The Road to WrestleKingdom 16 starts here!
NJPW begins the countdown to WrestleKingdom 16, and Power Struggle is on another level! Will Takagi VS Okada be changed to an entirely different match?
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 Championships: Chaos VS House of Torture; House of Torture wins and becomes the new NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions.
- Provisional KOPW 2021 Amateur Wrestling Match: Toru Yano VS Great-O-Khan; Yano wins and retains the trophy.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Robbie Eagles VS El Desperado; Desperado wins and becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
- IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS KENTA; Kenta wins and becomes the new IWGP US Heavyweight Champion.
- WrestleKingdom Right to Challenge Contract: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado; Okada wins and retains the Right to Challenge.
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Zack Sabre Jr; Takagi wins and retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships: Chaos VS House of Torture!
Tomohiro Ishii finished the G1 5-3, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi both finished 3-6, but now they must focus on being a trio again! The King of Darkness, Tokyo Pimp and the traitorous High Voltage are coming for the titles, will Chaos #StayGold in Osaka?
The introductions are made, Bullet Club Low Sweet, and Chaos anticipates the sneak attack! They brawl and Ishii throws out Sho while Hashi throws out Evil and Goto throws out Yujiro Takahashi. The bell rings to get this on record as Ishii throws Sho into railing and Hashi POSTS Evil! Hashi also throws Dick Togo into the ring! He isn’t part of the match but Chaos knows better than to let tricky Dick off easy. Chaos surrounds Dick and hammer away on him! Fans cheer as Dick bails out. Ishii DECKS Evil, Hashi ROCKS Sho, and Goto keeps after Yujiro. Evil throws Ishii into railing but Goto bumps Yujiro off buckles and fires forearms.
Goto whips corner to corner, runs in and MURAMASA! But Yujiro BITES Goto’s hand to deny the bulldog! The ref reprimands, Yujiro clubs Goto’s arm. Yujiro whips Goto into the blue corner, and surprise! Evil takes the buckle pad off! Goto hits bare steel as the Bullet Club’s favorite strategy comes into play. Evil goes after Hashi on the outside while Yujiro stomps Goto down. Evil RAMS Hashi into the timekeeper’s area! Sho and Dick mug Ishii while Yujiro chokes Goto. The ref counts, Yujiro lets off and tags in Evil. Evil uses Sho’s old Chaos towel to choke Goto! The ref is busy with the outside shenanigans but Evil calls for the pin. Cover, TWO!
Evil is frustrated already but he tags Sho in. Sho digs his fingers into Goto’s face! The ref reprimands, Sho shifts to a chinlock. Goto endures, gets a ropebreak, and the ref counts. Sho lets off at 3, fans rally up for Goto but Sho slaps him around. Goto glares at Sho and eggs him on. Sho kicks, Goto CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! Sho rakes eyes! The ref counts, Sho stops to run, but Goto follows. Sho dodges but Goto deflects the boot to LARIAT! Yujiro gets in to go after Goto and whip him to the corner! Goto stops himself and DECKS Evil! Goto sends Yujiro into the bare buckles then hits a BIG back suplex! Fans fire up as both men are down! Hot tag to Ishii!
The Stone Pitbull runs into forearms and a KICK from Sho, but he just ROCKS Sho with a forearm! Ishii whips Sho, Sho reverses but Ishii comes back to run him over! Ishii kicks Sho around and into a corner. Ishii stomps Sho, slaps him around, but Sho rakes eyes and fires off forearms! Sho sits Ishii down to dig both boots in! The ref counts, Sho stops at 4. Sho eggs Ishii on and fans rally up. Ishii stands, slaps Sho then puts him in the corner to CHOP! And CHOP! Those are high shots already! The ref warns Ishii but Ishii tells him to shut up as he CHOPS Sho again! Ishii drags Sho up and suplexes but Sho blocks to wrench and waistlock.
Ishii elbows out, runs but things speed up. Sho goes the other way, but Ishii blocks the spear! Ishii suplexes, but Sho resists again to wrench the fingers! Sho wrenches the arm, KICKS away on the leg and chest, but Ishii blocks. Sho rakes eyes again, the ref reprimands and Sho whips. Ishii reverses, Sho ducks and dodges to ram Ishii. Ishii rebounds and dodges Sho, only for Evil to get a cheap shot in! Sho SPEARS Ishii down! Fans fire up as both men are down, but Sho tags Evil. Evil kicks at Ishii, drags him up, but blocks the kick to give it to the ref! Ishii blocks Evil’s kick to spin him for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men are down, Evil gets to a corner. Ishii crawls, hot tag to Hashi!
The Headhunter runs in to clothesline Evil! Then he shoves Evil out to go up the corner, BLOCKBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Hashi drags Evil up and reels him in, but Evil pulls hair! Hashi breaks free to fire off hands and a CHOP! Evil staggers, Hashi runs but Yujiro is there with the pimp cane! The ref warns Yujiro, Evil waistlocks Hashi but Hashi elbows free. Evil grabs the ref to keep him from seeing Dick trip Hashi! Goto gets in but Evil mule kicks him down. Yujiro gets in, he and Evil double whip, but Goto ducks the double clothesline to shove Evil into Yujiro! Goto then headlocks Evil, but Evil powers out to send Goto into the bare buckles!
The House of Torture regroups, and they mug Hashi. Sho and Evil double whip Hashi corner to corner, then Evil clotheslines! Sho adds his clothesline, then Yujiro BOOTS! Yujiro reels Hashi in, FISHERMAN BUSTER! Evil drags Hashi up as fans rally up, and Evil fireman’s carries for DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, Ishii breaks it in time! Sho goes after Ishii and kicks him out of the ring. Sho stomps Ishii at the ramp while fans rally back up. Evil slashes his throat and drags Hashi up again. Evil spins Hashi but Hashi denies the STO! Hashi kicks but Evil blocks and rakes eyes! Evil throws Hashi’s leg into the ref and down he goes! Dick gets in, he and Evil give Hashi MAGIC KILLER!
Evil calls for the ref, cover, TWO!! Hashi survives and Evil is furious! The fans fire up but Evil drags Hashi back up. Another slash of the throat and Evil reels Hashi in. Hashi wrenches out of the STO! Evil rakes eyes again, kicks low and whips, but Hashi reverses to send Evil into the bare buckles! SUPERKICK! Dick gets on the apron, Hashi throws Evil into him! Schoolboy with bridge, but Sho and Yujiro both get in to break the cover! Goto and Ishii go after them, but Sho and Yujiro whip. Ishii and Goto reverse, fireman’s carries and STEREO USHIGOROSHIS! Fans fire up with Chaos as Hashi aims at Evil. Hashi runs, but Evil catches the lariat! EVERYTHING-
No, Hashi fights out and gets around to DRAGON SUPLEX Evil! Hashi runs and LARIATS! Fans fire up with Hashi again as he gets Evil up. KUMAGOROSHI! Cover, TWO! Evil survives but Hashi fires up more! Hashi drags Evil back up, half nelson and pump handle, but Evil grabs the ref! They end up by the ropes, Dick uses the SPOILER CHOKER! But Hashi powers out and DECKS Dick! Yujiro gets in, but Hashi ducks the pimp cane! Hashi feeds Yujiro to Goto’s LARIAT! Sho gets in and JAMS Goto with a chair! Ishii gets in to DECK Sho! Evil shoves the ref at Ishii, but Ishii pushes the ref aside. Evil runs in, Ishii waistlocks, but Evil gets away as Hashi runs in, and Hashi LARIATS Ishii!
Evil rakes Hashi’s eyes, runs, but Hashi moves and Goto fireman’s carries! Evil slips out but Goto dodges, SUPERKICK from Hashi! Goto fireman’s carries again, Hashi SUPERKICKS Hashi into the USHIGOROSHI, and Ishii adds a SLIDING LARIAT! Chaos knocks Sho and Yujiro off the apron, then Goto-Hashi get Evil with dragon sleeper and leg lift, SHOTOU!! Cover, Dick drags the ref out!! Goto glares at Dick, but Sho and Yujiro get in to DOUBLE LOW BLOW Goto-Hashi down! Ishii runs in to DOUBLE LARIAT Sho and Yujiro down! Ishii drags Evil up but Dick uses the SPOILER CHOKER! Dick chokes Ishii out, Sho gets in with a WRENCH!
Sho CLOBBERS Hashi with the wrench! Sho sneaks away and uses the wrench to choke Goto! Evil drags Hashi up, reels him in, EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, HOUSE OF TORTURE WINS!!
Winners: The House of Torture, by pinfall (NEW NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions)
The dastardly King of Darkness and his cohorts dethroned Goto-Hashi-Ishii! And to add on, CANE SHOT for Goto! And then they CUT the Chaos towel up and throw away the pieces! Sho has the wrench again, and he takes aim at Goto, only for YOH to return!! Yoh fires off on Sho, Yujiro, and SUPERKICKS Evil! Yoh rains down furious forearms onto Sho! Sho runs away before Yoh can do any more, but it’s clear there’s no running from his past! Will Direct Drive find a way to avenge himself and Chaos for what High Voltage has done to them?
Provisional KOPW 2021 ???: Toru Yano VS Great-O-Khan!
The Producer definitely upset the Dominator in each of their past encounters, so now the KOPW trophy is on the line! The fans had the choice, and they didn’t want the #KissMyFeet match, they went with the AMATEUR WRESTLING MATCH! As such, two referees and Yuji Nagata will be the judges for this match, to make sure things are done properly! Will Blue Justice make sure both Yano and Khan keep this one clean?
Young Lions help demonstrate amateur wrestling for the sake of fans perhaps not as familiar, and to make clear how the point system will work. After the explanations, Khan makes his entrance, and he’s wearing a wrestling singlet! And he even as Aaron Henare as his cornerman! Yano then makes his entrance, and he’s in his own singlet! The introductions are made, the trophy is raised, and we see these two go back to wrestling’s roots!
The bell rings and the two shake hands. They circle, feel things out, tie up, and time is ticking. Yano holds off Khan’s attempts at his legs, they tie up again, and Khan keeps pushing the offense. They end up in the ropes, the ref whistles and the two break. Fans cheer the opening exchange and the two go again. Yano goes for a leg but Khan holds him off now. Khan tries for a takeover but Yano holds that off to turn things around and put Khan on the ropes. The ref calls for a break and Nagata awards a point to Yano! The two reset, tie up, Khan gets around but Yano gets away. Last minute of this first period, Yano shoots in but Khan holds him off!
Khan and Yano are in a deadlock, the ref calls for a reset. They go again, Khan works to fake Yano out and then shoots in low to get the waistlock! That’s two points! Khan keeps the waistlock, tries to roll Yano, but Yano resists! They end up in the ropes, but Khan still gets the two points! He’s got a 4-1 lead with just 20 seconds left. The clock is paused as they reset, and they go again. Yano tries but we’re under 10 seconds, and then time is up!
Yano: 1; Khan: 4
The cornermen help refresh Khan and Yano and Henare says Khan has Yano on speed. Yano may be down but he keeps cool as the second period begins.
Khan and Yano tie up right away, fighting for control. Yano pushes the issue and they end up on ropes. Point for Yano, he’s already begun his comeback. They go again, another clinch but then Yano fights to a facelock. Khan keeps himself up with both hands and then slips out. Yano holds off the attempt at a leg, and the two go again. Khan stays on the offensive and puts Yano on the ropes. That’s a point for Khan to keep this at a three point advantage. They tie up again, Yano slips around but can’t get the waistlock. Khan and Yano circle, Yano goes after Khan but Khan slips away. Fans rally up and the two tie up. Khan shoots in, Yano blocks but Khan slips away again.
Last minute of the period, they’re in another clinch, but Yano gets a THROW! That’s FOUR points and Yano’s going for a back mount! Khan gets to ropes before Yano can turn him over. But Yano has the lead as we only have 30 seconds in this round! Yano and Khan go again, Khan gets aggressive but Yano holds him off. Khan keeps trying to shoot in but Yano holds him back with a facelock. And that’s the round!
