The fate of NJPW is on the line!
The New Japan Cup’s finale was above and beyond expectations, but it’s not over yet! Will Evil reign supreme over NJPW? Or can Naito hold on?
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.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS SHO; Takagi wins and retains the NEVER Openweight Championship.
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: The Golden Aces VS Dangerous Tekkers; The Dangerous Tekkers win and become the new IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
- IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Double Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito VS EVIL; Evil wins and becomes the new IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Double Champion.
PLAY BY PLAY
NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS SHO!
The Last Dragon suffered a sho-cking defeat to one half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, and things have been building towards this rematch! The title is on the line, can Takagi stay Mr. NEVER Openweight? Or will Sho truly become a shock master!
The introductions are made, the NEVER singles title is raised, and this high stakes, “high voltage” rematch begins!
Sho and Shingo tie up right away! The fans rally, Shingo pulls hair and headlocks but Sho powers out. They collide shoulders and neither falls. Sho runs, Shingo stays up and the two start shoving. Shingo kicks low then whips Sho to a corner. Sho comes back, they ram shoulders over and over, but Sho throws a forearm. Sho runs, bumps Shingo, but Shingo comes back to shoulder and elbow. Shingo runs but Sho runs him over! The fans cheer as Sho dodges Shingo, but Shingo spins Sho around, only for Sho to hit the suplex! Cover, TWO! Sho keeps on Shingo with an attempt at the armbar. Shingo resists but Sho gets his hands apart, so Shingo gets a ropebreak with his foot. Sho lets go as the ref counts, and Shingo bails out. Sho gets to the apron and Penalty Kicks Shingo down!
The fans cheer as Sho hops down to kick Shingo more. Sho puts Shingo on the apron then climbs up to join him. Sho wants space but Shingo holds ropes was Sho waistlocks. Shingo elbows and breaks free to fireman’s carry Sho. Sho gets in and sweeps the legs. Shingo is down. Sho runs and basement dropkicks Shingo to railing! Sho builds speed again, but Shingo gets in to run him over! Shingo drags Sho up, throws him out now, then goes after him. But Sho hits back with forearms! Sho whips, Shingo reverses, Sho hits railing hard! Shingo brings Sho up to whip even harder the other way! Sho floundres and writhes while the ref has Shingo stand down. Shingo fires up the crowd as he drags Sho back up. Shingo puts Sho in, drags him back up and reels him in, for a BIG suplex! Cover, TWO!
Shingo keeps his cool as he sits Sho up. Shingo goes after Sho’s arm with elbows, then elbows away on Sho’s shoulder and chest! Sho flops down and Shingo gives him toying kicks. The fans rally up as Shingo eggs Sho on. Sho slowly sits up but Shingo kicks him on the back. Sho gets right up, kicks back, then snapmares to KICK! Shingo gets up, gritting his teeth. Sho throws forearms but Shingo gives them back. They start brawling faster and faster and the fans rally with them. Sho gets the edge but Shingo double CHOPS him down! Fans cheer while Shingo catches his breath. Shingo goes to Sho, whips him to ropes and knees him low. Shingo runs, and blocks Sho’s spear to a DDT! Sho sits up, Shingo runs, but the sliding lariat misses! Sho SPEARS outta nowhere!
Both men are down but the fans rally up again. Sho gets to ropes and uses them to get up. Sho aims from the corner, runs out, bumps Shingo to the other corner, then hits a corner clothesline! Sho whips Shingo corner to corner but Shingo reverses, only for Sho to come back with a LARIAT! Fans cheer as Sho grits his teeth and brings Shingo up. Shingo swings a chop but Sho gets under ot GERMAN SUPLEX! Sho holds on to GERMAN SUPLEX again! Shingo resists the third and elbows back. Sho ducks, kicks and runs, but Shingo follows! Sho sees him coming, side steps and SNAP GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO!! Sho grits his teeth again as he knuckle locks Shingo to a Cording hold. Shingo reaches for ropes but Sho cranks on the arm. Shingo throws body shots but the hip toss doesn’t work.
