Two matches to go for the A Block! Can Ibushi stay close enough to spoil Okada’s tournament?
Well there’s not really a lot to unpack here. If Ibushi loses, then it’s pretty much a lock that Okada wins the block. Yes there may be some weird tie breaker math, but this ain’t the Winona Ryder meme, keep your math in your head.
So does Okada lock up the block? Does Ibushi stay within shouting distance to make for a high stakes final day?
Anyone who has seen these in the past, know it’s most likely the latter. But there’s always room for firsts in wrestling.
So let’s find out!
- Toru Yano, Yota Tsuki & Yuya Uemura vs Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:55 – ** 1/2
- YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: HASHI wins via Butterfly Lock @5:40 – **
- Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs Tomoaki Honma, Toa Henare & Juice Robinson: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @9:30 – ** 3/4
- Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii & Ren Narita vs Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI: BUSHI wins via MX @8:50 – ***
- A Block: SANADA vs Lance Archer: SANADA wins via Japanese Leg Clutch @10:30 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale: Fale wins via Backslide @10:00 – * 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs Will Ospreay: Ospreay wins via Stormbreaker @16:30 – *** 1/4
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr:: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @15:45 – ****
- A Block: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @27:00 – *** 3/4
Toru Yano, Yota Tsuki & Yuya Uemura vs Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi – Yano getting the two Young Lions didn’t really bode well for our Sublime Master Thief. Taichi tortured poor Yano, strangling him with microphone chords and even wrapping him up like a burrito in the ring skirt. Basically the same kind of match with Suzuki-Gun destroying people, but it was definitely an alright opener.
YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino – A bit of striking and just general stepping up to one another, between Goto and Moxley. But honestly, nothing special. Moxley has kind of done the same thing in the tags, so it’s hard to really differentiate any real story telling. YOSHI wins via Butterfly Lock again, so they’re setting YOSHI up for something down the line.
Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs Tomoaki Honma, Toa Henare & Juice Robinson – Jay and Juice have pretty good chemistry together in regard to, just getting across the mutual disdain. Jay treats Juice like a little brother and Juice is trying to prove himself to everyone. The story telling is good stuff, the match itself is fine, but Jay is very good at being a slimy heel. After the match, Jay cheap shots Rocky on commentary, so I’m curious if that’s a little breadcrumb for the future.
Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii & Ren Narita vs Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI – Naito sits down at commentary and starts conversing with Kevin Kelly in Spanish. Only thing of merit we get, aside from pleasantries, is Naito saying he’s a little tired. It was amusing, I can’t deny that. Shingo and Ishii kick off the match and play the two bulls trying to gore one another. Naito and Cobb have quite a few interactions as well, but it’s mostly Naito trying to pick apart Cobb and insinuate he’s fat like a sumo. Solid match, a lot of developments for tomorrow’s matches, good fun.
A Block: SANADA vs Lance Archer – Archer continues to look immensely impressive. SANADA fought from underneath this entire match, while Archer pulled off some interesting offense. Even though he falls in this match, Archer will most likely win his last match since people really seem to be loving him. Crowd support and supportive applause after all his matches, because they appreciate how hard he’s fighting.
A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale – Tanahashi tried to chop down the big man, but sadly the size and outside interference was just too much. Part of the story here is that Fale won by a wrestling maneuver for the second match in a row. So, I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean. Is Fale gonna incorporate more wrestling moves? Do any of us really care? My guess is no on both accounts.
A Block: KENTA vs Will Ospreay – Given who was involved, my expectations may have been a little too high. The match started off well enough with KENTA lighting up Ospreay with strikes and Ospreay’s resiliency shines through. However, they never really had great chemistry. KENTA slipped on a springboard move, KENTA stumbled during Ospreay’s spinning transition and just a few other hiccups hurt what could’ve been an epic dream match. KENTA has no shot at winning any longer, so I’m not really sure where he goes from here.
A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr – This match starts off very similarly to past bouts. Ibushi loves wrestling Sabre’s game for the early portion of the match before trying to go more into his high flying offense. Sabre tried to submit Ibushi with Orienteering with Napalm Death, similarly to how the 2018 New Japan Cup went, but Ibushi fought through it. Ibushi hits a Bom-ba-ye followed up by Kamigoye for the victory. Ibushi now holds his fate in his own hands.
A Block: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada – So there was a lot riding on this match. An EVIL win would’ve most likely had him as the first challenger during the second half of the season, but a win from Okada sets up a Winner Takes All match with him an Ibushi. The match started slowly with a few fun bursts. EVIL chucking a chair at Okada before his Flying Crossbody on the outside, but it was really a slow, borderline boring match for 75% of it. The match finally kicked into second gear after EVIL hit Darkness Falls. A bunch of nice counter moves and avoiding finishers definitely helped this match feel better when all was said and done. Okada picking up the win does also bode interestingly, because the last few years haven’t been kind to champions that finally pick up a loss after strong starts.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Because of how the last two matches finished up, it made this night pivotal. Okada did have the strangle hold, but thanks to Ibushi maintaining only 2 losses, he’s stayed close enough for their match on the last day of A Block to be Winner Takes All.
KENTA’s slide brings up a lot of questions about his future and just general marketability within New Japan. It also can’t be overlooked that this is the first time, in a damn long time, that Tanahashi has nothing to gain on the last day of the G1.
This does slowly start building some tension for the post-G1 storylines. But now we just sit and wait to see if Ibushi pulls out a pretty grand upset.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 7-1 (14 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 6-2 (12 Points)
- KENTA: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- EVIL: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- SANADA: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Zack Sabre Jr: 3-5 (6 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Will Ospreay: 3-5 (6 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Bad Luck Fale: 3-5 (6 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Lance Archer: 2-6 (4 Points) – ELIMINATED
Mitchell’s NJPW New Beginning Nagoya Results & Report! (1/22/23)
Will Nagoya be tranquilo?
It’s a New Beginning for NJPW!
With Shingo Takagi promising Kazuchika Okada that they’ll go Champion VS Champion in Osaka, can he stay Mr. KOPW after facing Great-O-Khan? Or will the Dominator slay the Rampaging Dragon?
- Toru Yano & Togi Makabe VS Oskar Leube & Yuto Nakashima; Yano & Makabe win.
- 8 Man Tag: Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma VS The House of Torture; Suzuki, Desperado, Narita & Honma win.
- 8 Man Tag: Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Ryohei Oiwa VS TMDK; TMDK wins.
- Six Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Master Wato & Jado VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS Taichi, DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru w/ Taka Michinoku; The United Empire wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Shota Umino, Ryusuke Taguchi & YOH VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Okada, Umino, Taguchi & Yoh win.
- KOPW 2023 Provisional Championship MMA Rules Match: Shingo Takagi VS Great-O-Khan; Takagi wins and retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS Taichi, DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru w/ Taka Michinoku!
This was meant to be an 8 Man Tag so that the Empire could take on all four guys, but it would seem “Public Enemy” TJP is unable to compete tonight. But that won’t stop Will Ospreay, Francesco Akira & Aaron Henare from settling things with the Holy Emperor, Japones Del Mal & The Heel Master. Will the Commonwealth Kingpin, Nova Fireball and Ultimate Weapon win the first battle in this war for New Beginnings?
The teams sort out but Ospreay and Taichi want after each other! They fire off forearms, so the others start brawling, too! Fans fire up and the bell rings as the former Suzuki-Gun members throw out Ospreay and Henare! Kanemaru stays on Akira, whips him to ropes, but Akira reverses. Taichi fires off kicks on Ospreay, then CHOKES him against railing! The ref reprimands as now Kanemaru and Akira go to the outside. Kanemaru whips but Akira reverses again, only for Kanemaru to reverse back! Akira hits railing, then Kanemaru puts him in the ring. Kanemaru and Douki regroup, mug Akira, then double whip him to a corner.
Douki runs in to elbow, Kanemaru runs in to elbow! Snapmare and DOUBLE BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO! Things settle down now as Kanemaru brings Akira up. Kanemaru has the leg, for a SHINBREAKER! Kanemaru kicks the bad leg and Akira flounders. Kanemaru brings Akira up but Akira CHOPS! So Kanemaru rakes Akira’s eyes! The ref reprimands, Kanemaru lets off and whips Akira to ropes. Akira avoids the low dropkick, elbows Kanemaru, then dumps Kanemaru out of the ring! Akira then PLANCHAS! Direct hit and fans fire up! Then the Empire attacks on the outside! Henare throws Douki down while Ospreay sends Taichi into railing!
Ospreay fires haymakers on Taichi, Akira sends Kanemaru into railing, and Henare CHOKES Douki! Akira puts Kanemaru in the ring and stalks up behind him. Akira stands Kanemaru up to run and CALF KICK! Cover, TWO! Fans rally while Akira drags Kanemaru up. Akira bumps Kanemaru off buckles, tags in Ospreay, and fans fire up. Ospreay stomps Kanemaru, scoops him, and hits the SPIN-OUT BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Ospreay shouts out Nagoya and fans rally as he paces. Ospreay drags Kanemaru up, KNEES him in the back, and then Ospreay talks trash to Taichi. Ospreay stands Kanemaru up but Kanemaru throws body shots!
Kanemaru uppercuts but Ospreay DECKS him! Tag to Henare, and he talks trash on Douki. Henare drags Kanemaru up, clinches, and throws big knees! Henare snapmares Kanemaru to KICK him in the back, and drop a SENTON! Kanemaru writhes but Henare drags him up. Henare HEADBUTTS Kanemaru to ropes, and Ospreay CHOKES him! The ref reprimands, Ospreay lets off, and both Ospreay and Akira run to BLAST Douki and Taichi! Henare bends Kanemaru against the ropes, then beats the war drum! The ref reprimands and counts, Henare lets off at 4, but Ospreay gets a cheap shot in during the distraction!
