NJPW wraps up in Sapporo!
NJPW wraps up Sapporo weekend with major matches between the forces of Chaos and Suzuki-Gun! Will the Rainmaker survive the Sliest Wrestler Ever?
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.
- Revolution Pro-Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Will Ospreay; wins and
- Kazuchika Okada VS Taichi w/ Miho Abe; Okada wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Revolution Pro-Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Will Ospreay!
The Submission Master continues his campaign for #Sabreism in NJPW, but it hasn’t gone as smoothly as he’d like. Could defeating the Aerial Assassin be the ticket he needs to taking over? Or will Ospreay replace the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship he lost with something that reminds him of home?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this showdown seven years in the making begins!
ZSJ loosens up as he talks trash to Ospreay but Ospreay shrugs it off. Fans are immediately fired up for Ospreay at the bell as he circles with ZSJ. They tie up, Ospreay wrenches but ZSJ rolls through to escape. They go agian, ZSJ wrenches but Ospreay reverses to wring ZSJ. ZSJ rolls through again to get away, but comes back for another grapple. ZSJ grabs Ospreay’s arm to wrench to a hammerlock. Ospreay pries free to reverse but ZSJ drops down to trip Ospreay. ZSJ gets the arm again to go after fingers and a wristlock. Ospreay spins, arm-drags but ZSJ headscissors. Ospreay pops out and sweeps the legs to cover, ONE!
ZSJ pushes Opsreay into a corner but Ospreay keeps his cool. Fans cheer as ZSJ backs off and the two reset. Ospreay and ZSJ feel out the grapple before ZSJ gets a Cording hold. ZSJ works on the elbow but Ospreay goes to whip. ZSJ keeps locked on and wrenches at the elbow. Ospreay facelocks but ZSJ kicks his leg to work on the vertical base. Ospreay gets back up and whips, only for ZSJ to arm-drag and bring Ospreay down. ZSJ grinds on the armlock but Ospreay kips up, only for ZSJ to wrangle him back down. Fans rally up as Ospreay gets back up again. Ospreay uses Red Shoes for help to flip through and arm-drag ZSJ away! Ospreay runs ZSJ over but ZSJ boots from the mat. Both Brits build speed but then put on the brakes. Fans cheer the stand-off, even as ZSJ complains to Red Shoes.
Ospreay calls for a test of strength, which fans cheer, but ZSJ tells Ospreay to “piss off.” No test of strength, just a collar and elbow. ZSJ grabs the wrist again but Ospreay gets that double knuckle lock after all! Ospreay brings ZSJ to the mat, but ZSJ rolls around to get up and reverse pressure. Ospreay turns to throw ZSJ, but ZSJ lands on his feet, only for Ospreay to force him down again! Cover, ONE as ZSJ bridges. Ospreay adds his weight, cover, ONE! Ospreay tries again but ZSJ is ready, with a monkey flip! ZSJ rolls back to a cover, Ospreay sunset flips through, but ZSJ rolls through to matchbook. Ospreay pops out of that to sit on a cover, but ZSJ sunsets, only for Ospreay to match box. ZSJ also sits on that, but that just creates a loop for sunset and match book and back the other way!
ZSJ headscissors but Ospreay handsprings through! Ospreay buzzsaws but ZSJ gets clear! Fans cheer as ZSJ bails out and Ospreay waits in the ring. ZSJ uses the ring count to catch his breath, but so does Ospreay. ZSJ tells Ospreay to “enjoy that,” then gets back in the ring. Ospreay still waits as he and ZSJ circle. They tie up again, ZSJ wrenches to a hammerlock, but Ospreay slips to trip up ZSJ. Ospreay has a toehold but ZSJ works on a counter. ZSJ rolls, stands, but Ospreay wrangles him down by the leg. Ospreay cranks but ZSJ rolls, only to get pushed down again. Ospreay keeps on that foot, but ZSJ again works on his escape. ZSJ reels Ospreay in, headlock takeover but Ospreay headscissors. ZSJ pops out to get Ospreay’s foot now, and gives him back that toehold.
