NJPW returns to Osaka in a big way!
NJPW begins again in Osaka, and with three huge matches for FOUR major titles! Will Tetsuya Naito still be Double Champion after facing KENTA?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Ryu Lee; Takahashi wins and retains the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
- IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Jon Moxley VS Minoru Suzuki; Moxley wins and retains the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.
- IWGP Heavyweight AND Intercontinental Double Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito VS KENTA; wins and
PLAY BY PLAY
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Ryu Lee!
The Ticking Time Bomb has been on a great run since his shocking return! He defeated the Aerial Assassin to take the title, and was the one to get the very last pin on the living legend, Jushin Thunder Liger. But now, he faces another old friend in CMLL’s lucha dragon. Will Lee have what it takes to defuse and dethrone Hiromu?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this highly anticipated rematch begins!
Hiromu rushes right at Lee but Lee rushes right at Hiromu! SNAP German from Lee to Hiromu but Hiromu is right up to give one back! They collide with clotheslines without falling, Hiromu blocks a knee but Lee dodges a clothesline to give another German! But Hiromu’s back up again to LARIAT Lee down! Both men are down but Osaka fires up after that fast and furious thirty seconds! Fans rally and cheer as both Lee and Hiromu get to their feet.
Lee dares Hiromu to bring it, and even gives a free shot. Hiromu CHOPS, then dares Lee to give it back. Lee puts some stank on his CHOP! Hiromu grins though it stings, and CHOPS back. Lee CHOPS, Hiromu CHOPS, we have a CHOP fight! Fans fire up as the two men pick up speed! CHOP for CHOP, neither man is backing down, and the fans are rallying! Hiromu, Lee, repeat, but then both me have to take a breath, before Hiromu comes back with more! They go back and forth again a few more times, but they’re not done. Lee chops, Hiromu chops, repeat! How many times have they chopped in this match!?
Neither man wants to stop before the other, despite the stinging and redness of their chests! Hiromu gets Lee on his knees and just keeps going! Hiromu runs but Lee follows to CHOP one more time! Lee dares Hiromu to keep going, so Hiromu gives another chop. Fans fire up as Lee just nods and CHOPS again! Hiromu shakes it off to CHOP. Lee staggers but comes back to CHOP! And we begin the cycle all over again! Hiromu staggers and Lee just adds on. Lee whips corner to corner then boots Hiromu. Hiromu whips Lee back the other way to clothesline. Hiromu rolls Lee and runs, into a CHOP!
Fans cheer as Hiromu leans on the ropes. Lee takes this moment to catch his breath, but Hiromu is grinning. Hiromu CHOPS, Lee CHOPS, and the only thing that’s changed is the color of their chests. The red is only gettnig deeper as more CHOPS fly! Lee knees low then runs but Hiromu follows to huricanrana! Lee handsprings through, but Hiromu CHOPS him again! Fans are loving this as Lee fires himself up. Lee eggs Hiromu on as he takes off the wrapping on his hand. Lee puts some more stank on the hand to CHOP! Hiromu grits his teeth as Lee waits, and Hiromu CHOPS! Lee comes back and we’re on the CHOP train again!
Hiromu, Lee, repeat, then both men stagger a bit. Hiromu fires off another CHOP, Lee wobbles but CHOPS back! There is no quit as each men shots and CHOPS! They even CHOP at the same time! Lee fires off three, Hiromu gives on, but Lee CHOPS Hiromu his feet! Both men are down, their chests stinging and red. Fans rally up as each man goes to a corner. Lee stands and runs in, basement dropkick in the corner! Then underhooks, butterfly backbreaker! Basement dropkick sends Hiromu out! Fans rally again as Lee catches his breath.
Hiromu is on the apron, Lee takes a page of his book with the FLYING HURICANRANA! Lee sends Hiromu flying to the floor! Lee borrows a drink from Hiroshi Tanahashi to refresh himself before fetching Hiromu. He puts Hiromu on the railing and commentary gets worried. Lee CHOPS, then goes into the ring? Lee builds speed as fans reach a fever pitch, to DIVE!! They crash ‘n’ burn on the desk then the floor!! Lee and Hiromu are wrecked at the railing!
The referee hurries to check on them both as the fans are stunned by what they just witnessed. Somehow, Hiromu and Lee are okay to continue, so a ring count begins. Lee sits up first, gets another drink of water, and drags Hiromu up. The count is already 10 of 20 as Lee dumps Hiromu back to ringside. Lee hurries over himself and gets Hiromu in at 15. Fans cheer that this will end in the ring, and we’ve passed 10 minutes. Wait, it’s only been 10 minutes?! Lee aims at Hiromu and springboards, into a SUPERKICK! Hiromu laugs as he runs and FLIES, for the SUNSET POWERBOMB! Lee is folded up on the floor and Osaka is in love all over again!
