NJPW finishes up their Wrestling Dontaku tour this morning with their second straight event taking place in Fukuoka.
Kazuchika Okada will defend the IWGP Heavyweight title against SANADA in the main event. The two faced each other in the New Japan Cup finals, and although SANADA put on a hell of a showing, came up short. Getting another shot at the title could be all the incentive needed to pull off a major upset.
Tomohiro Ishii will take on EVIL in the co-main event. The two have been feuding with one another all tour, exchanging blows every time they enter the ring against one another. This time, there will be no limits as to what they can do.
A tag match that will take place in the undercard will reveal the final entry in this year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. A Bullet Club member, they will team with Taiji Ishimori to take on the team of Dragon Lee and Will Ospreay.
Join us this morning at 2 a.m. EST for live coverage. There will be English commentary.
Ren Narita and Shota Umino defeated Yuya Uemura and Yota Tsuji
Very good, basic opener, par the usual for these four. Uemura was worked on until he made the tag to Tsuji, who did a comeback. With Narita’s help, Umino dropped Tsuji with a missile dropkick then pinned Tsuji with a perfect plex.
Narita stomped on Uemura after the match, continuing to build a young lion feud between the two.
It was announced that the blocks for this year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament will be revealed on Tuesday.
Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Desperado, Taka Michinoku defeated Jeff Cobb, YOSHI-HASHI, Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi and Toa Henare
Suzuki-gun actually did not attack their opponents before the bell, maybe a first in I don’t know how long. Regardless, it did not take long for it to devolve into a brawl as Suzuki-gun took it to the outside, with Suzuki blasting YOSHI-HASHI with a chair.
It eventually became the patterned tag team match that’s on every New Japan card. After Toa Henare made a comeback against Taichi, he cut him off and pinned him clean with a superkick. That felt kinda flat.
Togi Makabe, Toru Yano and Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Jado
Bullet Club as well took no time to take things outside of the ring. Tama Tonga focused on Liger, who was also attacked by Jado, who is now wearing a shirt saying “So what, I don’t care”. This ended up being another pretty good tag team match.
At one point, Jado took his cane to attack Yano but Makabe cut him off. Yano used the confusion to low blow Jado and roll him up for the win.
The announcers mentioned it was the Bullet Club’s fourth loss this tour.
Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma and Mikey Nicholls defeated Jay White, Chase Owens, Hikuleo
White, Owens and Hikuleo worked on Honma for a good while until Goto made the tag, laying everyone out with suplexes. After a confrontation with Hikuleo, Juice is tagged in as he and Nicholls go after Hikuleo.
Hikuleo grabs him for a chokeslam but Juice blocks it as he and Nicholls hit an assisted suplex. Juice finishes off Hikuleo with a big left then pins him with the pulp friction, handing Bullet Club another loss.
They aired the same video from last night, featuring the words “Time’s Up”. Whoever it is, they will be revealed at the Best of the Super Junior finals on June 5.
‘X’ was revealed to be El Phantasmo, the newest member of the Bullet Club.
El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori defeated Dragon Lee and Will Ospreay
The announcers are playing it up as if Ospreay is shocked that El Phantasmo is part of the Bullet Club. He shoves Ospreay at the bell, spitting on his hand and chopping him. He then rope walked around the ring, springboarded off the middle rope back to the top and laid out Ospreay with a hurricanrana.
Lee and Ishimori came in with some stiff shots as ELP tagged in. The other three participants ended up on the outside of the ring. ELP again rope walked around the top rope, went to where they were at and launched with a giant Asai moonsault.
Ospreay tried to fight back in the ring but ELP blocked the Oscutter and pinned Ospreay with a no hands Gotch piledriver. This was the best showcase possible for ELP and the match did a great job of making him look special.
Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi and BUSHI defeated Kota Ibushi, SHO and YOH
Everyone had stories here — YOH paired off with BUSHI, SHO paired off with Takagi and of course Natio and Ibushi. SHO and Takagi have great chemistry with one another and the crowd got really into it whenever they were in the ring.
Naito blasted Ibushi with a hurricanrana off the top rope and followed with a big boot. Naito tried Gloria, but Ibushi blocked it. Naito hit it the second time, with Ibushi landing right on the back of his neck. He’s gonna break it someday and I don’t know if he cares or not.
YOH is tagged in as he lands a Falcon Arrow on Naito. He lands a superkick, but Takagi comes in with a lariat. BUSHI took out SHO on the outside and Takagi held Ibushi back as Naito landed the Destino on YOH for the win. Great tag team match.
Naito took the mic after the match. The story is Naito has yet to name a time or place for the eventual IC title match. He officially laid out the challenge for June 9 at Dominion. He asked Ibushi if he accepted the challenge. Ibushi came back to the ring and accepted, so that match seems to be official.
