vs Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito – Lots of tension in this match. Naito kept antagonizing Moxley and it got Jon fired up. Since we’ve probably figured out how undercard tags work, we knew Shota was eating the pin when everyone else is in the G1. But lots of good heat and Naito just being an ass. Moxley and Naito even traded “Suck Its” at one point. Fun match.

A Block: Lance Archer vs Kota Ibushi – Ibushi fought from underneath early on, and he sold the ankle well during the match. Archer pulled out some crazy moves for a 6’8″ man, Step Up Flipping Senton, Moonsault and he even survived the first Kamigoye. The way both men sold the moves, the heart from both, and Ibushi and Asami’s reaction when Archer didn’t go down after the first Kamigoye was golden. Also can’t be overlooked that Archer pulled out the ole Double Coconut in this match, driving a Young Lion’s head into Ibushi’s on the outside. Really fun and well paced match.

A Block: Will Ospreay vs Bad Luck Fale – Damn this whole match was just a rolling ball of interference. Jado, Chase Owens and kendo sticks…sheesh. The match trudged along, never really had any momentum and was just painful. So if the match wasn’t a throw back enough to last year, Marty Asami gets taken out, so Red Shoes runs to the ring to fill in, counts to 2, and then gives Fale the double bird and disqualifies him. At least this is over.

A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs EVIL – EVIL has this tendency to start matches so slow they lull you into that style of Highway Hypnosis. EVIL tried to out wrestle Sabre, but Sabre stayed a step ahead most of the time, even doing his own Scorpion Deathlock. But as the match continued, Sabre’s major weakness is power moves since he keeps himself so lean. Darkness Falls opened up just enough space for EVIL to reverse Sabre into Everything is Evil and get a somewhat surprising victory. Only the second time EVIL has beaten Sabre in singles combat.

A Block: SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – So I’ve been fairly critical of Tanahashi’s matches this year, but this was one of his best since coming back from his most recent injury. SANADA is a great opponent to work a deliberate pace with a lot of easy story telling, especially given they have a similar training history. Tanahashi is a Tatsumi Fujinami trainee and SANADA is Mutoh’s student, so everyone is from the Dragon style. Aside from a few hiccups on transitions, this was well wrestled, well paced and Tanahashi countering a Skull End, left the door open for two High Fly Flows and 2 more points.

A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs KENTA – Aside from being the match between the two A Block leaders, it carried a lot of weight for both men. KENTA is trying to prove he’s still who he was before he went to WWE and Okada is trying to get over a few things. Okada tends to have issues against former NOAH wrestlers and he was tied with Masahiro Chono for most consecutive victories in the G1 Climax. We saw a great match. KENTA pulled out a few Draping Foot Stomps and Draping Knee as well as a Game Over attempt. KENTA was never able to connect with a Go 2 Sleep, so his finish is protected. Numerous counters and just a great match.


Overall Score: 8.5/10

We had 3 great block matches, a couple tag matches worth watching and a little bit of history…all in a Typhoon! Yeah Aichi was under a weather warning, but the show still went on and seemed  pretty packed.

Okada is continuing to look like a favorite to win everything, which would be the first time since Kensuke Sasaki in 2000 that the reigning champion won the G1 Climax. Do we just continue to add on to Okada’s legacy or does someone show up and rain on his parade a little?

Block A Standings:

  • Kazuchika Okada: 5-0 (10 Points)
  • KENTA: 4-1 (8 Points)
  • EVIL: 3-2 (6 Points)
  • Kota Ibushi: 3-2 (6 Points)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 3-2 (6 Points)
  • Will Ospreay: 2-3 (4 Points)
  • Lance Archer: 2-3 (4 Points)
  • SANADA: 1-4 (2 Points)
  • Bad Luck Fale: 1-4 (2 Points)
  • Zack Sabre Jr: 1-4 (2 Points)

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Mitchell’s NJPW New Beginning Sapporo Results & Report! (2/5/23)

New Beginnings, new champions?



It’s a golden finale here in Sapporo!

Sapporo has THREE championships for night two! The IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team, NJPW World TV and IWGP Junior Heavyweight titles, all in a row!


  • 8 Man Tag: The United Empire VS Just4Guys; The United Empire wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Ren Narita & Ryohei Oiwa VS The House of Torture; Suzuki, Desperado, Narita & Oiwa win.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Master Wato VS KENTA & Taiji Ishimori; Kenta & Ishimori win.
  • Six Man Tag: Guerillas of Destiny VS Bullet Club; GoD wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Ryusuke Taguchi & Shota Umino VS Los Ingobernables de Japon;  Okada, Yano, Taguchi & Umino win.
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Bishamon VS The Mighty; Bishamon wins and retains the title.
  • NJPW World Television Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Tomohiro Ishii; ZSJ wins and retains the title.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS YOH; Hiromu wins and retains the title.


IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Bishamon VS The Mighty!

Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi won World Tag League 2022 to then take these titles back from FTR at WrestleKingdom 17. And they also beat Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls along the way! Will The Mighty avenge their loss? Or will the Fierce Warrior & Head Hunter make The Mighty kneel?

The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and we see who is truly mighty!

The teams stare down before they sort out. Fans applaud as Goto starts against Mikey. The bell rings and the two circle. Fans rally and duel, the two tie up, and Goto powers Mikey back to ropes. Mikey turns things around but Goto turns it back around, and the ref reprimands them both, calling for the ropebreak. Goto lets off with pats to the shoulders and fans applaud. Mikey applauds, circles with Goto again, and they approach. Mikey kicks low, clamps on a headlock and grinds Goto down. Goto powers out, they RAM shoulders, but neither man falls! Mikey eggs Goto on, Goto runs and they RAM shoulders again, and Mikey again eggs Goto on.

Goto runs, Mikey follows and ELBOWS Goto, then runs to run Goto over! Mikey drags Goto up, wrenches and he tags Shane. The Mighty mug Goto then Shane clamps on a headlock. Goto powers out to get the headlock on Shane! Shane pulls hair, powers out, and ELBOWS Goto, to then snapmare and basement dropkick! Fans fire up and Shane beats his chest to fire up, too. Shane runs, but Hashi gets in, double shoulder tackles! Then ZANMAI, the hip toss senton! Mikey runs in, Goto kicks him first, then Goto snap suplexes Mikey onto Shane! Hashi drags Mikey up, Goto has Shane, Bishamon beats the war drums in stereo!

Fans fire up as Bishamon throws The Mighty out of the ring. Hashi fires up, Goto goes out after Shane to kick and CLUB him, then POST him! Hashi has Mikey, but Mikey SMACKS Hashi off the apron! Mikey stomps Hashi down while Goto puts Shane in the ring. Shane knees low, whips, but Goto reverses to send Shane into a corner. Goto fires off forearms, then brings Shane around to CLUB him on the neck. Goto brings Shane around, whips, but Shane reverses. Mikey trips Goto up at the ropes! Shane basement dropkicks Goto, Mikey spins Goto around and SLAMS him on the apron! Fans rally as Mikey lets off and Goto falls to the floor.

Shane BLASTS Hashi, Mikey whips Hashi hard into railing! Shane whips Goto hard into railing, then throws him into more railing! The Mighty regroup and Shane drags Goto up and into the ring. Shane stomps Goto, paces around, then drags Goto over. Tag to Mikey, but Goto fights back with forearms on The Mighty! Shane ROCKS Goto, Mikey reels him in, BACK SUPLEX NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up but Mikey is annoyed. Mikey sits Goto up for a neck wrench. Goto endures as Mikey twists the head. Mikey spits at Hashi! Fans rally, and Goto reaches out to a ropebreak! Mikey lets go then tags Shane.

Mikey stands Goto up, scoops him and SLAMS him, then Shane runs. The Mighty steals ZANMAI! Cover, TWO! Shane grins, and he KICKS Goto in the back! Shane bumps Goto off buckles, tags in Mikey, then CHOPS Goto. Mikey toys with Goto, talking trash and slapping him around. Fans rally for Goto, Mikey dares Goto to hit him, so Goto fires off forearms! Goto CHOPS Mikey, Mikey ROCKS Goto! Shane holds Goto so The Mighty can mug him! The ref reprimands, Mikey lets off and he runs back in, but into a BOOT! Goto fires off fists on Shane, then DECKS him! Mikey kicks Goto low and whips him, only for Goto to reverse and whip Mikey OUT of the ring!

Fans fire up as The Mighty regroups outside. Goto crawls his way over, but Mikey hurries in! Mikey drags Goto back but Goto BOOTS him away! Shane tags in, he hurries to BLAST Hashi off the apron! Shane stomps Goto down, then kicks him around. Fans rally for “GO-TO-O!” as Shane kicks and kicks. Shane says we’re getting new champs, but Goto blocks a boot! Shane UPPERCUTS, then runs in, but Goto deflects the boot to LARIAT! Fans rally while both men are down, and Goto hot tags Hashi! Hashi ELBOWS Shane, BLASTS Mikey, but Shane kicks low. Shane whips, Hashi dropkicks the legs out! Fans fire up with Hashi!

Hashi sees Shane go to a corner. Hashi runs in to CHOP! Hashi whips to CHOP again! And mule kick! Hashi hangs Shane out to dry, runs side to side, and he dropkicks Shane down! Hashi then stands Shane up, NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Shane hangs tough and fans rally up. Hashi drags Shane up, fisherman’s the leg, but Shane fights free! Hashi SUPERKICKS back! Hashi tries again, but Shane suplexes for a FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO! Hashi survives and fans fire up! Fans rally and duel, Shane bumps Hashi off buckles then hoists him up top. Shane throws hands, climbs up after Hashi, but Hashi throws body shots.

