NJPW LONESTAR SHOOTOUT PPV REPORT (11/10) – Radican’s results & analysis of Moxley & Yuta vs. Finlay & Kenta, Sabre vs. Bailey, Takagi vs. Beretta

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist (X: @SR_Torch)


NOV. 10, 2023

Announcers: Veda Scott and Walker Stewart


(a) MATT VANDAGRIFF vs. BARRETT BROWN – Strong Survivor Pre-show match 

The announcers mentioned that Brown hasn’t been in NJPW for a year and a win would get him more booking on NJPW Strong events. On the other hand, Vangagriff is looking keep his position after winning the last Strong Survivor match two weeks ago at Fighting Spirit Unleashed. 

Brown hit a Bitter buster for a nearfall and sold disbelief after Vandagriff kicked out. Stewart says he wants a win to get future opportunities in NJPW. Vandagriff mounted a comeback and hit a 450 for the win. Vandagriff has secured a booking at Battle in the Valley in January. 

WINNER: Matt Vandagriff in 6:00. (**)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a nice showcase for both men.)


Lawlor is 2-1 against Rosser, but Rosser does hold a win over Lawlor for the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship. Both men traded strikes in the corner during the early going. Lawlor got the upper hand and took the fight to the floor where he tossed Rosser into the ringpost. The venue is really dark and poorly lit. The crowd is into it, but it’s hard to make anything out beyond the first couple rows of fans. Lawlor got a running start and ran around the ring before nailing Rosser with a kick. Rosser fired back right before the five minute mark and hit a dragon screw.

Both men began trading blows from their knees. Lawlor sent Rosser off the ropes and hit him with a dropkick. They went to the apron and traded blows. Rosser got Lawlor up on his shoulders, but Lawlor grabbed a guillotine. Lawlor slipped out and eventually tried to get Rosser on his shoulders, but Rosser nailed him with some elbows and backdropped him back into the ring. A short time later, Rosser dropped Lawlor back-first onto the apron.

Rosser tossed Lawlor back into the ring and hit him with several knee strikes. Rosser hit a gut check and a knee strike to the side of Lawlor’s head for a nearfall. Lawlor fought back and hit a shoulder to Rosser’s midsection in the corner right after the 10 minute mark of the match. Rosser powered up and hit a DVD for a nearfall. Rosser hit an emerald flowsion slam for another nearfall. Rosser got a STF variation with the left arm tapped, but Lawlor got to the bottom rope.

Lawlor crossed Rosser’s arms from behind and drove his knee into the back of Rosser’s head for a two count. He then grabbed an ankle lock. Lawlor dropped down and got a grapevine on Lawlor’s leg, but Rosser slipped out and got the modified STF, which he turned into a deep pinning combination on Lawlor’s shoulders for the win.

WINNER: Fred Rosser in 13:00. (***¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good hard-hitting back and forth match between these two rivals from NJPW’s Strong brand. It definitely looks like there’s more to come with Rosser pulling their series even at 2-2.)

After the match, Lawlor offered Rosser a handshake. Young hesitated, but then accepted. Both men slapped each other in the face and shook hands again. Lawlor then left Rosser alone in the ring.


– A video package opened the show running down the entire main card.


This is the first time Hechicero and Dorado have wrestled in a NJPW ring. Hechicero tried to work over Dorado’s arm, but he managed to get out of the hold quickly. Hechicero tried to go after Dorado’s leg. He escaped again, but this time Hechicero wiped him out with a shoulder tackle. They eventually tagged out and the fans fired up for Romero and Tiger Mask to enter the ring. Guerrero hit Tiger Mask from the apron to give Romero the upper hand and they booed.

Tiger sent Romero to the floor and nailed him with a suicide dive and the fans fired up. Hechicero and Guerrero entered the ring and went to work on Tiger’s legs and the fans booed. Romero then nailed him with a dropkick. Romero hit several forever clotheslines, but Tiger fired back and hit a Tiger Driver. The action broke down and the cameras missed Dorado hitting a double jump plancha to wipe out Hechicero on the floor.

