NXT UK brings us another round of underrated classics!
Let the retrospective continue! Relive Toni Storm VS Dakota Kai before she was #CobraKai, and South Wales Subculture VS the Grizzled Young Veterans!
- 7/24/19 – Noam Dar VS Kenny Williams; Dar wins.
- 11/7/18, Episode 6 – Toni Storm VS Dakota Kai; Storm wins.
- 1/9/19, Episode 21 – NXT UK Tag Team Championship Tournament Semifinals: South Wales Subculture VS Grizzled Young Veterans; Grizzled Young Veterans win and advance to TakeOver: Blackpool.
PLAY BY PLAY
Andy Shepherd welcomes us back to the show!
This week is another dive into the archives, and the superstars involved help introduce them. We once again return to the Download Festival as Kenny Williams explains.
“Before he had even put pen to paper on a WWE contract, before the Cruiserweight Classic, before the Monday Night Raw debut in our home country, before he was a 205 Live original,” Kenny knew Noam as a good friend. They were thick as thieves. So knowing him like he did, Kenny should’ve known the success would go to Noam’s head. So when Kenny arrived in NXT UK, them crossing paths again showed Kenny that Noam became the one thing he hated the most: “A dafty.” So they had their disagreement, and took it to the ring. Enjoy!
Noam Dar VS Kenny Williams!
The Lucky Yin used to tolerate the Scottish Supernova’s obnoxious attitude and “chancer” ways. But ever since Dar returned again to cheat and trick his opponents, Williams took a stand. What goes down now that these two former friends finally face off in the ring?
The bell rings and Dar circles with Williams. They tie up and push each other around the ring. Williams gets Dar in a corner but Dar barks for the break. Williams gives it, and the two go again. They tie up and Dar rolls to wrench Williams down with a wristlock. Dar brings Williams back up to headlock, but Williams powers out. Dar manages to snapmare Williams through that, but Williams runs Dar over. Williams runs but Dar rolls to trip him up. Dar shifts from toehold to facelock, but Williams gets up to his feet. Williams wrenches out but Dar reels him back in for another facelock. Williams wrenches out again, but Dar reels Williams back in again. Third time’s the charm as Williams wrenches to a whip but Dar reverses.
Williams goes up and over Dar to roll and bait him. Dar falls for it and Williams has a leg for the takedown. Dar rolls and flips out and gets free. Fans cheer as the two lads stand off. Dar and Williams circle as fans duel and sing. Dar headlocks but Williams powers out. Things speed up and Williams hurdles, but his powerselam is faked out. Dar taunts Williams by ruffling his hair. Williams frowns as he and Dar tie up again. Dar gets the arm and wrenches to a wristlock. William rolls and cartwheels to break free and waistlock. Dar standing switches but Williams sees the table top coming. Williams returns the ruffle! Fans cheer while Dar nods and applauds. But then Dar SLAPS Williams and dares him to come back.
William throws furious forearms and whips Dar again, but Dar slides out. Williams just wrecks him with a dropkick! And even skins the cat, to keep moving, but Dar gets clear. Williams slides out to hurry after and club Dar down. Williams puts Dar back in but Dar rebounds to clobber Williams! Dar puts Williams back in and covers, TWO! Mr. 11 keeps his cool while he watches Williams flounder to a corner. Dar is on Williams with stomps and forearms, then throws Williams down to a cover. TWO, but Dar is on Williams with a chinlock. Dar gets in some nose tweaking but the referee reprimands him. Fans rally up and duel again as Williams fights up. Williams jawbreakers free! And rocks Dar with a right! And another! Dar wobbles but kicks low to whip. Williams reverses, Dar goes up and under, but gets a SUPERKICK!
Both men are down but fans fire up. A standing count begins but Williams is first up at 4. Dar is up at 6, only for Williams to rally on him with forearms. Williams whips but Dar reverses, only for Williams to hurdle and springboard back elbow! Dar bails out but Williams DIVES onto him! Williams wipes Dar out but puts him back in. Dar goes to the corner, but Williams springboards for a Kinder Surprise! Then DIVES again! Another hit into barriers, and Williams puts Dar back in. Williams climbs up and Dar staggers to his feet, for the FLYING uppercut! But Williams keeps going, headlock driver! Cover, TWO!! Dar survives but Williams fires up again. Fans fire up with him but Dar catches Williams in a victory roll! TWO, and Williams springboards but FLOPS! Dar drags Williams right up, Fisherman buster! Cover, TWO!! Dar can’t believe Williams survives!
Fans duel again as Dar gets back to his feet. Dar has pinkies out as he takes aim from a corner. Williams stands but uppercuts the Nova Rolla away! Roll up, TWO! Into a Rings of Saturn!! Williams scrambles around and reaches, but Dar just shifts to get those legs for an Ankle Lock! Williams rolls through to throw Dar off, and they collide with clotheslines! Dar headbutts but into a headlock. Dar slips out to sweep the legs! Then Dar runs, but into Williams’ BOOT! Williams runs but into double chops, headbutt and uppercut! But Williams hits a Lunati- er, Lucky Yin Lariat! Both men are down, and the ref counts as fans declare, “This is Awesome!” The count climbs to 7 but both men stand at 8!
Williams forearms away on Dar, but Dar kicks back. Williams runs but is tossed out. He skins the cat again, but Dar has him for the Kneebar!! Dar grapevines and Williams flails! Williams claws and crawls, but Dar kicks him over and over! Williams still gets the ropebreak! Dar lets go and grows frustrated with Williams. He drags Williams over but Williams kicks him away. Williams’ shoe came off! Dar is a bit surprised by that, but then Williams rolls him up! TWO, and Dar wants to throw the shoe at Williams! The referee says no, that’s technically using a weapon. So Dar gives up the shoe, but the ref doesn’t see him LOW BLOW Williams!! Dar hits NOVA ROLLA! Cover, Dar wins!!
Winner: Noam Dar, by pinfall
Dar did it again! He found something to exploit and he exploited it! But does this really settle anything between the Chancer and the Lucky Yin?
NXT UK hears from Kay Lee Ray.
“The last few months have been hard for a lot of people for many different reasons. But there has been good in all this. Some people have used the time to help the community. Some people have learned a new language or a new skill, while others just get a dog.” Whatever it is, we’re all trying to find the good in the bad. While KLR can’t defend her championship, that does not change that with every day that passes, her reign becomes even more illustrious. Numbers don’t lie, and whether we like it or not, KLR will go down in the record books. When she gets her chance to get back in the ring, she will show us all why she is the most dominant sports entertainer today! And if she has to crush the dreams of girls who wanted to grow up and be professional wrestlers, that’s just another silver lining.
Toni Storm introduces the next match.
“Hello, this is WWE superstar, Toni Storm.” NXT UK may have gotten her fans all over the world, but it was on the other side of the world that her journey began. It was also where she first wrestled Dakota Kai. And now they met again in NXT UK with stakes so much higher. This was their first time in a WWE ring together, so enjoy and stay safe.
Toni Storm VS Dakota Kai!
As the Captain of Team Kick struggled in NXT USA, she tried a fresh start in NXT UK. But she was going up against the Lightning from Down Under, who was on quite a roll after winning the Mae Young Classic! Relive this pivotal moment in both women’s WWE careers!
The bell rings and fans chant for Toni as she circles with Dakota. They tie up and go around, but it’s Toni putting Dakota in a corner. Toni backs off cleanly and Dakota comes out. The fans like “Both these girls!” as they tie up again. They go around again as fans chant “Evolution!” in honor of that All Women’s PPV. Dakota gets Toni to a corner this time, and backs away cleanly, too. Toni comes out and the two shake hands to show they respect each other, but then both go for a kick! They both catch the other’s kick, and gently put the feet down. Dakota tries again but Toni ducks. Toni wants the Strong Zero but Dakota slips out. Dakota gets Toni down, double stomps! Then penalty kick! Cover, TWO! Dakota comes close but hasn’t beat the MYC 2018 champ yet.
