NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING – SENGOKU LORD 2020: HIROMU TAKAHASHI CHALLENGES EVIL FOR THE IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL & THE IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
By: Mike Murray
NJPW returns with a live show from Nagoya at the Dolphin’s Arena (the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium) on New Japan World just two weeks after Dominion, where EVIL became double champion after turning on Tetsuya Naito, leaving LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON and joining Bullet Club. Hiromu Takahashi looks to gain revenge for EVIL’s betrayal. Takahashi is just the third IWGP Jr. Heavyweight to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Mike’s Match Ratings
- Yuya Uemera vs Taiji Ishimori – 3*
- CHAOS: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano with Gabriel Kidd vs Togi Makabe, Satoshi Kojima & Ryusuke Taguchi – 3*
- LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (LIJ): BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito vs CHAOS: Hirooki Goto, SHO & YOSHI-HASHI – 3.75*
- Master Wato, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs SUZUKI-GUN: TAICHI, Zack Sabre Jr, DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki – 3.5*
- Yujiro Takahashi vs Kazuchika Okada – 2.75*
- El Desperado vs Shingo Takagi – 4*
- Hiromu Takahashi vs EVIL – 4*
MATCH 1 – YUYA UEMERA VS TAIJI ISHIMORI
The match starts out with some good mat wrestling. The larger Uemera tried to keep up with the faster and more experienced Ishimori. This was a good opening match and Uemera even hit a cross body from the top rope. Ishimori seemed to be little off and had trouble either with Uemera’s size or inexperience.
The finish came when Uemera tried for a double arm under hook suplex that Ishimori escaped. Ishimori hit a jumping knee strike and then Cipher Utaki (a tombstone double knee facebreaker). Ishimori applied a Yes Lock and Uemera tapped out.
WINNER: TAIJI ISHIMORI in 8:02
MATCH 2 – CHAOS: TOMOHIRO ISHII & TORU YANO WITH GABRIEL KIDD VS TOGI MAKABE, SATOSHI KOJIMA & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
The highlight of this match were the interactions between Gabriel Kidd and Togi Makabe, who started the match. Kidd got to show a lot of personality while going after Makabe: yelling, slapping and showing a surprising level of disrespect towards the veteran. Kidd put Makabe in a Boston Crab and caught several near falls on the former IWGP Heavyweight champ. There was a lot of Yano and Taguchi’s patented shenanigans as well.
The finish came after Makabe hit a lariat and a bridging German suplex on Kidd. Makabe stared the Young Lion down after the match as Kidd forced himself up to get back in the veteran’s face.
WINNERS: TOGI MAKABE, SATOSHI KOJIMA & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI in 10:26
MATCH 3 – LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (LIJ): BUSHI, SANADA & TETSUYA NAITO VS CHAOS: HIROOKI GOTO, SHO & YOSHI-HASHI
Very good six man tag match that seemed to show that LIJ is back and focused as a unit. Their teamwork gave them the upper hand in this match. BUSHI and SHO started out. SHO tagged in Goto. Naito and BUSHI double teamed Goto early on, giving LIJ the advantage. SANADA later put Goto in the Paradise Lock.
LIJ triple dropkicked SHO. SHO tried for a Shock Arrow that SANADA escaped from, transitioning into Skull End which SHO escaped from, getting a roll up for a two count. SANADA reapplied Skull End, got the leg hooks in and SHO taps out.
WINNERS: LIJ in 10:31
I was surprised that SHO was the one who tapped out when YOSHI-HASHI was also in the match…
After the match, Naito stood between BUSHI and SANADA and raised their arms in victory. Naito told the ref to get back into the ring to raise their arms. Ref gets back in and raises LIJ’s arms before receiving an arm ringer by Naito and a dropkick from SANADA for his troubles.
A video package announces SUMMER STRUGGLE on August 28th at Jingu Stadium, which is an outdoor baseball stadium in Tokyo and is the home park of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. This will be NJPW’s first show in Jingu Stadium in 21 years. For more info, click here.
