Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of New Japan’s 47th-anniversary show from Ota Ward Gymnasium.
The show started off with clips of Antonio Inoki’s match with Karl Gotch from the promotion’s first card in 1972.
There was a ten-bell salute for the late King Kong Bundy.
Kevin Kelly and Colt Cabana are on English commentary.
*Guerrillas of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Hikuleo over Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, Ren Narita, Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino in 9:13
*Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshi-Hashi over Yuji Nagata and Toa Henare in 12:09
*Ryusuke Taguchi, Dragon Lee, Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma & Tiger Mask over Minor Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & Taka Michinoku at 11:06
*Roppongi 3K over Shingo Takagi and Bushi at 16:51 to win the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles
*Taiji Ishimori def. Jushin Thunder Liger at 15:51 to retain the IWGP junior heavyweight title
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto over Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & Sanada at 12:57
*Jay White over Will Ospreay in 29:07 in a non-title match
Guerrillas of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale, Hikuleo & Chase Owens vs. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, Ayato Yoshida, Shota Umino & Ren Narita
Hikuleo recently returned after being out for a year with a torn ACL.
The Bullet Club took turns in the ring with Narita, who was selling continuously from the onset of the match.
It took Narita six minutes before the tag was made to Makabe. The young lions came in and worked against Owens, but were stopped with a splash by Fale into the corner.
Owens struck Yoshida with a knee and a package piledriver to win.
WINNERS: Chase Owens (pinned Ayato Yoshida), Guerrillas of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale & Hikuleo at 9:13
There was a lot of focus on Ren Narita, who stood out the most for me. Yoshida got a roll up near fall on Owens before falling to the package piledriver. It was a decent opening match.
Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshi-Hashi vs. Yuji Nagata and Toa Henare
Ishii and Nagata had a big exchange of strikes, which ended with Ishii going down from a big boot and Nagata lighting him up with kicks. Ishii returned fire with forearms and a shoulder block. They trade more blows and Ishii was wobbled. Nagata stopped the brainbuster, applied the Fujiwara armbar and the audience hated Yoshi-Hashi for breaking it up.
Henare had a big sequence with Yoshi-Hashi and led to Ishii getting involved. Nagata took Ishii out of the ring, leaving Henare with Yoshi-Hashi and they traded lariats. Yoshi-Hashi caught Henare with a brainbuster and pinned him.
WINNERS: Yoshi-Hashi (pinned Toa Henare) and Tomohiro Ishii at 12:09
Nagata and Ishii had a staredown after the match ahead of their New Japan Cup match on Friday.
The story was Henare getting so close to a victory over an established member of the roster but came up short. Henare looked good when it was his time to shine.
Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taka Michinoku vs. Dragon Lee, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask
Don Callis joined the English commentary team with Kelly and Cabana.
Taichi revealed the Iron Fingers that he took from Takashi Iizuka after his retirement match.
Tiger Mask hit Kanemaru with a Tiger Driver.
Honma was tagged in with Taichi, landing the kokeshi off the ropes after failing the first time.
Kojima delivered the rapid-fire chops to Suzuki, who just ate them and yelled into Kojima’s face. This was a great sequence. Suzuki responded with a PK and Kojima sat up and roared.
Suzuki-gun outnumbered Taguchi and attacked him in the corner.
Dragon Lee hit Desperado with a snap German suplex and landed a tope con giro onto Desperado. Taguchi landed the Bom A Ye to Michinoku and he kicked out. Michinoku stayed down after the Dodon to win.
WINNERS: Ryusuke Taguchi (pinned Taka Michinoku), Dragon Lee, Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma & Tiger Mask at 11:06
I enjoyed this match a lot, the best on the show so far. The interaction between Suzuki and Kojima was great. They had Taguchi win the fall to give him some steam as the replacement for David Finlay in the New Japan Cup and Dragon Lee got the most impressive offensive display of the match near the end. A very fun match.
Shingo Takagi and Bushi vs. Roppongi 3K for the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles
Takagi and SHO started the match and that seems to be a rivalry they are designing and building from the tag division and ultimately, being a big singles feud down the road.
SHO is beaten down by Takagi, holding his arm and caught Takagi with a spear and tagged in YOH.
YOH blocked a dragon screw leg whip from Takagi and landed his own and followed with a figure-four. Takagi escaped and landed a pop-up into a Death Valley Driver onto YOH.
Bushi snapped SHO’s arm and they double-teamed the injured SHO. Takagi lifted SHO into a backstabber by Bushi for a two-count. They attempted their Rebellion finisher, but it was thwarted by YOH.
Roppongi 3K dumped Takagi to the floor and attempted the 3K and Bushi blocked it.
Bushi hit SHO with the mist and Takagi hit the Pumping Bomber while referee Marty Asami was confused by what happened. They hit Rebellion but YOH dove in for the save.
