NJPW The New Beginning in Hiroshima Night One Preview
- Date: February 10, 2021
- Time: 4:00 AM ET
- How to Watch: NJPW World
Six-Man Tag Team Match
Gabriel Kidd & Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs. Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Who doesn’t enjoy watching Minoru Suzuki beat up Young Lions? Expect a 7-8 minute match, a lot of shenanigans from Kanemaru and Despy, and Suzuki dragging young boys around the arena whilst he beats them mercilessly. And if we’re lucky we’ll get some good babyface fire-up spots from the rookies.
Gabriel Kidd began working the undercard of New Japan shows during the New Beginning tour in 2020. He and Uemura took an “L” to this exact same Suzuki-Gun variation on the 2/8 Road To show, but without the safety net of Ryusuke Taguchi joining them this time around, I don’t see them sneaking out the win here.
Master Wato vs. BUSHI
This is Master Wato’s first New Beginning show since opening the show in 2017 as a Young Lion by the name of Hirai Kawato. He’s currently caught in the riptide of a bigger battle between IWGP double champion Kota Ibushi and Los Ingobernables de Japon; primarily SANADA, who gets the main event title match on night two.
Wato has used this tour to rebound somewhat from a loss to the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions at Wrestle Kingdom 15. New Japan does this thing where they’ll put a new up-and-coming babyface with Hiroshi Tanahashi if they want crowds to love him. More of than not it works. In this case he’s had both the Golden Aces, SHO and Honma as allies, so he should certainly have the fans with him when he takes on LIJ junior BUSHI.
10-Man Tag Team Match
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Bullet Club (EVIL & Jay White & El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi)
An almost identical 10-man tag team match happened at New Year Dash. CHAOS won. Then they did variations of that match about a dozen more times. Now we’re here. If we’re keeping count, CHAOS is up 10-4 over Bullet Club so far, but Bullet Club did win the big 5-on-5 elimination match on 2/2 that went more than 27 minutes.
This should be a good fight. There are a lot of great wrestlers and they’ve all hated each other for a very long time. This current incarnation of their rivalry goes back to Jay White and Gedo defecting from CHAOS, but different variations of Bullet Club have been terrorizing them for years and years.
Kota Ibushi & Tomoaki Honma vs. SANADA & Tetsuya Naito
This is a preview for the aforementioned main event on night two, which will see Kota Ibushi defend the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental titles against SANADA. Given that Naito is the one who most recently lost those belts, it creates an interesting dynamic just to have him involved. Outside of that, I don’t want to say too much because I’ll be diving further into the Ibushi/SANADA match in my night two preview.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.
Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa won the straps off the Dangerous Tekkers at Wrestle Kingdom 15 to begin their record-breaking seventh title reign. This is the rematch.
I do want to single out Tanga Loa for the improvement he’s shown recently. He’s aggressive and clearly having a lot of fun right now. That said, the Tekkers were arguably the most consistently great team in the 2020 World Tag League, showcasing Taichi’s surprising chemistry with the British technical wizard, and should win back the titles as quickly as humanly possible.
This has the potential to be a good match, although based on their last two encounters I wouldn’t expect much beyond that. Their WK15 match was given ***1/2 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and holds a 6.93 rating on Cagematch based on 197 votes. Their tournament match was not as good.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Match
Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. SHO
This is special night for 31-year-old Sho Tanaka. While he and partner YOH have been a consistent force in the tag team division since their return from excursion, winning the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team titles four times, this is SHO’s first ever opportunity to challenge for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
Hiromu won the 2020 Best of the Super Jr. tournament and went on to beat El Phantasmo and Hiromu Takahashi in back-to-back performances at Wrestle Kingdom 15, recapturing the title. But who did he lose to during BOSJ? That’s right, SHO.
SHO is consistently very good, if a little understated compared to some of the more talked-about junior heavyweights. Given the right opponent he’s shown he’s capable of some truly great matches. His trilogy with Shingo Takagi from 2019-2020 is out of this world.
