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Andrew’s NJPW Destruction in Kobe Ratings & Analysis: 9/22/2019

Who wins the Young Lion Cup? Does Liger unleash the demon on Suzuki? Does the Intercontinental Championship change hands? Find out on Destruction in Kobe!

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Who wins the Young Lion Cup? Does Liger unleash the demon on Suzuki? Does the Intercontinental Championship change hands? Find out on Destruction in Kobe!

The last stop on the Destruction tour gives us a few matches to look forward to!

Does Suzuki get his wish and give us the fourth appearance of Kishin Liger? Is Goto purely a heavyweight gatekeeper?

We also have to figure out who the best Young Lion is and if Jay White can continue to speak truth.

Let’s see how this all plays out!

Ratings:

  • Manabu Nakanishi, Alex Coughlin & Michael Richards vs Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura & Yuji Nagata: Tsuji wins via Boston Crab @10:05 – **
  • Young Lion Cup: Ren Narita vs Clark Connors: Connors wins via Boston Crab @7:25 – ** 1/2
  • Young Lion Cup: Karl Fredericks vs Shota Umino: Fredericks wins via Modified Liontamer @7:15 – *** 1/4
  • Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @8:20 – ** 1/2
  • DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tiger Mask, Rocky Romero & Jyushin Thunder Liger: Suzuki-Gun wins via DQ @3:10 – ***
  • Will Ospreay, YOH, SHO, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs KENTA, Guerrillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori & ELP: YOH wins via Inside Cradle @9:40 – ***
  • SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada & Robbie Eagles: SANADA wins via Skull End @13:50 – *** 1/2
  • Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto: Goto wins via GTR @20:25 – **** 1/4
  • IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito (c): White wins via Blade Runner @29:50 – **** 1/2 – TITLE CHANGE!!!

 

Analysis:

Manabu Nakanishi, Alex Coughlin & Michael Richards vs Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura & Yuji Nagata – I say this a lot with the undercards involving Young Lions, but this was really just a decent starting match. We got to see some nice fire from the Young Lions, and this was more Tsuji’s match to shine in and we learned that Coughlin’s name is pronounced COG-LIN, ya know, since he’s British so it has to be different.

Young Lion Cup: Ren Narita vs Clark Connors – Connors and Narita didn’t have as much intensity as most Young Lion matches. Narita still had a chance to win the whole thing, but he came out a little flat. There was an early chop exchange, but Narita’s heart never really seemed into it. Connors getting the win eliminates Narita, and he was already eliminated going into this match. So the winner of the next match, wins the Young Lion Cup.

Young Lion Cup: Karl Fredericks vs Shota Umino –  Now we expected this one to be solid. LA Dojo and New Japan Dojo’s top guys vie for the title of Young Lion Cup winner! This match had great intensity, really good selling and both men brought it well. Shota’s nose got bloodied but he fought through and nearly pulled off the Fisherman Buster. But Fredericks countered and sold his arm well even for his finish. Pulling off a Half Crab instead of a Full Crab because of his arm, but he modifies it into a Liontamer style and gets Umino to tap out.

Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe – No real interesting storylines here. They all have a little history and could be involved in the upcoming Tag League. It was a decent enough match but nothing special. Not a lot to unpack here. Chase pinned Henare. Yay?

DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tiger Mask, Rocky Romero & Jyushin Thunder Liger – Liger runs down the ramp to attack Suzuki during his entrance, and the donnybrook begins. Liger’s aggression backfires a little when Suzuki gets the upper hand. Suzuki throws a chair into the ring and sets up a table in the corner, and the whole set up was very reminiscent of the 1996 Kishin Liger debut. Suzuki put Liger in a Sleeperhold to set up for the Gotch, but Liger threw back his leg, and kicked Suzuki between the legs. That’s not a very Jyushin move. Liger then proceeds to remove his own mask to reveal the white and black paint, tears at his costume and much like many of us guessed, Kishin Liger is back! Liger hits Suzuki and the referee with the Green Mist, goes out to get a camping spike, and we get another reference to the Muta match. Liger tries to literally murder Suzuki, Suzuki moves and the spike goes through the table. The referee disqualifies Liger’s team, Liger throws the table at Suzuki and the chase begins. Liger even wipes out a couple Young Lions and Tanahashi on his chase of Suzuki.

Will Ospreay, YOH, SHO, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs KENTA, Guerrillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori & ELP – Everyone in this match has some kind of heat with one another. However, the whole point of this was for G.o.D. trying to prove that YOH’s pinfall in Kagoshima was a fluke. Bullet Club had some nice cohesion in taunting with heel tactics when everyone took turns hitting a Back Rake, until Kenta decided it was time to do his Stomp Feint just for the rub ins on YOSHI-HASHI. The Guerrillas were basically clearing the ring themselves, they hit Guerrilla Warfare, set up Magic Killer but Roppongi 3k fought back. Loa got knocked backwards at some point and YOH hooked in the cradle for the flash win! So with consecutive pinfalls over the champions, RPG3k will most likely get a Heavyweight Tag Title shot at King of Pro Wrestling.

SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada & Robbie Eagles – SANADA and EVIL have their respective matches against Okada and Ibushi coming up, so we know why this match was made. Robbie actually did a lot of the work in the match, but we did start off with Okada and SANADA working the crowd to see who was more popular. Surprisingly Okada almost pulled off Red Ink, which I haven’t seen in forever. But the fun part of this match came towards the end. SANADA had Eagles in the Dragon Sleeper, and spun him around, Okada comes into the ring and tries a Dropkick to break it up…but he misses. So Okada goes back to it to break it up and then everyone gets in, SANADA and Eagles are still in the ring, SANADA makes Eagles tap with the Skull End. The clever aspect of things came after the bell and we get a stare down with SANADA and Okada. I’m curious if the Dropkick was supposed to miss, because there’s some subtle talking, and then Okada tries to sneak attack SANADA three times with Dropkicks, but SANADA side steps all of them. So now we get a fun wrinkle of Okada not being able to hit his signature Dropkick, either on purpose or by dumb luck. Fun stuff.

Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto – Takagi got one of his largest Heavyweight victories over Goto in the G1, so Goto needs to try to get his win back. This was every bit the hard hitting power match we expected. They started off countering one another’s moves and then just hitting huge lariats and just being two angry bulls trying to kill each other. Goto pulled out everything, Ushigoroshi, Reverse GTR, Shouten Kai, Modified GTR…it was just an insane match. Shingo pulled off most of his moves as well, but never hit Last of the Dragon, so that move was protected nicely. I personally have a Shingo bias, but this was a great match and might finally help Goto become more than just a gatekeeper.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito (c) – This match lived up to the build. They played mind games, taunted and were just generally douchey to one another, but it was fantastic. Tons of mocking and talking, both men kept telling the other to ‘Smile’, the odd enjoyment and disdain of each other made for a fun dynamic. Naito pulled out a few unique applications of Combinacion Cabron, and did his Tornado DDT by kicking off of Gedo at one point. We saw the culmination of a story where if the situation was a little different, these two could be best friends. Gedo didn’t really get involved much, so that was nice, this was just a great match if you were following the feud a little. Also I did appreciate Jay White gingerly walking down the ramp, and taking a big step over the metal connector, as a reference to when YOSHI-HASHI face planted last year.

 

Overall Score: 8.5/10

This show was pretty great from top to bottom. We saw Karl Fredericks win the Young Lion Cup, and in doing so, put the LA Dojo in higher regard. Kishin Liger showed up for blood, and one of the few times Suzuki ever seemed scared, the mist on his face could’ve been blow back from his trunks, if you catch my meaning.

Okada’s new wrinkle with the Dropkick is a fun addition to a match we’ve already seen three times, so it’s nice that something was added to try and make this one feel different. Of course the last two matches were fantastic, and they played into one another since in the middle of Jay’s victory speech, Goto storms down the ramp and smacks Jay around a little bit.

Jay White seems adamant that Goto doesn’t deserve a shot, but that’s not really for him to decide. Should be really interesting to see who holds the Intercontinental Championship come Wrestle Kingdom.


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Coverage

Mitchell’s NJPW New Beginning Sapporo Results & Report! (2/24/24)

Night two!

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The New Beginning comes to an end!

It’s a WrestleKingdom rematch here in Sapporo as Tetsuya Naito gives Sanada a shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship! Will NJPW still be tranquilo? Or will the Cold Skull once again be the Gold Skull?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Frontier Zone: Toru Yano & Tomoya VS Tomoaki Honma & Katsuya Murashima; Yano & Tomoya win.
  • 10 Man Tag: The House of Torture VS Shota Umino, El Desperado, YOH, Togi Makabe & Boltin Oleg; Shota, Desperado, Yoh, Makabe & Oleg win.
  • 10 Man Tag: Chaos VS Matt Riddle & The United Empire; Chaos wins.
  • Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa VS El Phantasmo & Hikuleo; ELP & Leo win.
  • Nic Nemeth & Ryusuke Taguchi VS David Finlay & Gedo; Nemeth & Taguchi win.
  • BUSHI VS Taka Michinoku; Bushi wins.
  • Hiromu Takahashi VS DOUKI; Douki wins.
  • Shingo Takagi VS Taichi; Taichi wins.
  • Hair VS Hair Match: Yota Tsuji VS Yuya Uemura; Yota wins and Yuya must cut their hair.
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito VS SANADA; Naito wins and retains the title.

PLAY BY PLAY

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa VS El Phantasmo & Hikuleo!

It’s Guerrillas of Destiny VS Guerrillas of Destiny in the Good Bad Guy’s farewell to NJPW! Will Tama and the Silverback “big brother” The Headbanga and Young Guerilla on the way out? Or will ELP & Leo prove their title belts aren’t just for show?

