New Japan celebrates its 46th anniversary with a big show that features Heavyweight champion Okada squaring off against fellow Chaos member and Jr. Champ Will Ospreay in the Main event.
Match 1 – Ren Narita, Shota Umino, Tetsuhiro Yagi, Tomoyuki Oka & Yuji Nagata vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask
Nagata leads the lions against the vets in a fun opening match. Obviously the lions mostly gets schooled and beat around but they have their own little moments like sequential running corner attacks and managing to lock two boston crabs in simultaneously. Despite the efforts though KUSHIDA gets the win with a cross armbreaker.
Winners: KUSHIDA’s Team (via cross armbreaker) **3/4
Match 2 – Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Toa Henare
I admittedly skipped through this match, mainly due to time constraints, seemed pretty good though.
Winners: Goto’ team (via GTR) NR
Match 3 – IWGP Jr. Title Match: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (c) vs. LiJ (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Good 3 way tag match. At first Suzuki-gun just let 3K & LiJ fight at it before eventually getting involved, with them and Lij battering about 3K. This then leads into a fun finishing stretch where BUSHI spits mists in SHO’s face but Kanemaru and Despy take him and Hiromu out of the picture allowing Despy to take adavnatage and get SHO in a modified pinning clutch to get the 3 count and win the titles. Feel like 3K should have had a lengthy title reign, not fussed on this hot potatoing.
Winners: Suzuki-gun (via pinning clutch) ***1/4
Match 4 – YOSHI-HASHI vs. SANADA
This was a really good match that kept getting better as it went on. They had straight up back and forth contest with some very nice countters that was really enjoyable. In the end it came down to the battle of the submissions, YOSHI-HASHI gets SANADA locked in a butterfly lock for a lengthy amount of time and looks like he was gonna get it, but SANADA managed to get out and lock in the Skull End for a lengthy period before loosing it go and hitting a moonsault to get the victory. Been really enjoying Yoshi and Sanada so far this, thought they both did really well for just a simple singles match with very little stakes.
Winner: SANADA (via Moonsault) ***3/4
Match 5 – Taichi vs. Tetsuya Naito
Re-match from Takataichimania as Taichi makes his big step-up to the heavyweight to division and I think heavyweight Taichi may well be the one we’ve been waiting for all this time as this was great and even better than their previous match. Taichi was busting out some heavy offense and at times emulating his mentor Kawada with some of it, though he still of course utilised some of his dirty tactics which is what leads to his downfall in the match. As despite being much more rough and ready, in the end he reverts back to trying to use his mic and instead gets it broke over his head by Naito and hit with a Destino to keep him down for a 3 count. Really enjoyed this a lot and if Taichi can keep this up, then he could be onto a good year.
Winner: Naito (via Destino) ****
Match 6 – IWGP Intercontinental Title MaTogi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki
Another really good match with stiff elbows and slaps aplenty. Suzuki also targets Makabe’s leg at points, but rough old Makabe ain’t going down to no hold instead it’s a Gotch Style piledriver that takes him out for the pinfall. Suzuki’s the kind of opponent Makabe works best with as they can really get physical with each other, did seem to have a couple stumbly bits but mostly it was very well done enjoyable contest.
Winner: Suzuki (via Gotch-Style Pildriver) ****
Main Event – Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
This was a great little main event as you’d expect from these two, although the lack of real stakes did detain some of my investment. Still they both worked really well together and produced some good sequences and counters that was all was very fun to watch.
Winner: Okada (via Rainmaker) ****
This was a very entertaining anniversary show overall, nothing super fantastic or MOTY worthy but the last 4 matches certainly delivered pretty big. Taichi/Naito was definitely my favourite and makes me hope for more good stuff from Taichi, but we’ll see since it is still early days for his heavweight run.
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