New Japan Pro Wrestling held its first of two New Beginning in Sapporo cards on Saturday with the card headlined by Hirooki Goto making the first defense of his NEVER Openweight Championship against Shingo Takagi.
The two had a strong main event that saw the closing stretch include a kick out from Goto after Made in Japan, who failed to hit the GTR. The two battled their way to their feet with Takagi taking hold of the champion and delivering Last of the Dragon for the victory.
It was Takagi’s first singles title he challenged for in New Japan and becomes the new NEVER Openweight champion with Goto holding the title less than a month after beating KENTA at Wrestle Kingdom.
In other big singles match, Tomohiro Ishii defeated EVIL in 21:15 after hitting the brainbuster. They had their expected ultra-physical match that saw EVIL target the neck with the usage of the chair on the floor by running Ishii into the post and swinging at a chair wrapped around the neck. The match escalated in the closing minutes with a battle of lariats won by Ishii that was the precursor to the ending.
The team of Minoru Suzuki & Taichi defeated Kazuchika Okada & IWGP United States champion Jon Moxley in a wild brawl.
Moxley wore the eyepatch and Kevin Kelly made one reference during his entrance that it came at the hands of Chris Jericho but was not focused on during the match. It was difficult for Moxley to keep the eye covered due to the style of the match he had with the eye patch off to the side and the bandage coming off the eye.
Suzuki and Moxley brawled around the arena ahead of their title match next weekend. Taichi targeted the neck of Okada and this match was heavily focused on presenting Taichi as a threat.
The end occurred with Suzuki blocking the Death Rider and applying a rear-naked choke into the Gotch piledriver and pinning Moxley at 17:50.
Afterward, Taichi continued attacking Okada by choking him with a cord and bringing out the Iron Glove. Okada fought back when Zack Sabre Jr. entered to assist Taichi and the Iron Glove was used. Will Ospreay ran in and was also beaten down as Sabre and Taichi stood tall.
Wai Ting and I will be reviewing both New Beginning cards on Sunday night for members of the POST Wrestling Café.
The second New Beginning card airs live tonight at 1 am Eastern / 10 pm Pacific on New Japan World with the following card:
*Toa Henare vs. Yota Tsuji
*Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi & Tiger Mask vs. Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Yuya Uemura
*El Phantasmo vs. Gabriel Kidd
*Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Robbie Eagles vs. Shingo Takagi, EVIL & Bushi
*Jon Moxley, Roppongi 3K & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki
*Tetsuya Naito, Sanada & Hiromu Takahashi vs. KENTA, Jay White & Taiji Ishimori
*Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the British heavyweight title
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Taichi