Guerrero and Hechicero isolated Dorado inside the ring and the fans booed. Hechicero hit a big spinning backbreaker on Dorado for a nearfall and the action broke down once again with action on the floor and inside the ring. The finish saw Dorado get the better of Hechicero before finishing him off with a SSP off the top.

WINNERS: Atlantis & Tiger Mask & Mascara Dorado in 15:00. (***)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good high-energy opener. Dorado was the star of the match, but Guerrero and Hechicero did a good job of getting heat from the crowd.)

After the match, Romero held up his CMLL titles. Dorado went after him. He also went at it with Hechicero before they were pulled apart.

(2) JOEY JANELA vs. TORU YANO – No DQ match 

This is Janela’s NJPW debut. Janela jumped Yano during his introduction in the ring. Janela searched Yano and found several rolls of tape inside his trunks. Janela asked for No DQ and Yano sprayed something in Janela’s face. The ref then called for the bell. Yano had the upper hand and undid a turnbuckle pad. In fact, all four turnbuckle pads had been removed by this point in the match.

They brawled on the floor before getting back into the ring. They brawled around a pile of chairs set up in the middle of the ring. Yano eventually hit a belly to belly suplex on Janela into the chairs. Yano went for a Demon Killer Powerbomb into the chairs, but Janela used the ropes to pull himself away from Yano. Janela went for a PK right at the 5 minute mark, but Yano tripped him and he landed face-first.

Janela hit a superkick back inside of the ring and a piledriver in the chairs for a nearfall. Yano took control and hit the Demon Killer powerbomb through two chairs set up inside the ring for a nearfall. Yano set up Janela in the seated position in a chair. He then used some medical tape to tie Janela down to the chair. Yano turned his back and did his catch phrase, so Janela nailed him with a kick to the junk. The ref freed Janela and he hit a DVD onto the chair. Janela went up top and hit a double stomp into a chair on Yano’s chest off the top for another nearfall.

Janela used the tape to tie up Yano’s hands. The fans chanted for a red chair and Janela went to the floor and got it. Yano ducked the chairshot and Janela hit himself with the rebound off the top rope. Yano hit a headbutt to Janela’s groin and got him with a pinning combination for the win.

WINNER: Toru Yano in 9:00. (**¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: Janela made a good impression fighting his style of match against Yano. They didn’t do too much comedy here and the fans enjoyed the brawl for the most part from start to finish, although it did feel like it was missing something given how much cheating and weapons were used.)

-TJP was interviewed backstage. TJP said people don’t understand why he’s facing Mistico. He said this is personal with Mistico and CMLL. TJP said he would shake hands, but he wouldn’t kiss the ring. He said Mistico represents the crowned jewel of CMLL. TJP said he has a lot of respect for Lucha Libre and Mistico, but now this is personal.

(3) BULLET CLUB (Clark Connors & Alex Coughling & Gabe Kidd & Chase Owens) vs. HONTAI (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Kushida & Kevin Knight) 

The action broke down quickly as the announcers talked about World Tag League and how the teams haven’t been announced yet. They said tonight could have some bearing on who would get into the tournament. Owens got worked over for a short time, but he cut off Kushida and nailed him with a backbreaker. Bullet Club began tagging in and out and they targeted Kuishida’s back and rib area.

Kushida took a series of blows in the corner from multiple members of Bullet Club as the five minute mark passed. Kushida cut off Kidd with a lariat. Bullet Club swarmed him in the ring, but Kushida wiped them off with a double handspring elbow. Tonga got the tag and ran wild.

Tonga and Kidd went at it one-on-one for the first time. Tonga no-sold a whip into the corner and wiped him out with a clothesline. Tonga got on top of Kidd in the corner, but he tripped him head-first into the top of the turnbuckle padding. Knight made a blind tag and wiped out Connors and Kidd with a springboard double clothesline. Tonga and Knight worked together momentarily, but Owen’s tripped Tonga and dragged him to the floor. Owens hit the Jewel Heist on Loa. He went for it on Tonga, but he countered it and hit a Gun Stun.

