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Andrew’s NJPW Sakura Genesis Results & Match Ratings: 4.4.2021

An awkward card for NJPW’s Sakura Genesis has left many people sour, a new World Title belt and some questionable booking decisions have hurt NJPW’s overall appeal. Does Sakura Genesis help to turn a corner? Has Ospreay sacrificed enough to overcome Ibushi?

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An awkward card for NJPW’s Sakura Genesis has left many people sour, a new World Title belt and some questionable booking decisions have hurt NJPW’s overall appeal. Does Sakura Genesis help to turn a corner? Has Ospreay sacrificed enough to overcome Ibushi?

Beyond the main event, we get YOH’s return match as Roppongi 3k go for the Junior Titles, a new United Empire member and just…well a lot of tag matches. Let’s hope that some of the twists and surprises actually pay off tonight!

Ratings:

  • Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, ZSJ & DOUKI) vs Bullet Club (Guerrillas of Destiny & Jado): ZSJ wins via European Clutch @10:10 – ** ½
  • Bullet Club (KENTA, EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Taiji Ishimori & Dick Togo) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada): Yano wins via Head & Leg Capture Roll-Up @11:37- ** ½
  • The United Empire (Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare) vs LIJ (SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito): Henare wins via Death Valley Driver @9:51 – ***
  • Satoshi Kojima & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White & Bad Luck Fale: Tanahashi wins via High Fly Flow @10:05 – ***
  • IWGP Junior Tag Team Titles: Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH) vs Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c): YOH wins via Double Arm Brainbuster @20:48 – *** ¾TITLE CHANGE!!!
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Will Ospreay: Ospreay wins via Stormbreaker @30:13 –*** ¾  – TITLE CHANGE!!!

 

Results:

Hiromu Takahashi comes out to greet the crowd, give a tiny update and then mostly run down the matches on the card that he cares about. His flamboyant spaz way of delivering his topics is entertaining; he could be reading off a McDonald’s menu and I feel it would still be entertaining. Yes, it’s also great to hear Hiromu refer to Ospreay as a cat again, bringing that reference full circle is pretty great.

Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, ZSJ & DOUKI) vs Bullet Club (Guerrillas of Destiny & Jado)

DOUKI and Jado started, DOUKI gets dropped outside and ganged up on. Jado takes a few shortcuts and works over the Junior in the mask, then Loa comes in and dominates. When Tama finally comes in he messes around a little too long allowing DOUKI to hit a Tornado DDT and tag in Taichi, who goes on a Iizuka style rampage. Greco Roman Throatholds for everyone!

Tama manages to slow Taichi’s choke strategy, then ZSJ and Loa come in. Loa runs over ZSJ and they have a fun interaction where Loa charges and ZSJ hits him with a European Uppercut, but Loa continues to push forward. This bulldozer moment was pretty cool, and then we get into a mass of humanity in the ring.

Tama tries to use the fingers, Taichi manages to get them back and drop Tama with them, but then Taichi gets laid out. Loa looks at the fingers like he wants a go with insanity, but ZSJ grabs him and hits the European Clutch to get the victory over Loa!

Looks like this sets up Dangerous Tekkers with a legitimate challenge again Guerrillas of Destiny. It’s also nice that the referee grabs the iron fingers and gives them to Chairman Sugabayashi. Dad just took the toys away from the kids. Tama and Taichi stop focusing on each other and start screaming at Sugabayashi and calling for him to comeback. It’s quite amusing and very anime.

Bullet Club (KENTA, EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Taiji Ishimori & Dick Togo) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada)

CHAOS continues their recent habit of starting the match in the aggressive heel fashion before the bell against Bullet Club. This leads to a bunch of tandem moves from Goto & HASHI, then we see the whole CHAOS crew come in and do the drum session on Dick Togo’s back, and take some fun at getting a few more shots in after the drum session.