Ospreay endures, rolls, and uses the same foot hook, but ZSJ knows that’s coming! ZSJ digs a knuckle into Ospreay’s back and powers him down for a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Ospreay pops out to a cover, ONE! ZSJ kicks and whips but Ospreay reverses, only for ZSJ to go up and under. Ospreay baits ZSJ in, runs and returns with a flying huricanrana! Fans cheer but ZSJ bails out again. Ospreay builds speed and handsprings, but ZSJ drags him out by his arm! ZSJ thrwos European Uppercuts but Ospreay goes up and over to BOOT him down! Ospreay gets back in the ring to PLANCHA! Fans fire up with Ospreay as he looms over ZSJ. Ospreay brings ZSJ up and into the ring, and throws big forearms as fans cheer. ZSJ staggers to a corner but eggs Ospreay on. Ospreay CHOPS ZSJ and ZSJ sits down!
Ospreay gives toying stomps then brings ZSJ back up. He throws more forearms but ZSJ gives EuroUppers back! ZSJ headlocks, Ospreay whips and things speed up. Ospreay hurdles but ZSJ counters the hip toss to underhooks and then the cobra twist! ZSJ rolls Ospreay to the mat but Ospreay gets a ropebreak! Red Shoes calls for the break and ZSJ lets go reluctantly. Ospreay crawls away as fans rally up. ZSJ stalks over to Ospreay for a neck crank! Ospreay’s neck is a major target and ZSJ is finally going after it. ZSJ mounts and sits on Ospreay to get a leg. ZSJ pulls in a deep Boston Crab but Ospreay gets a ropebreak with the other leg. Fans cheer as ZSJ reluctantly lets go again.
ZSJ grins as he watches Ospreay crawl, and gets a cravat. He drags Ospreay down as he wrenches the neck, but Ospreay gets back up. Ospreay breaks free to throw forearms, but ZSJ body shots to get the cravat back. ZSJ sees another swinging arm coming, and he avoids it to get the cravat again. Ospreay tries to throw ZSJ but ZSJ stays clamped on. ZSJ cranks on the neck more but Ospreay endures. Ospreay scoops ZSJ but ZSJ cranks to get control again. Ospreay throws big body shots and is free, but ZSJ snapmares him. But Ospreay handsprings through! And handsprings more, for the FLYING PELE! Both men are down but Sapporo is fired up! ZSJ sits up with some frustration but Ospreay follows with determination.
Ospreay stands first as fans rally, and he goes after ZSJ with fast hands. Ospreay whips, ZSJ reverses but Ospreay dodges to come back with forearms! Fans cheer as the Aerial Assassin is back up and building speed. Ospreay basement dropkicks ZSJ right against the ropes! Ospreay stalks ZSJ and brings him up to half hatch suplex! Float over to cover, TWO! Ospreay drags ZSJ back up but ZSJ wrenches, so Ospreay DECKS him. ZSJ is in a corner, Ospreay runs in, but ZSJ puts Ospreay on the apron. Ospreay counter punches ZSJ and ZSJ flounders. Ospreay springboards, but ZSJ gets under, only to run into a dragon sleeper. ZSJ snapmares out to get the sleeper himself, but Ospreay snapmares back.
Ospreay clubs ZSJ to then lift, only for ZSJ to slip around the back for a sleeper! ZSJ is a backpack thanks to body scissors, but Ospreay pries at the hold. Ospreay throws ZSJ off and fans cheer. Standing shooting star, but ZSJ gets his knees up! ZSJ monkey lifts Ospreay to let him drop into the armbar! Ospreay resists with the monkey grip, but ZSJ works on Ospreay’s fingers at the same time. Ospreay endures, but his grip is broken, so Ospreay moves around fast to get ZSJ in an underarm crossface! ZSJ endures, rolls and drags Ospreay into a triangle hold! Ospreay cartwheels and gets free, to FIGURE FOUR! ZSJ blocks the main leg but Ospreay powers it through! The lock is in but ZSJ works on an escape as he endures.