For those wondering which corner Jado would, he chose neither, as he is now the special guest referee! You can bet The Master Heater will keep this one fair and square. And in a great throwback, Tama comes out in his ghost face killer paint! Meanwhile, Loa has the Mr. Terrific T paint. The four fist bump to show respect, and ELP gets the fans rallying for Tama. The teams sort out and Leo starts against Tama. The fans rally for “G O D! G O D!” as the brothers double fist bump. They circle, tie up, and Leo shoves Tama away. Tama comes back, gets around, headlocks, but Leo endures the grind. Leo powers up to lift Tama, but Tama thrashes the hold.

Leo powers up and out, but Tama slides under the boot! The fans cheer as the stand off. They reset, speed up, and Tama dodges to DROPKICK! Leo stays up and he runs Tama over! Leo runs but Tama avoids the elbow drop! The fans cheer as the two stand off again. Leo and Tama then back off, tag to ELP and Loa. The fans rally as these two circle now. ELP and Loa feel things out, tie up, and they go around. ELP headlocks, Loa powers up and out, and they RAM shoulders! Neither falls but Loa applauds ELP. ELP dares Loa to go then, so Loa runs. They RAM shoulders and ELP falls! Loa fires up and the fans cheer.

Loa flexes, runs, but ELP drops. Loa sunset flips, ELP sits on it, TWO! Loa has it, TWO! ELP has it, TWO! Wait, aren’t those counts kinda fast? ELP and Loa rock back and forth and Jado can’t even keep up! ELP and Loa let off and ask what’s going on. Jado gives them shoves, telling them to respect his authority. ELP and Loa shove back, but Tama and Leo get in! Tama tells ELP not to shove Jado, but Leo tells Loa the same, and now they’re all shoving each other! Jado tells them all to stop it, this is a clean fight! The fans cheer and GOD all agrees. So they start throwing forearms! Nothing wrong with a brawl!

Tama gets the edge on ELP and Loa gets the edge on Leo. Tama & Loa whip, but ELP & Leo dosido! Tama & Loa dodge, but then so do ELP & Leo! They each SPLASH, then ELP feeds Tama to Leo’s SIDEWALK SLAM! ELP hits the FALLING AX HANDLE! But Loa throws hands on them both! The fans fire up, Loa runs, but ELP hurdles and Leo DDTs Loa down! The fans fire up again as ELP winds up and high-fives Leo! ELP then ROCKS Loa with a forearm, and Loa ends up on ropes. ELP fires more forearms, puts him in a corner and throws body shots. Loa shoves ELP away so ELP BOOTS him!

Tag to Leo and ELP CHOPS Loa. Leo stands Loa up to CHOP! Leo grits his teeth but Leo brings up the vest is too much padding for Loa. Jado says there’s nothing he can do about that, so Leo bumps Loa off buckles. Leo stomps Loa, then CHOPS again! Leo then scoops Loa, ELP tags in, and Leo POWERSLAMS! ELP then springboard SWANTON BOMBS, then LIONSAULTS! Cover, ONE!! ELP argues the count but Jado says he’s being fair. ELP clamps on a chinlock and grinds Loa down. Loa endures, the fans rally up, but ELP smothers Loa. Jado reprimands, ELP lets off with an ELBOW to Loa’s head!

ELP brings Loa up and around, whips but Loa blocks! ELP pushes Loa, whips, but Loa reverses! Loa runs in to A-LIST LARIAT! Loa then goes up and MISSILE DROPKICKS ELP across the ring! The fans fire up while both men are down! ELP and Loa both crawl, hot tag to Tama! Tama rallies on ELP with body shots and uppercuts! Tama fires off in a corner, then whips corner to corner. ELP reverses, runs up but Tama CLOBBERS him first! The fans fire up as the vest comes off! Tama claps and the fans clap along. ELP goes to a corner, Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! Then EXPLODER! ELP flounders but Tama goes over to cover, TWO!

ELP is still in this, but Tama keeps his cool. Tama CLUBS ELP, throws down hands, then brings him up. Tama dragon sleepers but ELP snapmares free! ELP dodges the superman punch to straitjacket and torture rack! Tag to Leo, Leo runs, BOOT and BRAIN SALAD! Cover, Loa breaks it! Loa kicks ELP, scoops him, but ELP slips free, feed to Leo’s UPPERCUT! Loa roars, but gets a BOOT ENZIGIRI COMBO! Tama runs up but Leo stops Gun Stun! Feed to SUDDEN DEATH! Tama is down, Leo & ELP reload to aim at Loa! SUDDEN DEATH and GODSEND!! Then Loa is in the drop zone as ELP goes up!

ELP climbs onto Leo’s shoulders, for the SUPER- GUN STUN!! Tama intercepts Thunderkiss, but then Loa grabs Tama! GOD- SPEAR from Loa!! All four men are down and the fans fire up! Jado checks them all, they all stir, and the OG GOD rise up first. They stand Leo up, bring him around and pick him up, MAGIC KILLER!! But they’re not done there, they each take a corner! Loa DIVING HEADBUTTS, Tama SUPREME FLOWS! Cover, TWO!! Leo survives the onslaught from his own brothers and the fans fire up! Tama & Loa are frustrated but they reset and call their shot again! Even Jado’s surprised they want to go this far!

Tama & Loa double whip Leo to a corner, and Loa runs in to clothesline! Tama hits the STINGER SPLASH, and then Loa goes up. The fans rally both ways as Tama tries to suplex Leo, but he’s so big! Leo suplexes Tama instead! Leo stands, Loa leaps, AX HANDLE! Leo drops to a knee, Loa fires up and kicks low. Loa scoops, but Leo slips free! Leo kicks but Loa blocks! Loa dodges the lariat, runs, but into the SNAP POWERSLAM! The fans fire up for Leo as he aims at Tama! Choke grip, but Tama breaks free to ROCK Leo! Leo choke grips again! But Tama breaks free again, so Leo UPPERCUTS! Choke grip again, for GOD-

NO, Tama slips free, shoves, runs, GUN- NO! Leo stops that and choke grips through! GOD- GUN- NO!! Leo counters the counter, then scoops, for a POP-UP CUTTER!! ELP fires up with Leo, and Leo LARIATS Tama inside-out! Cover, ONE?!!? And that’s with Jado’s faster than normal count! Tama fires up, Leo fires up, and Leo hauls Tama up and POWER- NO, Tama fights it! Leo stops the counter, though, to POWERBOMB after all!! Cover, TWO?!?! Tama survives again and everyone is shocked! The fans are thunderous as Leo drags Tama back up with the choke grip. Leo hesitates, but he still hits GODSEND!!! Cover, ELP & Leo win!

Winners: El Phantasmo & Hikuleo, by pinfall

The younger GOD duo defeats the older, and now the torch has been passed. Tama’s farewell to NJPW will be bittersweet, but he will leave knowing he gave it his all, and he has all of our love and respect. Tama stands with his brothers, with Jado and with ELP, and they group hug over the lion logo. Ain’t nobody realer than Guerilla, is the future in good hands with ELP & Leo?

 

Hair VS Hair Match: Yota Tsuji VS Yuya Uemura!

The Gene Blast and The Heat Storm both want to be THE face of NJPW’s future. They’re both so determined to rise up and leave behind their Young Lion days, they’re willing to put their glorious manes! Who wins and moves forward while the other must relive their past?

The bell rings and the fans rally up as the two stare down. They circle, feel things out, but Yota avoids Yuya’s lunge in for a leg. They knuckle lock, Yuya gets around to waistlock, but Yota wrenches and switches. Yuya wrenches out to hammerlock, but Yota elbows then switches. Yota has a nelson, then he spins Yuya to a cravat. Yuya endures the neck wrench, swings an arm to bring Yota down, then rolls to wrangle Yota with a top wristlock. Yota keeps his shoulders up, moves around, and he trips Yuya. Yota gets past the leg guard to cover, ONE, but Yota holds off Yuya’s attempt at a lateral press.

Yuya lets off slowly, Yota gets up, and the fans cheer this exchange. The two reset and circle again, feel things out, and knuckle lock again. They go shoulder to shoulder in a Test of Strength and the fans rally up. Yota’s height gives him leverage, and he powers Yuya to ropes. The ref calls the break, Yuya turns things around, but Yuya still lets off. Yuya then CHOPS and whips! Yota rolls Yuya up, TWO! Yuya cradles, ONE!! Yuya tries to roll up now, TWO! Yota bails out and fans cheer. Yuya storms right up to ropes but Yota backs away. Yota paces around the outside so Yuya rests on a corner, willing to wait.

Yota walks around as the ring count climbs, and he steps back in at 5 of 20. Yuya hops down and he resets with Yota. They stare down, Yota just smiling. They go forehead to forehead, then Yota kicks low! Yota headlocks, Yuya powers out then goes the other way! They run the ropes crisscross, then Yuya drops, hurdles and HIP TOSSES Yota down! The fans fire up and Yuya covers, TWO! Yuya keeps cool, and he brings Yota up. Yuya wrenches to wrangle Yota with another top wristlock, then he drops an elbow on the elbow! And then another elbow drop! And another elbow drop! Yuya goes for another wristlock but Yota gets the ROPEBREAK!

Yuya lets go quickly and he waits on Yota. Yota stands and Yuya whips him to a corner. Yuya runs in but Yota BOOTS him! Yuya staggers back, runs in again, but Yota dodges! SPLASH! Yota keeps moving to run Yuya right over! And then he runs to SOMERSAULT SENTON! Yota just keeps moving for a SPLASH! Cover, TWO! The fans rally up as Yuya stays in this. Yota keeps cool, though, and he storms up on Yuya. Yota reels Yuya in but Yuya fights the suplex. Yuya shoves free but Yota BODY BLOWS! Yuya falls in a heap and the ref checks him. Yota drags Yuya up, bumps him off buckles, and RAMS him again and again!

Yota snapmares Yuya to KICK him in the back. Yota kneels for the cover, TWO! A bit cocky from Yota but he grins as he looms over Yuya. Yuya sits up, Yota stands him up, and Yota winds up to ROCK Yuya in the back! Yuya staggers to ropes but Yota storms up. Yuya CHOPS Yota, but Yota fires forearm after forearm. Yota snapmares and KICKS Yuya in the back again! The fans rally as Yuya writhes and Yota paces. Yota grabs the legs, but Yuya scrambles and reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Yota doesn’t let go so Yuya kicks him away. Yuya runs, but into a scoop! BACKBREAKER! Yota gets the legs again, and he turns Yuya over for the BOSTON CRAB!