Sho wrenches to a shoulder breaker, then wrenches more, only for Shingo to power out. Sho swats Shingo’s punch away, then runs, but into a back elbow! JAB! LARIAT! Sho is down and Shingo catches his breath again as fans cheer. Shingo drags Sho up, for a SNAP SAIDO! Cover, TWO! Sho survives but Shingo keeps his cool. The fans rally up for Sho as Shingo drags him back up. Shingo tries the Gory Especial but Sho resists. Shingo whips Sho to a corner but blocks the boot. Shingo corner clotheslines then runs, but Sho corner clotheslines back! Sho runs, Shingo ducks, SNAP SAIDO! But Sho is up!? Sho staggers to dead lift GERMAN Shingo!! Both men are down and the fans are loving this! Sho flounders to his feet while Shingo struggles to sit up. Sho runs but into another back elbow! And JAB!
But Sho LARIATS! Only for Shingo to stand right up and LARIAT back! But Sho gets up to SUPERKICK! Both men are down again and the fans cheer. The rallying returns as both men stir. Shingo sits up first and he goes forehead to forehead with Sho. They start throwing forearms on their knees, then as they get to their feet. Shingo fires up and the fans cheer. Shingo eggs Sho on, Sho clotheslines! Shingo doesn’t fall so Sho dares him to give it back. Shingo clotheslines back! Sho does, too! Shingo hits again, and again, then runs, into a KNEE! AX BOMBER outta nowhere! Shingo drags Sho back up for the SLIDING LARIAT! Then Gory Especial, NOSHIGAMI! Cover, TWO!! Sho survives and Shingo can’t believe it!
The fans rally up again as Shingo stands. Shingo brings Sho back up, fireman’s carry but Sho resists. Sho elbows and grabs the arm for a double wristlock. But Shingo powers through, only for Sho to hit a BACKSTABBER! Sho pushes Shingo up, and pops him up for a POWERBOMB! Sho’s strength is incredible! Sho brings Shingo back up, for the POWER BREAKER! Always a bit double edged for those knees, but Sho powers through. The fans rally behind him as he runs, LARIAT! Cover, ONE!? Shingo isn’t down so easily, but Sho dead lifts him again! SNAP GERMAN!? Bridging cover, TWO!! Shingo survives that shocker, but Sho hasn’t given up yet. Sho aims his bow and brings Shingo up. Double underhook pump handle, but Shingo back drops free!
Shingo and Sho slowly stand again and Sho blindside clotheslines! Sho brings Shingo up but Shingo throws forearms. Sho eggs him on so Shingo slaps him! Shingo throws elbows from all sides, but Sho ROCKS Shingo back! Sho throws elbows from all side just like Shingo, but Shingo is on the ropes. The ref stops Sho and Sho knocks the ref over! Sho clotheslines Shingo on the ropes, and again! And again! Sho runs, but Shingo follows to clothesline on the ropes! Shingo runs, double clotheslines! But neither falls! Sho staggers around, brings Shingo around but Shingo blocks the punch! Sho resists Shingo’s pump handle so Shingo knees, and GUT BUSTERS! Shingo drags Sho back up, gets the pump handle, MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO!?! Sho survives but Shingo is too tired to be upset.
Shingo fires up with the fans, waits for Sho to stand, and then runs to PUMPING BOMBER! Cover, ONE?!?! Sho is in a daze but he still lives! Shingo drags Sho back up, pump handle torture rack, but Sho slips out to a sleeper! Sho is a backpack, so Shingo drops him with a backpack stunner! But Sho gets the armbar! Shingo turns and powers through but Sho tries a Triangle Hold. Shingo dead lifts but Sho lets go to underhook straitjacket! SHOCK DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Shingo survives but Sho just fires up! He aims his bow! Sho drags Shingo back up, pump handles, but Shingo pushes him away. So Sho Penalty Kicks the arm out! Shingo clutches the elbow but refuses to let this stop him. Shingo sees Sho coming, fireman’s carries, but Sho arm-drags out to get the armbar again! Shingo makes it a cover, TWO, and Sho still has the arm!
Shingo endures as Sho cranks on the arm, but he turns over again. Sho gets the Triangle Hold again, squeezes tight, and the fans rally up. Shingo starts to fade! The ref checks, and the arm drops once. The arm drops twice! But Shingo revives and dead lifts again, and gets the fireman’s carry, DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! But Sho rises?! Only to fall again! Shingo drags Sho up but Sho fires off slapping palm strikes from all sides! Sho slaps and slaps, Shingo JABS! HEADBUTTS! Both men wobble but Sho is back up first! Shingo block shis kick, puts it in the ropes, then DRAPING GTR!! Shingo learned much from his battles for this title with Hirooki Goto! The fans rally up, Shingo drags Sho up again, pump handle torture rack, LAST OF THE DRAGON!! Cover, Shingo wins!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Champion)
There is still a NEVER Openweight Double Champion! Shingo stops Sho’s run at the title and stays Mr. NEVER Openweight! What will it take to stop the Last Dragon?