Yano: 6; Khan: 5
Fans are fired up and Khan is frustrated, as Yano is declared the winner!
Winner: Toru Yano (still provisional Mr. KOPW 2021)
Khan is a sore loser and attacks from behind! Henare attacks Yano’s Young Lion, and Nagata gets up on the apron, only for Khan to Mongolian Chop him down! The straps come down as Khan and Henare stomp Yano. Khan drags Yano up and whips him corner to corner! Then he runs in to clothesline! Henare adds a SHINING WIZARD! Henare and Khan BOOT ROUNDHOUSE COMBO Yano down! Khan throws off the sweatband to let his ponytail out, and Henare drags Yano up to Khan can clamp on the iron claw! ELIMINATOR SLAM! Nagata gets in and runs Khan and Henare off! Blue Justice stands up against the United Empire, but will he and Yano be able to avenge this disrespect?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Robbie Eagles VS El Desperado!
In quite the surprise, the Sniper of the Skies and Tiger Mask took the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships from Suzuki-Gun on the Road to Power Struggle. That makes Eagles the newest Mr. Junior Heavyweight! But will he be able to stay a double champion? Or will the Rogue Luchador redeem himself and take back one of those belts?
The introductions are made, the singles title is raised, and we see how high Eagles can really fly!
Fans already rally for “EA-GLE-SU! EA-GLE-SU!” at the bell. Eagles and Desperado slowly circle, approach and tie up. Desperado waistlocks, Eagles switches and trips Desperado then runs. Desperado stays low but Eagles stops to jump up! But Desperado rolls and the knee drop hits nothing but mat! Desperado bails out and Eagles says he was that close. Desperado gets in around the way, circles with Eagles again and fans rally. They tie up, Eagles wrenches to a wristlock, but Desperado pokes Eagles in the eye! Desperado wrenches as the ref reprimands, but Eagles rolls and rolls and handsprings to wrench back.
Eagles gets the headlock, Desperado fights up and powers out to reel Eagles into a headlock of his own. Eagles powers out but Desperado runs him over! Fans cheer, things speed up and Eagles hurdles. Desperado jumps over, comes back and leaping arm-drags Eagles out! Eagles gets to the apron, shoulders back in then slingshots up and over to come back and springboard FLYING arm-drag! Desperado is sent out, and Eagles builds speed, but he fakes Desperado out to springboard and flip back. Eagles double guns and blows them out while Desperado gets frustrated. Desperado gets on the apron but Eagles dropkicks him down!
Eagles builds speed, baseball slides but Desperado ducks under to kick low! Desperado runs Eagles at the corner, but Eagles goes up and around to mule kick Desperado back! Fans cheer that agility, and Eagles runs, but is popped up to the apron. Desperado blocks the mule kick to trip Eagles up! Desperado builds speed to SOMERSAULT TOPE! Direct hit at the ramp and fans cheer! Desperado mockingly asks Robbie what happened, and then drags him up. Desperado has media move aside so he can POST Eagles this time! Desperado leaves Eagles behind but fans rally up. Eagles is back into the ring as the count starts, but Desperado is after him.
Eagles throws body shots and a chop, but Desperado shrugs it off. Eagles chops again, but Desperado CHOPS Eagles down! Desperado stands on Eagles’ head, lets off as the ref reprimands, and then drags Eagles up. Desperado reels Eagles in, then suplexes high and hard! Cover, TWO! Desperado stomps Eagles down but fans rally up. Desperado goes after a leg, stands on the knee, but lets off as the ref counts. Desperado comes back to stand on Eagles’ leg again! The ref counts, Desperado lets off at 4, and he brings Eagles up to snapmare him down. Desperado traps one arm in a hammerlock and then has a chinlock. Desperado grinds Eagles’ neck but Eagles endures as fans rally again.
Eagles reaches out but Desperado traps that arm in a chicken wing. Desperado pulls hair, but the ref reprimands. Eagles kicks and scrambles and gets a ropebreak with a leg! Desperado lets Eagles go, to stomp the bad leg again! Desperado digs his boots into Eagles at the ropes again but the ref counts. Desperado lets off, stalks Eagles at the ropes, then drags him up to reel him in. Eagles knees free of the shin breaker then manages a RANA! Desperado gets mad but he runs into a WHEEL KICK! Eagles manages to kip up! Fans rally behind him as he KICKS and KICKS and KICKS Desperado! Eagles runs, but Desperado ducks, only for Eagles to come back with a BLINDSIDE LARIAT!
Desperado bails out but Eagles builds speed and DIVES! A somersault tope of his own, and Eagles lands on his feet! Fans fire up and rally behind Eagles as he hobbles back to Desperado. Eagles gets Desperado up, puts him in the ring and aims. Springboard and missile dropkick to the leg! Eagles gets the leg, rolls, hooks Desperado up, RON MILLER SPECIAL!! Desperado screams in pain, Eagles thrashes the legs, but Desperado crawls and reaches out for the ROPEBREAK! The fans are fired up and the ref counts the break. Eagles lets Desperado go and Desperado flounders to a corner. Eagles KICKS the bad leg, then runs corner to corner to DOUBLE KNEE!
Eagles rolls back but Desperado BOOTS back! But Eagles uses a tiger feint to kick out the bad leg! Eagles runs corner to corner again to METEORA! Desperado flops, Eagles jackknife bridges, TWO! Desperado is still in this but fans rally up. Eagles gets fans clapping, “Robbie, Robbie, Robbie! OI OI OI!” Eagles then gets Desperado up, cravats but no sliced bread! Desperado shoves Eagles away, blocks a boot but not the second! Eagles runs, but into a SPINEBUSTER! High stack, TWO! STRETCH MUFFLER! Desperado thrashes the leg, reaches out, but Eagles keeps Desperado from getting his arms.
Desperado keeps after the leg, Eagles clubs Desperado but Desperado works harder! Eagles crawls and reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Desperado lets go, but then drags Eagles from the ropes for a GROUND DRAGON SCREW! Eagles clutches the leg while Desperado gets his own moving. Desperado rolls Eagles to GUITARRA DEL ANGEL! Cover, TWO!! Eagles survives but Desperado fires up! Desperado reels Eagles into underhooks, but no Pinche! Eagles slips out to SLICED BREAD! But the bad leg bothers Eagles, he can’t make a cover! Eagles crawls over, cover, TWO! Desperado gets up, Eagles SUPERKICKS him down!
Eagles goes to the corner, climbs up and aims, 450 SPLASH onto knees!! Double-edged for Desperado but fans fire up as both men are down. Eagles crawls, Desperado hobbles up, and Desperado goes back for Eagles. Eagles throws forearms but Desperado scowls. Desperado ROCKS Eagles with a forearm in return! Eagles ROCKS Desperado, Desperado ROCKS Eagles! The forearms keep going back and forth and fans rally up as they pick up speed. Desperado wobbles, Eagles throws more forearms, but Desperado kicks the bad leg out! Eagles kicks Desperado’s bad leg out from below!
Eagles KICKS Desperado in the chest again and again! Desperado blocks one, reels Eagles into a fireman’s carry, pops him up, but Eagles POISON-RANAS! And runs to FLYING GAMANGIRI! Cover, TWO!! Desperado survives again but Eagles keeps his focus. Eagles rolls Desperado and picks him up, but Desperado denies the Turbo Backpack to suplex. Eagles fights out, victory rolls, and wants the leg! Desperado kicks him low first! Desperado gets Eagles in the inverted Gory Especial but Eagles slips out to ROUNDHOUSE, SUPERKICK and PE- NO! Desperado ducks the enziguri to get the leg and roll! STRETCH MUFFLER! But Eagles rolls it to a cradle, TWO!!
Desperado runs into a schoolboy with bridge! TWO, LOCO MONO!! Eagles is down but Desperado fires up! Desperado goes for the inverted Gory Especial, GUITARRA DE LA MUERTA! Cover, TWO!?! Eagles survives and Desperado is shocked! Desperado slashes the throat and vows to end this. He hobbles over, drags Eagles up and underhooks, PINCHE- RANA! Eagles has a cover, TWO!! KNEE DROP to Desperado’s bad leg! Fans are thunderous as Eagles drags Desperado and kicks away on the bad leg. Eagles steps through, Desperado schoolboys! TWO, to NUMERO DOS!! Eagles endures and reaches out with only one limb free!
Desperado turns and rolls him away, and gets BOTH arms for NUMERO DOS PLUS!! Eagles endures, and verbally quits! Desperado wins!!
Winner: El Desperado, by submission (NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)
Desperado takes back the singles title! Eagles could not keep going with the weight of both belts, but will he be back to try again? Or is Desperado going to be on to bigger and better on the road to WrestleKingdom?
IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS KENTA!
The Ace and Fang Revived have some history when it comes to this title, and their rivalry looks to leave a new mark on the belt’s history. Will the Once in a Century Talent stay golden? Or will Bullet Club leave Osaka with another prize around their waists?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see if Kenta takes a bite out of Tanahashi!
Fans already rally with “Let’s Go, Ace! Let’s Go, Ace!” but Kenta takes over with his clap rhythm. Tanahashi gets fans back on “Let’s Go, Ace!” but Kenta bails out. Tanahashi refuses to be trolled and the “Let’s Go, Ace!” continues. Kenta gets on the apron and claps, so fans join his clapping. Kenta gets back in the ring, circles with Tanahashi, and they tie up. Tanahashi puts Kenta on ropes, the ref calls for the ropebreak and Tanahashi lets off. Kenta bails out again so “Let’s Go, Ace!” returns. Kenta gets back on the apron, takes his time walking through the ropes, and circles with Tanahashi again.
Tanahashi and Kenta tie up, are in a deadlock, and Tanahashi puts him on ropes. Kenta turns things around, but Tanahashi turns it back. Kenta pulls hair to turn it around but Tanahashi pulls hair, too! The ref calls for the break and Tanahashi lets off to air guitar. Then he tosses it to Kenta! Kenta turns it into an air violin? He tosses it back to Tanahashi then kicks low! Kenta headlocks, Tanahashi pries at the hold and gets a top wristlock, to a headlock of his own! Fans cheer the exchange, but Kenta powers up, only for Tanahashi to hold tight! Kenta rolls to a cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps the headlock, Kenta endures the grind, and fans again rally, “Let’s Go, Ace!”
Kenta pulls hair, throws body shots then whips. Tanahashi reverses and arm-drags Kenta to then dropkick him down! Kenta bails out, Tanahashi PLANCHAS! Direct hit and fans fire up with Tanahashi! Tanahashi hops up on the apron and fans clap along, “Let’s Go, Ace!” Tanahashi skins the cat and fans cheer the agility. Kenta is annoyed, so he just grabs the US title belt! Kenta wants to run away with it? Tanahashi pursues Kenta up the ramp and knocks him down! Tanahashi brings Kenta up, Kenta elbows him away. The ref calls for them to get in the ring, Tanahashi runs at Kenta but into a POWERSLAM to the ramp! Kenta gets the belt again and goes back to ringside.
The ring count starts, Kenta is in at 4 of 20 and he wants Tanahashi to be counted out! The count reaches 10, Tanahashi rises, and Kenta already holds the belt up like it’s his. The count reaches 15, Kenta wants things to speed up. Tanahashi stands at 17 and hobbles over, and manages to slide in at 19! Kenta is furious, he gives the belt back to the ref, but that’s all a ploy so he can untie a buckle pad a la Yano! Kenta drags Tanahashi up and whips him into the bare buckles! The ref reprimands but Kenta claims it was like that before. Kenta rains down fists, but lets off as the ref reprimands the closed fists. Kenta turns Tanahashi for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!