Fans cheer as ZSJ reaches around. Ospreay eggs ZSJ on, so ZSJ SLAPS him! Ospreay continues to taunt ZSJ, dodging those slaps to then wrench harder on the leg! ZSJ endures, grabs at Ospreay but also looks for ropes. ZSJ slaps Ospreay more, and more, and more, but then Ospreay SLAPS ZSJ down! Ospreay cranks harder on the hold but that motivates ZSJ to roll to the ROPEBREAK! Fans cheer as Ospreay lets ZSJ go. We’re at the 15 minutes mark for this 60 minute time limit, and Ospreay kicks ZSj in the leg. ZSJ is in a corner and Ospreay kicks him more. ZSJ gives a EuroUpper but Ospreay just kicks more. Ospreay toys with ZSJ a bit but ZSJ gives another EuroUpper. So Ospreay KICKS the leg out! ZSJ falls to a knee, but Ospreay waits for him to rise.
ZSJ throws EuroUpper after EuroUpper, but Ospreay lunges in for a SHIN BREAKER! And the standing shooting star! Cover, TWO! ZSJ toughs it out and fans applaud. Ospreay gets to a corner and fans applaud more as he climbs up top. Springboard, PIP PIP CHEERIO flying clothesline! Ospreay fires up more and Sapporo is with him. Ospreay aims from the corner, spins but ZSJ gets clear of the Robinson Special. ZSJ headlocks, Ospreay powers out, and FLAPJACKS ZSJ right on his face! Fans rally more as Ospreay aims, Robinson Special FLOPS as ZSJ evades! ZSJ hops on with body scissors, leg nelson, but Ospreay sunset flips out of the EuroClutch! TWO!! Ospreay was close, but he and ZSJ still have to keep going.
Ospreay full nelsons but ZSJ breaks free. ZSJ elbows, then blocks the hook kick, for an Ankle Lock! Ospreay rolls to throw ZSJ off, ZSJ runs and jumps back in, but gets caught into a backslide! ZSJ rolls off, Ospreay dead lifts but ZSJ escapes the suplex to PELE the arm! Ospreay CHOPS and ROUNDHOUSES! Both men are back down as Sapporo fires up. Ospreay rises as fans rally up behind him again. ZSJ slowly sits up as Ospreay springboards, but NO cutter! ZSJ has the sleeper hold! Ospreay endures and fights his way up, pries at the hold, but ZSJ SNAP HALF ‘N’ HALF SUPLEX! Both men are down again but ZSJ sits up first. ZSJ watches Ospreay as he sits up, and fans build up again.
ZSJ Penalty Kicks Ospreay down! Ospreay sits up again, to get another kick! ZSJ shakes out his legs as Ospreay sits back up. Penalty Kick number three! Cover, TWO! ZSJ is annoyed but he slaps Ospreay around. He also gives toying kicks as Ospreay sits up again. ZSJ gives another kick and scuff, but then Ospreay stands right up to DECK him! Ospreay is in a daze of his own as he drags ZSJ up. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper and runs to BOOT! Ospreay fires up, ZSJ runs but into the tiger flip dropkick! ZSJ hops on for a guillotine but Ospreay powers out for a BIG suplex! Ospreay fires up with Sapporo as he springboards, OSCUTTER!! But ZSJ flounders out of the ring and to safety! Ospreay can’t believe how close he was, but now a ring count begins.