Yuya endures as Yota sits deep and the fans rally up! Yuya powers up, reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Yota lets go while the fans applaud. Yota says okay, and then he runs to baseball slide dropkick Yuya out! Yuya even tumbles to the railing! Fans rally up again as Yota grins and builds speed, but Yuya drops down! The damage to Yuya’s back keeps him from standing and taking a tope. Yota eggs Yuya on, the ring count starts, and Yuya drags himself up at 3 of 20. Yota drags Yuya to the apron and stops the count. Yota suplexes but Yuya slips free! Waistlock, but Yota bucks the O’Conner! Yota runs up, but into an arm-drag!

Yota swings, Yuya ducks, and Yuya hits another arm-drag! Then a DROPKICK! The fans fire up while both men are down! Yuya grits his teeth and clutches his back while Yota stirs and checks his chin. Yota rolls to a corner but Yuya kips up! The fans fire up and Yuya runs corner to corner, to CHOP! Yuya whips corner to corner but just reels Yota in, for a BIG back suplex! Float-over to the cover, TWO! Yota toughs it out but Yuya keeps his cool. Yuya brings Yota up, but Yota fires forearms and a knee! Yota whips, Yuya reverses to SAYANAGI! GROUND ARM SCREW! And then basement dropkick to the arm! Yota writhes, Yuya hurries to cover, TWO!

But Yuya has the top wristlock! Yota reaches out but Yuya drags him away for the DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! Yota flails, reaches out, blocks the twist on the arm, but Yuya pulls harder with his top mount! Yuya breaks the grip for the DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! Yota still reaches out for ropes but Yuya drags him right to center! Yuya keeps on the double wristlock but Yota kicks around. Yuya shifts into an ARMBAR, but Yota has the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer and Yuya lets go. Yuya is frustrated but he stands back up and brings Yota around. Yuya wrenches, cording holds, and then goes for the other arm. Yota throws Yuya down and rolls back, into the BOSTON CRAB!!

Yuya endures as Yota sits deep on the hold! Yuya powers up but Yota drags him away! Yota’s bad arm forces him to change to a HALF CRAB! Yota still sits deep and Yuya has to bite his thumb to ignore the pain! Yuya fights forward, but Yota drags him away! Yota manages to get both legs on one side, LOBSTER CRAB! Yuya endures as Yota pulls! Yuya tries to fight, but Yota then digs a knee in! LION TAMER!! Yuya bites all his fingers just to keep from giving up! Yota lets go in frustration as his arms can’t hold on any longer! Yota grabs at both legs this time, and he SWINGS Yuya around! He only gets five rotations but he fires back up!

Yota tries for the legs again but Yuya traps the bad arm, to SNAP it! Yota staggers, Yuya swings but Yota catches him! BACKBREAKER, but Yuya swings out of the clinch to full nelson! Then he spins Yota to DIVORCE COURT DDT! Yota clutches the arm while both men are down! Yuya rolls to ropes while Yota writhes at center. Yuya goes back to Yota and they both stand. Yuya throws a haymaker, then another! Yota backs up to a corner, Yuya CHOPS him! Yuya CHOPS again, then fires haymakers! Yuya CHOPS then runs Yota corner to corner to bump off buckles! Yuya throws hands, runs Yota to the other corner and again bumps him off buckles!

Yuya CHOPS Yota, climbs up, and he rains down fists! The fans fire up and count along, Yuya goes all the way to TEN! Yuya pulls at Yota’s hair but Yota grins. Yuya drags Yota out by his legs, stomps him and covers, TWO! Yota rises up but Yuya fires up. Yuya runs up but Yota gets around, goes up and over to sunset flip, TWO! Yuya stands, swings, but into a wrench and wrangle, lateral press! TWO, and Yota arm-drags! Float over, headscissor cradle, TWO!! Yuya escapes, Yota runs up, but Yota blocks the arm-drag! Only for Yuya to swing around and arm-drag after all! Yota gets up, swings, but into a spin and backslide! TWO!

Yuya holds onto the arms, rolls into another backslide, TWO! The two men fight for control, stand back up, and Yuya spins Yota around for underhooks! Yota fights that to back drop but Yuya sunset flips it! TWO and Yota BOOTS Yuya down! The fans fire up while Yota catches his breath. Yota finally goes for the cover, but Yuya drags him into a ghost pin, TWO!! Yuya shifts around, sunset flip! TWO and it’s back to the ghost pin! TWO!! Yota escapes but Yuya UPPERCUTS! Yuya runs, but into a scoop and BACKBREAKER! The fans fire up, Yota runs, but Yuya gets around the lariat! Yuya underhooks for the BUTTERFLY SLAM! Cover, TWO!

The fans rally up again and Yuya grows frustrated. Yuya goes to a corner, then climbs up! Yota rises, then runs up to GAMANGIRI! The fans fire up with Yota as he climbs up! Yota fires hands, then goes to the very top! Yota brings Yuya up to join him, for a SUPER SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!! Yuya survives but Yota roars! Yota drags Yuya up and suplexes, but Yuya knees free! Double cording holds, DEADBOLT PLEX! But both men are down! The fans fire up as they stir, and Yuya goes to a corner. Yota eggs Yuya on, Yuya runs up, and DOUBLE FOREARMS DECK both men! The fans fire up again while the ref checks them!

Yota and Yuya stir, and Yota blinks through the daze. Yota stands up, but then falls right over! Yuya is also still down so the ref says it’ll be a standing count! The fans rally up for both guys, and they’re both down at 5 of 10! And then 7! And 8! Both men rise at 9 and the fans fire up again! We hit 25 minutes, leaving five left! Both men rise up, stare down, and they rush right in! Yuya headlocks, Yota powers out but Yuya runs him over! Cover, ONE!! The fans rally again as Yuya stands, but Yota runs him over! Cover, ONE!! Yuya storms up but Yota blocks the scoop with a facelock! Yota scoops Yuya to SLAM him!

Yuya rises and runs up, but into another scoop and SLAM! The fans fire up and Yota grins as he drags Yuya back up. Yota runs, but Yuya back drops him away! Yuya roars and the fans fire up again as he goes up the corner! Yuya aims as Yota rises, CROSSBODY FLOPS! CURB STOMP!! Yota then hauls Yuya up to suplex and FALCON BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Yuya survives and the fans fire up as Yota roars again! Yota powers up his arm, we hit the three minute warning, and Yota aims from a corner. GENE- RANA!! Then ARMBAR!! But Yota stacks him, TWO! Yota is free and KNEES Yuya! And SUPERKICKS! And GENE- ARM-DRAG, Ghost pin! TWO!!

Yuya ENZIGIRIS but Yota stays up! GENE- CUTTER!! Yuya has had an answer for every spear attempt, and now he drags Yota back up! Yuya cording holds, swings for the other arm, and roars to DEAD- NO, Yota HEADBUTTS! But Yuya HEADBUTTS! Two minute warning and a GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men rise, GENE BLAST!!! Cover, YOTA WINS!

Winner: Yota Tsuji, by pinfall (Yuya must cut his hair)

Yuya let Yota have too much space and he got blasted! Yota has the epic tiebreaker, will he make his way towards championship opportunities now? And Yota stands Yuya up by pulling his hair, as if adding insult to injury. Yuya says fine, just get it over with. The ring staff set out a white tarp and bring in a chair. Yuya reluctantly sits in the chair, and Yota has the scissors and clippers. Yota gathers up the hair in a ponytail, and Yuya grits his teeth as all of that is cut away. Then Yota just goes right down the middle with the clippers! Yuya says stop, and he does the rest himself! Yuya won’t let Yota have the satisfaction of humiliating him.

Yuya leaves to finish that haircut in the back. Will the Heat Storm find a way to shine while looking like a Young Boy?

 

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito VS SANADA!

WrestleKingdom 18 was only 50 days ago but it feels like only yesterday that NJPW had the largest LIJ roll call in history! The Uncontrollable Charisma finally had his moment, but will the Cold Skull take it back? Or will even Sapporo be tranquilo?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who closes out this New Beginning!

As usual, Naito takes his time with his elaborate entrance attire, but again Sanada is patient because he knows all about this. Naito finishes with the pants and the bell rings. The fans rally up as the two stare down. Red Shoes assesses the cheering and feels it favors Naito. Sanada doesn’t seem bothered by that, but Naito doesn’t seem fired up by it, either. The two circle, approach, but back away. Sanada knows this trick by Naito, too, and doesn’t let it get to him. They tie up now, Naito powers Sanada back to ropes then headlocks. Red Shoes calls the break, Sanada turns things around on Naito, but Naito doesn’t let go.

Red Shoes counts, Naito slowly lets go and Sanada pats Naito on the shoulders. The fans cheer as the two reset. They circle, feel things out, and Sanada gets a leg. Sanada moves to waistlock but Naito wrenches out. Naito hammerlocks then full nelsons, but Sanada fights the hold. Sanada breaks free, hammerlocks then headlocks, and he grinds Naito down. Naito powers up and out but Sanada runs him over! The fans rally up as things speed up, and Naito arm-drags only for Sanada to counter that! Sanada then trips Naito, has the legs and he ties Naito up into Paradise! The fans cheer as Sanada has Naito caught!

Sanada pulls on the legs to put some pressure on, then he DROPKICKS Naito out of Paradise! Naito bails out but Sanada waits on him. Sanada then builds speed, but he tumbles up and out as Naito moves! Naito sweeps the legs, then dropkicks Sanada down! Naito builds speed, but he rolls and tranquilos! Sanada still fell for that old trick! Sanada cools off as he paces around, though, and takes his time returning. Naito stays back, Sanada slides in, but then Naito bails out! The fans cheer but Sanada goes out to CLUB Naito! Sanada isn’t in the mood for games and he whips, but Naito reverses to CLAW Sanada’s eyes!

