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RADICAN’S NJPW SENGOKU LORD IN NAGOYA REPORT
APRIL 20, 2019
AICHI PREFECTURAL GYMNASIUM
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Commentary: Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero
(1) REN NARITA & SHOTA UMINO vs. YUYA UEMURA & YOTA TSUJI
Tsuju took it to Umino during the early going, but Umino fired back with a dropkick to the chest for a two count. Narita tagged in and began working over Tsuji. Umino and Narita tagged in and out to work over Tsuji. Tsuji eventually caught Narita with a backdrop and tagged in Uemura, who ran wild. Uemura and Tsuji caught Umino with a beautiful double dropkick. Uemura hit a nice double underhook suplex on Narita for a near fall. Narita then caught Uemura with a nice bridgining belly to belly suplex with a bridge.
WINNERS: Ren Narita & Shota Umino in 8 minutes (**)
(Radican’s Analysis: These four are talented and it’s really fun to see them blossoming as performers. Uemura and Narita both hit gorgeous suplexes down the stretch.)
(2) SUZUKI-GUN (TAKA MICHINOKU & EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & TAICHI & MINORU SUZUKI) vs. JUSHIN LIGER & TOA HENARE & TOMOAKI HONMA & YUJI NAGATA & SATOSHI KOJIMA
Suzuki-Gun jumped their opponents during the introductions and everyone went to the floor. The crowd fired up when Honma hit a Kokeshi off the ropes on Michinoku back inside the ring. Taka fired back and hit a big kick on Honma. Suzuki pointed at Liger and said he wanted him. The fans fired up big time and Liger got the tag. Both men began exchanging overhand chops. Liger sent Suzuki to the floor and went for a sliding dropkick, but Suzuki got out of the way and tossed him into the guardrail. Suzuki dragged Liger into the crowd and slammed a guardrail over him. He then slammed a chair on top of Liger and then another. The rest of the action spilled to the floor as well as Suzuki-Gun dominated the action. Suzuki-Gun went after Liger’s mask in their own corner. Taichi nearly got it off, but Liger managed to keep it on. Liger fired back on Kanemaru and hit a superplex. Liger then hit Desperado with a backbreaker. The fans fired up and Nagata got the hot tag. Nagata went to town on Kanemaru and Michinoku with kicks. Nagata got the White Eyes Arm Bar on Kanemaru, but Desperado broke it up.
Kojima hit the double chops on Taichi. He hit the Koji Cutter a short time later and the fans fired up. Henare got the tag and went to work on Taichi. He hit a running shoulder tackle on him. Henare took a combination of moves from Suzuki-Gun. Taichi fired up and ripped his pants off before hitting a buzzsaw kick on Henare, but the pin got broken up. Henare ducked a buzzsaw kick from Taichi and got a rollup for a two count. He set up in the corner and ate a big superkick from Taichi. Taichi then locked in the stretch plumb for the tap out.
WINNERS: TAICHI & Minoru Suzuki & Taka Michinoku & El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 12:00 (**½)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was about what you’d expect from this match. It was fine and the interaction between Suzuki and Liger was fun.)
Suzuki attacked Liger on the outside after the match until Honma and Nagata came to his aid.
(3) IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION DRAGON LEE & TORU YANO & TOGI MAKABE vs. BULLET CLUB (IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS & ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA & TAIJI ISHIMORI w/Jado)
Jado blew the air horn and Bullet Club jumped their opponents during the introductions. Lee was about to hit a dive on Ishimori, but Jado nailed him with his kendo stick from the floor. Ishimori tried to take off Lee’s mask until the ref threatened a DQ. Lee took a sustained beating from Tonga. Ishimori worked over Lee and eventually both men tagged out. Makabe knocked Jado off the apron and went after Tonga and Loa in opposite corners with running clotheslines. Tonga cut off Makabe with a spear. Makabe told Tonga to bring it and no-sold his punches from his knees. Tonga hit a flurry of strikes, but Makabe caught him with a western lariat and both men were down. Yano got the tag and took off the turnbuckle pad. He ran into the exposed turnbuckle a short time later when Tonga ducked his charge in the corner. Lee caught Ishimori with a jumping hurricanrana and then hit a huge flip dive over the top to the floor. That was nuts! Makabe got wiped out with a combination of moves from GOD. Tonga whipped Yano into the exposed turnbuckle and laughed at him. They went back and forth and Makabe hit a double clothesline on GOD and Yano rolled up Loa for the win.
Yano then grabbed the IWGP Hvt. Tag Team belts, but GOD jumped him from behind and took their belts back. Tonga wiped out Makabe with a belt shot and Loa did the same to Yano.
WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Dragon Lee in 8:00 (**¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good match, as it furthered the title matches coming up between GOD and Makabe & Yano for the tag titles and Ishimori challenging for Lee’s IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship.)
This match was set up after Bullet Club attacked Juice Robinson after he beat Chase Owens to successfully retain the IWGP U.S. Championship. Mikey Nicholls was one of the men to come to Juice’s aid.
Nicholls jawed with Owens as he tried to get into the ring. Jado then ran up from behind Nicholls and nailed him with the kendo stick. Jado was kicked out of the match.
(4) CHASE OWENS vs. MIKEY NICHOLLS
Owens hit some punches and the ref called for the bell. Owens made a cover, but Nicholls kicked out right away. Owens sent Nicholls into the guardrail several times on the outside. Owens hit a Russian leg sweep into the barrier. Nicholls ate a neck breaker and barely got back into the ring to beat the ref’s 20 count. Nicholls ducked a charge in the corner and lit up owens with forearms. He shoved the ref away and hit another series of forearms. Owens countered a whip and sent Nicholls over the top to the floor with a hard whip into the corner. Owens hit a big running knee to the head inside the ring a short time later for a two count. Nicholls perfectly maneuvered himself into position to take the move. Nicholls fired back and caught Owens with a DDT. He fired up and hit a series of clotheslines on Owens. He capped a big flurry of offense with a spinebuster for a two count. Owens ducked a sliding lariat and got a crucifix pin for a near fall. Nicholls hit a DVD and a sliding lariat after kicking out for a two count.
Nicholls set up for the Mikey Bomb, but Owens slid out of it. Owens took a forearm and bounced off the ropes and hit a lariat. He hit a big knee strike and set up for a package piledriver, but Nichools got out of it. They went back and forth and Owens eventually hit a final cut for a two count. Owens blocked another Mikey Bomb and raked his eyes. He nailed Nicholls with a superkick. Owens ran off the ropes only to walk into the Mikey Bomb for the win.
WINNER: Mikey Nicholls in 9:00 (**½)
(Radican’s Analysis: Good match to establish one man going up in singles division and another man going down. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with Owens now that he’s under contract, but hopefully they regroup with his creative and get him going at some point this year after his U.S. Title loss to Robinson recently.)
(5) BULLET CLUB (JAY WHITE & HIKULEO w/Gedo) vs. NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champion RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & HIROOKI GOTO
White was going to start off with Goto, but he tagged in Hikuleo right away. White distracted Goto from the outside and Hikuleo got the upper hand. Goto fired back with several shoulder tackles, but Goto wouldn’t go down. White ran in and knocked Goto down from behind while also wiping out Taguchi on the apron. Goto sent White into Hikuleo. He then caught White with a mid kick a short time later. Taguchi tagged in and went to work on White as Goto called the shots for the clotheslines in the corner. Goto threw up the stop sign to Taguchi and hit a clothesline of his own in the corner. Hikuleo eventually ran in and took them both out with a double clothesline from behind. Both teams brawled to the floor a short time later. White dragged Goto into the crowd and tried to toss him as far as he could with a whip to get a countout. Goto crawled back into the ring and wasn’t going to make it, but Taguchi broke up the ref’s count by climbing back in on the other side of the ring, as he was the legal man.
Taguchi took a sustained beating and tried to mount a comeback, but White countered him and hit an atomic drop twice when Taguchi went for flying hip attacks. Taguchi finally hit a flying hip attack on White and tagged in Goto, who went to town on White. Goto decked White with a big kick to the chest. He followed with a Saito suplex for a two count. White blocked an Ushigoroshi attempt from Goto and then another. He eventually hit a snap Saito suplex and tagged in Hikuleo. He caught Goto with a swinging neck breaker for a near fall. Taguchi slipped trying to surprise Hikuleo with a springboard hip attack. Hikuleo nailed him with a powerslam. He went for one on Goto, but he slipped out of it. Goto eventually nailed Hikuleo with a big clothesline at the 10 minute mark. He went for the GTR, but Gedo got up on the apron. White tried to sneak in and hit the Blade Runner, but Goto got out of it and shoved him into Gedo. He hit an Ushigoroshi on White and then Hikuleo. He then hit the GTR on Hikuleo.
WINNERS: Ryusuke Taguchi & Hirooki Goto in 11:00 (**¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a match that was pretty slow for the most part, but Goto had a really nice finishing stretch. Bullet Club continues its slide since White lost the title with Chaos getting the upper hand on them lately.)
