NJPW puts the NEVER Openweight Six Man titles up for grabs!
Evil’s betrayal continues to have consequences on NJPW’s landscape! NEW NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions must be crowned!
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 Six Man Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Chaos VS Bullet Club; Chaos wins and advances to the semifinals.
- NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Suzuki-Gun; LIJ wins and advances to the semifinals.
PLAY BY PLAY
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Chaos VS Bullet Club!
The Rainmaker and Tokyo Pimp take their feud to a new division as they join in on this trios title tournament! Kazuchika Okada has Toru Yano and Sho while Yujiro Takahashi calls upon the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Gedo and Jado! Will Okada make it rain alongside the Clown Prince and the shock master?
The trios sort out, and after Bullet Club gives a Low Sweet, we start with Okada and Yujiro. The fans cheer already as the two circle. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Okada’s height gives him leverage. Okada has Yujiro on the ropes, Okada fakes his chop but pats Yujiro. But Gedo and Jado attack! Yujiro knocks Sho and Yano off the apron and Bullet Club goes after Okada. They double whip Okada corner to corner, but Okada dodges Yujiro to throw forearms. Okada sends Gedo into Yujiro, then forearms Jado. Gedo runs at Okada but Okada dodges him again, and Jado takes the elbow! Okada kicks Gedo and hits a DDT! Yujiro runs into the flapjack! Okada kips up and the fans cheer again. Okada circles Yujiro as the fans rally up.
Okada drags Yujiro up, Yujiro throws forearms but Okada gives them back. They brawl with forearm after forearm, then Okada throws European Uppercuts! Yujiro rakes eyes! Yujiro runs, but Okada boots. Yujiro blocks it, throws Okada down, then basement dropkicks! Okada bails out and Yujiro hits Yano for good measure. Gedo SMACKS Okada with a strap! Jado CHOPS away on Sho while Gedo lashes Okada more. Okada gets in but Yujiro throws him back out and Gedo lashes him again! Okada gets back in again but Yujiro stomps him down. Jado keeps hitting Sho while Yujiro throws down haymakers on Okada. Yujiro drags Okada up, snapmares, runs and basement dropkicks again! Cover, TWO!
Fans cheer but Yujiro complains about the count. Yujiro drags Okada up, bumps him off bare buckles! That’s Bullet Club’s favorite move these days. Jado tags in and scrapes Okada’s face on the ropes! Jado taunts Sho but Red Shoes keeps Sho back. Jado clubs Okada down to the mat then rains down right hands. Red Shoes reprimands but Jado lets up to tag in Gedo. Gedo sits Okada up to dig his fingers into Okada’s eyes! The ref counts, Gedo lets up and “apologizes.” Gedo toys with Okada but the fans rally up. Okada forearms back but Gedo rams Okada into the bare buckle! Jado holds Okada in place with grinding forearms as Yujiro tags in.
Yujiro stomps Okada, Red Shoes reprimands, but Gedo taunts Sho again. Yujiro mule kicks Okada, grinds forearms into his face and then backs up to run and BOOT! Okada falls and Yujiro covers, TWO! The fans cheer but Yujiro keeps on Okada with a fireman’s carry. Okada blocks and clubs Yujiro back. Yujiro mule kicks low, throws more forearms, then CHOPS Okada in the corner. Yujiro whips corner to corner, Okada reverses and elbows! Okada kicks low but Yujiro bites his hand! Red Shoes reprimands, Okada throws forearms but Yujiro gives them back. Yujiro runs corner to corner but into boots! Okada shotgun dropkicks Yujiro down! The fans fire up as both men crawl, hot tags to Gedo and Yano!
Yano gets in Gedo’s face, but just goes to his favorite corner. Gedo stops him from untying the buckle pad by pulling hair. Red Shoes reprimands about hair pulling, but then Yano pulls Gedo’s beard! Red Shoes counts, Yano lets up but grabs again! Red Shoes counts more, Yano lets go of the beard, blocks Gedo’s attempt at grabbing hair, and then goes back to the beard! Red Shoes counts once again, but then breaks Yano’s hold with force! And that hurts Gedo’s face! Red Shoes apologizes and Yano goes back to the buckle pad! Yano has his favorite weapon, but Gedo uses Red Shoes as a shield. Red Shoes tells Yano to give up the buckle pad, so Yano hands it over. But Gedo pokes Yano’s eye! Gedo whips Yano but Yano reverses, only for Gedo to stop himself from hitting bare buckles!
