RADICAN’S BIG MATCH SPOTLIGHT: NJPW New Beginning In Osaka – IWGP Hvt. Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


RADICAN’S NJPW NEW BEGINNING IN OSAKA BIG MATCH SPOTLIGHT
IWGP HVT. CHAMPION HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. JAY WHITE
JAN. 11, 2019
OSAKA, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD

Commentators: Kevin Kelly and Don Callis

Jay White came out first for the main event to challenge Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Hvt. Championship. White wore red and black entrance gear. They talked about White’s new submission the Tanahashi Tap Out (TTO).

Hiroshi Tanahashi was out next. Callis said the IWGP Hvt. Title was the only thing left for White. Kelly and Callis talked about the records Tanahashi holds in regards to the IWGP Hvt. Title. He got into the ring and got in White’s face. Kelly said this could be the last time we see Tanahashi with the IWGP Hvt. Championship. Kelly asked if White would be the man to end it all for Tanahashi.

IWGP HVT. CHAMPION HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. JAY WHITE (w/GEDO)

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

White stalled early and told Tanahashi he’d wrestle when he was ready. White went after Tanahashi’s leg a short time later, but gave a clean break with Tanahashi against the ropes. Gedo tried to distract Tanahashi from the floor, but he caught White charging at him with a kick to the gut. White drove Tanahashi into the corner a short time later and this time he did not offer a clean break as he went after Tanahashi’s midsection. Tanashi went after Tanahashi’s leg again. Tanahashi fended him off, but White swept his legs out and wrapped them around the ring post. Tanahashi ended up using his legs to drive White’ head-first into the post. Tanahashi whipped White into the barrier and Gedo took a cheap shot from behind. Tanahashi tossed Gedo into the ring, but White came in from behind and suplexed Tanahashi to the floor and he sold his leg. White slammed Tanahashi into the barrier and then into the apron several times on the outside. He then flexed on the apron and the fans booed.

White went to work on Tanahashi’s leg and slammed it into the apron several times. White wrapped Tanahashi’s legs around the ringpost again and this time he was successful in slamming Tanahashi’s leg around the post. Gedo distracted the ref and White slammed Tanahashi’s leg across the ringpost once again. White then lifted Tanahashi up and dumped him over the barricade so that his injured knee went into the table on the other side. Tanahashi managed to limp back into the ring to beat the referee count. Tanahashi tried to mount a comeback and he hit White with a forearm off the ropes. He went for the Cloverleaf Hold, but White kicked him right in his bad knee. White charged at Tanahashi, who fired back with a basement dropkick to White’s knees. White went to the floor and Tanahashi struggled, but went up top for a High Fly Flow to the floor. White slid into the ring and eventually hit a Flatliner and a German. The fans fired up and tried to rally behind Tanahashi. White fired up with the Blade Buster for a two count. Tanahashi ended up tied up in the ropes and White chopped him over and over. He then hit Tanahashi with a big uppercut and he collapsed over the middle rope to the apron. Tanahashi popped up and went for a dragon screw around the ropes. White tried to stop it, but Tanahashi executed the dragon screw around the ropes and White fell to the floor. Tanahashi went up top and hit a standing High Fly Flow to the floor! WOW!

Tanahashi sold his leg and Callis said on commentary that they knocked knees on the landing. A Go Ace chant rang out in the arena. Gedo got up on the apron and distracted the ref. White grabbed a steel chair and tried to swing it at Tanahashi, but he ducked and sent White into Gedo. They went back and forth with Tanahashi going for the Sling Blade and White going for the Blade Runner. They continued to trade several counters back and forth. Tanahashi finally hit Twist and Shout and the fans applauded. Tanahashi held on and hit another Twist and Shout. He continued to hold onto White and he hit a third Twist and Shout. Tanahashi yelled at White, who smiled as he tried to get up using the ropes. Tanahashi went for a Slingblade, but White moved into the corner. White laughed at Tanahashi and pointed to his head. Tanahashi then paid him back for the taunt with a couple of dragon screws. Tanahashi went for a Sling Blade again, but White went down to a knee to avoid it. Tanahashi then hit a wrist clutch German with a bridge for a near fall. Gedo tried to stop a High Fly Flow, but Tanahashi sent him packing to the floor. He hit a High Fly Flow to White’s back. He went up top again for a traditional High Fly Flow, but White rolled out of the way! Tanahashi sold his leg while White tried to regroup in the corner.

Both men were still down at the 20 minute mark. White hit a kick to the back of Tanahashi’s leg and hit his own version of the dragon screw. White then locked in the TTO (inverted figure four). Kelly mentioned that Tanahashi had already tapped out to this hold on the tour. Tanahashi struggled and the fans fired up behind him. The ref asked him if he wanted to give up, but Tanahashi shook his head. Tanahashi finally surged towards the bottom rope and grabbed it to break the hold. White held on until the very last moment when the ref administered his five count. White lifted up Tanahashi and hit a snap Saito suplex. Tanahashi was dead weight almost and he lifted Tanahashi. Tanahashi suddenly fired up and tried to elbow his way out of White’s grasp, but White hit another snap Saito suplex. White got Tanahashi and hit the DVDDT for a two count. The fans tried to fire up behind Tanahashi. White went for the Kiwi Crusher and hit it, but Tanahashi kicked out at the VERY last instant.

