Three title matches headline the second night of New Beginning action in Sapporo.
The main event is a Intercontinental title bout pitting champion Tetsuya Naito against challenger Taichi. The feud has been building throughout the last couple of tours, with Taichi even scoring a pinfall victory over Naito. It’s entirely possible he could stun the world tonight and walk away as the new Intercontinental champion.
Both of New Japan’s tag team titles are on the line. EVIL and SANADA will look to retain the heavyweight tag titles as they defend against Zack Sabre Jr. and Minoru Suzuki. After two singles matches that gave victories to EVIL and Minoru Suzuki, tonight looks to be the rubber match.
The Junior tag team titles will also be on the line, as champions BUSHI and Shingo Takagi face former champions Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
Join us for live coverage starting at 1 a.m. EST. There will be English commentary.
Toa Henare defeated Yota Tsuji
A good back and forth opener. Tsuji’s coming along well and looked just fine against the more experienced Henare. Tsuji him off at one point with a dropkick and applied a Boston crab. Henare escaped, waffled Tsuji with a lariat then pinned him following the uranage.
Manabu Nakanishi and Tiger Mask defeated Ayato Yoshida and Shota Umino.
Pretty standard, but another well worked match. Yoshida and Umino were fun to watch when they made their comeback. Yoshida escaped a knee submission by Tiger Mask and blocked a tiger bomb, but Tiger Mask hit it the second time around only for Umino to break it up.
Nakanishi took care of Umino on the outside as Tiger Mask hit a butterfly suplex off the top rope for the win.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Ren Narita defeated Takashi Iizuka and Taka Michinoku by DQ
Tenzan got on the mic before the match asking Iizuka to shake his hand. This follows the story from yesterday where Tenzan said he would like to team with Iizuka again. Iizuka responded by jumping Tenzan as he took him into the crowd and started to beat him up with chairs.
They brawled until Taka took off Iizuka’s mask and started to bite everyone. Tenzan made the hot tag. He was cut off as Iizuka went to use the iron fingers of death. Narita came in and made the save for his team as Tenzan went for the moonsault but Taka slid the iron fingers to Iizuka then used them on Tenzan for the DQ. Not a good match and a terrible finish, but I guess there’s a story here.
Iizuka teased he was going to say something by getting a microphone, but instead used it to choke and hang Tenzan on the ropes.
Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma and Toru Yano defeated Guerillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori and Yujiro Takahashi
Story of the match had Tama Tonga, who insists he is now “The Good Guy”, refusing to do any cheating or even wrestling for that matter, constantly tagging out. He even admonished Jado when he tried to interfere at one point with the kendo stick.
Heels had control of the match for the most part until Makabe was tagged in, and was mostly good action from here. Taguchi and Ishimori had a good sprint, a preview for their match later this month.
Jay White, Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens defeated Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI
This worked much like the previous match, minus the Tama Tonga reluctance. Heels worked over the babyfaces until Okada was tagged in, who tried to give Fale the tombstone at one point but it didn’t work out for him.
White and YOSHI-HASHI were tagged in, then YH made the tag to Tanahashi who took care of White. YH was tagged back in and hit a lariat and hit karma but White kicked out. YH went to the top rope for the swanton but White got the knees up.
White followed with a sleeper suplex and motioned for the bladerunner but saw Tanahashi struggling to enter the ring. He then locked in his new submission, a reverse figure four talled the Tanahashi Tap Out (TTO). Good match, the last few minutes were white hot and the finish was great.
Tanahashi went after White following the match then slapped Gedo. White targeted the leg then hit the Bladerunner on Tanahashi. He’s starting to really get it as a heel, great mannerisms and presence.
Shingo Takagi and BUSHI defeated El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru to retain the IWGP Jr. tag team titles
Things started slowly, with all four working at a steady pace. Kanemaru took BUSHI and threw him into the guardrail for heat. Shingo was favoring his leg as Kanemaru took it apart with a guardrail.
Shingo made a comeback in the ring until Desperado landed a spear, then worked on his leg some more. BUSHI and Desperado were in as they did some decent back and forth before tagging in their partners, where Kanemaru worked on Shingo’s knee. Kanemaru used the referee as a distraction to hit the satellite DDT and a moonsault, but Shingo kicked out.