Yano runs in, Gedo moves but Yano stops himself now. Gedo kicks low, whips but Yano reverses to Manhattan drop! The fans cheer as Yano whips Gedo again, but Gedo reverses. Yano blocks to redirect and reverse, Gedo gets the bare buckles! Yano pumps up the fans, and dodges Gedo’s blindside attack! And whips him back into bare buckles! Yano finishes his cheer and tags in Sho! Sho DECKS Jado to have Gedo alone. Sho throws forearms, whips Gedo to one corner, then runs in to corner clothesline! Sho whips again, Gedo reverses but Sho stops himself. Sho kicks away on Gedo, then SUPERKICKS him down! Sho drags Gedo up in a dead lift waistlock, but Gedo elbows free. Gedo pokes Sho in the eyes and hits a jawbreaker!
Gedo goes to kick but Sho blocks! Sho spins Gedo and elbows him, but Gedo grabs Red Shoes. Sho runs into Jado’s kendo stick SMACK! Gedo tags in but Yujiro hits Yano down. Jado drags Sho up, Bullet Club whips, mule kick to knee lift! Then a double back suplex! Cover, TWO! The fans rally up but Jado smirks. Jado drags Sho up, Sho throws forearms back, then runs. Jado sends Sho to the apron, for a draping DDT!! Cover, but Okada breaks it! Yujiro throws Okada out and goes after him. Gedo gets in with brass knuckles but Red Shoes sees those plain as day! Gedo tries to reason with Red Shoes, but that’s so Jado can get his kendo stick! Sho catches the swing to LARIAT back!
Sho aims the kendo stick at Gedo but Yano drags Gedo out of the ring! Yujiro returns and hits Sho. Okada returns and dropkicks Yujiro back! Sho has Jado all to himself now, runs and SPEARS! Cover, TWO! Sho is right on Jado with a Kimura! Jado endures, taps, Chaos wins!!
Winners: Chaos, by submission (advances to the semifinals)
Sho strikes and Chaos heads forward! Will Sho add another tag belt to his collection? Is the feud of Okada and Yujiro going to end? Okada grabs a mic to talk to Yujiro. “Sorry to bring this up during the NEVER tournament,” but he knows Yujiro wants to enter KOPW 2020. Then lets have one more 1v1 rematch between them in the opening round! Yujiro likes that and dares Okada to name his stipulation match. Yes, Okada should choose a stipulation now. How about a 3v1 handicap match? Okada against Yujiro, Gedo and Jado! The Rainmaker makes a wild bet, but will he bust or hit the jackpot?
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Suzuki-Gun!
Evil betraying LIJ is exactly why this tournament is happening, so naturally the former champions, Bushi and Shingo Takagi, want what was theirs! The Cold Skull, Sanada, jumps in, will they bring the trios titles back to LIJ? Or will they be stopped by Douki, El Desperado and the Man with the Worst Personality, Minoru Suzuki himself?
But as LIJ gets their introductions, Suzuki-Gun strikes! Douki and Desperado go after Bushi and Sanada while Suzuki himself goes after the NEVER Openweight (singles) Champion! Suzuki throws Shingo out, Douki has Sanada, and that leaves Desperado and Bushi to start in the ring. Shingo is sent into railing while Douki clubs Sanada down. Desperado elbows Bushi in the neck then drags him up. Desperado whips, Bushi huricanranas but Desperado blocks! Bushi fights off Desperado’s bomb but Desperado ROCKS him with a right. Desperado runs in, Bushi boots back and hits a FLYING RANA! Fans cheer but Suzuki is right on Bushi with a kick and whip. Bushi slips out and swing kicks, but Suzuki grabs a foot for an ankle lock! Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Suzuki lets go at 3.
