2/28 NJPW CASTLE ATTACK: NIGHT 2 RESULTS: Radican’s Results and analysis of Bushi vs. ELP vs. Desperado for vacant Jr. Hvt. Championship, IC Champion Ibushi vs. Naito main event

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @SR_Torch)


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NJPW CASTLE ATTACK: NIGHT 2
FEB. 28, 2021
OSAKA, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD

English commentary: Kevin Kelly, Gino Gambino, and Chris Charlton

(1) HIROYOSHI TENZAN & SATOSHI KOJIMA vs. THE UNITED EMPIRE (WILL OSPREAY & JEFF COBB)

Kelly mentioned that Tenzan can’t use his Mongolian chops after losing to Great-O-Khan. Ospreay accidentally hit Cobb on the outside after The Empire had the advantage after jumping their opponents after the opening bell. Ospreay fired back on Kojima eventually with an elbow out of the corner. Cobb and Ospreay then took turns hitting a combination of moves on Kojima. The announcers said Kojima and Tenzan would help their case to be in the NJPW Cup tournament by getting a win here. Kelly said Ospreay and Cobb were locks to be in the tournament. Kojima finally fired back and hit the Kojima Cutter. Tenzan got the hot tag and ran wild. Tenzan hesitated a bit when going for a Mongolian Chop on Ospreay, but he nailed him with some punches instead.

Kojima hit a brainbuster on Cobb for a two count. Ospreay tried to attack him from behind. Eventually Cobb and Ospreay hit a combination of moves on Kojima capped by the Spin Cycle from Cobb, but Tenzan made the save. Ospreay held up Tenzan and then he and Cobb took turns holding Tenzan for some Mongolian Chops. The crowd tried to fire up behind Tenzan. Tenzan couldn’t contain himself and he fired up and hit Cobb and Ospreay with Mongolian Chops and the fans fired up. The announcers said Tenzan must have gotten an injunction to use his Mongolian Chops. Kojima slipped out of the Tour of the Islands and wiped out Cobb with a lariat for the win. Chris Charlton eventually said Tenzan had used Osaka chops and not Mongolian Chops.

WINNERS: Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan at 9:56. (**¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: Why have stipulations if you’re not going to abide by them? The action was fine, but Tenzan using Mongolian Chops with no consequences was just plain stupid.)

(2) BULLET CLUB (JAY WHITE & EVIL & CHASE OWENS (W/GEDO & JEDO) vs. CHAOS (KAZUCHIKA OKADA & TOMOHIRO ISHII & KOPW 2021 PROVISIONAL CHAMPION TORU YANO)

Ishii got sent to the floor and Jedo and Gedo worked him over while the ref was distracted by White. Ishii took a sustained beating with Bullet Club cheating constantly. Yano eventually got the hot tag and ran wild much to the delight of the fans. After some back and forth action, Okada got Owens in the Money Clip and he tapped.

WINNERS: Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii at 8:35. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: The action was fine and what you’d expect from a Bullet Club match. Okada getting a convincing finish over Owens was a good way to book him strongly ahead of the NJPW Cup brackets being announced.)

Matt Charlton said we should know who is in the NJPW Cup at a press conference set to be held Monday.

(3) IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS G.O.D. (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA W/JADO) vs. CHAOS (HIROOKI GOTO & YOSHI-HASHI)

Chaos ran wild on Tonga during the early going. They brought Jado into the ring and put a beating on him, but G.O.D. took the opportunity to jump them from behind. Hashi got isolated and took a beating for a long period of time. Goto got the tag and ran wild. Loa fired back and nailed him with a combination of kicks. Loa and Goto traded big clotheslines at the same time, but neither man would go down. They ran off the ropes at the same time and connected with clotheslines and this time both men went down to their knees and dropped to the mat. The crowd fired up as both men were down. They tagged out and the pace picked up.

Hashi hit a diving head hunter off the ropes on Tonga. Hashi got cut off and took a combination neck breaker, but Goto broke up the pin. Goto took Guerrilla Warfare. They set up Hashi for the Magic Killer and hit it. Tonga made the cover, but Hashi kicked out at the last second! The fans tried to rally behind Hashi with claps. Hashi countered a powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana on Loa, but Tonga managed to wipe him out. Tonga asked Hashi why he wouldn’t just die. Loa and Tonga went up top on opposite sides of the rings. Loa missed a dive and Goto tossed Tonga off the top. The fans fired up and Goto got the hot tag. He eventually hit G.O.D. with a double clothesline.

