Good morning, and we are back!
It’s February 2nd, and New Beginning, the first big card of post-Kingdom year is here. This eventu, as last year, takes place in Sapporo, a city on the northern island Hokkaido. Tonight, Tanahashi & Okada team up to face Bullet Club’s team of Jay White & Bad Luck Fale.
1. Ren Narita vs Yuya Uemura
In a kickass fiinish Narita hit Uemura off the ropes with a Northern Lights belly-to-belly. Looked like murder. Narita, IMO, is much better than Uemura, in fact, better than Young Lions, except for Umino.
2. Manabu Nakanishi & Toa Henare vs Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
After dishing out a headbutt to Umino’s chest Henare showed what real spear is supposed to look like a long-distance carry of an opponent from mid-ring to corner, rather than a short turnbuckle sack. This, however, only got him a two-count, and he had to deliver a chokeslam to win. Henare and Yoshida nearly come to blows afterwards.
3. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tiger Mask vs Takashi Iizuka & TAKA Michinoku
As Tenzan went to the top rope to pin TAKA, Iizuka nailed him in the back with a chai. Tiger Mask got hit with a chair to the midsection next, and then TAKA brought out the claw for Iizuka to get another hit on Tenzan. Suzuki-Gun loses by DQ. Tenzan suggested Iizuka become his serious former self one more time before retirement and team with him, but Iizuka just rushed the ring and attacked Tenzan.
4. Taiji Ishimori, Guerillas of Destiny, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi (with Jado) vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, Yoshi-Hashi & Tomoaki Honma
Ishimori vs Taguchi for the Junior title is being set up here. For whatever reason, Tama Tonga spent the match playing “good guy”, trying to hug everyone and prevent his team from cheating. At first I thought it was a stunt for this match, but by the end I wasn’t sure I didn’t miss something. For the finish, Makabe lariated Yujiro into Yano’s roll-up. After the match Makabe, Yano & Taguchi posed with their NEVER Openweight 6-Man belts. Also, not sure why, but the announcers made a big deal out of it.
5. Tetsuya Naito, Bushi & Shinga Takagi vs Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (with Miho Abe)
When Naito did his Tranquilo, Taichi did the same thing. At some point Bushi went on a roll, but with all six men in the ring, Taichi nailed him with a big boot to the head. Desperado then did a spinning backbreaker into Kanemaru’s dropkick. Taichi hit a power bomb, but only got a 2, and hit a belly to back variation for a pin, as Desperado locked Naito in an armlock and made him watch. Suzuki-Gun took off Bushi’s mask and Abe wore it for a bit.
6. Minoru Suzuki vs Sanada
When Suzuki took off his hood, it revealed a mohawk. If you don’t know why this is a huge deal, I don’t recall him having normal hair this century, and yes, for Minoru,mohawk would be considered normal hair. After an incredible string of chain wrestling, Suzuki won with a Gotch-style piledriver. EXCELLENT.
7. EVIL vs Zack Sabre Jr (with TAKA Michinoku)
As you would expect, lots of great chainwrestling, but, in a surprise, by both wrestlers. EVIL nailed a bunch of lariats at the end, while ZSJ kept trying for pins with backflip cradles. Eventually, ZSJ went out of a power bomb to electric chair, but after a failed cradle, got STO’ed for the pin. That’s a surprise. EXCELLENT
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White & Bad Luck Fale (with Gedo)
Tanahashi and Okada came out sporting the other’s most recent hair color, under Hiroshi’s music. The pairings were definitely Tanahashi-White and Okada-Fale. In the end, Tanahashi tried to Dragon Screw Fale’s right leg, but couldn’t, and Okada then grabbed Fale’s left leg and applied the move. Ace and Switchblade were left in the ring by themselves, and the champ tried to run the ropes, only to get tripped by Gedo. This allowed White to hit an STO and a German Suplex, but Tanahashi kicked out at the last second. White then pulled him to the center of the rig and started to setup Blade Runner, but Okada entered and booted White in the face. Fale came in, double axehandled Okada and got ready to bring him down, but Tanahashi pushed the Rainmaker out of the way and hit the Sling Blade. White chopped Tanahashi and got ready to run the ropes, but Okada pulled Tanahashi out of the way and nailed a beautiful dropkick. Okada then Tombstoned White, and without letting go, gave him to Hiroshi for a Styles Clash. Okada hit flying elbow on lying White. Tanahashi went up top for a High Fly Flow, but Gedo got on the apron. Tanahashi noticed this, and stopped, allowing Fale to punch him in the solar plexus. He hit a Rocket Launcher, but Okada dove at him from the rope. Fale caught Okada by the throat, heart pucned him and clotheslined Tanahashi. He went for a Choke Lariat Slam, but was too tired to cover, so he stomped the champ instead and put his boot on top of him. White stumbled over and hit a Death Valley Driver. This allowed him to finally set up a Blade Runner, but Tanahashi turned it into a swinging neckbreaker. Fale tried to attack, but got the same fate. Gedo tried to get into the ring and Red Shoes as the result, didn’t see White grab a chair. Tanahashi stood up and White swung, but was Sling Bladed. Fale ran in and got sent to Suplex Shiti! Gedo finally ran in and got knocked the fuck out with one slap, but this allowed White to chairshot Tanahashi’s knee from behind. Whtie reverse figure four’ed the injured knee, as Fale held Okada, and Red Sheos asked the injured Hiroshi if he wants to ‘Give up’? But Okada sent Fale into the guardrail. Shortly, Okada got rid of his opponent, but then was grabbed by Gedo, and Fale splashed him and then hit a Razor’s Edge. But Tanahashi still wouldn’t give, as his prone partner lay across the ring from him. Eventually he gave up, giving Bullet Club the victory. MUST SEE. On paper, giving that the singles matches between these four are coming, the finale was obvious, but they certainly made everyone question that time and time and time and time again. This whole sequence took place over about five-ten minutes. After the match White trash talked till Tanahashi charged the ring. Fale then held him as White left the champ fallen.
After the show Tanahashi said the new reverse figure four legbar is called TTO for Tanahashi Tapped Out.