Naito whips Sanada, but Sanada reverses! Naito is sent into railing after all! Sanada brings Naito around, hangs him off the apron, but Naito kicks free of that to turn things around! DRAPING DDT to the floor!! Sanada writhes while Naito strikes like a Viper! The fans rally up while Naito leaves Sanada behind. The ring count starts while Sanada clutches his head and neck. Sanada is still down at 5 of 20, and then 10! Sanada sits up at 12, pushes himself up and stands at 15. Sanada shakes out the arm and slides in at 18, and fans cheer. Naito brings Sanada up to CLUB away on the neck, though, then he whips.

Naito arm-drags Sanada, ELBOWS him down and basement dropkicks! Naito floats to a cravat and he cranks on the neck! Sanada endures and kicks around. Naito leans his weight but Sanada fights up. Naito CLUBS Sanada again, and again! Sanada goes to ropes, but Naito whips him. Naito hip toss NECKBREAKERS! Sanada writhes again, rolls to the apron and flops to the floor, but Naito pursues. Naito sits Sanada up to SAMBO LEG NELSON! No ropebreaks on the outside, is Naito going to grind Sanada down for a count out? The count does start again, and Sanada can only kick around as Naito puts on the pressure.

Naito stops at 10 of 20, then slides into the ring at 14. Sanada is down at 15, rises as the fans rally, and slides in at 18! Fans cheer but Naito is right on Sanada to CLUB away on the neck! Naito whips, Sanada holds ropes to avoid the arm-drag, and he dropkicks a leg! Naito hobbles but Sanada runs up. Naito kicks low then whips Sanada to a corner. Naito runs in but Sanada BOOTS him! Sanada goes up and QUEBRADA, but Naito gets under! Only for Sanada to dropkick the legs out! Both men are down as Naito clutches his knee and Sanada shakes out his arm. Sanada stalks Naito, brings him up and has the leg, but Naito CLAWS the eyes!

Red Shoes reprimands but Naito SPITS at Sanada. Naito whips but Sanada reverses to hurdle, hurdle and DROPKICK! Sanada’s legs work just fine, and he watches Naito bail out again. The fans rally and duel, Sanada PLANCHAS! Down goes Naito and the fans fire up! Sanada encourages them to get louder so they oblige. Sanada goes back to Naito, still loving the adulation, and he brings Naito back up. Sanada puts Naito in, fireman’s carries, but Naito fights free. Naito shoves Sanada to a corner, runs up, and he blocks boots! Naito puts Sanada in the ropes for a DRAPING BACKBREAKER!

Naito drags Sanada up, whips, and HIP TOSS NECKBREAKERS again! Sanada writhes and Naito shakes out his leg. Naito drags Sanada up again, puts him up top, and then climbs up after him. But Sanada slips out to DROPKICK Naito down onto the post! That post might’ve saved Naito from a worse fall, but certainly not from a softer one! Sanada climbs up behind Naito now, brings him around, and hits a SUPER FALLING BACKBREAKER!! Then a suplex for the MAGIC SCREW! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives and Sanada seethes but the fans fire up! Sanada hauls Naito up to the SKULL END! But Naito arm-drags free!

Naito runs up, Sanada sidesteps and O’Conner Roll, into SKULL END! The body scissors are in and Naito is caught! The fans fire up and duel as Naito endures! Naito kicks around, reaches out, but Sanada squeezes tight! Naito kicks and kicks and fights to gain ground but Sanada’s body scissors keep him stuck at center! The fans rally as hard as they can for Naito but he’s fading! Sanada follows his formula by letting go to go up top! ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto knees!! Naito saves himself but in double-edged fashion! Both men are down and the fans rally up again! Naito rises first and hobbles over to Sanada.

Naito drags Sanada up to kick and ELBOW! And kick, and ELBOW! Naito fires off more elbows, and Sanada staggers away to the corner! The fans rally up again, but Naito drags Sanada up to kick and ELBOW! And kick, and ELBOW! And ELBOW, ELBOW, ELBOW! Sanada falls again and this is all going to Naito’s formula! Naito drags Sanada up, puts him up top, and climbs up again. Naito CLUBS Sanada again and again to make sure he stays put this time. SUPER STEINER!! The fans fire up as both men are down! Naito then aims from the corner as Sanada rises, and the fans rally behind him.

Sanada stands, Naito runs up, into a DROPKICK! Naito stays up so Sanada whips. Naito reveres but Sanada denies the DDT to fireman’s carry! TK- DESTINO!! Naito hits it outta nowhere but he won’t leave it at that! Naito drags Sanada up, SPITS at him, then throws those ELBOWS! Sanada drops to his knees but Naito drags him up again. ELBOW! ELBOW! ELBOW! But Sanada roars! Sanada runs, but into a SPINEBUSTER! Naito stands Sanada up, wrenches, but Sanada denies the tilt-o-whirl! Naito and Sanada fight for control, and Naito CLUBS away! Tilt-o-whirl, DESTI- NO! Sanada fights that to the clinch!

But Naito fights from below! Sanada wrenches Naito, but Naito dragon sleepers! Is Naito trying to steal Skull End?! Sanada snapmares free before Naito truly can, and Sanada SHINING- NO, Naito ducks it! Naito UPPERCUTS, ENZIGIRIS, and then wrenches! Tilt-o-whirl, but Sanada slips free! Clinch and DEAD- NO, Naito gets around to waistlock! Sanada powers out to fire forearm after forearm! ROLLING ELBOW! Naito leans on ropes and the fans fire up! Naito CLUBS Sanada again and again, then ROCKS him! Sanada fireman’s carries! TKO! Both men are down again and the fans fire back up!

Sanada and Naito stir as the fans rally and duel. The “NA-I-TO!” is still stronger than the “SA-NA-DA!” but Sanada stands up first. Sanada scoops and BACKBREAKERS Naito into position! Sanada goes up again, ROUNDING BODY PRESS!! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives and the fans are thunderous! Sanada snarls, goes back up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS!! But Sanada won’t stop there, he clinches and DEAD- NO, Naito slips free! Tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO!!! And then another wrench, another tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO~!!! But that’s still not enough!? Naito scoops Sanada, but Sanada fights it! The fans duel as the two fight for control!

Sanada powers his way out of the grip and ENZIGIRIS! Naito roars?! But he turns around into a SHINING WIZARD!! Clinch and DEAD- NO, Naito slips free again! TORNADO- NO, Sanada stuffs it, so Naito just holds onto the facelock! Naito has the squeeze on Sanada now, but Sanada moves around. Sanada reaches out but Naito has body scissors to keep him down! The fans rally, Sanada fights up, so Naito clinches, to steal DEADFALL! Sanada rolls through!? BLINDSIDE SHINING WIZARD!! The fans are thunderous again as both men are down! Sanada kips up!! The fans fire up as Sanada runs up, SHINING WIZARD!!!

Sanada isn’t done there, he drags Naito back up! Clinch and DEAD- NO, Naito just fights free again! TORNADO CRADLE! NAITO WINS!!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall (still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion)

Sanada is furious that he got caught! Sanada stubbornly tried for his new ace card and that was perhaps his downfall. Will he have no choice but to go to the back of the line when it comes to this title?

As for Naito, he gets some water, and then takes the belt from Red Shoes. Naito drops it in a corner for a moment so he can get his baseball cap. Naito then gets the mic so he can say, “Buenas tardes, Sapporo~!” The fans cheer, and Naito thanks everyone for being here at NJPW: The New Beginning in Sapporo, “Gracias, amigos.” And tonight, here in Sapporo, there is someone who won’t be in the ring anymore. It was August, 2007, the first person that man wrestled in NJPW was Naito himself. And so Naito feels it wouldn’t be right if he didn’t address that man. The fans know he means “O-KA-DA!” who was on commentary for this match.

Naito says that all that said, this was a main event title match, and Naito won. So we have to end this the only way it can! It has been a minute since we heard this, so are you ready? The New Beginning in Sapporo must of course end with… “Bushi! Hiromu! Takagi! Titan! Yota! Y Naito! Nosotros…! LOS! INGOBERRRRRNABLEEEES~! DE! JA! PON!!” The confetti flies and the fans cheer as the tranquilo era continues! But then Naito invites The Rainmaker into the ring! Okada obliges by stepping off commentary and stepping through the gate. Okada steps inside and he stands with Naito right at the center of the ring.

Naito offers the LIJ fist bump, which fans cheer. Okada sighs and figures this is the last time he’ll even get the chance, so he reaches up. But then Naito SPITS in Okada’s eye and CLUBS away on Okada! Fans are torn as Naito whips, but Okada reverses! Naito avoids the dropkick, Okada avoids the lariat, and then ripcords! But Naito ducks the Rainmaker to tranquilo! The fans cheer and even Okada has to smile. Naito stands back up and says Okada can go now. Okada says fine and he exits. The fans cheer as The Rainmaker takes his leave, and the Uncontrollable Charisma waves goodbye. But will Naito prove he’s the true face of NJPW now that we’ve made it through the New Beginning?


My Thoughts:

A great finale to the New Beginning series here, though it’s a shame Tanahashi is hurt and could not take Nemeth up on his invitation to have a tag match, nor could he be part of the 10 Man Tag with Okada and Chaos. It’s an ankle injury, hopefully he’ll be alright. But at the same time, he doesn’t really have to wrestle, he’s President of NJPW now and should be taking it easy. Anyhow, great tag match from the Guerillas of Destiny to be Tama’s sendoff. As such, Leo & ELP naturally won, and they take the banner up for GOD, certainly as a tag team. I don’t think Loa’s leaving NJPW, so maybe Loa becomes a singles guy within the faction?

