4/16 NJPW “WINDY CITY RIOT” PPV REPORT: Radican’s results & analysis of Ishii vs. Suzuki, Ospreay vs. Moxley main event

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


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

RADICAN’S NJPW “WINDY CITY RIOT” PPV REPORT
APRIL 16, 2022
CHICAGO, ILL.
AIRED LIVE ON PPV IN ENGLISH ON FITE TV

Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Matt Rehwoldt

(1) THE FACTORY (Karl Fredericks & Yuya Uemura & Clark Connors) vs. L.A. DOJO (QT Marshall & Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solo)

Uemura got low blowed by Marshall late in the match. He then hit a Diamond Cutter for the win.

WINNERS: The Factory at 11:56. (***)

(Radican’s Analysis: Good opener.)

(2) TEAM FILTHY (Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson & JR Kratos & Black Tiger & Danny Limelight) vs. FRED ROSSER & CHRIS DICKINSON & REN NARITA & ALEX COUGHLIN & JOSH ALEXANDER

They built up to a spot where Kratos was alone in the ring and he hit a dive over the ring post to the floor and the fans went wild. Rosseri tapped out Black Tiger with a Chicken Wing.

WINNERS: Fred Rosser & Chris Dickinson & Ren Narita & Alex Coughlin & Josh Alexander at 13:50. (**3/4)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a little slower to get going than the opener)

Rosser held onto the submission and Tom Lawlor came down to make the save. Rosser got overwhelmed and Yuji Nagata came down to make the save.

The fans gave Nagata a big ovation for clearing the ring of Team Filthy. He got on the mic and asked Lawlor why he won’t put the title on the line. Lawlor hesitated and then agreed to put the Strong Openweight Championship on the line.

(3) TOM LAWLOR vs. YUJI NAGATA – Strong Openweight Championship match

The announcers talked about Fred Rosser having to wait for his shot at the Strong Openweight Championship. They said it must be frustrating to see Nagata be granted a shot on the spot by Lawlor. Lawlor worked over Nagata’s head and legs during the early going. Nagata fired back and began working over Lawlor’s arm later in the match. The crowd was clearly behind Nagata as the match went on. Lawlor went for Shibata’s finishing sequence. He got a choke and a PK. Nagata kicked out and charged at Lawlor. Lawlor grabbed a straightjacket choke. He turned it into a knee to the back of Nagata’s head and it was good for the win.

WINNER: Tom Lawlor at 13:57 to retain the Strong Openweight Championship. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a really solid title defense for Lawlor. Nagata looked good giving him a run for his money for the title. Lawlor worked over his neck and legs throughout the match to set up the finishing knee out of the stranglehold position.)

Karl Anderson got on the mic before the 12 man tag started and said it was official and Scott Norton was now a member of the Bullet Club. Kevin Kelly pointed out that Jay White had brought Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows back into Bullet Club.

(4) UNITED EMPIRE (Aaron Henare & Jeff Cobb & T.J.P. & Great O-Khan & Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. BULLET CLUB (Hikuleo & El Phantasmo & Chris Bey & Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows & Scott Norton)

Norton tagged in early and he wanted Cobb. The fans fired up when Cobb tagged in. Cobb deadlift Norton into suplex. Norton got right back up and hit a suplex on Cobb. Cobb got right back up and they jawed in the middle of the ring. Norton asked for a test of strength. Cobb hesitated and the fans chanted “You still got it” at Norton. Norton got the upper hand and TJP blind tagged himself into the match. They did some comedy with Bullet Club giving TJP multiple back rakes in the corner as the other BC members held him. They continued to do ridiculous back rakes. Norton teased a powerbomb and then raked T.J.P.’s back. Aussie Open tagged in and Mark Davis hit a double slam on Bey and ELP, but the double pin got broken up. Aussie Open hit a series of moves on Bey capped by a cover. Fletcher made the cover, but Gallows broke the pin up. Aussie Open hit Corealis (FKA The Fidget Spinner) on Bey for the win.

WINNERS: Aaron Henare & Jeff Cobb & T.J.P. & Great O-Khan & Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis at 11:42. (***)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a nice showcase for The United Empire being together as a full unit. Aussie Open really stood out down the stretch with Davis’s power and his ability to perform crazy double team maneuvers with Fletcher. It was also fun to see Scott Norton and Jeff Cobb go at it. We will probably not see that again.)