Kenta clamps on with headscissors and squeezes tight! Tanahashi endures, turns Kenta over, but Kenta turns it back. But they’re by the ropes and Tanahashi gets a ropebreak with a foot! Kenta lets off and drags Tanahashi up. Tanahashi fires off hands, Kenta hits back and hits a DDT! Cover, TWO! Kenta argues the count but the ref says that was fair. Kenta wraps on a chinlock and grinds Tanahashi down. Tanahashi endures, fights up, throws body shots, but Kenta throws him down by his hair! Kenta claps, fans join in and Kenta mockingly asks Tanahashi what’s wrong. Kenta gives toying kicks in the corner but Tanahashi grits his teeth and fires back!
Kenta KICKS Tanahashi into the corner, eggs Tanahashi on, and Tanahashi fires off more forearms. Kenta BOOTS Tanahashi and Tanahashi wobbles. Tanahashi still elbows back and goes up to CROSSBODY Kenta down! Fans rally as both men stir. Tanahashi fires off fast hands, whips Kenta to ropes but Kenta reverses, only to get FLYING FOREARMS! Tanahashi fires up, brings Kenta up and scoop SLAMS him into a drop zone. Tanahashi goes up, second rope SUNSET SENTON! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up behind Tanahashi and he runs, but Kenta BOOTS first! Tanahashi tries again, gets another BOOT, then runs into a POWERSLAM! Fans fire up as both men are down again!
Kenta stands, drags Tanahashi up, waistlocks, but Tanahashi elbows out. Tanahashi runs but into boots! Kenta goes up, reels Tanahashi in, TORNADO HOTSHOT! Kenta climbs, FLYING LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Kenta argues the count again then drags Tanahashi back up. Fans still rally but Kenta puts Tanahashi through ropes, but Tanahashi fights. Tanahashi gets the leg, DRAPING DRAGON SCREW! Kenta flops out of the ring and fans rally harder for Tanahashi. Tanahashi goes up the corner, but Kenta goes up to ROCK him first! Tanahashi tumbles to the apron, tries to skin the cat but Kenta dropkicks him down first!
Kenta drags Tanahashi up and whips him at railing! Then he BOOTS Tanahashi up and over! Tanahashi is in no man’s land but fans still rally up. Kenta goes looking under the ring while the ref checks on Tanahashi. Kenta finds what he’s looking for: a TABLE! Tanahashi crawls back to ringside but Kenta’s set the table up already. Kenta fetches Tanahashi but the ref tells him to stop. Kenta POSTS Tanahashi instead, and brings him around towards where he put the table. Kenta puts Tanahashi on the apron, climbs up to join him and fireman’s carries! Tanahashi holds ropes, throws elbows on Kenta, then turns things around with a fireman’s carry of his own!
Kenta holds the ropes now, gets into the ring but Tanahashi ROKCS him. Tanahashi goes to shoulder but Kenta dodges to KICK and KICK Tanahashi. Kenta brings Tanahashi out on the ropes, BRAIN KILLER! Both men are down from the draping DDT but fans rally up. Kenta crawls, Tanahashi rolls to a corner, Kenta runs in corner to corner to BOOT! Tanahashi sits down, Kenta goes back corner to corner, HESITATION DROPKICK! Kenta fires up and climbs the corner, DIVING DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!! Tanahashi survives the coup de grace but Kenta slashes the throat. Kenta then considers the table. Kenta brings Tanahashi around, throws him back out, and follows after.
Kenta CLUBS Tanahashi, puts him on the table, rains down fists, but the ref reprimands him. Kenta gets back in the ring, to then climb the corner! Tanahashi falls off the table so Kenta has to hop down. DIVING STOMPS from the apron! Kenta drags Tanahashi up and brings him around to whip. Tanahashi reverses to SLINGBLADE to the floor! Fans fire up again as both men are down! Tanahashi gets up, drags Kenta up, and brings him back to the table! Tanahashi puts Kenta on the table, rains down forearms, then goes into the ring. Tanahashi goes up top as fast as he can but the ref tells him not to! Tanahashi doesn’t care, he SUPER HIGH FLY FLOWS through the table!!!
Fans are thunderous as Kenta and Tanahashi are down in the wreckage! The ref checks and somehow, both men are okay to continue! The ring count starts, Tanahashi writhes and manages to get up at 7 of 20. Kenta stirs, Tanahashi drags him up at 13 and puts him in at 15. Kenta manages to stand and Tanahashi runs, to SLINGBLADE! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives, even after all that, but Tanahashi goes up top fast! HIGH FLY ATTACK! But he isn’t done there, he goes right back up top! HIGH FLY FLOW onto knees! Kenta saves himself at the last second! Tanahashi gets back up first, but Kenta drags him into an omoplata! GAME OVER CROSSFACE!
Tanahashi flails, reaches and gets a ROPEBREAK! Kenta doesn’t let go but the ref forces him to. Fans rally up again, Tanahashi gets to ropes but Kenta runs in to KNEE him in the back! Kenta runs and runs to BUSAIKU KNEE! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi is still in this but Kenta fires up! Kenta drags Tanahashi back up, fireman’s carries, GO TO- NO! Tanahashi blocks for a DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi gets the leg again, GROUND DRAGON SCREW! Then Tanahashi ties up the legs, but Kenta resists the turnover! Tanahashi keeps trying, Kenta throws him into bare buckles! Schoolboy, TWO!!! Tanahashi survives and Kenta can’t believe it!
Kenta gets up, aims from a corner and Tanahashi stands, BUSAIKU KNEE! Cover, TWO! Kenta roars, drags Tanahashi back up, fireman’s carry, GO TO- SLINGBLADE!! Tanahashi counters at the last second and fans fire up again! Tanahashi runs but Kenta redirects him into bare buckles! Fireman’s carry, GO TO SLEEP!! Cover, KENTA WINS!
Winner: Kenta, by pinfall (NEW IWGP US Heavyweight Champion)
Bullet Club gets another belt! Kenta puts Tanahashi down, is there a new Ace in NJPW?
WrestleKingdom Right to Challenge Contract: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!
If you’re wondering where Right to Challenge briefcase is and why the classic IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt is back, The Rainmaker is making a point of what he’s planning. When Okada wins the top title at WrestleKingdom 16, he’s reinstating the belt he became synonymous with in NJPW. However, that’s if he can avenge his one loss in the G1 Climax 31! Will the Good Bad Guy shock the world again and take Okada’s title shot from him?
The introductions are made, the symbolic belt is raised, and we’ll see who has the right to challenge the top champion!
Tama and Okada rush each other at the bell, but Tama ROCKS Okada with big forearms! Tama CLUBS Okada, but Okada throws forearms back. Okada whips, Tama reverses but Okada swings. Tama dodges, but then Okada dodges and comes back, GUN- No, Okada holds that off! Okada want the arm but Tama arm-drags him off. Tama runs in but is put on the apron and Okada DECKS him. Okada runs but Tama moves, so Okada rolls back and shows off a bit. Fans cheer and Okada dares Tama to come back. Tama paces around the outside, slides back in but Okada blocks his kick. Okada CLUBS the leg, ROCKS Tama with a forearm, then bumps Tama off buckles.
Okada throws back elbows in the corner but Tama shoves Okada. Okada ROCKS Tama with another forearm, then he brings Tama around to hit a NECKBREAKER! Cover, ONE, but Okada keeps cool. Okada wraps Tama up in a straitjacket stretch and fans rally as Tama endures. Okada keeps on the arms but Tama reaches with his legs. Tama scoots and gets the ropebreak! Fans cheer, Okada lets off, and Tama throws body shots. Okada eggs Tama on, Tama throws shoulders and body shots. Okada knees low, snapmares and sits Tama up to run and basement dropkick! Fans rally up as Okada slowly stalks Tama.
Okada brings Tama up, scoops and SLAMS him, then goes to the apron to slingshot, but Tama moves! Okada rolls through the senton and is put on the apron. He ROCKS Tama, but Tama GUNSTUN HOTSHOTS! Fans fire up as Okada falls to the floor. Tama goes out, stomps Okada, then goes into the ring. Red Shoes starts the ring count and it reaches 10 of 20 before Okada gets up. Tama gets impatient, goes out and snap suplexes Okada to the floor! Red Shoes goes out to check on Okada, he’s alright to continue, and fans rally as the ring count restarts. The count reaches 10 of 20 again before Okada sits up. Okada crawls at 14, stands at 17, and is in at 18!
Tama rains down rights but Red Shoes reprimands about closed fists. Tama scoops, SLAMS and drops an elbow! Then another! Then a JUMPING elbow! Cover, TWO! Tama paces, fans rally up for “O-KA-DA!” and Tama sits Okada up to CLUB him in the chest. Tama wrenches the neck, traps an arm in a top wristlock then clubs away on Okada more! Tama lets off and paces before he drags Okada up into a chinlock. Tama digs his knee into Okada’s back but Okada endures. Tama pulls back but Okada fights up and throws body shots. Tama shifts to a full SLEEPER and he drags Okada down into body scissors! Okada endures and gets out of the scissors, but Tama turns him from the ropes.
Okada sits up, fans rally up more, but Tama moves around to lean on Okada. Tama thrashes Okada around but Okada fights up. Okada throws body shots, runs, but Tama wraps on another sleeper! Tama brings Okada back down, but still Okada endures. Okada fights back up as fans rally, and he throws elbows. Okada is free, he ROCKS Tama then runs, but Tama follows to get a sleeper! But Okada slips right out and ROCKS Tama in the back! Then BOOTS Tama down! Fans fire up as both men are down and stirring. Okada stands up, Tama follows, and Okada brings him around for forearms.
Okada whips, Tama reverses but Okada ducks and dodges to CLOBBER Tama with a back elbow! Fans fire up and Okada whips Tama to the corner. Tama boots back, runs in but into a FLAPJACK! That was a big one! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps cool as Tama rolls away to a corner. Okada storms over, blocks the boot and ROCKS Tama with a forearm. Okada puts Tama up top to dropkick him down to the floor! Fans fire up again as Okada rests in the ring. Fans rally up for “O-KA-DA!” and he slowly goes out the side. Okada stalks up behind Tama, brings him around and hits a DDT to the floor! Okada takes his time getting up and going into the ring while the count begins.
The count reaches 10 of 20 but Okada goes out to fetch Tama. Okada puts Tama back in the ring, then goes up the corner. Tama staggers back up, Okada leaps to missile dropkick! Cover, TWO! Okada gets Tama up, wrenches and puts on the MONEY CLIP! Okada wrangles Tama down the mat but Tama grabs at hair. Red Shoes reprimands, Tama crawls and reaches out to ropes, and gets the ropebreak with a foot! Okada lets go and Tama sputters as he bails out. Okada goes out after him again, CLUBS him on the back, and drags him around the way to the ramp. Okada scoops, but Tama fights out to TONGAN TWIST to the ramp!
Both men are down and fans fire up again. Tama gets up first, the ring count is 7 of 20 as he staggers about. Tama drags Okada up at 11, puts him in the ring at 15, and fans cheer as Tama wants to finish this properly. Tama steadies himself, runs corner to corner and hits a SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Okada is still in this but Tama drags him back up in a dragon sleeper, TONGAN TWIST! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Jado coaches Tama up. Fans rally, Tama drags Okada up, but Okada blocks the fireman’s carry. Okada CLUBS Tama, wrenches the arm, but Tama steps inside the Money Clip to RAM Okada into buckles. Tama whips, Okada reverses, MONEY CLIP!
Tama endures but he still drops to a knee. Fans rally, Tama throws body shots and then ROCKS Okada with a forearm. Okada dodges the super forearm to a BACK2BACKBREAKER! And MONEY CLIP!! Tama flails and kicks, reaches out, but Okada drags him back from the ropes! Okada leans on the hold, Tama still endures but he’s fading! Tama gets a second wind and gets the ropebreak! Okada lets go and both men catch their breath while fans cheer. Okada gets up, paces, then brings Tama back up. Okada scoops, SLAMS Tama in a drop zone, and goes up top. MACHO ELBOW! Fans fire up with the Rainmaker Pose!