But wait! Desperado attacks Shingo at the stage! Suzuki-Gun’s masked wrestler picks up the NEVER Openweight title, and then SMASHES Shingo with it! Young Lions try to get Desperado to stop but Desperado slaps Shingo around. “Oi, Champion, what’s wrong?” Desperado is clearly issuing a challenge and dares Shingo to fight him already. Desperado gets away with the belt and Shingo has help getting to the back. Will Shingo catch up to Desperado and make him regret making such a move?
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: The Golden Aces VS Dangerous Tekkers!
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi each lost to Taichi during the New Japan Cup, but mostly because the Sliest Wrestler in the World had help from his friends in Suzuki-Gun. Assuming things stay at 2v2, can Tanahashi and Ibushi trump whatever The Holy Emperor and Zack Sabre Jr. throw at them?
The introductions are made, tensions run high already, and brawls break out! Tanahashi fires off on Taichi while ZSJ throws European Uppercuts and Ibushi KICKS back. Red Shoes rings the bell so this is grudge match is on record.
Tanahashi stomps a mudhole into Taichi and Red Shoes tries to restore order. Ibushi stomps Taichi, then the Golden Aces double whip and double elbow Taichi. ZSJ returns but gets double kicks, whips and elbows! The Tekkers bail out, the Aces DOUBLE PLANCHA! Fans are fired up as Ibushi and Tanahashi control the ring. Tanahashi puts ZSJ in and coordinates with ZSJ. Tanahashi scoops and slams ZSJ for an elbow drop! Ibushi corkscrew splashes, Tanahashi somersault sentons! Tanahashi air guitars and fans cheer. Tanahashi tags Ibushi in and they mug ZSJ. Ibushi swings on Taichi but Taichi catches him. ZSJ dumps Tanahashi out and boots Ibushi. Taichi comes in as ZSJ throws EuroUppers. The Tekkers double whip Ibushi, but Ibushi dodges, elbows and snap-ranas!
The fans cheer as Ibushi is alone with ZSJ. Ibushi throws forearms on ZSJ in the corner. Ibushi keeps standing ZSJ up for more and then kicks, but ZSJ turns it into a heel hook! ZSJ drags Ibushi’s head into it while Taichi throws Tanahashi into barriers! Ibushi gets his head free and gets the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go, then drags Ibushi from the ropes for a standing toehold! ZSJ turns Ibushi around, drags him back and tags Taichi in. Taichi takes his time getting in, and stands on Ibushi’s head. Taichi digs his heel into Ibushi but Red Shoes counts. Taichi stops, but he cranks and claws at Ibushi’s face! Fans rally up for Ibushi as Taichi lets go. Ibushi eggs Taichi on but Taichi stands on his neck. ZSJ adds his boot but Red Shoes reprimands. The Tekkers let up, for Taichi to snapmare and kick Ibushi.
Ibushi stands up, but Taichi claws his face again! Taichi runs but into a dropkick! Ibushi crawls and hot tags Tanahashi! Fans fire up with Tanahashi as he drags Taichi up. Tanahashi fires off fast hands and has Taichi in a corner. Tanahashi whips corner to corner, runs in, but blocks Taichi’s boot! DRAGON SCREW! ZSJ runs in, boots, but he gets a DRAGON SCREW, too! Fans fire up with Tanahashi again as he looms over Taichi. Tanahashi drags Taichi up, scoops and slams him, then goes to the corner. Second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his cool as he watches Taichi stand. Tanahashi runs, but ZSJ kicks him! Red Shoes reprimands but Tanahashi DECKS ZSJ! But Taichi has a tag rope, and uses it to choke Tanahashi!
Red Shoes reprimands, he knows something’s up. Taichi stops, drags Tanahashi out, and chokes him more! ZSJ goes after Ibushi as Taichi brings Tanahashi to railing. Taichi chokes Tanahashi harder this way, but Red Shoes reprimands. ZSJ stands on Tanahashi before going back to the ring. Taichi just chokes Tanahashi with camera cables! Red Shoes reprimands, Taichi stops, the Tekkers put Tanahahsi in. Ibushi hurries over but ZSJ ROCKS him with a EuroUpper! Taichi keeps choking Tanahashi but Red Shoes counts. Taichi stops again while ZSJ throws Ibushi into railing. ZSJ tags in and the Tekkers mug Tanahashi in the corner. ZSJ straitjacket stretches Tanahashi down but Red Shoes says Tanahahsi is in the ropes.