Fans chant “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! OI OI OI!” but it’s the New Zealander who throws forearms. Toni slaps and kicks back, then runs for a boot! Cover, TWO! Toni keeps on Dakota with a snap suplex, then float over, TWO! Toni toys with Dakota, then stomps her. Dakota gets to a corner as fans continue to cheer on “Both These Girls!” Toni throws EuroUppers, and then wraps Dakota’s legs in the deathlock. Toni drops back for a modified Muda Lock meets crossface! Dakota endures and uses her arms to move around. She drags herself and Toni towards ropes, but Toni wrenches back. Dakota keeps trying, and fans rally up, and she gets the ropebreak! Toni lets Dakota go, but stomps the leg lock on the way out.
Toni comes back and brings Dakota up. She throws forearms but Dakota holds the ropes. Toni kicks Dakota then whips. Dakota reverses to throw a forearm! They both throw forearms now, but then Dakota blocks to counter punch. Dakota throws more forearms, and more forearms, and then the scorpion kick! Dakota runs, but into Toni’s headbutt! Both women go down from that one, but fans fire up. Dakota drags herself to ropes while Toni clutches her neck. They both sit up at 5, and Toni throws a forearm. Dakota comes back so Toni hits her again. Fans rally for “Women’s Wrestling!” as the two women stand up and continue brawling. They go back and forth, Toni hitting but Dakota responding. Toni gets an edge, then gets running, but runs into a roundhouse! Then another!
Dakota has Toni on her knees, but Toni blocks the third kick, for a trapped-leg snap German Suplex! Fans fire up again as Dakota flounders to a corner. Toni lines it up and runs in for a back elbow. Toni runs, but Dakota follows her Around the World! Dakota keeps moving, for the side to side wash, but Toni dodges just in time! Toni keeps going, but runs into a bicycle boot! Dakota runs, but her kick is countered, into another German! Toni fires up as Dakota returns to a corner, double knees! Into the Storm Zero reverse neckbreaker! Cover, Storm wins!
Winner: Toni Storm, by pinfall
The Storm weathers the Captain, and comes away with another victory on NXT UK TV! Both women stand, shake hands and even hug, showing there is still respect between them. We know in the present that Toni has held and lost the NXT UK Women’s Championship while Dakota is still hungry for her first taste of gold. Toni is blocked from the UK title while Kay Lee Ray holds it, will someone free her by dethroning the Scary Queen of Scots? As for Dakota, she’s just weeks away from challenging Io Shirai! Will the Evil Genius of the Sky fall at TakeOver: XXX?
NXT UK hears from Sam Gradwell.
The Thunderstorm knows you’ve forgotten him because he’s been away for awhile. “I’d a bit of knee surgery. And for the last two years, I’ve been playing ring around the roses with the medical team. But that’s done, because I am coming back to NXT UK!” What has he done for two years? He built a wall, but he also been studying. He didn’t realize he had such a good brain until he “took the wrapper off and started using it.” Gradwell’s been studying human behavior, and what he’s found is that “everyone thinks they’re a bit of a geezer until they’ve had their jabbles rattled and their kidneys wobbled.” Gradwell has some grudges and many are begging for a slap. A thunderstorm is here to shatter your greenhouse, bring the gnomes indoors for a bit, “you bunch of yoggerts.”
Next week: Hidden Gems!
Adam Cole VS Zack Gibson when both men were champions! Xia Brookside VS Nina Samuels, both vying for the spotlight! And Alexander Wolfe going after the Bruiserweight, Pete Dunne! What will we get out of these rediscovered treasures?
The Grizzled Young Veterans introduce their match.
“I am Liverpool’s Number One, Zack Gibson. This man is James Drake.” Together, they had the opportunity to return to Gibson’s hometown with NXT UK. GYV had conquered all of Europe, and they told everyone that would listen that they were never gonna stop. Trying to play spoiler were the exciting duo of Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster, aka South Wales Subculture. But Andrews wastes too much time with his pop music and the Modfather wastes energy being “an insufferable turd.” But these two spend every single waking moment “perfecting our craft, being the very best tag team of our generation, SOON to be recognized as the world’s number one.” They know who they’d bet on.
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Tournament Semifinals: South Wales Subculture VS Grizzled Young Veterans!
This semifinal came about from Johnny Saint granting the Welsh Rockstar and Modfather a rematch with Zack Gibson & James Drake after the interference of the Italian Tank, Fabian Aichner, cost them the win. As such, Aichner and Marcel Barthel were banned from ringside to keep this match fair and square. The winner would move on to face Moustache Mountain for the titles in Blackpool, relive this pivotal piece of history!
The bell rings and Andrews starts against Drake. Gibson distracts the rockstar so that Mr. Mayhem can attack from behind! Then Drake hits the Modfather as he gets in. Drake comes back to tag Gibson and they stomp away on Andrews in the corner. Gibson shoves Webster off the apron then tags in Drake. The GYV work together for a Doomsday Device on Andrews! Cover, TWO!! Drake and Gibson are shocked, but they toss Andrews out. Tag to Gibson and Gibson picks up Andrews. Drake slingshots for the stomping backbreaker! Gibson puts Andrews in and covers, TWO! Andrews survives and the GYV are frustrated. Gibson drags Andrews up but Andrews hits back. Andrews hits Drake, but runs into a throat chop! Cover, TWO, but Gibson keeps on Andrews with a cobra clutch. Andrews endures as fans rally up.
Drake tags in and Gibson feeds Andrews to Drake’s forearm! Cover, TWO! Drake drags Andrews up for a cravat neck wrench, but fans rally for Andrews again. Gibson tags in and they mug Andrews. Gibson drags Andrews up and reels him in for a lariat. Cover, TWO! Gibson gets on Andrews right away with a half nelson chinbar. Fans rally up yet again as Andrews endures. Andrews powers up but Gibson wrangles him back down. Andrews keeps trying, but Drake tags in. Gibson scoops but Andrews slips out. Drake intercepts and the GYV double whip. Andrews ducks the lariat but can’t reach Webster. Andrews shoves Drake into Gibson, tag to Webster! The Modfather rallies with a springboard quebrada! Gibson rolls out and Webster dropkicks Drake again and again! Webster redirects Drake for a tackle and fast hands!
Fans fire up with Flash as he runs corner to corner. Drake puts him on the corner but Webster hits him back, to then fly onto Gibson with the Rude Boy Block! Webster hurries back in and tilt-o-whirls into double underhook, Baba O’Riley facebuster on Drake! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up and sing for Flash as he and Drake sit up. Webster drags Drake up but Drake forearms back. Gibson tags in but Webster fights them both. But Gibson traps Webster and Drake adds the enziguri! Gibson goes to throw Webster but Webster slips out. Webster runs at Gibson but gets put on the top rope. Gibson goes after the bad shoulder, then shoves Webster over. But Webster body scissors Gibson out! Andrews tags in and FLIES onto Gibson for a huricanrana!
Andrews puts Gibson in but Drake returns. Webster knee triggers Drake out! Webster helps Andrews hit a standing 450! Cover, TWO!! Gibson survives and Andrews is shocked, but fans are loving this. Andrews gets up and drags Gibson over. But Drake yanks Webster off the apron! Gibson rolls for Shankly Gates but Andrews slips out. Andrews ducks but turns around for a Ticket to Ride! Cover, TWO!! Fans are loving this as Gibson and Andrews both slowly stand. Tag to Drake and Gibson lifts Andrews. Andrews fights both Grizzled Young Veterans, and kicks Gibson away. Andrews SUPER STEINERS Drake into Gibson! Webster hits them both with a Swanton! Andrews tags in and they target Drake. Knee trigger to reverse-rana! Andrews intercepts Gibson but Gibson barrels through to break the cover!