(6) CHAOS (IWGP HVT. CHAMPION KAZUCHIKA OKADA & YOSHI-HASHI & IWGP JR. HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS SHO & YOH & TOMOHIRO ISHII ) vs. LIJ (SANADA & EVIL & SHINGO TAKAGI & BUSHI & TETSUYA NAITO)
This is a preview of sorts of several upcoming big matches on the tour including Ishii vs. EVIL and SHO & YOH defending the IWGP Jr. Hvt. titles against Shingo & BUSHI, and Okada defending his title against SANADA. Ishii and EVIL went face-to-face before the opening bell before being seperated. LIJ bumped their fists together up high. Shingo and YOH kicked things off and the fans fired up chanting for both teams. Shingo went for a dragon screw, but YOH countered it and hit one of his own. Ishii tagged in and he wanted EVIL. Takagi ended up tagging him in. Both men ran at each other shoulder first several times and began exchanging rapid-fire forearms. They continued to exchange for a long period of time in the middle of the ring as the fans fired up. WOW! They continued to throw bombs and neither man would let up. Ishii nearly decked EVIL, but he wouldn’t go down. They traded shoulder tackles at the same time, but neither man would go down. Ishii finally caught EVIL with a shoulder tackle that took him down as he came off the ropes. YOSHI-HASHI tagged in and hit the head hunter on EVIL a short time later. SHO tagged in and continued the work over EVIL. BUSHI tripped YOH from the outside and LIJ recaptured the upper hand. Everyone ended up brawling on the floor.
Ishii and EVIL traded bombs on the floor and EVIL eventually tossed him into the ringpost. Naito tagged in and hit his signature dropkick on SHO in the corner. Shingo tagged in and continued to work over SHO. The announcers said Shingo has a particular issue with SHO as nailed him with a hard chop. SHO recently said on his podcast that his dream final of BOSJ would be he and Shingo. They went back and forth trading forearms. Shingo hit several left and rights, but SHO blocked the pumping bomber. They went back and forth trading clotheslines at the same time. They continued to go back and forth off the ropes. SHO ducked a clothesline and nailed Shingo with a spear. Okada got the tag and went to work on SANADA. He fended off some LIJ members running in and hit a DDT on SANADA. SANADA fired back and went for the paradise lock, but Okada fought it off. Both men went back and forth. SANADA missed a standing moonsault, but landed on his feet and nailed Okada with a short dropkick. SANADA caught Okada with his signature dropkick a short time later.
YOH and BUSHI went at it. SHO ran in and they nailed him with a combination of offense and cleared the ring. BUSHI ended up alone in the ring and they set up for 3K, but BUSHI fought out of it and hit a double rana. Naito got the tagand went after YOH. YOH caught Naito with a basement dropkick as he came off the ropes. HASHI got the tag and went to work on Naito. Naito went for a DDT. HASHI blocked it and they went back and forth and HASHI caught Naito with a double stomp. CHAOS cleared the ring and Naito was left alone in the ring. He took a combination of moves from CHAOS. HASHI capped the sequence with a running meteora, but EVIL broke it up. The action picked up with everyone going back and forth. HASHI hit a big lariat on Naito, but he kicked out at the last second. HASHI took a combination of moves from LIJ. Naito capped the big sequence with his running pinning combination, but he kicked out at the last second. Naito then hit Destino for the win over HASHI.
WINNERS: Shingo Takagi & BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito & SANADA & EVIL in 17:00 (***)
(Radican’s Analysis: This match wasn’t terribly exciting in terms of setting up the big upcoming matches for the rest of the tour, although the exchanges between EVIL and Ishii and Shingo and SHO were quite good.)
Ishii and Shingo exchanged slaps after the match before being separated. BUSHI and YOH also had some words. The announcers highlighted that Naito didn’t have a lot to do on this tour, but he can still get a win with his Destino.
A video packaged aired for Juice Robinson defending the IWGP U.S. Championship against Bad Luck Fale. Robinson has promised to slam Fale in the match.
Fale jumped Robinson before he could take off his ring jacket. Robinson fired back after the ref rang the bell and tried to slam Fale, but Fale fired back and hit a slam of his own. Fale has promised to break Robinson’s back and he was looking to make good on that promise as he slammed him back first into the ringpost several times. Fale stood on Robinson’s back inside the ring while using the ropes for leverage. Fale tossed Robinson to the floor and tossed him into a row of chairs in the crowd. Fale slammed Robinson into a pile of chairs and he sold his back. Robinson struggled, but beat the 20 count. Robinson fought out of a bearhug and went for a slam, but he couldn’t hit it and Fale whipped him hard into the corner and continued to work over his back. Fale continued to methodically work over Robinson’s back. Robinson fired back with a big punch. Fale got out of Pulp Friction and ran Robinson into the corner. Robinson ducked a charge into the corner from Fale at the 10 minute mark.
