A month removed from Wrestle Kingdom, NJPW has been building up the next big show which has been New Beginning but did the show live up to the build for it and what were the results of these matches. Well that’s what I am here to discuss.
Jyushin Thunder Liger, Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs TAKA Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka and Minoru Suzuki opened the card in what was basically a pretty standard match for the legends and one of Iizuka’s last.
The story told was mostly about Iizuka and Tenzan reigniting a bit of their old rivalry after in years past Iizuka had betrayed Tenzan. The match was relatively slow paced as it would be with a bunch of older wrestlers and after some wrestling that really wasn’t bad or overly great we got a DQ finish when Iizuka hit Tenzan with a chair and proceeded to beat him down with it post match before hitting him with the Iron Claw. This would be one of Iizuka’s last matches before his scheduled retirement on February 21st.
Overall I would give this match a C-
The second match was Evil and Sanada the current IWGP heavyweight champion vs Ayato Yoshida and Shota Umino.
Being a match between the two current champions vs two young lions there wasn’t much in terms of thinking an upset could happen but the match was decent, Evil dominated both young lions most of the match but once Sanada got tagged in the Young Lions actually got their chance to show what they are made of. Both young lions showed a lot of great intensity and energy, both could certainly be decent for NJPW’s future but for tonight they lost to Evil and Sanada from the magic Killer and Sanada pinning Umino.
Overall I’d give this match a C+
The third match on this card was another tag match this time being the IWGP JR Tag Champions Shingo Takagi and Bushi along with IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito faced El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Taichi.
In typical Suzuki Gun fashion Taichi, Kanemaru and Desperado attacked their opponents before the match had even gotten a chance to start. Naito was the most over person in this match and did actually get a fair amount of a beat down early in the match before tagging out to Bushi, once Shingo got in he seemed to start to be a bit of a star really showing that he could be a future main eventer in NJPW once he becomes a heavyweight again. The match ended rather quickly when Naito hit Kanemaru with the Destino.
Overall I’d give this match a C+
After this match Roppongi 3K would attack Shingo and Bushi challenging them to a future IWGP JR Tag Team Title match, this match could be decent as both teams are very good at what they do so there’s hype for a future match now.
The fourth and probably weakest match on the card was Yoshi-Hashi and Tomoaki Honma vs Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi.
This match was pretty slow paced whenever Honma was tagged in which was fairly often and even when it picked up pace when Yoshi-Hashi came in it didn’t take long for it to slow down again. There’s not much more to say about this match as it was relatively short and not that interesting, eventually Owens hit Honma with a package piledriver for the victory.
Overall I’d give this match a D
After this match Kota Ibushi made his first appearance since Wrestle Kingdom to announce that he was going to stay with NJPW and was entering the New Japan Cup next month. Already giving some exciting people in the show with Ibushi alone.
The fifth match on the card was Toru Yano and Togi Makabe vs The Guerrillas of Destiny.
G.O.D would attack Yano and Makabe during their entrance and would dominate this match for a long time and almost win by countout. Eventually Yano got to do some of the classic comedy spots he is known for but that didn’t help his team get the victory as he was hit with the gun stun giving Tama Tonga the pin and G.O.D the match.
Overall I’d give this match a C, it was standard there was nothing special but nothing bad about it.
The sixth match and first of the main matches on the card was Ryosuke Taguchi vs Taichi Ishimori for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Taguchi came out in an attire that was mocking an early career gimmick for Ishimori and would eventually do a dance mocking him as well, Ishimori would one up him and eventually do the same dance in the ring. From here the match had a good Face and Heel pacing giving Taguchi a lot of spots where he got some good offence but Ishimori dominated much of the match, at points they really teased Taguchi actually winning the match and indeed he got close on a few occasions but he would eventually fall to Ishimori’s bloody cross in the best match of the night so far.
Overall I’d give this match a B, best match Taguchi has done in a while.
The seventh match and Co-Main Event of the card was Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale.
Coming into this match Fale and Okada had been three for three against each other so this was their rubber match to see who would get the edge in this series. In one of the Fale’s better matches they worked a lot around Chase Owens and Takahashi attacking Okada to try and give Fale the edge, Okada would work much of the early match trying to get a bodyslam on Fale and once he eventually did it would pop the crowd. After this Okada was starting to get more offence and the match was becoming more back and forth, eventually the referee was knocked down accidentally by Okada allowing Owens and Takahashi to beat down on Okada until Yoshi-Hashi made the save. But this didn’t help Okada much as he was hit by a grenade, Okada would kick out of this and he would eventually bounce back and hit Fale with the rainmaker for the win and the edge in their series.
I’d give this match a B+
The final match was Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White for the IWGP Heavyweight championship.
This match would be Tanahashi’s first defence of his record 8th title reign. But this was White’s first title match so he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. In typical Tanahashi match fashion the match started off relatively slow and White would start to work Tanahashi’s leg. White would get a long run of offence once he started doing this, Tanahashi would bounce back and he would work White’s leg as well and work around trying to hit White with a slingblade but White was always avoiding it. The two would go back and forth for a while really teasing hitting their finishes, Tanahashi would almost make White tap to a cloverleaf and hit White with a Styles Clash. White would kick out and eventually finally get him with not one but two slingblades, once he hit those he went for a aces high but White was able to catch him and hit him with a Blade Runner and get the victory winning him the IWGP title for the first time in his career. Tanahashi lost in his first defense and White was the first person from New Zealand to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and first to win the major championship in a major company which is definitely history making in its own way.
Overall I’d give this match an A- it was very entertaining and the pay off was good.
This whole card I’d give a B, it didn’t have the best start but that isn’t uncommon with NJPW they like to build up the main card and the matches before can often be a filler undercard but they were at least decent on this show so much of it was all around a good show and something I’d watch again especially for the last 3 matches.