Kanemaru flops back while Ospreay talks some trash. Fans rally up for Kanemaru as Henare scuffs him. Kanemaru throws body shots and an uppercut! But Henare ELBOW JABS! Henare whips, Kanemaru reverses and DROPKICKS! Fans fire up while both men are down! Kanemaru crawls, hot tag to Taichi! Fans fire up as Taichi fires off Kawada Kicks! And a SOBAT! And then a whip to a corner, for a clotheslines! Taichi snapmares, KICKS, and wraps Henare up, but Akira attacks to stop the Seitei Jujiro! Akira CLUBS away but Taichi CHOKES him and THROWS him down! Ospreay runs in, dodges a boot and BOOTS back!
Taichi rebounds but Ospreay ducks the lariat to get around, only for Taichi to fight the lift! Taichi PELES! Ospreay scrambles away, his shoulder stinging! Henare runs in at Taichi, Taichi gets around but Henare fights off the Dangerous Saido! Henare CLUBS Taichi, whips, but Taichi reverses to wrench and DANGEROUS HOOK KICK! Fans fire up and Taichi feeds off the energy. Taichi brings Henare up and around, but Henare ducks the Buzzsaw! Henare shoves Taichi to a corner, Taichi dodges the Shining Wizard, but Henare elbows! And then FLYING CHUCKS! Henare tags in Ospreay and Ospreay springboards, PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO!
Ospreay adjusts the elbow pad while fans fire up. Ospreay drags Taichi up, turns him, but Taichi breaks free! Ospreay ROCKS Taichi with a forearm then eggs him on. Taichi KICKS Ospreay in the leg! Ospreay forearms, Taichi kicks, repeat! Fans rally as the strikes go faster! Ospreay fires off a flurry, runs, but into a BOOT! Taichi runs, into the Tiger Wall Kick and ENZIGURI! Taichi staggers to a corner, Ospreay runs in but Taichi dodges! Ospreay hits buckles, then Taichi hits a GAMANGIRI! Both men are down and fans rally up! Taichi crawls, tag to Douki! Douki runs corner to corner to elbow Ospreay! Kanemaru adds his own elbow!
Kanemaru whips Ospreay but Ospreay BOOTS Douki down! Ospreay kicks Kanemaru, whips him, but Kanemaru ducks ‘n’ dodges to tilt-o-whirl DDT! Douki is up top, DIVING DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO! Into ITALIAN STRETCH #32! But Akira stomps Douki! Kanemaru throws Akira back out, and Douki fires up! Fans fire up with Douki and he wheelbarrows Ospreay! But Henare stops the lift to KICK Douki down! Kanemaru dropkicks Henare’s leg out! Kanemaru keeps moving, but he runs into a BESERKER BOMB! But Taichi AX BOMBERS Henare down! But Ospreay HOOK KICKS Taichi down!
Douki is on the apron, Ospreay rushes over but into a shoulder! Douki slingshots, DAY- NO, Ospreay blocks to suplex! Douki slips out, waistlocks, but Ospreay standing switches. Douki breaks free, mule kicks, ENZIGURIS, and Ospreay flops to the corner. Akira climbs up but Douki dodges his leap! Akira keeps moving, he ducks ‘n’ dodges, and rolls to SATELLITE DDT! Ospreay adds HIDDEN BLADE! Cover, The Empire wins!
Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall
It was only three guys, but the United Empire still conquered them! Will Akira & TJP keep the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships from Kanemaru & Douki in Sapporo? Will Ospreay prove that he is the REAL Emperor of NJPW? Or will even the Empire fall to #Just4Guys?
8 Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Shota Umino, Ryusuke Taguchi & YOH VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!
The Rainmaker prepares to defend his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, but he won’t be facing his challenger in this match. Instead, he, the Roughneck, the Funky Weapon and Direct Drive are taking on Bushi, Sanada, Hiromu y Naito. Will Okada lead his team to victory? Or will the New Beginning be tranquilo?
The teams sort out and Okada’s team mirrors LIJ just to taunt them. Naito takes his time with his entrance attire, but Shooter is calling him out. Fans rally for “NA-I-TO!” and Naito smirks, then he fist bumps with LIJ. Naito then attacks first with furious forearms! The bell rings, Naito whips, but Umino reverses and follows. Naito dodges, Umino dodges and shoves, but Naito holds the ropes so Umino’s dropkick misses. Naito rushes in but Umino ducks the basement dropkick to arm-drag! Umino has an armlock but Naito headscissors. Umino kips free, and Naito tranquilos! Fans cheer as Naito offers the fist bump.
Umino steps forward, but Naito stands up to tag in Hiromu. And Hiromu wants Yoh! Yoh wants in, too, so Umino obliges. Fans fire up as Yoh rallies on the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion! Yoh then whips, but Hiromu reverses, only for Yoh to duck ‘n’ dodge! Hiromu elbows Yoh, whips him to a corner, and corner clotheslines! Hiromu snapmares Yoh, runs, but Yoh gets up to dodge and RANA! Hiromu flops out of the ring, Yoh PLANCHAS, but Hiromu dodges! Hiromu whips but Yoh reverses to send Hiromu hard into railing! Yoh puts Hiromu in the ring, brings him up and FALCON- NO, Hiromu slips free!
Hiromu waistlocks, ducks Yoh’s elbow, and CHOPS! Hiromu runs but Yoh handsprings to dodge! Yoh mule kicks, turns Hiromu and hits a NECKBREAKER! Fans fire up and Yoh brings Hiromu up. Yoh CHOPS Hiromu to the corner, he tags in Taguchi, and Taguchi drags Hiromu up to whip him to a corner. CORNER HIP! Taguchi whips Hiromu the other way, another CORNER HIP! Taguchi whips again, but Hiromu reverses, only for Taguchi to reverse back! Another CORNER HIP! Taguchi keeps moving, he ducks ‘n’ dodges, but Hiromu steps aside. Taguchi crashes and burns, LIJ BLASTS Okada’s team!
Sanada is after Okada, Bushi has Yoh and Naito is after Umino. Bushi rakes Yoh’s eyes while Naito whips Umino into railing hard! Hiromu goes back to Taguchi, SPANKS him, SPANKS him again, and has him in the corner. Tag to Bushi and he brings Taguchi up. Bushi snapmares Taguchi, stomps him, then has the legs. Bushi stands on Taguchi’s groin! The ref reprimands, Bushi lets off at 4, and Taguchi twitches. Cover, TWO! Taguchi is still in this and fans rally up. Bushi tags Naito, then he brings Taguchi around. Bushi underhooks, and he sits down to have Taguchi in the infamous Shameful Stretch!
Sanada distracts the ref as Naito steps in, runs and dropkicks Taguchi’s butt! Cover, TWO! Taguchi survives and fans rally up but Naito SPANKS Taguchi! Tag to Sanada and he brings Taguchi into an atomic drop! Taguchi hobbles while clutching his butt. Fans rally up, Taguchi runs at Sanada, but into another atomic drop! Fans rally more and Taguchi tries again, but he fakes Sanada out! Taguchi wags his finger, Sanada runs in, but into a HIP ATTACK! Taguchi is on wobbly legs, but he hot tags Okada! Okada rallies on LIJ with big forearms! He BOOTS Sanada, runs in and ELBOWS him down! Fans fire up with the world champion!
Okada whips Sanada corner to corner, runs in and back elbows! Then a kick and DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada drags Sanad around, ties up the legs and has the arms, STRETCH PLUM! Sanada endures, crawls forward, and grabs the ROPEBREAK! Okada lets off quickly, then he drags Sanada up. Okada gut wrenches, but Sanada fights free! Sanada waistlocks, Okada elbows free and runs, but into a low dropkick! Okada hobbles, and Sanada dropkicks him down! Tag to Naito! Fans rally and Naito stalks Okada, to sucker punch Umino! Okada CLUBS Naito, Naito fires off forearms in return! Naito whips, hip tosses, then basement dropkicks!
Naito brings Okada back up, whips him to a corner, then runs in, into a BOOT from Okada! Okada steps up, into a kick from Naito. Naito runs, into a FLAPJACK! Both men are down and fans fire up, hot tag to Umino! Umino aims, runs in at Naito, and RANAS! Umino BLASTS the LIJ corner, then he fires off forearms on Naito! Fans rally, Umino whips but Naito reverses. Umino holds ropes, BOOTS Naito, then sidesteps to hip toss! Umino keeps going, basement dropkick! Snapmare and Umino runs, for a SUNSET SENTON! Umino mocks the eyes-wide-open pose and fans fire up! Umino stalks Naito, drags him up, and whips him to a corner.
Umino runs in to elbow Naito, then brings him out for a FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Not quite perfect but the fans still fire up! Umino drags Naito up as fans rally. Umino clinches but Naito CLUBS him down. Naito throws a forearm but Umino just stares Naito down. Umino throws a forearm and eggs Naito on, so Naito throws a forearm! Umino throws a forearm, Naito gives it back, and fans rally as they go back and forth, faster and faster! Umino gets the edge, whips, but Naito reverses to ELBOW! Umino staggers, into an atomic drop! Naito throws back elbows! And then turns Umino for a NECKBREAKER!
Naito tags Bushi and Bushi climbs a corner. Fans fire up as Umino stands, and Bushi MISSILE DROPKICKS! Bushirooni! Sanada and Hiromu BLAST Okada and Yoh! Bushi & Hiromu whip Umino to a corner, Hiromu clotheslines and Bushi elbows! Feed to Hiromu’s mule kick, Sanada adds his front kick, and Bushi hits a BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO! Bushi drags Umino up, fisherman’s the leg, but Okada runs in to BOOT Bushi down! Sanada dropkicks Okada’s legs! Yoh DROPKICKS Sanada down! Hiromu SUPERKICKS Yoh down! Taguchi HIP ATTACKS Hiromu! And HIP ATTACKS Naito!
