NJPW begins again in Sapporo!
And with a truly hard hitting contest in the main event! Can Hirooki Goto hold onto the NEVER Openweight title?
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.
- Jon Moxley & Kazuchika Okada VS Minoru Suzuki & Taichi; Suzuki & Taichi win.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS Shingo Takagi; Takagi wins and becomes the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
PLAY BY PLAY
Jon Moxley & Kazuchika Okada VS Minoru Suzuki & Taichi!
Suzuki-Gun is targeting some big game, and that forces the unlikeliest of team-ups! The Maniac and the Rainmaker fight against the meanest and the sliest, can they make it out of this in one piece?
For those unfamiliar with AEW, Moxley has that eye patch because Chris Jericho jammed a spike into that eye! But Moxley can still see clearly enough to fight, so will he get to see his hand raised alongside the former Heavyweight Champion?
Speaking of, Moxley and Okada stand side-by-side outside the ring and throw off their jackets. And then together, they rush the ring! Moxley brawls with Suzuki while Okada is after Taichi! The referee rings the bell so that this is on the record, and does his best to restore order. Taichi rakes Okada’s eyes and throws him out. Moxley and Suzuki throw more forearms and even SLAPS as Taichi sends Okada into railing. Suzuki knees low, throws more forearms, then eggs Moxley on. But Moxley puts his hands down to egg Suzuki on. Suzuki accepts and ROCKS Moxley. Moxley throws forearms back and Suzuki dares him to keep going. Moxley throws forearms from all sides, then headbutts! Suzuki staggers but then laughs!
Suzuki throws a forearm, Moxley returns it, and they’re brawling again. Back and forth, back and forth, neither man backing down. Suzuki headbutts, Moxley gives one back! Moxley then sits down and turns around to mock Suzuki. “You think I’m scared of you, mother f*cker?!” Suzuki boots, Moxley boots, and back again! Moxley spins to forearm but Suzuki keeps hitting back. Suzuki forearms, Moxley CHOPS, Suzuki rocks Moxley with big shots! Moxley staggers about but stays standing. He winds up and Suzuki waits, only for Moxley to SLAP him. And then give double dirty birds. Fans cheer the guts from Moxley, but Suzuki takes on finger to bend it! The ref counts but Suzuki brings Moxley to ropes. The ref reprimands Suzuki and counts but Suzuki lets go at 4.
Suzuki rocks Moxley and SLAPS him back! Then knees him down! Tag to Taichi and he toys with Moxley. Taichi clubs Moxley but Moxley powers him to the corner! Moxley rolls back to ram in a shoulder, then tag to Okada. Moxley makes sure to hit Suzuki first before helping Okada double whip. They double elbow Taichi down, then drop and elboe and a basement dropkick! Quick teamwork already, and Okada drags Taichi up. Suzuki’s temper can be heard as he kicks railing while Okada drops Taichi with a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, but Okada keeps his cool. Okada clamps on with a chinlock and Taichi endures. Fans cheer as Taichi works against the hold. Suzuki has found chairs from somewhere and has them on stand-by. Taichi gets a ropebreak with a leg and Okada lets up.
Suzuki and Moxley bark at each other on the outside but the ref gets them to return to their corners. Okada returns to Taichi with a scoop and slam, then a slingshot. Taichi avoids the senton and boots him, but Okada fires forearms. Taichi kicks but Okada forearms, and repeat. Now these two get to go back and forth, but Taichi pie faces Okada. Okada just shrugs off the kicks and gives forearms back. They keep going back and forth but Okada gets an edge to uppercut. But Taichi snap back suplexes! Suzuki throws chairs at Moxley! And then whips MOxley into railing! And JAMS the chair in! And SMACKS Moxley on the back! The ref can’t do anything about those two as Taichi throws Okada out. Suzuki brings Moxley into the crowd and gives him a seat. Suzuki throws forearms on Moxley while Taichi whips Okada into railings! Taichi copies Suzuki as he rips railing down.
