RADICAN’S 8/31 NJPW Royal Quest PPV report: live coverage of KENTA-Ishii, Sabre-Tanahashi, Okada vs. Suzuki

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist



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RADICAN’S NJPW ROYAL QUEST PPV REPORT
AUGUST 31, 2019
THE COPPER BOX
LONDON, ENGLAND
AIRED LIVE ON FITE TV

Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Gino Gambino

(1) REN NARITA & SHOTA UMINO & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. ROPPONGI 3K (SHO & YOH & ROCKY ROMERO) 

The commentary feed isn’t working and the picture is cutting in and out. Umino took a combination of moves from SHO & YOH during the early going. Umino got a HUGE chant and he countered a brainbuster from Romero and hit a suplex. Taguchi tagged in and wiped out everyone with hip attacks. He then hit a slingshot hip attack to the floor on Romero to a big pop. The feed continued to freeze and stop and come back. Narita and SHO went at it and the crowd was with them for each maneuver they landed. Sho pinned Narita with a big back stabber.

WINNERS: SHO & YOH & Rocky Romero in 8:00. (n/a)

(Radican’s Analysis: The technical problems made it hard to get a handle on how good the match was, but it seemed to be a hot opener.)

(2) BULLET CLUB (YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & HIKULEO) vs. JUICE ROBINSON & KOTA IBUSHI

Gino Gambino can be heard on and off on commentary. The fans popped HUGE for Ibushi during his entrance. Hikuleo knocked Robinson off the apron. Takahashi distracted Ibushi and HIkuleo wiped him out from behind. Ibushi mounted a comeback and tagged in Robinson. Robinson went up top, but Takahashi ran from his spot on the apron and knocked him down. The commentary team kicked in and Bullet Club dominated the action until Ibushi mounted a comeback and tagged in Robinson. Hikuleo countered a Kamigoye attempt from Ibushi into a falcon arrow and the fans acted surprised. He went to make the cover, but Robison wiped him out with a cannonball. Ibushi fired back on Hikuleo and blasted him with a running knee. He then hit Kamigoye for the win.

WINNERS: Kota Ibushi & Juice Robinson in 9:00. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: Good action from start to finish.)

(3) CHAOS (ROBBIE EAGLES & IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION WILL OSPREAY) vs. IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions BULLET CLUB (TAIJI ISHIMORI & EL PHANTASMO) – NON TITLE

Bullet Club jumped their opponents before the opening bell. Ospreay and Eagles fired back. Ospreay faked a dive and then Eagles wiped out Bullet Club with a sick dive through the ropes and the fans fired up. Eagles monkey flipped Phantasmo into a kick from Ospreay and the fans fired up again. Ishimori kicked Eagles from the apron and Phantasmo nailed him with a superkick to give Bullet Club the advantage. ELP went to work on Eagles after clearing Ospreay off the apron. Ishimori hit a big chop on Eagles and ELP did the Flair strut on the apron. Eagles fired back on ELP and tagged in Ospreay, who ran wild. Ospreay wiped out Ishimori with a sick flip dive off the post to the floor. He then hit a springboard dive on ELP inside the ring for a nearfall and the fans sang his name. He went for a Stormbreaker on ELP, but he blocked it. ELP caught Ospreay going for a handspring, but Ospreay managed to slip out of his grasp. The feed froze and apparently Ospreay did something awesome to ELP.

Ishimori hit his signature sliding German on Eagles. Eagles and Ishimori went back and forth and Eagles hit a backpack falcon arrow for a near fall. Ospreay and Eagles hit a combination of moves on ELP capped by an Os-Cutter. They then went after Ishimori. The commentary dropped out again and the feed froze. Ospreay and Eagles hit a double Spanish fly on Eagles for the win.

WINNERS: Robbie Eagles & Will Ospreay in 11:00. (n/a)

(Radican’s Analysis: What I saw was spectacular, but the match froze so often that it was hard to get a grasp on it.)