The referee checks on the two again, and again they’re miraculously able to continue. Hiromu grins as he gets up and flounders around. The count reaches 10 of 20 as Hiromu puts Lee back in. Hiromu drags Lee up, fireman’s carries and hits DYNAMITE PLUNGER! Cover, TWO!! Lee lives but Hiromu keeps his cool. Fans rally as Hiromu drags Lee up, Death Valley Driver into the corner! Hiromu drags Lee back up for another fireman’s carry, switches him around, but Lee slips down to powerbomb lift! Lee tucks Hiromu in, and everyone panics, remembering that this is what led to Hiromu’s neck injury over a year ago!
Hiromu pops out to huricanrana, into Triangle Hold D! Lee resists, but Hiromu drags Lee in deep. Lee moves around and gets a ropebreak with his legs! Hiromu lets Lee go and walks off to a corner. Lee gasps for air while Hiromu takes aim. Hiromu runs corner to corner but has to block a boot first, to then give a clothesline! Hiromu hoists Lee up top and then CHOPS and CHOPS again. But as Hiromu climbs, Lee trips him up! Hiromu ends up in a Tree of Woe! Lee stands, but Hiromu avoids the stomps! Hiromu sits up but Lee comes back from the outside.
Lee hits Hiromu then climbs up to join him. Another flashback to that match a year ago as the two are brawling up top. Lee gets the edge but Hiromu gives it back. Lee throws more forearms, Hiromu is back in the Tree, but Lee pulls Hiromu back up. Hiromu shouts, “MOTTO! MOTTO!” He wants more?! They throw more forearms back and forth, and now Hiromu gets Lee in the Tree! Lee sits up to headbutt! Hiromu is in the tree, WOE STOMPS TO THE APRON!! Both men crash to the floor and another ring count begins. Hiromu stirs at 7 of 20 but Lee is up on his feet. Lee puts Hiromu in at 11, and then brings him to the apron.
Lee drags Hiromu up but Hiromu SUPERKICKS! But Lee KNEE TRIGGERS back! Lee runs but Hiromu THROWS him with an overhead suplex! Lee crashes on the floor, having almost collided with cameramen! The ring count begins again but Hiromu tells the ref to stop that. Hiromu climbs up top!? Hiromu LEAPS, HIROMU BOMB SENTON! Direct hit and Osaka is fired up again! Both men are down and the count starts all over. Hiromu sits up at 7 but stands at 13. He wobbles and goes to the ring at 15. Lee stands at 16, flounders at 17, crawls at 18, and leaps in at 19.5! Both men are down as fans cheer this match continuing.
Hiromu stands and runs but Lee follows! Hiromu dodges, Lee wheelbarrows, but Hiromu blocks the takedown for a wheelbarrow SUPLEX! Lee flounders up, Hiromu runs in, but Lee dodges to rebound GERMAN! But Hiromu is up again to GERMAN Lee! Lee pops up to waistlock and GERMAN! Both men stand and run at each other to collide with clotheslines. Lee KNEE to SNAP GERMAN! Hiromu SUPERKICKS to GERMAN! Both men wobble up as fans fire up, and Lee waistlocks again, for another big German Suplex! Hiromu flounders up, Lee GERMANS again!
Lee fires up and Osaka fires up with him! Lee drags Hiromu up again, lifts and suplexes, but Hiromu flips through to huricanrana! Into Triangle Hold D! But Lee dead lifts and BUCKLE BOMBS Hiromu! Lee runs in but Hiromu throws him overhead into the buckles! Both men are down as fans rally and cheer. Hiromu stands first and fires up! He drags Lee up, fireman’s carry, but no Death Valley! Lee dragon sleepers to suplex but Hiromu lands on his feet to return the favor! Lee slips out, gets Hiromu up and tucks him in, ROKUDENASHI! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives Lee’s take on the Bastard Driver, and we’re at 20 minutes now!
Lee drags Hiromu back up, suplexes and hangs him out to dry on the top rope. Lee kicks away at Hiromu then goes to the corner. He climbs up top and leaps to DOUBLE STOMP Hiromu down! But he’s not done, Lee KNEE TRIGGERS Hiromu at the ropes! Cover, ROPEBREAK!? Hiromu saves himself and Osaka rallies up behind him. Lee stands and drags Hiromu up again. Lee lifts and tucks Hiromu in again! Hiromu slips out again, but Lee holds on to lift again! Lee pops Hiromu up a little higher, but Hiromu makes it a DESTROYER!! Cover, TWO!?! Lee lives but Hiromu shouts and fires himself back up. Hiromu fireman’s carries, Death Valley Driver in the corner again!