Okada drags Tama up, wristlock ripcords but Tama dodges the lariat! And he fakes out Okada’s dropkick! Okada gets to a corner, Tama runs in but Okada pops him up to the Alabama lift! Tama fights off but Okada ROCKS him with a forearm! Okada runs in but Tama pops him up! ALABAMA SLAMA! Tama hurries to get Okada up, fireman’s carries and ROLLING DEATH VALLEY! Tama hurries up top and SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and fans rally up. Tama stands, waits on Okada, GUN- NO! Okada ripcords, but Tama jumps again! Okada blocks Gun Stun to a gut wrench, but Tama slips off the back! GUN-
NO! Ripcord, but Tama ducks under, slips around, Half Hatch, BLOODY SUNDAY!! A shoutout to the Prince and fans are thunderous! Tama hears voices like the Viper, fans drum along and Okada slowly rises. GUN- Still no! Okada shoves Tama away to dropkick him down! Both men are on the mat and fans fire up again. Tama gets to one corner, Okada goes to the opposite. Okada runs corner to corner but Tama dodges the back elbow! Tama goes to the opposite corner now, runs in, but Okada dodges the splash! Tama blocks the gut wrench, throws elbows to get free, but Okada runs in to SHOTGUN dropkick!
Okada drags Tama up, gut wrenches, but again Tama blocks! Okada CLUBS Tama on the back, ROCKS him with a EuroUpper, then ROCKS him with another! And again! Tama drops to a knee, Okada gut wrenches, but Tama slips to get the gut wrench and TOMBSTONE! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Tama powers up, brings Okada up, and underhooks, but Okada fights out to wrench. Tama ducks the lariat and waistlocks but Okada elbows free and runs, into Tama’s dropkick! Fans fire up and Tama is back on his feet! Tama gets Okada up, reels him in, and underhooks again, but Okada again fights and back drops, to then sit on the cover, TWO!!
Tama gets up, GUN- NO! Ripcord, but Tama ducks and runs, but into Okada’s dropkick! Okada fires up and fans are right with him! Okada drags Tama up, gut wrench and a throw into GUN- NO! Okada somehow holds off the cutter to waistlock, but Tama throws elbows. Okada holds on to HIGH ANGLE GERMAN! And holds on again to ripcord, GUN- NO! Okada again holds it off to spin, but Tama gets around, slips through, underhooks, but Okada back drops free again! Tama comes back and leaps, but into a gut wrench, MICHONOKU! Ripcord, RAINMAKER!! Cover, Okada wins!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall (still Right to Challenger holder)
This was a fast and furious chess match, but it is still the Rainmaker who stands tall! He keeps the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but he does show Tama respect. Who else will be gunning for Okada’s golden ticket? Will anyone stop Okada from resetting the NJPW landscape?
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Zack Sabre Jr!
Speaking of avenging losses, the Dragon was one of the Submission Master’s biggest wins in this year’s G1. Will ZSJ give us a repeat performance and stand at the top of NJPW? Or will Takagi refuse to #JustTapOut?
The introductions are made, the top title belt is raised, and we see if a Dangerous Tekker can become a double champion!
Fans rally up as the two stare down. The two approach, feel things out, circle and then tie up. Takagi puts ZSJ on the ropes but lets off quickly. They approach again, Takagi gets around to waistlock, but ZSJ switches. Takagi switches back, ZSJ pries an arm to a hammerlock but Takagi headlocks to a facelock. Takagi snapmares, but ZSJ slips out to get the arm again. ZSJ goes from hammerlock to snapmare but Takagi slips out now to get a wristlock. Takagi YANKS the arm, ZSJ tries to fight the wrench but Takagi still gets it. ZSJ bridges, handsprings, slips through and wrenches Takagi to a wristlock. Takagi powers ZSJ back, rolls, but ZSJ rolls with him to keep the wristlock.
Takagi arm-drags but ZSJ arm-drags back to have an armlock! Takagi fights back up, puts ZSJ on the ropes, and then gets away. Fans cheer the technical exchange as the two reset. ZSJ and Takagi approach as fans rally up, “TA-KA-GI!” or perhaps even “ZSJ!” The two tie up, are in a deadlock for a moment, but Takagi pushes ZSJ back to ropes. Red Shoes calls for another break, Takagi lets off but points out ZSJ is still hooking legs. ZSJ lets off and Takagi swings, but ZSJ ducks the chop to get a cravat. Takagi tries to break it but ZSJ lets go long enough to avoid the clubbing, and then gets the cravat right back!
Takagi rolls to throw ZSJ off, things speed up, and ZSJ catches Takagi into a cobra twist! Takagi hip tosses free, ELBOWS, but ZSJ jumps on before the Yukon Lariat! Takagi throws off the Guillotine, avoids the Pele to the arm, and sits ZSJ up to run and SLIDING- No, ZSJ ducks and Penalty Kicks, but Takagi avoids that! They go arm-drag for arm-drag, ZSJ has the armlock but Takagi headscissors but ZSJ kips free, only for Takagi to run him over with a shoulder! Fans cheer as ZSJ goes to a corner. Takagi storms over, digs his knee in, but lets off as Red Shoes counts. Takagi puts ZSJ’s leg on the rope and stomps away on it!
Takagi stands on the knee, ZSJ kicks and him and says, “You’re the champion?” Takagi says, “Yes, I am champion!” Takagi drags ZSJ up to a facelock, ZSJ drops but Takagi stands him up to CHOP! ZSJ eggs him on, Takagi CHOPS him again! Takagi chops but ZSJ blocks! Takagi rolls but ZSJ uses that to get an ARMBAR! Takagi blocks, turns ZSJ over and wheelbarrows, but ZSJ drags Takagi down to a KNEEBAR! Takagi fights up, ZSJ shifts to a HEEL HOOK! Takagi endures, fights up and turns ZSJ in to a SHARPSHOOTER! Then an STF! Takagi focuses on the crossface, then wants a Fujiwara! ZSJ moves around to get the ropebreak! Takagi lets go and ZSJ bails out.
ZSJ kicks railing in frustration then wants Takagi to back off. Red Shoes has Takagi back up, and Takagi drops down, daring ZSJ to come get him. ZSJ doesn’t fall for it, so Takagi stands up to have one hand behind his back. ZSJ gets in, they knuckle lock, and ZSJ wrenches the arm. Takagi adds the other arm and he has the strength advantage now. ZSJ rolls back to reverse the pressure onto Takagi! Takagi fights up, turns things around, fireman’s carries, but ZSJ gets to the apron. ZSJ ducks the chop and has a rope assisted OCTOPUS! Red Shoes counts, ZSJ lets go quickly and catches his breath. Takagi joins ZSJ on the apron, ZSJ KICKS Takagi. And KICKS. And KICKS!
Takagi fireman’s carries! ZSJ slips back into the ring and has a SLEEPER over the ropes! But Takagi pries it open to ELBOW BREAKER! But ZSJ comes back for another SLEEPER! And body scissors! Red Shoes reprimands, they’re in the ropes! ZSJ lets go at 4 and Takagi flops to the floor! Red Shoes checks on Takagi but ZSJ talks trash as fans rally up. ZSJ waits as Takagi drags himself up. Takagi gets to the apron, ZSJ is there to PENALTY KICK him down! Fans fire up and ZSJ goes back into the ring. The count starts but ZSJ doesn’t want to wait, and he goes back out to put Takagi in the ring. ZSJ sits Takagi up to dropkick him in the back of the head!
Takagi goes to a corner, ZSJ walks over and fish hooks Takagi’s face! ZSJ then gets the arms for a straitjacket stretch, and uses his shoulder for leverage. Takagi gets the ropebreak with a foot and ZSJ lets go. ZSJ taunts Takagi with how time is ticking on the 60 minute limit, but Takagi throws body shots. ZSJ gives those backs, snapmares, but Takagi kicks him away from the neck twist. ZSJ kicks, Takagi blocks, but ZSJ slips out of the dragon screw to NECK TWIST! Cover, TWO! ZSJ keeps on Takagi with a cravat neck wrench and some short shoulders. Takagi throws body shots, ZSJ headlocks but Takagi powers out to ELBOW, JAB and YUKON- GUILLOTINE!
ZSJ has Takagi again, but Takagi powers out to a BIG suplex! Fans rally up, ZSJ goes to a corner and Takagi fires off elbows! Takagi throws a knee, whips corner to corner, then runs in to clothesline! ZSJ staggers, Takagi runs but blocks a boot to JAB! Yukon feint to a DDT! Cover, TWO! Takagi fires up and fans rally as he brings ZSJ up. Takagi throws forearms, then a DOUBLE CHOP! ZSJ stays standing, and he headbutts low, only to uppercut into a Gory Especial! But ZSJ blocks Noshigami with a sleeper! ZSJ slips around to hook a leg, then put on the IRON OCTOPUS! Takagi endures, powers up and denies the sunset, but ZSJ catches sliding lariat to an ARM TWIST!
Fans fire up as both men are down. ZSJ grabs Takagi’s arm, bends it and isolates it, then STOMPS it! Ghost pin, TWO, but ZSJ uses that for a mounted ARMBAR! Behind the back grip, then a double wristlock! Takagi rolls to the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go and both men are down again. Fans rally up, ZSJ gets an arm and wrenches it. And wrenches again! And again! Takagi swings, ZSJ ducks and tilt-o-whirls into an octopus stretch, but Takagi makes it a SIDEWALK SLAM! Takagi shakes out the bad arm as fans rally, and he runs in, blocks a boot and LARIATS through! But ZSJ shoves Takagi and eggs Takagi on! Takagi eggs him on in return, and ZSJ fires off EuroUppers!
Takagi fires up, swings, but into a full nelson! He breaks it, but ZSJ GERMAN SUPLEXES! But Takagi’s right up to SAIDO! But ZSJ is up, into the ELBOW! ZSJ catches the Yukon, wrenches and PELES the arm! Then he BOOTS Takagi’s lariat, ducks the Yukon, and runs, to tilt-o-whirl FACEBUSTER! But Takagi’s right back up!? POINT-BLANK PUMPING LARIAT! But ZSJ’s right back up!! PENALTY KICK! Both men are down and fans are thunderous! ZSJ sits up, Takagi follows, and ZSJ facelocks. Takagi blocks the scoop, switches to a waistlock but ZSJ throws elbows back. Takagi ducks and puts ZSJ’s leg in the ropes. Takagi gets the other, DRAPING DRAGON SCREW!
Fans rally as both men are down again. Takagi gets up and shakes out the bad arm before he drags ZSJ back up. ZSJ EuroUppers but into a backslide! ZSJ rolls through but Takagi traps ZSJ’s head to NECK TWIST! Fans fire up as Takagi shows some savvy. Takagi drags ZSJ back up, reels him in, POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO! But into an STF! ZSJ endures, reaches, crawls, but Takagi rolls him away into a crossface! ZSJ endures again, fights and gets the ropebreak! Takagi lets go but he grabs at the legs. Wheelbarrow, but ZSJ slips out to get the arm! Takagi resists the wristlock and CLUBS ZSJ. ZSJ boots a lariat away, roundhouses another away, and then scoops to ZACK DRIVER!!
Both men are down and fans fire up again! ZSJ and Takagi stir, sit up, and ZSJ gets Takagi’s arm for an ELBOW BREAKER! And another! Takagi tries a sleeper but ZSJ switches it onto him. Takagi powers out, pops ZSJ to a fireman’s carry, but ZSJ slips into a backpack sleeper, but Takagi drops right down on him! But ZSJ shifts to an ARMBAR! Takagi clasps hands, turns, and fights up but ZSJ lets him go. Takagi runs to SLIDING FOREARM! Both men are down again and fans fire back up. Takagi fires up with “OI! OI! OI!” and fans clap along. Takagi fires up and says, “MOTO!” He pump handles but ZSJ victory rolls, TWO!