Fans fire up for “NXT! NXT!” All four men crawl to ropes. Gibson rolls out, Andrews builds speed and DIVES, but into Helter Skelter on the ramp! Drake rolls Webster, TWO!! Flash hits the headbutt! Webster wobbles but drags Drake up. Webster wrenches, tilt-o-whirls, but Drake blocks it! Tag to Gibson, throat chop, Ticket to MAYHEM!! Cover, Grizzled Young Veterans win!!
Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans, by pinfall (advances to NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool)
Liverpool’s Number One wins in Liverpool alongside his best friend and partner in crime! We know in the present that Gibson and Drake would shock the world by defeating Trent Seven and Tyler Bate to become THE inaugural tag team champions! But we also know that they would eventually lose those titles because of a TakeOver: Cardiff Triple Threat. Will Gibson and Drake SOON be recognized as the first-ever two-time NXT UK Tag Team Champions?
Another great selection this week, with a lot of that great time capsule appeal. It’s quite a trip to see bubbly Face Dakota again now that she’s sinister Heel Dakota. It was always a little odd that they didn’t try to do more with her in NXT UK, but it all has worked out for the best with her. I’m also a little surprised NXT USA hasn’t tried to do more with Toni Storm since kayfabe has blocked her off from the UK championship for right now. Of course, a lot of the latter speaks to how COVID affected everything. The same goes for the Grizzled Young Veterans not getting to be a bigger part of the NXT USA Tag Division after they showed up and talked smack to the Broserweights, Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle.
Next week being a Hidden Gems episode is a great change of pace. That won’t just be a copy and paste episode, that will be fresh material for everyone to enjoy. Though I would think Adam Cole beats Zack Gibson, as he was THE NXT Champion.
My Score: 8.2/10
Mitchell’s NJPW 49th Anniversary Results & Report! (3/4/21)
Will there still be a Double Champion?
NJPW’s Anniversary kicks off the New Japan Cup!
After the year we wish never was, NJPW triumphantly celebrates their 49th anniversary! And to spice things up, there will be New Japan Cup matches, too! Who takes an early first step towards what is still the IWGP Heavyweight Championship?
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.
- 10 Man Tag: Bullet Club VS Taguchi Japan; Bullet Club wins.
- Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Chaos; Chaos wins.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Jeff Cobb VS Satoshi Kojima; Cobb wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tetsuya Naito VS Great-O-Khan; Khan wins and advances.
- IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championship: Kota Ibushi VS El Desperado; Ibushi wins and retains the titles.
PLAY BY PLAY
10 Man Tag: Bullet Club VS Taguchi Japan!
Jay White leads his faction into battle, feeling pumped up after having dealt with the Stone Pitbull! But will #KingSwitch, the Bone Soldier, Crown Jewel, Fang Revived and King of Darkness be able to trump the Funky Weapon, FinJuice and HenarACE?
The Bullet Club Low Sweet, while Taguchi Japan low fist bumps. Fans cheer as the teams sort out, and Henare starts against White. They circle, fans rally up already, and then White asks Bullet Club if Henare is serious. Henare fires up, he and White tie up and Henare powers White to a corner. The ref calls for the break, Henare lets off but White pokes him in the eye! White kicks and throws haymakers then stomps Henare in the corner. White CHOPS, whips but Henare reverses. White slides out, plays a cat ‘n’ mouse, then tags in Kenta. Henare wants White to man up but White hides behind the other Bullet Club members.
Henare tags out to Juice and fans rally as Juice flips Kenta off. They circle, tie up, and Juice powers Kenta to ropes. The ref calls for the break Kenta turns things around and he pulls on Juice’s hair! The ref counts, Kenta lets off but he headlocks. Juice powers out, but Kenta pulls hair to reel him back in! Juice gets mad, throws body shots, and powers out. Things speed up, Juice hurdles but Kenta kicks him! And KICKS, and KICKS! Juice blocks the third kick to unleash “JUICE!” Jabs! Kenta throat chops before the Left Hand, but he runs into Juice’s atomic drop! Russian Leg Sweep and BIG senton! Cover, TWO!
Juice sees Dick creeping and spits at him. They talk trash, Tanahashi and Taguchi get in and they scoop slam Kenta! Taguchi Japan stomps away on Kenta! The ref reprimands, Bullet Club protests, and Tanahashi stays in and drags Kenta up. Tanahashi fires off strikes but runs into a cheap shot from White! Taguchi and Henare want in but the ref keeps them back. Kenta and White mug Tanahashi, and now Bullet Club stomps away on Tanahashi! The teams back off again, Kenta tags White in and White stomps Tanahashi’s legs. White stomps the left, then the right, then tags Evil. Evil drags Tanahashi up, reels him in and has the cobra twist! Bullet Club makes the chain to the railing!
Taguchi Japan protests as Tanahashi endures but Bullet Club gets away with it all! Evil lets Tanahashi go to cover him, TWO! Bullet Club protests the count but fans cheer. Chase tags in, fans rally with “LET’S GO, ACE!” but Chase YANKS Tanahashi’s leg! Tag to Ishimori and Bullet Club mugs Tanahashi more. Ishimori stomps Tanahashi, digs his boots in, but Tanahashi fires forearms back! Tanahashi hits every member of Bullet Club but Ishimori kicks low! Ishimori whips, Tanahashi reverses but Ishimori handsprings, but into Tanahashi’s waistlock! Ishimori fights free with elbows, kicks a leg, then runs but misses the dropkick! Tanahashi gets a leg for a GROUND DRAGON SCREW!
Both men are down and fans rally up, hot tags to Chase and David Finlay! Finlay rallies, Chase reverses the whip but Finlay uppercuts him down! Finlay blasts the Bullet Club corner then runs in at Chase to uppercut! Chase staggers, Finlay hops up and hits a flying uppercut! Cover, TWO! Fans rally again and Finlay drags Chase up. Chase fights off the Side Effect but Finlay dodges the knee! Chase bucks off the O’Conner to JEWEL TRIGGER! Tag to Evil, he drags Finlay up, but Finlay kicks. Evil blocks, hands the kick to the ref, but then Finlay blocks Evil’s kick! Finlay throws the foot down to hit a neckbreaker!
Fans fire up, hot tag to Taguchi and he unleashes his team! They go after the rest of Bullet Club as Taguchi climbs and leaps! But Evil catches him to EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, BULLET CLUB WINS!!
Winners: Bullet Club, by pinfall
Taguchi snatches defeat from the jaws of victory! White rubs it in that Evil wins, but will Bullet Club make such easy work of things in the New Japan Cup?
Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Chaos!
Sanada, Bushi and Shingo Takagi take on Kazuchika Okada, Sho and Tomohiro Ishii before they all jump into the New Japan Cup! Will LIJ get in the way of the Rainmaker rising back up? Or will Okada, High Voltage and the Stone Pitbull be leading the charge into the opening round?
The trios sort out, and Okada starts with the Dragon as a preview of their NJCUP match! Fans rally, “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Okada and Takagi circle, tie up, and Okada manages to power Takagi to ropes. The ref calls for the ropebreak, Okada lets off, and fakes the chop to pat Takagi’s shoulder. Takagi forearms back! Takagi CLUBS Okada and stomps him down! Takagi drags Okada, CHOPS him, but Okada blocks the boot to give a boot! Okada bumps Takagi off buckles, throws elbows, then tags Ishii in. Takagi gets clear, and Ishii wants the Cold Skull! Takagi tags Sanada and fans rally with “SA-NA-DA!” “I-SHI-I!” They tie up, Sanada wrenches to a wristlock but Ishii throws body shots.