Taguchi HIP- NO, Bushi hits an atomic drop! Umino staggers up, Bushi swings on him, but Umino blocks and spins Bushi around, only for Bushi to slip free! Umino blocks one kick and ducks the enziguri, but not the HEEL KICK! Bushi runs, into a pop-up UPPERCUT! Umino dragon sleepers, for the SAVING GRACE! Cover, TWO! Bushi is still in this but fans fire up with Umino as he roars! Umino stalks Bushi, waits on him to rise, then reels him in! DEATH RIDER!! Cover, Umino’s team wins!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, Shota Umino, Ryusuke Taguchi & Yoh, by pinfall
The Roughneck takes down the Black Mask to win this for his team! Does this mean Shooter will shoot down Naito? Will Yoh take the title from the Best of the Super Juniors? And will the Rainmaker still reign through the New Beginnings? Or will everything still be tranquilo in 2023?
KOPW 2023 Provisional Championship MMA Rules Match: Shingo Takagi VS Great-O-Khan w/ The United Empire!
This match is for more than just the new blue belt the Rampaging Dragon has. The Dominator wants to prove his technical fighting skills, become a two belt champion, and take away Takagi’s shot at Okada’s IWGP World Heavyweight Championship! With nothing to lose and everything to gain, will Khan conquer NJPW for the United Empire? Or will Takagi beat Khan at his own game and then go right for the Rainmaker?
Per the rules, both men wear traditional martial arts gi, though Takagi still has his wrestling tights on under his. The introductions are raised, the KOPW belt is raised, but so much more is on the line!
The bell rings and fans rally as the two stare down. They approach, feel things out, and Khan gives some testing kicks. Takagi stays up and comes back to try again. They feel things out, but back away, and fans applaud the savvy. Khan then presses the offense, but Takagi rests against the ropes. Khan backs off, fans rally for Takagi as he and Khan reset. They feel things out, clinch, then break. They go again, fight for control, go around, but Takagi avoids a leg sweep. They tie up again, and Khan hits a takedown! Takagi clasps hands to fight the armbar, and he goes to roll Khan, but Khan keeps his shoulders up.
Khan shifts to get a triangle hold, but Takagi powers his way through. Khan fights off the lateral press, rolls things over, and then he tries for the lateral press. Takagi fights that so Khan wants the arm again! Takagi stacks Khan, then slips away before getting caught in the Triangle again. Both men egg each other on, and Khan has his leg guard up. Takagi keeps his distance as he goes around, Khan, then he drops to the mat to show he can do the leg guard, too! Khan rushes in, Takagi pushes him down and they clinch on the mat. Khan keeps his shoulders up and slips through to get a leg! The Empire applauds but Takagi gets the ROPEBREAK!
Fans cheer and Red Shoes calls the break, so Khan lets off. Fans applaud as the two reset again. Takagi and Khan feel out the grapple, grab at sleeves while kicking at legs, but then they clinch. Takagi puts Khan on the ropes, gives some short shoulder thrusts, then he throws Khan down! Takagi runs Khan over, then drops a SENTON! Cover, but Red Shoes reprimands! This is MMA rules, not pro-wrestling rules. Takagi sighs while Khan gets away to the outside. The Empire regroups, fans Khan off, and Ospreay wants a timeout. Red Shoes says those aren’t part of these rules, Khan has to return. Takagi waits, Khan slides in, and they reset again.
Khan and Takagi circle, feel things out, grab sleeves, then go around. Khan fights off a throw, gets free of Takagi’s grip, and they approach again. They tie up, clinch, fight for control, and fans cheer as each tries for a sweep. They end up on the ropes but Khan has control. Fans applaud as LIJ appears to be Takagi’s cornermen just like the Empire is for Khan. Khan and Takagi break, and they reset. Takagi and Khan go again as fans rally up. They feel out the grapple, clinch again, but Khan uses a grip on the collar. Takagi keeps Khan from tripping him, but Khan hits a MONKEY FLIP! Takagi bails out but the Empire puts him back in!
Khan is right on Takagi with a rear mount and a double wrist hold! Khan smothers Takagi into the mat but Takagi endures. Khan turns Takagi over but they end up in the ropes. Red Shoes reprimands and counts, but Khan lets off cleanly. Takagi bails out again but Ospreay pushes him back in! Khan drags Takagi up, and hits a SAYANAGI! Khan now has a DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! Takagi endures, Khan moves around, but Takagi pushes him over. Takagi fights the leg guard but ends up in a TRIANGLE! Khan rolls but Takagi grabs the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes counts, Khan lets off and Takagi goes to a corner.
Fans rally as the two reset again. Takagi shakes out his arm and he circles with Khan. They tie up, Takagi tries a throw but Khan smothers that. Khan gets around to then tie up a leg, CALF KILLER! And Khan adds an arm to the mix! Takagi endures so Khan rolls to have NAPALM DEATH! A very Zack Sabre Jr. style hold, but Takagi scrambles to the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes counts, Khan lets go, and he rushes after Takagi to rear mount again. Khan SLAPS Takagi around, has a body scissors squeeze, but again Takagi gets a ROPEBREAK! Khan lets off, but then he scrapes Takagi out of the ring with a kick!
LIJ regroups and helps Takagi up and into the ring. It’s practically a Lumberjack match at this point. Takagi and Khan go again, clinch, but Khan drops to get an arm and leg! Takagi grabs a leg, too! They have DUELING HEEL HOOKS! Khan shifts around, grabs at the collar, but Takagi holds him off. Khan uses his legs to pry at the arm and then he has the HEEL HOOK! Takagi pops his arm free to get the ROPEBREAK! Khan lets go, but then he digs his knee into Takagi’s chest. Red Shoes reprimands and Takagi protests, but Khan digs his knee in! Khan talks trash, then jams Takagi before he finally backs off.
Fans rally for Takagi while he goes to the corner. Khan clinches but Takagi pushes him down and has a toehold! Khan endures, so Takagi shifts around. Khan wants the triangle but Takagi gets free again. Takagi shakes out his sore limbs but Khan is fairly cool. But then Takagi fires off forearms and knees! Strikes are still part of judo but he’s got Khan against the ropes! Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Takagi lets off, and Khan rushes in! Khan fires off knees of his own! Khan backs Takagi to a corner, throws in more knees, but Red Shoes reprimands. Khan lets off, brings Takagi out, and then throws more knees!
Takagi is down and Red Shoes starts a standing count! Fans rally up and Takagi sits up at 4 of 10. Takagi uses ropes to drag himself up at 8 and fans applaud. Takagi headbutts the buckle to fire back up! Khan eggs Takagi on, they tie up again, and Khan tries for the throw! Takagi holds it off, pushes Khan to ropes, and uses the rebound for his SAYANAGI! And then PUMPING BOMBER! Takagi takes off the gi! Fans fire up as Takagi is gonna fight this his way! Takagi drags Khan up, whips him to ropes, and knees low! Then a DDT! Takagi runs to SLIDINGN LARIAT! And then Takagi throws down fists, before clamping on the KATA GATAME!
Takagi leans all his weight on Khan while Khan endures! Fans rally, Khan clasps hands to relieve pressure, then he pulls Takagi’s hair! Takagi sits back to pull on the hold, but Khan moves around! Red Shoes checks, but Khan reaches out to the ROPEBREAK! Takagi lets go and Khan bails out for a breather. But then LIJ hurry to grab him! Khan grabs railing, and the Empire rushes over! Naito holds them off, Hiromu and Sanada put Khan in the ring. Fans fire up and Takagi brings Khan up. Takagi fires off forearm after forearm, but Khan clinches again. Takagi tries to trip Khan, but Khan URENAGES Takagi!
Fans fire up as Khan and Takagi go to opposite corners. Khan and Takagi get up, they tie up again, and Khan throws Takagi down! Fans rally up, Khan and Takagi stand back up, and Khan roars as he rushes in! They clinch, go for trips, then clinch. Khan hits an STO into a KATA GATAME! Takagi clasps hands, kicks around, and gets the ROPEBREAK! But Khan rolls Takagi away from the ropes! Hiromu protests but Takagi endures again. Red Shoes reprimands, and Khan lets go in frustration. Khan opens up his gi, to SMOTHER Takagi with it! Khan also traps an arm but LIJ protests. Khan lets Takagi go to stomp him down.
Khan paces around Takagi, and then uses his BLACK BELT to choke Takagi! Hiromu gets on the apron to protest, but Akira runs in to BLAST him off the apron! Red Shoes reprimands Akira, Khan has Akira cool off, and Akira exits the ring. Khan goes back to Takagi to CHOKE him again! Red Shoes reprimands, Khan sits Takagi up and dumps him out of the ring! Khan CHOKES Takagi with the belt, practically hanging Takagi from the ropes! The Empire keeps LIJ away and Red Shoes is busy reprimanding them all! Akira fires forearms on Hiromu but Hiromu throws Akira away! Red Shoes sees what Khan is doing and makes him stop!
Fans rally for Takagi while Sanada helps Takagi with the belt. But Ospreay whips Naito into railing, and Henare does the same to Sanada! Red Shoes is busy with Akira and Hiromu as they brawl more, so Henare stands Takagi up! Ospreay hits an OSCUTTER to the floor! Henare puts Takagi in the ring, Khan gets Red Shoes’ attention and drags Takagi up. Khan kicks Takagi down, then drags him up, URENAGE! Khan wants the standing count so the count begins. Fans rally for Takagi but he’s still down at 5 of 10! LIJ coaches Takagi up, this is for both KOPW and his shot at Okada! Takagi drags himself up at 8 and stands at 9!
