SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NJPW CASTLE ATTACK: NIGHT 1
FEB. 27, 2021
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
English commentary: Kevin Kelly, Gino Gambino, and Chris Charlton.
The United Empire is undefeated as a group in tag matches when all three are teaming together. Kevin Kelly mentioned that Hiroyoshi Tenzan can’t use the Mongolian Chops anymore, but he wondered if he could use them before the bell rang.
(1) THE UNITED EMPIRE (UNDISPUTED BRITISH HVT. CHAMPION WILL OSPREAY & THE GREAT-O-KHAN & JEFF COBB) vs. SATOSHI KOJIMA & HIROYOSHI TENZAN & HIROSHI TANAHASHI
The Empire dominated early. Tanahashi got the hot tag from Kojima just before the five minute mark and ran wild on O-Khan. Tenzan hesitated with Cobb in the corner since he couldn’t do the Mongolian Chops. He eventually got the anaconda vice on Cobb, but Cobb escaped. Tenzan wanted to do the Mongolian Chops on Ospreay, but he kept hesitating and O-Khan wiped him out from behind. The Empire ran wild. O-Khan hit The Eliminator on Tanahashi. They then held up Kojima for a springboard Os-Cutter for the win.
WINNERS: Will Ospreay & The Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb at 10:22. (**¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: The action was good from start to finish. The United Empire looked dominant in victory.)
O-Khan cut a promo after the match and The United Empire stood tall over their opponents after the match. The announcers talked about Young Lion Yota Tsuji potentially joining The United Empire. O-Khan greeted him at ringside after the match.
The announcers talked about how Yoshi-Hashi has stepped up against The Bullet Club in recent weeks. The theme of the night is Bullet Club vs. Chaos, so this will be the launch of the series for the night.
(2) NEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPION YOSHI-HASHI vs. TANGA LOA (W/JADO)
Loa said he was going to make sure Hashi didn’t make it to his title match tomorrow. Hashi had the upper hand early as the announcers talked about Loa’s lack of experience in singles matches. Hashi tried to work Loa’s arm, but Jado managed to trip Hashi as he bounced off the ropes while Loa distracted the ref. Loa then went to work on Hashi starting with a back suplex for a two count. Loa screamed at Hashi to show him he had fight in him. Hashi fired up with a series of strikes and capped the sequence with a neck breaker. Hashi hit a powerbomb out of the corner a short time later. Hashi then grabbed the butterfly lock.
Loa escaped and got the upper hand a short time later. He taunted Hashi again, which didn’t work out so well for him last time, but this time Loa caught Hashi off the ropes with a spinebuster for a two count. Hashi fired back with a flurry of superkicks, but Loa wouldn’t go down. Loa took another superkick and still wouldn’t go down. Hashi then hit a back stabber and went up top. He connected with a swanton off the top, but Loa kicked out at two. Hashi grabbed the butterfly lock again around the 11 minute mark. Jado ran into the ring with a kendo stick, so Hashi let go of the hold. Loa hugged the ref. Loa went after Hashi as he confronted Jado. Hashi rolled him up for a nearfall. He then hit a dragon suplex and a running double knee strike. The fans fired up for Hashi. Hashi set up for Kharma, but Tonga ran down to ringside and he let go of it. Loa then hit Ape S–t for the win.
WINNER: Tonga Loa at 12:58. (***¼)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good match that showed Hashi’s progression as a wrestler. It took a barrage of interference for Loa to get the win here.)
After the match, Loa, Tonga, and Jado jumped Hashi. Goto ran down and made the save and they went right into Goto vs. Tama Tonga.
(3) HIROOKI GOTO vs. TAMA TONGA (W/JADO)
Tonga got a rollup holding Goto’s tights right away for a nearfall after the ref called for the bell. The action quickly went to the floor and Tonga whipped Goto into the guardrail. Tonga distracted the ref and Jado hit Goto with his kendo stick on the floor. Goto fired back and got the upper hand. They traded counters and Goto nearly got the GTR at one point. Tonga eventually hit the Tongan Twist for a two count. Goto blocked a Gun Stun attempt. Tonga caught Goto with a big jumping DDT. He tried to follow up with a frog splash, but Goto got out of the way and hit a diving elbow to the back of Goto’s head. Goto cleared the apron of Loa and Jado. He went back and forth with Tonga off the ropes. They built to a fantastic finish where Goto teased the Ushigoroshi, but he ended up turning into a GTR for the win.
WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 6:39. (***1/2)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was short, but very good while it lasted going just a little bit under 7 minutes in length. They had a really good back and forth match to set the stage for what should be an exciting IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Title match tomorrow with Loa & Tonga defending against Hashi & Goto.)
Charlton explained the rules of the YTR Strap match between KOPW 2021 Provisional Champion Toru Yano and Chase Owens. Owens was wearing the Texas Hvt. Championship. They will be connected with a strap. Yano didn’t want to touch the four corners, so the winner of the match will be the person that takes off the fourth turnbuckle pad.
