SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RADICAN’S NJPW NEW BEGINNING IN OSAKA REPORT
JAN. 11, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Commentators: Kevin Kelly and Don Callis
(1) SUZUKI-GUN (TAKASHI IIZUKA & TAKA MICHINOKU & MINORU SUZUKI) vs. (HIROYOSHI TENZAN & JYUSHIN LIGER & SATOSHI KOJIMA)
Both teams brawled to the floor during the first part of the match with Suzuki Gun in control. Suzuki got Liger in an armbar around the ropes. Late in the match IIzuka took a 3D from Tenzan and Kojima. Tenzan tried to make IIzuka remember when they were friends, but Suzuki ran in and nailed him with a kick. Suzuki almost accidentally hit IIzuka and he grabbed the chair from him, but then he grabbed the chair and hit Tenzan with it for the DQ.
After the match IIzuka hit Tenzan with the iron glove. Suzuki Gun then stood tall in the ring. They then tore apart Tenzan’s shirt.
WINNERS: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Jyushin Liger in 13:00
(2) IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS L.I.J. (SANADA & EVIL) vs. SHOTA UMINO & AYATO YOSHIDA – non-title match
Umino ran wild later in the match knocking EVIL off the apron and hitting SANADA with a big suplex for a two count. Yoshida ran in and nailed SANADA with a kick when he was about to get the upper hand. Umino hit SANADA with a dropkick off the top for a two count. Umino went for a German once again and connected with a bridge for a near fall. Umino went for a fisherman suplex, but SANADA fought out of it only to eat a dropkick. He went for the fisherman suplex again. SANADA tried to reverse it into the Skull End, but Umino turned it into a pinning combination for a near fall. EVIL suddenly ran into the ring and L.I.J. wiped out Umino with a combination of moves for a near fall. Yoshida was still down on the outside. They hit the Magic Killer and it was good for the win.
WINNERS: EVIL & SANADA in 10:00 (**½)
(Radican’s Analysis: Nice showing for the Young Lions here. Umino was very impressive during the second half of the match.)
(3) SUZUKI-GUN (TAICHI & EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU) vs. L.I.J. (IWGP IC CHAMPION TETSUYA NAITO & IWGP JR. HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS BUSHI & SHINGO TAKAGI)
Naito was selling his shoulder in this match. He tried to fight back against Taichi late in the match, but he kicked him in his injured shoulder. Taichi ripped off his pants. He nailed Naito with a buzzsaw kick for a near fall. Naito countered a powerbomb into a hurricanrana and hit a dropkick and both men were down. The crowd tried to fire up behind Naito, who tagged in BUSHI. Takagi and Desperado eventually went at it. Shingo set up for the pumping bomber, but Desperado changed direction and nailed him with a spear. Kanemaru tagged in and dropkicked Shingo’s knee out from under him. Shingo finally blocked a satellite DDT and hit a big suplex. Shingo tagged Naito in and he ran wild on Kanemaru. The action broke down and Taichi ran into the ring. Naito fended him off. BUSHI ran in and they wiped out Kanemaru with a combination of moves. BUSHI hit a hurricanrana over the top to the floor and the cameras didn’t even catch it. Shingo hit a pumping bomber on Kanemaru and Naito finished him off with Destino.
After the match Taichi and Naito went face-to-face. Taichi bowed down and left ringside. Naito sold his arm and headed to the back as the announcers wondered whether or not Naito wouldn’t be in the NJPW Cup. He left the IWGP IC Championship in the back.
YOH & SHO confronted Shingo and BUSHI as they headed to the back. They began arguing and SHO & YOH wiped them out on the ramp. Both teams went back and forth on the mic. Shingo told them they won the match at the Tokyo Dome. He asked if they wanted a title shot. YOH said that’s right. He said the next challengers will be us. He said they will be the next IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions. Both teams went face to face. Shingo shoved YOH and L.I.J. took their titles back.