Hashi fires forearms on Shane, and Shane falls and staggers back! Mikey tags in and he hurries to ROCK Hashi! Shane gets a boost up from Mikey, they SUPERPLEX BOMB Hashi!! Cover, TWO!! Hashi survives and fans fire up again! Mikey sits Hashi up but Hashi avoids the sliding lariat! Hashi CHOPS, ROCKS, and repeat! Hashi roars, whips Mikey, but Mikey reverses to a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, Goto breaks it! Fans fire up but Shane throws Goto out. The Mighty drag Hashi up, but Hashi BOOTS free! Hashi elbows Mikey, sends Shane into him, then SPIN KICKS Shane away! Hashi runs to HEADHUNTER on Mikey!

Fans fire up as Hashi crawls past The Mighty! Hot tag to Goto! The Fierce Warrior runs to Mikey in a corner! Then he runs corner to corner to clothesline Shane in a corner! Goto goes back the other way but Mikey rushes him! Goto gets around, shoves Mikey into Shane, then hits a MURAMASA SANDWICH! Fans fire up as Goto gets them both, DOUBLE BULLDOG! Goto drags Mikey up, fireman’s carries, but Mikey fights free. Mikey throws a forearm but Goto gives it back! They go back and forth, Mikey gets the edge, and Mikey runs, but Goto follows! Mikey dodges, but Goto fireman’s carries! USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO!

Fans fire up as Mikey survives. Mikey has a cut on his forehead that’s a bit bloody, but Goto drags him up. Goto dragon sleepers Mikey, but Shane LARIATS Goto in the back! Shane keeps moving, Mikey ducks, and Shane LARIATS Goto down! Mikey drags Goto up while Shane climbs the corner. Scoop and- NO, Goto slips off to shove Mikey at the corner! Shane leaps over, into HIDDEN GAP! Hashi’s superkick takes out Shane, and Goto holds Mikey in the corner for Hashi’s BLINDSIDE LARIAT! Feed to the fireman’s carry, Goto throws Mikey into the dragon sleeper! Hashi goes for the legs, but Shane BOOTS Hashi down!

Mikey scoops Goto, Shane runs in, TANK BUSTER! Cover, TWO!?! Goto survives and shocks The Mighty! Shane throws Hashi out and Mikey throws off his elbow pads! Shane keeps on Hashi while Mikey whips Goto. MIKEY BOMB!! Cover, TWO!??! Goto survives again and Mikey can’t believe it! Shane RAMS Hashi into railing, and then The Mighty coordinate in the ring. Fans cheer the double thumbs down pose, and The Mighty stand Goto up. THUNDER- NO, Goto slips free to shove Mikey into Shane! Hashi returns to SUPERKICK Mikey! Hashi LARIATS Shane off the apron! Mikey and Hashi run at each other to DOUBLE LARAIT! But neither man falls!

Another DOUBLE LARIAT, but neither falls! ANOTHER DOUBLE LARIAT, and Hashi falls!! But he roars as he rises back up! Mikey runs in, Hashi moves and Goto LARIATS Mikey! Goto stands Mikey up, he and Hashi coordinate, G Y R!! Fans are thunderous as Bishamon resets! Hashi calls their shot, SHOUTO!!! Cover, Goto & Hashi win!

Winners: Bishamon, by pinfall (still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)

Whether or not the Mighty kneel, it was still lights out for them! The gold stays with Goto & Hashi, but the night is not done for Chaos! Will there be even more gold added to the collection tonight?


NJPW World Television Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Tomohiro Ishii!

The Submission Master made history by winning this title at WrestleKingdom to become its very first champion! But now the Stone Pitbull looks to make history as the second-ever champion! Will Ishii have his 15 minutes of fame? Or will “The Front Man” keep his show on the air?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who is the star of the show!

The bell rings and fans rally as we’re on the clock. ZSJ and Ishii feel things out, back away, then come back to try again. ZSJ waistlocks, Ishii standing switches, but ZSJ switches back. Ishii breaks free to switch again, but they keep going back and forth, around and around. They break, and the fans applaud this opening exchange. They circle again, tie up, and Ishii hits an ARMBAR TAKEDOWN! ZSJ scrambles to roll Ishii up, TWO, and Ishii has a HEEL HOOK! ZSJ scrambles to the ROPEBREAK, and Ishii lets off quickly. Fans applaud as Ishii is getting the better of ZSJ at his own game. ZSJ himself is a bit amused as he resets with Ishii.

They circle again, ZSJ rushes in to get an arm. ZSJ hammerlocks, Ishii elbows free and puts the hammerlock on ZSJ. ZSJ clasps hands behind his back, then slips around, only for Ishii to put the hold back on ZSJ. ZSJ slips out to headlock, but Ishii slips right out to hammerlock again! Ishii cranks the hold but ZSJ reaches back to snapmare. ZSJ headlocks but Ishii slips out again to go back to the hammerlock! Fans applaud but ZSJ is annoyed. ZSJ rolls and wrenches Ishii’s arm, but Ishii wrenches ZSJ right back, and again has the hammerlock! ZSJ is getting frustrated but fans rally up. ZSJ stands, Ishii wrenches, and Ishii YANKS the arm!

ZSJ avoids Ishii’s haymaker, Ishii ducks ZSJ’s roundhouse, and Ishii avoids the uppercut! Ishii also deflects a boot to run the ropes, and he runs ZSJ over! Fans fire up as Ishii now has the advantage. Ishii sits ZSJ up to KICK him in the back. ZSJ stands up to kick, snapmare and KICK! Ishii just frowns and stands up. ZSJ ducks a chop, waistlocks, but then ducks Ishii’s elbow and forearm to get a COBRA TWIST! Ishii pops out to hip toss, but ZSJ bridges up and snapmares Ishii, into a NECK TWIST! Ishii writhes and fans applaud, but then ZSJ PENALTY KICKS Ishii in the back! Fans rally while Ishii writhes some more.

ZSJ shakes out his own arms while talking trash on Ishii. ZSJ drags Ishii up by his ears, EuroUppers him to a corner, then fires off another EuroUpper! And another! And another! And then a BOOT! Ishii sits down, ZSJ drags him back up and snapmares. ZSJ clamps on a headscissor squeeze and pushes up to put on the pressure! ZSJ then sits back to grab Ishii’s arm! ZSJ twists the wrist, bends the arm, and then traps Ishii in a TESCO MEAL DEAL! Ishii rolls to get the ROPEBREAK and fans applaud. ZSJ lets go quickly, keeping his cool. We’re at five minutes as ZSJ kicks Ishii around. Ishii stands up to ROCK ZSJ with a forearm!

Ishii ROCKS ZSJ again, and again, but ZSJ EuroUppers! ZSJ whips, Ishii reverses, ZSJ goes up and around and leaps for a GUILLOTINE! But Ishii OVERHEAD suplexes ZSJ away! Fans fire up while both men are down! Ishii sits up first, and he stands over ZSJ. Ishii stands ZSJ up to CHOP him! ZSJ goes to a corner, and Ishii CHOPS again! Ishii stands ZSJ up for another CHOP! And another CHOP! ZSJ EuroUppers, but Ishii CHOPS him down! Fans fire up and Ishii stands ZSJ up, but ZSJ fights the back suplex. ZSJ slips around to a full nelson, then spins Ishii around into a cravat! Ishii powers through to a facelock but ZSJ wrenches, and wrenches, and wrenches!

ZSJ reels Ishii into a headlock, shifts to a facelock, but Ishii wrenches out to whip. ZSJ reverses but Ishii reverses and reels ZSJ in, SAIDO! Fans fire up as both men are down again! Ishii stands up first, looms over ZSJ then stands him up. Ishii CHOPS but ZSJ blocks! ZSJ uppercuts the arm, but Ishii still CHOPS! Ishii whips, ZSJ reverses and captures the arm, but Ishii grabs at ZSJ! ZSJ grabs Ishii’s ear and twists! Then he TWEAKS Ishii’s arm! ZSJ wrenches and wrangles Ishii, isolates that arm, and STOMPS the elbow! Fans rally up as both men are down again. ZSJ stands and PENALTY KICKS, then eggs Ishii on.

Ishii swings but ZSJ catches the arm! ZSJ spins, brings Ishii into monkey lift, and then drops him into an ARMBAR! Ishii endures, fights up, and he stacks ZSJ! ZSJ keeps his shoulders up so Ishii stomps away on ZSJ! Ishii gets free and fans applaud. Ishii kicks ZSJ around, egging him on. ZSJ stands to ROCK Ishii with a forearm! ZSJ swings again, but Ishii wrenches, YANKS, and hits an ELBOW BREAKER! To a SLIDING FOREARM! Fans fire up as both men are down again! Both men sit up, and Ishii kicks ZSJ. ZSJ kicks back, and they kick at each other while still on the mat. They both stand, and Ishii throws a forearm! ZSJ comes back to EuroUpper!