Sanada is sent into railing while Suzuki BOOTS Shingo. Suzuki whips Shingo into more railing and throws big forearms. Shingo gives them back, but Suzuki throws body shots and haymakers. It’s a lot to keep up with but Desperado puts Bushi back in. Desperado and Douki stomp away on Bushi. Douki gets in Red Shoes’ face as Desperado uses his shirt to choke Bushi! That’s usually Bushi’s move! Desperado scrapes his soles on Bushi’s head, then drags Bushi back up. The fans rally as Desperado bumps Bushi off buckles. Tag to Douki, they mug Bushi, and Douki whips. Douki elbows Bushi down, covers, TWO! Fans cheer but Douki drags Bushi back up. Douki CHOPS Bushi to the Suzuki corner, and CHOPS even harder! Suzuki holds Bushi in for Douki to CHOP again! And again!
Tag to Suzuki, Suzuki toys with Bushi but the fans rally up. Suzuki pulls on the mask but Bushi CHOPS back. Suzuki laughs and eggs Bushi on so Bushi throws forearms. Suzuki CHOPS Bushi back and stalks him to ropes. Suzuki grabs the leg for another Ankle Lock! Bushi rolls around but Suzuki just CRANKS and TWISTS the heel! Suzuki practically has Bushi in a hanging hold! Suzuki then shifts to an ARMBAR! Bushi endures, Desperado keeps Shingo from getting in and Douki goes after Sanada. Suzuki breaks Bushi’s grip! Bushi still fights as the fans rally up. Shingo gets free of Desperado and attacks Suzuki! Suzuki is right after Shingo and whips him into barriers! Douki and Desperado stomp Bushi down while Suzuki returns.
The fans rally up and that annoys Suzuki. Tag to Desperado and he drags Bushi back up. Desperado pulls on Bushi’s mask, but Bushi forearms back! Bushi backs Desperado down but Desperado rakes Bushi’s eyes! Desperado drags Bushi up, suplexes, but Bushi slips out. Bushi waistlocks, Desperado elbows free, but Desperado runs into the enziguri! Both men are down and crawling, but Douki gets in to stomp Bushi down! Red Shoes reprimands but Douki brings Bushi up for forearms. Douki and Desperado double whip, but Bushi dodges Douki and boots Desperado! BULLDOG DROPKICK COMBO! The fans fire up for Bushi as he slowly sits up. Hot tag to Shingo! The Dragon decks Suzuki before he rallies on Desperado and Douki! What a fast scoop slam!
Suzuki scowls as Shingo fights Desperado and Douki off. Shingo sends Douki at Desperado, then DOUBLE LARIATS! Fans fire up with Shingo as he glares at Suzuki. Shingo drags Desperado up, but Desperado fights off Noshigami. Shingo knees low and runs but anticipates Desperado going perpendicular! Shingo tanks the spear, whips but Desperado reverses to SPINE BUSTER! Hot tag to Suzuki! Suzuki smiles as he kicks Shingo around. Shingo gets up and CHOPS back. Suzuki CHOPS, Shingo CHOPS, repeat! They move to throwing forearms back and forth, faster and faster. Suzuki whips Shingo to a corner, Suzuki runs and boots Shingo! Suzuki snapmares, Shingo tanks the Penalty Kick! Suzuki throws forearms, knees and then gets the Penalty Kick! Cocky cover, ONE!
Fans fire up for Shingo as he shoves Suzuki. Suzuki eggs him on so Shingo throws a forearm. Shingo eggs Suzuki on and Suzuki forearms back. Shingo throws another forearm and Suzuki staggers! Suzuki just comes back with more, but Shingo gives them all back! They pick up speed, faster and faster, not even bothering to guard! Shingo gets the edge, Suzuki wobbles but ROCKS Shingo back! Suzuki BOOTS but Shingo elbows, JABS, but Suzuki ducks the haymaker to sleeper hold! Shingo powers Suzuki up but Suzuki slips out to a guillotine facelock! But Shingo powers through to BRAIN BUSTER! Both men are down, but Sanada has returned to the corner! The fans rally up, and Shingo tags Sanada in!