The action broke down at the 10 minute mark. Knight went for a double DDT on Connors and Clark. They blocked it, but Kushida made the save. Knight went for a springboard, but Connors nailed him with a big spear. Clark and Connors then hit a tandem elevated DDT on Knight for the win.

WINNERS: Bullet Club in 11 minutes. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis; This was really good while it lasted and Knight showed his potential to be a player in the junior division for NJPW as well as a highly regarded Bullet Club adversary. The match felt like it was just getting going when Connors and Clark brought it to an abrupt end with a nice tandem high-angle DDT on Knight.)

-A video package aired for G.O.D. defending the Strong Openweight Tag Team Championship against the WCWC with highlights from WCWC making their challenge at Fighting Sprit Unleashed.

(4) G.O.D. (ELP & Hikuleo) vs. W.C.W.C. (Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs) – Strong Openweight Tag Team Championship match

Both teams began brawling as soon as G.O.D. got on the apron during their entrance. Hikuleo eventually double clotheslined WCWC over the top to the floor. He then assisted ELP in wiping them out with a dive off the top rope to the floor. Isaacs lifted up ELP in the suplex position and marched with him around ringside. Hikuleo tried to intervene, but Nelson wiped him out with a dive through the ropes. Isaacs then slammed ELP on top of Hikuleo. WCWC worked over ELP inside the ring for a long period of time.

At one point Nelson hit a back rake on ELP and then he flexed on top of him with Isaacs. ELP fired back and sent Nelson to the floor with a hurricanrana. He went for the tag, but Nelson dragged Hikuleo off the apron. ELP finally made the tag to Hikuleo, who ran wild. Hikuleo set up Isaacs for a chokeslam, but Isaacs slipped out. He went to the ropes only for Hikuleo to catch him with a clothesline for a two count. ELP and Hikuleo hit a running boot/TKO combination on Isaacs for a nearfall.

Isaacs blocked a Sudden Death Attempt. ELP accidentally hit Hikuleo with Sudden Death. WCWC worked over ELP. Isaacs hit a piledriver and Nelson dropped an elbow off the top. Nelson tried to block Hikuleo, but he shoved him into the ref. Nelson got the belt and Isaacs hit Hikuleo with a low blow. He then hit him with a belt shot. Nelson held up ELP for a belt shot, but he ducked and hit Isaacs. ELP then hit Nelson with Sudden Death for the win.

WINNERS: G.O.D. in 14:00 to retain the STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: The shenanigans with the belt shots at the end were a bit much, but this was a good back and forth match. WCWC would be more effective as babyfaces at this point. I don’t think fans really want to boo them, but they were definitely presented as heels here.)


TJP threw his jacket at Mistico and the ref called for the bell. Why call for the bell with TJP having an advantage. He sent Mistico to the floor and nailed him with a dive. The fans got behind Mistico with TJP in control. Mistico mounted a comeback and the pace picked up. He sent TJP to the floor and set up for a dive. He pulled up short, but then hit a plancha to wipe him out. It was hard to tell exactly what happened because the cameras missed part of the shot.

TJP blocked a kick through the ropes and locked in a submission around the ropes. TJP released the hold and began working over Mistico in the ring. TJP hit a Pentagon style arm breaker on Mistico and the fans gasped. TJP got a bow and arrow submission on Mistico, but he grabbed the bottom rope. Mistico fired back and walked the top rope before hitting an arm drag to send TJP to the outside. The fans fired up and Mistico wiped out TJP with a dive. Mistico hit a splash off the top and then a senton bomb a short time later for a two count.

