The New Beginning in Osaka, February 11th:
TAKA Michinoku defeated Henare
Not much to report here. This was a very basic veteran vs young lion match. Henare looked okay, but this was very one sided as TAKA took him to school. The finish saw TAKA tie the youngster up and pin him.
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Yoshitatsu & KUSHIDA
This was a solid tag match. Tenzan & Kojima as the experienced teamed controlled a lot of the match. KUSHIDA looked very good against the heavyweights. Kojima picked up the win after a lariat on Tatsu. After the match Kojima offered his hand to Tatsu, but he slapped it away and they began brawling. The story here is Tatsu’s frustration and Kevin Kelly put over that he has some soul searching to do. He’s supposed to be heading to CMLL soon, so that could be the start of something with him. He certainly needs a major change.
Juice Robinson, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Yuji Nagata defeated Jado, Gedo, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
CHAOS controlled Liger for a while before Juice got the hot tag and brought lots of fire and intensity to the match. There was some decent back and forth action at the end. Tiger & Liger took out YOSHI & Gedo with dives as Juice finished Jado with Pulp Friction. Juice looks to be heading for another shot at the NEVER Openweight title after getting a win over Goto in an elimination match at Korakuen Hall last week.
Kevin Kelly mentioned that Adam Cole will defend the ROH title against YOSHI-HASHI at Honor Rising.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi & Minoru Suzuki defeated Rocky Romero, Beretta & Kazuchika Okada
Suzuki-Gun jumped the CHAOS team before the bell and had control from there. At one point Suzuki had both members of RPG Vice in leg bars and laughed while he did it. Okada finally got into the match and had a good exchange with Suzuki. Romero went crazy with clotheslines on Kanemaru & Taichi. Taichi low blowed Romero & Kanemaru hit a satellite DDT for a great near fall. They followed up as Taichi hit a Last Ride and Kanemaru finished Romero with a diving DDT. Kanemaru & El Desperado (who was off this show with the flu) will likely be next in line for an IWGP Jr Tag title shot. Suzuki has teased that he is not done with Okada either.
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship
SANADA, BUSHI & EVIL defeated Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi
This was a good match with yet another title change as LIJ start their second reign as champions. Taguchi was worked over and ass attacked his way free. Tanahashi was the recipient of the hot tag. At one point the babyface team had three submissions on LIJ, but SANADA grabbed the ref to get free. Taguchi against went crazy with hip attacks and Nakanishi got a great near fall on SANADA with a diving cross body. BUSHI then misted Nakanishi and SANADA made him submit to the Skull End.
Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship
Katsuyori Shibata defeated Will Ospreay
What an incredible match this was. This was absolutely superb. Ospreay put in an amazing performance and showed his versatility yet again by hanging with Shibata in his style of match. Ospreay sold Shibata’s already deadly strikes like death. Ospreay was able to get flurry’s offence when he took to the air. There was an awesome twist on the German suplex trade spot that have become a staple of Shibata matches. Ospreay flipped out, went for a handspring kick, but was caught in a trapped leg German from Shibata. On the floor, Ospreay kicked Shibata and sandwiched his head against the ring post. Ospreay then had to scramble to get Shibata back into the ring, knowing that he couldn’t win the title by count out. Ospreay was able to hit many stiff strikes of his own. Shibata survived an imploding 450 Splash. The finish saw Shibata catch Ospreay in a sleeper as he went for the OsCutter. He then hit a sleeper suplex, while still holding on, which was a scary looking move and then finished Ospreay with the PK. After the match Shibata shook Ospreays hand. This was absolutely great.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii defeated Davey Boy Smith Jr & Takashi Iizuka and Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
This started out with a brawl on the ramp. Iizuka was the wild card here and brought lots of wildness to the match. Makabe got into the match at one stage and took out everyone with lariats. He and Honma tried to down Yano with lots of double team. Smith might have the most beautiful looking offence in pro wrestling. He is the excellence of execution his uncle once was. His bridging butterfly suplex looks amazing. Iizuka took out Makabe & Ishii with the iron fingers. He then missed Yano and hit Smith. This allowed Yano to low blow both Suzuki-Gun men and roll up Smith to retain the titles.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship
Hiromu Takahashi defeated Dragon Lee
This was a car crash. Total insanity from start to finish. Takahashi is getting close to being a 2017 version of Sabu with Darby Allin the only other guy that comes close. Dragon Lee took two of the craziest bumps I’ve ever seen. He took a flip bump off the top to the floor, landing flat on his back with nothing breaking his fall. The second saw him take a full force powerbomb onto the apron and then eat a senton off the top from Hiromu. Lee came close to a win with a cross face and a Dragon Driver. Takahashi hit two nasty versions of a destroyer, both for big near falls. The finish saw Takahashi hit the Time Bomb to retain the title. This was yet another spectacle between these guys in what has become somewhat of a classic rivalry.
After the match Ryusuke Taguchi stepped up and challenged Takahashi to a title match. We will likely see Taguchi bring out his serious side for that one, so it should be great. Takahashi tried to jump him, but Taguchi was able to trap him and make him tap to an ankle lock.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Tetsuya Naito defeated Michael Elgin
This was an outstanding main event. Like any great New Japan main event, it built and built into a blistering finishing stretch. Early on Elgin caught Naito mid suicide dive and held him in a vertical suplex, which was stunning. Naito went after the knee of Elgin. Elgin would keep fighting back with power moves and stiff strikes. He hit two lariats on Naito that would have made Stan Hansen proud. Naito hit multiple versions of Destino, all from different positions, all resulting in amazing near falls. The biggest one came when he countered out of a Burning Hammer to hit one. Elgin got some great near falls and just kept coming at Naito with hard shots. He hit an apron powerbomb and a buckle Bomb into the guardrail, which was frightening looking. Naito kicked out of the Elgin Bomb in the near fall of the match and battled his way free of another Elgin Bomb by going after the orbital bone injury to once again hit Destino and finish the match. An incredible main event that was even better than their last meeting.
This show is now available at njpwworld.com. Steve Corino left big shoes to fill, but Don Callis did a great job in his first few shows alongside Kevin Kelly.