Takagi has his dukes up, but Khan uses an arm for a SAYANAGI! And then another SAYANAGI! Khan drags Takagi up by his arms, reels him in, but Takagi turns that to a SLEEPER! Fans fire up, but Khan grabs at Takagi’s hair. Khan slips around to SLEEPER! Khan hops on with body scissors! Takagi is fading with Khan as his backpack, but then he hits a BACKPACK SENTON! Both men are down, and Takagi goes to the apron! Takagi goes up the corner, for a DIVING KNEE DROP! Fans fire up with Takagi and the “OI! OI! OI!” Takagi stands Khan up, fires off boxing elbows, then HEADBUTT after HEADBUTT! Takagi ROCKS Khan, but runs into a SLEEPER!
Khan squeezes tight and Takagi is fading! Fans rally and Red Shoes checks. Takagi gets a second wind! Torture rack, LAST OF THE DRAGONS! Both men are down and fans fire up again! It’s a double down count! Fans rally, as do the Empire and LIJ! Takagi goes to a corner, stands at 5, but Khan is still down at 7! And at 8! Khan rises at 9, but the SLIDING FOREARM knocks him back down!! Takagi sits Khan up for HAMMER ‘N’ ANVIL ELBOWS! Then a HALF NELSON SLEEPER! Khan flails, fights, but Takagi rolls him to have the body scissors! Khan endures, reaches out, but he’s fading! Khan is OUT, Takagi wins!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by submission (still Provisional KOPW 2023 Champion)
Though they didn’t quite stick to MMA rules the entire time, this was still one hell of a fight! The Rampaging Dragon slays the Dominator, will Khan have to go back to the drawing board on how to dethrone Takagi?
As for Takagi, he has the belt and an icepack, then gets a drink of water before talking on the mic. “Somehow, I was able to win.” Fans cheer that. Takagi says that yesterday, it was NJPW VS NOAH, and he was able to get revenge on Nakajima. Today, Takagi defended the KOPW Championship in an MMA Match, and he won against Khan. It goes to show that Shingo Takagi has no reason to be afraid of anyone or anything. So next, on February 11th in Osaka, is the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada. “And there’s something I want to say to the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. So, shall we bring him out here?”
Fans fire up and chant for “O-KA-DA!” Takagi waits, looks around, and here comes the Rainmaker! Okada has the world title on his shoulder, and Takagi says, “Since I interrupted you on January 4th and 5th, it’s only right I invite you here tonight.” Okada joins Takagi in the ring, and Takagi again says he has something important he wants to say to Okada. “I got through yesterday, I got through today, so next is our title match. I pulled through last year with a cheap KOPW 2022 trophy. Now, I have a KOPW 2023 belt. And now, I bring this into the main event. So, how about this? If you’re putting up that world title in the main event of Osaka, how about I put up the KOPW title, too?”
Fans like the sound of that! But Takagi has more to say. Takagi says that perhaps, for the first time ever, they have it be Winner Takes All under KOPW rules! How about it, Okada? Takagi hands the mic over, and Okada says, “Everyone knows that when I was IWGP Heavyweight Champion, I had a sixty minute best 2 out of 3 falls match that was pretty famous. So, the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship really should be about man to man, straight up pro-wrestling as it should be. The KOPW Division is incredible, but I don’t want two belts at the same time. I can’t love two, I only have eyes for one, and I only love the IWGP World Heavyweight title.”
Fans applaud Okada’s loyalty, but Okada continues to say that it seems Takagi can’t beat Okada without some kind of gimmicky set of rules. If that’s the case, then Takagi doesn’t deserve his title shot. Let’s just wrestle the NJPW way in Osaka! Takagi takes the mic back to say, “Yeah, I figured you’d say that. So I get it. In that case, after our match, I’ll be the double champ! So it will not be a double title match, it’ll just be the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. But it’ll be an all-out battle, and we’re going to beat the hell out of each other!” Fans cheer them sticking to the old school. Okada raises his belt for the photo op, then takes his leave.
Takagi continues to say that was a bit awkward. But to get things back on track, Takagi invites LIJ into the ring with him. He thanks his “lumberjacks” for helping him out, and notes that LIJ won against KONGO 3-2 last night in Yokohama. Takagi is KOPW Champion, Hiromu is IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, but there is still more for LIJ to do! “Oi, Nagoya. You guys have had great energy all night! NAGOYA!” “OI!” “NAGOYA!” “OI!” “Osu! Let’s close out the main event here in Nagoya. From now on, as a group, as a whole, as a unit, we will rampage like a dragon!” Takagi drops the mic, LIJ poses together, but will they rise together in 2023?
Really good stuff out of NJPW, though I did again skip things because of limited time. But of course the Young Lions lost to Yano & Makabe, and I figured Suzuki’s new team would get the win over the House of Torture. I’m glad to see my idea of Suzuki feuding with Evil came true, even if it isn’t Suzuki-Gun anymore. And naturally TMDK’s new formation wins out with ZSJ sporting his new look. He’s clearly building towards his first NJPW World Television Championship feud with Tomohiro Ishii, and that should be an awesome match, even with the 15 minute time limit the NJPW World TV Division comes with. Bullet Club also gets an obvious win, Jado taking the loss. It feels like we’re building back to more Tanahashi VS Kenta, which is great because those two don’t disappoint.
The United Empire VS #Just4Guys being downgraded to 3v3 was a shame, but it was still a really good match. The Empire was the right choice to win here, but I still think each individual showdown can go either way. It’d be amazing if Douki & Kanemaru won the Junior Heavyweight Tag titles off TJP & Akira, especially as Douki has yet to hold any gold. We got a good 8 Man from Okada and his team against LIJ. Umino getting the win there was great for him, but I don’t see him beating Naito 1v1. Hiromu VS Yoh could go either way, but I’m leaning towards Hiromu retaining.
The MMA Rules match was not quite what I expected, but that’s probably because as an American, I’m conditioned to picture UFC or Bellator when the phrase “Mixed Martial Arts” comes up. This was more how Japan sees MMA, in that it was more the martial arts foundation of MMA. But at the same time, the match itself didn’t really pick up until they started throwing in all the pro-wrestling elements, such as the factions getting involved and both Takagi and Khan resorting to strikes. I do appreciate that Takagi now has a submission in his moveset, that half nelson sleeper is a pretty good answer to Okada’s Money Clip.
And good closing promo from both Takagi and Okada, in which I appreciate that Takagi appreciates Okada keeping things to a traditional singles match. Okada doesn’t want NJPW returning to a Two Belt Top Champ era, the very thing that gave us the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship in the first place, and so that is how things will go. As great as Takagi is, Okada only just got the world title back, so Okada isn’t giving it up. And Takagi can still continue on past New Beginning to defend the KOPW title against whoever in whatever stipulations that they can come up with. Though Takagi may have to try really hard to come up with new stuff, the MMA Rules match probably one won because we already saw the First to 30 Count.
My Score: 8.6/10
Mitchell’s NJPW WrestleKingdom 17 Results & Report! (1/21/23)
NJPW VS NOAH, the rematch!
Yokohama hosts the massive crossover’s sequel!
As NJPW heads for year 51, they once again invite Pro-Wrestling NOAH for a star-studded showdown in Yokohama Arena! It’s WrestleKingdom 17, part 2!
- Kosei Fujita & Ryohei Oiwa VS Taishi Ozawa & Yasutaka Yano; Fujita & Oiwa win.
- Tomohiro Ishii & Oskar Leube VS Daiki Inaba & Masa Kitamiya; Inaba & Kitamiya win.
- 8 Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura VS KENTA, El Phantasmo, Gedo & Naomichi Marufuji; Tanahashi, Yano, Kojima & Sugiura win.
- El Desperado VS YO-HEY; Desperado wins.
- Six Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi, Master Wato & Tiger Mask VS Alejandro, Junta Miyawaki & AMAKUSA; Alejandro, Miyawaki & Amakusa win.
- Kazuchika Okada & Togi Makabe VS Yoshiki Inamura & Kaito Kiyomiya; No Contest.
- BUSHI VS Tadasuke; Tadasuke wins.
- Hiromu Takahashi VS Hajime Ohara; Hiromu wins.
- SANADA VS Manabu Soya; Soya wins.
- Shingo Takagi VS Katsuhiko Nakajima; Takagi wins.
- Tetsuya Naito VS Kenoh; Naito wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
BUSHI VS Tadasuke!
Leading off this Best of 5 series of Los Ingobernables de Japon VS KONGO, it’s the Black Mask and The Out Cast! Will Bushi hit a homer? Or will Tadasuke strike him out?
Speaking of striking, Bushi strikes first with a SHOTGUN dropkick before the bell! The ref reprimands but the bell rings as Bushi fires off forearms! Bushi CHOPS, CHOPS, and CHOPS! Bushi brings Tadasuke around, messes with Tadasuke’s hair, then wipes his hands off on the ref. Fans rally up, Bushi drags Tadasuke up to throw him out, and goes out to CLUB Tadasuke on the back. Bushi whips Tadasuke hard into railing! Bushi kicks Tadasuke around, brings him and whips him hard into more railing! Fans fire up and Bushi dusts off his hands. Bushi drags Tadasuke up and whips him, only for Tadasuke to reverse and send Bushi into railing!
Bushi comes back and fires off forearms! Bushi whips, Tadasuke reverses, and Bushi hits railing again! Tadasuke BOOTS Bushi down! The ref reprimands, Tadasuke tells him to hold on, and he grins as he looms over Bushi. Tadasuke drags Bushi up, puts him in the ring, and fans applaud. Tadasuke stomps away on Bushi, then laughs as he runs and stomps Bushi down again! Bushi goes to ropes, Tadasuke drags him up and puts him on other ropes. Tadasuke goes to the apron to stand on Bushi, and then he shouts as he runs to GUILLOTINE LEG DROP! Bushi flounders back while fans applaud.
