4/9 NJPW “HYPER BATTLE ’22” REPORT: Radican’s results & analysis of Desperado vs. Sho, Chaos vs. United Empire tag title match, Okada vs. Sabre main event

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


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RADICAN’S NJPW “HYPER BATTLE ‘22” REPORT
APRIL 9, 2022
TOKYO, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE IN JAPANESE & ENGLISH ON NJPW WORLD

Commentary: Chris Charlton and Kevin Kelly

(1) JADO & TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA & HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. BULLET CLUB (GEDO & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & CHASE OWENS & BAD LUCK FALE)

Gedo got isolated down the stretch. Fale saved him from a sure pin from Tanahashi. Owens saved him from a crossface submission from Jado a short time later. Gedo got brass knuckles and swung at Jado, but he ducked it and got a crossface. All of the BC members ended up in crossfaces at the same time. The fans fired up and Gedo tapped.

WINNERS: Jado & Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Hiroshi Tanahashi at 10:28. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: The crowd enjoyed seeing Bullet Club beaten. This was a fun opener.)

After the match, Tanahashi presented Jado, Tonga, and Loa with NJPW shirts signifying they were all on the same side. Loa was the last to take his G.O.D. shirt off. He put the red and white NJPW shirt on and the fans clapped.

(2) UNITED EMPIRE (AARON HENARE & WILL OSPREAY) vs. L.I.J. (TETSUYA NAITO & SHINGO TAKAGI)

Will Ospreay tweeted out a video during his entrance of Jon Moxley’s wife, Rene Paquette, praising Ospreay during a podcast. Jon Moxley vs. Will Ospreay is taking place next weekend in Chicago at the Windy City Riot PPV. Shingo got worked over early. They built up to Naito and Ospreay tagging in at the same time. Naito got the better of Ospreay and tagged in Shingo. Ospreay and Takagi had a crazy exchange that ended with Ospreay avoiding a sliding lariat and connecting with a seated kick. Ospreay connected on a flip dive to the floor and at the same time, Henare wiped out Shingo. Shingo managed to slip out of Streets of Rage from Henare. He eventually nailed him with a big clothesline. Henare fended off a two-on-one attack and was bleeding from the lip after. Shingo and Naito overwhelmed him a short time later with a combination of moves, but Henare managed to kick out of a pumping bomber at the last second. Takagi then connected with Made in Japan.

WINNERS: Shingo Takagi & Tetusuya Naito at 9:23. (***¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: They put together some really fun spots at times. This was a good tag match. The announcers teased that a pin on Ospreay might lead to something, but that didn’t happen here.)

After the match, Takagi indicated he wanted to face Ospreay for the British Hvt. Championship. Ospreay told him to come to the U.K.

(3) SIX OR NINE (MASTER WATO & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI) vs. BULLET CLUB’S CUTEST TAG TEAM (ELP & TAIJI ISHIMORI) – IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship match

ELP wore a jacket with an electronic sign on the back that read, “Happy Birthday Mom.” Six or Nine dominated early. Ishimori and ELP were about to get run into Taguchi’s backside in the corner, but they sent Wato into it instead. Taguchi didn’t realize it was Wato that had been run into his backside. Ishimori and ELP tagged in and out to work over Taguchi. They were glorious heels doing all sorts of heel moves. ELP did all sorts of rolls and a dance at one point before doing a back rake on Taguchi. That was classic. Wato finally got the hot tag and he quickly caught ELP with a nice dropkick. Wato got cut off quickly. He ended up hung upside down in the corner and ELP and Ishimori teased a double dropkick, but then stood on his crotch. Taguchi tried to make the save, but they tripped him and shoved him crotch first into Wato’s face. Wato fell from the ropes and they ended up in the 69 position. ELP posed in front of them from the floor and smiled. This was tremendous.