Taichi digs his foot into Tanahashi again! Red Shoes keeps reprimanding them, and Taichi exits. ZSJ cravats and cranks Tanahashi’s neck. Tanahashi endures, ZSJ snapmares to NECK WRENCH with his feet! Tag to Taichi, and Taichi keeps twisting Tanahashi’s head around. Fans rally as Tanahashi endures, and Taichi lets up. Taichi stomps Tanahashi down, tags to ZSJ, and ZSJ drags Tanahashi up for another cravat. Tanahashi fights free but swings into a takedown! ANOTHER neck wrench! Cover, TWO! ZSJ wraps Tanahashi up in a headscissor hold immediately! Taichi BOOTS Ibushi off the apron for good measure! Fans rally as Tanahashi endures this modified Triangle Hold ZSJ has, and Tanahashi rolls to a ropebreak. ZSJ lets go at 4, fans rally up as ZSJ toys with Tanahashi now.
ZSJ brings Tanahashi up, Tanahashi fights out and throws forearms. ZSJ EuroUppers, but Tanahashi swings. Into a standing Cobra Twist! ZSJ puts his own twist on it but Tanahahsi powers up to fight free! They go around and around, Tanahashi gets the leg but ZSJ slips out. ZSJ Peles but into a DRAGON SCREW! Both men are down and the fans rally up again. Hot tag to Ibushi! Springboard missile dropkick! Taichi runs in to get forearms and a whip. Taichi reverses but Ibushi hits a leaping leg lariat! ZSJ runs into the spinning powerslam! MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Ibushi fires up with the fans and watches ZSJ stand. Ibushi fires off palm strikes and kicks but ZSJ dodges to EuroUPper! Ibushi PELE, but ZSJ catches it to an ankle lock!
ZSJ reels Ibushi into a waistlock but Ibushi standing switches. ZSJ resists the Half ‘n’ Half to Pele the arm and sweep the legs! Tag to Taichi and Taichi looms over Ibushi. Taichi toys with Ibushi, but the fans rally up. Ibushi eggs Taichi on so Taichi kicks. That doesn’t bother Ibushi. Taichi keeps kicking, and pushing Ibushi around. Ibushi KICKS back and Taichi doubles over! Ibushi dares Taichi to get up, so Taichi does. Taichi KICKS and Ibushi has to take a moment. Ibushi shakes his head and then KICKS back. Ibushi eggs Taichi on again, so Taichi KICKS again! Ibushi still KICKS back! Taichi has to take a moment, but he KICKS. And then sobats! Taichi smirks but is still stinging as he drags Ibushi up. Ibushi sobats back! Ibushi runs to the corner, but Taichi dodges to enziguri!
Taichi brings Ibushi out, runs, but Ibushi ducks. Taichi boots, Ibushi stays up, but he runs into a dragon sleeper cobra! Tanahashi runs in but ZSJ intercepts with a flying guillotine! The Tekkers have dual submissions! Tanahashi fights, ZSJ keeps him down in a Triangle, and both Golden Aces start to fade! But Tanahashi gets a second wind, as does Ibushi. They both power out, Cloverleaf for ZSJ and Ibushi fireman’s carries! But Taichi slips out ot get the dragon cobra again! Tanahashi dumps ZSJ out to dragon sleeper Taichi! The fans cheer as Tanahashi squeezes tight. Ibushi and Tanahashi scoop Taichi for the GOLDEN BLADE! ZSJ runs in, he also gets a GOLDEN BLADE! Tanahashi throws ZSJ out and Ibushi drags Taichi back up. Ibushi lifts, POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!!
Taichi survives but Ibushi drags Taichi up. Taichi tires to low blow the Kami-Goye away, but Ibushi blocks! Ibushi still KNEES Taichi down! Ibushi vows to finish this, and he brings Taichi around. But ZSJ jumps in to get Ibushi with a sleeper hold! ZSJ brings Ibushi down with body scissors and Ibushi starts to fade! Taichi gets up as ZSJ stands Ibushi up. ZSJ feeds Ibushi to Taichi’s ROUNDHOUSE! Taichi STEALS the Last Ride! High stack cover and ZSJ intercepts Tanahashi, TWO!?! Ibushi keeps the Aces golden but the match is still going! Taichi crawls and gets up. Off come the pants! Taichi aims at Ibushi as he rises, SUPER- NO! Ibushi blocks the kick, reels Taichi in, pops him around, but Taichi slips out. Ibushi ROUNDHOUSES!