Bullet Club regains a little control when everyone takes turns beating on HASHI and throwing him into an exposed corner. This allows for a little more interaction with HASHI and KENTA; continuing the Bo Staff love triangle. KENTA tries to introduce the weapon into the match, referee Kenta Sato stops things, HASHI grabs it while the ref and KENTA are jockeying, but he then just throws it out of the ring. This brings in Ishii and Yujiro, as well as most of the participants. CHAOS gets the better of all Bullet Club members and runs the locomotion attacks in the corner onto Yujiro.

The match continues to get crazy, back and forth, Togo has an opportunity to end the match against Yano after using the garrote, but Yano hits the Low Blow, then Low Blow’s EVIL, pulls out a blindfold to put over Dick Togo’s head as payback for the New Japan Cup shenanigans. So with the lights shut off, Yano hits an amateur roll-up and picks up the victory!

The NEVER 6 Man champs seem to approve the challenge, but Bullet Club takes a cheeky attack to snatch the Bo Staff back and KENTA runs off with it cradled in his arms.

The United Empire (Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare) vs LIJ (SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito)

Henare being the surprise member is a little shocking, since most people thought it would be a Junior wrestler like Robbie Eagles to balance the faction, but Henare makes sense. Henare has been disillusioned for the last month or so, and when FinJuice didn’t really seem to care much about him, I guess that was when he broke.

This was a good match to show a new chapter in Henare’s career. O-Khan and Cobb looked great, set the pace for the group and the finish was really good. Henare dodged and countered SANADA’s attacks, SANADA got caught by Cobb, Cobb sends him on a Tour of the Islands, and then Henare hits a Death Valley Driver for emphasis, and picks up the pinfall.

After the match, the Empire dissects LIJ, and Henare’s new persona and the addition into the United Empire seems like it could be something.

Satoshi Kojima & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White & Bad Luck Fale

Two generations of Bullet Club members face two generations of New Japan legends. Fale is one of the original Club members, the Underboss, and Jay White is one of the newest additions; so there’s something almost poetic about the generational parallel.

Jay and Kojima had their moments back and forth where Jay was disrespecting the Machine Gun Chops and a few other moves. Tanahashi seems like he was trying to make a point to Jay before accepting, since part of the narrative was that Tanahashi was afraid to put the NEVER on the line.

All in all, this was a solid set up match, things end with Fale trying to hit the Grenade on Tanahashi, but can’t pull it off. Jay gets dumped out, Kojima hits the Cozy Lariat on Fale, and then a High Fly Flow and we see dad team pick up the win!

After the match, Tanahashi grabbed Jay and put him in the Texas Cloverleaf, forcing Jay to tap to try and get the break. Tanahashi grabs the mic, speaks in English, saying he’s going to accept the challenge because Jay showed weakness. Refers to his Texas Clover Hold as the JTO – Jay Tapped Out.

IWGP Junior Tag Team Titles: Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH) vs Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c)

RPG 3k have a new theme, and while I don’t like it at all, it’s not terrible. I just really prefer the Rocky Romero song.

This was a well-paced match which told a great story. YOH started the match, so Kanemaru and Despy took turns taking some shots at YOH’s surgically repaired knee. Every time there was a cheap shot or a clear out off the apron, they aimed for YOH’s knee. This was further exacerbated by Kanemaru’s constant attempts at the Figure Four, just to continue to rip and stretch that bad knee.

The near falls in this match actually made a lot of sense. Kanemaru hits Deep Impact, but SHO made the save, which allowed YOH to turn a Figure Four attempt into an Inside Cradle for 2. Then RPG 3k hit Strong X, which Despy comes in to make a save. But SHO grabs Despy and you hear Despy screaming at Kanemaru to fight back. But YOH hits a new move for his arsenal, and Roppongi 3k get the happy return win!

SHO did a great job helping YOH get over after his surgery while looking great, and Despy definitely looked to be on a different singles level than everyone, he was just a step short on helping Kanemaru retain. Well told story in the ring, just wish there was a normal build up to really enjoy the whole story telling aspect.