(4) KOPW 2021 PROVISION CHAMPION TORU YANO vs. TEXAS HVT. CHAMPION CHASE OWENS
Yano whipped Owens with the belt. Owens called for a timeout and wanted to shake hands, but Yano kicked him and whipped him with the strap. Owens fired back and whipped Yano with the strap on the floor a short time later. Owens tore Yano’s shirt off back inside the ring and whipped him with the strap. They did a comedy tug of war spot with Yano’s shirt as the flag in the middle. Owens dragged Yano into the guardrail several times. Owens got some tape and taped Yano’s hand shut so he couldn’t untie the corner pads. Owens took Yano back into the ring and taped his other hand shut. Two turnbuckle pads were down. Owens undid the third corner pad.
Kelly said Yano’s hands are still taped shut. Yano shoved Owens into the ref a short time later and hit a low blow. He tried to undo the last corner pad, but his hands were taped shut. Yano got one hand free. He then got the other hand free, but Owens pulled him in with the strap and hit the Jewel Heist. They went to the floor. Owens exposed the floor and went for a package piledriver, but Yano hit a backdrop. Yano went for the turnbuckle pad, but Owens held onto the rope. Owens got the ring bell and smashed Yano in the head. Owens ran into the ring, but Yano was dead weight on the floor. They ended up back into the ring and Owens caught Yano with a big jumping knee. Owens was about to undo the pad.
Yano fired up and tried to drag Owens away from the pad. He eventually dragged Owens right into a kneeling powerbomb. Yano then ran to the corner undid the final pad to win the match.
WINNER: Toru Yano at 12:50. (***¾)
(Radican’s Analysis; They did a lot of comedy, but this was a brutal match with both men whipping each other with the strap from bell-to-bell. Owens was really good as a heel here and I was convinced he was winning the match to take the KOPW title in a different direction, but Yano ended up pulling out the win. This match over-delivered given the comedic tone of Yano’s previous matches with the title on the line.)
The announcers talked about how Ishii put a crack in White’s confidence at G1 Climax 30 and that’s why we are where we are here, as White is looking for revenge on Ishii for taking away his confidence. Ishii is looking for revenge on White for attacking him on Jan. 19.
(5) TOMOHIRO ISHII vs. JAY WHITE (W/GEDO)
White baited Ishii into trying to get into the ring from the floor. Gedo eventually pulled Ishii’s leg and that gave White the window to put the boots to him. White got the ref’s attention and Gedo tossed Ishii into the guardrail a short time later. The announcers wondered whether or not White was faking a hamstring injury to the ref. Ishii decided he didn’t care and he whipped White into the guardrail several more times. White targeted Ishii’s mid-section, back, and neck for a long period of time until Ishii fired back with a powerslam. Ishii hit a vertical suplex, but he couldn’t capitalize. They went back and forth a short time later and White hit a DDT. The announcers pointed out White had been targeting Ishii’s head.
White hit a chop in the corner and Ishii told White to bring it. Ishii then fired back on White in the corner and began chopping him across the throat. They went back and forth and White hit a deadlift German and both men were down as the fans clapped. White dragged Ishii to the floor and suplexed him into the guardrail. Ishii beat the ref’s count, but he walked right into a Blade Buster from White. White absorbed a headbutt and hit a big uranagi on Ishii. He then hit the Kiwi Crusher for a nearfall. White drove Ishii back-first into the corner. He then dragged him back to the middle of the ring where he stomped on his midsection. White went after Ishii’s midsection in the corner. Ishii began walking forward into White’s forearms. White hit forearm after forearm. White hit a knee to the rib, but Ishii fired right back with with a big elbow and White went down. The fans applauded with Ishii back on the attack.
They went up top and Ishii hit a superplex. Ishii then folded White’s legs over him with a leverage pin for a nearfall. Ishii got a choke and let go when Gedo got up on the apron. Ishii took a swing, but Gedo nailed him with a shot to the ribs and he crumpled. White then followed up with a sleeper suplex. White grabbed a sleeper and then hit a Regal-plex for a nearfall. Both men swung for the fences and Ishii connected with a big clothesline.
Ishii grabbed a choke, but White fought back and hit a brainbuster for a nearfall. The fans applauded and Gambino asked how Ishii was still alive. White set up for Blade Runner, but Ishii slid behind White and hit a German. Ishii lifted White and hit a stacked powerbomb, but White kicked out at two. Ishii was going for a sliding lariat, but Gedo got into the ring. White went for a low blow from behind, but Ishii blocked it with his legs. He then whipped White into Gedo. Ishii hit the sliding lariat, but White kicked out at the last second. The fans fired up as Ishii lifted up White. White fought out of the Vertical Drop Brainbuster. They went back and forth and White eventually hit a sleeper suplex. White lifted up Ishii, who nailed him with a clothesline. White blocked a VDBB. They went back and forth and White hit Blade Runner and it was good for the win.
WINNER: Jay White at 25:42. (****½)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a fantastic match. White hadn’t been able to beat Tomohiro Ishii in a singles match in the past. White was surgical working over different body parts throughout the match while relying on Gedo for some liberal interference to keep the upper hand. This was a very good match to get White back on track as a top heel.)
After the match, White attacked a Young Lion attending to Ishii and then he spit at Ishii.