Both men are down and the fans rally up! Tanahashi is back at the corner, hot tag to the Once in a Century Talent! Tanahashi fires up as Taichi sits up. Tanahashi runs, Taichi stops the Slingblade but Tanahashi fights off the suplex. Taichi reels Tanahashi in, back suplex but Tanahashi SLING BLADES! Tanahashi DECKS ZSJ then fires up again. The fans are with him as he waits for Taichi to stand. Tanahashi runs, but Taichi ducks to ROCK him with that right! Tanahashi wobbles but gets back up, to get the GAMANGIRI!! Both men are down but the fans rally up again. ZSJ tags in, drags Tanahashi up and runs, to Penalty- NO! Tanahashi blocked! ZSJ slaps and slaps Tanahashi, but Tanahashi SLAPS him back!
Tanahashi runs, ZSJ ducks the Sling Blade to Gory Especial, but Tanahashi slips out, TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! SLING BLADE! Cover, but Taichi breaks it! Ibushi goes after Taichi and gets him out. Tanahashi goes to the corner and the top rope. HIGH FLY FLOW-BODY! Taichi SUPERKICKS! Ibushi V-TRIGGERS! ZSJ counters Kami-Goye to ZACK DRIVER! All four men are down and the fans are thunderous! The teams regroup, ZSJ and Tanahashi stay in the ring. Both men stand as the fans rally, ZSJ runs into a SLING BLADE! Tanahashi goes up top fast, HIGH FLY FLOW ONTO KNEES!! Cover, Ibushi breaks it in time! But Red Shoes is down as Taichi gets in! Taichi has the metal hand and he JABS Ibushi!! Taichi aims at Tanahashi while ZSJ keeps Red Shoes distracted!
Tanahashi ducks the Iron Fingers to SHOTEI! Tanahashi runs, but no Sling Blade, SAIDO!! Taichi shouts for ZSJ to help, and the Tekkers coordinate to finish Tanahashi. Taichi double chicken wings to hold Tanahashi up while ZSJ gives dragon screw after dragon screw after dragon screw! Tanahashi is down, but the Tekkers drag him up to keep going! SIX dragon screws in all! But the Tekkers show no mercy as they drag Tanahashi back up! MORE dragon screws!! EIGHT dragon screws, four for each leg! Can Tanahashi even stand at this point? The fans still rally as Taichi talks trash to Tanahashi. The Tekkers have Tanahashi stand again, EuroUPper to GAMANGIRI! ZSJ scoops, Taichi SUPERKICKS into the ZACK DRIVER! Cover, the Dangerous Tekkers win!!
Winners: The Dangerous Tekkers, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)
Taichi and ZSJ won all by themselves, and celebrate by mugging the Young Lions that want to help Tanahashi! Ibushi is still down on the outside so no one can help Tanahashi as Taichi and ZSJ stand over him with the belts. Taichi goes out to fetch Ibushi so that he can be part of this. Taichi drags Ibushi up, Alabama lift, ASSISTED Black Mephisto! The Golden Aces are placed on top of each other and the Dangerous Tekkers stand on them. Will Tanahashi and Ibushi be able to stand for a rematch? Will another team step up to the Tekkers?
IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Double Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito VS EVIL!
The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon is truly a man with everything to lose! The King of Darkness is willing to win by any cost, and that even includes betraying LIJ to join Bullet Club! Will this change in allegiance bring about a change in the NJPW power balance?
With being on a new team comes having a brand new entrance and look to Evil! Even so, his biggest fan, Milano, holds out hope as he holds the old toy scythe. Naito makes his entrance with the usual attitude, not letting what happened yesterday affect him. The Bullet Club gives a Low Sweet for luck but Naito just takes off his entrance suit. Red Shoes wants Bullet Club to leave, and fans cheer him on. Bullet Club protests and Gedo tries to get special permission but Red Shoes won’t have it. They either leave or this match is off. Bullet Club concedes, and take their leave. The introductions are made, both title belts are raised, and this moment no one saw coming finally begins!
