Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the second New Beginning card from Sapporo.
Attendance was 5,140 for the show.
They announced at the start of the show that Hiroshi Tanahashi was off the following the knee attack by Minoru Suzuki the night prior. Tanahashi will be replaced by Toa Henare for the tag bout with Michael Elgin and Henare vs. Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka.
KATSUYA KITAMURA VS JUICE ROBINSON
This is the third match of Kitamura’s trial series after losing the first two.
Kitamura broke free of a full nelson attempt and dropped Robinson with a one-armed spine buster.
Kitamura lit him up with chops. Robinson avoided a suplex and nailed Kitamura with a left hand and follow up lariat. He continued and hit Pulp Friction for the win.
WINNER: JUICE ROBINSON AT 9:16
It was a hard-hitting match, primarily to get Kitamura’s strength over. It was an average opening match and more than anything, I feel Don Callis is doing the best job of getting Kitamura over as a future star.
JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER, TIGER MASK, RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, AND SHOTA UMINO VS TAICHI, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU, EL DESPERADO, AND TAKA MICHINOKU
Taka was trying to unmask Tiger Mask but was fended off. Tiger Mask ran Desperado into Taka and sent him off the apron.
Tiger Mask hit a double underhook suplex to Desperado off the top turnbuckle.
Taichi went after the mask of Tiger Mask next.
Umino received the tag and fired up on Taichi and going at an accelerated pace. He landed a missile dropkick to Taichi for a two-count. Umino got a series of near falls on Taichi.
Taichi attacked Umino with kicks and won with a superkick.
WINNERS: TAICHI (pinned Shota Umino), EL DESPERADO, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU, AND TAKA MICHINOKU AT 8:32
Tiger Mask was down on the canvas and they unmasked him (his face was hidden) and Taichi’s valet, Miho Abe, put the mask on.
Umino looked good during the closing minutes of the match. The rest was a Suzuki-gun tag match with some silly stuff involving Ryusuke Taguchi and Miho Abe and the continual unmasking teases with Tiger Mask and then finally unmasking him after the match.
YUJIRO AND HIKULEO VS TOMOHIRO ISHII AND TORU YANO
Hikuleo is Leo Tonga’s new ring name.
Yujiro attacked Ishii with his cane on the floor.
Ishii blocked a vertical suplex from Hikuleo and was able to suplex Hikuleo, which looked impressive given the big size disparity between the two.
Ishii and Yujiro took turns biting the other’s hand.
Hikuleo missed his target and nailed Yujiro, this allowed Yano to take advantage and low blow Hikuleo, Ishii hit a lariat and then Hikuleo was rolled up by Yano and he got the pin.
WINNERS: TORU YANO (pinned Hikuleo) AND TOMOHIRO ISHII AT 6:17
This was just a quick tag match, really there hasn’t been anything strong so far on the show and it’s just been standard matches that have left a minimal impression.
BAD LUCK FALE, THE GUERILLAS OF DESTINY, AND CHASE OWNES VS TOGI MAKABE, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, MANABU NAKANISHI, AND TOMOYUKI OKA
This descended into a brawl with all eight fighting around the arena. Owens and Fale placed a stuffed bear into the mouth of Makabe on the floor and Owens stomped the bear.
Nakanishi went to lift Fale for the Argentine backbreaker and couldn’t do it but did hit a Mountain Bomb.
Oka was tagged in with Owens, he caught Owens with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Oka went for the Boston crab, Owens countered with a cradle and Oka kicked out.
Owens hit the package piledriver and won the match and demanded Tiger Hattori count to five.
WINNERS: CHASE OWENS (pinned Tomoyuki Oka), BAD LUCK FALE, AND THE GUERILLAS OF DESTINY AT 9:04
MINORU SUZUKI AND TAKASHI IIZUKA VS MICHAEL ELGIN AND TOA HENARE
Henare is the sub for the injured Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Suzuki immediately goes after Henare and used the armbar in the ropes. Iizuka attacked Elgin with a chair and choked him with it. Suzuki took Henare to the floor and dropped the metal barricade on top of him, along with some additional chairs.
Suzuki-gun all ganged up and attacked Henare on the floor with Iizuka. Elgin complains to Tiger Hattori about the blatant interference.
Suzuki is in with Henare, locks on the rear-naked choke and transitions to the kneebar he is now utilizing and Henare submitted.
