SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RADICAN’S NJPW SUMMER STRUGGLE IN JINGU PPV REPORT
AUG. 29, 2020
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Commentators: Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton via satellite
The stadium is a beautiful setting for a wrestling show. The fans are seated with social distancing, so it’s not a full stadium, but it’s a good looking socially distanced crowd.
(1) MASTER WATO vs. YOSHINOBU KANEMARU
Wato hit powerbomb into a facebuster, but when he went to pin Kanemaru, he got rolled up for the win.
WINNER: Yoshinobu Kanemaru at 7:31.
(2) TORU YANO vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. SANADA vs. EL DESPERADO – KOPW 2020 Four Way Finals
This was disappointing in a way with a lot of comedy. Desperado ended up on the outside and Yano was trapped in the paradise lock by Sanada. Okada and Sanada were going at it for a stretch. Okada had Desperado in the Cobra Clutch, but he grabbed the ref and shoved him to the mat. Yano then hit a low blow and got the win.
WINNER: Toru Yano at 7:01 to become the Provisional KOPW 2020 Champion. (**1/2)
(Radican’s Analysis: Yano beating Okada in his own match was an interesting start to the story of the KOPW title.)
(3) NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION SHINGO TAKAGI vs. MINORU SUZUKI
It didn’t take long before the action spilled to the floor and Takagi went to town on Suzuki with punches and chops as he was up against the ringpost. Suzuki fired back and kicked Takagi off the apron and he crashed into the fence. They went back and forth and Shingo hit a huge lariat and both men were down. Suzuki struggled to get to his feet while smiling.
They went to another big exchange and Suzuki got the upper hand and got the choke. The fans tried to rally behind Shingo. Minoru went for the Gotch piledriver, but Takagi fought out of it and hit a DVD and both men were down. Takagi got up and hit a Pumping Bomber for a nearfall. Suzuki held onto Shingo’s wrist and hit several kicks, but Takagi managed to counter it into Made in Japan for a two count.
Shingo went for Last of the Dragon, but Suzuki slipped out and hit a headbutt to the back of Takagi’s head and then the front. They went back and forth. Suzuki got the rear naked choke, but Shingo went for Last of the Dragon. Both men traded some bombs, but neither would go down. Suzuki finally dropped Takagi with a dropkick off the ropes and the fans really fired up.
They went to another strike exchange in the middle of the ring. Suzuki smiled and told Takagi to get up after hitting a blow. Takagi hit a blow and told Suzuki to bring it. They continued to trade bombs until Suzuki hit a big headbutt. Suzuki glared Takagi, who fired back with a headbutt of his own. Suzuki hit several forearms and held Takagi up so he wouldn’t go down. Suzuki then got the choke once again. The ref checked on Shingo’s arms. Suzuki let go and went for the Gotch Pileldriver. Shingo tried to fight out of it, but Suzuki hit it for the win.
WINNER: Minoru Suzuki at 14:56 to become the new Never Openweight Champion. (****¼)
(Radican’s Analysis: Tremendous hard-hitting match between Shingo and Suzuki. They went at it from bell to bell and Suzuki was so good with his sadistic facial expressions. It seemed too soon for Takagi’s reign to end, as he was truly taking on all comers from different divisions in Japan. I am excited to see what Suzuki does with the title.)
(4) IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION HIROMU TAKAHSHI vs. TAIJI ISHIMORI
Ishimori went right after Takahashi’s injured shoulder. He hit a splash off the top onto Hiromu’s arm during the early going. He then followed him to the floor and continued to work over his arm. Takahashi went for a sunset bomb to the floor, but Ishimori landed on his feet! He then ran Takahashi should-first into the ringpost.
Takahashi mounted a comeback and dropkicked Ishimori to the floor. He then hit Ishimori with a running dropkick off the apron to the floor that sent him flying into the guardrail. They had a crazy back and forth exchange. Eventually Takahashi successfully hit a belly to belly suplex in the corner after Takahashi had countered it previously by landing on his feet on the turnbuckles.