MATCH 4 – MASTER WATO, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, YUJI NAGATA, HIROSHI TANAHASHI & KOTA IBUSHI VS SUZUKI-GUN: TAICHI, ZACK SABRE JR, DOUKI, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & MINORU SUZUKI
As the show resumes after intermission, Tanahashi is just giving it on the air guitar. Bell rings and SUZUKI-GUN attack the faces. The ring clears and Suzuki and Nagata are the two men who start the match. Both guys just lay into each other with forearms. Nagata tries for an exploder suplex but Suzuki escapes. Master Wato and Kanemaru have an exchange. Kanemaru and DOUKI double team Wato. Tenzan steps in to help Wato and delivers Mongolian chops to Kanemaru. Wato hits a step up knee strike for a two count on Kanemaru.
Outside the ring, Sabre and TAICHI are focused on Tanahashi and Ibushi while Suzuki beats on Nagata and chokes him with a camera cable. DOUKI feeds Wato to SUZUKI-GUN outside, who beat him down and throw him back into the ring where Suzuki is waiting. TAICHI is tagged in and taunts Ibushi and Tanahashi. Wato continues to get beaten down by SUZUKI-GUN. Wato tags in Tanahashi who lays out SUZUKI-GUN. Ibushi stacks Kanemaru on top of TAICHI in the corner as Tanahashi goes to the second rope and hits a somersault senton. TAICHI kicks Tanahashi in the head and both guys tag out. Sabre and Ibushi are tagged in. They have a good exchange of submission attempts and near falls.
Everything breaks down and after everyone seemed to get into the ring one after the other, Ibushi hits the Kamigoye on DOUKI for the win.
WINNERS: MASTER WATO, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, YUJI NAGATA, HIROSHI TANAHASHI & KOTA IBUSHI in 12:56
This was a good, fast paced ten man tag match that brought the crowd back into the action after the intermission. It continued to set up Nagata vs Suzuki, Master Wato vs Kanemaru and a rematch between Tanahashi and Ibushi vs Sabre Jr. and TAICHI for the tag team titles.
MATCH 5 – SPECIAL SINGLES MATCH: YUJIRO TAKAHASHI VS KAZUCHIKA OKADA
Okada is looking for revenge after Takahashi cost him the New Japan Cup. No members of Bullet Club are out with Takahashi. Takahashi stalls and leaves the ring and Okada follows. Okada whips Takahashi into the barricade and tries to follow up but Takahashi pulls him in and hits a reverse DDT to the mats outside. Takahashi rolls back into the ring and Okada eventually rolls back in too. Takahashi beats down Okada and applies a chin lock, following it up with dropkick and a cover. Okada weakly kicks out at two. Forearm exchange and Takahashi delivers a big kick to Okada’s face for another two count.
Okada gets up and hits a shotgun dropkick, takes the advantage and hits a DDT for a two count. Okada applies a Cobra Clutch but Takahashi bites Okada’s hand. After a forearm exchange, Okada hits a dropkick and a tombstone piledriver. Okada applies another Cobra Clutch but Takahashi reaches the ropes with his foot and gets a rope break.
Gedo comes down to the ring with his tiny wrench and distracts Okada and the referee. Takahashi grabs his “pimp cane” and hits Okada in the face as Gedo distracts the ref. Takahashi hits Miami Shine for a two count. Takahashi delivers three super kicks and covers Okada, who kicks out at two. Takahashi hits a lariat for a two count. He picks up Okada, who escapes from a power bomb attempt and applies another Cobra Clutch that Takahashi escapes from by again biting Okada’s hand. Takahashi tries to hit Pimp Juice but Okada escapes using a backdrop. Gedo gets up on the apron with his brass knuckles but Okada knocks him to the floor with an elbow. Okada applies another Cobra Clutch, hits another tombstone, reapplies the Cobra Clutch and Takahashi taps out.