Goto continued to run wild with a running bulldog on Tonga, but Loa made the save. Loa ate a tandem neckbreaker over the back of Goto’s knee. Goto and Ishii lifted Tonga up and drove him face-first down over Goto’s knee for a nearfall. Loa finally ran into the ring to turn the tide. Tonga wiped out Goto. Hashi broke up a Magic Killer attempt. Both teams traded big moves until Loa hit a powerslam on Goto and everyone was down. WOW! Hashi and Loa traded bombs. Hashi ducked a punch and hit a back cracker. The fans fired up behind Chaos. The legal men, Goto and Tonga, were left alone in the ring. Goto blocked a Gun Stun attempt. They went back and forth off the ropes. Goto blocked a jumping DDT and Hashi nailed Tonga with a superkick. Goto then hit a final cut, but Tonga kicked out! Gedo ended up hitting Goto from behind with Kendo stick and he walked right into a Gun Stun from Tonga for the win.

WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa at 15:46. (***3/4)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was great action here from start to finish. They had some incredible counter exchanges and nearfalls late in the match that got the crowd invested. Without Jado’s interference, it appeared Chaos had a great shot at taking this match. The Bullet Club interference this weekend is certainly wearing thin.)

(Intermission)

(4) NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. THE GREAT-O-KHAN

O-Khan went for the Eliminator early, but Tanahashi blocked it. He eventually hit a dropkick to O-Khan’s knees. O-Khan briefly looked at Yota Tsuji, as Kelly discussed how The Empire had been trying to recruit Tsuji away from Tanahashi. O-Khan held Tanahashi for Tsuji to hit him, but he wouldn’t do it. Charlton talked about how Tsuji wants to make that step up. Kelly said that Tsuji had his fist balled up. Gambino mentioned that Tsuji wants to make a name for himself. Back inside the ring, O-Khan continued to work over Tanahashi. Tanahashi fired back and hit his signature swanton off the second turnbuckle.

Tanahashi began working over O-Khan’s knee. He went for The Cloverleaf, but O-Khan got to the ropes before he could turn him over. O-Khan snapped Tanahashi’s neck over the top rope a short time later. He went to get back into the ring, but Tanahashi hit several dragon screws over the middle rope. O-Khan fired back and placed Tanahashi up top. He nailed him with a Mongolian Chop. He then turned Tanahashi upside down and nailed him with a sliding dropkick. He lifted Tanahashi up and slammed him face-first into the mat. O-Khan went for The Eliminator, but Tanahashi blocked it by grabbing O-Khan’s face. Tanahashi finally broke O-Khan’s grip and dropped him with a straight punch.

Tanahashi went for a Sling Blade, but O-Khan dragged the ref right into him. O-Khan then hit Tanahashi with a straight right and both men were down. O-Khan called for a chair and Tsuji grabbed it, but he slid it to Tanahashi. Tanahashi sat in the chair and laughed at O-Khan. He charged at Tanahashi, who tripped him into the chair. Tanahashi went for a move off the ropes, but ran into the ropes. O-Khan lifted Tanahashi, but he countered it into a Slingblade. Tanahashi hit Aces High. He then went for a High Fly Flow, but O-Khan rolled out of the way!

Tsuji banged the mat to fire up the crowd. O-Khan nailed Tanahashi with a shotgun dropkick. He then caught Tanahashi with a running shoulder tackle, but he kicked out at the last second. Both men were down as the fans fired up. Tanahashi hit a pair of Slingblades, but O-Khan kept getting up. He caught Tanahashi with a huge lariat, but he kicked out at the last second! WOW! O-Khan gave Tanahashi the claw and then tied him around his back. He then spun Tanahashi around and dropped him. Tsuji pounded the mat and tried to fire up the crowd. O-Khan went for The Eliminator, but Tanahashi turned it into a crucifix pin for the win!

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 18:44. (****½)

(Radican’s Analysis: What a masterful performance from Tanahashi. He took everything from the Great-O-Khan and worked around his limitations to deliver an incredible match. O-Khan was fantastic here as well, putting on his best performance yet in a New Japan ring. The last ten minutes of the match that featured a lot of back and forth counter wrestling and fighting spirit was fantastic. Tsuji’s internal struggle was a nice little side story here as well.)