O-Khan cut a promo after the match asUnited Empire stood tall in the ring. O-Khan called out everyone in the group and they threw up the UE hand gesture.

(5) JUICE ROBINSON & DAVID FINLAY & BRODY KING vs. JONAH & SHANE HASTE & BAD DUDE TITO – Chicago Street Fight

All six men brawled on the floor to kick things off. It was really hard to see what was going on and at one point Kelly asked if the cameras were drunk because they were out of focus. They ended up back inside the ring and tons of plunder got introduced into the match. King sent Tito through a pile of chairs with a DVD. The fans really didn’t respond to much of the action, but they did respond to Haste bumping on top of his head with a trash can over him for a King chop. They missed King getting put through a table at ringside. Finlay got isolated and sent into a ladder in the corner. Haste nailed him with a cannonball. Tito then hit a Blue Thunder Powerbomb, but Finlay kicked out. Haste and Tito held Finlay’s arms in the corner and Jonah hit him with a cane. Robinson and King suddenly made the save and went to town on their opponents with cane shots. King and Robinson threw a bunch of chairs into the ring. Robinson. King, and Finlay took turns sending Tito, Haste, and Jonah into the chairs with moves off the top. The fans finally fired up a little bit with some “Holy s—” chants. Robinson tried to clear the ring of chairs. Robinson hit the Left Hand of God on Tito and then speared him through a door set up in the corner. Jonah ended up setting up King on top of a ladder that was draped between the ring and the guardrail. He put him through the ladder with a splash off the top. Jonah got a sledgehammer and Finlay charged at him with a sheleighleigh. Jonah connected with the sledgehammer first. Jonah was going to destroy the sheleighleigh with his sledgehammer, but Robinson stopped him and hit him with the sledgehammer. He then hit Pulp Friction. Finlay followed up with the Acid Drop, but didn’t make the cover. Finlay then hit Jonah with the sheleighleigh twice, but he didn’t go down. He hit him a third time and it was good for the win.

WINNERS: Juice Robinson & Fit Finlay & Brody King at 24:11. (*½)

(Radican’s Analysis: The crowd just didn’t care at all about the story of the match, which was David Finlay getting justice for his family for Jonah’s attack on his brother Brogan Finlay. The production team was just not equipped to shoot the fighting in the crowd and this match dragged forever leading into the finish.)

The announcers mentioned this might be the last we see from Juice Robinson in a long time. Kelly and Rehwoldt tried to sell the match as something incredible and memorable, but it was really bad. Kelly said the U.S. of Jay Challenge was up next, but they had to pitch to some video packages.

(intermission)

Jay White came down to the ring. Jon Moxley was shown backstage. He said “Go get him, Shooter!” to someone off screen. It was Shota Umino. The announcers talked about how Umino and Moxley formed a bond when Umino was a young lion and Moxley first went to Japan.

(6) “SWITCHBLADE” JAY WHITE vs. “SHOOTER” SHOTA UMINO – U.S. of Jay Open Challenge match

Umino got into the ring and went right after White. Umino hit a slingshot DDT and got a nearfall. White turned the tide and hit a pair of big chops on Umino. White placed Umino up top and chopped him and he spilled to the floor. White ran Umino chest-first into the barricade on the floor. White got a high angle Boston Crab a short time later, but Umino got the ropes. White kept trying to pin White. He got a bunch of one counts and then a two count. The announcers said White was making Umino expend energy. White taunted Umino and Rehwoldt pointed out that White had shown respect to his previous open challenge opponents, but he was treating Umino like a young boy. Umino fired back and hit a fisherman suplex for a two count. Umino went for a pump-handlde suplex, which he’s been using as a finish in Rev Pro, but White got to the ropes.

White fired back and hit a big chop and a Blade Buster after the 10 minute mark for a two count. White lifted Umino into a big knee to the ribs. The ref checked on Umino, who struggled to get to his feet. White waited for Umino to get up and hit a shoulder tackle to his ribs. White yelled at Umino and called him an embarrassment. White slapped him on the head and told him to wake the f–k up. Umino glared at White and tried to get to his feet. Umino hit a forearm and sold his ribs. Umino fired up for a big shot, but White blocked it and hit his ribs again. He then hit a uranagi for a two count. White went for a sleeper suplex, but Umino blocked it. Umino eventually ducked a strike and hit a big slap to White’s face. Umino hit White with the pump-handle powerslam for a nearfall. The fans fired up as Umino stood over White. He went for a double underhook, but White drove him into the corner and Umino sold his ribs again. Umino blocked a Blade Runner and hit a dropkick. He hit a German for a nearfall as the 10 minute mark came and went. Umino hit a running neckbreaker for another nrearfall. The fans fired up as Umino screamed. Umino went for a double underhook, but White countered it into a Blade Runner for the win.