WINNER: KAZUCHIKA OKADA in 13:43
MATCH 6 – NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: EL DESPERADO (CHALLENGER) VS SHINGO TAKAGI (CHAMPION)
El Desperado comes to the ring with the belt around his neck after stealing it from Takagi two weeks ago at Dominion and again at New Japan Road earlier this week. Red Shoes is the referee and asks for the belt but El Desperado decides to hold onto it for now. El Desperado tries to hit the champ with the belt but Shingo ducks and delivers a clothesline to the back of Desperado’s neck. Shingo threatens to hit Desperado with the belt but instead gives the belt to Red Shoes before hitting Desperado with a shoulder block. The bell rings. Shingo hits a big vertical suplex and just manhandles Desperado through the opening stretch of the match. Desperado goes outside and Takagi follows. Shingo bounces Desperado’s head off the apron a couple of times and whips him into the barricade. The champ runs the challenger the length of the ring and drives him into the barricades again. Desperado gets the upper hand and wraps Shingo’s leg around the barricade and then hits the champ’s knee with a chair.
Back in the ring, Shingo is throwing strikes from one leg and Desperado kicks at his knee. Desperado wraps Shingo’s knee around the second rope and stands on it. Desperado hits a Dragon Screw on the damaged knee. Desperado continues to work on the knee and as the crowd claps to cheer on Shingo, Desperado mocks them.
Shingo hits a big lariat and tries to follow it up but Desperado grabs onto the ropes and won’t let go. The champ grabs both of Desperado’s lags and hits a two-legged Dragon Screw. Desperado comes back and hits a spinebuster and applies a stretch muffler to the champ’s damaged knee. Desperado tries for a Pinche Loco but Shingo escapes and hits a DDT.
Both guys are outside and Desperado grabs a chair and teases hitting Shingo with it. Red Shoes says, “No, no!” and Desperado throws the chair in the ring. As Red Shoes is distracted, he grabs the belt from the timekeeper’s table and hits Shingo with it. Desperado gets back in the ring but it takes Shingo until the count of 18 to get back in. Desperado hits a spear and tries again for Pinche Loco but still can’t hit it. Desperado reapplies the stretch muffler, turns Shingo onto his shoulders and Red Shoes counts to two as the champ kicks out. Desperado tries again to hit Pinche Loco and again can not get it. Shingo, from the mat, punches Desperado in the face and slaps him. Desperado answers with a double knee drop to Shingo’s injured knee. Back on his feet, Shingo hits a headbutt and both guys are down. The crowd claps and stomps to encourage both men. Shingo hits a big clothesline and a Made in Japan for a two count. Desperado gets a roll up for a two count. Desperado throws Shingo at Red Shoes who cowers in the corner. Desperado tries for a low blow but Shingo blocks him. The champ punches Desperado in the mouth, hits a clothesline, follows it up with a Pumping Bomber and finally, Last of the Dragon for a three count.
WINNER: SHINGO TAKAGI in 17:03
Very good match. They told a great story with El Desperado focusing his attack on the champ’s left knee and Shingo pretty much wrestling on one leg through most of the match!
Another intermission as the ring and ropes are sanitized again. Daisuke-han, the lead singer of the Japanese heavy metal band, Maximum the Hormone joins Jushin Liger and Milano Collection AT on commentary for the main event. There was a video posted earlier in the week on NJPW World where Hiromu Takahashi explained why he wanted this match and discussed his friendship with Daisuke-han.
MATCH 7 – IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL & IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: HIROMU TAKAHASHI (CHALLENGER) VS EVIL (DOUBLE CHAMPION)
Hiromu has written “EVIL” on the tape around his hands. Dick Togo, wearing a white suit and a beret, is out with EVIL. As the bell rings, Hiromu flies out of the gate, hits a shotgun dropkick on EVIL and swarms the double champ. EVIL rolls out of the ring and Hiromu follows. The challenger hits a shotgun dropkick from the apron, driving EVIL into the barricade. Hiromu gets back up on the apron, hits another dropkick from the apron and EVIL is driven into the barricade again. Both guys are back in the ring, Togo distracts Hiromu and EVIL throws Hiromu outside where Togo stomps on the challenger. EVIL goes out of the ring and grabs two chairs, placing one around Hiromu’s neck. EVIL swings the other chair into the one around Hiromu’s neck. EVIL gets back in the ring and removes a pad from one of the corners. The crowd claps to encourage Hiromu to get up and get back in the ring.