But is it SHO’s time to win the big one? On one hand, Hiromu is the kind of star you build main events around and short title reigns don’t really help establish that image. On the other hand, SHO has already proven he can beat the “Time Bomb” and a second win would properly strap a rocket to him.
New Japan also doesn’t have to worry about ticket sales at the moment with limited capacity seating at shows, and Dominion isn’t until June. All things considered it’s a low-risk time to try out a new star at the forefront of the division.
NJPW New Japan Cup Results (3/6): Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi, KENTA vs Juice Robinson
NJPW New Japan Cup Results
March 6, 2021
* * *
Six-Man Tag Team Match
Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Jay White & Taiji Ishimori) def. David Finlay & Toa Henare & Yuya Uemura
Six-Man Tag Team Match
The Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great O-Khan & Will Ospreay) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)
New Japan Cup Match
Minoru Suzuki def. Tomoaki Honma
New Japan Cup Match
KENTA def. Juice Robinson
New Japan Cup Match
Shingo Takagi def. Kazuchika Okada
The left side of the bracket is now through the first round. Second round matches so far include EVIL vs. Jeff Cobb and Great O-Khan vs. Toru Yano on 3/11, and Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi and Minoru Suzuki vs. KENTA on 3/13.
NJPW Announces Major Tokyo Dome & Baseball Stadium Shows For This May
New Japan Pro-Wrestling has announced a set of major events set to take place this May, including their first Tokyo Dome show outside of January in 16 years.
NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam will take place across two nights, starting with their May 15 debut at Yokohama Stadium, the 34,000 capacity baseball stadium and home of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.
This will be the second year in a row the promotion runs a big show at a baseball stadium, following the success of last year’s Summer Struggle in Jingu. With COVID-19 precautions in place they still drew 4,710 fans to see Tetsuya Naito win back the IWGP Double Gold from EVIL.
The second night of NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam will take place at the Tokyo Dome on May 29. This will be their first show at the Dome outside of their annual January 4 show since NJPW Toukon Souzou New Chapter in 2005. That night, Brock Lesnar won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat match.
NJPW Anniversary Event Results: The Final IWGP Double Gold Defense, New Japan Cup Begins!
NJPW Anniversary Event Results
March 4, 2021
Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
Kota Ibushi will go down in history as the final IWGP Intercontinental and IWGP Heavyweight Champion after defeating El Desperado in the traditional champion vs champion main event of NJPW’s annual anniversary event.
NJPW will be unifying the two top singles titles, which have been defended together for more than a year. Both physical belts will be retired and a brand new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be created and given to Ibushi.
The anniversary event also saw the start of the 2021 New Japan Cup. Jeff Cobb defeated Satoshi Kojima to advance to the second round, while the Great O-Khan took advantage of an exhausted Tetsuya Naito’s arrogance to score a massive upset.
— Gabriel Kidd & Hirooki Goto & Master Wato & Tomoaki Honma def. Suzuki-Gun (DOUKI & Minoru Suzuki & Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) in an 8-man tag team match. Goto pinned DOUKI with the GTR.
— Chase & EVIL & Jay White & KENTA & Taiji Ishimori def. David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson & Toa Henare & Ryusuke Taguchi in a 10-man tag team match. EVIL pinned Taguchi with the STO.
— Kazuchika Okada & SHO & Tomohiro Ishii def. BUSHI & SANADA & Shingo Takagi in a 6-man tag team match. SHO pinned BUSHI with the Shock Arrow.
— Jeff Cobb def. Satoshi Kojima in 11:50 with Tour of the Islands to advance to the second round of the New Japan Cup.
— Great O-Khan def. Tetsuya Naito in 20:20 via referee stoppage to advance to the second round of the New Japan Cup.
— Kota Ibushi (c) def. El Desperado to retain the IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Championships in 20:36 with the Kamigoye.
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