WINNER: Jay White at 15:45. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: They seemed to be setting up the story of White taking Umino too lightly and Umino eventually coming back to get the win. That being said, Umino put up a heck of a fight and gave White a run for his money before falling short in the end. The crowd seemed a little flat, but Umino is really good and will likely be a star on the New Japan main roster.)

White got the mic after the match, but he lifted it up to speak and then dropped it. Fantastic.

They went to a video package for the Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki match.

(7) TOMOHIRO ISHII vs. MINORU SUZUKI

They went right at it trading blows in the middle of the ring. They broke apart and then went right back to trading bombs. They traded counters and Suzuki went for a PK. Ishii ducked and they came to another stalemate and the fans applauded. The fans chanted “Both these guys.” Suzuki went after Ishii’s arm and grabbed an arm bar over the ropes. Both men got chairs and the crowd chanted let them fight. The ref relented and they had a chair battle. Suzuki got the upper hand and rolled into the ring and the fans applauded. Ishii tried to hit a forearm, but hurt himself in the process. He eventually caught Suzuki with a powerslam, but favored his arm after. They built up to a strike exchange and Suzuki forearmed Suzuki down to the ground and the fans fired up. Suzuki hit a PK and Ishii took it and got to his feet. Ishii blocked a kick and went for a German, but Suzuki sent him into the corner. Ishii hit a clothesline. They went back and forth, but neither man would go down. Both men began slapping each other in the face at the same time. They eventually both staggered backwards and fell into opposite corners and the fans got to their feet and applauded. WOW!

The fans chanted “Fight forever,” as both men struggled to get to their feet. They began trading again. Ishii hit left and right forearms, but Suzuki fired back with left and right slaps to the face and Ishii eventually went down! The fans applauded and Suzuki lifted Ishii to his feet and hit several headbutts. He then hit a big headbutt to the top of Ishii’s forehead. Suzuki hit a running kick to Ishii’s chest and he kicked out at one. Ishii got to his feet and Suzuki dropped him with one forearm. Suzuki set up for the GSP. Ishii kept kicking out of it and eventually got a backdrop. Ishii blocked an attack and launched himself right into Suzuki’s jaw with a headbutt. Ishii hit a clothesline and Suzuki didn’t go down. He hit another one and Suzuki got right up. Ishii hit a running clothesline and Suzuki kicked out at one! WOW! Ishii hit a sliding lariat and held on for the pin for a nearfall. Ishii tried to fire up a short time later and Suzuki dropped him with a forearm. He went for the GSP. Ishii tried to kick out of it again. He got out of it and hit several headbutts. Suzuki fired back with a headbutt and Ishii wiped him out with a clothesline. Ishii then hit the Vertical Drop Brainbuster for the win.

WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii at 18:46. (****¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: Ishii’s win ties the series at 3-3. It feels like these guys have wrestled each other 100 times, so I was surprised to find out those only wrestled in singles matches against each other six times. This was fantastic and lived up to the billing.)

After Suzuki left ringside. Music hit and I couldn’t make it out over the ovation from the fans. Eddie Kingston came down to the ring and got on the mic. He put Ishii over on the mic. Kingston said he lives, eats, and breathes The King’s Road. He said he wants Ishii on May 14 in Washington. Kevin Kelly said it was officially signed for May 14 in Washington, D.C. That’s going to be insane.

A video package aired for Will Ospreay vs. Jon Moxley.

Will Ospreay came out first. All of the members of The United Empire came out by his side on the stage. They hit The United Empire Hand signal. Ospreay went to the floor and waited for Jon Moxley to enter through the crowd. Moxley then made his entrance through the crowd.