ZSJ trips Takagi, gets a body scissor and turns Takagi over, but Takagi turns EuroClutch into sleeper and body scissors! ZSJ endures, but he’s already turning red. ZSJ sits up, pushes back and gets free, but Takagi blocks the Penalty Kick! ZSJ SLAPS Takagi, but Takagi catches him into MADE IN JAPAN! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives but Takagi keeps his focus. Fans rally up again, Takagi runs as ZSJ stands, PUMPING BOMBER!! ZSJ tumbles to ropes and Takagi can’t go after him because of the pain in his arm. But fans still rally, and Takagi gets up and roars! Takagi hauls ZSJ up to the top rope and then has a fireman’s carry up top! ZSJ fights to get a double wristlock!
Red Shoes reprimands them both, but Takagi throws forearms and headbutts. Takagi CLUBS ZSJ down off the ropes, but ZSJ gets back up. Takagi boot shim away, but ZSJ springs right up for a SUPER ARMBAR TAKEDOWN!! Takagi clasps hands but ZSJ shifts sides! ZSJ drags Takagi into a TRIANGLE HOLD! Takagi endures, dead lifts but ZSJ hooks the ARMBAR! Takagi falls but into the ROPEBREAK! ZSJ lets go, both men too sore to be frustrated. ZSJ kicks at the bad arm but Takagi sits up. ZSJ kicks Takagi down, but Takagi sits back up. ZSJ kicks and kicks and kicks! Takagi eggs ZSJ on, ZSJ gets the arm and STOMPS it! ZSJ runs to PENALTY KICK!
ZSJ drags Takagi up, SIT-OUT ZACK DRIVER!! Cover, TWO!?! No one can believe Takagi survived that!! ZSJ gets the arm, throws elbows into the shoulder and chest, then sits Takagi up for more elbows. Takagi blocks one, wrenches for an ELBOW- NO! ZSJ hops on for another backpack sleeper! Takagi stays up this time, fans rally hard as ever, and Takagi goes to a corner. Takagi climbs, Red Shoes calls for the break, ZSJ still holds on, SUPER BACKPACK SENTON! Takagi is free but both men are down and fans are thunderous again. Takagi flounders, ZSJ springs on him for the DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! Omoplata, but Takagi rolls, into a TRIANGLE HOLD!
ZSJ throws elbows into Takagi’s head, squeezes as tight as he can, and fans are rallying as hard as they can! Takagi endures, grabs at Red Shoes, then dead lifts! Fireman’s carry, LAST OF THE DRAGONS!! But he’s too tired to cover!! Fans are thunderous again, Takagi rises and roars, and he drags ZSJ up. Takagi ROCKS ZSJ with elbow after elbow, and he eggs ZSJ on. “Oi, Zack! OI!” ZSJ gets up, EuroUppers again and again, but Takagi headbutts his own arm to get it working. Boxing elbows back and forth from all sides and then he ROCKS ZSJ! ZSJ SLAPS away with palm strikes! Takagi JABS! He ducks the roundhouse but not the ENZIGURI! Takagi SLIDING FOREARMS!!
Fans are electric as Takagi drags ZSJ up. ZSJ holds off the fireman’s carry, Takagi wrenches and tries the pump handle but ZSJ slips around to flip Takagi over with the pump handles! EURO CLUTCH!! TWO!!! Takagi narrowly escapes and even Takagi’s is surprised! ZSJ EuroUppers, and again, but Takagi pats ZSJ on the shoulder. ZSJ swings, but into the Gory Especial! NOSHIGAMI!! Both men are down again, but the fans only get hotter for this! Takagi pump handles and torture racks but ZSJ slips out to a dragon sleeper! Takagi powers through to dragon sleeper, and put ZSJ in the ropes! DRAPING GTR!!
Takagi drags ZSJ back up, powers up, POINT-BLANK PUMPING!! Cover, TWO! ZSJ is still in this and time’s still running out. Takagi gives quick headbutts, then pump handles and torture racks, LAST OF THE DRAGONS!! Cover, Takagi wins!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion)
The Dragon still reigns! Taichi jumps off commentary to kick the Young Lions away and check on ZSJ. Taichi argues the count but Red Shoes defends it was all fair. Will there be another chance for the Tekkers in the future?
As for Takagi, he gets the belt back and does his best to put it on display as he rests on the mat. But wait! Here comes Okada and his Right to Challenge Heavyweight Championship! Okada joins Takagi in the ring, and then Okada gets the mic first. “Takagi, congratulations on your defense. And thanks for the hard work. From here, the G1 31 Champion will take over from the World Champion and carry NJPW. Thank you for all that you’ve done.” Okada confirms that the belt he carries is his contract for January 4th.
Okada then says, “The G1 Champion, the World Heavyweight Champion, who’s the real deal? Let’s find out.” Takagi may be the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, but he’s also a G1 Climax A Block loser! “Step up to me, Kazuchika Okada, you bastard!” Takagi gets his turn with the mic and says he didn’t think Okada would come out here. Saves him having to call Okada out. But Okada’s right, he didn’t make it out of the A Block. He came in second and Ibushi went to the finals. But if Takagi had made it, Okada knows he wouldn’t have won, right? “Are you still carrying that toy around? You like that thing, huh? But you are a great G1 Champion. That can’t be denied.
“But I did managed to defend this belt today, somehow.” Okada understands what Takagi’s saying, right? Does he get it? The G1 Champion VS The World Heavyweight Champion? “Let’s find out who the strongest is! And let’s do it on January 4th in the Tokyo Dome!” Fans cheer for that, and Takagi drops the mic. The two champions stare down for a moment, then turn to the crowd to see who gets more cheers. Okada takes his leave to give Takagi his moment. Takagi stays to say, “I’m not leaving this half-assed. This is the last big Osaka event for the year, so let me speak just a bit more.” Fans cheer that. “Okay, here we go!
“Today was tough. Really, really tough.” Takagi thought he’d give up so many times, but he couldn’t lose now, could he? ZSJ was “the best and strongest challenger possible.” But you know what that means? Takagi beat the best challenger, making him the best in the world right now! He thanks the fans for that applause. But his dreams and visions are far from over. He is only looking on and up. “Like a dragon, with this IWGP World Heavyweight title, I’m soaring to the Tokyo Dome!” Mic drop! But will Takagi keep from dropping that title all the way to the New Year?
What a great event and what a big event size wise for Power Struggle. So much change to the title landscape but really some needed ones. I like that Bullet Club has gotten some gold back. They have all of the NEVER titles, with Jay White still NEVER Openweight Champion while in the US, and now Kenta has the US title here. Still waiting on a proper Bullet Club Civil War, and these belts can be a big part of that. Those matches were both great, with a lot of story in Sho betraying Chaos and then being chased off by Yoh, while Tanahashi VS Kenta was just great overall.
Yano VS Khan was a great way of using KOPW to give us something actually serious and technical. I figured Yano would win, but I like that we’re also getting Nagata involved. Nagata taking on Khan would be a really good match, but who knows where that brings either after that. Eagles VS Desperado was great, and I was surprised to learn Eagles & Tiger Mask won the tag titles. Desperado getting the singles title back was only a little surprising, as he’s been a great singles champion and of course can be there to take on Hiromu at some point. The World Tag League and Best of the Super Juniors combo series is coming back, chances are Eagles & Tiger Mask are gonna be busy.
And of course the top title picture is awesome. Okada VS Tama II was Tama’s newest best singles match, but I figured Okada would retain the Right to Challenge. Okada making the old IWGP Heavyweight title the representation of the contract is genius, and Okada will surely hold onto it until WK16. Takagi VS ZSJ was awesome stuff, though at a certain point I felt maybe they were both getting gassed. They were going so hard for so long, it’s obviously not easy to keep that up. But It was probably the best match all week, and Takagi gets a big win. Okada walking out to officially call Takagi out was good stuff, that match could go either way. Honestly, the old Heavyweight Championship belt is a better design, but I don’t think that’s going to give Okada the win.
My Score: 9.3/10
Mitchell’s NJPW New Years Golden Series Results & Report! (1/20/22)
So much more than a dash!
NJPW starts on a new journey!
NJPW starts a month long journey that will culminate in an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match of Kazuchika Okada VS Tetsuya Naito!
- Great-O-Khan VS Yuto Nakashima; Khan wins.
- Hiromu Takahashi VS Ryohei Oiwa; Hiromu wins.
- Togi Makabe & Tiger Mask VS Taiji Ishimori & Jado; Makabe & Tiger Mask win.
- Six Man Tag: Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima & Toru Yano VS Suzuki-Gun; Honma, Kojima & Yano win.
- Six Man Tag: Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan VS Suzuki-Gun; Wato, Taguchi & Tenzan wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS House of Torture; Chaos wins.
- Six Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuji Nagata VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; LIJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima & Toru Yano VS Suzuki-Gun!
It’s a Great Bash Heels reunion as Everyone’s Kokeshi, Bread Style and The Producer are taking on Taka Michinoku, Taichi and the Meanest Man in the World himself! Yano wants to get the KOPW 2022 trophy, but will he even survive Suzuki at the start of this series?
Yano gets impatient during Suzuki-Gun’s entrance, seems he doesn’t hold the same reverence for the theme song as fans do. Suzuki and his team wait for the introductions to finish, and then the attack! Taka is after Kojima, Taichi chokes Honma in a corner, and Suzuki stomps Yano! The bell rings to get this on record, and while Taka throws Kojima out and Suzuki sends Yano out, Taichi keeps on Honma in the corner. Suzuki throws body shots on Yano, then uses his own spray bottle against him! The ref reprimands Taichi and Taichi stops choking Honma to argue with the ref. Honma kicks back but Taichi kicks, and Taichi gets the edge.
Taichi snapmares to KICK Honma in the back. Honma gets up to forearm but Taichi kicks his leg. Forearm, kick, forearm, kick, repeat! Taichi gets the edge again, eggs Honma up, then chokes him! The ref reprimands, Honma breaks free! Taichi tells him to shut it and sobats! Taichi runs, but Honma dodges the boot to run Taichi over! Fans fire up with Honma as he runs, but he waits for Taichi to roll out of the way before he drops the KOKESHI! Kokeshi gets the better of Taichi, and then tags in Yano! Yano fires up and he goes to the corner to untie the pad! Taichi tags out to Suzuki and Yano turns around to face a nightmare!
Suzuki kicks, whips, but Yano holds ropes and dodges the boot to SLAP Suzuki! Yano whips, Suzuki reverses and Yano hits bare buckles! Suzuki boots Yano, snapmares and PENALTY KICKS! Taichi and Taka go after Honma and Kojima while Suzuki drags Yano out. Suzuki sends Yano into railing, then smacks him off the apron! Taichi and Taka do the same to the others, then Suzuki goes looking under the ring. Suzuki drags Yano up, wraps his arm around railing, and cranks on the arm! Suzuki even claws Yano’s forehead and fish hooks the nose! The ring count starts, Suzuki leaves Yano behind and fans rally up.
The count is 10 of 20 and Taichi taunts Yano while he’s on the floor. Taichi stomps Yano, Yano still gets up at 17 and in at 18. Suzuki powers Yano to a cover, TWO! Fans rally, Suzuki tags Taka. Taka stomps Yano, sits him up and digs his knuckles into the forehead! The ref reprimands and counts, Taka lets off with the other hand! The ref reprimands more, counts again, and Taka lets off to scrape his soles on Yano’s face! Taka puts Yano in the corner, throws an uppercut, then tags Taichi. Taichi chokes Yano! The ref reprimands and counts, Taichi stops at 4. Taichi drags Yano up to snapmare and CHOKE! The ref notices and reprimands Taichi again!