After the match, Eagles and Ospreay grabbed the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag team titles. He said ELP was coming for something he had in his Jr. Hvt. title, but maybe he’s going to come after something he had. He said they were going to challenge them for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Titles and the fans applauded.

(4) LIJ (IWGP IC CHAMPION TETSUYA NAITO & SANADA) vs. BULLET CLUB (CHASE OWENS & JAY WHITE W/GEDO)

Kevin Kelly took the working headset from Gino Gambino and explained that White had attacked Naito at the Super J Cup Finals in Long Beach recently. Naito got a HUGE chant coming out for the match. SANADA got a really big pop when he was introduced in the ring as well. Naito took forever to take his suit off and the fans ate it up. Naito kept ducking White’s attempts to lock up and the fans chanted tranquilo. Owens tagged in and he wanted SANADA. The fans started a big SANADA chant. They had a fast exchange and came to a stalemate. Owens wanted a handshake and Sanada accepted. Owens went for a kick, but SANADA blocked it. He tried to put SANADA in the Paradise Lock, but it didn’t work. SANADA went for the Paradise Lock again, but White attacked him from behind. All four men went to the floor with Naito and White paired up on one side brawling and Owens and SANADA on the other. SANADA ended up getting isolated inside the ring. SANADA fired back and tagged in SANADA who ran wild on Bullet Club. He cleared the ring and did his signature fake dive and the fans applauded. Naito blocked White trying to kick him out of the corner and he hung him in the ropes and hit a neck breaker. He then hit another neck breaker for a two count.

Naito went for Gloria, but White blocked it. White got the upper hand and hit a Blade Buster on Naito and the feed cut out. It came back and SANADA was going at it with Owens. He put Owens in the Paradise Lock and the fans applauded. SANADA finally hit him with a dropkick to free him. The fans fired up with a big SANADA chant. Owens snapped SANADA’s neck over the top rope. He placed him up top and hit a super snapmare for a two count. White and Owens hit a combination of moves on SANADA, but Naito made the save. SANADA countered a TKO and went for Skull End, but Owens got an inside cradle for a near fall. Owens hit a knee strike and set up for a package piledriver, but SANADA got out of it. SANADA flipped over Owens and swung him around in the Skull End position. He dragged him down to the mat while Naito held Owens back from making the save. Owens tapped out and it was good for the win.

WINNERS: Tetsuya Naito & SANADA in 13:00. (***)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good match from start to finish, but nothing all that exciting happened.)

After the match White attacked SANADA from behind. He then wiped out Naito. Gedo tossed a chair in to White, who mocked Naito and hit his eye pose. The fans booed. SANADA got to his feet, but White hit him with the chair over his back. Naito avoided a chairshot from White and hit Destino. He then counted a visual pin for himself. Naito then mounted White and slapped him across the face several times lightly. He then set the chair up and sat down in and the fans applauded.

(5) IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS G.O.D. (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA W/JADO) vs. AUSSIE OPEN (KYLE FLETCHER & MARK DAVIS)

Aussie Open won RPW’s Road to Royal Quest Tag Team Tournament to earn a title shot against G.O.D last night. The fans chanted back and forth for both teams after the formal introductions. Aussie Open got distracted as the fans were chanting and Loa and Tonga wiped them out from behind. Kelly and Gambino seemed to be sorted on commentary finally, as both men could be heard. DAvis and Fletcher fired back and went to town on GOD. Aussie Open took control and worked over Loa. Fletcher went to bounce off the ropes, but Jado nailed him with the kendo stick to give Loa the upper hand. Fletcher got isolated for a long period of time. He tried to fire back, but Loa cut him off with a spear. Fletcher fired back again and hit a big backdrop on Tonga. He then shook himself free from Tonga’s grasp and tagged in Davis, who ran wild.