The next match is for the vacant IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship. This match is taking place because of the injury to Hiromu Takahashi, who will be out of action for a long period of time.

(5) IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH – ELP vs. IWGP JR. HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPION EL DESPERADO vs. BUSHI

It was all action during the early going with all three men in the ring. Desperado got hung up over the top rope and ELP came off the top with a double stomp, but he could only get a two count. ELP went for his rope walk routing, but Desperado crotched him. ELP was still on the ropes and Bushi took out Desperado. He then went up top and took ELP to the mat with a hurricanrana. Desperado and Bushi were going at it on the outside and ELP got a running start and wiped them out with a big step up dive to the floor. They brawled up the ramp and ELP ripped Desperado’s mask and then hit the Jerry Lynn style cradle piledriver and the fans fired up. ELP took Desperado’s mask as a trophy. He then put the ripped mask on and strutted around with it.

ELP worked over Bushi. He did some fancy flips before stomping on Bushi’s groin in the corner. Bushi was hanging upside and ELP continued to stomp on his groin in the corner until the ref forced him to back away. ELP dominated Bushi, but Desperado finally made his way back into the ring with a new mask and ran wild on ELP. He sent ELP to the floor with a big clothesline. He then wiped him out with a sick tope con hilo. All three men ended up going at it up top and Bushi hit the Tower of Doom powerbomb. He covered Desperado for a two count. He then got a two count on ELP. He hit a back stabber on Desperado, but ELP dove in to make the save. ELP went after Bushi’s eyes a short time later. He nailed ELP with a kick and he got stuck over the ropes. He then hit a neck breaker on Desperado for a nearfall as ELP looked on helplessly.

The fans fired up as the pace picked up. Bushi hit a lung blower on Desperado, but ELP tossed him to the floor and made the cover for a two count. WOW! The fans fired up and ELP set up for CR2 on Desperado. The announcers sold shock as ELP instead turned it into a Style Clash. Bushi broke up the pin and got a pinning combination for a near fall. ELP hit a V-trigger on Bushi. He then hit another V-Trigger on Desperado. Bushi went to the floor and ELP went for the One-Winged Angel, but Desperado got a pinning combination for a nearfall. Desperado got Numero Dos a short time later. Desperado and Kanemaru worked over ELP’s knee just a few nights ago when they beat them for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship. ELP countered and got a pinning combination for a nearfall. Desperado went for Pinoche Loco on ELP, but he got out of it. Desperado then countered ELP and hit an Angle Slam for a two count.

The 20 minute mark came and went and Desperado fired up. The fans clapped as he went after ELP. ELP fired back and hit CR2, but Bushi dove into the ring and grabbed the ref’s arm to stop the count. A short time later, Bushi went up top for MX on ELP, but ELP nailed him with a superkick. Bushi rolled to the floor and ELP sold frustration. Desperado ducked a superkick and nailed ELP with a big right hand and the fans fired up. ELP blocked Pinoche Loco and got a backwards bridging pinning counter for a nearfall. Desperado leveraged himself back to his feet to get out of the pinning predicament and hit Pinoche Loco. He held on and hit a second Pinoche Loco. He then did the ELP style cover on ELP for the win!

Chris Charlton said it was a moment seven years in the making! He said mid-level junior? Screw that, this man is the best junior in the world! WOW! For the second time this week, Desperado has won a title. The announcers said Desperado had struggled for seven years to get to this moment.

WINNER: El Desperado at 23:12 to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion. (****½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a tremendous match. Desperado has been on fire and his win was a moment seven years in the making. ELP was a tremendous heel in, but the story of the rise of Desperado and his performance against Hiromu Takahashi in the finals of the BOSJ last year made this an easy call for NJPW to make after Takahashi got injured. The pace of the match was full throttle from start to finish and the fans really came alive for this match.)

Charlton said Tetsuya Naito started the double gold movement and wondered what his motivations were for going after the IWGP IC Championship here against Kota Ibushi. Kelly said Naito had too much pride in championship legacies to simply win this match and sit on the IWGP IC Championship until it was thrown in the bin.

Charlton said Tetsuya Naito started the double gold movement and wondered what his motivations were for going after the IWGP IC Championship here against Kota Ibushi. Kelly said Naito had too much pride in championship legacies to simply win this match and sit on the IWGP IC Championship until it was thrown in the bin.