Hiroshi Tanahashi came to the ring. He’s been gone most of this tour due to an elbow injury. He said his cast had just come off yesterday and was sad he couldn’t wrestle on this tour. He mentioned how this time last year he ended up winning the G1 and won the IWGP title at WrestleKingdom, but now he’s lost all of his momentum and is at his lowest.
He confirmed that he will be back on June 5 at the Best of the Super Junior finals and will look to reclaim the IWGP Heavyweight title again.
Jay White entered the ring with Gedo. He said the line starts with him and he deserves to be in the back of the line, even behind Goto. Gedo distracted him momentarily which allowed Jay White to jump him and attack the elbow. He grabbed a chair and wrapped Tanahashi’s arm in the chair and looked to destroy it with another chair, but was stopped. He told Tanahashi that he was next.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated EVIL
This was about what you would expect: a really awesome back and forth match, easily the best match of the tour so far. The story of EVIL trying to submit Ishii with the Scorpion Deathlock was a nice touch too.
They immediately went after each other with shots. EVIL was the first to hesitate but quickly took back control on the outside, throwing Ishii into the barricade. Ishii literally bounced off the ringpost, making a nasty sound.
EVIL took him down and worked on his legs, but both wind up exchanging chops again, this time with EVIL getting the better of things. He goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Ishii blocks it. He fights back, going for a superplex. EVIL tries to fight it off, but ISHII headbutts him and lays him out on the floor.
On the outside, Ishii tries to suplex EVIL into the barricade, but EVIL counters by draping Ishii on the barricade and laying him out with a neckbreaker. Back in the ring, EVIL does what Ishii did to him earlier by laying him out with a big superplex. EVIL finally gets in the Scorpion Deathlock, which he has been using on this tour to taunt Ishii, but Ishii makes it to the ropes.
EVIL goes for a lariat, but Ishii responds with one of his own then applies the Scorpion Deathlock, the move his mentor Riki Choshu made famous. EVIL manages to make it to the ropes as well. The two go crazy, with EVIL hitting a giant German suplex and a lariat, then a second lariat, but to no avail.
At one point, both men hit lariats but stumble to the ground, dazed. They get back up and start countering again until EVIL connects with a half nelson suplex. Ishii connects with an enziguri and connects with another lariat but EVIL kicks out. A brainbuster finally keeps him down.
Kazuchika Okada defeated SANADA to retain the IWGP Heavyweight title
This was a great NJPW main event. It started out real slow, to the point where you knew they were going long, but it did build well and by the end turned out to be a great match. I kind of expected more for the finish, but this was all well done.
They start things off pretty slowly, spending the first five minutes just grappling. Okada gets the advantage and holds him down. It seems based on the pacing they’re going to go for quite a while.
SANADA gets the advantage at the ten minute mark and after working on Okada’s leg, puts Okada in the paradise lock. On the outside, Okada sends SANADA over the barricade with a boot then hits a giant flying crossbody to the inside of the crowd.
Back in the ring, SANADA leapfrogs over Okada, sends him to the floor and connects with a big crossbody. Back in the ring, they exchange some good near falls. SANADA goes for a bridge, but Okada kicks out and grabs SANADA for the Cobra clutch. SANADA escapes and hits a tiger suplex, but misses the moonsault.
Okada hits the dropkick and goes for the rainmaker, but SANADA escapes and puts Okada in the cold skull. Okada resists, so he shifts his weight and applies the hold on the other arm. Okada tries to get to the ropes, but can’t. SANADA lets go and hits the moonsault once, but Okada gets the knees up after a second is attempted.
The two exchange strikes until SANADA goes for the cold skull again, but SANADA transitions for the tombstone. SANADA counters it and tries one of his own, but Okada reverses again only for SANADA to counter with the cold skull again. SANADA avoids the rainmaker twice then hits one of his own for a near fall.
SANADA goes for the cold skull again, but Okada counters and hits the twisting tombstone, then lays out SANADA with the rainmaker for the win at the 38 minute mark.
Okada extends his hand after the match. SANADA says one more, then fist bumps Okada as he makes his exit. After posing with the sponsors, he cuts a promo. He mentioned the changing of the eras in Japan, saying he will be the one to change the wrestling scene in the Reiwa era and he’s got plenty more to do.
He said he was going to make it rain when all of a sudden, the lights go dark. None other than Chris Jericho appears on the screen, calling himself the painmaker. At June 9 at Dominion, he challenges for the IWGP Heavyweight title and he’s going to win, win win. Okada says lets do it, saying that he will be the one who will win.