Ishii wrenches to a wristlock, Sanada wrenches back but Ishii throws a forearm! Ishii deflects the boot, swings a clothesline but Sanada gets to a waistlock. Ishii elbows out, swings into another waistlock, but Ishii switches, only for Sanada to elbow out. Sanada whips Ishii to a corner, runs in but Ishii dodges. Ishii runs back in but Sanada dodges! Sanada runs in but into a boot, only to boot back! Sanada swings into a waistlock, Ishii ducks the elbow to ROCK Sanada! Ishii runs, but Sanada hurdles, hurdles and dropkicks! Fans fire up and Sanada encourages them to get louder. Fans clap “SA-NA-DA!” as he brings Ishii up and uppercuts him.
Sho runs in, Sanada boots him, then boots him again! Sanada whips but Sho CLOBBERS Sanada! Bushi runs in, boots Sho but Sho elbows back. Sho runs, Bushi dodges and RANAS! Okada DECKS Bushi, Takagi runs Okada over! Takagi and Ishii ram each other over and over then go forehead to forehead. They throw forearms, Ishii whips but Takagi reverses. Bushi trips Ishii and Sanada basement dropkicks! LIJ goes after Chaos on the outside while Sanada stomps Ishii. Fans rally as Ishii eggs Sanada on. Sanada stomps him more but Ishii dares him to keep going. Sanada does keep going, tags Bushi, and Bushi takes his shirt off to choke Ishii with it!
The ref counts, Bushi hits a neckbreaker! Cover but Okada breaks it! Takagi throws Okada back out, Bushi tags Sanada. Bushi DECKS Sho, Sanada drags Ishii up and hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans still rally as Sanada drags Ishii up to a fireman’s carry. Ishii slips off, shoves Sanada but Sanada elbows back. Sanada Quebrada but Ishii gets under, only to run into the fireman’s carry! Sanada slings Ishii into a dragon suplex, but Ishii slips free! Ishii catches Sanada to a spin and suplex, but Sanada slips out to dragon sleeper! Ishii spins through to hit the suplex! Fans fire up as both men are down! Hot tags to Takagi and Okada!
Okada dodges to fire off forearms, whip but Takagi reverses, only for Okada to elbow him down! Okada fires up and he whips Takagi corner to corner. Okada elbows Takagi, kicks low and DDT’s! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Takagi and Okada throw forearms back and forth, faster and faster! Okada ROCKS Takagi, EuroUppers, and whips Takagi corner to corner. Takagi reverses, runs in but blocks the boot. Takagi eggs Okada on to push harder, but then he CLOBBERS Okada! Takagi whips corner to corner, hits another clothesline, then runs, into Okada’s catch! Okada has the MONEY CLIP!
Takagi slips free, arm-drags and elbows Okada to JAB and power up! Okada BOOTS Takagi down! Fans fire up as both men head for their corners again! Hot tag to Sho! Sho runs in at Takagi to clothesline! Sho whips, Takagi reverses but Sho reverses back to kick and kick and kick! But Takagi blocks to elbow the leg! Sho forearms, runs but Takagi clotheslines at ropes! Takagi runs and runs Sho over! Fans fire up, Takagi tags Bushi and he climbs up to missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Bushi dropkicks a leg, and SPIKES Sho with a DDT! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Bushi drags Sho back up and reels him in to wrench and hook Sho up.
Sho resists the lift and Ishii runs in to run Bushi over! Sanada dropkicks Ishii, Okada BOOTS Sanada! Takagi blocks a boot to JAB and LARIAT! Fans rally up with “OI! OI! OI!” and LIJ whips Sho. Sho SPEARS Takagi down! Bushi clubs Sho, Sho avoids the Fisherman Screw and the enziguri to dead lift GERMAN SUPLEX! Fans fire up with Sho as he waits for Bushi to stand. Sho runs to LARIAT! Sho drags Bushi up, Okada is after Takagi on the outside, and Sho hits the SHOCK ARROW! Cover, Chaos wins!
Winners: Chaos, by pinfall
High Voltage is building up power! Will this help him build up towards the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship? Will Okada be ready for the Dragon in the first round?
Speaking of coming match-ups, Ishii and Sanada stare down, then start brawling with forearms and CHOPS! The ref breaks this up and the two part ways, for now. Will either of them be able to walk away from their coming confrontation in the Cup?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Jeff Cobb VS Satoshi Kojima!
The United Empire was shocked to have been beaten by the King of Cozy Style and Hiroyoshi Tenzan at Castle Attack! But the Hawaiian Hulk has a chance at redemption while also going for the gold! Will Cobb take Kojima on a Tour of the Islands before kicking him out of the tournament?
The bell rings and fans rally as Kojima and Cobb stare down. They slowly approach, tie up, and Cobb gets around to a waistlock. Kojima pries free, wrenches, but Cobb facelocks and cranks on the head! Kojima gets to ropes, Cobb lets off clean, but then gives Kojima a shove. Fans cheer as the two circle and tie up. Kojima headlocks, Cobb powers out but Kojima rams him with a shoulder. Cobb stays up so Kojima runs and rams him again. Cobb still stays up, and Kojima tries a third time. Kojima still can’t knock Cobb over, and Cobb kicks low to run. Kojima dodges, and finally runs Cobb over! But Cobb is right up to run Kojima over!
Cobb drags Kojima up, CLUBS him, and has Kojima in a corner. Cobb rams his shoulder, whips Kojima corner to corner then runs in but Kojima dodges! Kojima CHOPS, CHOPS, then fires off the machine gun CHOPS! Fans fire up, Kojima tops it off with one last CHOP, then whips Cobb again. Kojima runs in to forearm Cobb and throw him down! Kojima climbs up but Cobb clubs him first! Cobb lifts Kojima but Kojima slips off, only for Cobb to RAM him into the other corner! Cobb rams again and again, then reels Kojima in for a LARIAT! Fans rally for “KO-JI-MA!” as Cobb drags him back up. Cobb headbutts Kojima and Kojima flops down!
Cobb toys with Kojima, drags him back up, and DROPKICKS him down! Cobb takes his time with the cover, TWO! Fans rally up again but Cobb brings Kojima up to throw forearms. Kojima forearms back, Cobb returns the forearm, then knees low. Cobb whips, elbows Kojima down and covers, ONE! He covers again, TWO! GACHIMUCHI MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!! Cobb is angry with the ref but the ref says his count was fair. Cobb kicks Kojima to a corner, slaps him around, then CHOPS him! And CHOPS! Cobb unleashes his own machine gun CHOPS! Cobb pushes Kojima around, whips him corner to corner, then runs in to forearm smash!
Cobb rolls Kojima and heads up top!? But Kojima CLUBS him first! Kojima climbs up to join Cobb, fans rally up, but Cobb resists the superplex. Cobb throws body shots, Kojima headbutts him back! Kojima CLUBS Cobb, brings him up, and hits a SUPERPLEX! Fans fire up even more as Cobb writhes and Kojima rises! Kojima SHINING WIZARDS Cobb out of the ring! Fans fire up as Kojima takes aim and PLANCHAS?! But Cobb catches him, and KNEES him in the ribs over and over, to then SLAM him down! Fans fire up as Cobb gets back on the apron. Kojima sweeps the legs! Cobb hits the apron, Kojima gets up and fires up as he reels Cobb in! APRON DDT!