Fans get clear as Taichi brings Okada over to bowl into chairs! Suzuki keeps kicking Moxley and then uses railing as a weapon! Suzuki buries Moxley with the railing and chairs! Taichi uses a chair on Okada and then stalks up behind him. Young Lions keep close to each of these brawls as the 20 count begins. The count reaches 10 but Suzuki has brought Moxley to back production. Taichi brings Okada back to the ring at 16 so that the match can continue. You can hear the brawling of Suzuki and Moxley by production, and Moxley rakes eyes! Taichi clamps onto Okada with a mounted neck wrench but Okada endures. Taichi cranks hard and grinds Okada inot the mat. Back to Moxley and Suzuki, they joust with railing! Suzuki kicks low to then boot Moxley in the head. Taichi meanwhile shifts to a cobra twist to bend and stretch Okada.
Okada continues to endure as Taichi thrashes him around in that hold. Suzuki returns to ringside just to kick at commentary. Taichi stands on Okada and mocks him about not having Moxley to tag to. Taichi drags Okada up and over to bump off the buckle pad. Suzuki tags in and now he gets to club Okada down. Suzuki drags Okada back up for another chinlock, trapping an arm. Okada endures as Suzuki cranks harder. Fans rally and Okada fights, but Suzuki shifts to a headscissor squeeze. Okada still endures, so Suzuki lets up to tag Taichi. Taichi gives toying kicks while Moxley can be heard dragging himself back to ringside. Taichi cranks Okada’s neck again and then gets forehead to forehead. Okada throws big forearms back, and blocks the kick! Okada whips Taichi to a corner but misses the big elbow, Taichi enziguris! Suzuki runs over to BOOT Moxley down! Off come Taichi’s tearaway pants!
Taichi swings a kick but misses, and Okada Alabama lifts. Taichi fights out of it, to powerbomb, only for Okada to huricanrana out of it! Okada runs corner to corner but misses again, only to get Taichi up! Alabama, AIR RAID CRASH! Both men are down and fans rally up. Okada crawls and so does Taichi, hot tags to Moxley and Suzuki! Moxley fires off on Suzuki but Suzuki fires back! MOxley knees low then puts Suzuki in a corner. Suzuki reverses the whip but Moxley comes back with a clothesline! Moxley hurries to get Suzuki up, spin-out backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Suzuki survives and Moxley’s eye bandage is coming loose. Moxley ignores it as he puts Suzuki in a Cloverleaf, to a Figure Four!
Suzuki endures the modified hold and reaches for the ropes. Moxley rolls him away, shifts to an STF! Moxley is showing he can be just as technical as anyone, but Suzuki powers up. Suzuki BITES Moxley’s arm! Moxley shoves and bites Suzuki’s FACE! The ref reprimands, Moxley backs off to REGAL KNEE! Cover, TWO!! Suzuki survives but Moxley decks Taichi. Moxley bails out to grab a table from commentary! Moxley dumps all the equipment off and sets the table by the ring. He grabs at Suzuki at the ropes and fans anticipate what’s coming. Moxley suplexes but Suzuki fights out, to a draping triangle! The ref counts, Suzuki lets up at 4, then brings Moxley into the ring. Suzuki wrenches for a takedown! Moxley endures the cross armbreaker while Taichi keeps Okada away! Suzuki is trying to make Moxley a one-eyed, one-armed man!
Moxley reaches with his legs, to get the ROPEBREAK! Suzuki reluctantly lets go before a count, and stomps Moxley to an open corner. Suzuki grinds his boots in but the ref backs him off. The count only stops Suzuki for a moment before coming back with more. Moxley gets up, Suzuki runs in, Moxley LARIATS Suzuki down! Fans are fired up as both men are down! Moxley stands and calls for the end. But Taichi rakes Moxley’s bad eye! Taichi back kicks Moxley but Okada goes for Rainmaker! Taichi ducks but runs into Okada’s uppercut! Okada whips but Taichi denies the dropkick! Taichi gets Okada for a HUGE SAIDO! Moxley dropkicks Taichi out! Suzuki is up and stalking behind Moxley with a smile on his face. Moxley turns around to get forehead to forehead, and the brawl begins again!
Suzuki forearms, then Moxley, and back again, both men just throw heavier and faster! And the SLAPS! Moxley staggers Suzuki then headbutts. Double dirty bird but no Dirty Deeds as Suzuki slaps back! Suzuki gets around to the SLEEPER! Moxley reaches but Suzuki keeps him from ropes. Moxley fades, but Suzuki spins him around! Gotch lift, PILEDRIVER! Cover, Suzuki-Gun wins!!