Taichi lets off, but then he chokes Yano again! The ref reprimands, so Taichi says that’s not a choke. THIS is a choke! The ref warns Taichi, he lets off, and fans rally up as Taichi drags Yano up by his hair. Taichi feeds Yano to Suzuki’s boot! Suzuki tags in, he stomps away on Yano, then has the leg! Yano has the ropebreak but Taka stands on Yano’s neck! Taichi gets in to intercept Honma and throw him back out! The ref restores order, fans rally up, but Suzuki drags Yano up. Yano rakes eyes! Yano whips Suzuki, Suzuki narrowly avoids hitting bare buckles! Yano runs in but Suzuki dodges and Yano hits buckles!
Suzuki runs, but Yano gets him for an atomic drop! Yano hurries over, fans rally up, hot tag to Kojima! Kojima hits the Suzuki-Gun corner before he stomps Suzuki to a corner. Kojima fires off the MACHINE GUN CHOPS! Suzuki just snarls and turns things around for machine gun forearms! But Kojima turns it back for another round of MACHINE GUN CHOPS! Kojima whips Suzuki into the bare buckles, then hits a forearm smash! Kojima throws Suzuki down, but Suzuki gets right up to kick low! Suzuki brings Kojima out but Kojima fires forearms! But Suzuki knees low! Suzuki wrenches, Kojima kicks, but Suzuki blocks the cutter to a SLEEPER!
Kojima fights up, fights free, but Suzuki talks trash. Kojima CHOPS, so Suzuki CHOPS! Kojima CHOPS, Suzuki CHOPS, it’s a CHOP fight! Kojima gets the edge with forearms, then hits a ROLLING ELBOW! Kojima runs, but Suzuki shoots around to DECK Kojima! Tag to Taka, he DECKS Honma then stomps Kojima. Taka whips Kojima in to the bare buckles! SHINING WIZARD! Taichi adds a corner clothesline, then he runs Kojima to the corner! Snapmare, to a SHINING WIZARD! Cover, Yano and Honma break it! Suzuki and Taichi throw them back out, and Taka drags Kojima up. Taka scoops, but Kojima fights free! COZY CUTTER!
Kojima throws off the armband and runs, but Taka goes the other way to BOOT! And SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO! Kojima survives Taka’s Super K, but Taka runs. Taka ducks the lariat, Kojima throws a low kick but Taka hits a CALF KICK! Kojima still hits COZY LARIAT!! Cover, Great Bash Heels win!
Winners: Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima & Toru Yano, by pinfall
Suzuki-Gun’s Blue Playmaker fumbles again! And somehow, Yano has cuffed Suzuki to the ropes! Yano dares Suzuki to do something about it, but obviously he can’t without the key. Taichi gets in with his mic stand so the Great Bash Heels take their leave. Will Suzuki be unable to do anything as Yano goes after the KOPW 2022 trophy?
Six Man Tag: Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan VS Suzuki-Gun!
The Way of the Grandmaster joins forces with his mentors as he takes on Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado! Wato is rolling towards the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, but will the Rogue Luchador turn the tides?
The teams sort out and Wato steps up to start against Desperado. Fans rally for this IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship teaser, but Desperado trips Wato. Desperado runs, Wato stays low, but Desperado steps on him! Desperado stands Wato up to CHOP, then whips him to ropes. Wato holds ropes, Desperado runs in but is tossed out! Wato runs to FLY! Direct hit with the tope conjilo! Fans fire up as Wato puts Desperado in, covers, TWO! Desperado sits up, Wato KICKS and KICKS and KICKS! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Wato tags Taguchi. They drag Desperado up, whips, double drop toeholds and double basement dropkicks! Taguchi covers, TWO!
Fans rally, Taguchi throws point blank hip attacks! Desperado gets up but Taguchi bops him again and again and again! Taguchi winds up to BOP Desperado into the corner! Tag to Tenzan, he talks trash on Suzuki-Gun while Taguchi digs his boots in. Tenzan tops it off with a stomp, then a headbutt. Tenzan fires off Mongolian Chops on Desperado in the corner, and fans rally as Tenzan headbutts Desperado down. Tenzan whips corner to corner and hits a corner clothesline! Fans fire up as Tenzan calls his shot, and hits a TENZAN BRAINBSUTER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Tenzan ROCKS Desperado and kicks him at the ropes.
Tenzan whips, Desperado reverses, and Douki trips Tenzan! Douki drags Tenzan out and rams him into railing while Desperado blasts the corner! Kanemaru goes around the way to go after Taguchi! Desperado goes out to bring Wato up and ROCK him with an elbow! Douki chokes Tenzan with his metal pipe! The ref tries to restore order but Desperado whips Wato into railing! Kanemaru does the same to Taguchi! Douki keeps choking Tenzan, Kanemaru returns to the corner and Desperado tags him in. Douki sends Tenzan in, Kanemaru sits Tenzan up to throw an elbow into his head. Kanemaru then runs to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO!
Kanemaru stomps Tenzan, drags him up and elbows him on the neck! Tenzan fires up! Kanemaru throws hands, then rakes eyes! Tag to Douki, Douki snapmares Tenzan and runs to DOUBLE STOMP! Cover, TWO! Douki reels Tenzan into a grounded cobra twist! Tenzan endures, grabs at Douki’s head and powers out. Douki stomps Tenzan, feeds him to Kanemaru’s boot, then tags Kanemaru in. Tenzan kicks Douki but gets mugged! Kanemaru rakes eyes, he and Douki whip Tenzan to the open corner! Douki runs in but Tenzan runs him over! Kanemaru kicks low, runs, but into a MOUNTAIN BOMB! Fans fire up while everyone is down!
Tenzan crawls, hot tag to Taguchi! Taguchi runs at the ropes to give Kanemaru a hip attack! Then he runs to give Douki a hip attack! Then back to Kanemaru, then back to Douki! Taguchi slides to apron GAMANGIRI Kanemaru back in! Fans rally, Taguchi springboards, MISSILE HIP! Cover, TWO! Taguchi kips up and fans rally as he calls upon the powers of Strong Style! “ORYA~!” But Kanemaru dropkicks the legs out! Kanemaru gets a leg to SMASH the knee into the mat! Then steps through, but Taguchi KICKS Kanemaru away! Taguchi runs, but Kanemaru counters the hip attack with an atomic drop!
Kanemaru hits an ENZIGURI, but Taguchi ENZIGURIS back! Both men are down and fans fire up! Kanemaru and Taguchi crawl, hot tags to Wato and Desperado! Wato BOOTS, Desperado CHOPS! Wato KICKS, and KICKS, and KCIKS, but Desperado blocks to spin Wato, but Wato fights the back suplex! Wato then runs, but Desperado goes the other way to SPEAR! Desperado gets Wato up for a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Desperado stomps away on Wato, then drags Wato by a leg. Wato kicks Desperado away with the free leg, then gets up to kick, kick and sobat into a front kick, then SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!
Wato grits his teeth and fans rally as he drags Desperado up. Desperado resists the Mouse Trap, spins around and rakes the eyes! But Wato kicks and whips, only for Desperado to reverse and SPINEBUSTER! Fans fire up while both men are down! Desperado tags Douki in and he hits Wato with a corner clothesline. Douki runs, Wato gets around but Douki fights the waistlock. Douki goes to run but Wato reels him in. Douki breaks free with his leg, mule kicks and ENZIGURIS! Wato wobbles, Douki reels him in, DDT! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Douki drags Wato up and torture racks, for a swing, but Wato slips out!
Douki knees low, runs, but into Wato’s SCREW HIGH KICK! Fans rally up, Taguchi runs in to knock Desperado and Kanemaru down while Tenzan stomps Douki! Wato whips Douki to the corner, then runs in to back elbow. Tenzan adds a clothesline, Taguchi hits a hip attack! Double whip feed to Wato’s scoop, T T D! Cover, Desperado and Kanemaru break it! Taguchi and Tenzan go after them, throw them out, and Wato fires up! Wato goes to the corner, climbs up top, R P P FLOP! Douki Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! La Magistrol, TWO! Wato gets up but Douki HELL STABS! But Wato fires up!
Douki still dodges the roundhouse, Gory Especials, but Wato sunset flips! TWO!! Wato has Douki caught in a BUTTERFLY STRETCH! Douki endures, but he taps! Wato and team win!
Winners: Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan, by pinfall
The Way of the Grandmaster is victorious, holds on a little longer, but then lets off as Desperado storms back in. Desperado swipes at Wato but Taguchi and Tenzan back him up. Desperado still pie faces Wato, Wato gives it back, and then things turn to hair pulling and mask pulling. The ref tries to keep the peace but it takes Taguchi and Tenzan to break this up. They assure their young ward that waiting for the title match will be worth it. Wato and Desperado are on a collision course, will the Rogue Luchador survive the rising tide?
8 Man Tag: Chaos VS House of Torture!
Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Yoh are far from through with Evil, Yujiro Takahashi, Dick Togo & Sho! Will Chaos strike back for WrestleKingdom 16? Or will Darkness Fall again?
The House of Torture Low Sweet, but Chaos attacks first! Yoh is after Sho, Hashi has Yujiro, Goto has Dick and Ishii has Evil! Yoh keeps Sho in while Goto, Hashi and Ishii throw the others out, and the bell rings to get this on record. Ishii CHOPS Evil, Hashi CLUBS Yujiro, Yoh stomps away on Sho, and Goto POSTS Dick! Yoh drags Sho up, but Sho bends Yoh’s fingers! Sho CLUBS the arm, headlocks, but Yoh powers out, only for Sho to pull hair! Sho headlocks, Yoh throws body shots and powers out. Things speed up, Yoh keeps things moving to drop toehold and basement dropkick! Fans fire up and Yoh tags Hashi.
Hashi and Goto get in, they and Yoh hammer Sho down! Yujiro gets in but he gets hammered, too! Evil thinks about it but he stays away. Dick does, too, but Ishii throws Dick in! All four Chaos members surround Dick, but then Dick plays dead! That doesn’t stop them from dragging Dick up and hammering him! Fans fire up as Chaos controls the ring and Evil is furious. Hashi drags Sho out from the corner, CLUBS him and CHOPS him! Hashi brings Sho around, bumps him off buckles, then digs his boot in. Ishii and Goto add on, the ref reprimands and counts, and they all let off at 4. Hashi drags Sho back up but Sho bends the fingers!
Sho whips Hashi to the House of Torture corner, and tada! Evil removes the blue buckle pad! Hashi hits bare steel, Sho hits Yoh off the apron! Sho also knows Goto and Ishii down, Dick chokes Hashi at the ropes, Evil SMACKS Ishii with the blue buckle pad! The ref is busy with everyone else, Dick digs his boots into Hashi. Sho then digs his boots into Hashi while Evil stands on Ishii. Dick tags in, he drags Hashi up to throw hands. Dick drags Hashi up to CLUB him down, then brings him around to snapmare. Dick runs to drop the fist! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up while the House protests. Evil tags in, he drags Hashi up to wrench and wrench and wrench.
Evil whips Hashi into the bare buckles! Hashi staggers and falls, Ishii runs in but he’s send into bare buckles! Evil grins, Sho keeps the ref busy with Ishii and Evil claws Hashi’s eyes! Yujiro tags in, he talks some trash but Hashi throws body shots. Yujiro CLUBS Hashi, snapmares him then runs to basement BOOT! Cover, Yoh breaks it! Yujiro hits Yoh back and sends him out. Sho PENALTY KICKS Yoh from the apron! Yujiro drags Hashi up, but Hashi fires off forearms! Yujiro knees low, puts Hashi on the ropes, and runs but blocks Hashi’s boot! Yujiro throws Hashi down to run and basement boot!