Fans rally up as Ishii throws another forearm. ZSJ shakes that off to EuroUpper! Ishii forearms, ZSJ eggs him on, so Ishii CHOPS! But that hurts the arm! ZSJ wrenches the arm, but Ishii HEADBUTTS! ZSJ stays up to UPPERCUT! But Ishii stays up to full nelson, spin and suplex! ZSJ staggers, but he PENALTY KICKS! Ishii is right up, he gets through ZSJ’s boot but ZSJ catches the lariat to wrench and PELE the arm! ZSJ keeps moving, but Ishii CLOBBERS him! Fans are thunderous while both men are down! Ishii has a bloody lip, and we’re only at 10 minutes! Ishii stands, brings ZSJ in, and gets ZSJ up for a POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO!!

INTO AN ARMBAR! ZSJ has Ishii’s bad arm and has a MOUNTED ARMBAR! Then BOTH arms! Ishii reaches out to a ROPEBREAK! Ishii survives by a literal foot! Fans are thunderous as ZSJ lets off. The fans rally up, ZSJ grabs Ishii’s bad arm and stands him up. Wrench and ELBOW BREAKER, but Ishii gets a SLEEPER! And then an IRON OCTOPUS!? Ishii is using ZSJ’s own style against him! But ZSJ Alabama Lifts, only for Ishii to CODE RED!! Cover, TWO!!! ZSJ survives and fans are thunderous! Ishii runs, ZSJ trips him up! Body scissors, to JAPANESE LEG ROLL, TWO!!! ZSJ full nelsons, Ishii breaks it, but ZSJ GERMAN SUPLEXES!

But Ishii’s right back up! And he GERMAN SUPLEXES ZSJ! ZSJ wobbles back to his feet, he and Ishii run in, Ishii LARIATS ZSJ!! We’re at the three minute warning!! Fans are thunderous and Ishii roars! Ishii runs as ZSJ stands, LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and time is running out on Ishii’s chance! Ishii fires himself back up, he drags ZSJ back up, and Ishii suplexes. ZSJ slips out to a SLEEPER, but Ishii throws him away! But ZSJ drags Ishii down to a EURO CLUTCH! TWO!!! Two minute warning!! Both men stand, run in, and ZSJ BOOTS! ZSJ ROUNDHOUSES but Ishii swats it! Ishii HEADBUTTS ZSJ down!

ZSJ staggers up, Ishii runs in, but ZSJ slips around! Full nelson, DRAGON SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!!! Ishii escapes with nanoseconds to spare! Fans are thunderous and ZSJ goes to ropes. ZSJ waits on Ishii to sit up, and PENALTY- NO, Ishii blocks the kick! ZSJ SLAPS, then ducks the enziguri! PENALTY KICK!! Fans are thunderous and ZSJ roars! ZSJ drags Ishii up, reels him in, ZACK- NO, Ishii slips out to suplex, but ZSJ slips out! Ishii ENZIGURIS! Both men are down with just one minute left!! Ishii runs in to SLIDING- GHOST PIN!! TWO!?!? Ishii escapes, and then CLOBBERS ZSJ!

Ishii hurries to run again, SLIDING LARIAT!! Ishii roars, time is running out, and he suplexes! But ZSJ slips free! ZSJ tilt-o-whirls, scoops, ZACK DRIVER!!!! Cover, ZSJ WINS!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by pinfall (still NJPW World Television Champion)

With 30 seconds to spare, The Front Man gets it done! The Tomohiro Ishii Show did not get greenlit, the ZSJ Show continues! Will time ever run out on Zack’s clock?


IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS YOH!

The Ticking Timebomb made history of his own, making it to a fourth consecutive Best of the Super Juniors Final, and winning his third! But Mr. Direct Drive wants to crash all of that and start his own reign atop the Junior Heavyweight Division! Will Chaos be up one thanks to Yoh? Or will Hiromu keep Sapporo tranquilo?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who is truly the Best of the Super Juniors!

The bell rings and the fans rally up for “HI-RO-MU!” Yoh doesn’t let that bother him as he circles with the champ. They tie up, and are in a deep deadlock as both men drop to a knee. Yoh pushes Hiromu back a step, but Hiromu pushes Yoh back. They keep pushing, Yoh gains some ground, but Hiromu gains it right back. Fans continue to rally, and Hiromu puts Yoh on the ropes. Yoh turns it around but Red Shoes calls the break. Yoh lets off with a pat on the shoulders, and fans applaud. Then Yoh rushes in, only for Hiromu to dodge the basement dropkick! Hiromu drags Yoh up to whip but Yoh reverses.

Yoh drops down, Hiromu stops himself to bring Yoh back up. Hiromu whips again to ROCK Yoh, put him on the ropes, KICK the ropes to jam Yoh up, then runs. Yoh dodges to run, Hiromu dodges, things speed up again and Yoh drop toeholds to basement dropkick! Fans applaud this exchange while Hiromu bails out. Yoh taunts Hiromu, “C’mon, champion~!” Hiromu slides in, but then slides back out. Hiromu walks around the outside but Yoh rushes out. Hiromu kicks Yoh, whips, but Yoh reverses! Hiromu stops himself from hitting railing, then he dodges Yoh to send him into railing! Hiromu then CHOPS Yoh, and Yoh falls through the gate.

Fans rally up while Hiromu catches his breath. Hiromu fetches Yoh, brings him back to the ring as the count climbs, then CHOPS Yoh at 7 of 20. And again at 9 of 20! Hiromu puts Yoh in at 10 and fans applaud. Hiromu drags Yoh up to CHOP him to a corner. Hiromu whips corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines! He snapmares Yoh and runs to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Hiromu is right on Yoh with a headscissor squeeze! Yoh endures, kicks around, but Hiromu keeps him down. Yoh moves, Hiromu puts on more pressure, but Yoh gets the ROPEBREAK! Hiromu lets off cleanly and fans applaud. Hiromu taunts Yoh with kicks as well as sarcastic applause.

Hiromu drags Yoh up, but Yoh CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Hiromu ducks the next chop to CHOP back! Hiromu whips, Yoh reverses, but Hiromu holds ropes. Yoh runs in but Hiromu BOOTS him! Hiromu reaches up with his legs, and has a HANGING HEADSCISSOR HOLD! Red Shoes reprimands but Hiromu lets go at 3. Hiromu then drags Yoh out to whip him hard into railing! Hiromu says “Mada mada!” because he’s not done! Hiromu whips Yoh into more railing! Yoh is stuck a moment but he slumps off. Hiromu brings Yoh around to the ramp, to snap suplex him to the floor! Fans rally while Hiromu leaves Yoh behind.

Red Shoes checks on Yoh but he’s okay to continue. Hiromu waits in the ring as the ring count starts. Yoh stirs at 4 of 20, but doesn’t sit up until 8. Yoh crawls his way over and Hiromu gets impatient. The count is 13, then 14! Yoh is back at the railing by 15, then springs up at 18 to get into the ring! Hiromu drags Yoh by his legs to tie them up, Cloverleaf JAMMER! Yoh writhes from Hiromu’s creative attack, but then Hiromu is right on him with another creative hold. Hiromu straddles Yoh’s head while tying up the arms! Yoh endures, fights around, and fans rally up. Hiromu keeps on his armlocks but Yoh gets the ROPEBREAK!

Hiromu lets go and fans applaud. Hiromu eggs Yoh on and even kicks him around. Yoh gets up at the ropes but Hiromu pie faces him over and over. Yoh smirks and CHOPS! And CHOPS! Hiromu eggs Yoh on more so Yoh throws more CHOPS! Hiromu then CHOPS in return! And CHOPS again! And CHOPS again! Yoh eggs Hiromu on now, getting right in his face! Hiromu dares Yoh to do something, so Yoh CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! Hiromu mule kicks, front kicks and CHOPS! Hiromu whips, Yoh reverses and DROPKICKS! Yoh dropkicks so hard, he and Hiromu collide on the landing! Hiromu flops out of the ring while Yoh stays in.

Fans rally up, Yoh rises up, and Yoh builds speed to FLY! Direct hit at the ramp with that no-touch tope conjilo! Fans fire up while both men are down on the outside. A ring count starts, Yoh stands at 4 of 20. Yoh stalks Hiromu, brings him up at 9 and puts him in at 10. Yoh then hurries up the corner, Hiromu stands for the MISSILE DROPKICK! Hiromu flounders away, Yoh covers, TWO! Fans rally up and Yoh drags Hiromu back up. Yoh waistlocks, Hiromu throws elbows, and then Hiromu runs, but into a BACKBREAKER! Yoh gets a leg, but Hiromu CLUBS away on Yoh! Hiromu gets free, runs, but Yoh handsprings to dodge!

Hiromu blocks Yoh’s superkick, but Yoh avoids Hiromu’s! Yoh SOBATS, runs, but into a POP-UP POWERBOMB! Hiromu doesn’t stop there, he rolls Yoh to his feet, only for Yoh to suplex! FALCON ARROW! Both men are down again and fans fire back up! Yoh and Hiromu stir and fans start dueling, “HI-RO-MU!” “YO-OH!” Both men stand and go forehead to forehead. Hiromu throws a forearm, but Yoh gives it back! Hiromu throws another, but so does Yoh! They go back and forth, faster and faster, and fans rally up! Hiromu ROCKS Yoh, but Yoh comes back with another! Hiromu ROCKS Yoh again and Yoh drops to a knee!