Tadasuke goes into the ring, covers, TWO! Tadasuke keeps on Bushi with a stretch plum! Bushi endures, Tadasuke throws down elbows and keeps on the plum! Bushi endures, crawls around with just his legs, but Tadasuke puts on the pressure! Bushi reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Tadasuke lets go and fans applaud. Tadasuke looms over Bushi, and he rips off the shirt! “C’MON, BABY!” Fans boo as Tadasuke flexes, but Bushi gets up to fire off forearms! Bushi ROCKS Tadasuke, but Tadasuke CHOPS! Bushi CHOPS, Tadasuke CHOPS, repeat! Tadasuke CHOPS Bushi off his feet! Fans fire up while Tadasuke dusts himself up.
Fans chant for Bushi but Tadasuke shrugs that off. Tadasuke stands Bushi up to HEADBUTT! Tadasuke whips Bushi to a corner, runs in corner to corner, but Bushi BOOTS him back! Bushi then RANAS Tadasuke down! Fans rally up, Bushi stands and he brings Tadasuke up. Tadasuke fires off forearms but Bushi SLAPS him! Bushi snapmares and KICKS Tadasuke in the back! And KICKS him again! Bushi throws Tadasuke out and builds speed, DIVE! Direct hit into the railing! Fans fire up with Bushi and the ring count starts. Bushi takes his time, stomps Tadasuke at 6 of 20, then drags him up at 9. Bushi puts Tadasuke in at 12 and fans applaud.
Bushi climbs a corner and fans rally. Tadasuke stands, Bushi MISSILE DROPKICKS! Fans cheer for the Bushirooni! Bushi drags Tadasuke up but Tadasuke swings on him! Bushi blocks, spins Tadasuke, but Tadasuke wrenches back, gets around, and atomic drops! Tadasuke then fakes a punch to hit a DDT! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Bushi but Tadasuke uses that to fire himself up. Tadasuke runs, but Bushi blocks the lariat! ARM BREAKER! BACKSTABBER! Tadasuke staggers around, Bushi runs in, CODE BREAKER! Fans fire up as Bushi goes up top and calls his shot! M- LARIAT! Tadasuke counters Bushi’s best shot and both men are down!
Fans rally back up as Bushi and Tadasuke stir. Tadasuke drags himself to ropes, but his arms don’t have the strength to drag himself up. Tadasuke goes to Bushi and throws a forearm. Bushi throws a forearm back! Tadasuke throws another forearm, so Bushi throws another one back! They stand, fans rally, and Tadasuke throws another forearm! Bushi returns it, and the brawl is on! Bushi gets the edge but Tadasuke gives those all back! Bushi SLAPS, Tadasuke LARIATS! Tadasuke stands Bushi up to LARIAT again! Fans fire up, Tadasuke runs, Bushi LARIATS! Both men are down and fans rally for Bushi!
Tadasuke bails out and flounders around. Bushi goes out but is also sore. Bushi storms up to Tadasuke, whips him, but Tadasuke reverses! Bushi hits railing hard, and both men are down again. The ref checks both men, they’re okay to continue, and Tadasuke fires up! Tadasuke talks some trash, drags Bushi up, and he whips Bushi, only for Bushi to reverse! Tadasuke hits railings hard! Bushi kicks the gate open and brings Tadasuke to No Man’s Land. Bushi brings Tadasuke around, NECKBREAKER on the railing! Fans fire up while both men are down again. Bushi stands, he drags Tadasuke back around and puts him in the ring.
Fans rally as Bushi brings Tadasuke through the ropes, DRAPING DDT to the apron! Bushi goes into the ring, drags Tadasuke back in, FISHERMAN- NO, Tadasuke slips free to LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Tadasuke fires himself up but the fans rally for Bushi. Tadasuke torture racks, Bushi slips free and shoves Tadasuke at the ref! Tadasuke stops himself, but turns around into BLACK MIST!! Bushi reels Tadasuke in for a backslide! But Tadasuke rolls through to ghost pin! TADASUKE WINS!!
Winner: Tadasuke (KONGO 1-0)
Bushi can’t believe it! His trick backfired and he suffers loss! But then he goes after Tadasuke! Tensions were already high between the factions and now we have a brawl! They throw haymakers and then grapple! Young Lions from both sides rush in and separate the two, and Tadasuke staggers his way up the ramp, still a bit blind. KONGO takes the lead, will this win be all the difference in the series?
Hiromu Takahashi VS Hajime Ohara!
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, the Best of the Super Juniors, has his work cut out for him. With LIJ down 0-1, will Hiromu be able to turn things around? Or will the Dark Dragon cause the Ticking Timebomb to self-destruct?
The bell rings and fans rally for “HI-RO-MU!” already. Hiromu and Ohara both rush in but Ohara avoids the dropkick! Ohara facelocks Hiromu, and rolls with him as Hiromu tries to get free. Ohara floats around to headlock, but Hiromu slips out to headlock back. Ohara powers up, slips free and headlocks Hiromu again. Hiromu powers up to power out, but Ohara runs him over! Things speed up, Hiromu drops down but Ohara uses that to float and headlock again. Fans applaud this opening exchange, and Hiromu fights up. Hiromu pries the hold open, slips around and he headlocks Ohara in return.
Ohara rolls, pops free, and he has a headlock on the mat. Fans applaud, but Hiromu hooks with a leg. Ohara shrugs the headscissor, shifts to a facelock, and he snapmares Hiromu into a chinlock. Ohara thrashes around but Hiromu endures. Fans rally, Hiromu fights up, throws elbows, and Hiromu runs. Ohara catches Hiromu to a chinlock! Fans rally, but Ohara hits a BACK2BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Ohara tries again, TWO! And again, TWO! A deep hook, TWO!! Hiromu escapes and bails out of the ring but Ohara pursues! Ohara puts Hiromu back in quickly, and he stomps Hiromu down. Fans rally but Ohara brings Hiromu up.
Ohara wrenches, whips corner to corner, and runs in, but Hiromu dodges! Hiromu comes back, and shouts at “Hao!” as he clotheslines! Hiromu snapmares Ohara, runs, but Ohara leaps to drag Hiromu down! Ohara gets an arm and a leg, for the MUY BIEN! Hiromu endures the modified Half Crab, and then Ohara shifts to just the Half Crab! Hiromu crawls, reaches out, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Ohara lets go cleanly and Hiromu bails out again. Ohara follows, he brings Hiromu up and puts him back in the ring. Ohara looms over Hiromu, fans rally up but Ohara clamps on for a motorcycle stretch. Hiromu reaches out, ROPEBREAK!
Ohara lets off cleanly again, and he brings Hiromu up to wrench. Hiromu fights the lift, throws down elbows, and then he CHOPS! Hiromu whips, Ohara reverses, but Hiromu RANAS on the return! Fans fire up as Ohara goes to a corner. Hiromu runs in to clothesline! Snapmare again, and SHOTGUN! Ohara bails out and Hiromu follows now. Hiromu is on the apron, FLYING SHOTGUN, but Ohara dodges! Hiromu crashes down and Ohara wags his finger. Ohara stands on Hiromu’s neck, the ref reprimands, but Ohara lets off. Ohara drags Hiromu up, and RAMS him into railing! And again and again and again!
The ref reprimands, Ohara lets off, and he brings Hiromu up. Ohara whips Hiromu hard into railing! Hiromu writhes at the ramp but Ohara storms over. Ohara drags Hiromu up, puts him in the ring and covers, TWO! Ohara keeps cool, he brings Hiromu back up, and wrenches to pump handle and lift! BACKBREAKER! Hiromu writhes, Ohara covers, TWO! Fans rally for Hiromu but Ohara looms over him. Ohara drags Hiromu up, fireman’s carries, but Hiromu fights free! Hiromu swings but Ohara dodges to waistlock. Hiromu switches, Ohara wrenches out and hooks Hiromu to bring him down! Hiromu slips free and fireman’s carries, CORNER DEATH VALLEY!
Fans fire up while both men are down! Hiromu and Ohara stir, and Hiromu stands up at the ropes. Hiromu drags Ohara up, fireman’s carries again, but the back gives up! Ohara wrenches, forearms, and hits a BACKBREAKER to a RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP! Ohara rolls Hiromu over, traps a leg and has the over-the-shoulder! TRES FLUERS! But Hiromu scrambles forward to the ROPEBREAK! The ref counts, Ohara lets off, and fans fire up again. Ohara drags Hiromu up, reels him in, Canadian Rack, but Hiromu fights free! Hiromu swings but Ohara dodges, only to come back into the HIROMU-CHAN BOMBER!
Both men are down again and fans fire up! Ohara stands first, but Hiromu ELBOWS! Ohara ducks the superkick, knees low, but runs in to a POP-UP POWERBOMB! Hiromu drags Ohara up, FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO! Hiromu writhes from the pain in his back but both men are down again. Fans rally up, and the dueling begins as “O-HA-RA!” has fans in the crowd now. Hiromu drags Ohara up, but Ohara ROCKS Hiromu! Hiromu ROCKS Ohara! Ohara ROCKS Hiromu again! Hiromu goes to ropes, but he comes back to ROCK Ohara! Ohara staggers to ropes, but he fires up to ROCK Hiromu again!