Cobb is stuck upside-down but then flops to the floor. The ref starts the ring count, but Kojima drags Cobb up at 6 of 20, and puts him in at 10 of 20! Kojima climbs up top, and hits the MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Cobb survives but Kojima just focuses his power. Kojima drags Cobb up to fire off forearms and a ROLLING ELBOW! Kick and DDT! Fans rally more as Kojima brings Cobb in for a cravat. Cobb powers out to thrash Kojima around and hit a GERMAN SUPLEX! Cobb and Kojima go to opposite corners, and Cobb runs in corner to corner, to hit the leaping back elbow! Kojima staggers into a scoop, and Cobb RAMS him into a corner!
Kojima avoids Oklahoma Stampede to COZY CUTTER! Fans fire up as Cobb slowly rises. Kojima is on him and brings him up to suplex! COZY BRAINBUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Cobb still lives but Kojima isn’t done yet! Cobb blocks him from taking off the armband! Kojima throws haymakers, whips Cobb, but Cobb reverses to reel Kojima in, ATHLETIC PLEX! Gut wrench and POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Kojima survives and fans fire up again! Cobb grits his teeth, drags Kojima up and whips him, to scoop and TOUR- NO! Kojima slips out but his lariat is blocked! Cobb runs, into the LEFT LARIAT! Cover, TWO!
Kojima keeps his cool and he throws off the armband! Kojima runs but into a SUPERKICK! Kojima stays up but Cobb JABS him, and copies the armband toss, only to run into the COZY LARIAT! Fans are thunderous as Kojima powers up and runs, but into a TOUR OF THE ISLANDS!! Cover, Cobb wins!!
Winner: Jeff Cobb, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
There was nothing cozy about that, but it was snug! Will Cobb continue on from here to conquer the Cup on behalf of the United Empire?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tetsuya Naito VS Great-O-Khan!
The Uncontrollable Charisma couldn’t take back the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, and the Dominator couldn’t take the NEVER Openweight Championship for the glory of the United Empire! But will one of these two redeem themselves and head for the coming IWGP world title?
Khan is patient as Naito takes off his elaborate entrance attire, so Naito takes his time. Naito then mocks Khan’s pose and the bell rings. Fans rally as Naito and Khan slowly circle. Khan sits down to use a leg guard against Naito, but Naito keeps his distance. Khan corners Naito, but lets off as Red Shoes calls for the ropebreak. Khan whips Naito, Naito grabs ropes and boots Khan. Naito throws Khan out, builds speed, but then rolls and mocks Khan’s pose again! Fans cheer that and even Khan laughs at Naito’s bravado. Khan returns, Naito rushes him and kicks him low! Naito clubs Khan, snapmares and wraps on a chinlock.
Khan endures, Naito grinds him down more, and then pulls back on the chinlock. Khan fights up, Naito grinds harder, but Khan throws body shots. Naito grinds further still but Khan pulls hair! Naito CLUBS Khan and stomps him for that! Naito pulls Khan’s ponytail, CLUBS him, then runs, into a hip toss! Khan wants the katagatami! Naito scrambles around and gets the ropebreak with a foot! Red Shoes counts, Khan holds on until 4. Fans rally as Naito bails out but Khan pursues. Khan drags Naito up, SLAPS him on the back, then pursues him around the way. Khan CLUBS Naito and whips him HARD into railing! Naito flops over and Khan grins as he walks over.
Khan stands on Naito’s head, mockingly asks what’s wrong, then stomps Naito. Khan puts Naito in, covers, ONE! Fans rally up but Khan drags Naito around to a gut wrench. Khan suplexes Naito hard, then covers, TWO! Fans rally up, Khan taunts Naito and follows him to ropes, then drags him up. Khan puts Naito in the corner to CLUB him on the back, then Khan sits on Naito’s head! Khan laughs but Red Shoes counts. Khan stands up at 3, to pull Naito’s arms back! Red Shoes counts again, Khan hops off at 3 and brings Naito out of the corner. Khan taunts Naito and kicks him, then he talks trash to Naito’s fans. Fans rally up, Khan digs Naito’s face into his boot!
Naito fights up, throws body shots, but Khan knees low. Khan runs but into Naito’s shotgun boot! Both men are down but fans fire up! Naito rises first, brings Khan up by his ponytail and whips him to ropes. Naito elbows Khan down then basement dropkicks him! Naito whips Khan to a corner now, rocket kick and sweep, COMBINACION CABRON! Fans fire up as Naito does his pose, then mocks Khan’s pose! Khan gets up but Naito has his ponytail again. Naito brings Khan around but Khan fights out of the neckbreaker. Khan swings but into a spin for the neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Naito drags Khan back up.
Naito cravats and cranks Khan’s neck, but Khan gets to a corner. Red Shoes calls for the break, Naito lets off to throw elbow after elbow in! Naito gets the cravat neck wrench again, but Khan throws body shots. Khan whips and BOOTS Naito inside-out! Both men are down again and fans rally! Khan slowly rises, Naito crawls, but Khan drags Naito up for Mongolian Chops! And more Mongolian Chops! Khan whips Naito to ropes, Naito leaps but is caught to a bearhug! Naito fights free, Khan knees low and whips, but Naito reverses to tornado, only for Khan to turn the DDT into a TOSS! Naito clutches his bad knee and Khan storms over.
Khan grabs the leg to stomp away on it, then YANK the leg! Naito crawls to a corner, fans rally up and Khan stalks Naito again. Khan drags Naito to the corner and ties up the legs around the post! Red Shoes reprimands and counts and Khan lets go at 4. Khan goes around the way to look under the ring, and he brings out a chair! Red Shoes tells Khan no but Khan pushes Red Shoes away, to SMACK Naito’s leg against the post! Naito flops down and Khan taunts the fans. Khan has the chair again, sits Naito up and brings him around to the ramp. Naito fights back but Khan clubs and kicks him down! Khan has the chair again, sits it up, and has Red Shoes move aside.
Khan laughs at Naito as he drags him over, has the leg, and gives him a SHIN BREAKER to the chair! Naito clutches the leg and Khan paces around as fans rally up. Khan pretends he can’t hear the fans so they get louder. Khan leaves Naito behind and waits as Red Shoes checks on Naito. Naito is okay to continue so the ring count starts. The count is 10 of 20 before Naito sits up with the bad leg. Naito still doesn’t get up until 15 of 20! Naito hobbles, but gets in at 19.99!! Khan is right after the bad legs with a modified deathlock! Naito grabs at Khan but Khan clamps harder with the iron claw on the bad knee! Khan drags Naito up for an IRON CLAW SLAM! Cover, TWO!!
Naito survives but Khan drags him around by the leg, for a CALF KILLER! Naito endures, fans rally but Khan thrashes the leg around! Naito powers up but Khan pulls back as far as he can! Naito starts to fade but Khan lets him go to clamp onto the knee with the claw. Khan drags Naito back up but Naito turns that into a SATELLITE DDT! Fans fire up as both men are down! Naito slowly rises, Khan drags himself up in the corner, but Naito manages to run in. Naito blocks Khan’s boot to throw back elbows! Naito stands Khan up with his ponytail to throw more elbows! Khan flops over, fans cheer, but Naito isn’t done there.
Naito drags Khan up by his ponytail again for more back elbows! And more back elbows! Naito hops up, reels Khan in, for ESPARANZA! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally up as Naito drags Khan back up. Naito reels Khan in for a hammerlock but Khan resists Gloria! Naito CLUBS Khan, pulls him up by the ponytail, then hammerlocks again. Khan still resists, clubs Naito in return, but Naito throws those back elbows again! Khan catches one for an atomic FACEBUSTER! Fans fire up as both men are down again. Khan drags Naito up and reels him in for an INVERTED EXPLODER! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives but he clutches his leg again. Khan grits his teeth as he gets up again.