White set up for the Blade Runner, but Tananashi got out of it only to eat a sleeper suplex. White went for the Blade Runner again, but Tanahashi rolled him up for a near fall, which is how he beat him back in October last year. Tanahashi fired up and hit White with a couple of big slaps. White tried to kick Tanahashi, but he caught it and kicked his other leg. Tanahashi went back to work on White’s leg with a pair of dragon screws and the fans fired up. Tanahashi went for the Cloverleaf Hold and was successful in applying it. Tanahashi sat down on the hold and the fans gasped as White screamed in pain. White couldn’t find the ropes, but the got there. Tanahashi pulled him out of the corner. White punched his leg and Tanahashi nearly let go, but instead he transitioned it into a Styles Clash. WOW! The fans fired up HUGE with both men down on the mat. Tanahashi got up and lifted White to his feet. He went for a dragon suplex, but White broke out of it. He went for the Blade Runner, but Tanahashi turned it into a Sling Blade. Tanahashi hit another Sling Blade for a two count. Tanahashi hit a Dragon Suplex with a bridge, but White kicked out at the last second. The 30 minute mark passed as Tanahashi went up top. Tanahashi went for a standing High Fly Flow, but White caught him and hit the Blade Runner for the win!

Winner: Jay White in 30:00 to become the new IWGP Hvt. Champion (****¼)

After the match, Red Shoes put the belt around White’s waist as Gedo win. The crowd seemed to be shocked.

White got on the mic after the match and called out to Osaka. He said they might remember that two and a half years ago in this city, he had his last Young Lion match. He said they might remember that he said this is his home and the guys in the back and the fans were his family. White said boy was he wrong. He said none of them thought he could make it to the top or deserved the belt. He said they didn’t think he could beat Kenny, Okada, or Tanahashi and he beat them all. He said he just beat Tanahashi again.

White said he’s the champion in spite of all the fans. He said he’s going to take this and spit in their face. He said it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t show heart and passion like Tanahashi because he’s the real IWGP World Hvt. Champion. The fans applauded. That was odd. He said it’s a new dawn, age, and beginning. White signed off by saying breathe with the switchblade and welcome to my new era. Confetti then fell from the ceiling around the ring. The fans were quiet as White celebrated with the title in the ring alongside Gedo.

The cameras went backstage to White’s press conference. He said he didn’t mind if the press called it shocking. He said it didn’t matter what they said as long as they said he did what he said he was going to do. He said he knows Tanahashi, the ref, and the office hates the thought of him after just six years in the business and four years in NJPW winning the title. White said it was going to be impossible for old f–cks like Ishii to get it. He said Naito wouldn’t be able to get it. He said after what he did to Tanahashi, he doubts he will want another match.

White said he’s been ready for a long time. He said he’s undeniable as the top gaijin and wrestler in the world. White said he is money. White said he’s the number one wrestler in wrestling and sports entertainment. He asked if Gedo wanted to say something that they would understand. Gedo said he didn’t care. White said we are money. Bullet Club is money. White said that is too sweet to conclude his press conference. White stood up and then was asked a question. White was upset and he sat back down.

White asked them what’s the next event for NJPW. He said MSG is next and he wouldn’t defend until MSG because the NJPW Cup is next. White said he gives them what he wants them to believe. He said he doesn’t have to give them the truth. He said the fans sit at home and wish they could have his success that he’s had at 26 years old. He told the fans to look at the mirror and realize they are jealous. He said he will take it to MSG and that will spit in all their faces. White asked if there were any other questions. He told the reporters he would throw a beer bottle at them if they asked another question. White and Gedo had a beer and walked off. White remarked the beers were colder than last time to close the press conference.

Radican’s Analysis: This was a great match that revolved around submissions and counters. Both men went after each other’s legs and countered each other’s signature offense for the bulk of the match. The problem with the match was that neither man sold the leg consistently enough to totally get me into the action, especially when Tanahashi was able to hold a bridge after a German late in the match.

Other than that issue with the match, it was fantastic. White did so many little things well to show he was getting in Tanahashi’s head, especially when he kept dropping down or rolling out of the way to avoid the Sling Blade only to take several of them later in the match. White’s push has been perfectly executed. He built up so much steam from G1 through Wrestle Kingdom and now he’s the IWGP Hvt. Champion.

White has improved so much since his character debuted and now it’s on to MSG for the ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard during WrestleMania weekend.

Contact Sean at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/sr_torch

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