New Japan Pro-Wrestling returned to Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium on Saturday, their first time in the building since the Great Muta battled Atsushi Onita in a No Ropes Explosive Barbed Wire Land Mine Death Match in 1999.
The outdoor arena was packed with as many fans as current social distancing regulations in Japan would allow, and the New Japan talent pulled out all the stops to put on an excellent sub-three-hour professional wrestling event; one that saw the crowning of several new champions.
The biggest piece of news is that Los Ingobernables de Japon leader Tetsuya Naito is once again the double IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Champion.
Naito defeated turncoat EVIL in a rematch from their shocking encounter at Dominion earlier this summer to win back the titles, while earning a bit of much-needed revenge on his turncoat former friend and ally.
It wasn’t all good news for LIJ however, as Bullet Club’s Taiji Ishimori defeated HIromu Takahashi to become the new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion in a tremendous, fast-paced match. Ishimori worked a visible injury throughout the match, and won the bout by submission.
We also have a new NEVER Openweight Champion, as Minoru Suzuki defeated Shingo Takagi in a brutal, hard-hitting match; another stinging loss for LIJ on Saturday.
It’s a significant time for so many major title changes to be taking place. With the G1 coming up, Naito may not immediately defend the titles, and although we’re only just about to enter September, New Japan often sets up its champions for Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome around this point in the year.