Khan strikes his pose and clamps his claw onto Naito’s face! Khan drags Naito up but Naito throws back elbows. Khan claws Naito’s eyes! ELIMI- NO! Naito fights out but Khan kicks his legs out! Khan clamps on again, but still no Eliminator! Naito comes back to DESTINO!! Both men are down, fans are thunderous, and Naito rises! Naito drags Khan up, wrenches, but Khan elbows him. Naito throws more elbows back, wrenches, but Khan still elbows free. Khan kick the bad leg but Naito ENZIGURIS! Tilt-o-whirl but Khan blocks and throws Naito off! Naito elbows, Khan dodges the enziguri and LARIATS! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives but Khan gets the leg for a STANDING KNEEBAR!
Khan claws Naito’s face to keep him down but fans rally as Naito reaches for ropes! Khan shifts to get a TRUE KNEEBAR! Naito endures as Khan shouts at him! Khan clubs and CHOPS Naito, pulls the leg, but Naito refuses to quit! Naito grabs at Red Shoes but Khan gets the other leg and gator rolls around! FIGURE FOUR KNEEBAR!! Naito fights towards ropes as Khan thrashes about! Naito grabs Red Shoes, reaches again, but Khan keeps pulling on the legs! Naito rolls and rolls but Khan still holds on! Naito reaches, flails, fans are rallying as hard as they can, but Naito can only grab at Red Shoes! Red Shoes calls it, Khan wins!!
Winner: Great-O-Khan, by referee stoppage (advances to the next round)
He’s won, but Khan won’t let go! Young Lions run in to pry Khan off Naito, but then Khan attacks the Young Lions! Khan STOMPS Naito’s bad leg, and mocks Naito’s pose! Khan talks trash right to Naito’s face then gives the bad leg one last stomp! Will Khan brutalize all of his opponents on the way to the finals?
IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championship: Kota Ibushi VS El Desperado!
Speaking of the coming IWGP world title, the Golden Star God could be the first man to hold that new belt. But that’s only if he gets past the Junior Heavyweight Double Champion! Will Ibushi ascend to a new level in NJPW history? Or will it be the Rogue Luchador holding more gold than any wrestler in the world today?
The introductions are made, Ibushi’s belts are raised, and a rematch from almost eight YEARS ago happens for even greater stakes!
Fans rally as Ibushi and Desperado stare down. They circle, feel out the grapple, and tie up. Desperado gets around to a waistlock but Ibushi backs into ropes. They honor the break, and fans cheer as the two reset. Fans rally for “I-BU-SHI!” as he and Desperado tie up. Ibushi gets a leg, brings Desperado down but Desperado facelocks. Ibushi slips to a waistlock, Desperado switches, but Ibushi has his arm. Desperado tries to get free but Ibushi rolls and wrenches to a wristlock. Desperado reaches for ropes but Ibushi keeps him away. Desperado rolls, spins and wrenches back, and fans cheer the technical exchange. Ibushi rolls, trips Desperado and gets a toehold.
Desperado tries to hold him off with forearms, but Ibushi shifts inside the leg guard. Ibushi goes for a lateral press but Desperado slips right out to facelock and snapmare. Ibushi avoids the lateral press, Desperado still facelocks then waistlocks. Ibushi pries free, wrenches, wristlocks then hammerlocks. Desperado works on his reversal, he drops and rolls and gets the wristlock back. Fans cheer this exchange as Desperado hammerlocks. Ibushi elbows then drop toeholds, then floats to a chinlock. Desperado rolls to slip out the back and get the hammerlock back. Ibushi stands, slips out to hammerlock, but Desperado steps through the ropes then back in to wrap Ibushi’s arm on the ropes.
Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Desperado kicks the rope to jam the arm! Ibushi fires forearms back, then eggs Desperado on. Desperado roars and shows haymaker but stomps Ibushi’s foot! Desperado runs but into a KICK! Ibushi sees Desperado bail out and fans rally up. Ibushi goes out after Desperado, drags him up and whips him into railing! Desperado sputters as he slumps down, but Ibushi brings him back up. Ibushi puts Desperado in, but Desperado goes to scoop him! Ibushi CLUBS Desperado down, scoops him and SLAMS him down! Cover, ONE!! Ibushi keeps on Desperado with another chinlock.
Fans rally, Desperado endures, throws clubbing shots up at Ibushi but Ibushi shifts to a headscissor necklock. Desperado endures, moves around, kicks his way around but Ibushi gets the leg for a cover! TWO, and Desperado scrambles to ropes. Ibushi stands on Desperado at the ropes, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi are there to protest on Desperado’s behalf, so Ibushi lets off. Desperado glares up at Ibushi defiantly so Ibushi stands him up to forearm! Desperado forearms back but Ibushi eggs him on. Desperado throws more and more forearms but Ibushi says he needs ot hit harder! Desperado does, but Ibushi BOOTS him right down! Cover, ONE!!
Fans rally as Ibushi KICKS and KICKS and KICKS Desperado around! Desperado ends up in a corner, fans rally and he comes back with forearms! Ibushi still eggs Desperado on, so Desperado keeps hitting him! Desperado forearms over and over, but Ibushi BOOTS him again! Desperado comes back with forearms, Ibushi just leans into them! Ibushi backs Desperado down that way then BOOTS him to the corner! Ibushi drags Desperado up, whips him corner to corner, but Desperado reverses and runs in. Desperado blocks Ibushi’s boot, puts it on the ropes, then dropkicks the other leg! Fans cheer as Desperado gets the leg for a DRAGON SCREW! Ibushi falls over and fans rally up again.
Ibushi grits his teeth as he crawls but Desperado is after the bad leg! STRETCH MUFFLER! Ibushi gets the ropebreak, Red Shoes counts as Desperado thrashes, but Desperado still lets go at 3. Fans rally as Ibushi clutches the leg. Desperado stomps the leg, but Ibushi glares back at him! Desperado stomps the leg, reels Ibushi in, but no Guitarra as Ibushi gets free! Ibushi’s leg jams, Desperado runs, but into the POWERSLAM! Ibushi somersaults to the corner but Desperado dropkicks him out! Ibushi hits the floor and fans fire up! Desperado watches Ibushi on the outside, takes aim and builds speed, to DIVE! The somersault tope hits!
Fans fire up more as Desperado drags Ibushi up and into the ring! Desperado reels Ibushi in, GUITARRA DE ANGEL! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives and Desperado grows frustrated but the fans fire up again. Desperado stands, stomps Ibushi’s bad leg, but Ibushi eggs him on. Desperado grabs the legs, Ibushi kicks him but Desperado stomps the leg again. Desperado drops knees on the knee! Desperado grabs the leg, steps through but Ibushi BOOTS him away! Ibushi slowly rises, and avoids Desperado’s basement dropkick to DOUBLE STOMP him down! Fans fire up while both men are down! Ibushi gets up and kicks Desperado.
Desperado sits up so Ibushi gives him toying kicks and fast palm strikes! Desperado wobbles but he forearms back. Ibushi forearms, Desperado rolls him up, to get the STRETCH MUFFLER! Fans fire up as Ibushi endures again! Desperado gets the arm for NUMERO DOS! Ibushi reaches with his free arm, moves around but Desperado drags him away from ropes! Desperado pulls as hard as he can on the hold but Ibushi fights his way around to the ropebreak! Desperado lets go mostly out of his own exhaustion and fans rally again. Desperado looms over Ibushi, drags him up, and reels him in to underhook the arms. Ibushi resists the lift, powers up and has Desperado tucked in!