Hiromu runs, but Yoh ELBOWS! Yoh runs, but Hiromu ELBOWS! Hiromu fakes Yoh out, elbows, then goes from the corner to SHOTGUN Yoh into another corner! Hiromu waits for Yoh to sit back up, then he goes corner to corner, but Yoh dropkicks the leg out! Hiromu clutches the knee but Yoh is also down. Hiromu goes to ropes, Yoh rushes over, DRAGON SCREW! And then another DRAGON SCREW! Fans rally up while Hiromu leans against the ropes. Yoh drags Hiromu up, picks him up, and then drops him on his knees! Yoh then clamps on the KNEEBAR! Hiromu endures, drags himself over, but Yoh thrashes the leg! ROPEBREAK!!

Fans applaud as Yoh lets off cleanly but in frustration. Yoh stands as fans rally and duel more. Hiromu goes to a corner and Yoh puts him up top. Yoh climbs up after Hiromu but Hiromu throws body shots. Hiromu and Yoh throw forearms, but Hiromu gets the edge! Yoh eggs Hiromu on, so Hiromu keeps throwing forearms until Yoh falls! Hiromu adjusts, but Yoh is right after him! SUPER DRAPING DRAGON SCREW!! Hiromu is stuck up top, and Yoh repositions Hiromu’s leg. Yoh climbs up after Hiromu and fires up the fans! SUPERPLEX!! Cover, TWO, into a KNEEBAR!! Hiromu writhes as Yoh pulls on the leg!

Hiromu reaches out, but Yoh twists the knee! Hiromu keeps fighting but Yoh drags him away! GROUND DRAGON SCREW! And then, FIGURE FOUR!! Hiromu endures as Yoh puts as much pressure as he can on the hold! Fans rally, Hiromu grits his teeth and reaches out, but Yoh keeps him stuck at center! Hiromu still fights, still crawls, still reaches out, but Yoh twists the foot to keep him from ropes! Fans rally as hard as they can, and Hiromu lunges forward to the ROPEBREAK! Yoh lets go, growing further frustrated. Yoh drags Hiromu up, reels him in, and suplexes, but Hiromu fights it! So Yoh dropkicks the leg!

Yoh underhooks the arms, Hiromu breaks free to wrench out, but Yoh rolls free of the pump handle. Yoh swings, but Hiromu catches that to spin him around, but Yoh fights the suplex! Yoh wrenches, but Hiromu HEADBUTTS! Both men drop to their knees and fans fire back up! Hiromu drags Yoh back up, fireman’s carries, but Yoh slips free to hop up. Hiromu slips free to waistlock, but Yoh REAR HEADBUTTS! Yoh runs but Hiromu sidesteps to GERMAN SUPLEX! But Yoh rises up!? Only for HIROMU-CHAN BOMBER to take him down!! Fans are thunderous while both men are down again!

Fans duel, “HI-RO-MU!” “YO-OH!” and Hiromu sits up first. Hiromu drags Yoh up by an arm, fireman’s carries, and CORNER DEATH VALLEY DRIVERS! Then Hiromu drags Yoh up to fireman’s carry, TIME- NO, SUNSET FLIP! TWO!! Hiromu SUPERKICKS! Hiromu roars, runs, but Yoh LARIATS back! Perhaps that was a Yoh Bomber?! Fans are thunderous again while both men are down! Yoh and Hiromu stir again, and Yoh crawls his way over to Hiromu. Yoh drags Hiromu up into underhooks! But Hiromu fights the lift! Yoh hammerlocks an arm, and he fires off forearm after forearm! Hiromu roars but Yoh just fires more forearms!

Hiromu drops to his knees, Yoh DECKS him! Fans fire up with Yoh and he drags Hiromu back up into a full nelson. Hiromu backs Yoh into buckles, is free of the nelson, but Yoh dropkicks the bad leg! Yoh then grabs the leg, but Hiromu CLUBS away on his back! Yoh holds on so Hiromu throws forearms into Yoh’s face! Fans rally, Yoh stands back up to DRAGON SCREW! But Hiromu sits on it as a cover!! TWO!!! Yoh hurries up, swings, but Hiromu spins him, pump handle, HIROMU-CHAN CRADLE! TWO!!! Yoh escapes again, rushes in, but into a scoop and dragon sleeper! But his bad leg limits the inverted suplex!

Yoh spins through, reels Hiromu in, but Hiromu suplexes! VICTORY ROYALE!! Fans fire up with Hiromu as he rises back up! Hiromu drags Yoh up, reels him into the dragon sleeper, but Yoh slips out of the inverted suplex! Yoh waistlocks, O’Conner Rolls, but Hiromu slips out to waistlock back! Yoh swings an elbow but Hiromu ducks it! Fireman’s carry, but Yoh fights free! POISON-RANA!! Hiromu staggers to a corner, Yoh aims to SUPERKICK!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Hiromu survives and fans are thunderous again! Yoh shakes his head, grits his teeth, and drags Hiromu up. Suplex, FALCON GOROSHI! And then full nelson, for the DRAGON SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!!!

Hiromu survives and fans are thunderous while Yoh is furious! Yoh pounds the mat, roars, and fans fire up with him. Yoh drags Hiromu up, underhooks, DIRECT- NO, snapmare and roll into a fireman’s carry!! TIMEBOMB!!! Cover, TWO?!!? Yoh survives and no one can believe it! Hiromu is too tired to be furious, and the fans rally up again, “HI-RO-MU!” Hiromu and Yoh stir, but Hiromu sits up first. Hiromu gets his bad leg moving and he roars again! Fans fire up, Hiromu drags Yoh up, dragon sleeper for TIMEBOMB- NO, Yoh kicks away on Hiromu’s head! Hiromu drops to a knee, but he gets up again!

But Yoh slips out! Yoh inverted suplexes for a SAVING GRACE!! Fans are thunderous, Yoh roars and brings Hiromu up again! DIRECT- NO, Hiromu slips free! Hiromu catches, spins, and STUNNERS! Hiromu holds onto Yoh to spin him around again, double overhook, D’S NIGHTMARE DRIVER!!! Hiromu crawls to the cover, TWO?!?!?!? Yoh survives by the thinnest of margins but Hiromu won’t stop him here! Hiromu roars, drags Yoh back up, and runs, HIROMU-CHAN- NO, Yoh dodges to O’Conner, FIVE STAR CLUTCH!!! TWO!!??!?! Hiromu also shocks everyone with his escape! And then he SUPERKICKS Yoh!

Hiromu runs, into a SUPERKICK from Yoh! Hiromu fires a forearm, Yoh HEADBUTTS! Hiromu SUPERKICKS again! Yoh stays up, but walks into a HIROMU-CHAN BOMBER!!! Hiromu powers up again, runs, and Yoh stands into a HIROMU-CHAN BOMBER!!! And then dragon sleeper, inverted suplex, TIMEBOMB MKII!!!! Cover, HIROMU WINS!

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)

Yoh could not diffuse the Ticking Timebomb, Hiromu is still the Best of the Super Juniors! With how hard he fought here in a losing effort, how hard must Yoh fight in order to finally win the title?

As for Hiromu, he holds up the title, then gets the mic. Hiromu flops down in the center of the ring. Fans chant for “HI-RO-MU!” while he catches his breath. “Wait just a moment, everyone. Yeah, you can scream out now. How long has it been? I know some of you were here yesterday, but let me hear you chant for me like you mean it!” The fans again chant “HI-RO-MU!” and Hiromu thanks them. Hiromu tells Yoh, “No matter what good vibes you’re riding, you can bet, I’ll always stand as champion above you!” Fans applaud that.

Hiromu admits, “that was hot. I didn’t think you had that in you, Yoh. I hope you keep it up. I didn’t think it could get this hot here in Sapporo. We may have melted the snow outside.” Fans cheer that. Hiromu even wants a hashtag! #YohMeltedTheSnow! Make it trending, please! “As champion, I wanted to pack the house. Anything less is disappointing. Naito got things rolling in the ring here yesterday. Of course I felt the pressure today. I was well aware of yesterday’s main event. Above all, I had to win.

“But in my mind was day two of this same show last year. Do you all remember? The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Kazuchika Okada VS Tetsuya Naito. That match was in the back of my mind.” Fans applaud, and Hiromu says Naito gave Hiromu so much momentum, he had to make it count. So thanks to that, LIJ was victorious in both main events. But one man still has his match to go. February 11th in Osaka, also for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi! “Oi, Shingo! You better win, buddy!” Fans applaud that, too.

Hiromu stands up and remembers that Abe-san the ring announcer asked Hiromu about his “vision for this title.” Hiromu didn’t have an answer then and he doesn’t have one now. But he does have a dream he’s been holding on to! To be BOTH Junior Heavyweight and World Heavyweight Champion at the same time!! And to wrestle for everyone on primetime! Fans like the sound of that! Hiromu says until that day becomes a reality, let’s have more! More! More! Fans join in with “MORE! MORE! MORE!” and Hiromu keeps them going! “MORE! MORE! MORE!” MORE FUN TOGETHER~!! The Timebomb has an ambitious dream, will it come true this year?

My Thoughts:

A great second night in Sapporo for NJPW. I again skimmed, and I saw at the end of Not Suzuki-Gun beating House of Torture, Suzuki called them out for the NEVER Openweight Six Man titles, that is going to be a great match. I don’t know if the new team of Suzuki, Desperado & Narita will take those titles off Evil, Yujiro & Sho, but I sure would love if they did. Guerrillas of Destiny won to again give Hikuleo momentum into the Loser Leaves Japan match he is surely losing, but the big development there was El Phantasmo clobbering Tama Tonga with the NEVER Openweight title, adding to their title match happening in Osaka.