Takahashi hit the Dynamite Plunger for a two count. Both men traded Germans and got right back up. Takahashi finally hit a big clothesline that turned Ishimori inside out and both men were down. Ishimori blocked a Time Bomb attempt and hit a double lung blower. Ishimori dropped Takahashi down shoulder first into the canvas and got the Yes Lock. Takahashi struggled as the fans tried to rally behind him. He finally managed to get the ropes and the fans applauded.
Ishimori went for the Bloody Cross, but Takahsahi escaped. Takashi no-sold a buckle bomb and a jumping knee to the head, but Ishimori wiped him out with a big clothesline. Takahashi blocked Bloody Sunday for a second time and Hiromu slipped out. They went back and forth and Takahashi hit a Time Bomb for a nearfall. He went for Time Bomb 2, but Ishimori hit the Bloody Cross. He then applied the Yes Lock on Takahashi. Ishimori prevented Takahashi from getting the ropes and applied the hold again and Takahashi had to tap.
WINNER: Taiji Ishimori at 13:30 to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion. (****¼)
(Radican’s Analysis: Great match. This should be Takahashi’s swan song in the junior division, as he’s proven he’s ready to move on as a heavyweight. Ishimori worked over Takahashi’s injured shoulder throughout the match, but Takahashi would just not give up. He showed tremendous fighting spirit until Ishimori finally forced him to tap out.)
(5) IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS DANGEROUS TEKKERS (ZACK SABRE JR. & TAICHI) vs. GOLDEN ACE (HIROMU TANAHASHI & KOTA IBUSHI)
Dangerous T tried to get the jump on Golden Ace, but they were ready for it and fended them off at the bell. Taichi suddenly fired back on Tanahashi with a backdrop driver and ZSJ brawled to the floor with Ibushi. Sabre and Taichi dominated the action on the outside as Sabre worked over Ibushi and Taichi worked over Tanahashi. The announcers hammered home that Tanahashi is the weaker member of Golden Ace, as he was isolated and took a beating from Sabre and Taichi.
Kelly pointed out that Tanahashi and Ibushi recently injured Sabre’s leg at a Road to Summer Struggle event. Ibushi got the hot tag and ran wild. They built up to a big kick battle between Ibushi and Taichi. Taichi took Ibushi down with a big head kick and Sabre wiped out Tanahashi. Taichi ripped off his pants and set up for a kick, but Ibushi blocked it. Ibushi finally hit a roundhouse kick to Taichi’s head and both men were down. Ibushi and Tanahashi tagged out.
Tanahashi hit a dragon screw right away on ZSJ and then another with Sabre’s leg in the ropes. Tanahashi got the Cloverleaf Hold, but Sabre got the ropes. Taichi ran in and kicked Tanahashi to give Sabre the upper hand. They tried to hit the double team dragon screws on Tanahashi, but Ibushi wiped them out with a springboard. Ibushi held up Taichi for a dragon screw and then Sabre and the fans applauded.
Sabre blocked a Slingblade and got a double arm submission on Tanahashi. It was the same hold that ZSJ beat Tanahashi with at MSG. Ibushi walked into the ring and broke up the submission. He was about to hit the Kamigoye, but Taichi entered the ring. Taichi had the Iron Fingers, but Ibushi fended him off. Golden Aces hit double Slingblades on Taichi and ZSJ.
Tanahashi hit a standing HFF on ZSJ, but he avoided a second attempt and Dangerous T hit a stuffed Black Mephisto for the win on Tanahashi with Taichi holding back Ibushi from making the save.
WINNERS: Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi at 16:01 to retain the IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Championship. (***3/4)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a really good tag match. It seemed like Ibushi and Tanahashi were on their way to getting revenge on Dangerous T, but Dangerous T pulled out an incredible finishing sequence to escape with the win. It seems like this feud deserves one more match.)
(6) IWGP IC CHAMPION & IWGP HVT. CHAMPION EVIL (W/DICK TOGO) vs. TETSUYA NAITO
Naito went after Togo before the bell rang, which allowed Evil to nail him from behind with the IWGP Hvt. Championship. They went to the floor with Togo distracting the ref. Evil wrapped the chair around Naito’s head and swung for the fences. Naito eventually tried to mount a comeback, but Togo tripped him from the outside when he went to bounce off the ropes.