Winner: Suzuki-Gun, by pinfall
The Meanest Man in the World pins the IWGP United States Champion! Their title match is coming in Osaka, who leaves their with the title? As for Taichi, his fight with Okada is just a day away, so he’s getting in his shots now! Taichi chokes Okada at the railing, using camera cable to keep him bound! Even Miho Abe is shocked to see her maestro doing this! Okada has faded out but Taichi won’t let him go. Suzuki walks away, having done what he needs to. Taichi still continues, and puts Okada back in the ring. Taichi grabs his mic stand and HITS the ref! That’s a fine.
Young Lions run in but are hit back out! Taichi uses the stand to choke Okada even more! Okada is purple as Taichi finally drops him. But this isn’t the end. Taichi has the IRON CLAW of Izuka! He equips it onto his hand and watches Okada rise. Okada ducks and dropkicks Taichi back! Then a whip and another dropkick! Fans cheer as Okada drags Taichi up. But Zack Sabre Junior jumps in! ZSJ puts Okada in a sleeper hold, continuing where Taichi left off! Then ZSJ feeds Okada to the CLAW!! Will Ospreay runs in to go after ZSJ! They have their own fight coming, but Taichi distracts Ospreay look enough for ZSJ to scoop him! ZACK DRIVER! Taichi and Ospreay stand over Chaos’s top two! Will Sapporo see the sliest and the meanest conquering the world’s best?
But before Taichi leaves, he calls for a mic. Taichi gets the mic and tells Okada while he’s down on the ramp, “You’re pretty beaten up, huh?” The worst possible state. So there’s no doubt that Taichi wins their 1v1 match, just like when Okada was just a Young Lion. And Taichi will finally have his moment in the main event! Okada can rest up now, so he can give it his all, and then Taichi will beat him down again. Taichi mocks the fans, saying they can cheer all they want, but they’ll go home upset because Taichi won.
NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS Shingo Takagi!
The Fierce Warrior and the Last Dragon have met in the past, and it was truly Strong Style. But now they meet with gold on the line! If Goto fought as hard as he did without a title, how much harder will he fight to keep one?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this battle of Shingo’s attempt at becoming Double NEVER Openweight Champion begins!
The fans are already fired up as these two stare down. The Takagi fans are very loud as he circles with Goto. They tie up, and are fairly even in power. They break and circle again. Another tie up, and Goto headlocks. Shingo powers out but nether falls from the shoulder collision. Nor the second one. Goto kicks then runs, rams Shingo but Shingo rebounds to ram back. Goto comes back with another shoulder, but still neither falls! Goto throws a forearm but Shingo gives it back. Now we have a brawl between these behemoths, and it speeds up! Shingo gets the edge then runs, but Goto follows. Shingo still gets the fireman’s carry but Goto slips out!
Goto dragon sleeper but Shingo snapmares free. Shingo runs, Goto avoids the sliding lariat but Shingo avoids the buzzsaw. Shingo waistlocks but Goto elbows free. Goto runs to ram, Shingo comes back but Goto runs him over! Fans cheer as Goto brings Shingo up to whip. Goto elbows Shingo down, covers, ONE, but clamps on with a chinlock. Fans rally and duel as Shingo endures. Goto drives an elbow into the forehead and has Shingo down. Shingo gets to a corner but Goto stomps away. Goto throws forearms, too, and then eggs Shingo on. Shingo turns it around to give forearms, but so does Goto. Shingo shoves but gets ROCKED by that right! Goto brings Shingo up as fans rally again.
Goto whips, Shingo reverses and then runs in. Shingo blocks the boot to corner clothesline! Fans fire up as Shingo whips but Goto reverses. Goto hits his own clothesline then runs more, but Shingo withstands this new clothesline! Shingo runs and clotheslines but Goto also stays standing. Shingo clotheslines, runs but Goto swats him away! Goto runs but into a back elbow, and Shingo JABS to the left hand lariat! Fans fire up again as Goto gets to ropes. Shingo clotheslines Goto out of the ring! Shingo goes out to fetch Goto as fans rally and duel. He holds up the NEVER Openweight title to shout that it’ll be his soon enough! Shingo then kicks Goto while he’s down before bringing him up and throwing him into a post!