TJP finally fired back and hit a tornado DDT and the fans were split. TJP went up top for the Mamba Splash, but Mistico caught him with an enzuguri. They battled up top and TJP tucked Mistico’s head in the corner and hit Will Ospreay’s kick. Mistico no-sold it and hit TJP with a superkick. He went up top for a moonsault, but TJP got his knees up. TJP charged at Mistico, who caught him with a powerslam for a nearfall. Mistico spun around TJP and landed a Fujiwara armbar for the submission win.

WINNER: Mistico in 12:00. (***¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: The crowd mostly sided with Mistico and fired up when he had the upper hand, but the pacing of the match was back and forth. Had Mistico been allowed to gain more momentum, the atmosphere would have been better.)

The announcers said it doesn’t look like the issue between Mistico and TJP is over. Mistico kissed the logo in the ring before leaving.

-A video package aired for the Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston vs. Satoshi Kojima match.

(6) EDDIE KINGSTON vs. SATOSHI KOJIMA – STRONG Openweight Championship match

The fans were hot for the start of the match. They fired up as both men traded chops. Kingston went for a backfist, but Kojima caught him with a shoulder tackle. Kingston bailed to the floor and favored his shoulder as Kojima flexed his pecs inside the ring. They went to the floor and brawled into a really dark spot before coming closer to ringside. Kingston got the upper hand and worked a headlock on Kojima inside the ring.

The announcers mentioned this was Kingston’s seventh defense in 100 days. Kojima fired back and hit his signature machine gun chops in the corner. Kingston no-sold Kojima’s signature corner attack and lit him up with chops in the corner before hitting an exploder. Kojima went up top a short time later, but Kingston punched him to the floor and favored his shoulder. They ended up on the apron and Kojima hit a DDT on Kingston. Kingston went after Kingston and tossed him back into the ring.

Kojima hit another DDT inside the ring and Kingston sold his shoulder. Kingston fired back and hit a Saito suplex and then a half and half. He made the cover, but Kojima kicked out at two. Kingston had a hard time making the cover due to the damage to his shoulder. They traded lariats at the same time in the middle of the ring and finally Kingston went down. Kojima hit a Koji Cutter, but Kingston kicked out at two.

Kingston blocked a lariat and hit three backfists, but Kojima shook them off and decked Kingston with a lariat and both men were down. Kojima hit a brainbuster, but Kingston didn’t even try to life his shoulder, but instead he put his foot over the bottom rope. The 10 minute mark passed and Kojima walked right into a big lariat. Kingston hit a northern lights bomb and Kojima kicked out. Kingston hit two more backfists and a northern lights bomb for the win.

WINNER: Eddie Kingston in 10:00. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a very good 10 minute match. Kingston sold his shoulder throughout and Kojima was a worthy challenger, but he felt just short in the end. Kingston plays the banged up fighting champion role very well.)

After the match, Gabe Kidd ran down and attacked Kingston from behind. He laid out Kingston with a belt shot and the fans booed. Scott said Kidd thinks that Kingston has been ducking him. The fans booed and Kidd got on the mic. Kidd said top guys always want to duck him until he hits them in the back of the head. Kidd asked when he would get his shot at Kington and he said it would be whenever the f–k he wants. He nailed Kingston with a piledriver. He said FInlay had told him to bring gold and bodies and he planned to bring both.

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good post-match segment to set up a future Kingston vs. Kidd match for the Strong Openweight Championship. The mic really couldn’t handle Kidd’s yelling very well, but he got his points across.)

-They went to an interview with Trent backstage. He said it had been four years since he left NJPW and he’s always wondering what it would have been like. Trent said he had no friends here. He said tonight he would show everyone exactly who he is.

Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta came out through the crowd and it was difficult to see them at first. They finally got a spotlight on them as they made their way through the crowd and down to the ring. The announcers ran down the issues between Finlay and Moxley heading into Wrestle Kingdom. Moxley and Wheeler got to ringside and they were jumped by Kenta and Finlay. 