The announcers talked about how Evil beat Kazuchika Okada in this building after turning heel and joining Bullet Club. They also talked about how Evil went on to Dominion to beat Tetsuya Naito and become a double champion, which is something Okada has never done. Kevin Kelly planted the seeds for Okada to get back to the IWGP Hvt. Championship and IWGP IC Championship by saying its been a long time since we saw Okada with gold.
(6) EVIL (W/DICK TOGO) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA
The announcers talked about how Evil needed a win here much like Jay White having lost several big matches in a row including falling to his old tag partner Sanada at Wrestle Kingdom. The announcers pointed out how despite his security blanket in Dick Togo and other Bullet Club members, Evil couldn’t win big matches recently. Okada ran wild and hit a dropkick and Evil rolled to the floor. The announcers wondered if Okada had fell too much in love with the Money Clip. Okada chased Togo at ringside and they went into the ring, but Evil cut Okada off with a big clothesline. Evil whipped Okada into the barricade, which sent the timekeeper’s table toppling over along with the timekeeper. Evil hit his homerun swing on the floor. Kelly called the home run shot.
Evil whipped Okada into an exposed corner. Kelly said it must have been Togo that did that off camera. Evil worked a single leg crab before letting it go. Togo put a beating on Okada on the outside and tossed Okada back into the ring. Evil made a cover, but the ref refused to count sensing that Okada had been attacked while he was distracted. Okada ended up going after Togo on the outside. They went up the entrance ramp. Evil tried to attack Okada from behind, but he ended up hitting a double DDT on both men. Okada then dragged Evil back towards the ring.
Evil fired back and got the upper hand. The fans tried to rally behind Okada. Okada blocked Darkness Falls and caught Evil with a flapjack off the ropes a short time later. They went back and forth and Okada caught Evil on his back in the corner and hit the neck trap neckbreaker for a two count. Okada hit a shotgun dropkick off the top for a nearfall. Evil fired back and hit a big clothesline. The fans tried to rally behind Okada. Evil placed him up top and set up for a superplex and hit it. Evil then locked in a sharpshooter. Okada struggled as the fans clapped, but he eventually got to the ropes.
Evil hit Darkness Falls a short time later for a nearfall. The announcers said the 20 minute mark had passed as the fans fired up. Evil blocked the Money Clip, but Okada sent him into the exposed corner. Okada then locked in the Money Clip. Evil raked his eyes to escape. Evil distracted the ref and Togo hit Okada with a chair. Togo got into the ring, but Okada nailed him with a big boot off the ropes. He then hit a dropkick on Evil as he came off the ropes. Okada locked in the Money Clip again as the fans fired up. Evil got up and grabbed the ref. He managed to free himself from the Money Clip, but Okada hit a tombstone and applied the Money Clip again.
Evil grabbed the ref again. He finally shoved Okada into the ref to break out of the Money Clip. Okada hit a big Rainmaker and applied the Money Clip. Togo ran into the ring and choked Okada with the garret. Okada broke free and gave Togo a tombstone. Okada teased using the garret, but threw it away. Evil set Okada up for a low blow on the mat, but Okada hit a low blow of his own. The fans fired up with both men down.
Okada lifted Evil and hit a spinning tombstone. He then applied the Money Clip once again. Evil struggled for a long period of time, but he finally got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Okada hit a short arm Rainmaker. He held on and went for a Rainmaker, but Evil hit one of his own. Okada didn’t let go and he went for another Rainmaker, but Evil blocked it and hit an arm and head suplex. Evil got a running start and wiped out Okada for a nearfall. Okada blocked EIE and missed a spinning Rainmaker. They went back and forth trading finisher attempts. Okada had Evil up for a tombstone, but he hit a falcon arrow instead. Okada then hit a full Rainmaker for the win.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 28:11. (***½)
(Radican’s Analysis: Evil’s in-ring style and the culmination of all the Bullet Club shenanigans during the night took its toll on this match. There were some good exchanges during the match, but it felt like the match dragged at times and there was loads of interference as well, which is tiresome.)
With the win Chaos beats Bullet Club 3-2 on the night. The announcers said Okada had vanquished Evil and had a clear path going forward to the NJPW Cup, which starts in just six days.
Okada got on the mic to cut a promo. He tapped the mic in rhythm to get the fans to clap and the fans clapped along, which was a pretty cool moment. Okada said that felt damn good. He said with that win, he took out the trash. Okada said there’s still something needling in the background. Okada said it’s about time, isn’t it. Okada then said he wants to get back into the IWGP title hunt. Okada said in life there’s a proper sequence. He said he will go to the NJPW Cup and win it and get back to his rightful place. Okada said he understands how the fans feel. He said the double title stuff isn’t for him. He said it’s his responsibility to rescue the NJPW title, which is what he will do by winning the NJPW Cup. He thanked the fans for their support and he said he would see them tomorrow.
Kelly said this was a clear indication of the path forward for Okada. Kelly said it had been 14 months since Okada had been in the title hunt and he liked the sound of Okada getting back into the title hunt.
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch
Leave a Reply