Naito dropkicked Togo on the outside through the ropes. He hit his signature corner dropkick a short time later. Naito was working over Evil, but he stopped to go after Togo. Evil then blocked a kick and tossed Naito’s foot to the ref before nailing him with a kick of his own. The announcers mentioned that Naito will never call for help from LIJ. They brawled to the apron and Evil ended up raking Naito’s eyes. He went for Darkness Falls, but Naito blockedit. Naito eventually hit a trip and then hit a neckbreaker on Evil from the apron to the floor.
They went up top and Naito hit a top rope hurricanrana. The fans fired up with Naito in control. Naito set up for Gloria, but Evil blocked it. Evil had exposed the pad earlier in the match and now he countered Naito and whipped him into the exposed corner. Both men ended up down on the mat after that exchange. They battled up top again and this time Evil hit a superplex. He made the cover, but only got two.
Evil hit Darkness Falls, but Naito kicked out at two. Naito blocked EIE, but Evil drove him backwards into the exposed corner. Naito suddenly fired back with a tornado DDT off the ropes and both men were down. Naito hit a rolling kick in the corner and then Gloria. Naito hit an inverted Tornado DDT out of the corner for a near fall. He went for Destino, but Evil blocked it. Evil hld the ref and Togo nailed Naito from the floor with a chairshot to the back.
Evil went for EIE, but Naito blocked it. Togo got up on the apron, but Naito threw him into Evil. Naito bounced off the ropes and appeared to hurt his neck. I’m guessing Naito was supposed to run into the ref, but didn’t and that threw the whole things off. Evil was down and he suddenly shoved the ref over. Togo got into the ring with the ref down on the outside. The fans booed as Togo worked over Naito. They hit the Magic Killer on Naito. Bushi ran down and wiped out Evil. He then took out Togo. Gedo came down and took out Bushi. Evil smiled and brought a chair into the ring. Naito blocked it, but Togo tried to get the garret around his neck. Evil wiped out Naito so he couldn’t block the garret.
Sanada had enough and ran down and cleaned house. He hit a big TKO on Togo. Bushi and Sanada worked together to clear the ring. Sanada and Bushi took Togo and Gedo to the back. Evil was left alone in the ring with Naito. Both men got up and Naito ran wild. Naito hit a quick Destino for a nearfall on Evil. Evil blocked a second Destino, hit a low blow on the Naito while shoving the ref, and then hit a big lariat off the ropes for a nearfall.
Evil went for EIE at the 25 minute mark. They went back and forth and Naito went for Valiente and it was sloppy. Both men ended up down on the mat and the fans applauded. Evil went for another low blow, but Naito blocked it and hit Valiente. Naito then hit Destino for the win.
WINNER: Tetsuya Naito at 26:20 to become the new IWGP IC Champion and IWGP Hvt. Champion. (***3/4)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was sloppy in places, but overall very good. I believe Naito was supposed to run into the ref late in the match, but they messed up that spot. Naito hit a sloppy Valiente a short time later and both men sold it. Gedo just walking into the ring and beating up Bushi was strange as well. This was really good in parts, but it was also long and dragged in portions. It was refreshing to see LIJ finally help Naito.)
Naito cut his traditional post-match promo. He said it had been 21 years since NJPW had a show in a baseball stadium. He thanked the fans for their support. He thanked the fans watching on TV and online. He said he’s here thanks to all the fans. He thanked everyone from the bottom of his heart.
He said they are in tough times with the pandemic. He said there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel. He said let’s all overcome these obstacles together. He said it’s the end of the night and we can’t have everyone do the call out. He said people at home could do it. Naito then did the LIJ callout.
Fireworks went off as Naito posed in the ring. What a great visual.
They went backstage and Naito conducted a post-match press conference. Naito talked about how he watched NJPW from the stands in a stadium many years ago, but tonight he came back as a pro. He said if that teenage Naito was here tonight, he would be screaming from the top of his lungs from within.
Naito said he would show the entire country with a double champion is going to be. He said he would carry both titles in September across Japan. Naito said it was time for him to take off, but it felt damn good to have the match in Jingu. He said he wants to do this again with a packed Jingu stadium. He said we might be in dark times, but the brightest of light is waiting at the end of the title. He said focus on that light and what LIJ does from here on out.
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/SR_Torch