Hiromu keeps that high energy as he fireman’s carries again. Lee pops out for a Sunset Bomb! Cover, TWO!! Lee pulls the knee pads down and runs, KNEE TRIGGER! Cover, TWO!?!? How?! But Lee doesn’t question it, he just drags Hiromu back up. Waistlock, ripcord, KNEE TRIGGER! Lee whips, pops Hiromu up, but Hiromu hits another DESTROYER!! Hiromu flails as he gets up again. Hiromu fireman’s carries Lee, spins him around, TIME BOMB DRIVER! Cover, TWO!?!? Lee survives again but Hiromu just keeps going. Hiromu drags Lee up, and DECKS him! Then another fireman’s carry, another spin, another TIME BOMB! Cover, Hiromu wins!!
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)
This explosive match finally ends, and Hiromu keeps his belt! Lee does not add a belt to his ROH World Television Championship, but will he back for yet another rematch? Or is Hiromu’s reign going to be even more, more, MORE exciting from here on?
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Jon Moxley VS Minoru Suzuki!
The Maniac and the Meanest Man in the World have had quite a few confrontations on the road to this match, such as just last week in Sapporo. But while Moxley prepares for Le Champion in AEW, he has to shift focus to the sadistic icon of NJPW! Can the Death Rider survive Suzuki here in Osaka?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this sadomasochistic showdown begins!
But before getting in the ring, Moxley goes up the ramp, and dares Suzuki to come get him! Suzuki exits the ring to grabs a pair of chairs to bring with him! Suzuki tosses Moxley a chair, and the two sadistic samurai start swinging! They clash over and over, and Moxley disarms Suzuki! Suzuki rushes Moxley but gets a headlock, punches and knees! Moxley sends Suzuki tumbling down the way as Red Shoes tells them to get in the ring. Moxley instead whips Suzuki into the railing! Suzuki tears that section off but Moxley jams it into Suzuki’s stomach! Moxley copies Suzuki’s style by throwing the railing down onto Suzuki!
Moxley drags Suzuku up but Suzuki laughs as he throws body shots and big knees! Red Shoes has no choice but to ring the bell so that this brawl is on the record. Suzuki makes fans clear out before he bowls Moxley into the chairs. Suzuki rips up more railing to slam it onto Moxley! The ring announcer warns fans to be careful but Suzuki has already dragged Moxley to another area. Suzuki bumps Moxley off the timekeeper’s table but Moxley returns the favor! And throws hands before dragging Suzuki to the blue railing. Suzuki resists but the two end up on top of the desk! But Suzuki gets Moxley with the Gotch! Moxley fights Suzuki off to drop ax handles!
The 20 count is past 10 as Moxley dumps Suzuki over railing and to ringside. Moxley and Suzuki hear the count climbing, so they both get in at 17. Fans cheer as this match finally enters the ring. Moxley and Suzuki egg each other on, and Suzuki throws the first forearm. Moxley gives it back, and we have ourselves a brawl! Suzuki mocks Moxley’s shoulder rolling before throwing another forearm. Moxley mocks Suzuki’s oni demon tongue before throwing a forearm back. Suzuki ROCKS Moxley, but Moxley comes back with jabs! Moxley throws forearms but Suzuki laughs before giving more of his own.
Moxley responds but Suzuki ROCKS him again! They keep going back and forth, Suzuki grinning all the way. Suzuki throws even more forearms, then whips Moxley corner to corner for a BOOT! Suzuki snapmares Moxley and runs, but Moxley blocks the Penalty Kick! Moxley stands to get a bite of Suzuki’s face! The ref reprimands but Moxley tells him to shut up. Moxley keeps on Suzuki with big forearms, but Suzuki throws body shots, knees and a headbutt! And another headbutt! And then Suzuki bites Moxley back! Fans rally as Moxley knees back and throws Suzuki out. Moxley goes out to pursue Suzuki at the blue railing. Moxley clubs Suzuki then throws him into commentary!
Suzuki staggers away but Moxley is on him with a choke! Suzuki headscissors back to also get the arm! Moxley holds on and Red Shoes tells them to get this in the ring. Moxley gets free, stomps Suzuki’s stomach, then drags him over in a Half Boston Crab! Suzuki endures as Moxley sits on the stretch, but Red Shoes says this doesn’t matter so get in the ring. Moxley doesn’t care but then Red Shoes counts at him. Moxley lets up at 4 to then stomp Suzuki down. This does return to ringside as Moxley throws Suzuki into rails. Suzuki hits back with big strikes, then pursues Moxley around the way.