(6) IWGP IC CHAMPION & IWGP HVT. CHAMPION KOTA IBUSHI vs. TETSUYA NAITO – IWGP IC CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Charlton said Ibushi wants to respect the lineages of the IC and IWGP Championships and perhaps create the first ever IWGP World Hvt. Championship. He talked about Ibushi idolizing Shinsuke Nakamura, who put the IWGP IC Championship on the map. Kelly discussed how Ibushi had gone after Naito’s knee in the tag matches leading up to this show. He wondered how that would impact this match. The pace started slow, but suddenly Naito shoved the ref away out of the corner and landed some vicious strikes on Ibushi. He hit a dropkick to Ibushi’s knees a short time later as he came off the ropes. Naito sat up and smiled at Ibushi. The announcers said Naito has never lost challenging for the IWGP IC Championship. Naito has never before actually been in a match for the IC title where his primary focus was going after the title. Naito hit another kick to Ibushi’s leg and he went to the floor. Naito followed and went on the attack. He tried to whip Ibushi in the barricade, but Ibushi couldn’t run and he collapsed because of the damage to his knee.

Naito continued to work over Ibushi’s knee back inside the ring. Naito slammed Ibushi’s knee into the mat over and over and Ibushi grabbed the bottom rope to break up a pin. Gino Gambino said the match had been different from what he expected. Ibushi mounted a comeback and hit a standing moonsault, despite the pain in his leg. Naito fired back and went on the attack. He hit his signature corner dropkick combination. Naito fired back and both men ended up down on the mat. They traded blows from their knees. They continued to trade back and forth until Naito caught Ibushi in a leg submission. Naito hit Diamond Dust out of the corner and then Gloria for a nearfall. They battled up top a short time later. Ibushi avoided a poison hurricanrana off the top. He slid under Naito and then nailed him with a kick a short time later and both men were down on the mat as the fans fired up.

Ibushi went for his signature outside in German off the ropes. He lifted Naito up and hit it. Ibushi made the cover, but Naito kicked out at two. Ibushi hit the Boma Ye. He then hit the Last Ride for a nearfall. Ibushi went for the Kamigoye, but Naito countered into Valentia and both men were down. Naito hit several elbows to Ibushi’s head as the 25 minute mark came and went. Ibushi suddenly countered Naito and wiped him inside out with a nasty lariat. Naito hit Destino, but Ibushi kicked out at the last second! Ibushi blocked another Destino attempt. They went back and forth trading blows. Ibushi hit a jumping knee strike. Ibushi hit a Kamigoye to the back of Naito’s head. He then went for the traditional Kamigoye, but Naito countered it into a pinning combination for a nearfall. Ibushi kicked out and hit a short Kamigoye for a nearfall! WOW! Ibushi measured Naito and hit a Kamigoye for the win.

WINNER: Kota Ibushi at 27:50. (****¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was very good, but Naito did a ton of work on Ibushi’s legs and it was disappointing to see that not play into the finish, as they went back and forth trading counters down the stretch and Naito’s vicious leg attack was seemingly just left in the past.)

The announcers wondered what was next for the IWGP IC Championship. Charlton said Naito had shot his shot, so the future of the IWGP IC Championship was now in doubt. Ibushi refused assistance after the match.

El Desperado walked down to the ring after the match. He got on the mic and said he said it was in Osaka that he challenged Ibushi for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship long ago. He said it has been a long journey since then and he completed it tonight. He said for the last few years the junior champion has faced the heavyweight champion at the Anniversary Show. He said it took awhile for him to be in this position and since he’s here why don’t they have a match for both of Ibushi’s titles.

Desperado said it’s been a long time and I’m a different man than that one that faced you for the junior title. Ibushi got on the mic and said any time and any place. He said he will accept Desperado’s challenge. Ibushi said it’s been a long time and he remembers everything that went down. He said Desperado sucked back then. Ibushi said he’s a different man now, so lets see how good you are at Anniversary.

Desperado left and Ibushi said he will take on any challenge. Ibushi said, I will never run away, I will never lose, I will never betray you, and I will always keep my promises. Ibushi thanked all the fans for coming in this difficult situation. He said he hoped the fans supported NJPW for a long time to come.

Contact Sean at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch

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