NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo – Night 1
January 27, 2018
New Japan Pro Wrestling returns to Sapporo for night one of two in their back-to-back weekend shows. Hiroshi Tanahashi defends the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against the brutal Minoru Suzuki just weeks after barely surviving Jay White at Wrestle Kingdom. Plus, all three members of The Elite in action, Cody Rhodes, the NEVER 6-Man titles on the line and more.
Full results for the show are below. I’ll be updating my coverage with more detailed match recaps as I watch the show throughout the day.
MICHAEL ELGIN vs. KATSUYA KITAMURA
The seven-match proving ground series of former Young Lion Kitamura continues as he locks up with somebody roughly his own size for a change. They crashed into each other several times with neither wanting to budge an inch. Elgin hit a few big suplexes and powerslams but Kitamura popped back up and gave them right back. They were pretty close throughout but the cracks started forming in the rookie’s offense the longer the match went on, and Elgin was able to build up more and more consecutive offense.
Winner: Michael Elgin via Elgin Bomb in 8:04.
KUSHIDA, JUSHIN LIGER, TIGER MASK, MANABU NAKANISHI & HIROYOSHI TENZAN vs. TAKA MICHINOKU, EL DESPERADO, TAICHI, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & TAKASHI IIZUKA
Your standard Suzuki-Gun affair. If Taichi wasn’t blasting people with mallets, Miho was out there seducing/slapping Old Man Liger, or Iizuka was biting people’s fingers. Pure chaos. After an attempt at a wrestling match all ten guys broke loose and Don Callas aptly pointed out, “why do they even send a ref out there for Suzuki-Gun matches?” Kushida and Taka had a decent exchange before Liger went flying to the outside to take everyone down. Kanemaru spit whiskey into his partner’s face on accident and Kushida locked in the Hoverboard to get the submission.
Winners: Team KUSHIDA via Hoverboard Lock in 8:06.
TOMOHIRO ISHII & TORU YANO vs. CHASE OWENS & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI
I enjoyed the match quite a bit for what it was. Nobody wanted to touch Ishii and Owens demanded to face Yano, mirroring all his usual comedy spots. Nothing overly complex but they had some good fun until Ishii came in to murder everyone. He hit a sick lariat on Takahashi for two-and-three-quarters. Yano went for the low blow but Yujiro caught his hand, then accidentally superkicked his own partner. Ishii with the Brainbuster to pick up the win.
Winners: CHAOS via Brainbuster in 7:06.
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match
BAD LUCK FALE & GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY (c) vs. TOGI MAKABE, HENARE & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
Pretty good match. Bullet Club was NOT playing around here as Tanga Loa broke Taguchi’s sunglasses and they just brutalized the challengers for the vast majority of the contest. Henare got a few spots in but was no match for the size and strength of Fale, and with no Ishii in the match nobody was getting the big man up for a suplex. Fale fought to the floor with Henare and choked him out with anything he could get his hands on and things broke into a crazy brawl. Tama ended up getting the win with a brand new submission he’s calling the Dream Catcher.
Winners: Bullet Club retains via Dream Catcher in 9:15.
CODY RHODES, HANGMAN PAGE & MARTY SCURLL vs. JUICE ROBINSON, KOTA IBUSHI & DAVID FINLAY
Winners: Bullet Club via Rite of Passage in 10:47.
WILL OSPREAY & YOSHI-HASHI vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI & TETSUYA NAITO
Winners: LIJ via Destino in 11:19.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA, HIROOKI GOTO & GEDO vs. BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA
Winners: CHAOS via Cobra Clutch submission in 11:52.
KENNY OMEGA & THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. JAY WHITE & ROPPONGI 3K
Winners: The Elite via Indy Taker in 10:53.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki
Winner and New Champion: Minoru Suzuki via referee stoppage in 32:28.