(7) B.C.C. (Wheeler Yuta & Jon Moxley) vs. BULLET CLUB (David FInlay & Kenta) 

Bullet Club dominated the action on the floor. Moxley went down and Kenta and Finlay double teamed Yuta. They rolled Yuta into the ring and the ref called for the bell. Moxley worked over Kenta and hit a big piledriver while looking right at FInlay on the floor. Finlay didn’t try to make the save. Kenta fired back with some kicks. Moxley and Kenta traded kicks. Moxley eventually blocked a kick and got a sharp shooter. Finlay kicked him several times and Moxley let go. Wheeler wiped out FInlay. They went for a stuffed piledriver on Kenta, but Finlay tripped Moxley from the floor when he went up top. 

Bullet Club tok control and Finlay worked over Moxley with punches on the mat before biting away at his forehead. Moxley grabbed a choke on Finlay, but he drove him into his own corner and Kenta raked his eyes. Moxley tried to tag out a short time later, but Kenta dragge dYuta off the apron. Moxley finally tagged in Yuta, who hit a big crossbody on Finlay for a two count. \

Finlay eventually fired back and caught Yuta with a backbreaker over his knee. He then hit a dominator for a two count. Kenta went for a belt shot as Finlay distracted the ref, but Yuta hit the Yutalizer and both men were down. Yuta and Kenta tagged out. Finlay caught Moxley with an exploder, but Moxley got up and they went head-to-head before getting to their feet. Moxley hit a punch, but Finlay fired right back with a spear. Kenta got a two after hitting double stomp. Kenta and Moxley traded blows. Kenta wanted a GTS, but Moxley countered it and hit a Death Rider for the win. 

WINNERS: B.C.C. in 13:00. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a fun match that had two minutes of brawling before the time officially started for the match. They gave fans just enough interaction between Moxley and Finlay without giving away too much ahead of Wrestle Kingdom.)

Moxley locked eyes with Finlay before he went to the back with Kenta.


The fans chanted for both men before the bell rang. The match has a 15 minute time limit. Sabre charged at Bailey at the bell and walked right into a spinning kick from Bailey. Bailey took the action to the floor, but Sabre got the upper hand on the apron and worked his neck with a leg scissors submission. This is their first match since 2017. The announcers said it has been a little over six years since their last match. The fans chanted for both men. Sabre hit a kick to Bailey’s back, but it only fired him up. Bailey went for a springboard, but Sabre turned it into a jumping cross-arm breaker. Bailey struggled, but got to the ropes to break the submission.

Bailey fired back at the five minute call and hit a missile dropkick. The pace of this match has been crazy so far. Bailey and Sabre traded counters as they each went for kicks. Bailey finally flipped Sabre into a kick to the back. He then hit a PK. Bailey went for a moonsault knee SSP, but Sabre got his knees up. The fans chanted for both men as they traded kicks to the leg while in the seated position. They traded kicks at a faster pace and got to their feet. They did a sick Matrix evasion spot where Sabre ducked a kick, but the cameras didn’t show it at a great angle. Both men connected at the same time and were slow to get up.

The fans chanted this is awesome and Sabre stood on Bailey’s knees and lifted them before slamming them back into the ground. Sabre then grabbed a leg submission on the mat. Sabre began working over Bailey’s ankles and roses. He transitioned the hold and grabbed one of Bailey’s arms, but he got to the ropes as the 10 minute mark passed.

Sabre grabbed a heel hook and they ended up on the apron with Bailey using the ropes to pull him and Sabre there. Bailey tried to kick his way out of it, but Sabre cranked on the hold. Sabre hit kick after kick to Bailey’s chest, but Bailey got up and just shook them off. He then hit the moonsault knee press on the apron and the fans went nuts.