Bushi ran at SHO and was caught and thrown into YOH for the 3K and they pinned the champions to regain the titles.
WINNERS: Roppongi 3K at 16:51 to win the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles
A great match with SHO coming off like a superstar, YOH showed way more fire than usual and the ending was a surprise with the red herring of the mist, yet SHO overcame the temporary blinding to win.
Taiji Ishimori vs. Jushin Thunder Liger for the IWGP junior heavyweight title
Kota Ibushi was shown on commentary. The audience was pumped as the bell rang to start the match.
After Liger started out in control, Ishimori worked on Liger’s neck and took over. Liger fought back with a baseball slide dropkick and somersault off the apron. Liger tookIshimori to the floor and landed a brainbuster as the audience cheered on Liger. Ishimori returned to the ring at 19.
Liger hit a top rope Frankensteiner that Ishimori kicked out from.
Ishimori came back with a moonsault to the floor and double knees into the corner. Liger catches him with a Liger Bomb for a near fall and the audience is believing he can win it.
The heat was so strong as Liger fought to the rope and broke out of a crossface submission.
Liger caught Ishimori with the same cradle where he won last month and this time Ishimori kicked out, but it was a big moment in the match.
Ishimori re-applied the crossface and rolled Liger to the middle and he tapped.
WINNER: Taiji Ishimori at 15:51 to retain the IWGP junior heavyweight title
This was great.
Liger was the legend in the eyes of the audience, and they were on a ride to see him attemp to turn back the clock. This came off so well that I feel you could have done with at Madison Square Garden and it would have been even bigger.
I loved this match.
They cheered on Liger as he walked to the back and bowed.
Ishimori announced his next title match will be at Madison Square Garden and the challenge was accepted by Dragon Lee. The two faced off inside the ring
The dates and locations for the G1 Climax were announced and we have the full list on the site.
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & Sanada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto
The match began with Okada and Naito and the audience was excited about the pairing.
LIJ attacked Tanahashi’s injured right knee, including Naito applying the figure-four.
Tanahashi attempted his own Skull End onto Sanada, which was stopped by EVIL with a suplex. Goto took Naito and landed the Ushigorishi and cleared Naito from the ring.
Sanada was left with Goto, he rolled into the Skull End and swung Goto, who countered out and caught Sanada with the Goto-shiki.
WINNERS: Hirooki Goto (pinned Sanada), Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada at 12:57
This was a fun six-man tag and the whole match flowed and all six had their moments to shine.
Jay White vs. Will Ospreay in a non-title match
White got the early advantage sending Ospreay into the guardrail and injuring the ribs of the NEVER Openweight champion. This was designed to play off Ospreay’s legitimate injury at the end of 2018. White worked over the ribs inside the ring for a prolonged period.
Ospreay broke free and attempted a handspring off the ropes and clutched his ribs and fell.
Ospreay avoided a Saito suplex to the floor and clotheslined White over the top. Ospreay attempted a suicide dive but White caught and sent him ribs first into the guardrail. Ospreay made it back at the count of 19.
White was placed in the tree of woe with Ospreay slapping him repeatedly.
Ospreay climbed the turnbuckle with White on his shoulders and flipped White off and onto the mat. He teased the OsCutter but White rolled away. He tried for the OsCutter a second time and was caught by White with a crucifix and downward elbows strikes.
A Blade Runner was countered with a reverse huracanrana by Ospreay.
Ospreay set up for the elbow strike from behind but Gedo distracted Red Shoes and allowed White to hit a low blow onto Ospreay. White followed with a snap sleeper and a Bloody Sunday for a two-count.
Ospreay hit an inverted 450 splash but damaged the ribs in the process as White grabbed the bottom rope when Ospreay went for the cover. After a series of counters, Ospreay landed two head kicks and a Robinson special as the audience believed he was going to win. He went for another OsCutter and White countered with a Blade Runner in mid-air.
White lifted Ospreay and hit a proper Blade Runner and won the match.
WINNER: Jay White at 29:07
This was a very strong main event, not a match-of-the-year level, but easily the strongest match on the show.
Ospreay is on pace to have the best year of his career in 2019 with so many new opponents to work within the heavyweight ranks in New Japan and seems a lock for the G1.
After the match, White went to attack Ospreay with a chair and Kota Ibushi ran in and took the chair away. The Bullet Club jumped Ibushi from behind and stomped him down. This led to Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and Hirooki Goto running down and sending The Bullet Club out.
Overall, a very entertaining show with several strong matches and a strong push for the New Japan Cup with showcases for the big contenders among the 32-man field. I would highly recommend the main event and the two title matches with Ishimori vs. Liger and Takagi & Bushi vs. Roppongi 3K. I enjoyed this show a lot.