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Will Ospreay

This match had some great viciousness early on. They traded blow for blow, and it was a great example of how similar and yet different their styles are. Ibushi tried to take more of a wrestling approach, where Ospreay relied more heavily on strikes. His Jumping Boot to send Ibushi flying, the Chelsea Grin, Rolling Elbows, all very well placed during the match. Hell, Ospreay even countered Ibushi’s Sole Butt by using the Rolling Elbow to dodge where the kick was going and catch him in the face. Though my favorite Ibushi move was when he hit the Chaos Theory, but used a Fisherman Suplex Hold instead of German. It was very cool and possibly an intentional Doug Williams reference.

Ibushi had a moment where it looked like we were going to get a bad botch when he jumped to the corner and lost a little balance before setting up for an assumed Frankensteiner or Spanish Fly. Ospreay pushed Ibushi off, hung him on the ropes, hit a gorgeous Shooting Star Press while Ibushi was draped. Then after Ibushi fell to the mat, another Shooting Star and that’s only a near fall. We got a call back when Ibushi did hit the Frakensteiner, but Ospreay flips through it and lands on his feet.

Ospreay goes for an Overhead Kick, and it looks like Ibushi was supposed to catch him for the Bastard Driver or Lawn Dart, but Ibushi couldn’t do it. Three separate attempts before they finally just gave up on the spot and Ibushi sold the back. If it wasn’t for the multiple attempts, it would’ve been more accepted as a sell, but that was a mess.

So in typical Ibushi fashion, a botch causes for some awkwardness in the match, Ibushi takes too long to slip out of the Stormbreaker and it looks weird. But thankfully, Ospreay ate two normal Kamigoyes, wouldn’t take the Exposed Kamigoye, hits a Flying Knee, the Hidden Blade and then Stormbreaker to win the match!

A great match really fell apart toward the end, mostly because of Ibushi. Surprising finish with Ibushi losing in the first official defense of the World title.

Ospreay calls out Okada wanting revenge from Wrestle Kingdom. But before Okada can speak, Shingo slides in and snatches the microphone. Shingo was the star of the verbal exchange mixing Japanese and English (very good English too). Shingo said since he beat Okada in the Cup he should be the first to challenge.

Shingo sweetens the pot by telling Okada that when he beats Ospreay for the title, Okada can get the first challenge. Okada accepts in his silence by handing the microphone to Ospreay for a decision. Ospreay tells Shingo “First Shingo! Then, Okada!” – and Okada seems more than okay with waiting a little bit longer.

Overall Score: 6.5/10

Well okay, this was an odd show. Nothing was terrible, but 5 tag matches and 1 singles is not a card that really evokes intrigue or excitement. Was the generational build up tag interesting? Sure. Was the return of Roppongi 3k cool? Sure. Was the title match enough to make headlines? Yes.

I just don’t come out of this event more excited with New Japan. Ospreay has gotten better, which I’ve been very transparent with admitting. The fact that the next two big title matches will be some combination of Shingo Takagi/Kazuchika Okada/Will Ospreay is heavy potential for match of the year candidates.  However the reality of the card is that without the Intercontinental separated, and a US champion off in the middle of nowhere, the upper mid card seems lacking and pathetic.

Plus let’s not overlook the fact that missteps and clumsy aspects of the main event really hurt the potential/excitement of the build. If the match was a banger, then it would’ve ended the show on a higher point where the triple showdown would’ve been very cool.

Either way, an alright show, last two matches are worth watching; just don’t go out of your way if you don’t want to.


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Andrew’s AJPW Champion Carnival Results & Match Ratings: 4.11.2021

Day 3 of the Champion Carnival had video on demand issues, so it wasn’t uploaded until the 12th. Hopefully Day 3 continues the positive momentum the first two days have already created!

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Day 3 of the Champion Carnival had video on demand issues, so it wasn’t uploaded until the 12th. Hopefully Day 3 continues the positive momentum the first two days have already created!