Davis cartwheeled out of a whip attempt from GOD and hit a double dropkick and the fans fired up. Fletcher came out of nowhere to wipe out GOD with a suicide dive after Davis had cleared the ring. Fletcher sent Tonga to Fletcher for a sick looking tandem sitout powerbomb for a nearfall. Jado hit Davis from the outside with his kendo stick. Davis went after him, but Loa attacked him from behind. Tonga hit the Tonga Twist on Fletcher. GOD went up top on opposite sides of the ring. Loa hit a diving headbutt and Tonga hit a frog splash for a nearfall! WOW! Fletcher countered Tonga and hit a suplex. He then hit a super rana on Loa. Davis wiped out Jedo on the apron. Fletcher hit a step up flip dive to the floor to wipe out Loa! Aussie Open hit a series of moves on Tonga and the fans fired up. They set up for the fidget spinner, but Tonga hit a Gun Stun on Fletcher out of nowhere. Davis took a German from Loa and got right back up! Loa then hit a big piledriver on him. Tonga flipped Fletcher to Loa for the Super Powerbomb for the win. What a match!

WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa to retain the IWGP Hvt. Tag Team titles in 14:00. (****)

(Radican’s Analysis: Great match. Aussie Open looked amazing and G.O.D. have improved a lot this year as well. The crowd was really hot for this match as well, which helped.)

A video package aired showing KENTA turning on Tomohiro Ishii at the G1 Climax 29 finals and joining Bullet Club.

(6) NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION TOMOHIRO ISHII vs. KENTA

I like that KENTA’s tron is footage of him turning on Ishii and joining Bullet Club. KENTA came out first to tremendous boos from the crowd. Ishii marched into the ring and got right in KENTA’s face. The fans chanted f–k him up Ishii, f–k him up! The bell rang to start the match and Ishii went out to the apron. KENTA got into the ring and slapped Ishii. He then rolled to the floor and the fans booed. Ishii ran to the apron to go after KENTA, KENTA finally tripped him to the floor and they began brawling as the fans chanted for both men. They got into the ring and KENTA hit a big kick, but Ishii got right up. They traded blows in the middle of the ring and the fans went nuts. Ishii finally ran over KENTA with a shoulder tackle to win the exchange. Ishii began hitting chops in the corner, but KENTA walked into them. KENTA hit some Shibata style strikes in the corner, but Ishii turned him around. KENTA snapped Ishii’s neck over the top rope with a swinging DDT and then hit a clothesline off the top. KENTA choked Ishii with his boot and the fans booed. The fans chanted f–k you KENTA. KENTA hit a neckbreaker and the fans tried to rally behind Ishii, although there was a small chant for KENTA. He started kicking Ishii and Ishii slowly got to his feet and told KENTA to bring it with the kicks. Ishii blocked a kick and eventually caught KENTA with a powerslam as he came off the ropes.

Ishii went on the attack and the fnas fired up. He ran over KENTA with a shoulder tackle out of the corner. Ishii began hitting some light kicks to KENTA’s head. KETNA got up and slapped him across the face. Both men began trading slaps and forearms. The fans cheered for each Ishii blow and booed each KENTA strike. Both men continued to trade and the fans fired up. KENTA ended the exchange with a big clothesline and the fans applauded. KENTA hit the Shibata style dropkick on Ishii in the corner. He went for the double stomp and Ishii got out of the way. KENTA rolled through and blocked a jumping kick from Ishii. KENTA hit some big kicks to Ishii’s back. KENTA set up for GTS, but Ishii blocked it. KENTA hit a big kick to Ishii’s chest and he crumpled. Ishii no-sold a kick from KENTA. KENTA wiped him out and hit a German and Ishii got right back up. He hit a headbutt and went for a clothesline, but KENTA crumpled to the mat. Ishii hit several headdbutts and went for a clothesline, but KENTA hit a kick. KENTA bounced off the ropes, but Ishii hit a clothesline. They traded blows and Ishii ducked a kick and hit a forearm. KENTA went down and Ishii staggered back into the corner and the fans fired up. Ishii hit several slaps to KENTA, but KENTA wiped him out with a clothesline and both men were down. KENTA went for the GTS, but Ishii blocked it. Ishii went for the Vertical Drop Brainbuster, but both men just fell awkwardly to the floor. Ishii taunted KENTA and slapped him across the face. KENTA told him to bring it and Ishii sat down with KENTA and they began slapping each other across the face in the same pose that Ishii and Shibata used to exchange slaps. Both men teased going down. The speed of the slaps increased and both men went down to their sides. KENTA got the choke and went for a PK, but Ishii blocked it.