Hiromu staggers, leans on the ropes, fires up and comes back to ROCK Ohara! Ohara ROCKS Hiromu! They go forehead to forehead, the forearms fly faster and faster now! Fans rally, the two slow down, and Hiromu staggers around. Ohara eggs Hiromu on and Hiromu fires back up, actually calling him “OHARA!” Hiromu throws a forearm! Ohara drops to a knee, and Hiromu drags him up. Ohara shouts, “TAKAHASHI HIROMU!” and he fires off fast hands! Ohara runs, but into a SUPERKICK! Hiromu roars and runs, into a tilt-o-whirl DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up with Ohara now as he drags Hiromu into the hammerlock! MUY BIEN!!
Hiromu endures, fans fire up, and Hiromu drags himself around! Ohara grabs that free arm but Hiromu fights free! Hiromu reaches, but Ohara traps that arm!! But Hiromu keeps fighting! Hiromu kicks around, and they both fall into the ROPEBREAK! Fans are thunderous as Ohara lets go. Ohara waits on Hiromu to sit up, then runs, but Hiromu blocks the chop! SUPERKICK! Ohara just glares at Hiromu! Ohara fires off forearms! Ohara runs, Hiromu follows, HIROMU-CHAN BOMBER!! Hiromu drags Ohara back up, suplexes, VICTORY ROYALE! Cover, TWO!! Ohara survives and fans are thunderous!
Hiromu pounds the mat, fans clap along, and Hiromu powers up! Hiromu drags Ohara up into the dragon sleeper, inverted suplex, TIMEBOMB- NO, Ohara fights and flails! But Hiromu keeps Ohara up, for TIMEBOMB MK II!! Cover, Hiromu wins!!
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall (series tied 1-1)
Hiromu thought that as the Best of the Super Juniors, he was going to have an easy time with the former GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion. Ohara still lost, but he surely won Hiromu’s respect. And now with things all tied up, it’s anyone’s game!
SANADA VS Manabu Soya!
The middle of the series ends up being a critical moment, and it’s between former AJPW All Asia Tag Team Champions! Will the tiebreaker go to the Cold Skull or the Power Booster?
The bell rings and fans rally up for Sanada as he stares down with Soya. They circle, feel things out, and tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Soya finds a point of leverage. Sanada turns things around to have Soya on the ropes, but he lets off cleanly. Fans applaud and the two reset. They feel out another grapple, Soya shoots in but Sanada gets around to waistlock. Soya sits and slips out to hammerlock. Soya then headlocks, but Sanada slips out to wristlock. Soya stands up, wrenches, and wristlocks back. Sanada rolls, handsprings, and cartwheels to handspring and wrench back! Sanada headlocks, spins, headlocks for a takeover, but Soya headscissors!
Sanada kips free, Soya CHOPS him! Fans applaud as Sanada stays up. Soya whips him to ropes, but Sanada holds ropes. Soya runs in, Sanada BOOTS him, but Soya comes back to clothesline Sanada up and out of the ring! Fans rally up while Sanada clutches his arm. Soya goes out after him, brings him up, and whips Sanada hard into railing! Soya keeps on Sanada to whip him into more railing! Soya goes after Sanada again to whip him into more railing! The railing sure is getting a workout tonight. Soya drags Sanada up and puts him in the ring. Cover, ONE! Soya keeps cool and fans rally up. Soya drags Sanada up but Sanada CHOPS!
Soya stares Sanada down so Sanada CHOPS again! Soya CHOPS Sanada, Sanada CHOPS again! They go CHOP for CHOP, Soya CHOPS Sanada to the corner! Soya whips corner to corner, runs in and back elbows! Soya then headlocks for the BULLDOG! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up for Sanada but Soya drags him back up. Soya deadlift suplexes Sanada! But Sanada fights it and turns things around to a snap suplex! Fans fire up while both men are down! Fans rally as Soya stirs, and Sanada kips up! Sanada brings Soya up, but Soya knees low. Soya whips, Sanada reverses and hurdles, hurdles and DROPKICKS!
Soya bails out but Sanada aims, for the PLANCHA! Direct hit and fans fire up! Sanada encourages them to get louder and they oblige. They cheer for “SA-NA-DA!” and Sanada brings Soya back up. Sanada puts Soya in the ring, then he springboards, but Soya catches him! But Sanada fights the fireman’s carry to waistlock. Soya switches, lifts, but Sanada fights with elbows. Sanada runs, into a SPEAR! Fans fire up while Soya snarls. Sanada crawls to a corner, Soya runs in, and he clotheslines! Soya then reels Sanada in, Canadian Racks, and hits a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Sanada survives #WildScrap but Soya keeps cool.
Soya rallies up the fans, Sanada stands, and Soya runs. WILD- NO, Sanada gets around, shoves Soya to a corner, but Soya boots Sanada back. Sanada runs back in, Soya dodges, but Sanada tumbles up and out. Sanada springboards back in for the MISSILE DROPKICK! Sanada drags Soya back up, fireman’s carries, and T K O! Cover, TWO! Soya is still in this and Sanada is a bit annoyed. But the fans rally back up and Sanada brings Soya into the dragon sleeper. But Soya lifts Sanada! Sanada fights the lawn dart to SKULL- NO, Soya rolls through, deadlifts, and hits a POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO! Sanada survives and fans rally back up.
Soya waits on Sanada to stand, then he runs, but into a DROPKICK! Soya stays up and roars! Soya swings, but Sanada catches him to spin him around, suplex and MAGIC SCREW! Soya flounders and fans rally for Sanada. Sanada climbs, ROUNDING BODY PRESS to the back! Sanada goes up top again, ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto knees! Knees for Sanada’s ribs, but also knees for Soya’s face! Both men are down from that double-edged save! Soya snarls through the pain and he dares Sanada to get up. Sanada stands, Soya runs in, DOUBLE CHOPS! Sanada ROCKS Soya with a forearm, but Soya DOUBLE CHOPS again!
Fans rally up and Sanada grits his teeth. Sanada ROCKS Soya, but Soya grits his teeth. Soya DOUBLE CHOPS, Sanada forearms, Soya goes to a single CHOP! They go back and forth, forearm for CHOP, and then Soya fires DOUBLE CHOP after DOUBLE CHOP! Soya eggs Sanada on as his chest is stinging! Sanada grits his teeth, he EuroUppers Soya! Soya drops to a knee and fans fire up again! Sanada drags Soya up, but Soya breaks free! Sanada ROLLING ELBOWS, runs, spins, but into a LARIAT! Soya fireman’s carries, for the PERFECT DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives but Soya is all fired up!
Soya aims from the corner as Sanada flounders back up. WILD- NO, Sanada dodges, O’Conner Rolls deep! TWO!!! Soya escapes, runs in, but into an elbow! Sanada QUEBRADA, to the SKULL END!! But Soya fights it, turns around, suplexes, but Sanada tries to cradle! Soya fights that off, to deadlift Sanada for a BRAINBUSTER! Soya isn’t done there, he stands Sanada up and reels him back in. JUMPING DDT!! Cover, TWO!!! Sanada survives and fans are thunderous! Soya snarls, pounds a buckle pad, and then aims at Sanada again. Sanada rises up as fans rally, and Soya runs in, but Sanada gets around! But Soya bucks the O’Conner!
Soya runs in, into a RANA! Cover, TWO!?! Soya escapes, he comes in, WILD BOMBER!! Cover, ONE?!?! Sanada survives Soya’s best shot, but Soya isn’t deterred! DOUBLE LARIATS collide! Soya roars, runs in, WILD BOMBER!!! Cover, SOYA WINS!
Winner: Manabu Soya, by pinfall (KONGO leads 2-1)
The Power Booster busts through and he not only breaks the tie in this series, he ties the personal series between him and Sanada! Will this win over the Cold Skull be just what Soya needs to fire up in 2023?
Shingo Takagi VS Katsuhiko Nakajima!
The Rampaging Dragon has a lot on the horizon, but he isn’t going to look past this battle for his team. Will the KOPW Provisional Champion be rolling into the New Beginning? Or will the Mad Wolf secure the series for his side?
The bell rings and fans rally up for “TA-KA-GI!” Takagi and Nakajima approach, feel things out, then back up. They approach again, feel things out again, but again they back off. Fans rally, Takagi wants knuckle locks but Nakajima swiftly kicks him in the leg. Takagi backs off again and Nakajima smirks. Takagi comes back, tests the waters with jabs, then he rushes in to clinch. They end up in a corner, the ref calls for the break, but Takagi gives short headbutts, then elbows, then fires off and CHOPS! Takagi runs, but Nakajima catches, suplexes, only for Takagi to fight free. Fans applaud as the two stare down.
Fans rally for “TA-KA-GI!” again as he and Nakajima reset. They circle, feel things out, and they knuckle lock. Nakajima kicks low, snapmares and KICKS! Takagi stands up to shove Nakajima. Takagi fires a forearm, Nakajima gives it back, and they go back and forth! Fans rally as they go faster and faster, Nakajima answering right after Takagi hits him. Takagi knees low, headlocks, but Nakajima powers out to BOOT! Nakajima runs to BOOT again, but Takagi comes back to run Nakajima over! Fans fire up and Takagi steadies himself. Nakajima goes to a corner, Takagi runs in and he blocks the boot! To LARIAT!
Takagi brings Nakajima out and suplexes him high and hard! Fans rally, and Takagi gives Nakajima toying kicks. Nakajima stands up but Takagi reels him in. Nakajima fights the lift with a headlock, but Takagi pops free to ROCK Nakajima with a forearm. Takagi runs, but into a kitchen sink knee! Fans rally but Takagi sputters while Nakajima paces around. Nakajima smirks as he lines up a shot, and he runs to PENALTY KICK Takagi right in the stomach! Takagi clutches his side and crawls out of the ring! Fans rally for Takagi but Nakajima lets him writhe while checking kick pads. Takagi stands, but Nakajima goes to the apron, PENALTY KICK!