Robinson favored his back after hitting a series of clotheslines in the corner. He tripped Fale into the seated position and set up for a cannonball. Robinson hit a cannonball, but couldn’t capitalize due to the impact on his back. Juice went up top, but Fale caught him. Fale went for The Grenade, but Robinson blocked it. Robinson went for a slam, but he couldn’t hit it. Robinson hit a chop block and the fans fired up. Fale went for The Grenade again. Robinson got out of it and went for a slam, but Fale fell on top of him for a two count. Fale hit a big splash in the middle of the ring for a near fall. Robinson fired up and hit several left hands and the fans fired up. He ducked a clothesline and hit a dropkick and Fale went into the ropes. Robinson bounced off the ropes only to eat a spear. Fale went for The Grenade again and this time he connected, but Robinson kicked out at the very last second. Fale set up for the Bad Luck Fall, but Robinson collapsed to the mat. Fale got Robinson up, but he slipped out of the Bad Luck Fall. Robinson hit a big left hand and Fale went down to kne knee.
Robinson went up top and hit a splash off the top. The fans fired up and chanted for Robinson, who loaded up and hit a big left hand. He then lifted up Fale and slammed him and the fans applauded. Robinson set up for Pulp Friction and hit it. He made the cover and it was good for the win.
WINNER: Juice Robinson in 18:00 (***)
(Radican’s Analysis: They told a good story here, but Fale’s matches tend to drag the longer they go and this one went for a long time. It dragged with Fale on the offense going after Juice’s back, but picked up down the stretch once Juice finally got on track.)
A video package aired for Kota Ibushi making his first defense of the IWGP IC Championship in the main event.
Sabre is coming off a victory over Hiroshi Tanahashi at the G1 Supercard event WrestleMania weekend. Kota Ibushi views Tanahashi as a god and now Sabre looks to take the IC belt off of Ibushi after he offered him a shot at the title after G1 Supercard.
Taka Michinoku did Sabre’s ring introduction. He said it’s Zack Sabre Jr. time. He then said he’s going to win the IWGP IC Championship. He said Ibushi is not match for the British submission master. He concluded by inviting Ibushi to come over here.
(8) IWGP IC CHAMPION KOTA IBUSHI vs. BRITISH HVT. CHAMPION ZACK SABRE JR. (w/Taka Michinoku) – IWGP IC Championship match
Sabre has beaten Ibushi twice with Orienteering with Napalm Death. Sabre dominated on the mat, but Ibushi escaped and wiped out Sabre with a huge kick to the leg. Sabre went to the floor and stretched out his leg. Sabre tied up Ibushi in a kimura with his head trapped. Ibushi struggled, but managed to get his feet on the ropes. Sabre went after Ibushi’s arm, but he did a flip and kicked Sabre in the leg again. Ibusi rolled out of a submission attempt and hit a snap rana. Sabre went to the floor. They went back and forth on the outside. Sabre caught Ibushi with a big boot and got a headscissors submission over the railing. He dragged Ibushi to the floor before eventually letting go of the hold. He put Ibushi’s head between the guardrail and then cranked on his arm. Sabre used his legs to snap Ibushi’s neck. He then got another neck crank with his legs on the apron and he used it to drop Ibushi back down to the mat.
Sabre went right back after Ibushi’s head and neck once they got back into the ring. Sabre hit some kicks and told Ibushi to bring it. Ibushi hit a shot to the gut, but couldn’t follow up. Sabre grabbed another leg submission and used his food to stretch Ibushi’s legs. He then went to a double arm submission that he turned into a pinning combination for a near fall. Ibushi shook Sabre off and hit a big kick to his back. He ran at Sabre, who got an octopus variation right away. Ibushi managed to get to the ropes right away. The announcers did a nice job of saying how Ibushi went on his shoulders to get to the ropes, but if he had done that in the middle of the ring, it would have been a bad situation for him. Sabre grabbed a nasty single leg crab variation. Ibushi struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Sabre hit a kick to Ibushi’s arm and went off the ropes, but Ibushi caught him with a big dropkick and both men were down.
