NJPW Near Year Dash Results
January 6, 2019
The annual night after Wrestle Kingdom mystery show is here! The final retirement ceremony for Jushin Thunder Liger will kick things off, so prepare to get super emotional, followed by a six-match card.
A long video package airs showcasing moments throughout Jushin Thunder Liger’s career, as well as footage of his two retirement matches this weekend at the Tokyo Dome, and interviews with many of the stars involved.
Liger makes his way to the ring, but before he can speak Hiroshi Tanahashi leads a huge group of babyfaces to the ring. It’s basically everyone who doesn’t belong to another major faction, including the Young Lions, and all of them are wearing shirts commemorating the occasion. They all pose for photos together and Liger is presented with a bouquet of flowers, as is traditional.
Next up is Kazuchika Okada, leading the entire CHAOS faction to the ring to offer their appreciation to the legend. They also bring flowers, and Okada gets a good laugh by asking to take a selfie with him.
NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi followed by NJPW President and CEO Harold Meij come out and offer their respects, and more flowers. Then things get REALLY emotional, as Liger’s wife and son come to the ring and they all embrace. Tanahashi is literally weeping at ringside.
A surprise guest is announced who has sent in a video for an old friend… It’s Antonio Inoki! I have no idea what his video said, because it was all in Japanese, and likely due to an enormous amount of respect commentary opted not to translate in real-time. Later he explained that Inoki basically wished him well in a new era of his life, and although he is no longer a drinker, he raises a glass to Liger.
Finally, it was time for Liger himself to speak. He of course thanked the fans for their eternal support. He said that Jushin Thunder Liger is no longer a professional wrestler, but he will continue to grow and embrace this new phase of his career and life. His mother, who he says is late in years and in ill health, is here tonight to watch him retire. He thanks his mom for raising him, and thanks his wife and son for allowing him to be on the road for so long and living this amazing life. But now he’s coming home.
THANK YOU LIGER!
A 10-bell salute was issued, as the camera panned around to all the emotional faces in the ring. Liger’s music played, but Tanahashi and Okada wouldn’t let him leave. They led the legend back into the ring and the roster picked him up and threw him into the air several times in celebration. He then went around and bowed, and shook the hands of every single one of them. Tanahashi made the entire arena sing along with Liger’s theme, he took one more victory lap around the ring, and just like that… it’s over.
Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura vs. Alex Coughlin, Clark Connors & Karl Fredericks
A battle between the Tokyo Dojo and the L.A. Dojo trainees. And Henare, I guess. It was the American kids that actually controlled a lot of the early action. Coughlin, who has been far overshadowed by the others in the past, got a lot of time and looked really good. He has an awesome gutwrench suplex. Henare damn near knocked him out cold with a right hook, and steamrolled through everyone. Tsuji and Connors picked up the pace with a great flurry of strikes, kicks and dropkicks. A brawl broke out between everyone and Connors slapped on the Boston Crab, dragged his opponent back to the center and nearly had it won until the others made the save. Fredericks tagged in, hit a spinebuster, kipped up (and fell on his ass), then locked in a half crab on Tsuji to win.
Winners: Alex Coughlin, Clark Connors & Karl Fredericks
SHO & YOH vs. El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori vs. Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi
A very rare Fatal 4-Way match in a New Japan ring. Anyone can tag anyone, so this got wild at times. The Bullet Club and Suzuki-Gun teams worked together to mob Hiromu, who clearly has a new target on his back as champion. They must have kicked him about a hundred times, collectively. Even SHO and YOH tagged in and did some damage. Things quickly picked up pace as BUSHI tagged in and started sending bodies flying with hurricanras, double ranas, and several suicide dives. Despy drilled him with a kick to put an end to that, but caught from there things just completely broke down into an all-out Wild West bar brawl. The champions rallied and YOH dove over the ropes to take the pack down. SHO and Desperado traded heavy blows back and forth, SHO destroyed him with a lariat, and a Last Ride powerbomb on the knees. BUSHI sprayed poison mist in his face, Kanemaru took him out, and Desperado rolled up SHO to win.
Winners: Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
David Finlay, Juice Robinson, Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa
Chase tried to get Ibushi to throw up the “too sweet” then went after him with wild rights and lefts in the corner, showing some great early aggression. Tanahashi came off the second rope with a diving crossbody and started to roll, hitting the Slingblade, but Fale destroyed him with a surprise shoulder tackle on the apron. This led to the obligatory 8-man brawl around the arena. Tama and Finlay fought in the stands, Loa and Juice went up the ramp, etc. Once they got back to the ring Bullet Club bullied Tanahashi for a few minutes with quick tags and as many distractions and cheap shots as they could squeeze in. Juice later got the hot tag and ran through GoD with lariats and corner cannonballs. Loa eats the Left Hand of God, but his brother made the save. After a wild exchange where everyone got their big moves in, Ibushi tagged in and rocked Fale with a Pele kick. Jado attacked him with a kendo stick and Owens was able to hit Jewel Heist, but the babyfaces returned to make the save. Bullet Club cleared the ring and Owens hit a running knee strike, but it still wasn’t enough. He ducked a lariat and hit a V-Trigger, but Ibushi countered the package piledriver and hit a running knee strike, sending him right into a Slingblade from the Ace. The Kamigoye follows, and this one is over.
Winners: David Finlay, Juice Robinson, Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi
After the match, Tanahashi and Ibushi issue a challenge to Finlay and Robinson for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. They shake hands and the champs seem into it! The crowd sure is!