(8) WILL OSPREAY vs. JON MOXLEY

Ospreay and Moxley went head-to-head in the crowd and began brawling. The announcers put Ospreay over for taking the fight to Moxley in his comfort zone on the floor. Moxley clotheslined Ospreay over the ring barrier to the ringside floor. They ended up inside the ring and the opening bell rang. Ospreay chopped Moxley off the top to the floor. He then went up top and nailed him with an insane twisting dive. Moxley sent Ospreay over the guardrail, but Ospreay fired a chair at his head a short time later and Moxley came up bleeding from the head. Ospreay ended up busted open as well. Ospreay hit an Os-Cutter on the apron. He set up Moxley on a table set up behind the guardrail. He went off the top and dropped an elbow on Moxley to put him through the table and the fans went nuts. Moxley ended up bleeding even more after the table spot. Ospreay hit a SSP off the top a short time later. Ospreay went for an Os-Cutter, but Moxley turned it into a Death Rider. Ospreay got right up and hit a Hidden Blade and both men were down. WOW!

The 15 minute mark came and went with both men trying to recover. They got to their knees and began trading blows. Moxley got the upper hand and hit a big clothesline, but Ospreay kicked out at one. Both men finally went for clotheslines at the same time and connected leaving them both down again. Moxley hit a piledriver, but Ospreay floated over a clothesline and hit a sit out powerbomb for a nearfall. That was crazy! Moxley went for a sleeper suplex, but Ospreay landed on his feet and hit a hook ick. He then hit an Os-Cutter for a nearfall. Ospreay hit several forearms to the back of Moxley’s head. He went for the Hidden Blade, but Moxley escaped and eventually hit a jumping footstomp on Ospreay’s head. Moxley made a big cover, but Ospreay kicked out at two and did the double bird to the crowd. The fans erupted as Moxley lifted Ospreay up. Moxley set up for Death Rider, but Ospreay blocked it and hit a hook kick. They went back and forth and Ospreay hit a Spanish Fly for a nearfall. Ospreay hit a big Hidden Blade, but Moxley kicked out at the last second. Moxley escaped a Storm Breaker and hit a Death RIder. He held on and hit another Death Rider. He made the cover and Ospreay kicked out, but it was just a fraction too late. Moxley sunk in a deep rear naked choke, but the ref told him that the pin counted.

WINNER: Jon Moxley at 21:24. (****½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a tremendous and violent match. It surpassed my expectations despite the disputed finish.They had some amazing exchanges down the stretch building to the finish.)

The United Empire went over to Kevin Kelly and said Ospreay had kicked out. Moxley was declared the winner. It appears they’re doing a disputed decision storyline with Ospreay. Ospreay tried to crawl over to Moxley, but United Empire held him back. Moxley walked by him and posed on the ropes.

After the match, Moxley said he respects Ospreay and put over his toughness. He said he would fight him anytime. He said that’s more than he can say for some people in NJPW. He said that’s more than he can say for some legends in NJPW. He then said that’s more than he can say for Hiroshi Tanahasi. Moxley said Tanahashi has been ducking him for four year. He said he tried to be patient and show respect, but he’s throwing that out the window. He said in Washington, D.C. He said this is his last chance to accept his challenge. He said they could either sign the contract and shake hands or he would go after Tanahshi and drag him to Washington, D.C. by his ponytail. Moxley said there’s a new ace in NJPW. Moxley then posed for the fans.

Moxley grabbed a camera and jawed at Tanahashi as blood dripped on the camera.

Overall score: (8.0) – The production on this show was minor league at times with ametuer graphics and poor directing at times. It seemed like the crew on hand just wasn’t equipped to capture the action in an acceptable manner, especially during the Chicago Street Fight.

We even got a low battery screen on one of the cameras during the main event. I haven’t seen that since it happened on an ROH DVD release more than 10 years ago. This looked more like an indie production than a major league wrestling company bringing a PPV to the U.S. at times. NJPW has to do better than this if they’re going to grow in the U.S. in terms of presentation.

That being said, outside of the Chicago Street Fight, this was a really good show for the most part with solid action up and down the card. The end of the show was strong with White vs. Umino, Ishii vs. Suzuki, and Moxley vs. Ospreay all being very good to excellent. Will Ospreay doing disputed finishes when taking losses is an interesting storyline to me. I’m not sure where they go with it other than he uses it as fuel to fire up his heel character. I can see the finish to this match being polarizing, but I’m willing to see where this angle goes with Ospreay and the match itself was fantastic. Fite cleaned up the replay, so I can give this a solid reccomendation, although my score would be higher if the production for this show had been better.

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

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