Bushi beating Taka, Douki beating Hiromu, Taichi beating Takagi, Just5Guys win that best of three, but LIJ wins out the night because both Yota and Naito win the last two matches. A really good, really cerebral match from Yota and Yuya, the storytelling of wanting to win with Young Lion moves continues between them, and I really liked how many times Yuya countered the Gene Blast, only for one to still hit. The New Japan Cup is up next, I’m sure Yota is going to have a strong showing as he tries for the world title.

Naito VS Sanada was really good, though I’m not sure it was quite like their WrestleKingdom match. But I suppose part of that was that of course Naito won. I appreciated the parallel to Yota VS Yuya with Sanada failing to hit Deadfall again and again. Naito then snatches the win with a cradle, not a finisher, technically keeping Sanada strong. I’m just not sure how Sanada does in the New Japan Cup. English commentary was pointing out getting Naito VS Sanada Part 3 through the New Japan Cup would be too much.

Sanada could obviously go for a different title in the meantime, though I have no idea what one. Just5Guys already feuded with House of Torture, they can’t default to that and the NEVER Openweight title. Nemeth just got the Global title and Riddle just got the NJPW World TV title, so I don’t think they’d lose to Sanada, but those would make for some interesting feuds. And I don’t even think Sanada would care about the KOPW Championship, though it would  be interesting to see what matches he’d come up with.

My Score: 8.8/10


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Mitchell’s NJPW New Beginning Sapporo Results & Report! (2/23/24)

Night one!

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It’s a golden New Beginning in Sapporo!

NJPW returns to Sapporo, with FIVE different championships on the line, from the IWPG Women’s title to the new IWGP Global Championship! Will NJPW’s landscape change drastically tonight?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Frontier Zone: Toru Yano & Tomoya VS Tomoaki Honma VS Shoma Kato; Yano & Tomoya win.
  • Yuji Nagata VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins.
  • Six Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe & Boltin Oleg VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS The United Empire; Chaos wins.
  • 10 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Just5Guys; LIJ wins.
  • IWGP Women’s Championship: Mayu Iwatani VS Mina Shirakawa; Mayu wins and retains the title.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado VS SHO; Sho wins and becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: EVIL VS Shota Umino; Evil wins and retains the title.
  • NJPW World Television Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Matt Riddle; Riddle wins and becomes the new NJPW World Television Champion.
  • IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship: David Finlay VS Nic Nemeth; Nemeth wins and becomes the new IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion.

PLAY BY PLAY

IWGP Women’s Championship: Mayu Iwatani VS Mina Shirakawa!

The Sky Blue Hyper Technician continues her reign as the third-ever champion, but she’s running into quite the challenger. The “Fighting H-Cup Gravure Wrestler” wants to add gold to the Glamorous Collection Mina, will she do it? Or will there be no new beginning for this title just yet?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who is truly the Icon of Stardom!

The bell rings and the two rush in! Mina ducks the booth, gets around to headlock, but Mayu powers out. Mina jumps the dropdown, then redirects! She slides under another boot but Mayu ELBOWS her down! The fans fire up and Mayu bumps Mina off buckles. Mayu whips corner to corner, runs in, but Mina dropkicks the legs out! The fans rally up as Mina kicks Mayu around. Mina grabs a leg, SMASHES the knee, and then stalks Mayu to ropes. Mina kicks Mayu around, drags her up, and then carries her. Mina ties up the legs and the fans rally, before the DOUBLE KNEE BUSTER! Mayu writhes more but Mina grabs the legs again.

Mina steps through, ties the legs up, and then DROPS into the Trailer Hitch! Mina lets Mayu go to kick her around, but Mayu CHOPS! Mina just smiles and KICKS the bad leg. Mina bumps Mayu off buckles, puts the bad leg in ropes and pulls! Mayu pulls hair in return, the ref reprimands and counts. Mina lets go to dropkick the leg! Fans rally up again as Mayu gets free of the ropes. Mina goes corner to corner, but Mayu slips around rolls, Mina up, and basement dropkicks her down! The fans fire up with Mayu, then she gest going, DROPKICK against ropes! Mayu drags Mina up, NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridging cover, TWO!

The fans rally up again as Mayu brings Mina around. Mina’s in the drop zone as Mayu goes up, but Mina rises! Mina SLAPS Mayu, then SUPER DRAGON SCREWS the leg! Mina steps through again, and has the FIGURE FOUR! Mayu scrambles and flails, and reaches for the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer while Mina lets go in frustration. Mina stalks Mayu, gets a leg, but Mayu holds ropes. Mina KICKS Mayu’s arms, suplexes her, and hits MAGIC SCREW! Cover, TWO! Mayu is still in this and the fans rally up again. Mina shouts and eggs Mayu on. Mina stands Mayu up, Electric Chair Lifts, but Mayu POISON-RANAS free!

The fans rally while both women are down! Mina stirs while Mayu crawls her way over. Mina fires a forearm first! Mayu gives it back! Mina throws another forearm, but so does Mayu! They stand as the shots keep going, faster and faster! The fans rally up as Mayu gest the edge! But Mina blocks to UPPERCUT! Mina eggs Mayu on, Mayu SLAPS her back! Mina roars and fires palm strike after palm strike! Mina ROCKS Mayu, runs, but Mayu follows to ELBOW her! Mayu snapmares and KICKS her in the back! The fans fire up and Mayu drags Mina back up. But Mina breaks free, only to swing into a SNAP DRAGON!

Mayu aims, SUPERKICK! Mina flounders around while the fans rally behind Mayu. Mayu puts Mina back in the drop zone, steps over her and goes up the corner. The bad leg worries her but she makes it to the top. Mayu aims, and FROG SPLASHES! Cover, TWO!! Mina survives and the fans fire up again! Mayu steps on Mina this time, and she goes back up top! Mayu takes aim, to MOONSAULT FLOP as Mina moves! Mina aims from the corner now, and she runs in to GLAMOROUS SWORD ENZIGIRI! Mina roars as she drags Mayu back up. Mina Electric Chair Lifts again! GLAMOROUS DRAGON SCREW!!

And then Mina goes right into the FIGURE FOUR!! Mayu endures as she’s right on the NJPW lion logo! Mayu flails, reaches out, but Mina pulls on the leg! Mina thrashes around but Mayu drags her along! They turn over, and over, and Mayu has lost ground! Mayu shouts and powers her way around, only for Mina to power her back! Mina thrashes more, but Mayu fights one more time! They roll and roll, but Mina stops Mayu short! Mayu fights, claws at the mat, and has the ROPEBREAK! The fans fire up again while Mina lets go in frustration! Mina storms around, drags Mayu back to center, and wants it again! But Mayu BOOTS her!

Mayu gets up, into a ROLLING ELBOW! URAKEN! IMPALER DDT! Cover, TWO!! Mina is stunned and the fans fire up again! Mina snarls, drags Mayu back up and dragon sleepers, and even figure-fours the legs! GLAMOROUS- NO, Mayu fights off the driver! Mayu gut wrenches, and TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVERS!! The fans fire up again as Mayu BUZZSAWS Mina down! Mina flounders to a corner, Mayu’s leg keeping her from making a cover. Mina stands up, Mayu runs in to DROPKICK! Mina staggers around and Mayu fires up! Mina falls into the drop zone as Mayu climbs! Mina stands up for the MISSILE DROPKICK!

Mayu says “MADA MADA! <NOT YET!>” Mayu goes back up, to DIVING DOUBLE STOMP!! And yet that’s still not it?! Mayu goes back up, she wants the MOONSAULT!! Cover, TWO?!?! Mina survives the onslaught and the fans are thunderous! Mayu drags Mina up and reels her into a full nelson. SNAP- NO, Mina slips free to reel Mayu in! GLAMOROUS COLLECTION MINA! TWO!!! Mayu escapes, Mina runs, but into a SUPERKICK! Mina rebounds but Mayu gets around, SNAP DRAGON! Bridging cover, TWO!?!? Mina escapes and Mayu is raging! Mayu BUZZSAWS, SUPERKICKS, and BUZZSAWS again!

Mina flops over and the ref checks. She’s somehow still in this so Mayu drags her up. Mayu waistlocks, and HIGH ANGLE DRAGON SUPLEX! Bridging cover, Mayu wins!

Winner: Mayu Iwatani, by pinfall (still IWGP Women’s Champion)

Mina put on a truly glamorous fight, but it was just not enough to stop Mayu’s reign! Will Mayu continue to be the Icon of both Stardom and NJPW?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado VS SHO!

Despite not wanting to be “the face of a division,” the Rogue Luchador has proven himself to be the Best of the Super Juniors. He dethroned Hiromu Takahashi and thwarted Yoshinobu Kanemaru, but now the Murder Machine wants his turn as Player One! Will Sho have the deck stacked in his favor? Or will Desperado make it 2-0 against The House of Torture?

Whoa, hold on now! Desperado has already turned the tables, he’s dragging Sho out here! Desperado laughs as he has the belt on his shoulder and Sho in a headlock, but then Sho fights free as they reach the ramp. Sho throws chops but Desperado SLAPS Sho down! Desperado eggs Sho on, stomps him down, then stands on him. Desperado drags Sho along again, pulling his hair. Sho calls for the ref to stop this but it doesn’t matter since this isn’t a match yet. Desperado SMACKS Sho off the apron again and again! Desperado makes Show look at the belt. The name plate doesn’t show Sho, so it ain’t his yet!

Desperado shoves Sho into the ring, then steps in to explain to the ref that it’s all okay. The fans cheer, the bell rings, and now it’s a match! Desperado hauls Sho up for a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Desperado gets a leg and has the STRETCH MUFFLER! Sho flails and scrambles to the ROPEBREAK! Desperado holds until the ref counts 4! Desperado knees on the leg, but lets off as the ref counts. Desperado stomps the leg, stalks him, then scuffs Sho. Desperado whips but Sho blocks by holding ropes. Desperado still tries, but Sho still blocks. Desperado kicks low, whips, but Sho bails out!