The count hits 10 of 20 but Ospreay goes out to fetch ZSJ. Ospreay puts ZSJ back in only for ZSJ to roll out the other side. But Ospreay runs to SASUKE SPECIAL! Direct hit at the ramp and Sapporo is thunderous! Ospreay puts ZSJ back in, and ZSJ goes to a corner. Ospreay rocks ZSJ with a HOOK KICK! But Ospreay isn’t done, he starts to pull off his elbow pad, only for ZSJ to grab his leg! ZSJ brings Ospreay down in a kneebar! Ospreay gets to his feet and pries ZSJ off in a waistlock! No German Suplex, but another HOOK KICK! ZSJ sits up, but he ducks Hidden Blade to get the arms! Rings of Saturn coming, but ZSJ wants more. ZSJ takes the elbow pad off to go after Clarky Cat! But Ospreay gets the ROPEBREAK! ZSJ lets go, Ospreay goes to a corner, and Sapporo keeps cheering.
ZSJ stalks Ospreay and kicks him down off the ropes! Then a scoop, but Ospreay blocks the driver! ZSJ cranks with a guillotine then scoops, but Ospreay slips out to inverted lift, BLOODY SUNDAY! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Ospreay grits his teeth. Ospreay underhooks, lifts, but ZSJ fights out to pump handle and flip Ospreay over. EUROCLUTCH, TWO!! Ospreay narrowly escapes, but ZSJ Penalty Kicks again! But Ospreay springs right up!? ROUNDHOUSE! Fans are reaching that fever pitch at the 25 minute mark! Ospreay drags ZSJ up, powerbomb lift, but ZSJ guillotines to a triangle hold! Ospreay dead lifts for the BOMB! Cover, TWO!!
Ospreay hurries up top, SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives again but Ospreay has more to give! Sapporo cheers as Ospreay drags ZSJ up. Underhooks and Canadian Rack, but ZSJ pops out to the cobra twist! Ospreay pops out to gut wrench and scoop, then flip ZSJ over! But ZSJ slips out again to hop back on, IRON OCTOPUS! Ospreay endures as ZSJ pulls hard on the arm, but drops to the mat! ZSJ squeezes tight and Ospreay is turning purple! Ospreay has a triangle hold of sorts, and CRANKS back hard! Red Shoes checks on Ospreay, and calls it! ZSJ WINS!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by stoppage (still RPW British Heavyweight Champion)
The Submission Master survives the Aerial Assassin’s assault to win the Battle of the Brits! Ospreay didn’t give up, but ZSJ still celebrates. ZSJ rubs it in Ospreay’s face, but will these two face off for that title again?
Kazuchika Okada VS Taichi w/ Miho Abe!
The Rainmaker lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Tetsuya Naito to give way to Double Gold Destino. That inspired the Black Mephisto to take advantage of what he perceives is a vulnerable man. But despite the beating Taichi gave the former champion last night, will he be able to put away an all-time great? Or is the fact Okada is an all-time great why he will rebound and redeem himself tonight?
Okada takes his jacket off and turns to hand it to a Young Lion. Taichi uses that moment to strike! Taichi beats Okada down as the bell rings, and fans rally for Okada as Taichi drives in elbows. BUZZSAW to the back of the neck! Taichi is continuing where he left off, and that includes his bag of tricks! Taichi puts the Iron Claw back on but Red Shoes comes over. The sinister Suzuki-Gun soldier shoves Red Shoes away, but Okada BOOTS the claw down! Okada snapmares Taichi to run and basement dropkick! Fans cheer as Okada evens things between them. Taichi bails out to regroup with Miho but Okada goes out to fetch Taichi.
Okada whips him into barriers then boots him over! Fans rally with Okada as he gets space. Okada makes sure his neck is okay first, then he FLIES over the railing into Taichi! Both men crash into the railing in front of fans, who have luckily cleared out by then. Railing and chair tumble over as Okada falls off Taichi. Red Shoes checks on both men but they’re both okay to continue. Fans cheer as Okada stands up first. Miho checks on Taichi but Okada drags him up first. Okada brings Taichi to ringside but Taichi throws clubbing forearms. Taichi whips Okada but Okada reverses! Again Taichi hits the blue rails hard!
