Hi, and welcome to the coverage of the New Japan Pro Wrestling New Beginning tour. This here is the first of two nights in Sapporo as we have two big lad fights and the small matter of Pirate King Moxley teaming with the Rainmaker Kazuchika Okada to take on Holy Emperor Taichi and king of pro-wrestling Minoru Suzuki. Let’s get into it…
Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) def. Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura // Submission (Ishimori – LeBell Lock on Uemura) There was no tension here but it was fun watching the former Jr Tag Champs play with their food and Uemura showed decent fire.
Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & Toa Henare def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi & Yota Tsuji // Pinfall (Henare – Toa Bottom on Tsuji) Classic Dads n’ Lads stuff, nothing great but nothing offensive.
CHAOS (SHO, YOH & Will Ospreay) & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & DOUKI) // Pinfall (Taguchi – Dodon on DOUKI) Standard Suzuki-Gun vs CHAOS vibes. Ospreay and Sabre Jr are working hard to make this match matter.
Robbie Eagles & Ryu Lee def. Los Ingobernables de Jápon (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) // Submission (Eagles – Ron Miller Special on BUSHI) Good sprint, very fun, much slaps, would recommend.
Bullet Club (KENTA & Jay White) def. Los Ingobernables de Jápon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) // Pinfall (White – Schoolboy on SANADA) I have no opinions on this because I shoot fell asleep the minute Jay White appeared.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) vs Jon Moxley & Kazuchika Okada
I assume there were bits of this match that were involving Okada and Taichi, I’m sure they were fine but frankly, this wasn’t really a tag match, this was two singles previews going on at the same time and only one involved a mad f*cking pirate from Ohio taking on the scariest Grandad in Japan. I am very excited for these two to go at it because I can’t wait to see what madness they produce or if it just ends with them both kicking Henare to death then crushing a crate of Sapporo Yebisu. The one thing to worry about is if this ends up becoming much like Ishii vs EVIL and Shingo vs Hirooki and descends into a strike battle as quite frankly, Moxly can not make his look as impactful as engaged Suzuki. Either way, I can’t wait to watch these two drag each other to hell and to see whether Moxley continues to slowly turn into a Metal Gear Solid character. Suzuki got the pinfall off a Gotch-Style Piledriver.
Tomohiro Ishii vs EVIL
Frankly, who watches NJPW and doesn’t love a good beef fight? Just the simplest form of booking is to take one large person, put another large person opposite and let them find out how much tar the other contains by beating it out of them. I can’t say this was a slam dunk because it did go a good 5-6 minutes too long, leaving what was a hot finishing streak feeling somewhat elongated. But quite frankly, this saw the most underrated singles competitor in New Japan take on Ishii who when he’s on form, is very good indeed and here, he was indeed on form. It was somewhat heartbreaking knowing that EVIL is 0-8 to see him go 0-9 as I love that big ol’ goth hoss. Someday Gedo will realise he is the one to push, not SANADA. For now, I’ll just be glad I got to watch this instead of having to sit through SANADA-Jay White next week. Ishii got the pinfall off a brainbuster.
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii
NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto (c)
(Hi everyone, Joe here. So it’s late and I couldn’t be bothered to write four paragraphs. As a result here’s a guest review for this match by Alex Richards. I did like it, I’m just lazy)
Winner: Shingo NEW CHAMPION
A solid show, it really took until the Jr heavyweight tag match to get going but with the continued teases of the madness that will be Suzuki vs Moxley and a pair of premium beef slices at the top of the card, this was a good, fun watch.
All images courtesy of NJPW1972.com