Desperado pursues but Sho goes under the ring! Desperado drags Sho back out and ROCKS him! Sho flounders against railing and Desperado stalks him. Sho grabs the hammer for the bell! The ref stops Sho but sho shoves the ref away! Sho then uses the belt to CLOBBER Desperado! Fans boo and Sho hurries into the ring. The ref checks Desperado, having missed the shenanigans. Sho laughs at Desperado as the ring count starts. Desperado is down even at 10 of 20. Desperado rises slowly, checking his face and his mask. He stands at 14 and hobbles over to crawl in at 16. Fans cheer but Sho storms up on Desperado.

Sho stands Desperado up to then run and LARIAT! Desperado falls and Sho hobbles back over. SNAKE BITE! Desperado flails and fights but Sho squeezes tight! Desperado reaches out with his legs, then CLAWS at Sho’s face! The ref reprimands Desperado and Sho still keeps the hold! Desperado is fading! The ref checks, but Desperado revives! Desperado fights around, kicks his legs, and has the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer but the ref counts, Sho lets go at 4. Sho hobbles and drags Desperado up. Sho reels Desperado in, for POWER BREAKER! The knee bothers Sho but he manages the cover, TWO!!

Desperado survives and the fans rally up again! Sho aims his bow and he drags Desperado up. Sho reels Desperado back in, tucks the arms, SHOCK- NO, Desperado fights the lift! Sho still tries, but the knee stops him! Desperado falls over, both men are in bad shape. Desperado sits up, Sho goes after him, and Desperado dropkicks the bad leg! Fans cheer as Sho hobbles away. Desperado slowly rises, still looking worse for wear, but he stares Sho down. Sho kicks Desperado, but Desperado growls. Desperado blocks a boot but Sho HEADBUTTS free of the back suplex! Sho goes for it again, SHOCK- NO, Desperado slips free to SPINEBUSTER!

Both men are down again and the fans rally back up! Desperado drags himself up with the ropes, hobbles his way over to Sho, and he brings Sho up to have the leg. But Sho CLAWS the eyes! Desperado still hits the KNEE BREAKER! GROUND DRAGON SCREW! STRETCH MUFFLER!! Sho flails, reaches out, but Desperado rolls Sho away! NUMERO DOS PLUS! But the lights go out! Of course! What’s the House of Torture gonna do now? We hear someone attacking Desperado, and the lights come up to show it’s Kanemaru! Fans boo but Kanemaru just blows snot at them! The ref is nowhere to be seen as Kanemaru TOSSES Desperado out!

The fans tell the Heel Master to go away but Kanemaru POSTS Desperado instead! Fans boo as Kanemaru stomps Desperado, and Sho slides out to join them. Sho has his “Torture Tool” wrench and Kanemaru sets Desperado up. Sho winds up, but here comes Ryusuke Taguchi! Taguchi HIP ATTACKS Kanemaru down, then he HIP ATTACKS Sho! Desperado has friends in the “main unit” watching his back! Taguchi stomps away on Kanemaru, then takes the wrench to CHOKE Kanemaru with it! Taguchi brings Kanemaru away, digging that wrench into Kanemaru’s nose! Fans cheer as now this is back to 1v1!

Desperado nods and hobbles his way over to Sho. Desperado drags Sho up, POSTS him, then hobbles around again. Desperado hauls Sho up to POST the knee! Sho writhes, Desperado eggs him on, and then Desperado puts Sho in the ring. Desperado calls for the ref and finds him by the timekeeper. Desperado helps the ref up into the ring, then he YANKS Sho’s bad leg, GROUND DRAGON SCREW, and NUMERO DOS! Sho flails, but Desperado rolls away from ropes! NUMERO DOS PLUS!! Sho endures, fights up with his core strength, and pops into the lift! But the bad leg stops the driver! Desperado Alabama Lifts, but Sho fights!

Desperado tucks Sho in, for a BASTARD DRIVER!! Cover, TWO?!? Sho survives and Desperado is surprised! Desperado roars, the fans fire up with him, and Desperado hauls Sho up. Desperado reels Sho in, tucks the arms, PINCHE- NO, Sho fights it, and RAMS Desperado into the ref! LOW BLOW!! And then another shove into the ref!! The fans boo as Sho pulls out more nasty tricks! Sho goes outside, again takes the belt, and hobbles back into the ring. The fans boo as Sho aims, BELT- LOCO MONO!! Desperado stops Sho with that big right hand! Sho tumbles out of the ring, and he gets a chair!

Desperado roars, runs, and DIVES into a chairshot!!! The seat cushion goes flying while Desperado tumbles down! The fans boo again as Sho flounders his way past Desperado. Sho laughs as he then finds more chairs. Sho sets one up nearby, and he makes Desperado take a seat. Sho gets the other chair, aims again, HEADSHOT! Fans boo as hard as they can while Desperado slumps over in the seat. Sho has an even nastier idea! The cushion is gone, so he wants to go the skinny way! The ref sees this now and stops Sho, but Sho shoves him down! Sho aims, but Desperado LOW BLOWS Sho!! The fans cheer the poetic justice!

Desperado flips Sho off and SMACKS him off the chair! Desperado then grabs that frame, to HOME RUN! Sho flounders all the way to the railing! The ref is shocked to see the aftermath but the fans rally up. Both Desperado and Sho are down at ringside, so the ref starts a ring count. Both men stir at 5 of 20, drag themselves up with railing, and Desperado stands at 9. Desperado staggers over, and he drags himself in at 13. Sho still flops around a bit, but wait! Someone else is coming out from under the ring!? REN NARITA drags Desperado out and into a SLEEPER!! The ref doesn’t see, he’s busy watching Sho!

Sho staggers up and in at 19!! Desperado is outside at 20, Sho wins!!!

Winner: Sho, by count-out (NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)

The fans boo as the House of Torture finds a new way to screw someone over! Because unlike other promotions, NJPW says even count-outs can win you a belt! Sho couldn’t beat Desperado alone, but will nothing stop the House of Torture from taking more gold?

 

NEVER Openweight Championship: EVIL w/ Dick Togo VS Shota Umino!

We just saw the House of Torture cheat like hell, and now the King of Darkness might just do the same. Will Darkness Fall on Sapporo? Or will the Roughneck come through for Tama Tonga and deal out some justice?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and Evil adds more black spray paint to it! Shota attacks and the fans fire up! Shota ROCKS Evil, makes sure the belt is secured, and the bell rings. Evil claws Shota’s eyes! Evil whips, Shota reverses and scoops to DROP Evil, then DROPKICK him! The fans fire up with Shota while Evil bails out. Evil claims his shoulder hurts so the ref checks him. That allows Dick to sneak attack Shota! Shota doesn’t fall over, so Dick runs away! Shota chases Dick into the ring, and Evil LARIATS Shota down! Fans boo but Evil brings Shota up. Evil throws Shota back out and RAMS him into the timekeeper!

Fans boo as Abe-san suffers at Evil’s hands again! Evil sits Shota up to SMASH a water bottle into him! Evil grabs the mic and the belt to tell Shota, “You want this belt? It’ll NEVER be yours, it’s mine!” The ref takes the belt back and Evil leaves Shota behind to go into the ring. Evil wants a count out, but Abe has to get up. The ref is counting for himself so Shota crawls in at 5 of 20. Evil soaks up the heat and storms back up on Shota. Evil CHOPS Shota in a corner, then brings him around to bump off buckles. Evil CHOPS again but Shota eggs him on! So Evil winds up and fakes a chop to CLAW Shota’s eyes!

The ref reprimands and counts, Evil lets off at 4. Evil whips Shota corner to corner hard and surprise, the buckle pad is gone! Dick snuck the Bullet Club Special into this one, and Evil covers Shota. TWO, and Evil covers again. TWO, and Evil covers again, TWO!! Evil pushes Shota’s shoulders down, TWO!! A leg cradle, TWO!!! Shota escapes again and Evil is frustrated. Evil drags Shota back up, throws him out, and distracts the ref so Dick can beat up on Shota! Fans boo but Dick puts Shota in for Evil to cover, TWO! Evil is frustrated again but he kicks Shota around. Evil slaps Shota around, talks trash on the fans, but Shota snarls.

Shota stands to ROCK Evil! And ROCK him again! And again! But Evil CLAWS Shota’s eyes again! Evil whips, but Shota uses that to WRECK Dick with a dropkick! Evil kicks and whips but Shota DROPKICKS Evil down! The fans fire up with Shota and they rally behind him. Shota rises, drags Evil up, and whips him to a corner. Shota runs up to UPPERCUT, then he FISHERMAN SUPLEXES! Bridging cover, TWO! Not quite perfect but Shota doesn’t let that slow him down. Shota drags Evil up, clinches, but Evil pulls hair! Shota breaks free to ROCK Evil! This is why Shota got the haircut, it seems.

Shota runs up but Evil BOOTS him away! Evil calls to the ramp but no one’s there, he got Shota with that one! And he CLOBBERS Shota for it, too! Fans boo but Evil smirks. Evil takes a moment to stretch before he drags Shota up. Evil hits a FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Shota grits his teeth and Evil frowns. Evil drags Shota up again, but Shota fights the fireman’s carry! Evil body shots and whips, but Shota holds ropes! Shota BOOTS Evil, then he calls for someone! He gets Evil back in return and drop toeholds him to ropes! Then SLINGSHOT APRON DDT! The fans fire up while Evil flops to the floor!

Shota paces, and the ref has to keep Dick back. Shota stands on Evil’s face and eggs him on. Shota puts Evil in, and he chases Dick off before going up a corner. Shota MISSILE DROPKICKS Evil, then brings him up! Full nelson, spin around, and pop-up KNEE! Then IGNITION! Cover, TWO! Evil survives but Shota hurries to get the legs! STF! Evil endures, reaches out, but wait, now someone from the House rushes out here! Yujiro Takahashi rings the bell to fool everyone!! Evil CLUBS Shota, then RAMS him into the ref! Fans boo as the House pulls out even more tricks! Yujiro gets in the ring with Dick and they stomp away on Shota!