Moxley kicks and whips Suzuki into railing! But Suzuki is right back in Moxley’s face with a slap! Moxley slaps back and now it’s a slap fight! Suzuki knees low and ROCKS Moxley again. Suzuki stalks Moxley back near commentary to slam into railing and choke him! Red Shoes reprimands Suzuki but Suzuki slaps Moxley around. Moxley snapmares and rebounds off railing for the sliding lariat! Fans rally and duel as Moxley starts searching under the ring. Suzuki crawls away to rest by commentary, but Moxley has found a table! Moxley sets up the table but Suzuki stealthily grabs a chair.
Moxley goes back to Suzuki and drags him up, but Suzuki fights back! Suzuki jams Moxley with the chair, then sits on the table for a GUILLOTINE! Moxley endures and Red Shoes counts. Suzuki lets Moxley go at 4, then puts the chair on Moxley’s arm. The chair doesn’t cooperate and that only infuriates Suzuki. Suzuki goes back to commentary to take another of their chairs! This chair is put around Moxley’s arm and Suzuki takes the first chair. Red Shoes tries to stop Suzuki but Suzuki shoves him down! Suzuki gives Moxley’s arm a CON-CHAIR-TO!! Moxley has one bad eye, does he now have a broken arm?!
Suzuki laughs as he pulls Moxley’s arm to bend it against the table! Suzuki throws the bad arm against the post! And then hops up onto the apron for a modified armbar! Red Shoes reprimands again, but Moxley uses his good arm to lift and POWERBOMB Suzuki through the table!! Osaka is fired up as Moxley wrecks the King of Pancrase. And yet, Suzuki smiles?! This man is insane for sure! Suzuki drags himself from the wreckage and carries a piece of the table around with him. Suzuki starts hitting himself in the head with it?! “Insane” is no longer enough!
Suzuki laughs like the mad man he is, but Moxley won’t be outdone! Moxley has the other half of the broken table and starts smacking himself in the head! This is a match of certifiable lunatics! The two go into the ring and Suzuki still smiles. Suzuki taunts Moxley with, “Come on, boy!” Moxley shakes out the bad arm to throw forearms with it! That is double-edged, and Suzuki takes advantage as he ROCKS Moxley with one of his own! Moxley grits his teeth to give another forearm with the bad arm! Suzuki throws another HARD one! “C’mon, Jon!” Moxley uses his left arm but that’s still not good enough.
The two grind foreheads, and Moxley throws forearms from all side. Suzuki just laughs as he ROCKS Moxley again. Moxley slaps himself to fire up, and then ROCKS Suzuki! “C’mon! I don’t give a f***!” Suzuki smiles as Moxley insults him more, and the brawl is on again! Suzuki, Moxley, repeat, forearm for forearm, with no signs of slowing! Moxley hits from all sides again, then adds a headbutt. Moxley runs, Suzuki follows and slips around to get the SLEEPER HOLD! Suzuki squeezes tight and Moxley already fades. But Moxley punches himself to stay awake! Moxley gets up, throws Suzuki but Suzuki holds on! Suzuki squeezes tighter and leans on Moxley.
Moxley is turning purple and starts fading! Suzuki shifts to a cover, TWO!? Moxley has his second wind but Suzuki runs, basement BOOT! Cover, TWO!! Moxley lives and fans cheer, but Suzuki just keeps on him. Suzuki drags Moxley up, throws slapping palm strikes, but then Moxley knees him back! REGAL KNEE! Cover, TWO!! Suzuki survives and fans cheer again. Moxley forces himself to stand and grabs Suzuki. Moxley underhooks but Suzuki slips out to ROCK Moxley! The Maniac shouts “F*** YOU!” as he ROCKS Suzuki back! Moxley runs, into Suzuki’s dropkick! Osaka cheers as both men flounder to opposite ends.
The rally builds as Suzuki brings Moxley in. Moxley spins out, double underhook, DEATH RIDER! Cover, TWO!?! Suzuki survives!? Moxley is shocked and even begs with Red Shoes. But the count is the count, and someone in NJPW finally survives that dangerous DDT. Moxley goes back to Suzuki and says, “We’re gonna finish this, mother f***er.” He gives Suzuki a kiss on the forehead?! Moxley says that is the kiss of death, and he goes out to prepare something truly sinister. He checks under the ring, and brings out two chairs. Just as Suzuki did to start this, Moxley tosses a chair to his opponent so that they can finish this like warriors!