Camera men clear out as Shingo kicks Goto more. Shingo brings Goto up and whips him into railing! Goto comes back, but runs into the fireman’s carry and snake eyes! Then a DDT to the floor! Shingo stands over Goto as fans cheer. Shingo says hi to Sho as he puts Goto back in the ring. Goto is down and Shingo slingshots to drop a knee! The ref reprimands Shingo as he stands on Goto’s body. Shingo jumps to double stomp Goto! Fans rally and duel again as Shingo brings Goto up. Goto chops and kicks and staggers Shingo! Then a snapmare to a back kick. Shingo eggs Goto on, but that one does sting. Goto eggs Shingo on and they trade CHOPS! Goto then Shingo then back again! Shingo DOUBLE CHOPS Goto down! Shingo drags Goto up and suplexes high and hard! Cover, TWO!
Shingo keeps his cool as he stands on Goto’s head. He mocks Goto and then toys with him. Fans rally and duel as Shingo knees Goto. Goto eggs Shingo on then blocks one of those kicks. But Shingo deflects the headbutt, only to walk into the DISCUS! Shingo rolls away to ropes while Goto steadies himself. Both men end up in opposite corners, and Goto runs in. Goto hits a wheel kick but Shingo blocks the saido! Shingo elbows then underhooks, but Goto blocks the lift. Shingo shifts but it’s Goto who suplexes! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Goto keeps his focus. Goto drags Shingo back up, fireman’s carries, but Shingo slips out. Shingo waistlocks, Goto standing switches but Shingo elbows free. Shingo runs but into a sleeper!
Goto squeezes tight but Shingo makes him a backpack for a senton! But Goto sits up to get the sleeper again! They both stand up and Shingo pries free. Goto counters the shoulder breaker into the sleeper! Shingo backs up into a corner and Goto hits buckles. Shingo is free again and sees Goto coming. But Goto counters Shingo’s counter back into the sleeper, only for Shingo to slip out! Underhooks and lift, NOSHIGAMI! Fans fire up as Shingo gets to his feet. Shingo catches his breath before bringing Goto back up. Goto anchors a foot so Shingo drives in elbows until Goto sits put. Shingo drops a knee, runs and SLIDING LARIAT! He keeps going, but Goto fireman’s carries for USHIGOROSHI! Both men are down now and Sapporo fires up!
Goto and Shingo slowly crawl and again go to opposite corners. Goto shouts at Shingo as he stands, and Shingo shouts back. They run at each other and collide with clotheslines! Both men stagger, then collide again! And again! Shingo fires up but Goto keeps with him on those clotheslines. Goto fires up but Shingo keeps with him in return. Goto runs but Shingo swats and SAIDO! But Goto is right back up to SAIDO Shingo! Fans are fired up even more as both men are down again. Goto doesn’t waste time getting Shingo up. Goto hits and runs but Shingo follows to clothesline at the ropes! Shingo runs but Goto returns the favor, only to run into an elbow and the jab! Shingo powers up his left but Goto LARIATS with the right! Cover, TWO!! Shingo survives but Goto won’t stop here.
Fans get loud as Goto runs, but Shingo dodges. DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE, and yet Shingo stays up! Shingo brings Goto up despite being dead weight, and whips him corner to corner. But Goto stumbles and falls, and Red Shoes checks on him. Fans rally up and Goto finds the strength to stand. Shingo runs in to corner clothesline! Shingo fireman’s carries Goto to bring him up to the top rope! Fans worry now but Goto fights back with elbows. Shingo just chuckles and keeps hold, SUPER DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Goto still lives and Sapporo is amazed! Shingo gets back up and wants to end it now. He puts Goto up top and climbs up to join him.
Goto fights back with haymakers and body shots but Shingo slaps away! Goto gives big forearms and a headbutt! He drags Shingo in and stands up, SUPER SUNSET BOMB! Cover, TWO!?! Shingo survives now but Goto won’t let up. Goto drags Shingo back to his feet, turns him around, but Shingo gets a ropebreak! Goto throws knees to then suplex and drape Shingo for a draping inverted GTR! Cover, TWO!! Shingo still survives but Goto keeps on him with swift kicks to the chest! Kick after kick but Goto keeps going, harder and faster! Goto builds power but Shingo blocks! Shingo puts the legs on the rope and has Goto draping, to STEAL the GTR! Shingo then runs to AX BOMBER!! Cover, TWO!?! Goto survives but Shingo doesn’t waste time being shocked!