EVIL focuses his attack on Hiromu’s neck. Twice he runs Hiromu into the exposed turnbuckles. Togo continues to distract the challenger and trips him from outside as EVIL distracts Red Shoes. EVIL gets a hangman’s neckbreaker on Hiromu. Hiromu hits a hurricanrana on EVIL and when Togo gets on the apron, Hiromu knocks him down. Hiromu goes for a sunset bomb on EVIL and powerbombs the champ onto Togo outside the ring. Hiromu throws EVIL back into the ring and drives Togo into the barricade. Hiromu hits a Falcon Arrow on the champ.
On the apron, EVIL sets up for Darkness Falls but Hiromu escapes and hits a Death Valley Driver onto the apron. As EVIL is on the floor, Hiromu climbs to the top rope. After being distracted by EVIL, who tires to hide behind Yuya Uemera, Hiromu hits a double leg drop from the top rope onto EVIL, Uemera and Gabriel Kidd together on the floor.
Back in the ring, Hiromu hits a Dynamite Plunger for a two count. Hiromu chops the chest of the champ. EVIL hides behind Red Shoes and tries to get the referee to assist in a Magic Killer but Hiromu escapes. The challenger hits a shotgun dropkick to the champ, driving him into the corner. EVIL suplexes Hiromu into the ropes and Hiromu lands on his head. Clothesline by EVIL, who puts Hiromu up on the top rope. The champ hits a top rope superplex for a two count. EVIL tries for Everything is Evil but Hiromu blocks it. EVIL hits a release German suplex and Hiromu lands on his neck. However, Hiromu fires up and hits EVIL with a lariat and a German suplex of his own. EVIL hits another release German suplex; Hiromu comes back with a lariat. EVIL then sends Hiromu to Suplex City (TM) with four more German suplexes. EVIL picks up Hiromu and sets up for Everything is EVIL but Hiromu collapses.
EVIL picks up the challenger again but Hiromu shoves EVIL into the exposed turnbuckles and applies D, his triangle choke. Hiromu pulls EVIL up by his hair and tries to suplex him but can’t. He slaps EVIL until the champ drops. Hiromu slaps EVIL two more times to the face and hits a D Driver for a two count. EVIL tries to low blow Hiromu but misses. Hiromu picks EVIL up and hits a running Death Valley Driver into the corner. EVIL grabs Red Shoes and traps him in the corner and as Hiromu tries to attack EVIL, EVIL dodges and Hiromu drives Red Shoes into the exposed turnbuckles. Togo comes in and hits Hiromu with a lariat. EVIL and Togo hit Magic Killer on Hiromu. Togo goes up to the top rope but gets knocked off.
Hiromu hits Everything is Evil on the champ. Red Shoes is alive again. Hiromu hits the running Death Valley Driver into the exposed turnbuckles. The challenger hits the champ with a Timebomb and gets a two count. Hiromu screams, delivers a Timebomb 2 and just as Red Shoes is about to count three, Togo pulls the referee out of the ring. Togo gets into the ring and chokes Hiromu with a garrote. EVIL hits Darkness Falls on Hiromu, follows up with Everything is Evil and Red Shoes counts to three.
This was a very good match and Hiromu is an early candidate for wrestler of the year.
WINNER: EVIL in 33:58
After the match, Taiji Ishimori comes out, beats Hiromu down and grabs the Jr. Heavyweight belt, setting himself up as the next challenger. As Togo, Ishimori and EVIL continue to beat Hiromu down, Naito (finally) comes down to save him before getting in EVIL’s face. It looks like we will have a rematch between Naito and EVIL.
Pretty good show overall. Probably could have done with one less multi-person tag match. Okada vs Takahashi was as expected and the two title matches delivered.
Tomorrow, I will be joining Wai Ting for a Sengoku Lord POST Show on POST Wrestling’s Patreon. Let us know what you thought of the show if you watched it!