Yujiro drags Hashi back up, fisherman, but Hashi fights free to suplex! Fans fire up while both men are down! Hashi and Yujiro crawl, hot tag to Goto! Goto rallies on the House, but Yujiro kicks low. Yujiro runs, but gets run over! Goto fires off forearms, whips Yujiro to a corner, then runs in to MURAMASA! And BULLDOG! Cover, TWO! Goto drags Yujiro back up but Yujiro breaks free, only to swing into a suplex! Yujiro fights that off by BITING Goto’s hand! The ref reprimands, Yujiro whips but Goto reveres and fireman’s carries! Yujiro slips off, Goto elbows him but Yujiro throws a forearm. Goto forearms back then whips.
Yujiro holds ropes, dodges Goto, and Evil hooks a foot! Yujiro BOOTS Goto down! Tag to Evil, and he has the ref watch Ishii. Evil and Yujiro double whip, but Goto DECKS Evil! DISCUS for Yujiro! Evil kicks and runs but Goto follows to LARIAT! Fans fire up while both men are down! Goto crawls over, hot tag to Ishii! The Stone Pitbull runs in to clothesline the King of Darkness! Evil reverses the whip, kicks and runs but gets run over! Ishii snarls, runs in and clotheslines Evil at the ropes! Ishii whips, Evil reverses, and Sho trips Ishii! Evil runs, but Yoh trips him! Yoh and Sho get in, Yoh dropkicks Sho down!
Evil runs, Yoh feeds him to Ishii’s forearm! Yoh dropkicks, Ishii GERMAN SUPLEXES! Yoh PLANCHAS to take Sho out! Fans fire up, Ishii runs, but Yujiro is there with his pimp cane! Evil waistlocks, Ishii fights the lift, but he runs into Dick’s cheap shot! Evil trips Ishii and gets the legs, SCORPION DEATHLOCK! Fans rally and Yujiro keeps Hashi out but Ishii endures. Ishii fights his way over, ROPEBREAK! Dick tries to make Ishii let go, but Ishii has an iron grip! Dick tags in and stomps away on Ishii! The ref reprimands and counts Evil, Evil lets off at 4. Fans rally for Ishii but Dick keeps stomping. Dick talks trash and kicks Ishii around but fans rally harder.
Dick drags Ishii up, eggs him on, and Ishii reels back, but Dick pokes him in the eye! Dick whips, gets a sleeper, but Ishii powers up. Dick blocks the back suplex with punches, Sho blasts the Chaos corner! The House whips Ishii to a corner, Dick runs in to back elbow! Sho runs in to clothesline, Yujiro runs in to boot! Evil hits a clothesline and FISHERMAN BUSTER! Dick covers, TWO! Fans fire up, but Yujiro distracts the ref and Dick uses the SPOILER CHOKER! Sho has his wrench, but Hashi SUPERKICKS him down! Dick runs at Hashi but Hashi DECKS him! Yujiro kicks Hashi and runs, but into a LARIAT!
Evil returns, kicks Hashi and rakes the eyes! Goto runs in, Evil waistlocks, but Goto ducks for the HIDDEN FLASH SUPERKICK! Fans fire up, Goto and Hashi glare at Dick but he wants them to take it easy. But Yoh is there, too! Yoh EuroUppers, Goto fireman’s carries, Yoh and Hashi DOUBLE SUPERKICK into the USHIGOROSHI! Ishii adds a SLIDING LARIAT! Then Ishii gets Dick up for the BRAINBUSTER!! Cover, Chaos wins!
Winners: Chaos, by pinfall
Direct Drive, Fierce Warrior, Head Hunter and Stone Pitbull combine to break the Spoiler! And they add insult to injury by stomping Dick and throwing him out! Is the House of Torture going to be demolished and lose the NEVER Openweight titles? Or can they find a way to survive Chaos?
Six Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuji Nagata VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!
The Rainmaker is IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and The Ace is IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. But they have Tetsuya Naito and Sanada coming for their gold! Will the dream team and Blue Justice stand tall? Or will Uncontrollable Charisma, Cold Skull and Rampaging Dragon make this golden series tranquilo?
Tanahashi shows off the muscles and fans applaud. The teams sort out, LIJ fist bumps, and Sanada starts against Tanahashi. Fans rally for this US title preview as the two circle. “LET’S GO, ACE!” “SA-NA-DA!” They tie up, Sanada waistlocks but Tanahashi switches. Sanada wrenches but Tanahashi drops to get a leg pick. Tanahashi floats to a facelock but Sanada wrenches out. Tanahashi arm-drags but Sanada drags Tanahashi back down. Sanada keeps on the arm, Tanahashi fights up, but Sanada wrenches. Tanahashi wrenches back and headlocks. Tanahashi thrashes the headlock, Sanada powers up and pries at the hold, but Tanahashi clamps it on tighter.
Sanada endures the grind and throws body shots. Sanada powers up but can’t power out as Tanahashi holds tight. Sanada powers out the back, headlocks Tanahashi in return, and holds on tight as Tanahashi tries to power out. Fans rally up, Tanahashi powers up but Sanada hits a headlock takeover. Tanahashi headscissors, Sanada kips free but roles reverse as Tanahashi hits a headlock takeover and Sanada headscissors. Tanahashi kips free, but then roles switch back the other way as Sanada hits a headlock takeover and Tanahashi headscissors. Sanada kips free, roles reverse again, but Sanada holds tight as Tanahashi tries to kip up.
Fans cheer for the technical exchange, but Tanahashi moves around. Tanahashi headstands and pops free to then get a headlock. Sanada headscissors, Tanahashi kips free, and the two clinch. Tanahashi gets the headlock and the takeover, but Sanada headscissors again. Sanada holds tight again, but Tanahashi turns Sanada over and pops out to have the legs in a figure four. Tanahashi then floats to a headlock, but Sanada fights up to his feet. Tanahashi grinds the headlock, but Sanada wrenches out. They fight for control, and fans fire up as the hold starts to tip one way or another! Sanada gets the headlock takeover, but Tanahashi headscissors, and now Tanahashi holds on tight!
Sanada kicks around, but Tanahashi puts on more pressure. Sanada keeps kicking, turns and headstands but Tanahashi works to keep him down. Sanada hops and hops and handsprings free! Fans cheer the technical exchange as the two stand off. Tanahashi even air guitars. Tanahashi throws it to Sanada, and fans cheer for Sanada to try. Sanada strums it a couple times, then gives it to Red Shoes. Red Shoes carefully sets it aside, and Okada tags in. Sanada backs off and Naito tags in. Fans rally up again, “O-KA-DA!” “NA-I-TO!” and the two tie up. They go around, Naito puts Okada on ropes, but Okada turns things around.
Naito turns it back around, lets off slowly, and then pats Okada on the shoulder. But then Naito arm-drags Okada, only for Okada to get up before Naito can rush over. Fans cheer as the two reset and circle again. they tie up, Naito gets a leg, and then turns it into a cradle! ONE, they move around, ONE, and Okada gets a lateral press. Naito keeps his shoulders up, so Okada lets off slowly, and then scrambles for a waistlock. Naito rolls to get a headlock and he grinds Okada down. Okada fights up, powers Naito to ropes, and Red Shoes calls the ropebreak. Okada lets off slowly, and he doesn’t even fake the chop! Fans cheer as Okada takes Naito seriously.
Okada backs away to tag in Nagata, and fans rally for Blue Justice. Naito tags Takagi and now fans cheer as Blue Justice circles with the Rampaging Dragon. They both fire up, tie up, Nagata headlocks but Takagi powers out and the two ram shoulders! Neither falls, Nagata eggs Takagi on and Takagi runs, to RAM Nagata. Nagata stays up, they each egg the other on to run, so Takagi kicks and whips. Nagata reverses, BOOTS, then snapmares and KICKS! Takagi gets up and eggs Nagata on! Nagata KICKS and KICKS and KICKS Takagi to the corner! Nagata gets Takagi up, whips him corner to corner, but Takagi reverses.
Sanada runs in and back elbows Nagata! He sets Nagata up for Takagi’s corner clothesline! Takagi throws Nagata down, Naito and Sanada double basement dropkick him! Takagi knocks Tanahashi and Okada off the apron and fans rally as LIJ controls the ring! Takagi drags Nagata up, suplexes high and hard, then covers, TWO! Takagi drags Nagata up, Nagata blocks the back suplex with elbows, then he fires elbows. Takagi fires back, and it’s a brawl! Fans rally, Takagi throws more forearms but Nagata KICKS and KICKS and KICKS! Takagi blocks a kick to CLUB the leg! But he runs into an EXPLODER!
Fans rally while both men are down. Nagata tags in Tanahashi! Tanahashi fires off on Takagi, whips, but Takagi reverses, only for Tanahashi to FLYING FOREARM! Tanahashi decks Naito and Sanada, dodges Takagi and dropkicks a leg out! Then he gives Takagi a DRAGON SCREW! Fans fire up with the Ace as he runs at Takagi. Takagi ducks the slingblade but Tanahashi denies the suplex. But Takagi ELBOWs, JABS, and YUKON feints to DDT! Hot tag to Sanada! Sanada rallies on Tanahashi, arm-drag and back suplex BACKBREAKER! Tanahashi bails out, Sanada PLANCHAS! Fans fire up and Sanada encourages them to get louder.
Sanada puts Tanahashi in the ring, covers, TWO! Fans rally up, “SA-NA-DA!” “LET’S GO, ACE!” Sanada fireman’s carries, but Tanahashi fights free. Sanada ducks the shotei to steal the SHOTEI! Sanada fires off forearms, but Tanahashi ducks the rolling elbow to a SLEEPER! Then a DRAGON SLEEPER! But Sanada fights it to a dragon sleeper of his own! Tanahashi fights through to TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Tanahashi holds on to drag Sanada up, but Sanada suplexes and puts Tanahashi on the ropes. Tanahashi kicks away to hit TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Fans fire up while both men are down! Hot tag to Okada!
Okada drags Sanada up, fires off forearms, then whips. Sanada reverses, but Okada CLOBBERS him with an elbow! Okada glares at Naito but he stays on the outside. Okada whips Sanada corner to corner but Sanada dropkicks Okada’s legs out! Okada grabs at Sanada but Sanada still tags Naito in! Naito fires off on Okada, whips him to ropes, then hip tosses for the basement dropkick! Naito whips Okada to a corner, ROCKET KICK! Leg sweep, COMBINACION CABRON! Takagi DECKS Nagata, Naito puts Okada up top. Naito climbs, SUPER STEINER! Fans fire up as Okada flounders. Naito runs in, CORRIENDO SHIKI- MONEY CLIP!
Okada squeezes tight but Naito endures! Naito powers Okada into buckles and is free! Naito runs in, but into the Alabama lift and REVERSE NECKBREAKER! Fans rally up, Okada drags Naito up. Okada gut wrenches but Naito blocks! Naito CLUBS Okada, Okada uppercuts! Okada whips, Naito jumps, but into a waistlock! Okada ripcords, Naito dodges, but Okada DROPKICKS! Ripcord, but Naito ducks to ENZIGURI! Okada staggers, Naito whips, but Okada reverses. Naito reverses back and uses the ropes, TORNADO DDT! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Hot tag to Nagata! Nagata storms up to Naito and KICKS and KICKS and KICKS!
Nagata has Naito in a corner and whips him corner to corner. Nagata runs in to BOOT! Naito fights the exploder off, but Nagata ROCKS him with a forearm! BUTTERFLY SUPLEX! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up, “NA-GA-TA!” “NA-I-TO!” Nagata drags Naito up, suplexes, but Naito fights free. Naito wrenches to throw back elbow after back elbow! But Nagata hits a kitchen sink knee! Nagata drags Naito back up, suplexes, uno amigo! Another suplex, dos amigos! Nagata gets Naito up again, THREE AMIGOS! Cover, TWO!! But Nagata clamps on the NAGATA LOCK II! Tanahashi DECKS Takagi while Naito endures!