WINNERS: Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI & Shingo Takagi in 11:00 (**)
(Radican’s Analysis: The action was solid here, but it wasn’t anything too exciting. I’m not too excited to see anything between Naito and Taichi. L.I.J. vs. Roppongi 3K will be a good match in the near future.)
(4) YOSHI-HASHI & TOMOAKI HONMA vs. BULLET CLUB (CHASE OWENS & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI)
Something happened on the outside late in the match, but they didn’t show it. Takahashi ran in and helped Owens battle back against Honma. He nailed him with a neck breaker. Owens hit an inverted DDT for a near fall. Owens then finished him off with a package piledriver. The announcers said Bullet Club want to sweep their matches tonight.
WINNERS: Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi in 10:00 (**1/4)
(Radican’s Analysis: Owens getting a nice win here over Honma on a major show after singing a deal with NJPW recently is the story here. Kelly sold the package piledriver as a big deal on commentary.)
Kota Ibushi, who hadn’t been seen since Wrestle Kingdom when he suffered a concussion in his match against Will Ospreay came out. The fans fired up as he came out. Ibushi was wearing a sport coat and a black shirt underneath. Ibushi got on the mic and said he wanted to say something to the fans. He thanked them for their support. He said he’s happy to be back. He said, “I’m here in NJPW. I’m not going anywhere.” They showed a woman in the crowd shaking in excitement. The fans chanted Ibushi’s name over and over. He said he will be in the NJPW Cup next month. The fans fired up. They showed women crying in the crowd. He said he will try his best for NJPW wrestling. Don Callis said he thought Naito was the biggest star in NJPW, but he might be wrong. He said it could be Kota Ibushi. The fans chanted for Ibushi.
(5) NEVER SIX MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS (TORU YANO & TOGI MAKABE) vs. G.O.D. (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA w/GEDO)
Loa and Tonga jumped their opponents as they made their entrance. Kelly said Tonga was no longer a good guy. Late in the match Jado hit Makabe with the kendo stick from the floor. Tonga then hit a Gun Stun on Makabe, who went to the floor. Yano shoved Loa into Tonga, who ran into the ref. Yano hit a low blow on Loa and laughed. Jado got up on the apron and Yano went after him, but Jado hit him with a shoulder tackle. Tonga then nailed Yano with a kendo stick. He finished him off with the Gun Stun for the win.
After the match, Tonga beat down Yano and several Young Lions with the kendo stick as Callis went nuts on commentary saying he loved it. Tonga went to the outside and swung the kendo stick around before heading up the entrance ramp. Tonga threw the camera man off the stage, but they didn’t get a good shot of it once again.
WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa in 10:00 (**½)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a typical G.O.D. match.)
(6) IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION TAIJI ISHIMORI vs. RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
Taguhi was dressed up in green overalls and wearing a headset. He looked like Luigi from Super Mario Bros. Kelly said it was a dig at Ishimori’s old persona before he joined Bullet Club. Taguchi got an ankle lock early and Ishimori rolled to the floor. He teased a dive and did a dance that Ishimori did with his old character. Ishimori faked a dive and hit his old dance, which made Taguchi very upset. That was awesome. Ishimori got the upper hand and worked over Taguchi’s neck. Taguchi continued to work over Taguchi’s neck on the mat with a crank, but he got to the ropes. Ishimori blocked a pair of hip attacks from Taguchi, but he finally caught him with a dropkick off the ropes. Ishimori rolled to the floor and the fans fired up. Taguchi hit an inside out springboard crossbody. He followed up with a springboard missile dropkick back into the ring. He then hit a flip dive over the top to the floor and the fans fired up big time. Taguchi went for the Three Amigos. Ishimori tried to block the third suplex, but Taguchi managed to connect with it.
Ishimori finally managed to hit a handstand kick to cut Taguchi off and both men were down. Ishimori followed up with the sliding German a short time later and the 10 minute mark passed. Taguchi slid around Ishimori’s legs and went for the ankle lock. Ishimori fought him off, but Taguchi got a rollup for a near fall. Taguchi got the ankle lock and held onto it this time, but Ishimori managed to get to the ropes. Taguchi began working over Ishimori’s ankle. He hit the Bummer Ye, but Ishimori kicked out. Ishimori fired back and hit a ling blower to cut off Taguchi. He went for another lung blower, but Ishimori rolled through and got the ankle lock. Taguchi elbowed Ishiomori’s ankle and then applied the ankle lock in the middle of the ring. Ishimori tried to escape, but Taguchi hit the Dodan for a near fall. WOW!
