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Shingo Takagi Pays SHO Respect After Instant Classic NJPW Super Juniors Match

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After an absolute war turned into an instant classic wrestling match this Monday in Japan, the still unbeaten Shingo Takagi finally gave showed respect for one of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s fastest rising stars – one half of the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions Sho Tanaka, or SHO for short.

The two artists tore the house down at Sendai Sunplaza to kick off the first night of the 2019 NJPW Best of the Super Juniors tournament, in a match that has already been pegged by some as an early Match of the Year candidate.


One of the major story-driven threads throughout the nearly 26-minute contest centered around Takagi’s raw power and stength, as he absorbed blow after blow from his opponent time and time again, while SHO refused to stay down no matter how many times he nearly lost his head to one of The Last Dragon’s devastating Pumping Bomber lariats.

Takagi and SHO have actually faced each other multiple times in the ring during battles between Los Ingobernables de Japon and the current junior tag champions, Roppongi 3K, but this was the first time the two had ever met in singles competition.

After numerous Pumping Bomber lariats and narrowly escaping a modified Kimura Lock, Takagi finally connected with his signature Last of the Dragons finisher to score his first two points in the tournament, and extend his unbeaten streak for one more evening.

Following their incredibly hard-fought battle, Takagi was forced to change his tune about SHO, who he has been relentlessly tormenting for the past six months.

“I thought I could beat that punk in 15 minutes if I took it seriously. I didn’t let up at all, and I didn’t make any mistakes. Over these last 7 months, I kept calling SHO a brazen brat. But he showed me what he’s made of, so I gotta take that back. He is strong, that’s for sure, and he’s still getting stronger.”

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NJPW Road To The New Beginning Results (1/23): New Champions Crowned, Tenzan Returns

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling continued the build to The New Beginning in Nagoya on Saturday with one of the more eventful Road To shows in recent memory.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan returned to action for the first time since New Year Dash, where a post-match attack from The Empire saw him leave the arena on a stretcher. Tenzan reunited with longtime partner Satoshi Kojima but was unable to score a tag team win over his attacks. He faces Great O-Khan on January 30 in Nagoya.


2020 Super J-Cup winner El Phantasmo and his Bullet Club partner Taiji Ishimori recaptured the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships in the main event.

El Desperado and Kanemaru won the titles last September at the end of a tournament. Prior to that, the belts were left vacant when YOH of Roppongi 3K, one half of the champions at the time, suffered a torn ACL.

NJPW Road to the New Beginning Results
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Ota City Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan

— DOUKI & Minoru Suzuki def. Gedo & Jado

6-Man Tag Team Match: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) def. Bullet Club (Dick Togo & EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi)

— Great O-Khan & Will Ospreay def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima

10-Man Elimination Tag Team Match: Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi & Master Wato & SHO & Tomoaki Honma def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi & SANADA & Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito)

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match: El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori def. El Desperado (c) & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) | NEW CHAMPIONS! 

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NJPW Road To The New Beginning Results (1/18): Hiroshi Tanahashi & Master Wato vs BUSHI & Shingo Takagi

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The Road to The New Beginning tour continued on Monday with the second of eight shows heading into Nagoya on January 30. This was largely the same card as Sunday in the same building, with a few minor tweaks.

Kojima teamed with a different Young Lion but was still unsuccessful against The Empire. The second match featured the same stars with the outcome reversed, and the third match was exactly the same.


Tanahashi & SHO swapped places, as did Shingo & Hiromu in the final two matches to continue their respective programs. Master Wato is 2-0 in main events on this tour so far.

NJPW Road to The New Beginning Results
January 18, 2021
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

— Great O-Khan & Will Ospreay def. Satoshi Kojima & Yuya Uemura

— Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & DOUKI & Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) def. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Gedo & Jado & Taiji Ishimori)

— CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) def. Bullet Club (Dick Togo & EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi)

— Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) def. Kota Ibushi & SHO & Tomoaki Honma

— Hiroshi Tanahashi & Master Wato def. BUSHI & Shingo Takagi

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NJPW Road To The New Beginning Results (1/17): BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi vs Master Wato & SHO

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling kicked off their annual New Beginning tour on Sunday in Korakuen Hall. It was a quick and easy five-match Road To card featuring tag team bouts previewing some of the advertised main events for the big shows on 1/30 in Nagoya, and 2/10-11 in Hiroshima.

NJPW Road to The New Beginning Results
January 17, 2021
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan


— Great O-Khan & Will Ospreay def. Satoshi Kojima & Yota Tsuji

— Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Gedo & Jado & Taiji Ishimori) def. Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & DOUKI & Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)

— CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) def. Bullet Club (Dick Togo & EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi)

— Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi & Tomoaki Honma

— Master Wato & SHO def. BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi

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