Taguchi mounted a comeback and hit a double hip attack on ELP and Ishimori. Taguchi got sent to the floor and Wato took a combination of moves from Ishimori and ELP, but he managed to kick out and the fans fired up with loud claps. ELP hit a UFO on Taguchi as Ishimori wiped out Taguchi with a dive. He was the legal man so he ran back in to to make the cover, but Wato kicked out at the last second. ELP hit Thunder Kiss 86 on Wato, but Taguchi broke up the pin. ELP went for a pinning combination late and he pulled down Taguchi’s pants revealing a pair of tiny red underwear, but Taguchi sat down on top of him and got a deep leverage pin for the win.

WINNERS: Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi at 15:13. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: Your mileage may vary on this one depending on your tolerance for comedy with a championship on the line. I thought they towed the line well enough as to where it was entertaining given some of the great exchanges these teams had.)

(4) TORU YANO vs. TAICHI (W/RIHO ABE) – KOPW Provisional Championship No Rope Ring Out match

The rules of the match are if you fall to the floor, you lose the match. Both wrestlers also wore sumo belts. They didn’t take the ropes down until after the entrances. Yano charged at Taichi, but the ref was in the way and he got knocked out of the ring. The announcers joked that the ref had been eliminated. They fought near the apron and Taichi managed to dump Yano to the floor to win the match.

WINNER: Taichi at 4:18 to become the new KOPW 2022 Provisional Championship. (*½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was exactly what you would expect out of this match.)

After the match, Taichi promised to take the trophy to the main event. He said he wants an appropriate opponent. He then called out Shingo Takagi. Charlton laughed out loud in disbelief when Taichi called out Takagi. Kelly said the KOPW was entering a new era.

Charlton said they had a little bit of news for everyone.

A video package then aired for the G1 Climax 32 tournament. It will begin on July 16. The video package began running down all the dates in the tournament. The tournament will end on Aug. 18, so it is now back on its regular schedule and not taking place in the fall like it has the last two years.

(Intermission)

IWGP U.S. Champion Sanada came out to kick off the second half of the show as a surprise. Kelly said he didn’t like this given the nature of Sanada’s injury to his eye. Sanada said thanks to a fractured orbital bone, he doesn’t know when he can return to the ring. He said he would have to relinquish the IWGP U.S Championship. He said he wants the belt to go to Hiroshi Tanahashi. Will Ospreay came down to the ring and asked Sanada if he was for real.

Ospreay got on the mic and they screwed him on his World Hvt. Championship and NJPW Cup. He said they were trying to do it again. Ospreay said he’d like to say he’s sorry for his eye injury, but he’s not. He told Sanada to learn how to protect himself. He said Sanada should give him the title since he kicked his f—-ing face in. Ospreay told Sanada to give him the title right now. The fans clapped and Tanahashi came down to the ring. Ospreay told him to leave. The fans applauded and Tanahashi got into the ring and stood behind Ospreay. Ospreay told him to go away. Sanada handed Tanahshi the mic. He told Ospreay to shut up.

Tanahashi spoke in English and said they would fight for the U.S. Championship at Wrestling Dontaku on May 1. Tanahashi told Sanada to get better and he would be waiting for him when he returned. The fans fired up and clapped. Sanada got on the mic and said he would see the fans the next time.

(5) EVIL (w/DICK TOGO) vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI – NEVER Openweight Championship match

Evil started out in control and hit all of his signature stuff on the floor. Takahashi mounted a comeback and the fans fired up, but Evil cut him off with an eye rake. Evil hit Darkness Falls back inside the ring for a near fall. Takahashi got on track again, but Evil grabbed the ref and Togo choked Takahashi with a wire on the apron. Evil charged at Takahashi, but he got out of the way and he sent Togo to the floor. Takahashi got a rollup a short time later, but Togo got back up on the apron to distract the ref. Evil ended up shoving Takahashi into the ref and Togo and Evil put the boots to Takahashi. Togo accidentally helped Takahashi hit the Magic Killer on Evil. Takahashi then hit Everything Is Evil on Togo. Takahashi hit the Time Bomb on Evil, but he kicked out at the last second. Evil blocked Tomb Bomb 2 and hit Everything Is Evil for the win.