EVIL & Shingo Takagi vs. Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii
EVIL immediately went after Ishii with loud, hammering blows and actually hit Darkness Falls within the first minute of the match. Tags were made but those two continued to brawl around the arena, totally ignoring the match while Shingo and Goto beat the stuffing out of each other with forearm strikes and lariats in the ring. EVIL wrapped a chair around Ishii’s tree trunk of a neck, then blasted him with a second chair. Home run! Meanwhile, the battle between Shingo and Goto raged on for quite some time. Neither would stay down and seemed to just throw harder and harder shots. Finally EVIL returned to the ring and turned Goto inside out with a lariat. Ishii, somehow still alive, made the hot tag and started pelting him with dozens, literally dozens, of chops and strikes. The referee had to actually drag him away. EVIL came back and hung him up in the corner, then double stomped his head into the mat. Yikes. Some beautiful teamwork as Goto hit the ring but Shingo was there immediately to take his head off with the Pumping Bomber. All four brutes started to trade heavy shots until they could barely stand. EVIL hit a second Darkness Falls on Ishii, but it wasn’t enough. Goto and Shingo once again started trading lariats, the sweat flying off their bodies with each hit. Shingo foolishly tried to take them both on at the same time, and got destroyed with a nasty looking assisted GTR, and a sliding lariat from Ishii. HE IS STILL NOT DONE. Shingo got right back up and asked for more, peppering Goto with elbow strikes. They traded slaps until Goto knocked him silly with a headbutt. He signals for the end, but Shingo hits him with his own finisher, the GTR, then delivers Made in Japan. 1…2…3!
Winners: EVIL & Shingo Takagi
Shingo got on the mic and reminded Goto that he beat him in the G1 last year, and then Goto won their second encounter. That means they’re tied up 1-1 but he still hasn’t forgiven him for that loss. Shingo wants the rubber match, and he wants the NEVER Openweight Championship.
Kazuchika Okada, Robbie Eagles, Will Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi
Ospreay made it immediately clear – he wants Zack Sabre Jr. The two went back and forth in a stunning exchange, going counter for counter and narrowly escaping each other’s submission attempts until Ospreay threw him clear across the ring with a tilt-a-whirl headcissors. Eagles tagged in but had the unfortunate luck to get Suzuki, who put him in an armbar in the ropes, before fighting to the floor and burying him under the barricade. Meanwhile, Taichi used the chaos to blast Okada from behind and drive his shoulder into the ring post. He barely made it back into the ring on time. The poor kid got mobbed by all four guys, hit with a microphone stand, and just generally mauled by Archer. This went on a while. I mean a WHILE. Eventually YOSHI-HASHI does make the hot tag, dropkicking Archer in the knees to take the big man down, but ultimately fairs about as well as his partner. Taichi actually welcomed a tag to Okada, dropping him on his head with a nasty back suplex. He followed with a kick to the face and ripped his pants off in celebration, but Ospreay knocked his lights out with a hook kick out of nowhere. Everyone hit the ring one-by-one, getting their spots in. Okada sent Archer to the floor with a dropkick, but turned around into the Iron Claw; a blatant illegal shot right in front of the referee.
Winners via Disqualification: CHAOS
Taichi continued to attack Okada after the match, until the lights dimmed and Jon Moxley made a surprise appearance through the crowd, title in hand. He chased off Taichi and came face-to-face with Minoru Suzuki, as the two psychopaths felt each other out. They started wailing on each other back and forth with punches. Suzuki laughed, and Moxley laughed harder. In the end Moxley hit him with the Paradigm Shift and raised the U.S. title high.
Jay White & KENTA vs. SANADA & Tetsuya Naito
The champion doesn’t even wait to take off his suit before going after KENTA, fighting him to the floor and bashing his head into the barricade over and over again. SANADA hit White with a dropkick to send him packing, but a distraction from Gedo allowed White to drop his neck over the ropes, turning things in their favor. KENTA ended up dropping Naito hard on the exposed floor with a DDT, then threw him into the barricade gut-first so hard I thought the fans in the front row were going to get taken out. SANADA ended up getting worked over by both opponents, who alternated tags and kept him isolated in their corner. Naito did eventually tag in but was totally unrestrained, going after KENTA with wild rights and lefts, neckbreakers, dropkicks, etc. He was so focussed on getting revenge he didn’t see White coming, and Bullet Club was again able to turn the tide in their favor. LIJ could not get anything going. SANADA eventually got so pissed he went after Gedo and kicked the ropes into his groin. He caught White in the Skull End but broke the hold to try for a moonsault; White rolls out of the way and they trade counter for counter. The Switchblade goes for Blade Runner, but SANADA counters into a bridging pin to steal the win.
Winners: SANADA & Tetsuya Naito
After the match, SANADA celebrates his hard fought victory, until Jay White sneaks up behind him and delivers a blatant low blow. Naito can’t make the save as he’s being brutally assaulted by KENTA out in the crowd. They bring the champion back to the ring and start hammering away on him, before grabbing two steel chairs and swinging for the fences.
White got on the mic and the arena unloaded boos on him. He says a new opportunity has presented itself to him, and that is to teach SANADA a valuable lesson that he is not better than the Switchblade. KENTA takes the mic and gets even more boos. He trashes the local crowd for the extra heat and dances along with their chants telling him to go home, while stepping on the fallen body of Naito.
KENTA said he had a hell of a lot of fun at the Tokyo Dome last night, and asked the fans to boo him even harder. The crowd chants for him to go home, and he yells “more, more, more!” He asks if they want him to get to the point, and says the point is he’s going to take both of Naito’s titles away from him. KENTA kicks the champion in the face several times, and demands that the production team play his music. Bullet Club throw up the “too sweet” and they pose with Gedo, and the crowd rains down boos to end the night.