Okada’s team winning against LIJ was interesting. That isn’t the go-home to Osaka as there is a “Road to” set of events this week (sorry, I won’t be covering any of that because of time constraints), but it does even things out. I’m still leaning towards Okada retaining the world title, it’s too soon for him to lose it and Takagi still has the KOPW title to work with.

And all the title matches today were awesome stuff. But similar to Okada, it was too soon for any of the champions to lose their belts after just getting them at WrestleKingdom. Bishamon did show The Mighty respect after the loss and The Mighty showed it back, who knows what’s next in the heavyweight tag division. ZSJ VS Ishii really pushed the time limit, that was great, and ZSJ still has limitless potential for opponents. And Hiromu VS Yoh was an awesome main event, a step up from Naito VS Shota yesterday. Hiromu’s promo was great, too. He gives props to Yoh, then sets a huge goal. Heavyweight Champ VS Junior Heavyweight Champ is usually an Anniversary Show tradition, will Hiromu try and make that match for the world title?

My Score: 8.8/10

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Mitchell’s NJPW New Beginning Sapporo Results & Report! (2/4/23)

Will Sapporo be tranquilo?



Sapporo sees The Roughneck VS The Stardust Genius!

Before Tetsuya Naito faces Keiji Muto in his final match ever, we see the Uncontrollable Charisma take on #SHOOTER, Shota Umino! Will the young star be a speedbump in Naito’s 2023 run?


  • Great-O-Khan VS Oskar Leube; Khan wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Ren Narita & Ryohei Oiwa VS The House of Torture; Suzuki, Desperado, Narita & Oiwa win.
  • 8 Man Tag: Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Yuto Nakashima VS TMDK; TMDK wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tama Tonga, Hikuleo & Master Wato VS Bullet Club; Tanahashi, Tama, Hikuleo & Wato wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Ryusuke Taguchi & YOH VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; LIJ wins.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Catch 2/2 VS DOUKI & Yoshinobu Kanemaru; Catch 2/2 wins and retains the title.
  • Will Ospreay VS Taichi; Ospreay wins.
  • Tetsuya Naito VS Shota Umino; Naito wins.


IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Catch 2/2 VS DOUKI & Yoshinobu Kanemaru!

TJP & Francesco Akira made it through WrestleKingdom 17 still holding onto the titles, but Japones Del Mal & The Heel Master did get one on them in Super Junior Tag League. That golden ticket is being cashed in now, will Douki & Kanemaru win some gold for #Just4Guys? Or will the United Empire conquer their New Beginnings?

The introductions are made, with Taka Michinoku being on the mic for #Just4Guys. Taka promises victory for all of them tonight, and tells TJP & Akira, “You’re already done!” TJP & Akira then make their entrance, Great-O-Khan waving the Empire’s banner as he already won to open the show. The belts are raised, and we see if the Empire stays standing!

The teams sort out and TJP starts against Kanemaru. Akira gets the fans to chant “T J P!” as he circles with Kanemaru. They tie up, break, then circle again. They tie up, break, and reset again. They knuckle lock, TJP wrenches and wrangles Kanemaru to a top wristlock. Kanemaru rolls back but TJP wrenches him again. Kanemaru kicks low, wrenches TJP’s arm and YANKS it. And YANKS it again! Kanemaru keeps on the wristlock but TJP rolls, spins, cartwheels and drags Kanemaru down to the twist headscissors! Kanemaru reaches up to headscissor back while fans applaud the exchange.

TJP moves around, headstands, and fans applaud as he holds it. TJP then pops free of the headscissors, pats Kanemaru, and slicks his hair back. But Kanemaru kicks the leg! And again! Kanemaru whips, TJP avoids the drop down to kick. TJP headlocks, Kanemaru powers out but TJP handsprings over. Things keep moving, Kanemaru sunset flips but TJP rolls through. Kanemaru avoids the Penalty Kick but TJP MARIPOSAS! Cover, TWO! Akira runs in to BLAST Douki, and then he and TJP double whip Kanemaru. Kanemaru holds ropes, he puts Akira on the apron and Douki trips Akira up! Douki stomps Akira while Kanemaru BOOTS TJP!

TJP ROLLING SOBATS back, runs, but into DOUBLE DROPKICKS! Fans fire up as TJP tumbles out of the ring. Kanemaru whips Douki so he can DIVE onto TJP! Fans fire up as Douki gets back in and Kanemaru whips him to DIVE onto Akira! Taka cheers his guys on along with the fans, and Kanemaru gets TJP’s leg. Kanemaru SMASHES TJP’s knee into the floor! TJP writhes, Khan protests, but Douki whips Akira into railing! Akira slumps down, Kanemaru stomps TJP and SMASHES the knee again! The ref reprimands, Kanemaru argues with him, and TJP slides into the ring. Kanemaru follows and stalks TJP.

Kanemaru stomps TJP’s leg, tags Douki, and Douki gives TJP some stomps. Douki digs his boot into TJP’s bad leg, but lets off as the ref counts. Douki stalks TJP to ropes and wraps the bad leg around them. The ref counts, Douki lets off to run side to side and dropkick the bad leg! TJP falls and fans cheer, and Douki tags Kanemaru. They drag TJP to split the wishbone! Kanemaru drags TJP up, whips him to ropes, and dropkicks the legs out! Kanemaru grabs the leg, and he pulls on a deep CALF KILLER! TJP endures, Akira stomps Kanemaru, but Douki throws Akira out. Kanemaru drags TJP up for a SHIN BREAKER!

Tag to Douki, he stomps TJP’s leg, but TJP shoves him away. Douki kicks the bad leg, and kicks it again. Douki whips TJP to ropes, TJP goes Spider-Man, but Douki rushes in. TJP goes up and over Douki, Akira runs in and TJP jumps over for Akira to WRECK Douki with a dropkick! TJP BLASTS Kanemaru, Akira ASAI MOONSAULTS Douki down! Fans fire up with the Nova Fireball as he puts Douki back in. TJP hobbles over, tags Akira in, and Catch 2/2 double whip. SOBAT, KICK, KICK and SHOTGUN! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Akira drags Douki up. Douki fights back but Akira CLUBS him on the back. Akira then RAMS Douki into a corner!

Akira RAMS Douki more, snapmares and basement dropkicks! Cover, TWO! Akira drags Douki up, scoops and SLAMS him, then tags TJP. Akira runs to hop up onto TJP’s shoulders! “Take pictures, take pictures!” ELEVATED SENTON! TJP covers but Kanemaru breaks it! Fans rally, TJP drags Douki by a leg and steps through. DEATHLOCK! Fans rally as TJP falls back to SNAP it! And SNAP it again! And then bridge for the MUTA LOCK! Kanemaru stomps TJP down, but Akira kicks Kanemaru back out. TJP drags Douki up and over, Akira holds onto Douki in the ropes for a TARANTULA!

The ref is busy with TJP and Kanemaru, Akira gets away with a bit more than a five count. Akira lets off and TJP covers, TWO! Fans rally up as Douki shakes his head defiantly. Douki fires forearms on TJP but TJP UPPERCUTS him down! TJP drags Douki to the ropes, goes to the apron, and slingshots, but Douki avoids the senton! Douki rushes in, swings into a back suplex, but lands on his feet! Douki dropkicks TJP’s legs out! Fans fire up while both men are down! TJP and Douki crawl for their corners, hot tag to Kanemaru! Akira runs in to intercept! Catch 2/2 double whip but Kanemaru ducks ‘n’ dodges to DOUBLE SHOTGUN!

Kanemaru drags TJP and whips him to a corner but TJP reverses. TJP runs but into a BOOT! Kanemaru goes up top to STRONG SCISSORS! TJP tumbles but stands, Kanemaru runs in to dropkick the legs out! Kanemaru gets the bad leg again, for another SHIN BREAKER! And then a SHIN BUSTER as he throws TJP to the mat! And then another SMASH of the knee! Kanemaru steps through, but TJP kicks him away with the good leg. Only for Kanemaru to basement dropkick TJP back down! Kanemaru drags TJP up, scoops and BRITISH FALL! Cover, TWO! Kanemaru keeps TJP in the drop zone and goes up the corner!

MOONSAULT, but TJP moves! Kanemaru lands on his feet, but Akira runs in to kick him low. Akira runs but Douki gets in to elbow Akira! Douki & Kanemaru both run, but TJP sets up for FIREBALL IN MOTION! Fans fire up with all four men down! Akira bails out with Douki and TJP brings the kneepad down on his bad leg. TJP hobbles after Kanemaru and puts him in a corner. Fans rally as TJP scrubs Kanemaru’s face with his laces. TJP then runs side to side, but Kanemaru gets up to dropkick the bad leg! Fans fire up, Kanemaru has the bad leg and steps through, but TJP makes it a cradle! TWO!! Kanemaru escapes and TJP goes to a corner!

Kanemaru runs in, but TJP goes up and over and TORNADO DDTS! Fans fire up as Akira takes Douki out! TJP climbs up and aims, MAMBA SPLASH FLOPS!! Kanemaru avoids the dunk, runs in and dropkicks the leg out again! Step through and FIGURE FOUR!! TJP endures, flails, but Douki keeps Akira outside! Khan coaches TJP, TJP reaches out, but Kanemaru thrashes the leg! TJP still fights his way over, but Kanemaru turns him away!! TJP keeps trying, he pries at the hold, but Kanemaru holds onto the leg itself! TJP reaches out one more time, ROPEBREAK! Fans fire up while Kanemaru reluctantly lets TJP go.