WINNER: Evil at 15:47 to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship. (**¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was the usual Evil match filled with Dick Togo interference and Evil using shortcuts to maintain the advantage. The crowd was into Takahashi mounting comebacks, but overall this wasn’t too exciting.)

After the match, Tama Tonga ran into the ring and Evil bailed. Yujiro Takahashi then ran into the ring and attacked Tonga. Tanga Loa ran down to even the odds. Tonga caught Evil with a Gun-stun and fired up. They left Takahashi laying as well. Tonga got on the mic after and said Evil had betrayed him. He said it was time for his payback. He said he would get his revenge.

(6) CHAOS (HIROOKI GOTO & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. THE UNITED EMPIRE (GREAT-O-KHAN & JEFF COBB) – IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Championship match

The United Empire tried to pull off a trick handshake, but Chaos didn’t fall for it. Cobb and O-Khan mounted a comeback and took control of the action. Cobb stood on top of Hashi at one point and mocked Goto’s signature pose. Hashi eventually caught O-Khan with a headhunter and tagged in Goto, who ran wild. Hashi and Cobb ended up going at it a short time later. Hashi went after Cobb’s leg and then hit a neckbreaker. Cobb fired back and drove him into the corner. O-Khan ran into the ring and they hit a series of moves on Hashi. Cobb hit a standing moonsault on Hashi, but Goto made the save. Goto ran into the ring and took care of O-Khan. He then hit an Ushigoroshi on Cobb after Hashi had nailed him with a superick. Cobb hit a spin cycle suplex on Hashi a short time later for a near fall. The fans applauded and Hashi managed to block a Tour of the Islands attempt with a clothesline. He followed up with a destroyer.

They built up to Hashi getting wiped out and Goto made the save. Goto got wiped out and tossed from the wing. O-Khan then whipped Hashi into a Tour of the Islands from Cobb and it was good for the win.

WINNERS: Jeff Cobb & The Great-O-Khan at 16:05 to become the new IWGP World Hvt. Championship. (***)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good match at times, but it felt disjointed. The crowd came up at the end for the title switch.)

After the match, O-Khan got on the mic. He said everyone should hail him. He told the fans to show their gratitude, praise, and worship. The crowd applauded. He asked Goto if he was crying because he lost. He nailed Goto with a kick. He said they were going to elevate the titles that had fallen with Goto and Hashi holding them. He said they could come back and challenge them, but they would lose. Kelly mentioned that The United Empire were flying to the U.S. for the TV taping on Sunday and the PPV next week. Cobb booted a Young Lion out of the ring. The announcers said that wasn’t necessary. Charlton mentioned that this was O-Khan’s first title in NJPW.

(7) EL DESPERADO vs. SHO – IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship match

Sho jumped Desperado as he was making his entrance. He tossed Desperado into the ring and the ref rang the bell. He sent Desperado right back to the floor and whipped him into the guardrail. Desperado fired back and eventually went for a dive, but Sho walloped him with a chair to the head as he came through the ropes to cut off his momentum. Desperado tried to get back into the ring a short time later, but Sho got a running start and knocked him off the apron and he went flying over the guardrail. Holy s–t! That looked brutal. Desperado eventually mounted a comeback. He sent Sho to the floor and this time he connected with the tope con hilo.

Sho caught Desperado with an arm bar. He transitioned to the Snake Bite, but Desperado managed to get to the ropes. They began trading blows, but Sho went after his arm and fingers. The ref made him let go of Desperado’s arm against the ropes. They went to an exchange off the ropes and Sho used the ref to distract Desperado before nailing him with a spear. Desperado caught Sho with Guitar de Angel by surprise. Sho blocked Pinche Loco and shoved Desperado into the ref. He then hit a low blow. Sho swung at Desperado with a wrench, but he ducked and hit nailed him with crunchie.