Suzuki wobbles as Red Shoes grabs at Moxley’s chair. Moxley and Red Shoes argue but Suzuki grabs the chair, too! The tug o’ war sends Red Shoes flying away, and Moxley HEAD SHOTS Suzuki with that chair shot!! The seat is gone so Moxley hurries to grab gthe other chair. Suzuki is still standing, and still smiling! Moxley brings Suzuki to the other chair, but Suzuki resists the underhooks. Suzuki slips out and kicks, to GOTCH! Moxley resists, slips out, DIRTY DEEDS ON THE CHAIR! Moxley gets away with that one while Red Shoes is out. Suzuki just keeps laughing!
Moxley fires himself up and dares Suzuki to come back. Suzuki stands and slaps himself back into this. He fires off palm strikes fast and furious, but now Moxley is the one laughing! Suzuki keeps throwing hands, but Moxley is not satisfied! The hands keep flying, Moxley staggers, LUANTIC LARIAT! Suzuki is stunned and leaning, but stays up! So Moxley runs to LARIAT again! Moxley drags Suzuki back up, DEATH RIDER!! Cover, Moxley wins!!
Winner: Jon Moxley, by pinfall (still IWGP United States Champion)
Two of the toughest, meanest, craziest men in NJPW, and perhaps anywhere in wrestling today, just went to war! But in the end, the Death Rider rides into the sunset with the IWGP US Championship! Moxley stands on the ropes as Suzuki flounders out of the ring, and bows out of respect to the King. With his AEW World Championship match at AEW Revolution on the horizon, will Moxley become a dual promotion champion?
As for Suzuki, he does as he always does in losing, and starts ripping apart the railing! But suddenly, ZACK SABRE JR attacks Moxley! Suzuki-Gun’s Submission Master and Revolution Pro-Wrestling’s British Heavyweight Champion is after the Maniac! ZSJ eyes the IWGP US Championship, and holds it up high! To then SMASH Moxley with it!! Fans boo as ZSJ skips around and smiles. ZSJ hops onto Moxley for a sleeper hold! He’s wrapped on tight as the bell rings in protest! Moxley has no one to save him as ZSJ drags him to the mat! ZSJ suffocates Moxley then picks the title up again. It would seem ZSJ has dreams of becoming a dual promotion champion, too! Will Moxley’s return to NJPW be one where he will #JustTapOut?
IWGP Heavyweight AND Intercontinental Double Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito VS KENTA!
Los Ingobernables de Japon’s charismatic leader made NJPW history when his Destino was realized at WrestleKingdom 14! And now, more history is being made in Osaka as BOTH belts are on the line! Will Bullet Club truly be back on top when Mr. Fang Revived sinks his teeth into two titles at the same time? Or will the Double Champion remain tranquilo?
The introductions are made, Jay White joins commentary to troll Naito and both belts are raised. Fans boo as all of the Bullet Club members join Kenta in the ring, for one big group Low Sweet. Naito hasn’t yet finished taking off his elaborate entrance ensemble yet, and fans chant “Go Home!” in Japanese to all of the Bullet Club members. Tama Tonga shoves Red Shoes down! Fans boo more but Naito keeps his cool. Because Red Shoes EJECTS the Bullet Club boys!
Jay White protests as leader, but Red Shoes is the law. Gedo also tries to reason with Red Shoes while Tama apologizes, but Red Shoes has spoken. Or do they want this match thrown out?! Tama and the others exit, willing to actually play by the rules for Kenta’s sake. Fang Revived is now without his pack of wolves as this match finally begins!
Osaka is strongly on Naito’s side, but that’s no surprise. Kenta grimaces as he and Naito circle. They approach, but Kenta bails out. Fans boo as Kenta borrows tactics from Jay White, but he tunes them out. Kenta takes his time returning and Naito gives him room, only for Kenta to hop right back out. Fans boo, but Kenta mockingly throws back invisible flowing locks of hair. Kenta paces around the ring again, finally slithering back in, only to slither back out. Fans boo more but Kenta continues to do things at his pace. Naito waits, even as Kenta mocks, “Tranquilo!”
Kenta hops up and keeps taunting Naito with his own catchphrase. Red Shoes keeps Naito back for Kenta to get in, but then Kenta goes back out. Kenta mocks fans and even eggs them on. Kenta again goes to the ring, Naito stays back, and both men are finally circling again. Fans rally up for Naito, and that just makes Kenta exit again. Kenta tells fans to hush this time before going back to the ring. Naito doesn’t even seem annoyed at this point as Kenta joins him in the ring. Naito and Kenta finally tie up and Naito puts Kenta on the ropes. Red Shoes asks for the ropebreak, and Naito gives it, only for Kenta to bail back out.