Sanada knees Suzuki, whips him corner to corner, but Suzuki reverses. Sanada elbows him away, Quebradas, but Suzuki gets under. Sanada kicks first, runs, but into a kitchen sink knee! Tag to Douki! Douki aims at Sanada corner to corner, corner clohtesline! Douki keeps moving, LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Douki slashes the throat to drag Sanada back up. Douki spins Sanada around, Gory Especial but Sanada fights out. Douki uppercuts and Sanada staggers. Sanada goes to boot but Douki catches him! Douki pops Sanada into Gory Especial position, for WIDOW’S PEAK! Backslide cover, TWO!! Desperado DECKS Bushi while Douki drags Sanada back up. They double whip Sanada, Douki back elbows Sanada, whips him to Desperado’s SPINE BUSTER, then springboard double stomps! Cover, TWO!!
The fans fire up but Douki calls for the end! Wheelbarrow, lift, but Sanada fights out. Douki enziguris Sanada, but Sanada dodges. Bushi knees Douki, Shingo clotheslines and DDT’s! Sanada and Bushi dropkick sandwich! Cover, TWO!! Douki survives but Sanada hears the fans fire up. Sanada drags Douki up into the dragon sleeper! Douki flails but fades! Suzuki gets in to sleeper hold Sanada! Shingo pries Suzuki off and shoves him. They return to throwing forearms fast and furious! Shingo eggs Suzuki on, Suzuki hits harder, but Shingo fires off forearms from all sides! Suzuki ROCKS Shingo, Shingo follows Suzuki’s run to clothesline him at the ropes!
Shingo runs, Suzuki follows but Shingo turns to clothesline! Suzuki slips around to sleeper hold Shingo! Then spin to the Gotch, but Shingo back drops out! Shingo runs but Suzuki avoids the sliding lariat! Suzuki boots, Shingo PUMPING BOMBERS! Bushi decks Desperado and SLINGSHOT RANAS! Sanada has Douki again, but Douki cradle counters! TWO!! Sanada fireman’s carries Douki, TKO but Douki slips out to get around and arm-drags Sanada! Douki rolls Sanada around, it’s like La Magistrol meets ghost pin! TWO!!! Sanada escapes and shocks Douki! Douki runs in but Sanada elbows him away! Quebrada to SKULL END!! Douki taps out, LIJ wins!!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, by submission (advance to the semifinals)
Cold Skull helps LIJ take a step closer to regaining the titles! But that doesn’t stop Suzuki from brawling with Shingo! Shingo gets the edge on Suzuki but Suzuki just laughs it off. Young Lions try but can’t stop these two from throwing forearms on each other! Suzuki laughs until Shingo JABS him! Shingo dares Suzuki to get back in the ring, but Suzuki just grabs the NEVER Openweight singles belt! Suzuki sets the belt down and dares Shingo to come get it. Shingo and Suzuki talk smack but Suzuki picks the belt back up. Shingo hurries out and Suzuki lets him have his belt back. But surely this is the King of Pancrase making his challenge! Is Shingo in for the most brutal challenge of his reign, and perhaps his career?
As for who takes the mic, Sanada volunteers for that role. Sanada wonders if he can say this, but when it comes to the NEVER Openweight Division, he likes the Six Man championships best! “Oi, Korakuen! See you next time.” Sanada is a man of few words, but will he, Bushi and Shingo be able to back them all up?
A really great start to a tournament that took me by surprise. I should’ve tuned into that press conference last week to hear about NJPW Strong, the New Japan Cup USA tournament, and probably this in the midst of it. It partially disappoints me because Evil should have stake in this, but it kinda works for his character to not care. It also makes things easier, as Evil’s focus is Naito and the Double Championship match for Jingu. Obviously Sanada joins Shingo and Bushi so LIJ still has three men to compete for the belts, and I would hope they’re a finalist at least. They have a really good main event with Suzuki-Gun, and the better match always main events in NJPW. But Okada had a bit more of a promo than Sanada did, so I felt like that could’ve been something.
Chaos VS Bullet Club has a really good match of their own but it just made a lot of sense for Chaos to win. Okada wanting to settle this in a handicap match is very surprising, but also, since Gedo and Jado jump in to help anyway, this makes it so he at least knows they’re there. KOPW 2020 is already off to a great start, but I feel like winning 3v1 would actually give away that Okada isn’t winning it all. Chris Jericho is credited with inventing the Money in the Bank but never won it, so Okada inventing KOPW to not win it (at least this year) would be par for the course.
My Score: 8.4/10