Takagi gets past Tanahashi to CLUB Nagata, but then Okada CLUBS Takagi! But Takagi spins Okada around, suplex SLAM! Tanahashi returns, Takagi dodges the basement dropkick to SLIDING LARIAT! Nagata is up, Takagi hits an ELBOW! JAB! YUKON LARIAT! Fans fire up as LIJ regroups! Sanada and Takagi whip him to a corner, Sanada uppercuts, Takagi clotheslines and Naito atomic drops! PUMPING BOMBER! Rolling jackknife! TWO!?! Nagata escapes, but Sanada and Takagi keep Okada and Tanahashi down on the outside. Naito wrenches but Nagata fights with back hands. Nagata BOOTS then ENZIGURIS!
Fans fire up as Nagata whips, but Naito hits FLYING FOREARMS! Naito gets Nagata up, wrenches through, DESTINO!! Cover, LIJ wins!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, by pinfall
Blue Justice falls as the ungovernables stand tall! Takagi gets Naito water while Sanada stares down with Tanahashi. Will the Cold Skull have a leg up on The Ace going into their US Heavyweight Championship? Or can Tanahashi turn it around in the rest of this Golden Series? Tanahashi, Okada and Nagata leave, so Naito gets the mic. “Beunas noches, Korakuen Hall! It might be awhile, but please listen to what I have to say. Last February, I was opposed to the unification of the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles. I worked to try to stop it. But I lost my challenge to Ibushi and now we have the IWGP World title.”
Naito will be honest, he has no attachment to the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. So why is he challenging for this title? He has three reasons: first, he wants to take on the top guy in NJPW, and that is Okada; second, he wants to beat the top guy in NJPW; third, he wants to be in the Tokyo Dome main event next year, January 4th, 2023. Fans cheer all those reasons. Naito says that, “For nobody’s benefit other than my own, I will go for the win in Sapporo.” Now, today obviously begins a new series, and there will be several warm-ups between Naito and Okada.
“Who will have the title after February 20th? Everyone, speculate, enjoy, and of course, until the title match in Sapporo on February 20… TRANQUILO! Assen na yo!” Now, they’ll see everyone here back tomorrow, but they’ll end the kickoff the only proper way they can. “Bushi, Sanada, Hiromu, Takagi, y Naito. Nosotros Los! Ingoberrrrrrnables! DE! JA! PON!” The New Years Golden Series has only just begun, but will it end with Naito taking the world title from the Rainmaker?
A great event here, even though I did skip the first few matches. The very first two were against Young Lions so of course Khan and Hiromu were winning. But I did skim through, it was pretty neat for Hiromu to wrestle in his old Kamaitachi mask just to make a point about the Young Lion not being ready. I also skipped Togi Makabe & Tiger Mask VS Taiji & Jado cuz Jado is basically one step up from Young Lion and he ended up taking the loss. But there were a lot of great tag matches here to get momentum going from after WrestleKingdom 16. Suzuki-Gun losing both Six Man Tags was surprising, but it gives Yano some momentum going towards a KOPW match with Suzuki, and I liked seeing some edge in Wato as he gets ready to face Desperado.
Chaos VS House of Torture was on par with the usual NJPW 8 Man. Chaos winning is also a good way to give them momentum as we’re going to get WrestleKingdom rematches for the NEVER Openweight singles and Six Man titles. I don’t know if Evil is only going to be Mr. NEVER for only a couple months, but at this point, he might as well keep that going until Jay White returns and we can finally get Bullet Club Civil War take two going. Then the Six Man main event was really good, we got to see everybody face everybody, and LIJ gets momentum for their coming title matches.
Naito has a good promo to frame his role in the IWGP World title story, but he himself said there will be a lot of these Six Man tune-ups. I probably won’t worry about covering these next few dates, they’re going to be VOD only anyway and those always seem to take forever to show up. I’ve already skimmed through the coming Golden Series dates, and it’s rather fitting that February 7th is the next one NJPW is advertising for livestream. That’s the one I’m thinking of waiting for, and then it’s all the February events, even just in part like I did here.
My Score: 8.5/10
Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 1.20.2022
We’re coming to the end of their first set of tapings. So I wonder what IMPACT has cooked up since the Florida tapings are supposed to have a few Bullet Club favorites. Let’s find out!
We’re coming to the end of their first set of tapings. So I wonder what IMPACT has cooked up since the Florida tapings are supposed to have a few Bullet Club favorites. Let’s find out!
Another week with Tom Hannifan as the play by play, and he just sounds right. We’ve got Charlie Haas’ first match in IMPACT, Tasha Steelz versus Chelsea Green and Steve Maclin is aiming for the ROH Heavyweight Title.
There should be other things, but those take most of the initial attention. Let’s see what else goes on!
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 21, 2022
- Tasha Steelz w/Savannah Evans vs Chelsea Green: Tasha wins via Crucifix Bomb – **
- The Influence (Tenille Dashwood & Madison Rayne) w/Kaleb vs Decay (Havok & Rosemary): Influence wins via Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – *
- The Learning Tree (Zicky Dice & VSK) w/Brian Myers vs Massive Cassidy: Cassidy wins via BQE – SQUASH
- ROH Heavyweight Title: Steve Maclin vs Jonathan Gresham (c): Gresham retains via Rope Assisted Figure Four – *** ½
- Doc Gallow & Joe Doering w/Karl Anderson & VBD vs Heath & Rhino: Gallows & Doering win via Double Chokeslam – **
- Charlie Haas vs Josh Alexander: Alexander wins via Ankle Lock w/Grapevine – *** ¼
Tasha Steelz w/Savannah Evans vs Chelsea Green
Tasha is jawing with the crowd as the bell rings, Chelsea goes right at her and hits the Shotgun Dropkick as Tasha is turning to face her opponent. Chelsea stays on the offensive, baits Tasha to the apron, drops her on her face, Curb Stomp, attempt at an Unprettier…but no counter into a Codebreaker from Tasa and we see Chelsea’s momentum slow down a little.
After some back and forth with Tasha having a lot of advantage, Chelsea makes her comeback. Chelsea hits a middle rope Crossbody but Tasha continues to rotate and rolls it into a pin attempt. Chelsea kicks out and pulls off a Package Flatliner, but only for a near fall. Chelsea goes to grab Tasha, Tasha kicks her to stun her, looks to get caught in a Crucifix, but turns it into a Crucifix Bomb. Tasha picks up the win with the Crucifix Bomb again.
After the win, Tasha cuts a promo that doesn’t seem to really fit. Trying to portray herself as a savage, from the wrong side of town, but she’s a smack talking 5 foot nothing brat. So the second half of the promo works a lot better than the first. She also took some shots at WWE’s women’s division being Barbie Dolls, NWA, Nick Aldis and then brought the son into the mix, so of course that got Mickie fired up. Things look bad for Mickie, but Chelsea Green manages to recover and make the save for Mickie.
Video Package courtesy of Ring of Honor showcasing some of Charlie Haas’ work with Shelton Benjamin and CM Punk involved in certain clips.
The Influence (Tenille Dashwood & Madison Rayne) w/Kaleb vs Decay (Havok & Rosemary)
The Influence attack while Havok and Rosemary are distracted by Kaleb. Rosemary clutches her shoulder after the mugging, the doctors throw up the X and tell her she can’t go. Rosemary asks if Havok can go, the doctor says yes, so Rosemary tells Havok to go destroy the Influence.
Havok put up a valiant fight but the heels prevail! Cross Rayne into a Spotlight Kick into…whatever their tandem finish is called. I’m going to call it Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
The IInspiration have a reactionary video promo which is pretty solid. I do enjoy their work. Hopefully their match ends up being pretty solid because I’d like to see The IInspiration start getting over their abilities in the ring as much as their abilities on the mic.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 21, 2022
The Learning Tree (Zicky Dice & VSK) w/Brian Myers vs Massive Cassidy
The highlight of this match is Hannifan and Myers on commentary. There was a like 4 second spot where the Learning Tree landed a move, but then Cassidy kills them. So we’re in and out, double Pinfall murder happened.
Post-Match the Massive one goes on his search for Moose, D’Amore stops him in the back and says he’s got a title shot coming. Then we see the OGK ROH invaders have tickets this time around, and I’m going to be sick saying this…but Matt Taven is pretty great in this segment. Jesus Christ, I popped for Taven. Shoot me now.
ROH Heavyweight Title: Steve Maclin vs Jonathan Gresham (c)
Early on it looked like Gresham was toying with Maclin as he forced early rope breaks, but Maclin returned the forced rope breaks in kind. Maclin eventually started coming into his own when he utilized the one closed fist warning rule. Maclin really worked over Gresham’s back after a Butterfly Backbreaker, Boston Crab, Camel Clutch, and a lot of back work.
Gresham was really on the back foot until he managed to force Maclin to use his final rope break. Then we saw Gresham hyper extend Maclin’s knee, and keeps working on the knee. It all made sense as we saw Gresham utilize the Figure Four for the victory. It was entwined in the ropes, Gresham used it for leverage and Maclin’s will power gave out as he couldn’t get his shoulders up fast enough and succumbed to the three count.
IMPACTPlus Flashback Moment: No Surrender 2009: Sarita & Taylor Wilde vs The Beautiful People – Innaugural TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship Match
"We're gonna see ourselves out"
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 21, 2022
Doc Gallow & Joe Doering w/Karl Anderson & VBD vs Heath & Rhino
So Good Brothers and VBD looked really sloppy. Gallows got rocked by Rhino, Doering was caught off guard often by Heath and there was just a ton of odd moments where it looked like they tried to regroup and until we saw the extra members get involved, Heath and Rhino dominated the legitimate tag team aspects.
I’m wondering exactly how much of a shift the Guerrillas of Destiny will have in the tag scene and if we’ll need to see the Good Brother and VBD implode first before we get the Bullet Club foundation match.
Charlie Haas vs Josh Alexander
They start with a classic grounded start with headlocks, hammerlocks, leg picks and positioning advantages. Alexander managed to take some early momentum before the commercial break, but when we come back we see Haas pop over out of the corner, striking Alexander’s knee and starts focusing a body part. A very methodical attack on knee comes off far more aggressive and cruel than Haas usually goes for. Haas locks in the Indian Deathlock, and they begin slugging at each other. The hold breaks, Alexander goes for the Finlay Roll but Haas counters into a Crucifix Cradle for 2.
Alexander locks in the German Suplex, hits 2, obviously going for 3 to make a point, but Haas blocks the third. Haas pulls off 2, before Alexander blocks and hits one more German before Haas grabs the ropes, feeds in for a lariat but gets caught in another German Suplex this time with the bridge but only for 2.
Haas manages to charge Alexander in the corner, stumbled a bit but lands in the legs that he’s been aiming for, and then goes back to the other corner and hits the mid-section. Haas looks for a leg pick, Alexander counters into his own Ankle Lock. Charlie tries to counter it a few different ways but Alexander holds on and locks in the Ankle Lock with the Grapevine so Haas taps out.
Things moved a little too quickly, so it was alright but could’ve been better. After the match they shake hands and the ROH invaders hit the ring. Haas, Alexander, Chris Sabin comes in, then Rich Swann and Willie Mack, Heath and Rhino…finally Eddie Edwards hits the ring with a kendo stick and drives the ROH guys out.
Overall Score: 6.25/10
I think Maria named the invading stable as Honor No More, so I suppose for like a Pop Punk or Emo band that sounds cool…but it’s a bit dumb for a faction name. Can’t really chant it, the abbreviation is dumb, H.N.M. sounds like a clothing company, but I guess this is them distancing themselves from ROH.
Either way, this was kind of a janky episode. The matches weren’t great, a lot of stories were touched upon but left wide open, and the next major event being No Surrender on Feb. 19th, feels like a lot of time to fill. So maybe it was just a little too redundant, maybe it was also that the general match quality was down to further storyline angles…not sure. This still wasn’t bad, just definitely felt extremely lacking.
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