Takagi falls down and fans rally up again. The ring count starts while Nakajima sits cross-legged in the ring. Fans boo as Nakajima mocks Takagi’s hands-together pose. Takagi sits up at 10 of 20, forces himself to stand at 14, and he hobbles over and in at 16. Fans applaud the toughness, but Nakajima runs in corner to corner to BOOT! Nakajima sits Takagi down to dig his boots in! Nakajima grins while the ref counts, and Nakajima lets off at 4. Fans rally for Takagi more but Nakajima stomps again. Nakajima digs his boots in again, and grins as the fans boo. The ref counts again, Nakajima lets off at 3. Nakajima now gives those toying kicks.
Takagi gets up to throw a forearm but Nakajima gives it back. Nakajima KICKS Takagi, whips him corner to corner, and runs in to BOOT again! And Nakajima grinds his boots in again! Fans boo, the ref counts, and Nakajima lets off. Nakajima gives Takagi fast kicks again and again, but he’s still toying with Takagi. Nakajima digs his knee in, throws down forearms, then digs his boots back in. The ref counts, Nakajima lets off, and Takagi gets mad. Nakajima brings Takagi up, but he ducks a chop to KICK again! Takagi snarls, and Nakajima dares him to hit back. But then Nakajima dodges to KICK again! Nakajima reels Takagi in but Takagi blocks the lift!
Takagi CLUBS Nakajima, but Nakajima SOBATS! Nakajima runs, but into an ELBOW! JAB! YUKON LARIAT! Fans fire up as Takagi turns things around! Takagi still needs to catch his breath from the pain in his ribs. Nakajima crawls to ropes, Takagi storms up on him and throws knees into the stomach! Takagi ROCKS Nakajima with a right, then whips him to ropes, for a KNEE! And then a DDT! Takagi keeps moving, SLIDING LARIAT! But that proves to be double-edged with Takagi’s stomach and ribs bothering him. Takagi drags Nakajima up, suplexes, but Nakajima fights it, so Takagi hits another DDT!
Fans rally up, and Takagi tells them all, “IT’S TIME!” Nakajima goes to a corner, Takagi runs in to clothesline! Fans fire up, Takagi drags Nakajima up and puts him up top. Takagi climbs up after Nakajima, fires off headbutt after headbutt, then brings Nakajima to the very top. SUPERPLEX! Fans fire up while both men are down! Takagi crawls to the cover, TWO! Nakajima hangs tough but fans rally for Takagi. Takagi shouts, “OI! OI! OI!” and fans shout along. Takagi brings Nakajima up, pump handles, but Nakajima fights the lift. Takagi knees low, shifts his grip, but Nakajima KNEES him! Nakajima clamps on a COBRA TWIST!
Takagi endures, Nakajima shifts to an IRON OCTOPUS! Takagi endures, pops free, and throws Nakajima away! Takagi then KICKS Nakajima in the back! Nakajima grins as he stands up. Takagi throws a forearm, but Nakajima throws one back. Takagi says he likes that! Takagi ROCKS Nakajima, and Nakajima just keeps grinning. Nakajima ROCKS Takagi, Takagi ROCKS Nakajima, repeat! They go faster and faster and fans rally up. Nakajima gets the edge and Takagi wobbles. But Takagi fires back with boxing elbows! Takagi ROCKS Nakajima! Nakajima staggers, and KICKS! Takagi wobbles and goes to ropes!
Takagi comes back, and puts some stank on the CHOP! Nakajima dusts himself off, and KICKS in return! Fans rally, Takagi LARIATS! Nakajima staggers but stays standing. Takagi eggs him on, so Nakajima KICKS again! Takagi LARIATS! Nakajima KICKS! Takagi throws another but he’s on fumes! Nakajima KICKS! And KICKS! And KICKS! Takagi falls to the mat! Nakajima brings him up, runs, but Takagi LARIATS! And SAIDOS! Takagi has new life, and he runs, but Nakajima ducks to ROUNDHOUSE!! Takagi goes down in a heap! The ref checks Takagi while Nakajima also falls to the mat! Fans are thunderous for Takagi, and he’s somehow still in this!
Takagi and Nakajima head for each other, and Nakajima brings Takagi up. Nakajima grins as he reels Takagi in, but Takagi fights the suplex. Nakajima throws a KNEE, then suplexes, but Takagi fights that! Takagi wrenches, but Nakajima DECKS Takagi with a palm strike! Nakajima pushes the ref aside and he brings Takagi back up. Nakajima wants to end this, suplex and VERTICAL SPIKE!! Cover, TWO!??! Takagi survives and shocks everyone! Nakajima is no longer grinning while the fans are thunderous for Takagi! Nakajima storms over to Takagi, drags him up, and fireman’s carries. Takagi fights that off with elbows!
Takagi rains down more elbows, Nakajima staggers away. Nakajima comes back, but Takagi blocks the kick! Nakajima fires off fists, but swings into MADE IN JAPAN!! But Takagi can’t make the cover!! Fans are thunderous again while both men are down! Takagi goes to the corner, he headbutts the buckles and fans rally hard as ever! Takagi runs, PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO?!!? Nakajima just returned the favor! Fans rally up again and Takagi headbutts the mat! Takagi drags Nakajima up, Nakajima breaks free, but Takagi JABS! And HEADBUTTS! Nakajima swings, into a half nelson! HALF ‘N’ HALF!
Takagi SLIDING FOREARMS!! Then he drags Nakajima up, pump handles and torture racks, LAST OF THE DRAGONS!! Cover, Takagi wins!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (series tied 2-2)
The Dragon slays the Mad Wolf! Takagi keeps LIJ alive in this Best of 5, but he also keeps himself going towards his marathon month! Will Takagi be able to do the same to Great-O-Khan tomorrow in the New Beginning?
Tetsuya Naito VS Kenoh!
And in the end, it all comes down to this! LIJ and KONGO have battled hard from the start, and we’re tied going into the final round! Will the Uncontrollable Charisma make WrestleKingdom 17 in Yokohama tranquilo? Or will the Rouge Fist win this for not just his faction, but for all of NOAH?
As always, Naito takes his time with his elaborate entrance attire. Kenoh gets annoyed and tells Naito to hurry up, but that only makes Naito take longer. Naito finishes, fans rally up, and the bell rings. Red Shoes notes the fans are definitely in favor of “NA-I-TO!” Kenoh shrugs that off and circles with Naito. They approach, but then Naito backs off. Kenoh dares him to bring it, but Naito keeps things at his pace. They circle and approach again, but again Naito backs away. So Kenoh goes after Naito! Kenoh puts Naito on the ropes but Red Shoes reprimands. Kenoh gets in Naito’s face while the fans boo.
Red Shoes counts, Kenoh lets off but then wrenches Naito’s arm and brings him around. Naito grabs the other ropes, Red Shoes calls for the break, and Kenoh lets go at 4. Naito bails out to shake out his arm, and then he goes around the way. Fans rally up for Naito but Kenoh dares Naito to get in the ring. Naito slides in, but then slides right back out. Naito smirks and goes around the way. Red Shoes starts the ring count, Naito watches Kenoh and approaches the ring. Naito rolls in, only to roll right back out. Fans applaud as Naito trolls Kenoh, but Kenoh holds the ropes open for him. Naito ignores that and goes around the way.
KONGO has regrouped in Kenoh’s corner but Naito ignores them, too. Naito slides in again, and fans applaud as he stays in this time. Kenoh and Naito reset while fans still rally for Naito. They tie up, Naito gets an arm and wrenches it. Naito wristlocks but Kenoh rolls and wrenches back. Naito drops, drop toeholds, and headlocks. Fans applaud while Kenoh endures. Kenoh fights up, pulls hair, but Red Shoes reprimands. Kenoh lets go and pries the hold open. Naito tries to put it back on but Kenoh spins him around to headlock. Now Naito pulls hair and Red Shoes reprimands him. Naito lets go, and Kenoh grinds the headlock.
Naito chinbars Kenoh, then claws at Kenoh’s eyes! Red Shoes reprimands, Kenoh pulls on the headlock, but Naito fights up and powers out, to then waistlock and full nelson. Kenoh switches, full nelsons back, but Naito breaks free to arm-drag! Naito baits Kenoh in to BOOT him, and then BOOT again! Naito RANAS and Kenoh bails out! Fans fire up, Naito builds speed, but just to fake Kenoh out! Naito rolls and tranquilos, only for Kenoh to rush in and DOUBLE STOMP him! Fans boo but Kenoh mocks Naito’s other pose. Kenoh drags Naito up, throws him out, then goes out after him. Kenoh KICKS Naito against the railing, then scoops and SLAMS him to the floor!
Naito writhes, Kenoh stomps him, and then Kenoh brings Naito up. Kenoh whips Naito hard into railing! Naito gets hung up, and then he tumbles out into No Man’s Land! Kenoh goes back into the ring and Red Shoes checks Naito. Naito is okay to continue, somehow, and fans rally up. Red Shoes starts the ring count, and Naito sits up at 6 of 20. Naito drags himself up and stands at 13. Fans rally, Naito hobbles his way over at 15, and slides in at 17! Kenoh stomps away on Naito, then drags him up. Kenoh bumps Naito off buckles, whips Naito corner to corner, then he runs to BOOT him! Kenoh KICKS Naito over and over again!
Kenoh snapmares Naito, talks some trash, but Naito fires off haymakers! Kenoh eggs him on, so Naito ROCKS him and runs. But Kenoh KICKS Naito down! Kenoh pushes Naito down, to drop DOUBLE KNEES! Kenoh is getting cocky now and he looms over Naito. Kenoh mocks Naito’s wide-eyed pose again, to drop another DOUBLE KNEE! Cover, TWO! Kenoh wraps on body scissors! Naito endures the squeeze and fans rally up. Naito kicks and reaches out, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Kenoh lets off, then he stands on Naito. Kenoh talks more trash and the fans boo. Kenoh kicks at Naito toyingly and eggs him on.