Douki tags in and he waits on TJP. TJP gets to a corner, Douki runs in to clothesline! Kanemaru adds on a back elbow! Douki climbs up while Kanemaru scoops for BRITISH- SUPERKICK from Akira! Douki leaps, but TJP gets under! ALLEY-OOP FACEBUSTER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Douki survives and fans fire up! Akira drags Douki up and TJP Electric Chair Lifts. Akira climbs, but the bad leg gives out! TJP falls, Akira hops down to get Douki up onto the corner. Akira CLUBS Douki, TJP tries again, and Akira climbs back up. But Kanemaru runs in! Akira MISSILE DROPKICKS Kanemaru, but Douki escapes the Electric Chair!

Douki waistlocks but TJP fights the suplex. Akira chicken wings for TIGER GERMAN! TJP adds on the jackknife bridge! TWO!?!? Douki escapes by nanoseconds and fans are thunderous! Fans rally with “CATCH! NI NI!” as Akira drums the mat. TJP sits Douki up, he and Akira run, but the bad leg gives out again! Akira checks on TJP as he clutches the leg. Akira hurries to go to the apron and tag in. Akira then drags Douki up and reel him in, SPEED- NO! Douki slips free to monkey flip, and ITALIAN STRETCH #32! TJP hurries over but Kanemaru tackles him down! FIGURE FOUR!! Catch 2/2 is enduring dual submissions!!!

Fans are thunderous as TJP reaches out for Akira! Akira is fading, turning red, but TJP keeps rocking the leglock! Kanemaru keeps rocking it back to keep TJP away, but Akira fights his way over! Douki drags Akira away, but Akira jackknifes! TWO!?!?!? And then a spin, Gory Especial, DOTON NO JUSTU!!! Kanemaru dumps TJP out of the ring and runs back in to SHOTGUN Akira!! Kanemaru hurries to scoop and SLAM Akira, to then MOONSAULT!! Douki drags Akira up, to Gory Especial, DOTON NO JUSTU, HENKEI!! Cover, TJP BREAKS IT?! Fans are electric as Kanemaru throws TJP back out!

Douki aims from the apron, slingshots, DAYBREAK!!!! Cover, TWO?!?!?! Akira survives and Duoki can’t believe it! Fans are electric and Douki roars! Douki wheelbarrows Akira, but Akira fights it! Douki powers through, full nelsons, SUPLEX DE LA- NO, Akira lands on his feet! Akira superkicks but Douki blocks! But TJP SUPERKICKS! Akira runs, rolls, RANA DDT!! TJP drags Douki up and Akira heads up the corner! FINAL CUT DOUBLE STOMP! Cover, but Kanemaru breaks it!! Neither team is giving up! Kanemaru hits a SHIN BREAKER on TJP! But TJP dumps Kanemaru out! TJP PLANCHAS to take Kanemaru out!

Akira roars, he brings Douki up, SPEEDFIRE!!!! Akira then aims from a corner, Douki sits up, NOVA FIREBALL!!!! Cover, Catch 2/2 wins!!!

Winners: Catch 2/2, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)

This may be New Beginnings, but there will be NO new champions today! Douki & Kanemaru came so close, will they fight their way to another chance? Will TJP & Akira continue this hot streak until the wheels fall off?


Will Ospreay VS Taichi!

The United Empire is 2-0 tonight, and they already beat two of the #Just4Guys. Now, the Commonwealth Kingpin takes on The Holy Emperor in a showdown of faction leaders! Will the Empire assert complete dominance in NJPW? Or is there still a chance #Just4Guys can rise up?

The bell rings and the two rush each other! They both kick, Ospreay BOOTS but then Taichi BOOTS back! Ospreay rebounds to BOOT again! Taichi BOOTS back, Ospreay BOOTS back, repeat! Ospreay throws a forearm, Taichi KICKS! Forearm, KICK, back and forth, again and again! Ospreay fires a flurry, spins, but into a SOBAT! ENZI- NO, Ospreay ducks it! But then Taichi ducks Hidden Blade! Ospreay BOOTS, whips, but Taichi reverses to DANGEROUS HOOK KICK! Fans fire up while Ospreay checks his face. Fans chant, “Let’s Go, Taichi!” as he brings Ospreay up. Taichi snapmares and KICKS Ospreay in the back!

Taichi paces around Ospreay, stands him up and whips to ropes, for a kitchen sink knee! Taichi KICKS Ospreay in the back again! Cover, ONE!! Ospreay grits his teeth but Taichi brings him back up. Taichi knees low, whips Ospreay to ropes, but Ospreay holds ropes to stop himself. Taichi runs in but Ospreay FLAPJACK HOTSHOTS him! Ospreay runs, and he BOOTS Taichi down! Fans fire up while Taichi bails out. Ospreay PLANCHAS and takes Taichi down! Fans fire up more while Taka checks on Taichi. Ospreay has Taka back off, and he brings Taichi up. Ospreay CHOPS Taichi and Taichi sputters as he staggers away.

Fans rally, Ospreay stalks Taichi, and Ospreay throws big forearms. The ref wants this to get in the ring so Ospreay brings Taichi up onto the apron. Ospreay CLUBS away on Taichi’s back! Ospreay then goes up to the apron to KNEE DROP! Fans fire up, Ospreay covers, ROPEBREAK! Fans applaud, but Ospreay gives toying kicks. Taichi sits up and eggs Ospreay on. Ospreay kicks and kicks but Taichi keeps egging him on. Ospreay drags Taichi up, puts him in a corner, and CHOPS him back down! Fans fire up but Taichi is stinging! Ospreay talks some trash, “That’s your boy, huh? That’s your boy? Your boy’s getting f’d up!”

Ospreay goes back to Taichi, drags him up, and wrenches to whip Taichi hard into a corner! Fans rally up, Ospreay drags Taichi up and snapmares him, to KNEE him in the back! But Taichi stays up so Ospreay KNEES him again! Ospreay clamps on a chinlock but Taichi endures the squeeze. Taichi crawls forward as fans rally, but Ospreay cranks the hold. Taichi reaches out and gets the ROPEBREAK! Ospreay lets off fast to drag Taichi right up for a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Taichi hangs tough and fans rally up. Ospreay drags Taichi back up, reels him in, but Taichi fights the lift! They fight for control, and Taichi back drops Ospreay away!

Ospreay gets right up to CHOP Taichi! Taichi goes to a corner, Ospreay runs corner to corner, but Taichi dodges to GAMANGIRI! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Ospreay sits up first but Taichi follows. Taichi stands first and he stalks up behind Ospreay. Taichi whips Ospreay to the corner, clotheslines in the corner, then runs, but Ospreay gets around to a waistlock! Taichi fights the lift, breaks free and PELES the arm! Fans fire up as Taichi stands again. Taichi runs, Ospreay ELBOWS the Ax Bomber away! Taichi blocks the kick, ducks another, runs and AX BOMBERS!! Fans are thunderous as Taichi fires up!

Taichi stands up, and OFF COME THE PANTS! Fans fire up more and Taichi aims from the corner. Ospreay stands, but he avoids the kick! Handspring, NEURALIZER! Both men are down again, but Ospreay goes out to the apron. Ospreay aims, springboards, and PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO!! Taichi is still in this but Ospreay stands back up. Fans rally, Ospreay calls his shot, and he has Taichi get up. But Taichi reels him in! Ospreay fights free, Taichi boots the haymaker then runs, but into a Tiger Wall Kick and ENZIGURI! Ospreay wags his finger, waits on Taichi to get up again, and then springboards! OSC- NO, Taichi catches Ospreay!

Ospreay holds onto ropes to avoid the saido! Fans rally and duel as they fight for control, and Ospreay kicks off the ropes to get free. Ospreay BOOTS, whips, but Taichi reverses. Ospreay handsprings, into DANGEROUS SAIDO!! Fans fire up again while both men are down! Fans chant, “Let’s Go, Taichi!” as he and Ospreay stir. Taichi sits up first and then stands. Ospreay sits up, Taichi BUZZ- NO, Ospreay blocks! Ospreay CLUBS the leg, fires off Kawada Kicks, but Taichi just gets in Ospreay’s face. Taichi kicks low, and gives back those Kawada Kicks! Ospreay gives more Kawada Kicks, but then so does Taichi!

Fans rally up as Ospreay sits down. Taichi eggs Ospreay on, and dares him to give more kicks! Ospreay stands up to fire off more Kawada Kicks! Taichi staggers, but now Ospreay eggs him on. Ospreay wants more Kawada Kicks, so Taichi gives him more! Ospreay snarls, Taichi eggs him on, and Ospreay CHOPS! Ospreay eggs Taichi on, so Taichi KICKS! Taichi eggs Ospreay on, and Ospreay CHOPS! Taichi paces around, Ospreay eggs him on, and Taichi KICKS! Ospreay CHOPS, Taichi KICKS, repeat! Taichi staggers and Ospreay grins. Fans cheer Taichi on, and he KICKS Ospreay again! Ospreay sputters, Taichi fires off Kawada KICKS! Taichi BUZZSAWS!