Okada stalks over to Taichi and brings him up again. Okada puts Taichi in the ring, which fans cheer. Taichi sits up but Okada brings him to his feet. Okada turns Taichi around for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his cool as he circles around Taichi. Okada drags Taichi up again and puts him in a corner. He throws big elbows into Taichi, but Taichi glares back. Okada whips Taichi corner to corner, then runs in to hit another back elbow! Okada keeps moving, kicks low but Taichi SAIDO counters the DDT! Fans cheer as both men are even again. Okada bails out now, that neck really bothering him. Red Shoes checks on Okada but Taichi pursues.
Taichi drags Okada up to whip Okada into railing! Taichi drags Okada up from the other side, and with another revisit to last night, he uses camera cables to CHOKE Okada! And Miho again is just as worried as anyone. Red Shoes reprimands but Taichi stops at the count of 4. Only to choke Okada more! Taichi only lets up because Red Shoes orders him to. Fans rally as Taichi drags Okada up, to choke him using the railing itself! Red Shoes again reprimands but Taichi stops at the count of 4. Taichi drags Okada up and into the ring and gives him toying kicks. Fans rally as Taichi drags Okada back up. Taichi puts Okada in a cobra twist and clamps on a hand to the ribs. Okada endures as Taichi puts on the chinlock portion, and even thrashes him about.
Taichi taunts Okada at the same time, but Okada gives it back! Okada fires up even as Taichi pie faces and pushes him down. Okada sits up and stares Taichi down, so Taichi KICKS Okada in the back! And again! Okada winces but gets up, so Taichi pulls him around by his hair. Taichi mocks Okada, asking if he wants to stop, but Okada throws forearms! Okada backs Taichi down then whips, but Taichi kicks him back. Taichi clubs Okada on the neck again! Fans get louder as Taichi puts Okada on the mat to stand on his chest. Sapporo rallies for Okada even as Taichi whips. Okada reverses, kicks low and hits that DDT! Both men are down now and Red Shoes checks on them.
Taichi sits up but Okada stands! Okada stalks up behind Taichi to drag him up and throw more forearms. Okada whips but Taichi reverses, only for Okada to duck, dodge and elbow Taichi down! Fans fire up with Okada as he brings Taichi back up. Okada whips Taichi corner to corner then runs in, but the back elbow misses. Taichi runs in but is popped up to the Alabama, AIR RAID CRASH! Okada gives Taichi a taste of that neck pain, but Taichi bails out to be by Miho again. Okada doesn’t care, he prepares to slingshot. But Taichi uses Miho as a shield! Miho stands in Okada’s way to protect her maestro, but Okada hops out to politely pass by her.
Taichi sucker punches, or rather kicks, Okada! Then whips him back into railing! Taichi drags Okada up and to the ramp! Another revisit to last night as they go up higher. Okada hits back and scoops! Taichi flails to escape the Tombstone, and he clubs away on Okada. But Okada SHOTGUN dropkicks Taichi hard! Taichi tumbles all the way back to ringside! Miho hurries to check on Taichi while he and Okada are both down again. Red Shoes starts a ring count, having given them both a grace period. Okada is up at 5 and heading for Taichi. Okada fetches Taichi at 10 of 20, hauls him up at 12, and puts him in the ring at 14. Fans cheer that this match continues in the ring, and Okada gets Taichi back to his feet again.
Okada scoops and slams then heads up top. Standard Okada formula as he leaps, MACHO ELBOW! Fans cheer as the sequence continues into the Rainmaker Pose! Okada drags Taichi up, wristlock but Taichi powers him back into buckles! Taichi runs in but misses, Okada runs in but Taichi evades. Taichi runs back in, enziguri ROCKS Okada! Okada falls to the mat but soon rises. Taichi gives a BIG kick that knocks Okada back down. We reach 15 minutes as Taichi dares Okada to stand. Okada does and Taichi runs, but Okada ducks only to get a boot! Taichi runs to get a FLAPJACK! Both men are down again as Sapporo rallies. Taichi rolls around while Okada stirs. Okada sits up and gets himself to a corner.