Naito sits up, and Kenoh KICKS him in the back! And again! Kenoh talks more trash, KICKS Naito more, but Naito throws a body shot! And another! Kenoh dusts those off so Naito throws forearms! Kenoh keeps egging Naito on, Naito throws more shots, but Kenoh SOBATS! Kenoh again mocks Naito by holding his eyes open wide. Kenoh aims, but Naito blocks the kick and spins him around! Naito waistlocks, Kenoh elbows free, and Kenoh runs, into an ELBOW! Naito comes back, Kenoh rushes him, but into an atomic drop! Naito runs to dropkick the legs out! Fans fire up while both men are down!
Kenoh shakes out his leg while Naito slowly rises. Naito stands Kenoh up to throw forearms and kicks! Naito whips, hip tosses, and then runs to basement dropkick from behind! Kenoh clutches his head but Naito stands him up. Naito whips Kenoh to a corner, runs in and JUMP KCIKS! Leg sweep! Swinging dropkick! COMBINACION CABRON! Fans fire up as Naito shows Kenoh how to do the pose right. Naito walks over to Kenoh, brings him up, and reels him in for a BACKBREAKER, into the leg hook full nelson! Kenoh endures and fans rally up. Kenoh kicks around, reaches out, but Naito drags him away from the ropes!
Naito tranquilos as Kenoh endures and fans fire up again. Kenoh still reaches out, still fights his way over, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes counts but Naito says he needs help. Red Shoes reprimands, but he still undoes the hold for Naito. Naito says he couldn’t help it. Kenoh sputters, and Naito stomps him down. Kenoh grits his teeth, but Naito brings him up for a cravat neck wrench. Kenoh endures, pries at the hold, and throws body shots. Naito CLUBS Kenoh over and over and has him down on the mat! Naito stands on Kenoh’s head, then drags Kenoh back up. Naito swings but Kenoh ducks the elbow!
Kenoh sweeps the legs, and DOUBLE STOMPS Naito’s back! Kenoh runs, to BLINDSIDE KNEE! Both men are down and fans rally up again! Kenoh crawls to a cover, TWO, but Kenoh gets the ANKLE LOCK! Naito flails and crawls, ROPEBREAK! Kenoh lets go cleanly, but fans still rally for Naito. Naito sits up and Kenoh KICKS him in the chest! Naito sits up again, Kenoh KICKS him again! Kenoh wants Naito to get up, and Naito does, so Kenoh KICKS him again! And again! Kenoh wants Naito to get up again, and Naito does, so Kenoh KICKS him back down! Fans rally as Naito sputters, but he sits back up, for Kenoh to KICK him again!
Naito wobbles, Kenoh KICKS him! Naito stands, Kenoh KICKS him! Naito goes to the corner, Kenoh runs in, but Naito dodges the boot! Naito comes back, blocks boots and puts Kenoh in the ropes, DRAPING BACKBREAKER! Then NECKBREAKER! Both men are down again and fans rally back up! Naito looms over Kenoh, drags him up, and throws those heavy elbows! Kenoh drops to the mat, but Naito looms over him. Naito stands Kenoh up for more elbows! Kenoh staggers and Naito smirks. Naito SPITS at KONGO in their corner, but goes back to Kenoh. Naito throws another round of those hard elbows!
Kenoh goes to a corner, Naito puts him up top and climbs up to join him! SUPER STEINER! Fans fire up while Kenoh writhes around. Naito storms over, drags Kenoh up and goes up the corner. ESPERANZA! Fans fire up while Naito takes aim from the corner. Kenoh slowly rises, then he runs in, but into a mule kick! SLAP! Kenoh suplexes, for the FALLING FALCON ARROW! Kenoh roars, picks Naito up, DRAGON SUPLEX! But he can’t make the cover! Fans rally up for Naito while KONGO coaches Kenoh. Kenoh crawls to the cover, TWO! Kenoh goes right to a corner and climbs up top! DOUBLE- NO, Naito avoids the stomps!
Naito kicks low, reels Kenoh in, and runs to the ropes, TORNADO DDT! Both men are down again and fans fire back up! Kenoh and Naito slowly rise, and Naito CLUBS Kenoh back down. They both rise again, and now Kenoh hits Naito with a forearm. Naito smirks and hits Kenoh back. Kenoh stands to KICK! Naito still smirks, and he throws another forearm! Kenoh snarls, and he KICKS! Naito ROCKS Kenoh with a forearm! Kenoh KICKS! Naito forearms! Naito CLUBS away on Kenoh, ROCKS him again, but Kenoh shoots to get the leg! ANKLE LOCK! Naito endures and reaches out! But Kenoh drags him away from the ropes!
Kenoh cranks that foot and fans rally harder than before! Naito fights up, reaches out again, but Kenoh drags him back and leans on that hold! Naito endures, but Kenoh stands him up to KICK him in the ribs! Kenoh then sits Naito up, runs the ropes, and KEBOU PENALTY KICKS!! Cover, TWO!! Kenoh grows frustrated, but he goes back to the corner. Kenoh climbs up, jumps, P F S!! Cover, TWO!!! Naito survives the #ProfessionalFootStomps and fans are thunderous! Kenoh drags Naito back up, scoops and SLAMS him, and fires up! Kenoh goes back to the corner, climbs back up, RING OF- NO, Naito avoids the moonsault stomps!
Kenoh rushes back in, Naito pops him up for a SPINEBUSTER! Both men are down again and fans fire back up! Kenoh and Naito go to opposite corners and time is running out as we reach 25 minutes. Kenoh stands up, he runs in corner to corner, but into an ALLEY-OOP onto the buckles! Naito drags Kenoh back up, and throws more of those heavy elbows! Naito grins, wrenches, tilt-o-whirls, but Kenoh slips free! BOOT! But Naito ENZIGURIS! Kenoh PELES! Naito ROLLING KICKS! Kenoh PENALTY KICKS! Fans fire up again as Kenoh roars! Kenoh drags Naito back up, reels him in, but Naito scoops!
Kenoh fights free, Naito ducks a kick but not the HEEL KICK! Kenoh suplexes, DESTINO OUTTA NOWHERE!! Cover, TWO?!!? Kenoh staggers away, but Naito kicks him and lifts him! VALENCIA!! Naito isn’t done, he drags Kenoh back up! Wrench and tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO!!! Cover, Naito wins!!
Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall (LIJ wins the series 3-2)
LIJ kept it close and strikes at the final moment to take the series! KONGO wants to check on their leader but Naito wants them to stay back a moment. Naito tells Kenoh something while helping him sit up. Naito offer a fist bump! Kenoh seems to have at least won Naito’s respect. Kenoh looks at his own hand, and he leaves instead. Whether Naito was genuine or not, Kenoh doesn’t care. KONGO and NOAH leave, defeated, will we see this series go again sometime down the road?
As for Naito, he gets the mic to say, “BUENAS NOCHES, YOKOHAMA ARENA~!” Naito thanks everyone for coming out to WrestleKingdom 17 Part 2 here in Yokohama, and says it’s a little unfortunate that LIJ didn’t win every match against KONGO in tonight’s singles series. But in the end, they won 3-2, and Naito wants Kenoh and KONGO to know that any time they want, LIJ and NJPW will be happy to have them. “We’ll always be there to pick up this fight where we left off, cabron!” And also, seeing as how Naito won in the main event, let’s close out WrestleKingdom 17 in Yokohama Arena the only way they can!
Fans get to shout along with the roll call! “Bushi! Sanada! Hiromu! Takagi! Titan! Y Naito! Nosotros…! LOS! INGOBERRRRNABLEEEES~! DE! JA! PON!!” Fans cheer as Naito’s music plays and Naito tranquilos. 2023 is still getting going, will this be the Year of the Ungovernable?
Wait, as Naito takes his leave, KEIJI MUTOH is getting in the ring! Fans are going nuts as Mutoh gets the mic to call Naito out! He wants his true, final opponent in his career to be NAITO! FEBRUARY 21st, IN THE TOKYO DOME!! Hearing this, Naito heads back to the ring. Naito gets a mic of his own to say that of course! But tranquilo! Assen na yo. But if they’re going to do this, Naito will have to clear his schedule. Naito wants Mutoh to enjoy staring him down here and now. The Stardust Genius VS The Wrestling Genius, one last time!
A great event here for WrestleKingdom 17 and its NJPW VS NOAH series. And it’s a good thing I skimmed through the other matches, I would’ve felt bad having missed that great brawl between Okada and Kaito. That felt almost like it was a shoot, but I’m pretty sure it was just a work. At the same time, Kaito wants to be like Okada, and he sure looks like an Okada doppelganger, so maybe they used some of that actual feeling in the brawl. It seems like they want to set up Okada VS Kaito while both are still the top champions in their promotions. In fact, it seems like there might be a lot of possibilities for Champion(s) VS Champion(s) here, but Okada VS Kaito would be the biggest.
And the LIJ VS KONGO series was great stuff, but went about how I expected. It alternated to keep Hiromu and Takagi strong while they’re still champions, so Bushi and Sanada had to take the hit for the team. And in the end, Naito VS Kenoh was a great main event, with Naito of course winning. But what a great surprise in Mutoh not only speaking to close the show, but to challenge Naito to his true, final match on this retirement tour! Naito is going to be part of NOAH’s show in the Tokyo Dome on February 21st, which means I’ll have to track that one down and at least get that match. That should be an awesome match, but per tradition, you’d think Mutoh loses and Naito gets that rub.
My Score: 8.6/10
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