Taguchi fired up as the crowd cheered. He lifted up Ishimori for the Burning Hammer, but his leg gave out and Ishimori landed on his feet. Ishimori then wiped him out with a huge clothesline and both men were down at the fifteen minute mark. Ishimori hit a big DVD for a near fall and the fans applauded Taguchi kicking out. They went back and forth and Taguchi hit an enziguri. Ishimori countered the Dodan and hit a Bloody Cross for the win.
Winner: Taiji Ishimori in 16:00 to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship. (***¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a lot of fun from start to finish. I enjoyed the mind games early on and the match was really good once it got serious.)
After the match, Ishimori called Liger from the commentary booth into the ring. Liger got on the mic and said he called him into the ring for a shot at his title. Liger said he would take Ishimori’s challenge anywhere and anytime, so we will see Ishimori vs. Liger for the tile in the near future.
(7) BAD LUCK FALE (w/CHASE OWENS & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA
Okada tore his tights off to reveal trunks. Fale looked confused and Okada charged at him. They went back and forth and Okada caught Fale with a dive and he sold his elbow after crashing into the guardrail. Fale turned the tide and got the upper hand on the floor. Fale got a chair and Owens and Takahashi put the boots to Okada on the floor with the ref distracted. Fale stood on top of Okada’s back and used the ropes for leverage back inside the ring. Fale focused his attack on Okada’s back for a long period of time. Okada tried for a slam, but Fale fell on top of him for a two count. Okada hit an elbow and followed up with a body slam and both men were slow to get up. Okada hit a sliding dropkick on Fale a short time later. Fale ducked under Okada as he leapt off the top and nailed him with a shoulder tackle and then a Samoan Drop. They went back and forth and Okada caught Fale with his signature neck breaker. Okada dropped the elbow and signaled for The Rainmaker, but Fale was having none of it. Fale got the upper hand and hit a splash in the corner. He then hit a splash in the middle of the ring for a near fall and the fans fired up.
Fale set up for the Bad Luck Fall, but Okada slipped out and ended up on the apron. He went up top and hit a big missile dropkick. He set up for a Tombstone, but Owens got on the apron. Owens ate a right hand and Fale went to push Fale, but Fale pushed Red Shoes in the way and he wiped him out with the punch> Owens and Takahashi went to work on Okada. Owens set up for a package piledriver, but HASHI ran down to make the save. He wiped out Owens and Takahashi. Fale then nailed him with a shoulder tackle. They went back and forth off the ropes and Fale caught Okada with a spear at the fifteen minute mark. He set up for the Bad Luck Fall, but Okada slipped out and hit a dropick to his back. He then hit a dropkick off the ropes and the fans fired up big time and chanted for Okada. Fale blocked Rainmaker. He went for a Grenade, but Okada got out of it. Fale then connected with a Grenade for a near fall. Fale went up top, but Okada cut him off. He caught him with a dropkick in the corner, but Fale didn’t fall off the top.
Okada set up and hit a superplex. Okada sold his back after hitting the mat. Okada connected with a spinning Rainmaker a short time later. He then hit a traditional Rainmaker for the win.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada in 18:00. (***½)
The announcers said Okada was still in the title picture after the win. Okada moves to 4-3 in singles matches against Fale. His next best opportunity is going to be in the NJPW Cup according to the announcers.
(Radican’s Analysis: Good stuff here between these two. It felt like a went a bit long, but overall they told a good story of Fale using his size to wear down Okada before Okada eventually fought through the damage to his back to get the win.)
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.
(8) IWGP HVT. CHAMPION HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. JAY WHITE (w/GEDO)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter twitter.com/sr_torch.