Taichi rises, Okada runs out, SHOTGUN! Taichi is blasted to the other corner, but Okada’s neck is slowing him down. Miho slips the iron claw back to Taichi! Okada staggers over as Taichi plays dead. Okada drags Taichi up by his pants, but Taichi swings! The iron claw misses, and Okada powers Taichi to a corner! Okada hauls Taichi up to dropkick him down! Taichi tumbles to the floor and Miho panics. Okada hurries out to fetch Taichi, but Red Shoes checks on him first. Okada goes back into the ring and sees the iron claw. Fans are shocked to see Okada picks it up. Okada gives it to Red Shoes to take away, but Yoshinobu Kanemaru hurries off commentary. Red Shoes won’t let him, a fellow Suzuki-Gun member, take the claw back just yet, but this is all a distraction!
Taichi jumps in with a chair and JAMS it into Okada’s neck! Kanemaru keeps Red Shoes distracted as Taichi gives Okada a chair shot to the HEAD! The cushion pops right out of the chair! Taichi grins as he drags Okada up and runs, AX BOMBER!! Cover, TWO!?! Okada survives but Taichi isn’t done! OFF COME THE PANTS! Taichi aims at Okada, BUZZSAW! Then the dragon sleeper, Kowada style Stretch Plum! Taichi wants to end Okada with Seiteijyujiryou, “The Holy Emperor’s Tomb!” Okada endures this twisting hold as Sapporo rallies up. Taichi lets up only to pull OFF the tape on Okada’s neck! Seiteijyujiryou is reapplied! Okada endures but refuses to give up like this! Taichi cranks harder as Red Shoes checks on Okada. Okada is turning purple but he’s kicking and flailing to stay alive.
Sapporo rallies and Okada scoots around, only for Taichi to crank again! Okada is fading, Taichi covers instead, TWO!?! Okada still lives but Taichi vows to end this. Taichi drags Okada into position but Okada resists the powerbomb lift. Taichi gives Kawada kicks and lifts, but still no bomb! Okada back drops out! Fans cheer as both men reset. Taichi kicks but Okada ducks to GERMAN SUPLEX! Okada keeps the waistlock, drags Taichi back up and now wants the wristlock. Ripcord but Taichi ducks, only to run into the dropkick! Okada fires up and Sapporo does with him! Okada drags Taichi back up, wristlock ripcord, but Taichi ducks! Taichi grabs for Seiteijyujiryou again, but Okada resists the cranking. Okada fights up and arm-drags free, to boot and run!
Taichi swings, Okada gets under, but Taichi counters the ripcord into a SAIDO! Okada sits up, only to flop over on his side. Taichi sits up and stalks up behind Okada. Taichi drags Okada up by his tights and reels him in, ANOTHER SAIDO! Okada’s neck has taken so much damage but Taichi isn’t done with him yet. Fans are cheering as Taichi hits a BACK SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!? Okada survives and fans are fired up more as Taichi builds energy. Okada sits up in a daze, turns around, but dodges the superkick! Gut wrench scoop and TOMBSTONE! Both men are down but fans are rallying hard as ever. Red Shoes watches the two men stir, and Okada is up first. Taichi follows slowly and stands with Okada.
Okada BOOTS Taichi but he stays up. Taichi BOOTS back! We’ve reached 25 minutes as Okada boots Taichi again. Taichi runs to BOOT Okada again! Okada runs and BOOTS back! Neither man falls, and Taichi runs, but Okada blocks to forearm. Taichi spins to back kick, then he ROCKS Okada with a right! Okada falls to his knees and Sapporo fires up again. Taichi whips Okada and dropkicks him down! Fans fire up as Taichi fires up and drags Okada back up. Alabama lift but Okada slips out to backslide! Taichi slips off but into a RAINMAKER! Okada keeps hold of the wrist, he’s not satisfied with just one. Sapporo is thunderous again as Okada drags Taichi back up. Okada goes around to RAINMAKER again!