Shingo blocked a deep impact DDT with a northern lights suplex, then went for the last of the dragon. Kanemaru blocked it, but Shingo laid him out then hit the pumping bomber. Desperado dragged the referee out of the ring just in the nick of time.
EVIL and SANADA defeated Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. to retain the IWGP tag team titles
Suzuki and Sabre didn’t wait for the introductions to finish, opting to brawl the minute they entered the ring. Suzuki took out SANADA to the floor. SANADA escaped to the ring and worked over Sabre as the two wrestled. Suzuki meanwhile recovered and beat up EVIL on the outside, with Sabre soon following him.
Suzuki ended up working over SANADA in the ring, wrenching in an armbar. Both heels worked on him until EVIL got the hot tag, taking on Sabre. SANADA was tagged back in, with Suzuki taking advantage until he missed a charge in the corner. They go for the magic killer, but Sabre breaks it up.
Both men end up being trapped in submissions as Suzuki wrapped himself on SANADA’s leg. SANADA escapes, but pays by being laid out with two penalty kicks. LIJ eventually managed to life, making both of Suzuki-gun out with the darkness falls and the TKO.
SANADA sinks in the dragon sleeper as he motions for the skull end, but Suzuki transitions to the gotch piledriver. EVIL comes in to break things up as they connect with the magic killer. SANADA then hit Suzuki with the moonsault for the win. A good match, but finish came out of nowhere just as it was starting to heat up.
As Naito was making his way to the ring for the main event, Iizuka jumped him from behind with a ladder, choking him until he laid everyone else out. This took several minutes, so I guess the rest of LIJ went home. Taichi then hit the black mephisto (air raid clash) on the ramp as trainers and other personnel checked on Naito’s condition.
Taichi took a microphone in the ring and told everyone to go home because the match was over. Trainers and other staff carried Naito off backstage. The show ceased to a halt at this point. Taichi just wandered around the ringside area for several minutes, telling people to go home. At one point, he got into a brief confrontation between he and Makabe, who was at ringside.
The trainer and NJPW chairman Sugibayashi were contemplating what to do until Tetsuya Naito alongside BUSHI (who apparently just stood around backstage as his friend was being destroyed) dragged himself to the ring and insisted he would do the match. The bell rang.
Tetsuya Naito defeated Taichi to retain the IWGP Intercontinental title
Naito tried to get some offense in, but quickly tired himself out. Taichi was in control for most of the early portion of the match, save for a one-legged dropkick. Naito went for his corner combination, but Taichi took him out with a clothesline.
Taichi set up a table on the outside as he went to the apron and grabbed Naito, looking to send him through the table with a black mephisto. Naito instead countered and struck Taichi with a big piledriver through the table.
Despite being laid out, Taichi managed to continue working over Naito, laying him out with a clothesline. But Naito starts mounting a comeback, hitting the satellite DDT. He was going for Destino when Takashi Iizuka came back out, this time with a chair.
Naito laid him out but the distraction was long enough for Taichi to grab the belt. Naito went back into the ring and dodged the belt shot. Instead of using the belt, he grabbed the microphone and laid out Taichi with it. Taichi begged him not to do it again, but Naito did so anyway. He went to strike him a third time, but Taichi grabbed a chair and struck him with it.
Taichi waffled Naito with a chair shot right on top of his head in a sickening display as Red Shoes (who was laid out sometime during the Iizuka run in) came back in. Taichi hit a Saito suplex and went for the black mephisto, but Naito countered with a spike hurricanrana. Taichi cut him off and hit a superkick, but Naito shoved the referee, low blowed Taich then hit the Destino…but Taichi kicked out.
Naito went for another, but Taichi blocked him and tried for the black mephisto again. Naito instead hit a reverse rana and a big brainbuster, then a second Destino for the win. You know what? Despite the very long and weird segment before this match, it did add to the drama and this ended up being a pretty good main event with great heat.
The show closed with all of Naito’s friends who did nothing as he was being pulverized coming together for the roll call and the salute. The last three matches were the highlight of the show, and there was some good build toward the final New Beginning show on 2/11.