Fans are thunderous and Taka pounds the mat! Khan coaches Ospreay up but Taichi roars! Fans fire up with Taichi, he drags Ospreay up and reels him in, for a LAST- NO, Ospreay slips out of the bomb to HOOK KICK! Ospreay aims from a corner now as Taka shouts to him. Taichi flounders up, HIDDEN- YOKOZUNA ELBOW!! Cover, TWO!!! Ospreay survives but Taichi keeps focus! Taichi vows to end this and fans fire up again. Taichi drags Ospreay up, Alabama Lifts, but Ospreay fights it off! Ospreay lifts Taichi but Taichi slips free to ROUNDHOUSE! Ospreay SUPERKICKS! Taichi BLINDSIDE AX BOMBERS! And then GAMANGIRIS!

Fans are thunderous as both men are down again! Ospreay sits up in a daze while fans rally behind Taichi. Taichi roars, he drags Ospreay up, and he Alabama Lifts. Ospreay fights it, Taichi back drops but Ospreay lands on his feet! Taichi swings but Ospreay catches him and spins him to double underhooks! Canadian Rack, but Taichi fights off Stormbreaker! Ospreay lifts Taichi again, TIGER DRIVER!! Ospreay grins while Akira has returned ringside to join the Empire’s cheering section. Fans rally up, Ospreay stands and brings Taichi up. Ospreay runs, springboards, OSCUTTER!! Cover, TWO?!? Fans are fired up but Ospreay is surprised!

Ospreay shakes his head and grins. He drags Taichi back up, goes for the corner, SUPER OS- NO, Taichi catches Ospreay! Taichi turns Ospreay around, Ospreay RANAS, but Taichi blocks it! To make it a PILEDRIVER!! Ospreay writhes and clutches his neck! Ospreay tells the ref his arm is stinging. Fans rally back up for Taichi and he sits back up. Taichi goes to a corner while Ospreay sits up. Taichi copies Ospreay preparing his arm, for a BLINDSIDE AX BOMBER!! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay survives but Taichi roars again! Taichi drags Ospreay up, SAIDO, but Ospreay lands on his feet! Ospreay runs, but into a DROPKICK from Taichi!

Fans are thunderous again and Taichi stands Ospreay up! DANGEROUS SAIDO!! Bridging cover, TWO!?!? Ospreay survives but Taichi is too tired to be frustrated. Fans rally up and chant harder, “Let’s Go, Taichi!” Taichi and Ospreay stir, and Taichi crawls to a corner. Ospreay sits up and Taichi roars again! Taichi takes aim, for JU- SUPERKICK from Ospreay! POISON-RANA!! Ospreay drags Taichi up, goes to the corner, SUPER OSCU- SLAM DUNK!! Taichi body scissors for the GEDO CLUTCH! TWO?!?! HIDDEN BLADE OUTTA NOWHERE!! Both men are down again and fans are going nuts!

Ospreay drags himself to the corner and slashes his throat, vowing to end this! Ospreay drags Taichi up, underhooks, Canadian Racks, but Taichi slips free! Alabama Lift, BLACK- NO, Ospreay slips out to steal DANGEROUS SAIDO! But Taichi roars and rises again!! But into a FLYING HIDDEN BLADE!!! Cover, TWO!??! Taichi survives, fans are electric, but off comes Ospreay’s elbow pad! Ospreay aims from a corner, Taichi stands back up, but Ospreay ROCKS him with forearm after forearm! Taichi staggers but he comes back. Ospreay throws more forearms! Fans rally as Taichi stays on his feet! Taichi comes back, Ospreay thrwos even more forearms, but Taichi leans against him!

Ospreay fires off more forearms, Taichi staggers about, but he still comes back! Ospreay just keeps throwing forearms! Taichi wobbles, Ospreay even more forearms! Taichi ROCKS Ospreay with just one!! Both men wobble, Ospreay roars to DECK Taichi! The ref has Ospreay back off to check Taichi! A standing count begins! Taichi is still down at 5 but Taka shouts to him. The count reaches 7, Taichi stirs, and Taichi stands at 9! BUT INTO HIDDEN BLADE!!! Ospreay then underhooks and lifts, for STORMBREAKER!!! Cover, Ospreay wins!!

Winner: Will Ospreay, by pinfall

The United Empire has conquered the day! Taka and the Young Lions check on Taichi, did Ospreay just slay the Holy Emperor? Will the Commonwealth Kingpin find his way back towards a title?


Tetsuya Naito VS Shota Umino!

The Stardust Genius is preparing to face The Wrestling Genius, Keiji Muto, in his Grand Final, but he’s also looking to settle scores. After all, The Roughneck was part of the dream team of past, present and future stars that defeated Naito and Los Ingobernables de Japon at WrestleKingdom in Tokyo. Will #SHOOTER do it to Naito again? Or will the Uncontrollable Charisma be unstoppable on the way to Muto’s Last Love?

Naito of course takes his time with his entrance attire but Shota is patient. The bell rings, fans rally up, and they chant for “NA-I-TO!” Naito and Shota circle, approach, and feel out the grapple. They back away and circle again, then tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Shota then wrenches to a wristlock. Naito spins, wrenches and wristlocks in return, but Shota rolls to trip Naito to a toehold! Naito endures, grabs at Shota, but Shota grabs that arm to drag Naito up. But then Naito trips Shota to get a toehold in return. Shota endures now, grabs Naito for a chinlock, then hooks Naito with a leg to bring him down.

Shota pulls on Naito’s arm but Naito clasps hands. Naito fights up, stacks Shota, ONE, but Naito has a HEEL HOOK! Shota gets the ROPEBREAK, Red Shoes calls for it, and Naito lets off. Fans applaud as the two reset. Naito and Shota circle, tie up, and Shota headlocks. Shota grinds the hold, Naito powers up but can’t power out as Shota holds tight. Shota grinds Naito more, but Naito fights back up. Naito pulls hair, Red Shoes reprimands, but Naito headlocks. Shota throws body shots, powers up and out, and things speed up. Shota hurdles but Naito waistlocks. Shota switches, shoves, but Naito holds ropes to avoid the dropkick!

Shota avoids Naito’s basement dropkick, then Shota arm-drags Naito down! Naito headscissors but Shota kips free, and Naito tranquilos! Shota aims a finger gun but Naito raises the fist. Naito rolls out of the ring, Shota waits on him. Naito walks around the way, approaches, but backs away as Shota steps forward. Shota steps back and Naito slides in, and fans applaud as the two circle again. They approach, feel things out, but Naito keeps changing the hands in the knuckle lock. They finally tie up, but Naito kicks low and CLUBS Shota! Naito runs, but Shota hip tosses and basement dropkicks! Then snapmare and SOMERSAULT SENTON!

Shota throws Naito out and builds speed! Naito gets out of the way, so Shota steals tranquilo! Fans applaud but Naito just shrugs it off. Naito takes his time outside, so Shota patiently waits inside. Naito rushes in, Shota scoops him and SLAMS him down! Shota runs, and UPPERCUTS Naito! Cover, TWO! Fans applaud, Shota paces around. Shota stomps Naito, paces, then stomps him again. Naito grins as Shota stomps him again, and fans rally up. Shota slaps Naito around, but Naito claws Shota’s eyes! Red Shoes reprimands, Shota swings, but Naito gets around to pull hair. Shota breaks free, runs in, but into an atomic drop!

Naito throws Shota out, builds speed, and he WRECKS Shota with a dropkick! Shota hits railing, Naito goes out and whips him into more railing! Naito rolls into the ring to leave Shota behind. A ring count starts, Shota stirs, but Naito goes out after him. Naito drags Shota up, whips him into railing again, and Shota ends up stuck! Naito pushes him over, then drags him back up. Naito bends Shota against the railing, for a NECKBREAKER! Shota flops down while Naito leaves him behind again. Red Shoes checks on Shota and Shota stirs. Shota drags himself from the railing as the ring count starts, but he’s still down at 7 of 20.

Shota drags himself around the gate at 11 of 20, stands up at 13, and staggers his way over at 15. Shota slides in at 17, and Naito is on him! Naito turns Shota for a NECKBREAKER, into the LEG HOOK FULL NELSON! Shota endures and fans rally up. Shota kicks around, Naito puts on the pressure, and then Naito starts smacking Shota in the head. Shota keeps fighting and moves around, to the ROPEBREAK! Fans cheer and Red Shoes calls for the break, but Naito just lets go with his hands! Red Shoes reprimands, Naito pushes a bit more before finally letting go. Naito drags Shota up, Shota throws hands, but they’re not very strong.

Fans rally, Shota keep throwing forearms but Naito ROCKS and whips Shota to a corner. JUMP KICK, leg sweep, SWINGING DROPKICK! Combinacion Cabron! Fans cheer as Naito poses, and then Naito covers, TWO! Naito kicks at Shota, toying with him. Naito brings Shota up, snapmares him, and then has a cravat neck wrench! Shota endures as Naito pulls on the hold! Fans rally, Shota fights up, and throws body shots! Shota breaks free but Naito CLUBS away on him! Naito reels Shota in but Shota ducks the elbow! Shota runs to RANA! Shota then DROPKICKS Naito! Fans fire up while both men are down.