Sapporo is thunderous as Shingo stands and Goto slowly rises. Shingo drags Goto up to pump handle, but Goto slips out! Goto dragon sleepers but Shingo spins around to suplex. Goto blocks to suplex back, SHOUTEN KAI!! Cover, TWO!!! That still wasn’t enough to finish Shingo! Goto crawls as fans rally harder. Goto stands on wobbly legs but Shingo rises. Shingo sits up, Goto powers up, BUZZSAW! Goto drags Shingo up but Shingo headbutts! Double headbutt! And again! And again! They’re like rams, but without the helmet-like horns to help them. Goto fires off so many forearms but Shingo just glares back. Goto keeps throwing but Shingo keeps egging him on. Shingo then throws elbows from all sides! He ROCKS Goto but Goto glares back. Now Goto backs Shingo down just by taking the forearms!
Shingo slaps, Goto SLAPS! JAB! JAB! Shingo and Goto ram heads again! Goto headbutts over and over and over, and then finally hits REVERSE GTR! Then TRUE- NO! Shingo fights the real deal off but Goto swings him out in a ripcord. Shingo counters to pump handle and lift, MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO!?!? But how?!? Is Goto more than human!? Shingo himself can’t believe it! Fans reach that fever pitch as Shingo grabs at Goto. Shingo brings Goto to his feet as fans duel as hard as ever! Shingo lifts Goto back up, LAST OF THE DRAGONS!! Shingo WINS!
Winner: Shingo Takagi by pinfall (NEW NEVER Openweight Champion)
NJPW, and Los Ingobernables de Japon, have TWO double champions now! Shingo Takagi owns the NEVER Openweight Division after an incredible fight with The Fierce Warrior! Is this a sign that LIJ is going to take over NJPW in the New Decade?
Red Shoes presents Shingo with the belt, and Shingo gets himself a mic. Fans cheer as Shingo wants everyone to wait a moment. Shingo wants them to understand how great tonight is for him. He feels like crap, yet also feels awesome! Shingo says that what we saw IS NEVER Openweight wrestling! And that while he has the title, this isn’t the end, but the beginning! Shingo will combine the NEVER Openweight Championship with his soul, and together they will rise to new heights! The top title in NJPW may be the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but the top title in Shingo’s life is the NEVER Openweight one. Therefore, if the Heavyweight title is #1, the Openweight title is THE one! Shingo vows to “tear it up” with this title in NJPW and around the world. The fans will come along with him as he flies high like the dragon he is! Confetti flies for Shingo on this victorious night. Will Shingo revolutionize what it means to hold this title?
NJPW does it again with another great event! And to think this is just part one of the Sapporo event, on top of a United States event in between! As for this part of Sapporo, I made sure to hit a major highlight in the Moxley-Okada VS Suzuki-Taichi match. That was great just on the names teaming together, i.e. Moxley and Okada. They made a pretty good combination, though they didn’t really work together directly. It was a very chaotic match that went all over the arena and it was great. It was a natural move for Suzuki-Gun to win, putting Moxley’s IWGP United States title reign in question for next week’s Osaka event, but also for Taichi to stand tall over Okada.
Throwing Ospreay and ZSJ in was a nice surprise, and it puts the math on both those matches that Chaos might be able to rise up. Okada is more likely to beat Taichi than Ospreay is ZSJ since Ospreay VS ZSJ is a title match. I’m not sure how likely ZSJ is to lose that title in just the New Beginning event. Then Shingo VS Goto, hot damn that was a good match. And I was really surprised to see Shingo win, since he becomes the other dual champion alongside Naito. But Shingo has had a story of wanting to face anyone and everyone, regardless of weight class. I also like the plug of Sho being a future challenger, that will be great for Sho’s singles career even in losing. The NEVER Openweight Division seemed a bit in flux since Goto was always winning that title, but I really hope Shingo takes the singles title for a good long run.
My Score: 9/10