Ishii hit a big forearm and then a running clothesline for a near fall. Ishii had set up for his finish, but GOD came down to the ring. Ishii feneded them off and the fans fired up with the ref down. Ishii hit the Vertical Drop Brainbuster, but Loa pulled the ref and Tonga dove in just to be sure. GOD got the upper hand on Ishii and Loa hit a running powerslam. They then hit the Magic Killer on Ishii. Tonga put KENTA on top of Ishii and the fans booed. They tossed the the ref back into the ring and Ishii kicked out at the last second! WOW! The fans went nuts for Ishii kicking out. KENTA went for the choke. Ishii tried to punch out of it, so KENTA let go and nailed him with several slaps to the face. Ishii ducked one and hit a big headbutt to the chest. He set up KENTA for another headbutt, but he clocked him with a right hand for the near fall. Holy s–t! KENTA lifted Ishii up and hit GTS for the win. WOW!

WINNER: KENTA in 20:00 to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion. (****¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was everything I wanted it to be coming out of KENTA’s turn to join Bullet Club at Wrestle Kingdom. The heat for KENTA was unreal here and the slap exchanges between these two men were simply insane. The Shibata touches that were added to the match took things to another level, especially the seated strike exchange. GOD saved KENTA down the stretch from sure defeat, but he managed to kick out of their attack that was capped by a Magic Killer.)

A video package aired for British Undisputed Champion Zack Sabre Jr. vs Hiroshi Tanahashi. Andy Boy Simmons joined the commentary booth for the match. The announcers discussed how Sabre lives 15 minutes from this building. Sabre got a huge pop coming out and the bell rang to start the match.

(7) BRITISH UNDISPUTED CHAMPION ZACK SABRE JR. vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI 

This match will break the 3-3 tie between these two in singles matches. They had a quick exchange and came to a stalemate and Tanahashi played some air guitar. They had another exchange and came to another stalemate and the fans began singing Sabre’s name. Tanahashi got the upper hand and went to work on Sabre’s legs with a bridging leg submission. The fans chanted back and forth for both men. Tanahashi went up for his signature senton, but Sabre got out of the way and went after Tanahashi’s arm. Sabre hit a bunch of taunting kicks to Tanahashi’s back and he tried to fire back, but Sabre went right back after his arm. The fans chanted f–k you Brexit as Sabre worked over Tanahashi’s arm. Tanahashi shoved Sabre and told him to bring it. Sabre whipped Tanahashi into the corner, but he fired out with a basement dropkick to get the upper hand. Sabre went for a standing mounted stretch, but Tanahashi countered it and got a pinning combination for a near fall. They traded several pinning combinations and Sabre avoided another basement dropkick and used his feet to twist Tanahashi’s neck. Tanahashi then followed up with dragon screw.

Sabre countered a Cloverleaf Hold attempt and went for an armbar. Tanahashi tried to go for the Cloverleaf again, but Sabre got a pinning combination for a two count. Sabre grabbed an octopus hold a short time later. He got a double arm submission and he dragged Tanahashi down to the mat, but he was in the ropes and Sabre had to release the hold. Tanahashi countered a Zack Driver and hit Twist and Shout. He then hit a Slingblade for a two count. Tanahashi went up top, but Sabre got his knees up for the High Fly Flow. He then applied a triangle right away and the fans fired up. Tanahashi tried to get out of it, but Sabre transitioned the triangle into a double arm submission. Sabre cranked on one of Tanahashi’s arms, but Tanahashi would not tap out. Tanahashi finally floated over and hit an inverted dragon screw. Sabre fired back with the backwards bridging pinning combination for a near fall. They went at it and Sabre hit a big slap and an uppercut. Tanahashi fired back with a slap and several uppercuts of his own. Sabre went for a back slide, but Tanahashi rolled through and hit a Slingblade. He then hit a dragon suplex for a nearfall! Tanahashi went up top and hit the High Fly Flow for the win! WOW!