Fans rally up and Shota stands. Shota goes to a corner, aims at Naito as he stands, and runs in to forearm! And elbow! And whip! Naito reverses but Shota holds ropes. Shota BOOTS back, then dodges Naito to arm-drag him! And elbow him down! Shota keeps moving, BASEMENT DROPKICK! Fans fire up with Shota and he storms up on Naito. Shota whips Naito corner to corner, Shota runs in to UPPERCUT! And then FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! It wasn’t quite perfect, but fans still rally up. Shota drags Naito, steps through on the legs, and has an STF! Naito endures as Shota pulls back!

Fans rally, Naito crawls forward, reaches out, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Fans applaud as Shota lets off quickly. Shota keeps cool as he stalks Naito. Shota stomps Naito, drags him up, and CLUBS him on the neck. Naito goes to a corner, Shota bumps Naito off buckles, then goes up the corner. Shota reels Naito in, for a TORNADO DDT! Fans fire up and Shota aims his finger gun again. Shota waits on Naito to get up, and then kicks low. Shota underhooks but Naito RAMS him into a corner! Naito walks away, Shota rushes him, but Naito catches him to get around! Full nelson, Shota switches, but Naito arm-drags free!

Naito arm-drags Shota again, then headlocks. Fans rally, Shota moves around, and Shota fights up to his feet. Naito CLUBS Shota, whips him to ropes, then ELBOWS him down before basement dropkick! Shota stands up, into a NECKBREAKER! Both men are down and fans rally back up. Naito sits up first, crawls over to Shota and brings him up. Shota breaks free and throws a forearm! Naito throws a forearm back! Shota throws another forearm, but so does Naito! Shota grins, and he gets in Naito’s face. Shota throws a forearm, Naito returns it, and they go faster and faster! Fans rally, Shota gets the edge, but Naito gives all those forearms back!

Shota rebounds off ropes, to SHOTGUN Naito down! Fans fire up while Naito bails out. Shota pounds the mat and fans rally behind him. Shota builds speed, to FLY! Direct hit at the ramp and fans fire up with Shota! Shota drags Naito back up, but he’s dead weight. Red Shoes checks on Naito and he stirs. Shota brings Naito up and into the ring, then Shota climbs up the corner. Naito stands, Shota leaps to MISSILE DROPKICK! Cover, TWO! Shota hurries to bring Naito around by his legs, steps over again, and has the STF back!! Naito endures, fans rally up, but Shota pulls on the hold! Naito crawls forward, Shota CLUBS him on the back, then pulls the hold again!

Naito still reaches out, still fights his way forward, and gets the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer, Red Shoes reprimands Shota, but Shota pulls the hold! Shota lets off after that, then paces around in frustration. Fans rally, Shota drags Naito up, but Naito fights the clinch. Shota knees low, snapmares, and throws down HAMMER ‘N’ ANVIL ELBOWS! Shota has learned much from the Blackpool Combat Club! Shota drags Naito up and clinches, but Naito fights free with elbows of his own! Shota kicks, whips, but Naito reverses to TORNADO DDT! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Fans rally for “NA-I-TO!” as he and Shota stir.

Naito sits up, crawls his way over, and he drags Shota up. Naito throws heavy elbow after heavy elbow! Shota staggers to a corner, Naito storms up on him and hoists him up top. Naito climbs up after Shota, for a SUPER STEINER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Naito brings Shota up. Naito hammerlocks, but Shota fights free with elbows! Naito hits a flying-mare, to the PLUMA BLANCA!! Shota endures, kicks and flails, moves around, reaches out, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Naito lets go quickly to bring Shota to a corner. Naito climbs up, ESPERANZA! Fans fire up while Shota sits up in a daze!

Naito goes to the corner, and he watches as Shota slowly stands. Naito runs in, but into an ELBOW! And ENZIGURI! Naito comes back, but into a dragon sleeper! CROSS RHODES!! Shota takes Naito down with the twisting neckbreaker, but he holds on! Shota drags Naito up again, another CROSS RHODES!! And then an inverted suplex, SAVING GRACE!! Cover, TWO!!! Naito survives and Shota is shocked! Fans rally up, Shota goes to a corner and waits on Naito. Naito rises, Shota runs in, but Naito avoids the swing to ROLLING KICK! And then ENZIGURIS! Shota staggers, Naito hammerlocks and lifts, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!!

Shota survives and fans fire back up! Naito drags Shota up, wrenches, but Shota fights free. Shota roars, runs, but into a SPINEBUSTER! Naito drags Shota up, wrenches, tilt-o-whirls, DESTI- NO! Shota shifts Naito around and tucks him in! BASTARD DRIVER!!! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Naito and Shota stir, fans rally for “NA-I-TO!” and he sits up first. Shota follows, and stands first to bring Naito up in an Alabama Lift! CRUNCHY!! Cover, TWO!!! Naito survives but Shota hurries to a corner! Shota wants Naito to stand, and Naito rises, for the SWINGING NECKBREAKER!! Cover, TWO!!!

Shota roars and fans fire up again! Shota drags Naito up, underhooks, but Naito wrenches out to scoop, VALENTIA!! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Shota and Naito stir, and Naito crawls over to Shota. Naito drags Shota up, and he throws heavy elbows again! Shota drops to his knees then flops to the mat, but he grabs at Naito’s foot. Shota drags himself back up, but Naito gives him more heavy elbows! Shota drops again, but he shakes his head! Fans fire up as Shota fights back up! Shota snarls but Naito gives him even more heavy elbows! Shota falls back down, but he just fires up! Naito gives even more elbows, Shota eggs him on, but Naito ELBOWS him down!!

Shota roars again, but Naito just fires off MORE elbows! Shota drops to his knees again, Naito says he’ll end this now. Naito stands Shota up, wrenches and tilt-o-whirls, but Shota slips free! DEATH RIDER!!! Shota is feeling it now and the fans rally up behind him! Shota drags Naito up, lifts Naito, but Naito slips free and falls to the mat. Shota drags Naito back up, lifts again, for the DEATH SHOOTER!!! Cover, TWO!?!?! Naito survives Shota’s take on the move, but Shota isn’t done yet! Shota underhooks, but Naito slips free to DESTINO!!!! Cover, TWO!?!?!? Shota survives and fans are thunderous!

Naito still has a wild look on his face as he gets back up. Naito stands Shota up, wrenches, tilt-o-whirls, DESTINO!!!! Cover, Naito wins!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall

The Roughneck fought as hard as he could for as long as he could, but in the end, the Uncontrollable Charisma could not be stopped! Is it still too soon for the future of NJPW to be the present? As for Naito, he gets his baseball cap, then helps Shota stand up. Shota doesn’t want his help, and he pushes Naito. So Naito TOSSES Shota from the ring! Shota is helped away by Young Lions and Naito gets the mic to say, “Buenas noches, SAPPORO~!” Sapporo cheers, and Naito says, “This was NJPW’s first Hokkaido event of the year, and hopefully everyone’s had a great time. And I’m happy to be showing all of you in Hokkaido Tetsuya Naito’s pro-wrestling here tonight. Gracias, amigos.”

Naito also notes that tomorrow, February 5th, right back here, the main event will be Hiromu Takahashi VS Yoh for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title. He hopes everyone will come back to see that. Fans applaud, they surely will. Naito says, “By the way… You all can make noise again.” Fans cheer, they love that fact! Naito says that they should close this show right. For the first time since February 2019, four years ago, we wrap NJPW’s first night back in Sapporo the only right way! Fans do the roll call along with Naito! “Bushi! Sanada! Hiromu! Takagi! Titan! Y Naito! Nosotros…! LOS! INGOBERRRRNABLEEEES~! DE! JA! PON!!”

The Stardust Genius knows how to get the fans fired up, and they chant his name as he poses. Will Los Ingobernables de Japon make 2023 their year? Will Naito send Keiji Muto off in style in just under three weeks?

My Thoughts:

Really good stuff from NJPW for the Sapporo weekend they’ve got going. I skimmed, and I like that in the 8 Man Tag of Not Suzuki-Gun VS House of Torture, Narita was the one to get the win. He and Suzuki had a stare down and Suzuki apparently imparted wisdom on how Narita can reach that top level. Who knows if Narita sticks with Suzuki to learn more about that, but I think teaming with Suzuki in winning efforts against the House of Torture is a sign that Narita is gonna get to that top level at some point. TMDK winning was big given the IWGP Heavyweight Tag and NJPW World TV title matches tomorrow. It was also big because it was their Young Lion recruit, Kosei Fujita, getting the finish.

The other 8 Man Tags give me the feeling that this is the go-home math. Bullet Club lost because Jay White is going to beat Hikuleo and banish him to NJPW Strong in the US, and Kazuchika Okada will retain the world title against Shingo Takagi. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag title match was awesome stuff, and Douki again raises the bar on how great he can be. I would’ve loved to see Douki & Kanemaru win those belts, but perhaps it is too soon for Just4Guys to start taking over. To that point, Ospreay VS Taichi was also an awesome match, but Ospreay wins so that he can get himself back up.

The main event of Naito VS Shota was really good, but the pacing of it left a lot to be desired. It wasn’t as exciting, or at least the fans weren’t as fired up as they were the previous matches. Maybe the previous matches tired the crowd out, but they also got back into it at the end when Shota and Naito really upped things. I did like that Shota borrowed the Hammer ‘n’ Anvil elbows from the Blackpool Combat Club, though. But Naito wins, of course, as Shota still needs some time to really show what this Roughneck character is about. Plus, Naito needs that momentum going into his match with Muto.

My Score: 8.6/10

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