Hard to say I wasn’t a little annoyed the VOD took so long to post, but better late than never; especially when the next event isn’t until the 17th.

Anyway though! Zeus looks to topple the current Triple Crown champion and continue his undefeated Carnival streak and Ashino has to do something to get off the bubble; but Kento is a big ask. We could be looking at a quick favorite to win as well as the walking dead.

Let’s hope nothing too drastic happens! Check it out!

Match Ratings:

  • Jake Lee vs Koji Doi: Jake wins via D4C @8:10 – **
  • Shuji Ishikawa vs Yuma Aoyagi: Ishikawa wins via Single Leg Cradle @11:13 – ***
  • Kento Miyahara vs Shotaro Ashino: Ashino wins via Grapevine Ankle Lock @12:11 – *** ½
  • Zeus vs Suwama: Zeus wins via Jackhammer @19:52 – *** ¾

 

Results:

Jake Lee vs Koji Doi

Total Eclipse inner faction fighting! Since Jake is the leader, he starts off in typical heel leader fashion telling Koji to lie down and eat the pin. Koji lies down; Jake drapes himself in a cocky cover, so Koji goes for the crucifix at the 2 count. Jake snaps up and he looks shocked that Koji went against an order, but then we get to a match.

Koji does a solid job keeping Jake off balance with power attacks, Shoulder Tackles and an interesting Football Tackle with the lift and slam. Jake eats a decent amount of offense, including a few short arm Lariats, before he starts stabilizing with Knee Lifts and Yakuza Kicks.

Lucky for Jake, even though Koji countered the D4C once, after Giant Killing, Koji wasn’t countering anything. Jake hits D4C and gets his second win of the tournament! Not a flashy match honestly felt a little silly at points with how quiet and echoed the arena made the match feel. Hopefully the setting doesn’t continue to plague the atmosphere of the matches.

Shuji Ishikawa vs Yuma Aoyagi

Now this was decent, though the hollow quiet atmosphere of venue is really detracting from the matches. Yuma was trying to find openings, but Shuji continued to run him over and abuse him with power early. And it was during these slower spots, the deafening silence of the venue made for weird watching.

Even though Shuji hit a Scoop Slam into the corner of the arpon, multiple Tsunamis and a flashing Scoop Fire/Thunder Driver, Yuma stayed resilient. Yuma nearly made the bigger man tap in End Game, but Shuji was able to find the ropes. Yuma hits an O’Connor Roll into the Japanese Leg Clutch, Shuji manages to get out of that, goes for a Tsunami, Yuma slides and tries to scoop Shuji for a Roll-Up, but at two Shuji manages to reverse the Roll-Up, grab a single leg and keep Yuma down for a three count!

Even though I have yet to be convinced by Yuma, the fact he got a finish that still made him look strong while putting up a good fight against a decorated opponent like Ishikawa; that says a lot about his potential rise on the card.

Kento Miyahara vs Shotaro Ashino

Ashino is in the unenviable position of last place after two days. With a 0-2 record, he really REALLY needs this…and he of course has Kento as his roadblock. They’ve traded wins in the past, and come off as rivals who don’t really like one another.

The match starts quick with Ashino shooting the half, grabbing a leg and searching for the Ankle Lock early. Kento fights out, but Kento is surprised and Ashino stays on him. Ashino pulls Kento to the ring post and wraps Kento’s left leg against the post a few times. Kento fires and Snake Eyes lands Ashino into the corner of the apron.  This gives Kento plenty of time to walk off the early ankle damage and play into his cocky arrogance, all while messing with the referee and his opponent.

Whenever Ashino managed to get back in the ring, he was greeted by Blackouts to the front and back of his head. It wasn’t really until Kento went for the Shutdown Suplex, that Ashino hit a second wind. Both men trade German Suplexes, Ashino continues with a Deadlift Overhead suplex and he starts building momentum back.