Fans cheer already as Naito and Evil stare down. Evil and Naito slowly circle, but then Evil pulls a page from Naito’s book and bails out of the ring. Naito doesn’t mind, and waits for Evil to come back. Evil slides in but then right back out. Again, Naito isn’t bothered. Evil walks around ringside just to take his time with his former leader. Evil gets back in only to exit again, but then Naito wrecks him with a dropkick! Naito whips Evil into barriers! And then into m ore barriers! Evil falls down and Naito brings him up to whip into yet even more barriers! And then shotgun dropkick him down! Naito brings Evil out to bump off tables! And again! Fans cheer as Naito bumps Evil off the table a third time. Naito pulls Evil along by his hair to put back in the ring.
Naito stomps Evil at the ropes, then drives elbows in. Fans rally as Naito stands Evil up to throw forearms. Naito puts Evil through the ropes to bend backwards! Red Shoes counts, Naito lets up, but Naito bends Evil back again! Naito stops but uses Evil’s hair to keep him up against the ropes. Red Shoes counts so Naito lets go, then he stomps Evil down. Naito drags Evil up to a cravat and cranks on the neck. Evil endures, gets to ropes, but Naito elbows him on the back. Naito whips, Evil reverses but Naito holds ropes. Naito boots back but Evil clotheslines him out! Evil takes a moment to catch his breath before pursuing Naito outside. Evil whips Naito into barriers now! Evil drags Naito up and wraps his leg around the railing! Evil pulls on the foot, Red Shoes counts, but Evil BOOTS the leg!
Naito falls down and Evil keeps stomping him! Evil confiscates the timekeeper’s table and brings it over! Evil brings Naito up and around for a fireman’s carry, but Naito fights out. Evil kicks Naito’s legs out then walks around to commentary. Evil snatches the toy scythe from Milano! And he BREAKS it! Then he throws the pieces back at Milano!! Milano jumps the rails! But Evil kicksd and WHIPS him into them!! Evil is truly living up to his name tonight! Red Shoes reprimands but Evil just soaks up all the heat. Evil goes back to Naito, drags him up and wraps the leg around railing again! Evil pulls, Red Shoes counts, but Evil stops at 4 to BOOT the leg again.
Naito and Milano are both hurting from what Evil did, but now Evil copies Toru Yano and undoes a corner buckle pad. There’s an exposed corner now as Evil waits for Naito. Fans rally for Naito as he gets up and into the ring. Evil stomps Naito’s legs then drags him up. Evil whips Naito into the exposed buckles! Naito writhes but fans rally for him. Evil drags Naito back up, and whips him back into the bare buckles! Naito writhes more and Evil stomps the legs again. Evil stomps and stomps and stomps, then drops an elbow on the knee! Evil traps the foot in a toehold and Naito endures. Naito fights back but Evil keeps cranking on the leg. Evil digs an elbow into the knee but Naito gets the ropebreak! Evil lets go at 4 and keeps his cool. Evil paces about and taunts Naito.
Evil watches Naito stand and the fans rally again. Evil mocks Naito with the Too Sweet but Naito CHOPS him! But the chops don’t bother Evil, even as Naito keeps going. Evil eggs Naito on and Naito switches to forearms. Evil kicks the bad leg! He brings Naito up but Naito resists the suplex! Evil keeps trying but Naito keeps blocking. Naito tries now but the bad leg doesn’t help. Evil suplexes, Naito slips out but the bad leg jams! Evil kicks Naito then slaps him around before stomping the bad leg. Evil runs, but Naito manages to one-leg shotgun dropkick! Both men are down but fans fire up again. Naito rises and hobbles over to Evil. Naito brings Evil up, fires off forearms and kicks then whips Evil, to run him over with an elbow and basement dropkick!
Naito whips again, runs in to rocket kick! Leg sweep and swinging dropkick, Combinacion Cabron! Naito drags Evil up, turns him and hits a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Naito keeps his cool as he grabs Evil’s hair. Naito drags Evil up, fans rally but Evil breaks free. Evil swings into the inverted DDT and leg nelson! Naito claws Evil’s face, Red Shoes reprimands, and Evil crawls around uses his legs. Naito cranks harder on his hold but Evil squirms and reaches to get the ropebreak. Red Shoes counts but Naito says he needs him. Naito just uses that as an excuse to crank harder. Red Shoes “helps” Naito let go, and Naito stomps Evil’s head! Evil sits up but Naito stomps him more. Naito brings Evil up and reels him in, but Evil fights off the waistlock with elbows. Evil throws Naito down by his hair!