With three minutes left, Bailey tossed Sabre into the ring. Bailey missed one tornado kick, but connected on a second attempt. Bailey hit Ultimo Weapon off the top, but Sabre kicked out at the last second. WOW! Sabre blocked a kick and hit a Zach Driver for a nearfall and the fans went nuts again. The fans chanted fight forever as they traded pinning combinations. Sabre got a European Clutch for a really good nearfall. They announced there was one minute left and Bailey hit the moonsault double knee strike to Sabre’s back. Bailey went for a tornado kick, but Sabre blocked it. Sabre tied up Bailey and began kicking away at his head. He then began snapping Bailey’s fingers and he kicked out right before the time limit expired. Scott said he had broken Bailey’s pinky.

WINNER: Zack Sabre Jr. in 14:55 to retain the NJPW World TV Championship. (****¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was excellent from start to finish. Bailey took the fight to Sabre with his unique brand of offense, but Sabre had a counter later and managed to tap Bailey out right before the time limit expired.)

The fans chanted Speedball once Sabre left the ring and he was helped to the back.

-A video package aired for the IWGP Women’s Championship match

(9) MAYU IWATANI vs. STEPHANIE VAQUER – IWGP Women’s Championship 

The announcers mentioned Vaquer’s goal was to hold both the CMLL World Women’s Championship and the IWGP Women’s Championship. Vaquer took control and grabbed a head scissor. She rolled it over and drove Iwatani’s head into the mat several times before making the cover for a two count. Iwatanit fired back and sent Vaquer to the floor with a running dropkick. Iwatani went for a dive, but Vaquer caught her with a kick.

She then hit a crossbody off the ropes for a two count. Iwatani caught Vaquer with a dragon suplex, but she rolled to the floor. Iwatani set up once again for a dive and this time she connected and the fans gasped.

Iwatani went up top and hit a frog splash for a two count. She went up top again for a moonsault, but Vaquer caught her with a triangle when she landed. Iwatani fought for the ropes with her legs and got to the bottom rope with her foot. They went back and forth and Vaquer took a slap, but responded by absolutely launching Iwatani with a release German. WOW!

The 10 minute mark passed and Iwatani hit a crucifix driver for a two count. Vaquer fired up on her knees, but Iwatani nailed her with a buzzsaw kick for a two count. Iwatani hit a tombstone and went up top. The fans fired up. Vaquer visibly had to drag herself into position as Iwatani came down and connected with a moonsault for the win.

WINNER: Mayu Iwatani in 11:00 to retain the IWGP Women’s Championship. (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis; This was a really good showing for Vaquer against a big name like Iwatani. She more than held her own and looked really good at times, especially the spot where she no-sold a slap and launched Iwatani across the ring with a release German. The crowd got into this match as it went on and provided a good atmosphere.)</em

-A video package aired for the NEVER Openweight Champion Shingo Takagi vs. Trent Beretta main event.

(10) SHINGO TAKAGI vs. TRENT BERETTA – NEVER Openweight Championship match 

Trent took down Takagi during the early going and hit a low superkick. Takagi fired back and hit some strikes before decking him with a clothesline. He then sent Beretta to the floor and the fans fired up. They went to the floor and Takagi avoided a charge from Trent and he went flying into the guardrail.

Takagi took Beretta to the mat and worked a bodyscissors submission. Trent tried to fire back, but Shingo staggered him with a jab to the jaw. Takagi charged at Trent, who was on the apron, but he caught Shingo with a slingshot spear and the fans fired up. Beretta hit a dudebuster DDT and Takagi rolled to the floor. Trent went up to the second turnbuckle on the outside and hit a moonsault to the floor. Trent went to the outside and to grab a table, but it was tethered to the guardrail. He finally managed to free the table in time to jam it right in Shingo’s face.

Beretta tossed the table into the ring after the 10 minute mark was announced at ringside.The ref went down and before trent sent Takagi through a table set up in the corner with a DVD. Takagi got a piece of a table and he nailed Beretta with it several times. Takagi took a piece of table to the outside and nailed Beretta with it. Beretta came up bleeding before Shingo drove him into the ringpost.