The House “puts one out” on Shota and drags him up. Dick bumps Shota off buckles, then he and Yujiro double whip. Dick runs in to ELBOW! Yujiro runs in to BOOT! They snapmare Shota then set him up, and Dick climbs up, for the DICK CHOP! Evil calls for a ref, the back-up ref hurries out here to count the cover, TWO! Shota survives but now Evil gets in this ref’s face! They argue, and that allows Yujiro to slip back in! Yujiro drags Shota up, for the PIMP JUICE! Evil covers, TWO!!! Shota survives and the fans fire up! Evil slashes his throat, vowing to end this! Evil drags Shota up, spins him around, but Shota fights off the STO!

Shota slips around, TONGAN TWIST!! A shoutout to the Good Bad Guy and both men are down! The fans rally up as Shota crawls to a corner. Shota drags himself up with ropes, Evil runs in, but Shota ELBOWS him away! Then SHOTGUNS him down! Shota fires up but Evil grabs at the ref. Evil sends the ref into Shota, then CLOBBERS them both! Fans boo again as Dick gets back in, with the SPOILER CHOKER! Shota flails, fights up, but Dick keeps him on his knees! Fans boo even harder but Dick then sets Shota up for Evil and MAGIC- NO, Shota kicks free! Then he uses Dick to TORNADO DDT Evil!

Yujiro’s in, but Shota avoids the pimp cane to ENZIGIRI! POP-UP UPPERCUT for Evil! HALF ‘N’ HALF for Yujiro! The fans fire up as Shota has new life! And now he really does call reinforcements! Shota fires off forearms on Evil, then HALF NELSON SUPLEXES! Another ref appears to count the bridging cover, TWO!! Evil escapes but Shota fires up to another gear! The fans rally as Shota aims from a corner. Shota runs up, BLAZE- NO, Evil ducks the blade! Fireman’s carry, but Shota slips free! Shota underhooks but Evil wrenches out! EVERY- NO, Shota slips free and steals EVERY- NO, Evil avoids his own finisher!

Evil swings, misses, Shota GUN STUNS!! Cover, TWO!?!? Shota is raging and the fans are fired up again! Shota reloads in the corner and aims again! BLAZE BLADE!! Shota then hauls Evil up but Evil sends him into bare buckles! Shota just roars! But into a LARIAT!! Shota roars as he rises up, but into a fireman’s carry! DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO!!! Shota is not done yet but Evil says he’ll finish this! Evil stands Shota up, spins him, EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, Evil wins!

Winner: Evil, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Champion)

Shota put up a fight worthy of a champion, but he got cheated just like Desperado! Evil spray paints the belt to make it even darker, and he puts an X on Shota’s chest. Will no one be able to stop the House of Torture with them always stacking the deck?

 

NJPW World Television Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Matt Riddle!

The Ace of the Universe may or may not know who The Original Bro is, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be looking down on him. Riddle’s resume is a strong one, will he add another title to it tonight? Or will his 15 minutes of fame run out already?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see if the “Super King” trumps The Ace!

The fans cheer Tanahashi’s abs as always. The bell rings and we’re on the clock. The fans rally for Tanahashi as he and Riddle circle. They feel things out, Riddle shoots in and around but Tanahashi switches. Riddle switches, Tanahashi switches but Riddle rolls free and the fans cheer the technical exchange. The fans start to duel a bit as the two reset. They knuckle lock, but Tanahashi wrenches and hammerlocks to then headlock. Riddle powers up to put Tanahashi in a corner. Red Shoes calls the break and Riddle lets off with a push. Tanahashi keeps cool and resets with Riddle. They tie up, go around, and Riddle waistlocks. Tanahashi wrenches free but Riddle goes to a corner.

Red Shoes calls for another break, but Tanahashi pulls hair! So Riddle pulls hair! They shout at each other, Red Shoes counts on them both, and they both let go at 4. But then they both grab hold of hair again! Tanahashi puts Riddle in a corner and fires off body shots! Tanahashi whips corner to corner, but Riddle reverses. Riddle runs up but into an elbow! Tanahashi goes up to CROSSBODY, but Riddle rolls through to an ARMBAR! Tanahashi rolls to the ROPEBREAK! Riddle lets go and eggs Tanahashi on while Tanahashi goes out to railing. The fans rally for “BRO! BRO! BRO!” Tanahashi eggs Riddle on, but then slides in as Riddle slides out! They each tell the other, “C’mon!”

Riddle slides back in but Tanahashi slides back out! Tanahashi air guitars and fans cheer, but then Riddle rushes out. Tanahashi dodges Riddle to RAM him into the apron! Tanahashi then slides in to PLANCHA onto Riddle! The fans fire up while Riddle goes down! Tanahashi storms up on Riddle, puts him in the ring and Tanahashi scoops to SLAM! Riddle is in the drop zone and Tanahashi goes up, for a SUNSET SENTON FLOP as Riddle moves! Riddle runs to KNEE Tanahashi down! Cover, TWO! Riddle stays cool but time is still on Tanahashi’s side. Riddle paces around while the fans rally, and he stomps and kicks Tanahashi around.

Riddle stands Tanahashi up to ROCK him, and CHOP him, and he nods. Riddle says how’s this, Mr. President? Riddle CHOPS, so Tanahashi fires off fast hands! Tanahashi runs, but into a RANA out to the apron! Riddle aims and PENALTY KICKS from above! Tanahashi wobbles and Riddle SPRINGBOARD BROTONS! Direct hit and now we hit the five minute limit! Riddle hurries to get Tanahashi in the ring, and he BROTONS again! Tanahashi is in a drop zone, so Riddle goes up the corner. FLOATING BRO onto knees! Riddle flounders around, Tanahashi runs and SLING- NO, Riddle gets aroudn to waistlock!

Tanahashi fights the lift, switches, spins Riddle around, TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Tanahashi runs and SLINGBLADES Riddle back down! Cover, TWO! Riddle is still in this but the fans rally as Tanahashi goes to a corner. Tanahashi climbs but Riddle ROCKS him! Riddle CHOPS Tanahashi, then has him on the apron to drag him up the ropes! Tanahashi fights the Super German Suplex with elbows! Tanahashi grabs Riddle’s leg, DRAPING DRAGON SCREW! Riddle falls back and Tanahashi hurries back up! Riddle stands, into the HIGH FLY ATTACK into a FLASH KNEE! Both men are down and the fans fire back up!

Riddle sits up and watches Tanahashi writhe. Riddle stands Tanahashi up, gut wrenches and tucks, but Tanahashi rolls through to victory roll! TWO and Riddle has it, TWO! Tanahashi has it back, TWO!! Riddle gets up, runs up and CHOPS! And CHOPS! Riddle fires off palm strikes, and KICKS! Tanahashi fires up and blocks a kick to CLUB the leg and SHOTEI! Tanahashi runs but into a FLASH KNEE! And then a scoop for the BRO STONE!! Cover, RIDDLE WINS!

Winner: Matt Riddle, by pinfall (NEW NJPW World Television Champion)

In 8 minutes and 53 seconds, a new champion has been crowned! Riddle stands tall and shouts, “What’d you think was gonna happen? I come to Japan and lose? Wrong, bro!” There is truly a New Beginning in Sapporo, will Riddle make “season three” the biggest and the best one yet?

 

IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship: David Finlay w/ Gedo VS Nic Nemeth!

The Rebel and his War Dogs battled tooth and nail with the United Empire and came out on top. However, this fight is to show the Showoff that he’s biting off more than he can chew. Will Finlay hold on to the title made just for him? Or will Nemeth bring it into the Danger Zone?

Wait, Gedo is making his way out here with the shillelagh, but where’s Finlay? He comes in from the crowd side to ambush Nemeth! Fans boo as Finlay tosses Nemeth out and stomps away at the railing! Bullet Club gonna Bullet Club, it seems. Finlay then whips Nemeth hard into railing, then hauls him up to whip him hard into MORE railing! Gedo cheers but Red Shoes reprimands, so Finlay puts Nemeth in the ring. Finlay kisses his belt before handing it over, and the bell finally rings. Finlay runs up, into a SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives and bails out, so Nemeth pursues! Nemeth SMACKS Finlay off railing in return!

Nemeth brings Finlay around to SMACK him off more railing! Gedo protests but Nemeth drags Finlay up. Finlay pulls hair but Nemeth pulls hair in return. Nemeth SMACKS Finlay off more railing, right in front of commentary! Nemeth POSTS Finlay, brings him around, and whips, only for Finlay to reverse! Nemeth stops from hitting railing, but Finlay TACKLES him through the gate! Red Shoes checks Nemeth but Finlay drags him back to ringside. Finlay POSTS Nemeth, drags him up again, and puts him in the ring. Finlay pushes Nemeth to a cover, TWO! The fans rally up but Finlay snarls as he kicks Nemeth around.

Finlay rains down fists from all sides, then lets off because of closed fists. Nemeth flounders against ropes but Finlay drags him up and whips him hard into buckles! Nemeth falls back and Finlay says this is too easy. Cover, ONE!! Nemeth shows he’s tougher than that so Finlay throws down headbutts! Finlay digs his elbow into Nemeth’s face, Red Shoes reprimands, and Finlay lets off. Finlay puts Nemeth on ropes to CHOKE him! Finlay makes Nemeth smile with fishhooks! Red Shoes counts, Finlay lets off at 4, and then Finlay drags Nemeth up. Finlay throws up the Too Sweet as fans boo, and he snap suplexes Nemeth down! Cover, ONE!!

The fans rally while Gedo protests the “bad count.” Finlay clamps on a headlock and pushes up to grind the hold. Nemeth endures, even though he’s turning red. The fans rally, Nemeth kicks around and reaches out, but Finlay pulls on the headlock harder! Nemeth fights to his feet, throws body shots, and they end up on ropes. Nemeth runs, but Finlay catches him to a SLEEPER! Nemeth gets around to hit a BIG back suplex! Both men are down and the fans fire up again! Finlay flounders to a corner, then staggers out, into a LARIAT from Nemeth! Nemeth SPLASHES in a corner, turns Finlay and hits a NECKBREAKER!

