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NJPW New Beginning in Nagoya
January 30, 2021
Live from Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Our English hosts are Kevin Kelly and El Phantasmo.
Bullet Club (Yujihiro Takahashi and EVIL, with Dick Togo) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Toru Yano)
Okada is chasing a singles match against EVIL, which is one way to spend your time if you're not in the title picture. Okada quickly knocks EVIL into Yujiro and hits a DDT. Okada goes after Togo, and plays the war drums on his back with Yano. EVIL grabs the ref's ankle to allow Bullet Club interference, and then goes after Okada's back. Desperation big boot by Okada and hot tag to Yano, who goes right for the turnbuckle padding. Yujiro cuts Yano off with a Fisherman buster. Bullet Club swarms Yano, and Yujiro clocks him with a stick, but Okada saves the match. Yano grabs the stick and Togo fights him for it. Yano takes advantage of the, um, chaos, (no pun intended) and low blows Yujiro and rolls him up at 7:45. Cute opener, **.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and SANADA) vs. IWGP Heavyweight/Intercontinental Champion Kota Ibushi, Master Wato, SHO, and Tomoaki Honma
Wato and Bushi start with a quick leap frog sequence, resulting in an ugly backbreaker by Wato. Honma tags in but Naito clips him from behind. LIJ clear the ring and isolate Honma. Ibushi gets the hot tag and runs wild through SANADA, hitting a moonsault for 2. SANADA answers with a rana and slingshot plancha to ringside. Ibushi hits a desperation rana, and SHO tags in to collide with rival, Hiromu. SHO hits a leg sweep and then dropkicks Hiromu off the apron. Spear by SHO, but Hiromu blocks a suplex, so they slug it out. Sitout powerbomb by Hiromu, and tag to Bushi. Naito helps swarm SHO, and Bushi hits a lungblower for 2. Honma interferes and catches Naito with a leaping headbutt. Match breaks down, and Wato kicks Bushi in the head to set up SHO's Power Breaker for a great nearfall. SHO hits Shock Arrow on Bushi to win at 11:33. Fine little house show style match and solid build for some appealing title matches, **½.
Winners: SHO, Kota Ibushi, Master Wato, and Tomoaki Honma
Great-O-Khan vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
The loser may no longer use the Mongolian Chop. O-Khan meets Tenzan in the aisle, which backfires when the veteran smashes him into the ring frame. Tenzan directs the fight into the ring and unleashes some Mongolian chops while he still can. O-Khan repeatedly chops the back of the neck and applies a nerve hold. O-Khan works over the neck while El Phantasmo cracks about Tenzan being a part of the nWo. Tenzan comes back with a roundhouse kick and chops O-Khan to ringside. Tenzan hits a diving knee to the back of the head and then a diving Mongolian Chop. Suplex by Tenzan gets 2, but O-Khan answers with The Stroke. They trade Mongolian Chops, which is more amusing than anything. Tenzan locks on the Anaconda Vice, and then a Uranage for 2. Tenzan misses a moonsault, but he manages a tight headbutt. O-Khan blocks a piledriver and serves a bicycle kick for 2. O-Khan hits a series of Mongolian Chops and steals Tenzan's piledriver for a great nearfall. O-Khan nails the Dominator to win at 13:36. Despite the silly stipulation, this turned into a pretty good match, ***.
Will Ospreay vs. Satoshi Kojima
The brawl spills right to ringside. Ospreay hits a cookie sheet to the head, but Kojima answers with a backdrop onto a trash can. Back to the ring, Ospreay's running boots have little effect, and Kojima knocks him down, but then misses a plancha. Ospreay nails a running shoulder block off the apron. Ospreay hits a ladder to the forehead and then bridges it for a kick into Kojima's midsection. Back to the ring, Ospreay works over Kojima's gut. Ospreay looks for a curb stomp into a chair but instead takes a hip toss through it! Kojima lights Ospreay up with rapid chops and then hits a chair assisted elbow drop. Ospreay answers with a slick back handspring somersault dropkick. Ospreay sets up a tiny table on the floor, but can't hit a suplex, so he settles for a springboard elbow. Ospreay swings a guitar, but Kojima nails a DDT. Kojima smashes the guitar over Ospreay's stupid head. Kojima props a tiny table in the corner and hits a cutter. Ospreay counters with a powerbomb through the table! Oscutter gets only 2. Ospreay sets up 4 standing chairs, but Kojima knocks him off the top rope through the bridged ladder. Kojima refuses to win by count-out and hauls Ospreay back for a brainbuster onto some chairs for only 2. Ospreay superkicks the arm, but Kojima blocks the Oscutter. Ospreay punches a chair into Kojima's skull, hits a knockout chop, and then Stormbreaker ends it at 17:05. Highly entertaining stunt show, the 50-something year old vets are really killing it tonight, ***¾.
Winner: Will Ospreay
NEVER Openweight Championship:
Shingo Takagi © vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
They feel each other out with some good chain wrestling. Shingo blocks a hip toss, but Tanahashi sneakily goes for a head scissors and they reach a stalemate. Shingo fights dirty in the corner, prompting Tanahashi to go to work on his knee. Tanahashi applies a modified Indian deathlock, which Phantasmo dryly coins as the “groin pusher.” Shingo escapes and hits a clothesline over the ropes before collapsing. Tanahashi takes a hard Irish whip into the barricade, fireman's carry slam onto the apron, and a DDT onto the floor. Shingo does an admirable job selling his knee while serving a beatdown. Tanahashi saves himself with desperation dragon screw leg sweeps. Somersault senton by Tanahashi gets 2. Shingo can't hit a DVD on the apron and Tanahashi sends him crashing with a dropkick to the knee. High Fly Flow to ringside! Tanahashi follows with a dragon screw in the ropes, but Shingo responds with a twisting neckbreaker. Tanahashi doesn't like getting kicked in the face and dropkicks the bad knee again. Shingo doesn't like getting kicked either, and chop blocks the leg to create a fresh target. Tanahashi absorbs a vicious beating, but blocks Made in Japan and hits more leg sweeps. Shingo's selling has convinced me that he's crippled, and Tanahashi puts him into a cloverleaf. Shingo survives, so Tanahashi hits a High Fly Flow, but Shingo dodges a second attempt! Shingo hits a desperation wheelbarrow suplex into the buckles! Dragon suplex by Shingo and then a disgusting Made in Japan, but TANAHASHI KICKS OUT! Trio of spinning neckbreakers by Tanahashi, and a straight jacket German for only 2! Sling Blade by Tanahashi but Shingo sloppily blocks High Fly Flow into a DVD. Both guys take a breather as the crowd applauds. Match restarts with Shingo going for a Dragon Sleeper, and then a neckbreaker in the ropes. Running lariat by Shingo gets 2. They trade exhausted forearm shots and stereo headbutts. Dragon SUplex by Tanahashi and Sling Blade only gets 1! DVD by Shingo gets 1! Tanahashi reverses Last of the Dragon into a Sling Blade! High Fly Flow and Dragon Suplex, but SHINGO KICKS OUT! Tanahashi hits yet another High Fly Flow and wins at 35:40! This was an epic in every sense of the word, even if they abandoned what had been an intricately told story of working over injured legs in the final act, ****¼.
Winner and new NEVER Openweight Champion: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Final Thoughts: Just an overwhelming pleasant show to sit through on a cold night in January. Thumbs Up.
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