Okada fires up and Sapporo continues to cheer as he brings Taichi back up. This time, Okada wristlocks to ripcord, but Taichi grabs at Red Shoes! Red Shoes doesn’t see the LOW BLOW! Taichi tucks Okada in, GEDO CLUTCH! TWO!?! Okada survives by the skin of his teeth on that one! Sapporo can’t believe it but Taichi is the one growing frustrated. Taichi and Okada go to opposite ends and use ropes to stand up. Taichi runs in to ENZIGURI hard! Okada staggers, Taichi runs, rabbit AX BOMBER, to GAMANGIRI! Taichi hauls Okada up, lift, LAST RIDE!! High stack cover, TWO!?!? The Rainmaker is showing he’s still that damn tough!
Taichi refuses to let it be this way, and fires himself up with slaps. Sapporo reaches the fever pitch as Taichi drags Okada up. Taichi Alabama lifts, brings Okada around, but Okada slips out to DISCUS RAINMAKER! Okada gets to his feet and fires up again! Okada wristlocks and ripcords, but Taichi ducks! Another Alabama but Okada fights it off. We’re past 30 minutes as Taichi works to lift Okada again. Okada clubs away, scoops but Taichi fights free. ROUNDHOUSE! Taichi powers up, Okada rises, SUPER- NO! Okada blocks the kick for a scoop, into a JUMPING TOMBSTONE! Then wristlock and ripcord, TRUE RAINMAKER!! Cover, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall
The crowd is electric after witnessing such a classic! Sapporo’s sliest son was so close, but couldn’t get it done against the one, the only, THE Kazuchika Okada! Okada sits up and seems to assure Taichi with that look that he at least won his respect. When and where will these two meet again?
Okada grabs a mic to get fans cheering for Taichi out of respect. Fans do cheer as Taichi takes his leave. Okada then says to “SAPPOROOO~! … Taichi, that was a hell of a fight.” Okada apologizes that he almost let Taichi get the upset, but gives credit to his Sapporo fans for helping him tonight. He thanks all the fans for coming, and promises to be back in Hokkaido for the summer. The fans cheer for that. Okada continues to say it will be very exciting. It’ll be fun, right? The fans cheer in agreement. Hell yeah it’ll be fun! See you then! But Okada also says that he hopes to leave Sapporo with something nice. “But in the end of the day, I just want to enjoy Sapporo and this moment!” Fans are excited for Okada to make it rain again! Will Okada bring the rain in July? What will we see from the Rainmaker in the New Japan Cup?
Another great event, and a great conclusion to a weekend in Sapporo! ZSJ VS Ospreay for the RPW title was great, but I had a feeling ZSJ was going to retain. It didn’t seem like the right time for him to lose that title or for Ospreay to take it. This is a sign that Ospreay is making that shift from Junior Heayvweight to full Heavyweight, as he has been with things like the G1 Climax over the summer of 2019. The moment Ospreay does get a Heavyweight level title will be a great moment for him. Or even just one of the other midcard titles, like the IWGP Intercontinental or United States Championships, which he hasn’t had in his career yet.
Okada VS Taichi was a great match, and Taichi being the hometown kid got Sapporo on his side. Taichi really has slowly yet surely built to that upper midcard scene, and I’m sure he’ll find his own way to one of the higher titles soon enough. But Okada is Okada, and he isn’t going to lose so easily. Okada giving Taichi respect is also a good touch, that’ll help Taichi in the end. As mentioned, the New Japan Cup is coming, but I’m not sure Okada wins that to get his shortcut back to the Heavyweight Championship. For that matter, there’s a lot going on for Naito and having both titles, including his showdown with Kenta. There’s a lot of great stuff coming for NJPW in the summer, it really is as exciting as Okada says.
My Score: 9/10
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