He teases a German from the apron to the floor, but Kento blocks, fights off and Piledrives Ashino instead. Kento fires off Blackouts as Ashino once again barely beats the count out, but after landing his ninth Blackout of the fight, Ashino grabs the left leg, rolls through and goes for the Ankle Lock. Kento tries to fight off, but Ashino refuses to let go, readjusting, rolling through, pulling Kento back into the center away from the ropes; eventually dropping down into the Grapevine. Kento has no other option but to submit!

Ashino finally gets on the board, and Kento joins him in the 1-2 portion of the standings! I wonder how much the ankle will play into the rest of Kento’s carnival.

Zeus vs Suwama

Last year during Zeus’ carnival winning run, he had a match with Suwama which resulted in Suwama sustaining an arm injury. Thanks to this knowledge, and the sting of a failed challenge when Suwama recovered, Zeus came out attacking the arm and trying to replicate some of his success from last year.

The beauty in Zeus’ arm attacks, is not only were the Key Lock and Arm Bars effective to play on the old injury, they also inhibited Suwama from executing the Last Ride Powerbomb. Zeus’ attack really did great, as well as giving him the power advantage against someone who can usually match him in that department. Zeus lifted out of Boston Crabs, met Suwama head on with Biceps Explosions and even broke out the Frog Splash a few times.

In a nice reference, Suwama was able to fight out of the Arm Trap Facelock this time, but Zeus had too much of an advantage. Zeus peppered in Chokeslams, Lariats, another Frog Splash and eventually ended the match with an impactful Jackhammer. This was a solid struggle throughout, injured only by the awkward venue setting.

Who will be the first person to hang a Carnival loss on Zeus since 2019?

Overall Score: 6.75/10

While there wasn’t really a lot to complain about in terms of action, I really hated the venue. With the Japanese crowd rules of not being able to scream and having to just clap or stomp, it was very noticeably irritating in this event.  Slower moments felt empty and stupid, almost back to the empty Quarantine times, which definitely impact smaller events and smaller companies.

Aside from that, we got a lot of really great finishes. Ashino finally getting on the scoreboard AND over Kento is great. Zeus continuing his streak from last year, Jake well…doing Jake things and Shuji looking strong as a current title holder should. Otani and Sato were missed a little today, but let’s check out the standings!

 Standings:

  1. Zeus: 3-0 – (6 Points)
  2. Shuji Ishikawa: 2-1 – (4 Points)
  3. Jake Lee: 2-1 – (4 Points)
  4. Shinjiro Otani: 1-1 – (2 Points)
  5. Kohei Sato: 1-1 – (2 Points)
  6. Shotaro Ashino: 1-2 – (2 Points)
  7. Kento Miyahara: 1-2 – (2 Points)
  8. Suwama: 1-2 – (2 Points)
  9. Koji Doi: 1-2 – (2 Points)
  10. Yuma Aoyagi: 1-2 – (2 Points)


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Lucha Central Weekly: NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver…DELIVERS! Plus Too Many AEW Factions, WWE WrestleMania Week, and more!

The world of Lucha Libre comes alive on the Lucha Central Weekly podcast, discussing Takeover, AEW Factions, and more!

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The world of Lucha Libre comes alive on the Lucha Central Weekly podcast, discussing Takeover, AEW Factions, and more!

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Join Miranda Morales, Brendan Barr, and Dusty Murphy as they bring you another edition of Lucha Central Weekly–one just as action packed as lucha libre itself!

This week the trio discusses the abundance of factions on AEW, the week-long celebration that is WWE WrestleMania, and a look at NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver!

About Lucha Central Weekly

Your one-podcast stop for all of the week’s top stories from around the world of lucha libre and lucha libre around the world. Join hosts Miranda Morales, Brendan Barr, and Dusty Murphy along with special guests as they cover Lucha Libre AAA, CMLL, top Mexico indies as well as lucha related matches in WWE, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Ring of Honor and beyond. Whether you are trying to dive deeper into the world of masked mayhem or you’ve been following for decades, you are going to find things here you won’t find on any other airwaves!

About the Chairshot Radio Network

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