Kenta stares down Hiroshi Tanahashi on commentary, then lounges by the English desk. Naito patiently waits as Kenta returns yet again. But then Naito attacks and knocks him down! Naito builds speed but Kenta gets clear, Naito TRANQUILO! Kenta rushes in but now Naito bails out! Osaka loves Naito giving it all back to Kenta. Kenta is not as patient as Naito, which makes Naito only troll him more. Naito insists on a particular side of the ring, and has Kenta hold the ropes open for him. Only to roll under the bottom rope. Kenta stomps Naito for it! Naito throws forearms back so Kenta throws with him. Kenta rakes eyes then whips but Naito holds ropes to boot and huricanrana!
Kenta bails out but Naito pursues, to whip Kenta into railing! And then more railing! Naito chases Kenta down around the way to put him in the ring. Naito stomps Kenta down and keeps him from escaping. He pulls Kenta back against the ropes but lets up at Red Shoes’ count. Naito stomps Kenta down and around the ring, then brings him up for elbows. Naito clamps on a cravat to crank Kenta’s neck. Kenta endures and puts Naito in a corner. Kenta rams his shoulder in over and over, then throws big forearms. Naito turns it around to throw wild elbows into Kenta! Kenta sits down so Naito gives him Bad Vibrations, and SPITS on him!
Naito drags Kenta up and whips him corner to corner, but Kenta reverses. Naito dodges Kenta but is put on the apron. He counter punches Kenta but Kenta knicks him back! And again! Naito is stuck in the ropes, Kenta hops up for a guillotine knee drop! Fans rally and even duel as Kenta’s fans are finally vocal. Kenta whips Naito to BOOT him down! Naito rolls out but Kenta pursues. Kenta throws big clubbing forearms and whips him to railing! Naito hits so hard, he tumbles over! Kenta goes out to snatch a Naito teddy bear from a fan and stand on it! Fans boo louder as ever as Kenta kicks the stuffed animal away and stomps Naito down.
Kenta brings Naito up and around to whip HARD into more railing! And even more railing! Naito ends up tumbling over again while Kenta taunts the fans. Fans boo and Kenta soaks up the heat as we reach the 10 minute mark. Kenta waits in the ring while Naito stirs. The ring count begins and Kenta mockingly claps to get the fans rallying. No one plays along. Naito is crawling at 11 of 20, standing at 14, and hobbling over at 16. Naito’s in at 17 but Kenta throws him back out. Kenta dusts himself off as fans boo again. Naito drags himself up and Kenta paces. Naito gets in, Kenta is on him to throw him back out. Kenta goes out to whip Naito into more railing! Kenta drags Naito around to the alley and DDTs Naito to the floor!
Fans boo but Kenta soaks it all up. Naito clutches his head while Red Shoes checks on him. Kenta leaves Naito behind to go to the ring. Naito stirs as the ring count begins again. Kenta unties a buckle pad?! Red Shoes stops him from doing it part way, but Kenta doesn’t get why this is so bad. Red Shoes reties the pad but Kenta goes after the opposite end! Kenta is far nastier than Toru Yano about it as he throws the buckle pad out. Naito drags himself into the ring and Kenta whips him at that bare corner! Naito gets bare buckles to his back! Red Shoes reprimands Kenta but the damage is done.
Kenta stomps Naito down then brings him up for another whip. Kitchen Sink knee! Kenta sits Naito up to KICK in the back! Naito grits his teeth while Kenta soaks up the heat. Kenta drops knee after knee, then brings his knee pad down, to jump, and scuff Naito’s face. Fans boo as Kenta mocks the posing! Kenta brings his knee pad back up and drags Naito up for a snapmare. Kenta clamps on a chinlock but Naito endures. Fans rally up as Kenta cranks back. Naito fights up, throws elbows and gets free! Naito runs, dodges, but gets another kitchen sink! Cover, TWO! Kenta snarls and paces as Naito crawls.
Naito sits up but Kenta kicks and stomps him down. Kenta taunts Naito, daring him to hit back. Naito swings, but Kenta spins him around for a DDT! Cover, TWO! Naito still lives and fans rally for him, but Kenta just mocks them again. Kenta gives toying kicks then HARD kicks, still taunting Naito all the while. But Naito eggs Kenta on! Kenta kicks more and more, but Naito stands up. Naito blocks a kick, elbows the knee, then runs. Kenta boots then runs, but into the dropkick! Both men are down but Osaka cheers as Naito sits up first. Naito goes to Kenta, drags him up and whips him to ropes.
Naito elbows Kenta down then dropkicks him in the back! He whips Kenta to a corner for the rocket kick! Sweep and swinging dropkick, Combinacion Cabron! And Naito shows Kenta how to properly do his poses. Fans fire up as Naito drags Kenta up and around for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Naito keeps his cool as he brings Kenta up again. Naito dragon sleepers for the backbreaker to the leg nelson! Kenta endures as Naito cranks the neck. Kenta moves around, Red Shoes notices the hair pull, and then Kenta gets the ropebreak! Naito lets go at the count of 4, and fans rally up again.