Takagi worked over Trent’s cut back inside the ring. Beretta began to fire up and got to his feet. Beretta ducked a clothesline and hit a series of German’s on Takagi. Takagi broke free, but Trent hit a half and half suplex.They traded blouses and Takagi hit a DDT right before the 15 minute mark and both men were down. Trent was still bleeding from his head and Takagi nailed him with a Gory special. He then suplexed Trent right into the turnbuckle pad in the corner.

They battled up top and Shingo tried to get Trent over his shoulders. He set up for Last of the Dragon off the top and connected. Takagi crawled over to trent to make the cover, but he kicked out at the last second. Takagi went for Made in Japan, but Trent countered. TRakagi hit a sliding lariat and waited for Trent to get up. He hit a Pumping Bomber and then Made in Japan, but Trent kicked out.

The 20 minute mark came and went. Takagi hit several clotheslines, but Trent wouldn’t go down. He suddenly got Takagi in position and nailed the Dudebuster for a nearfall. They got to their feet a short time later and began trading blows. Trent took a big punch and used the ropes to hold himself up. They began trading again and Takagi hit several short headbutts. Trent hit a backslide and lifted Takagi into a Gotch Style Piledriver for a good nearfall. The fans applauded after Takagi kicked out.

Trent went for another Dudebuster, but Takagi turned it into a nasty powerbomb that looked stiff as hell with Trent appearing to land on his neck for a nearfall. Takagi ducked an enzuguri and hit a sliding forearm to Trent’s head. Takagi grabbed a bodyscissors and trapped his arm while cranking on his neck. Beret struggled and appeared to fade. He fired up and barely got to the ropes right before the 25 minute mark.

Trent went for a slingshot spear, but Shingo caught him and hit a final cut. He then hit Last of the Dragon for the win.

WINNER: Shingo Takagi in 26:00 to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship. (***3/4)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a very good main event. It started slowly and dragged at times, but there were some really good nearfalls late to get the fans to buy into Beretta possibly winning the match. Beretta sold well in this match bleeding from the head and mounting comeback after comeback. The spot at the end where it looked like he was going to have to tap out to Takagi only to grab the ropes was nicely executed.)

Takagi got on the mic after the match and told Trent he wanted a No DQ match next time they wrestled. He asked Trent to come back and the fans chanted for Trent. Takagi mentioned he had lived in Texas previously was his hometown. He asked who was next to challenge him for the NEVER Openweight Championship. He continued to ask for his next challenger to come out.

Nobody came out and Shingo promised to come back to the U.S. He concluded his promo in what sounded like Japanese. The G.O.D. tron played and Tama Tonga, who Shingo beat at Fighting Spirit Unleashed 13 days ago for the title came down to the ring.

Tonga said he wanted a challenger and since he asked nicely so now he’s got one. He said the loss had been eating at him since he lost. Tonga said they both want the rematch and so do the fans. One fan yelled out for it to take place at Wrestle Kingdom. Takagi got on the mic and said the match would take place on Jan. 4 in Japan at The Tokyo Dome. Tonga nodded at Takagi and left the ring.

Someone threw a cowboy hat into the ring and Shingo put it on and waved to the crowd to conclude the show.

Overall thoughts: The production wasn’t very good for this show. A lot of times the cameras were off the mark for key shots during the match. The hard camera seemed to sway from side to side and go out of focus briefly at times as well.

That being said, there were a lot of good matches on this show between the three and four star range. The last three matches on the show were all very good to excellent, especially the Sabre vs. Bailey match, which stole the show.

The main event between Trent and Takagi was better than I expected, as Trent proved to be a worthy challenger despite not having the resume to back up his challenge since he hadn’t been in NJPW since AEW launched.

It was a nice surprise to have a Wrestle Kingdom match finalized after the main event with Tama Tonga coming out to challenge Takagi after he lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to him 13 days ago at Fighting Spirit Unleashed. I’ll have more to say in the post-show roundtable for PWTorch VIP members this weekend.

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

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