Fans rally up as Naito stirs. Evil SLAPS Naito around! Evil drags Naito up, slaps him more and eggs Naito on. Evil has the leg but Naito elbows him away. Naito hits the atomic drop, throws more and more and more elbows into Evil, then stands him back up for even more! Evil falls and the fans cheer as Naito keeps cool. Naito drags Evil up by his hair again, but Evil ducks the elbow to kick back. Evil whips, Naito reverses but the enziguri misses! Evil knows that trick too well, and he SMASHES Naito’s knee into the mat! Evil looms over Naito, turns him around and SMASHES the knee again! Naito gets to ropes but Evil stalks over. Evil drags Naito up on the apron, goes after the leg, but Naito fights him off.
Naito elbows Evil again, turns him, APRON NECKBREAKER! Fans cheer as Naito evens things with Evil. Naito grabs the table from before, brings it closer, and fans rally up as they anticipate Naito’s plan. Naito brings Evil around, but Evil holds ropes for dear life! Evil rakes Naito’s eyes! Red Shoes reprimands but Evil lets up to lift, SUPER SHINBREAKER THROUGH THE TABLE!!! It was double edged for Evil, too, as he hits the floor! But is Naito’s knee even still there!? Evil doesn’t care, he fetches his friends, the chairs! Evil puts a chair around the leg, but Red Shoes shields Naito using a piece of the table! Fans cheer Red Shoes’ courage and Evil stands down. Red Shoes frees Naito’s leg from the chair while Evil goes into the ring. Fans rally as Naito stirs, but a ring count starts.
The count passes 5 of 20, then 10. Naito sits up with help from the table debris but we’re already at 15! Naito crawls at 18, stands and is in at 19.5! Evil argues with Red Shoes but then he stomps Naito’s legs. Evil steps through for the SHARPSHOOTER! Naito endures despite all the pain in his legs and back! The fans rally as Naito grits his teeth and reaches for ropes. Evil sits deep, Naito starts to fade! Naito feebly flails but he keeps reaching! Naito shouts as he gives it one last try, but Evil just sits deeper! Naito fades again! Is he out!? No, Naito revives to ROPEBREAK! Evil holds on until Red Shoes counts 4. Evil stomps Naito’s legs and then grins as he stands over him. Naito glares up at Evil but Evil brings him up. Naito resists the fireman’s carry and elbows away, but Evil kicks the leg.
Evil whips, Naito reverses but Evil reverses back to send him into bare buckles! Evil LARIATS! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives and fans cheer! Evil grows annoyed, and he drags Naito back up. Fireman’s carry, DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO!!! Naito almost didn’t kick out! Evil sits Naito up and slashes the throat. Some things never change as Evil stands and spins Naito, but Naito elbows him away. Evil kicks the leg, tries again, but Naito slips out to SLAP Evil! Naito leaps up and over, ESPERANZA! Cover, TWO! Naito dug deep into his arsenal for that one but Evil still lives! The fans rally up, Naito and Evil stir, and Naito crawls towards Evil. Naito grabs Evil’s hair and brings him over for a forearm! Evil forearms back and we have a brawl!
Naito forearms, Evil wobbles but forearms back. Naito hits again, but so does Evil. Evil hits more and more, but so does Naito! Evil falls over and fans cheer for Naito as he stands. Naito brings Evil up, throws more forearms, and grins. But Evil kicks the bad leg! Naito fires off more forearms, but Evil rakes the eyes! Red Shoes reprimands, Naito pushes Evil away but Evil whips. Naito reverses, reels Evil in, and hits a tornado DDT! Naito drags Evil up and hammerlocks, but Evil fights Naito off. Naito hits a rolling kick! Hammerlock and lift, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!! Evil survives but Naito just strikes a pose. Naito drags Evil up, wrenches, but Evil grabs his hair! The two head for the bare buckles, but it’s Evil who gets sent in!
Naito brings Evil up to the top rope, climbs up to join him, and SUPER STEINERS Evil down hard! Evil writhes whlie Naito steadies himself. Fans rally as Naito aims. Naito runs, tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!?! Evil lives but Naito isn’t bothered. Naito drags Evil back up, wrenches and tries again, but Evil blocks Destino with a dragon sleeper! Evil and Naito fight for control as fans rally up. Naito clubs, Evil knees low. Evil whips Naito into Red Shoes, into bare buckles! LARIAT! And here comes Jado for Bullet Club! Jado takes his time heading for the ring with his kendo stick, and it’s Taiji Ishimori who gets there first. Ishimori aims at Natio, springboard seated senton! Bone Soldier wants the Master Heater to hurry up.