Naito stomps Kenta down and drags him up for a waistlock. Kenta fights off the lift and switches, but Naito elbows free. Naito runs in but gets a boot! He comes back but gets more boots. Kenta hops up, drags Naito in, tornado hotshot! Naito staggers and Kenta climbs, flying clothesline! Cover, TWO! Kenta keeps his cool as he drags Naito around by his arm. Kenta wraps up the arm but Naito won’t let it be Game Over as he gets the Ropebreak! Fans cheer while Kenta reluctantly releases Naito. Kenta stomps away on Naito at the ropes!
Naito gets under the bottom rope but Kenta kicks and stomps him more. Kenta drags Naito up and in through the ropes, but Naito fights free! Naito blocks the boot and sweeps the legs! Fans cheer as Naito brings Kenta out, for an apron neckbreaker! Kenta writhes while Naito catches his breath. Naito has camera men clear out as he drags Kenta out more, but Kenta gets off the apron. Naito throws forearms but Kenta kicks back. Kenta puts Naito on the railing, DRAPING DDT TO THE FLOOR!
Both men are down but clearly Naito took the worst of that. Kenta goes back into the ring and leaves Naito at the mercy of the count. Naito stirs at 5 as fans rally up for him. Naito sits up at 10, and slowly stands to get to his feet at 15. Kenta says Red Shoes needs to speed up but Naito is in at 17 again. Naito is in a corner, Kenta runs in, BIG boot! Then corner to corner, basement dropkick! Kenta roars as the originator of that move, and then heads up top! Naito is in the drop zone but gets out of the way as the double stomps come in! Kenta turns around, to get a SPINE BUSTER!
Fans rally again as Naito sits up first now. Naito fires himself up as he and Kenta come around. Naito throws a forearm but Kenta gives it back. Another forearm from Naito, another forearm from Kenta. Naito grins as the brawl continues, and even picks up speed! Kenta starts to wobble and Naito keeps on him. Naito throws wild elbows again, and Kenta drops to his knees! Fans fire up more as Naito drags Kenta up for even more elbows! Red Shoes checks on Kenta as he drops again, but Naito toys with him. We’re past 25 minutes as Naito swings more.
Kenta ducks and grabs at Red Shoes! Kenta uses Red Shoes as a shield, Naito pushes Red Shoes away, and Kenta grabs Naito for a Triangle Hold, into the GAME OVER! Naito endures being cranked back in the modified LeBelle Lock, and manages to drag himself and Kenta towards ropes. Kenta rolls Naito away and cranks back even harder! Naito keeps fighting forward, heading for new ropes. Kenta cranks back as hard as ever, but Naito refuses to quit! Naito pushes forward, reaches with his one free arm, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Kenta lets go in frustration, and fans rally hard as ever. Naito sits up in a daze, but Kenta KICKS him in the chest!
Naito rests on the ropes, Kenta runs in, double knees to the back! Kenta waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES! But Naito rises, so Kenta whips and runs to PSYCHO KICK! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives but Kenta drags him up. Fireman’s carry, but Naito slips out to rolling heel kick! Kenta rebounds and runs in, but Naito spins him around for a TORNADO DDT! Both men are down but Osaka fires back up! Red Shoes watches both men but Kenta is up and in a corner first. Naito follows and runs in, but blocks boots. He turns Kenta sideways, draping backbreaker! Naito hoists Kenta up top then climbs up to join him. SUPER STEINER!
Fans fire up again as Naito brings Kenta up, hammerlocks and scoops, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!! But Naito is not deterred! Naito drags Kenta up by his hair and wrenches, but Kenta powers Naito into Red Shoes! Then again! And now, Jay White rushes out! Bullet Club has nothing stopping them as White hits Naito with a SNAP Sleeper Suplex! White drags Naito around, but here comes BUSHI! Bushi reels back but White knows what’s coming and gets clear of the mist! BLADE RUNNER! White drags Naito around again but here comes HIROMU! Hiromu baits White in for a SUPERKICK!
Hiromu throws White out and drags him away with a headlock! That leaves it at just Naito and just Kenta in the ring. Kenta and Naito flounder and crawl while Young Lions help Red Shoes get back in. Fans rally as all three men are down, Red Shoes included in that. Kenta drags himself up with ropes while Naito and Red Shoes slowly stand. Kenta runs but Naito dodges to enziguri! Naito whips, Kenta reverses, but Naito hits flying forearms! Tilt-o-whirl but no Destino, DISCUS LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Kenta shouts he’s going to end it, and he fireman’s carries Naito. GO TO- DESTINO!? It wasn’t the full, but an inverted DDT is close enough!