Ibushi hit a big slingshot splash to the floor. Ibushi hit a springboard missile dropkick and the fans fired up. Ibushi caught Sabre with a powerslam and went for a moonsault, but Sabre got a triangle to counter it. Ibushi tried to pick Sabre up, but he blocked it at the 15 minute mark. Sabre had both of Ibushi’s arms trapped, but he managed to get to the ropes. Ibushi hit a combination of strikes on Sabre to ground him a short time later. They went back and forth trading pinning combinations. Ibushi got a straitjacket and eventually hit a German. He went for the Kamigoye, but Sabre turned it into a pinning combination for a two count. Sabre then got a butterfly neck crank in the middle of the ring. The fans fired up and chanted for Ibushi, who managed to get his foot on the ropes. Sabre held onto the hold well past the time the ref called for the break.
Sabre went for a PK, but Ibushi ducked it and hit a running kick. Ibushi went for a head kick, but Sabre caught it. Sabre then hit a half and half suplex with a bridge for a near fall. Sabre got up and hit a big PK for a two count. Sabre hit some light kicks to Ibushi’s head. Ibushi began to fire up. Sabre hit a big kick to Ibushi’s chest at the 20 minute mark and then another. Ibushi kept sitting up faster each time Sabre kicked him. Sabre hit some light kicks to Ibushi’s head and neck. He went for another big kick, but Ibushi caught it. Sabre hit some light slaps and Ibushi let his leg go and wound up and plastered Sabre with an overhand chop to the chest. Ibushi began toying with Sabre by hitting him with some light kicks in the corner. The ref backed Ibushi off, but Ibushi just held on and kicked Sabre backwards while the ref tried to drag him away. Sabre hit a a palm strike. Both men began exchanging slaps. Sabre hit some big slaps that rocked Ibushi, but Ibushi turned him inside out with a huge lariat. WOW! Sabre blocked the Last Ride and got a triangle in the middle of the ring. Ibushi blocked it and hit a sit out powerbomb for a two count.
The fans fired up and Ibushi went for the Last Ride, but Sabre turned it into the Zack Driver and rolled away. Both men were down as the fans fired up. WOW! Sabre used his legs to crank Ibushi’s neck. Sabre acted like he was losing in feeling in one of his arms. They began exchanging blows and the 25 minute mark passed. Ibushi ducked a strike and hit a half and half. Ibushi set up for the outside in German. The crowd gasped, but Sabre got out of it and began to crank on Ibushi’s neck using the ropes for leverage. The ref made Sabre release the hold only for Ibushi to hit a backflip kick. Ibushi hit Nakamura’s Boma Ye pose, but he missed it and Sabre got a bridging pin. Sabre went for another pinning combination, but Ibushi blocked it and connected with a high kick. Ibushi hit a sit out powerbomb, but Sabre kicked out at two. Ibushi set up for the Kamigoye, but Sabre blocked it and got a flying octopus hold. Sabre switched it to a full on octopus hold. Ibushi countered it into a modified GTS. He held on to Sabre’s arms and nailed him with the Kamigoye for the win. That was tremendous.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi in 29:00 (****¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: Sabre tried to break Ibushi’s spirit with submission after submission. It was really a Zack Sabre Jr. clinic on the mat at times, but Ibushi was fantastic mounting comebacks and showing fire. They had some tremendous exchanges down the stretch. Ibushi showing fire as Sabre taunted him with tremendous. Ibushi was really put over heavy on commentary as taking the IWGP IC Championship to a new level.)
After the match, Tetsuya Naito made his way down to the ring and the fans gasped. The announcers mentioned Naito hadn’t had anything of importance to do on this tour. Naito got into the ring. He told Ibushi he’d like to apply for the position of next challenger to the IWGP IC Championship. He said there’s a wrestler in this room that wants this belt. Naito looked out towards the back like he was looking for someone. Naito then nobody’s there unfortunately. He then asked to be the next challenger. He asked Ibushi in front of all of these customers to give his answer. The fans fired up and Ibushi shouted Tranquilo. He told Naito to shut up and got in his face. He said si, which is yes in Spanish. They went face-to-face. This will be a rematch from G1 Supercard at MSG. Naito left Ibushi alone in the ring.
Ibushi got on the mic and addressed the fans. He said two gods held this belt before him. He said he only wanted to say one thing, “I’ve come back to NJPW.” He said he’s dedicated himself to NJPW and the fans stood and applauded.
Confetti came down from the ceiling. Ibushi had left the ring, but he dove back in the ring to soak in the victory.
Overall thoughts: (6.5) – The undercard was just a series of tags and solid singles matches for the most part. The main event is worth going out of your way to see, as Ibushi and Sabre tore the house down. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the rest of the show and not miss much.-
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/sr_torch.