Taiji keeps Naito down, Jado has the stick, but here comes LIJ! Hiromu Takahashi SUPERKICKS Jado! And baits Taiji into a belly2belly into buckles! Hiromu bails out and throws Taiji into Jado! This brawl continues at the railing and down the aisle as Naito revives. Naito grins, he still has allies he can trust. Naito stalks over to Evil, but Evil has a chair! Evil was playing possum and he JAMS Naito! Then a chairshot to the head!! Evil kicks the evidence away but fans rally up again. Red Shoes revives and returns as Evil paces. Evil drags Naito up, spins him around, but Naito slips out! Evil elbows Naito but Naito enziguris back! Naito baits Evil into a flapjack into corners! Naito hops up, reels Evil in, INVERTED TORNADO DDT! Cover, TWO!! Evil survives but Naito fires up!
Naito drags Evil up, scoops, VALENTIA! But he’s not done there! Naito wrenches the arm, but Evil grabs Red Shoes! Evil LOW BLOW MULE KICKS! Wait, who is this now? Bushi is here and coaching Evil up. Naito stands, but Bushi DECKS Naito! And uses a rope to CHOKE Naito! Has Evil turned Bushi!? Naito fades out and Bushi hides the evidence. The ref spots Bushi and asks what he’s doing here. Bushi distracts Red Shoes, Evil drags Naito away, for the EVIL STOMP!! Evil drags Naito up and spins him for EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, EVIL WINS!??!
Winner: EVIL, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Double Champion)
The King of Darkness dethrones Naito! Naito has lost both belts, and two allies within his faction! Evil and Bushi Too Sweet as the World of Darkness Era begins! Evil grabs both belts and stands over Naito with them. Evil then grabs a mic to speak even as fans boo. “Oi, you bastards!” Evil isn’t just a double but a TRIPLE Champion because of the NEVER Openweight Six Man titles! And he introduces his “pareja” (partner). This isn’t Bushi, after all! This is DICK TOGO!! He did look a little too beefy… Togo and Evil stomp Naito, but Hiromu rushes back! The Ticking Time Bomb shields Naito while Young Lions tend to the former double champion. Evil and Togo stick together while the Young Lions get Naito out.
Hiromu talks to Evil now. “Oi, Evil. How does it feel?” What does it feel like to betray his friends? Hiromu wants to hear Evil’s response but Evil doesn’t speak. Hiromu doesn’t care about anything else, just what Evil is thinking! “Now. Now. Now!” Still Evil stays silent. In that case, Hiromu has one favor to ask. “Let me challenge you for those belts you just took!” But if Evil’s too afraid to do that, just put one or the other up. Evil gets back in the ring, grabs the mic, but then just drops it. The King of Darkness no longer has time for those from his past. He and the Bullet Club are paving a new future in NJPW! Hiromu is raging, screaming, and running around, but he and everyone else must come to terms that #ThisIsEvil!
Incredible stuff. Andrew Balaz has the full event with his own ratings covered, but for the three matches I chose, they were all incredible. The NEVER Openweight was above my expectations and I was already expecting something great. But as I said in yesterday’s article, Shingo was going to retain because his reign still needs to be built to be strong. This was a great start to that, and it definitely built up Sho as a singles competitor. Desperado surprising us all as Shingo’s next challenger was a great move, too. Desperado always felt like the cooler half of his team with Yoshinobu Kanemaru, he and Shingo will have a great match. The IWGP Heavyweight Tag match was incredible, hard to call as I figured, and had a pretty brutal ending. ZSJ and Taichi have the titles, which felt like the plan from before the lockdown, but I’m still surprised they went through with it.
Evil coming out of nowhere to not only join Bullet Club but to be the NEW Double Champion is wild, and probably because of the changes from COVID. And as I addressed last time, what happens to the NEVER Openweight Six Man titles? Evil said it himself that he is a THREE BELT champion because he still has a part in that. Hiromu made a bold challenge, but clearly Evil didn’t care. We might only get the Heavyweight VS Junior Heavyweight Champion exhibition match at like New Japan Road or some other event, even though it’s Evil and not Naito. At the same time, there are any number of ways Bullet Club and LIJ could tie in the Six Man championships, subbing one of the other LIJ members in where Evil was on the trio. The obvious answer is Hiromu, but I wish it’d be Sanada so that he has a belt at all. Either way, can’t wait to see what happens.
My Score: 9.5/10