Sho got Snake Bite again a short time later after a Desperado kickout. The fans really fired up and Desperado managed to just get his foot on the rope to break the hold. Desperado almost ran into the ref and Sho hit a second low blow. He laughed manically, but Desperado fired up and punched him right in the face. He sold his arm and hit another punch to the face. He hit a Pinche Loco and made the Undertaker cover for the win.

WINNER: El Desperado at 20:33 to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship. (***1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good match, but the House of Torture match style wears thin quickly.)

Taiji Ishimori came down and asked if he had won the match. Desperado sold his arm. He said he wanted a shot at the title. He said he’s always after that belt. He asked Desperado if he was going to put the belt on the line against someone from another promotion or against him. The lights went out. They came back on a man came into the ring. It is Francesco Akira. He opened his jacket and revealed a United Empire shirt. He said, “see you at the BOSJ.” He left and Desperado accepted Ishimori’s challenge.

KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. ZACK SABRE JR. – IWGP World Hv. Championship match

Sabre got on armbar on the edge of the apron during the early going that appeared to hurt Okada. Okada fired back and hit a flapjack and he sold his ribs, which bothered him during his match against Naito in the finals of the 2022 NJPW Cup. Okada went for his signature neck breaker, but Sabre turned it into an arm submission. Okada eventually countered Sabre and hit the neck breaker and both men were down. Okada hit a top rope elbow, but hurt himself in the process. He hit the Rainmaker post, but Sabre fought out of his clutch quickly when he picked him up for the Rainmaker.

They went back and forth a Sabre got a flying triangle. Okada eventually kicked his way out of the submission, but Sabre nailed him with a dropkick right after and they were both down again on the mat. Sabre countered the Rainmaker into an armbar. He kept transitioning until he got a nasty double arm submission. The crowd couldn’t help but gasp at the position Okada was in. They ended up on the floor and Okada caught Sabre and hit a Tombstone. The fans fired up with both men down on the outside.

Okada hit a corkscrew Tombstone back inside the ring. He went for a Rainmaker and Sabre countered it into a Zack Driver for a tremendous nearfall. They went to a big sequence. Sabre got a nearfall with the Euro Clutch. He then applied a Fujiwara armbar. He transitioned the even deeper, but Okada got to the ropes with his foot. A short time later, Okada caught Sabre with a dropkick off the ropes. He lifted Sabre, who surprised him with a rear naked choke. Okada threw him off. Sabre hit a DDT, but a Okada got right up and hit a Zach Driver. He held onto Sabre’s wrist and hit a Rainmaker and it was good for the win.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 28:57 to retain the IWGP World Hvt. championship. (****1/4)

Okada said he was proud of beating the NJPW Cup winner. He said maybe he can be the one he to decide the next challenger. He said maybe it should be Naito. He said Naito beat him in the NJPW Cup. He said he has a debt to be settled. He called Naito out to the ring. Naito took his time and came down to the ring. Okada said they’re 1-1 so far in 2022 and said let’s have a rubber match. Naito took the mic and said he loves locking up with Okada. He said name the day and place and he will accept. Naito left and Okada said the match will take place on May 1 at Wrestling Dontaku.

Okada said 19 years ago he started wrestling on April 8. He said he starts his 20th year as NJPW World Hvt. Champion. Okada talked about the COVID restrictions, but NJPW will still be there and he will lead the way. He said the 50th Anniversary of NJPW has a long way to go and he will make it rain.

Overall score: (6.5) – The main event was very good, but the rest of the card didn’t feel very consequential and none of the matches felt like they were must see. Two of the singles titles matches featured House of Torture members, which put a damper on those matches. It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of exciting things going on in NJPW at this moment. The challenge of Naito by Okada felt flat even though Naito beat him during the NJPW Cup.

Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch

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