The fans fire up as Nemeth then drops an ELBOW! And another! And another! Nemeth just rains down elbow after elbow, the fans counting along! Nemeth goes all the way to nine, then swivels those hips for the TENTH! Cover, TWO!! Finlay sputters from surviving all those “heartstoppers” but Nemeth brings him up. Nemeth ROCKS Finlay, runs up at the ropes and clotheslines Finlay and himself up and out! Red Shoes has Gedo stay back, but Gedo still coaches Finlay. Nemeth rises using railing, Gedo helps Finlay. Nemeth aims but Finlay moves, the SUPERKICK hits Gedo! Finlay ROCKS Nemeth and puts him in the ring!

Finlay checks on Gedo, is frustrated, and he storms up to the apron, but into a SUPERKICK! Finlay falls onto Gedo! Gedo holds his shillelagh, and we don’t mean the wood club! Nemeth goes out to get Finlay, puts him in, but now Gedo distracts Red Shoes with his pain. Finlay has the wood club! SHILLELAGH SHOT to the leg! Nemeth goes down in a heap, Finlay covers, TWO!! Nemeth survives and Finlay is furious! The fans rally but Finlay YANKS and stomps the bad leg over and over. Finlay DDTS the foot! Nemeth writhes and goes to the apron but Finlay talks trash. Finlay drags Nemeth around, puts the leg on ropes, and HIP DROPS!

Nemeth writhes, the fans boo, but Finlay soaks it all up. Finlay stalks Nemeth, taunts him, and drags him up. Finlay scoops Nemeth to SLAM him into the ropes! Nemeth clutches the knee but Finlay pretends he can’t hear the fans. The fans boo harder but Finlay stalks Nemeth. Finlay brings Nemeth around, hauls him up, and has the leg for the SHIN- NO, Nemeth sunset flips! TWO, but Nemeth has the ghost pin! TWO!! Finlay kicks, Nemeth blocks and spins him, OLYMPIC- NO, Finlay slips free! Finlay back suplexes but Nemeth lands out! And he reels Finlay in for the OLYMPIC SLAM! The fans fire up while both men are down!

Nemeth and Finlay writhe while the fans rally. Finlay goes to a corner but Nemeth crawls after him. Finlay stands in the corner, Nemeth runs up to SPLASH! Nemeth hobbles around, goes corner to corner again, but Finlay moves and pulls the pad! Nemeth hits the steel!! Finlay then POSTS Nemeth! Fans boo but Finlay storms back up. Finlay drags Nemeth out, clinches, and IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKERS! Cover, TWO!! Nemeth survives but Finlay says fine, he just wants more. The fans rally for Nemeth and that annoys Finlay. Finlay hauls Nemeth up but Nemeth back drops free! Finlay stands, into the SATELLITE- NO, Finlay TOSSES Nemeth out of the ring!!

Nemeth writhes and clutches the knee while Finlay talks a lot of trash! Red Shoes checks, Finlay wants this to be called! Nemeth says no, he’s still in this, so a ring count starts instead. Nemeth grabs at the railing, drags himself up, but we’re already at 10 of 20! Nemeth hobbles on one good leg, claws at the ring at 15, but he’s still down at 18! Nemeth springs up and in at 19! But into a SPEAR!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay gets Nemeth up to DOMINATOR!! Cover, TWO!!! Nemeth survives again but Finlay goes right into a FIGURE FOUR!! Finlay even positions himself between Nemeth and ropes! Nemeth endures and the fans rally up!

Nemeth’s shoulders are down, that’s a cover! TWO as Nemeth sits up! Finlay puts more pressure on the hold  but Nemeth continues to endure! Nemeth reaches out, tries to turn things, but Finlay blocks! The fans rally as hard as they can as Nemeth turns the pressure onto Finlay!! But Finlay turns it right back around! Finlay thrashes the hold, pulls on the bad leg, but Nemeth still reaches out! Nemeth grits his teeth, claws at the mat, and he drags Finlay along as he moves forward! Nemeth fights to the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer, Red Shoes counts, but Finlay lets go at 4. Nemeth clutches his leg and Finlay says he should’ve just quit.

Finlay vows to end Nemeth’s whole career if he doesn’t give up. Finlay says he’ll make Nemeth respect him and tell him he’s the man. If he does, Finlay will show mercy! Nemeth sits up, and SPITS at Finlay! The fans fire up but Finlay ROLLING ELBOWS! Finlay drags Nemeth back to center, steps through, but Nemeth cradle counters! TWO!! Finlay comes back, Nemeth UPPERCUTS! Finlay rebounds to LARIAT! Finlay says it’s still just that easy! Finlay drags Nemeth up, reels him in, but Nemeth resists! Finlay CLUBS away on Nemeth, reels him back in, and lifts, but Nemeth fires fists! Nemeth lands out of the bomb and UPPERCUTS!

Nemeth BOOTS with the good leg, then BOOTS him again! Finlay staggers, Nemeth aims, but the plant leg won’t let him! Finlay POWERBOMBS!! Cover, TWO!?!? Not even Gedo understands how Nemeth survived! Finlay looms over Nemeth while Sapporo rallies for the Wanted Man. Finlay says Nemeth had his chance, this is what he gets. Finlay throws crossface forearms on Nemeth again and again, Gedo cheering each shot! Finlay drags Nemeth up again for even more crossface forearms, showing him exactly the lack of mercy he just promised. Nemeth still reaches out for ropes but Finlay stands on him as he brings the kneepad down.

Finlay roars as he drags Nemeth up, suplexes, but Nemeth slips free! Nemeth staggers back, Finlay runs up, but Nemeth sends him into bare buckles! Finlay falls back and fans fire up! Nemeth drags Finlay up, and SMACKS him off the bare buckles! And again! And again! Red Shoes reprimands, Gedo protests, and Nemeth tells Finlay, “You listen to me, you POS!” Nemeth POSTS Finlay, then hits the SATELLITE DDT! And then FAMOUSER! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Nemeth is too tired to be upset! Gedo is very upset, though, and he shouts for Finlay to get up. We hit 20 minutes, time might be on Finlay’s side here.

Finlay and Nemeth slowly stir, and Nemeth slaps some life back into himself. Nemeth drags Finlay around in a facelock, reels him in, but Finlay flops down. Nemeth slaps himself again, the fans rally for him, but Finlay wrenches! Nemeth CLUBS Finlay, fires off at the ropes, then lines up the shot! But Finlay denies the move formerly known as Zigzag! Nemeth swings, Finlay gets around and suplexes, INTO OBLIVION!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Finlay is furious and the fans are thunderous that Nemeth survives again! Finlay seethes as he makes his way back over to Nemeth. Nemeth shakes his head and throws a haymaker!

Finlay throws a forearm in return, so Nemeth throws another haymaker! They go back and forth with shots, and they rise up to their feet. Nemeth eggs Finlay on so Finlay throws a forearm! Nemeth throws another haymaker! Finlay snarls, ROCKS Nemeth, but Nemeth ROCKS Finlay! The shots keep going, faster and faster, and the fans love how it’s just a scrum! Finlay kicks a leg out, then gator rolls Nemeth for OVER- NO, Nemeth blocks the leg! HEADBUTT!! But Finlay HEADBUTTS back! Finlay blocks the superkick but Nemeth HEADBUTTS again! And SUPERKICKS!! DANGER ZONE!! Cover, NEMETH WINS?!?!

Winner: Nic Nemeth, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion)

The fans are stunned but they’re also loving this! It’s another New Beginning in Sapporo as Nemeth now adds to his WWE Grand Slam Champion resume by taking this title away from Finlay, the man who created it! What is The Rebel going to do now that he lost his prized possession?

As for Nemeth, he gets the belt and the mic to say, “Sapporo, Japan, I want you to know one thing: You may not know me, but you are going to. This championship right here, this championship right here…! I will defend anywhere, anytime! You name the place, you name the fighter, and I will leave it all in the ring every damn night! NJPW, all over the world, I am your Global Champion, and I will prove it every day until the day I die! Thank you so much! Arigato, Sapporo. NJPW, LET’S EFFING GO~!!” The confetti flies and the music rocks, is this truly the New Beginning of NJPW’s biggest chapter yet?

Wait, wait, Nemeth has one more thing to say. He goes back to the mic to say, “I have one more request before I leave. I’m a big fan of Tanahashi. He’s a hero of mine. And I would be honored, I would be honored, if Tanahashi would be my tag team partner tomorrow night, right here! What do you say?!” The fans like that idea! Nemeth wants to make it happen, will the President of NJPW agree to change things up outta nowhere?


My Thoughts:

An awesome event for NJPW to start a big weekend in Sapporo. All the title matches were great stuff, but that main event was the most shocking to me. I did NOT think Nemeth was going to win and take the title off Finlay. For one, Finlay just won that title at WrestleKingdom only 50 days ago. But I suppose if what Nemeth is saying is right, he’s going to visit other promotions to defend this title as a parallel to the AEW International Championship. That’s good strategy to strengthen the bonds of NJPW with its American partners. But him wanting to team with Tanahashi is a surprise. There was already a change to plans for Sapporo with Henare out of action, but is Nemeth thinking of swapping Taguchi out for Tanahashi against Finlay & Gedo tomorrow night?

Speaking of Tanahashi, a bit surprised Riddle won the NJPW World TV title. Though as Riddle said himself, he wasn’t gonna show up here just to lose his first match, and Riddle can have a lot of fun with this belt and its 15 minute time limit. Tanahashi is also now free of belts, he can do whatever he wants. Great match from Mayu VS Mina, great defense for Mayu, but I’m not as familiar with Stardom so I don’t know who there is who will take this title next. And then of course House of Torture cheats to not just keep Evil’s title but to steal Desperado’s. If nothing else, I feel like Tanahashi needs to get involved as President of NJPW to be a Face Authority Figure to stop House of Torture’s antics since no faction seems able.

My Score: 8.9/10


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