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NJPW ‘The New Beginning in Sapporo’ Review- Night 2

We continue with our coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s New Beginning events. This is everything that went down on Night Two.

Fast-Count Results

Toa Henare defeated Yota Tsuji @ 8:13 via pin

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi & Tiger Mask defeated Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, & Yuya Uemura@ 9:50 via pin

El Phantasmo defeated Gabriel Kidd @ 9:00 via pin

CHAOS defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon @ 9:45 via submission

Jon Moxley, SHO, YOH, & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & DOUKI @ 13:30 via submission

CHAOS def Bullet Club @ 15:30 via submission

Zack Sabre Jr. def. Will Ospreay to retain the British Heavyweight Championship via referee stoppage. (27:04)

Kazuchika Okada defeated Taichi @ 30:48 via pin


Rundown

Toe Henare vs Yota Tsuji

Night one saw these two up and comers shine in their six-man match, but tonight they got the chance to take things a little further. Henare maintained dominance throughout most of the match, and Tsuji tried unsuccessfully to apply his Boston Crab finisher a number of times. However, Young Lions are the punching bags of the NJPW world, so a few heavy strikes later and Tsuji was at the mercy of Henare. He hit his finisher, the Toa Bottom, for the three count. An easy win.

Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tiger Mask IV vs. Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Yuya Uemura

Another one of Manabu Nakanishi’s retirement bouts, and the last match of his in the Hokkaido prefecture. Given that most of the performers in this match are on the upper end of the age spectrum, it was a slow burner from the get-go. Nakanishi played his role as the hard-hitting fridge who rarely falls off his feet, but it was Tiger Mask who turned this match from forgettable to enjoyable. He added some much needed fast-paced action to the bout, with Young Lion Yuya Uemuradoing his best to keep up. While Uemera came out the match looking good, Tiger finished him off with a perfect Tiger Suplex for the win.

El Phantasmo vs. Gabriel Kidd

Last time I saw Gabriel Kidd was about four years ago on the British indies. Back then, he had a much different image, but now he has a real generic, create-a-wrestler look about him. Regardless, this wasn’t a straightforward Young Lion vsestablished wrestler match. Kidd got in some interesting moves and forced ELP to use heel tactics to escape his offense. Japanese commentary made mention of Kidd not being your average Young Lion because he already had five years’ experience wrestling in England, but his issue was that he had to adapt to Japanese style. Kidd managed to hit a nice Boston Crab near the finish, but ELP picked up the win after hitting a top rope splash. After the match, ELP put the exclamation point by hitting Kidd with a CR2

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Robbie Eagles) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, EVIL & BUSHI)

Although Shingo, EVIL and BUSHI are the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Champs, the titles were not on the line in this match. This same match will be taking place again at the Road To New Beginning show on February 6th, where the titles will be up for grabs.

Evil and Ishii kicked the match off, picking up from where they finished last night. Shingo got the tag, leading to a brutal sequence between Shingo and Ishii. Japanese commentary made a call back to their incredible G1 Climax match in the summer; a match which we knew would be good but actually ended up being one of the best of the entire tournament.

The match quickly degenerated into a brawl for all on the outside of the ring while Eagles and Bushi displayed their athleticism in the ring. Eagles locked Bushi in the Ron Miller Special while Goto and Ishii caught their opponents from last night and performed tandem ushigoroshis. Bushi then tapped to Eagles, giving CHAOS some momentum going into their title match in four days.

Jon Moxley, SHO, YOH, & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & DOUKI

Suzuki wasted no time in meeting Moxley in the middle of the crowd during his entrance, then proceeded to spend half the match brawling on the outside. Meanwhile, the rest of the competitors continued in the ring, with Moxley and Suzuki eventually joining them. However, for the entirety of the match, Moxley and Suzuki only fought each other, culminating in a comedy spot where they both kicked Ryusuke Taguchi out the way so they could continue slapping each other.

Their brawling overshadowed everything else in the match, including the finish when DOUKI tapped out to Taguchi’s ankle lock. I was curious to see Moxley interacting with SHO and YOH, but unfortunately it didn’t really happen. Regardless, this match did all it could to hype up Moxley vsSuzuki on the 9th in Osaka. Judging by the crowd reaction, it might be the most anticipated match on the card.

CHAOS (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. Bullet Club (KENTA, Jay White & Taiji Ishimori)

The energy in this match was high the moment the bell rang. KENTA made a beeline straight for Naito while Hiromucleaned house in the ring. All six competitors began brawling amongst the crowd before things settled in the ring. Hiromutook a lengthy beatdown before getting the hot tag to Naito who tore into KENTA with a series of vicious forearms. They then gave us an extensive preview of what we’re going to see in their singles match on the 9th.

SANADA and Jay took over in the ring. Gedo tried to interfere as he had done last night, but SANADA anticipated it and dropkicked Gedo off the apron. Jay and SANADA followed with some very impressive sequences before Jay tagged to Ishimori. SANADA was too much for Ishimori who quickly locked in the Skull End, causing Ishimori to tap out.

While this match was a hype match for Naito and KENTA, it lacked the no-nonsense intensity of Moxley vs Suzuki. After the bell rang, Naito taunted KENTA with the IWGP Heavyweight and IC Championships.

Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Will Ospreay for the Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship

A video package did a fantastic job of explaining the extensive rivalry between these two Brits. ZSJ made a point of saying that Ospreay had never beaten him in singles competition, and Ospreay claimed that he’d already achieved accolades higher than the Rev Pro British Championship, but needed to capture the belt for completion purposes.

There was a subtle story at play here. Unlike most Ospreaymatches, this one started off very slowly, and it became clear that Ospreay was trying to match ZSJ’s grounded technical style in order to overcome him. However, ZSJ continually got the upper hand, so Ospreay reverted to his athletic style. ZSJ began working Ospreay’s neck while Ospreay worked ZSJ’s knee, but neither managed to gain a real advantage over the other.

With every highflying move, it seemed that ZSJ had a submission to counter it. Ospreay finally managed to hit a flying forearm to pick up the advantage, soon followed by an Oscutter. However, ZSJ rolled out the ring to safety. Ospreayhit his aerial moves to the outside and the momentum shifted in his favor. Back in the ring, Ospreay went for the Stormbreaker, but ZSJ smoothly transitioned it into a cobra twist. Ospreay passed out, causing referee stoppage.

This match brought out a different version of Ospreay. It was refreshing to see him wrestle a slightly different style. While it wasn’t enough to put ZSJ down, there’s no chance we haven’t seen the last of these two.

Okada vs. Taichi

Not only is Okada coming off his crushing loss at the Tokyo Dome last month, he’s also coming off a horrific beating from Taichi last night. Commentary note that Okada is struggling for direction and that this is Okada’s first match on his path to redemption.

Taichi jumps Okada before the bell rings and the two take their match amongst the crowd. Okada hits a high risk dive over the barricade, letting everyone know that he’s willing to go the distance to redeem himself (unlike he did when he went crazy and started wearing pants in 2018). Taichi played the heel role greatly throughout the match, taunting Okada and using underhanded tactics to gain the advantage, even pulling Miho Abe in the way to block Okada’s cross body.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru (who had been on Japanese commentary) appeared and distracted the referee while Taichiattacked Okada with a steel chair. But Okada didn’t give in and fought against the odds. In the final few minutes of the match, things escalated rapidly. Taichi pulled out a pay-per-view worthy performance with a number of reversals, but Okada finally hit the tombstone followed by the Rainmaker for the win.

For those who doubted Tachi’s ability to put on a main event performance (of which I was one), this match will prove you wrong. More so, he didn’t rely on Okada to carry him.