Both men are down again and fans are thunderous! Kenta and Naito stir, and Naito sits up first, followed by Kenta. Naito stalks Kenta and drags him up for a scoop. Kenta slips out and bumps Naito on the exposed buckles! Cover, TWO!!! Naito survives but he is BUSTED open from that bare steel! Red Shoes checks on Naito but Naito refuses to let this end here. Kenta just SLAPS away with palm strikes! Kenta is a shark and he aims at Naito, for the PSYCHO KNEE! Cover, TWO!?!? Naito still lives!! But Kenta takes off a knee pad and drags Naito up to a fireman’s carry. Naito pops up to POISON-RANA! And then scoop, VALENTIA BRAIN BUSTER!! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives but Naito and his crimson mask say this is the end! Naito drags Kenta up, wrenches, tilt-o-whirls, DESTINO!!! Cover, Naito wins!!!
Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall (still IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion)
The first defense in the book was a battle in which Naito literally shed blood, sweat and tears! Kenta drew first blood but Naito won in the end! A stare down between the two men says it all, as does both men being barely able to stand. Red Shoes presents the Double Champion with both belts, but Naito also wants his time to talk. Red Shoes raises Naito’s hand, and Naito doesn’t even bother wiping away the blood on his face before putting his baseball cap back on. Kenta leaves peacefully so Naito can speak.
“Buenos noches, Osaka-Jo Haaall~!” Naito wants everyone gathered here, that- Oh wait, Kenta’s still here. Hey, Kenta, hurry up, would you? You’re not tranquilo. But as Naito was saying, Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Naito and his first defense… How was it seeing him stay Double Champion? Osaka loves it! The Tokyo Dome was a site of history, sure, with the Double Gold Dash. Osaka-Jo Hall is now a site of history with the Double Gold Defense. So what’s next? Naito wants a match with “that guy.” Hiromu, come back out! The fans cheer for Hiromu, and Hiromu does appear! Seems he got through with Jay White backstage.
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion joins his Double Champion LIJ leader and mentor. Naito wants Hiromu to decide, are they going to have that special 1v1 match? Hiromu grabs a mic as fans cheer for him. “Naito-san, do you remember?” When Naito took Hiromu under his wing and taught him about wrestling. Does Naito remember what he said the day before Hiromu went on his excursion? “When you come back, let’s have a match with one another.” And Hiromu’s been back, so the answer is SI! There could be no other answer! But does Naito want this match? Naito says that of course it’s SI! Hiromu Takahashi VS Tetsuya Naito, special Junior Heavyweight VS Heavyweight showdown for the Anniversary show! Do the fans think that sounds fun? Look forward to this incredible first-time-ever!
So with that, finally, the LIJ tradition! Osaka, you finally get one of these! “EVIL! BUSHI! SANADA! HIROMU! TAKAGI! Y NAITO! Nosotros… Los! Ingoberrrrrrrnableees! DE! JA! PON!” The streamers fly and the two champions and friends set their titles down. But then Hiromu picks up THE Heavyweight Championship to get a better look at it. Hiromu sets it down, and the two give the LIJ fist bump. When it comes down to mentor VS young ward, leader VS follower, and Heavyweight Champion VS Junior Heavyweight Champion, who is going to be the better man on the 48th Anniversary of NJPW?!
Even with just the matches I covered, it was obvious NJPW New Beginning in Osaka was another great event. The surprise of the three matches was that Jon Moxley retained. I would’ve thought Moxley loses so he doesn’t have to worry about traveling, as it feels very likely Moxley would win the AEW World Championship at AEW Revolution. But it seems NJPW is totally fine with Moxley going back and forth, as is AEW, so who knows? Moxley might be a bridge that helps open the “forbidden portal.” Seeing him and Jericho carry their feud between both promotions would be pretty cool, too.
I loved so much about Hiromu VS Lee, especially that almost all the strikes were chops. Those chests became like steak after all that stuff. I also really liked the tease of the spot that injured Hiromu, for the sake of the drama. Hiromu maintaining made the most sense, given what we’re getting at the Anniversary Event. The Double Gold match did great with purposefully taking a slow pace to start, because it extended this match to have the rest of it be the hard-hitting, fast paced match we knew it’d be in the end. I did not expect that blood, though! That was pretty great. Naito retains because it was his first defense, because Kenta isn’t at that level yet, and again, so we can get what we’re getting at the Anniversary Event, which is going to be a lot of fun.
My Score: 9.3/10
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