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi in 17:00 to become the new British Undisputed Hvt. Champion. (****)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a great match between these two. Sabre went after Tanahashi’s arm throughout the match and dominated at times with his technical wrestling, but Tanahashi was his equal going after Sabre’s leg.)

A video package aired prior to the Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki main event. Suzuki was out to a big pop as the fans clapped along to his music. A big Suzuki chant rang out once he got into the ring. Okada’s music played and the fans popped HUGE. The IWGP Hvt. Champion then came out to a big applause. Suzuki stood near the ropes and glared at Okada. Okada paused before going up the steps and entering the ring. Suzuki backed off to his corner and Okada posed on the turnbuckles.

(8) IWGP HVT. CHAMPION KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. MINORU SUZUKI 

The crowd was jacked as both men teased locking up, but then backed off. They had a feeling out period during the early stages of the match. They eventually went to a big strike exchange and Okada hit Suzuki with his signature dropkick. Suzuki got his arm bar in the ropes. He let go and dragged Okada to the floor and tossed Okada into the guardrail. Suzuki got a chair, but the ref got in his way. Suzuki teased hitting Red Shoes, but Okada went after Suzuki and he dropped the chair. They fought up the ramp and Okada went for a tombstone. Suzuki went for the Gotch, but Okada blocked it. Suzuki let go and went up the ramp. He got a running start and hit a big PK and the fans applauded. Suzuki went back to ringside and grabbed the chair. The ref tried to take it from him. Suzuki threw the chair into the ring and sat in it and beckoned for Okada to get back into the ring. Okada was shown crawling back up the ramp towards the ring. The fans chanted for Suzuki. Okada hit several big forearms, but Suzuki shrugged them off and laughed at Okada. Suzuki then fired back with one forearm and Okada went down to his knees. Suzuki tied up both of Okada’s arms and then got on top of him and went to work on his leg. Suzuki then transitioned to a STF.

Okada managed to get to the ropes as the fans chanted back and forth for both men. Okada fired back and caught Suzuki with an elbow off the ropes. Okada hit his signature DDT and made the cover for a two count. Suzuki rolled to the floor and the fans fired up. Okada hit him with a slingshot splash. Suzuki grimaced and Okada went for his signature neckbreaker, but he blocked it. Suzuki hit a PK a short time later and the crowd groaned. He made the cover, but only got a two count. Suzuki blocked a punch and took Okada down to the mat. He worked a Fujiwara armbar on the mat while manipulating Okada’s fingers. Okada struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Suzuki went after Okada’s Rainmaker arm with kicks. Suzuki appeared to be setting up for another PK, but instead he kicked Okada right in the face. He made a cocky cover, but only got a two count. Suzuki went for the Gotch again, but Okada blocked it. He eventually backdropped Suzuki and hit a flying uppercut and both men were down.

They went to a strike exchange a short time later in the middle of the ring. Suzuki measured Okada and nailed him with a forearm. Okada stumbled, but refused to go down. This excited Suzuki, who told Okada to bring it. Okada hit a forearm and Suzuki staggered backwards. He laughed and staggered Okada with another forearm. Okada had to hold the ropes so he wouldn’t go down. Suzuki put his hands behind his back and told Okada to hit him. Okada nailed him with two big forearms and Suzuki told him to bring it. Okada hit a third forearm and Suzuki nearly went down. Okada told him to go down. Suzuki smiled and Okada told him to bring it. Okada put his arms behind his back. Suzuki nailed him with a forearm and Okada staggered around the ring. Suzuki hit another and Okada yelled in his face. Suzuki hit two more forearms and Okada went down. Suzuki lifted Okada up and the fans got quiet and he hit a forearm to the back of Okada’s neck. The fans gasped and Suzuki went for the Gotch, but Okada began to kick his legs when Suzuki got him up. Suzuki lifted him several times, but Okada turned it into a neck breaker. WOW!