Desperado fights desperately and avoid the Bastard Driver! Fans fire up as Ibushi hobbles up and Desperado runs in, but into another DOUBLE STOMPS! Ibushi still counters Desperado but the damage to his leg makes that a little more double-edged! Ibushi rises and he kicks at Desperado again. Desperado talks trash as he gets up but Ibushi kicks him. Desperado CHOPS, Ibushi forearms, repeat! CHOP, forearm, but then Desperado kicks the bad leg! Ibushi ROCKS Desperado, KICKS him in the chest, but Desperado eggs him on! Ibushi KICKS again! Desperado gets forehead to forehead with Ibushi but Ibushi fires off a strike fest!
Desperado blocks the kick to GUITARRA DE LA MUERTE! Cover, TWO! Desperado hurries right to a corner and climbs up! FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! Kanemaru & Taichi coach Desperado and fans are thunderous! Desperado drags Ibushi up, underhooks the arms, but again Ibushi blocks! Ibushi powers against the underhooks but Desperado knees low. Ibushi back kicks, dodges Desperado’s straight right to SHOTEI! And V-TRIGGER! KENNY~! But then ROUNDHOUSE meets LOCO MONO!! Fans are thunderous as both men go down!! Ibushi stirs but Desperado stands first. Desperado fires up, the fans respond and he drags Ibushi up. Underhooks for PINCHE-
NO! Ibushi fights out to wrench and LARIAT! Ibushi fires up and fans respond in kind! Ibushi gets Desperado up, reels him in, and lifts, for a LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!! Desperado lives but Ibushi vows to end it! Ibushi grits his teeth, gets Desperado’s wrists and sits him up. Desperado wrenches through to ES EL CULERO! Cover, TWO!!! ROUNDHOUSE from Ibushi hits clean! Ibushi sits Desperado up again, KAMI- NO! ROLL UP, but to the STRETCH MUFFLER!! And he puts it on tight! Then gets NUMERO DOS SUPREME! Ibushi endures but he is caught! Desperado holds on as hard as he can but Ibushi refuses to give in!
Ibushi pries an arm free, reaches, but Desperado rolls him from ropes! Ibushi make sit a cover, TWO!! KAMIGOYE!!! Cover, TWO!??!?! Ibushi can’t believe Desperado still lives! Ibushi gets the wrists again, for ANOTHER KAMIGOYE!!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall (still IWGP Double Champion)
Desperado showed Ibushi he is a “different animal” from eight years ago, but it wasn’t enough to end the Golden Star God’s run! Can anyone stop Ibushi from being THE champion in NJPW?! But Ibushi is a gracious champion, and he shows respect to the Rogue Luchador. Desperado shows it back and they shake hands! Will Desperado at least continue on to define the Junior Heavyweight Division?
After catching his breath and having both belts presented back to him, Ibushi gets the mic. “This wasn’t about proving who’s the strongest between heavyweights and junior heavyweights. Desperado, oi. Thank you.” Fans cheer the respect Ibushi shows, but Ibushi says there are so many great wrestlers in the Junior Heavyweight Division. Ibushi is up for taking on any challenger and he truly means that. Ibushi won’t change his mind. “When these two titles are unified, I’ll show what awaits.” And then he asks Hiroshi Tanahshi and Jushin Liger for their blessing.
Ibushi will truly take on any challenge from anyone. When these titles are unified, he will take them “to the highest global stage.” Fans cheer that idea as Ibushi again says he will never betray them, never quit and never lose. Ibushi thanks the fans, and drops as he drops to his knees as he drops the mic. Will Ibushi help NJPW reach the world once he is truly THE IWGP World Heavyweight Champion?
A great event right here, especially to kick off the New Japan Cup. Apologies to Suzuki-Gun fans, I seem to keep skipping their matches because they’re always beating up Young Lions. However, I am surprised, Suzuki-Gun lost and Douki takes the pin from Hirooki Goto. Though, I’m not surprised that Douki lost it for them, that is his role. The 10 Man was ridiculous because Taguchi gets in just to lose it for his team. I have a feeling that will feed right into Evil’s first match in the NJCUP, since he has a bye into the next round starting on 3/11/21. The Six Man was a lot of fun, too, and it was big for Sho to get the win since he’s not in the tournament. He can move up and challenge Desperado for the Junior Heavyweight Championship while Hiromu is hurt.
Speaking of the tournament, the first matches tonight were both great stuff. It just seemed natural for Cobb to beat Kojima, but it was quite the surprise for Khan to win. Naito’s struggles as of late would’ve made it seem like he was going to overcome, but now he’s on a different path. We could end up with Empire VS Empire but it’s likely Evil beats Cobb next round to take Khan on in the round after that.
Then we get an incredible match out of Ibushi VS Desperado. Of course Ibushi wins, Desperado can’t have five belts on him right now (he holds onto Kanemaru’s tag belt just cuz) and Ibushi really could lead NJPW into a new era where Heavyweight & Intercontinental titles fuse their lineage into the new IWGP WHC. With bonds building between NJPW, AEW and other companies, it would work out so amazingly well if Ibushi was top champion and Kenny Omega is still AEW World Champion for them to clash as truly two of the best in the world.
My Score: 9.2/10
Andrew’s NJPW 49th Anniversary Results & Match Ratings: 3.4.2021
Castle Attack set a low bar, but at least set up a historic main event with Desperado and Ibushi! New Japan Cup first round matches also start today!
Well now, where to begin. After a disappointing Castle Attack series, I definitely can’t say I’m coming into this show with high expectations.
We get a revenge match of sorts, since El Desperado has an agenda, to try and erase the memories of when he was awful at wrestling. The final defenses of the Intercontinental and Heavyweight championships take place as well. OH – and let’s not forget that the New Japan Cup is officially starting today.
There are enough things here to peak interest, I just have to hope they execute at least half of this well.
Here’s to hoping.
- Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, DOUKI & Zack Sabre Jr) vs Tomoaki Honma, Master Wato, Gabriel Kidd & Hirooki Goto: Goto wins via GTR @10;39 – **
- Bullet Club (Jay White, KENTA, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens) w/Gedo & Dick Togo vs Toa Henare, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson): EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @7:39 – * ½
- LIJ (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Tomohiro Ishii): SHO wins via Shock Arrow @9:13 – ***
- New Japan Cup: Satoshi Kojima vs Jeff Cobb: Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands @11:50 – *** ½
- New Japan Cup: Great O-Khan vs Tetsuya Naito: O-Khan wins via Referee Stoppage @20:20- *** ¾
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) vs El Desperado: Ibushi retains via Kamigoye @20:36 – **** ¼ – Unification of IWGP Intercontinental & Heavyweight Championship!!
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, DOUKI & Zack Sabre Jr) vs Tomoaki Honma, Master Wato, Gabriel Kidd & Hirooki Goto
So it’s Suzuki-Gun versus a throw together assortment of other people in the New Japan Cup. With that description, it doesn’t seem like the ragtag group has much of a real chance. Honma starts off with Suzuki, which helps to give Honma some quality opponents so far this year. Gabe Kidd wants in to mix it up a bit with Suzuki and then immediately go after ZSJ. The English battle will be a thing in the Cup, but Kidd is a Young Lion so he’s probably not winning much.
So DOUKI and Wato aren’t in the Cup this year, since there are no Juniors, but I suppose we always need fall guys in multi-man matches. Whichever side wins, the Junior will most likely eat the pin. But after a little hectic back and forth, Taichi and Goto finally mix it up with real wrestling moves. Goto tries to work over Taichi, but Taichi gets an advantage and locks in the Stretch Plum for a while.
DOUKI is the legal man though, so he comes back in and starts peppering Goto, but then we have another hectic breakdown, which leaves DOUKI and Goto straight up. Goto hits the Ushigoroshi, then the GTR, and DOUKI eats the pin.