WINNERS: MINORU SUZUKI (submitted Toa Henare) AND TAKASHI IIZUKA AT 8:19
Elgin and Iizuka fought into the crowd after the match as the rest of Suzuki-gun attacked Henare. Togi Makabe ran in and stopped them with a chain, stared down Suzuki and Suzuki left with the Intercontinental title. This appears to be the next IC title program and something substantial for Makabe.
Makabe assisted Henare to the back.
I liked the finish of the match with Suzuki to use the kneebar as his primary finish. The match served as a good role for Henare, filling the spot of Hiroshi Tanahashi and was the focus of the match.
CODY, MARTY SCURLL, AND HANGMAN PAGE VS KOTA IBUSHI, KUSHIDA, AND DAVID FINLAY
Cody calls Scurll “the best technical wrestler in the world”.
Scurll superkicked Finlay on the floor from the apron and Finlay turned around into the shooting star from Page off the apron. The team worked over Finlay in their corner.
Ibushi is tagged in with Cody and landed a quick moonsault off the second turnbuckle.
Ibushi caught a superkick by Scurll from the apron, landed a kick to the chest and Scurll went to the floor. Cody snuck up from behind Ibusho for the Cross Rhodes on the apron but KUSHIDA saved with a handspring to knock Cody off.
Page went for the Rites of Passage onto KUSHIDA and he avoided it. Ibushi returned with a double foot stomp to Page into the Golden Triangle to the floor. KUSHIDA applied the Hoverboard Lock onto Page and Cody broke the hold.
Cody blocked Back to the Future and hit Cross Rhodes, Page returned and hit the Rites of Passage and pinned KUSHIDA.
WINNERS: HANGMAN PAGE (pinned KUSHIDA), CODY, AND MARTY SCURLL AT 11:31
This was a really good six-man tag and continues the theme of this show of elevating younger talent and shining a spotlight on them, in this case, that was Hangman Page with the clean pin on KUSHIDA. Ibushi was tremendous as usual and has the main event babyface aura that few have.
Cody and Ibushi exchanged words after the match.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA, WILL OSPREAY, HIROOKI GOTO, YOSHI-HASHI, AND GEDO VS TETSUYA NAITO, EVIL, SANADA, HIROMU TAKAHASHI, AND BUSHI
The match is made of five singles matches scheduled for the New Beginning in Osaka card on February 10th.
Yoshi-Hashi swarms Naito with elbow smashes in the corner at the start of the match.
EVIL and Goto fought up the aisle.
Ospreay and Takahashi were in for a preview of their title match. Ospreay landed a standing shooting star press. Ospreay went for a handspring off the ropes, was caught and took a German suplex from Takahashi.
Okada was in with Sanada and Okada mocked him by lightly kicking his head. This plays into the larger theme that Okada doesn’t see Sanada at his level and is not impressed. Sanada missed with a moonsault from the top and landed on his feet, Okada landed his dropkick and both were down.
Gedo was tagged in and Sanada went for the Skull End, fed him to Bushi for the lung blower and then hit a TKO but Ospreay made the save.
Sanada was left with Gedo and applied Skull End and Gedo tapped out.
WINNERS: SANADA (submitted Gedo), TETSUYA NAITO, EVIL, HIROMU TAKAHASHI, AND BUSHI AT 12:19
The idea is that Sanada has been “awakened” by Okada and being humiliated by Okada the night before.
THE YOUNG BUCKS VS ROPPONGI 3K FOR THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TITLES
Nick Jackson hit a twisting dive for both members of 3K as he dove over the body of Matt draping himself on the top rope.
The Bucks chased Rocky Romero to the back, then returned with Romero and went to powerbomb Romero on the ramp but 3K stopped the Bucks. Matt hit a running somersault dive off the ramp and took everyone out on the floor.
Yoh was double powerbombed onto the edge of the apron and focusing on the injured back from Wrestle Kingdom. Matt lifted Yoh in the ring and his own back gave out, which he’s been selling since Wrestle Kingdom as well.
Matt is checked on by the doctors but continues while selling the back. Matt’s selling was tremendous from this point onward in the match.
Tanaka hit a backstabber to Matt. 3K hit a double-team dominator by Sho into a cutter by Yoh as he came off the ropes.