Both men crawled to each other on their knees and began exchanging blows. The fans cheered with each blow. They stood and Okada hit several forearms and then several uppercuts and Suzuki went down to a knee. Suzuki fired back with a series of headbutts. Okada reversed a whip and caught Suzuki with a dropkick off the ropes! Okada grabbed a Suzuki style choke and the fans booed. Suzuki got up and tried to drive Okada backwards, but he couldn’t do it. Okada let go and hit several forearms to Suzuki’s head. Suzuki went down to a knee. Okada went to bounce off the ropes, but Suzuki surprised him with a dropkick. Suzuki grabbed a choke and Okada got to the ropes. Suzuki kicked his arm off the rope and grabbed the choke again. He hit a Judo style throw and got on top of Okada while applying the choke. The fans chanted for both men back and forth. Okada struggled and Suzuki got back to his feet and wrenched back on the hold. Okada looked to be out on his feet. Red Shoes checked his arm and Okada fired up the third time and hit a Rainmaker out of nowhere. WOW! Okada grabbed Suzuki’s wrist and hit another Rainmaker.

He went for a spinning Rainmaker a short time later, but Suzuki blocked it with a straight right and the fans fired up. He hit several slaps and strikes to Okada’s head and body. Okada kept going over on his knees and Suzuki kept lifting him until he ducked him with a HUGE slap. Suzuki set up for the Gotch once again. Okada tried to kick out of it and got his legs back down. Okada got hold of one of Suzuki’s legs, but Suzuki slapped him and hit a headbutt. Suzuki yelled at Okada, but Okada turned him around and hit a dropkick to the back of his head. Okada caught Suzuki with a dropkick coming off the ropes. The fans booed and Okada went for a Rainmaker, but Suzuki blocked it. The crowd cheered and Suzuki went for the Gotch, but Okada blocked it. They went back and forth and Okada hit a tombstone. He then hit the Rainmaker for the win. What a match!

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada in 34:00 to retain the IWGP Hvt. Championship. (****¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was an amazing match. Suzuki brutalized Okada throughout the match. The hands behind the back forearm exchange was amazing. It was like something out of the wild west with both guys taking their best shot. Suzuki went for the Gotch several times, but just couldn’t land it and Okada got the win after a thrilling final stretch.)

Okada leaned over the ropes and signaled he wanted one more match against Suzuki. The ref put the belt around his waist. The fans chanted Okada’s name and he got on the mic. He asked the fans how NJPW was today. The fans roared. A big New Japan chant started. He then asked how his match was and the fans roared. He spoke in Japanese addressing Suzuki. He thanked Suzuki in English. A big Suzuki chant rang out through the crowd.

Okada spoke in Japanese again. SANADA came down to the ring in a suit and a big SANADA chant rang out through the crowd. He said next time he sees the fans in the U.K., he will be IWGP Hvt. Champion. Okada shook his hand. They went face-to-face and the fans chanted for SANADA. Okada smiled and SANADA backed down and left the ring. Kelly said to stay tuned to njpw1972.com for when the match would take place. Okada motioned to himself and pointed to SANADA leaving as the fans chanted both of their names. Okada got on the mic and asked the fans if it was okay if SANADA was the next challenger. He said that’s okay. He said he will be IWGP Hvt. Champion. The crowd roared as he finished his promo. Kevin Kelly said he doesn’t know if anyone can stop Okada, but SANADA deserves an opportunity to challenge for the belt.

Overall thoughts: The technical issues for the first half of the show was rough, but this was one of the better shows I’ve seen this year. The last four matches were amazing and the crowd in the U.K. was red hot. Ishii vs. KENTA and Okada vs. Suzuki were both blowaway matches and they ended the show with a bang by setting up SANADA as Okada’s next challenger. Big thumbs up.

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

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