So there we go, the Junior ate the pin, but the thrown together assortment won.
Bullet Club (Jay White, KENTA, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens) w/Gedo & Dick Togo vs Toa Henare, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson)
This has a similar set up to the first match, however, many of these guys have teamed together before thanks to Hontai allegiances or Taguchi Japan. This will probably be similar where the Junior will eat the pin.
Henare calls out Jay immediately, and Jay doesn’t immediately tag out. He fakes like he will, but then they decide Henare is an easy opponent so Jay starts imposing his will. As soon as Henare almost gets some momentum, Jay runs him around, slides back in the ring and tags in KENTA.
The Hontai group gangs up on KENTA, we get a lot of typical things during this match. Some hectic moments, a lot of quick bursts for feuds and then when Taguchi gets the tag he tells his team to go wipe out the Bullet Club extras. Taguchi goes for a Springboard, but EVIL catches him, hits the Everything is Evil and the match is done.
This suffered from a level of predictability and the fact the design was very similar to the first match. Jay, Juice and a few other personality aspects were cute, but this isn’t really interesting.
LIJ (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Tomohiro Ishii)
Shingo and Okada kick the match off, and this is a preview to the opening round match that could easily be a finals to any tournament any year. SANADA and Ishii have a little bit of a back and forth, then the Juniors come in. Even though this will have a similar outcome, it benefits from everyone in this match being an interesting high card draw, so their actions are just easier to get invested in.
Things get a little crazy, then we get back to SANADA versus Ishii and there’s a lot of countering signature moves, which helps to motivate the crowd and sow the seeds for their first round matchup. Ishii gets space with a Vertical Suplex, Okada and Shingo come in for some great foreshadowing. Shingo gets great fire, Okada references how he beat him in the G1 with the Money Clip attempt, and there’s just a lot to like about their interactions. SHO gets tagged in from Okada, so that gives us some glimmers of SHO and Shingo’s past, and now we lead towards the end of the match with both Juniors coming in.
Signature spam, SHO wipes out Shingo with a Spear, focuses on BUSHI and we’re almost done. SHO hits a very Shingo-esque Pumping Bomber to lay out BUSHI, then hits the Shock Arrow, and the CHAOS squad wins!
There is a video announcement of Wrestle Grand Slam in the Tokyo Dome and Yokohama Baseball Stadium in May.
New Japan Cup: Satoshi Kojima vs Jeff Cobb
Cobb and Kojima go after each other in angry power style. Kojima gets a small advantage, but Cobb cuts him off heading for the Elbow, then starts taking over. Cobb pulls out the old Gachmuchi-Sault, then he goes to insult Kojima by hitting Machine Gun Chops, and even motioning to go for the Kojima Elbow.
Kojima fires up, Superplexes Cobb off the top rope and strings some offense together. Cobb does manage to catch Kojima mid plancha and try the power game, but Kojima proves he’s not washed yet and turns the tide rather quickly with a DDT into the apron. Kojima hits his Elbow drop and keeps the momentum rolling.
Cobb has moments to break the momentum with a Deadlift German, and then he blocks Kojima from taking the Elbow pad off for the Cozy Lariat. Spin Cycle from Cobb, Doctor Bomb, and only a near fall for Cobb. Kojima counters the Tour of the Islands, they start swinging Haymakers, Kojima gets mocked a few times from Cobb, Kojima looks to end things with the Cozy Lariat, but Cobb manages to catch Kojima and barely hit Tour of the Islands.
Damn good match.
New Japan Cup: Great O-Khan vs Tetsuya Naito
A fun clash of everything here. Early on Naito mocks O-Khan, even to the point where O-Khan acknowledges the rib and guffaws in a sarcastic way. We get unbridled aggression from O-Khan after that, and Naito is reeling for a while. O-Khan nearly has Naito choked out, but her goes to try and end things with his power, and Naito finally finds a way back in.
Combinacion Cabron, Swinging DDTs, Cravats and Back Elbows gave Naito a brief shining moment, but when O-Khan tosses him, Naito lands on the bad knee, and that becomes O-Khan’s new focus. A Cloverleaf with the ring post, a chairshot and a Kneebreaker on a steel chair gives us a near count out victory for O-Khan. Once Naito limps back in, O-Khan applies the Claw to the bad knee, then lifts Naito up and just drops him like garbage. Another submission attempt by O-Khan as he goes after the bad knee with a single leg scissor.
Naito puts a stop to this when O-Khan tries to lift him and Naito shifts for a DDT. Naito peppers in Elbows in the corner, limps to the middle rope for the Diamond Dust, and tries to get O-Khan up for Gloria, but he gets dropped. O-Khan lands a Reverse Powerslam, attempts the Eliminator, but eats some elbows. Reapplication, Naito kicks away, again an attempt for the Eliminator, but Naito wiggles away and hits Destino, but can’t cover the bigger man.
Naito tries Destino with the Arm Wringer, O-Khan fights, 2 more times same thing, then O-Khan avoids Destino, hits a Lariat and goes for the Knee Bar in the dead center. Gator roll turns into a modified Figure Four, killing the injured knee of Naito as the crowd tries to rally Naito! Every time Naito tries to get out, O-Khan repositions and sinks in deeper. Red Shoes makes the decision to stop the match since Naito couldn’t really move from his spot.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) vs El Desperado
This was a proving ground for Desperado. After his challenge, not only did Ibushi tell him he sucked in their first meeting 7 years ago, he echoed the sentiment; so with Hiromu on the shelf for 6 months, Desperado has something to prove.
Early on, you can see the slight dynamic adjustment where Ibushi takes a bit of Nakamura styles by goading Desperado, kicking at him insultingly and just big brothering him. Despy gets irritated and starts accelerating his aggression. We see Despy dig much deeper into his bag of tricks, a few dives, Guitarra de Angel and Guitarra de la Meurta attempts, he nearly countered a Kamigoye attempt with El Es Culero.
The beauty of the game plan was that Despy went after Ibushi’s legs, mainly because he’s such a great striker, but it of course helps to weaken him for Numero Dos (modified Stretch Muffler). Despy had great spots of anger, Ibushi showed some visible desperation, and the counter roll dodging Kamigoye and locking in Numero Dos looked like a great near fall for Despy. Taichi and Kanemaru also didn’t interfere and played the role of actual seconds.
Ibushi manages to rattle Despy with a normal Kamigoye, and then dropping the kneepad won Ibushi the match. A really good main event after 2 great starting matches to the New Japan Cup.
Overall Score: 7.75/10
The main event left a lot of great questions. Tanahashi being on Japanese commentary, looking disapproving and being genuinely upset with the unification is a great possible story. Ibushi staying next to Despy and having a respectful moment between the two was nice. Taichi being the last one to leave the situation since he went back to get Despy’s belts and glared at Ibushi. Some may be thinking Ibushi-Gun is on the horizon, but I’m hoping this means Taichi could become an IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Give the Holy Emperor, the number one Black Saint, give him the big belt…cowards.
Other takeaways are obviously O-Khan’s big upset. Naito’s knee injury being Tanahashi levels of debilitating that it costs him a make via referee concern. Cobb barely scraping by Kojima is great to keep Kojima looking like a real threat if he does get on more dance in the G1. Not really sure how to feel about a Cobb versus EVIL match, but it’s good for Cobb to get some forward momentum. O-Khan sets himself up for either Yano or Fale, so that’s another head scratcher depending on who wins on 3.5.
All in all, I’m glad the second half of this show did its job and actually showed some good matches, good story building and psychology. After the terrible Castle Attack, it’s nice to say the New Japan Cup has started off strong at the very least.
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