Yoh applies a Boston crab to Matt and pulls Matt into the middle of the ring but Matt crawls to the bottom rope. 3K places Matt on the top turnbuckle and they hit a double-team superplex but Matt kicked out. Sho and Yoh took turns kicking and stomping Matt’s back.
Yoh missed a superkick on Matt and hit Sho. This allowed Matt to hit a spear and tag in Nick.
Nick hit a German suplex to Sho on the edge of the apron.
Tanaka is draped from the apron and Matt hits a Swanton onto Sho landing on the floor.
Nick follows with a 450 splash to Yoh, who was draped on the middle rope and got a near fall.
Matt struggles to hit the buckle bomb, he applies a sharpshooter onto Yoh as his back is in agony. Matt is selling his back as he keeps the hold applied, Yoh reaches the bottom rope and Nick lands a Swanton onto Yoh and Matt brings him to the center. Matt relinquished the hold due to the back pain.
Yoh was free of the sharpshooter and caught Matt with an inside cradle for the win.
WINNERS: ROPPONGI 3K AT 22:34 TO WIN THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TITLES
This match was so great and Matt Jackson’s selling was the focal point of the match. I felt this was above the level set at Wrestle Kingdom between these two teams. I can do without the constant changing of the titles, but the booking doesn’t get in the way of a great match and these four did a fantastic job.
KENNY OMEGA VS JAY WHITE FOR THE IWGP U.S. TITLE
Kazuchika Okada is ringside on commentary.
Omega toyed with White at the start to establish his veteran status over White.
White dropkicked Omega off the apron and he flew backward into the steel barricade. White continued with a Saito suplex onto the mat on the floor. He focused his attack on the back of Omega by lifting the mat and body slamming Omega onto the exposed floor.
Omega sent White to the floor and hit the tope con giro as the audience applauded. Omega takes over the match until running into a Flatliner and German suplex from White.
Omega fires back with a huge V-Trigger as he yells, “Fuck you, Jay White” upon delivery. Omega nailed with a big knee sending him off the apron and followed with a snap powerbomb onto a set of seated chairs in the crowd. White beat the count and almost came back to life too quickly and killed the drama of the countout tease that Kevin Kelly was pushing.
White held onto the top ropes so Omega couldn’t execute the One-Winged Angel and instead hit a snap dragon suplex to White. Omega slaps him and says, “you are not on my level, you never will be.”
Omega hit a double underhook piledriver and White kicked out and Callis flipped out yelling, “Red Shoes slow on the God damn count, JESUS.”
Omega hit a V-Trigger and it was a strange near fall as White flinched his shoulder to get it off the mat, but the audience didn’t react and needed to show a replay to explain.
White fought back, he hit the Kiwi Krusher for a two-count.
White goes for the Blade Runner and Omega blocks the maneuver. On a second attempt, White hits it for a big near fall.
Omega counters another Blade Runner attempt and hits a reverse rana. He hits a big V-Trigger, White counters the One-Winged Angel, hits the Blade Runner and pins Omega to win the title.
WINNER: JAY WHITE AT 29:56 TO WIN THE IWGP U.S. TITLE
They cut to Kazuchika Okada, who was stunned at the upset by White.
Hangman Page came down to the ring to check on Omega with The Young Bucks. Page confronted White and grabbed the title and held it in front of White. Omega returned, yanked the title from Page and handed it to White. This led to an argument between Omega and Page.
Cody ran down and got into Omega’s face and said that was Page’s moment and Omega took it away. The Bullet Club is trying to calm them down as Cody and Omega start shoving one another. In frustration, Omega shoved Matt Jackson down and Omega immediately regretted it. The Bucks leave without Omega as Omega apologizes.
They leave Omega and Cody in the ring, Cody asks if they are okay and is sorry that Omega lost, they shake hands. Cody holds rope down for Omega and then jumps him and hits Cross Rhodes. Callis yells “PRICK”.
Marty Scurll and Hangman Page return, Scurll wants Cody to stop and Page is assisting Cody. Cody grabs a chair and then Kota Ibushi runs down to an enormous reaction and clears the ring to save Omega.
Ibushi extends his hand to Omega, Omega is reluctant and shakes his head “no”. Ibushi then grabs Omega and hugs him as Omega’s music plays and confetti and streamers come down. They leave together to the back as the show concludes as Kevin Kelly calls it one of the most important nights in New Japan history.