NJPW New Beginning in Osaka 2020 (2/9/2020)- Osaka, Japan
TOGI MAKABE, TOA HENARE, TOMOAKI HONMA, & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. MANABU NAKANISHI, YUJI NAGATA, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, & SATOSHI KOJIMA)- 4/10
Stuff happened. Nakanishi gave a farewell speech for Osaka before his retirement in two weeks.
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Roppongi 3K(c) (w/Rocky Romero) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki)- 6/10
Roppongi 3K came out of the gate swinging. Unfortunately, this just resulted in this match doing the same thing as every Suzuki-Gun match spilling to the outside pretty much right away. This leads to the usual bullsh*t, with no count-outs unless we’re actively trying to tease one as a finish, and weapons shots in front of the referee with no DQ. This sort of sh*t kills all of my interest in the story your trying to tell about an injured knee because if heels win then it’s not because they cheated the babyfaces out of a win but rather because they cheated right in front of the referee and he didn’t care. I’m not going to get too angry at the heels for that because they’re not even trying to be sneaky; just got lucky that their cheating wasn’t penalized by a completely incompetent referee. It’s the referee who I’m going to get pissed at. Fortunately, Sho and Yoh were able to retain the titles despite an incompetent referee allowing the heels get away with anything they wanted.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
Taguchi comes out and wants a title shot, and he asks Rocky Romero to be his partner. Sho and Yoh are fine with this, because wanting to someone to actually win some matches before getting a title shot would be silly.
FINJUICE, HIROSHI TANAHASHI, & KOTA IBUSHI vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, & the Guerrillas of Destiny) (w/Jado)- 5.75/10
They did stuff. Tanahashi pinned Tanga Loa. The Guerrillas of Destiny beat him up afterwards but Kota Ibushi made the save and beat Bullet Club up all on his own.
CHAOS (Will Ospreay & Kazuchika Okada) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) (w/Miho Abe)- 6.5/10
More of the usual bullsh*t on the outside. Can I please have the rules enforced in this promotion, just once? The match was fine, but I was expecting a lot more considering the talent involved. Matches like this are one of the weaknesses of NJPW’s booking style, where Gedo basically locks himself into presenting lame duck feuds. You can get away with it if the talent delivers, and in this case, they just plain didn’t. Ospreay went after Zack’s belt after the match again, even though he lost cleanly last week.
SANADA vs. JAY WHITE (w/Gedo)- 7.75/10
After a slow start this got pretty darn great towards the end. FINALLY something worth watching. It would have been better if Sanada hadn’t yet again been a dumbf*ck and gave up a perfectly good submission hold to go for a moonsault, only to miss.
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Hiromu Takahashi(c) vs. Dragon Lee- 8.25/10
They repeated that AWFUL spot where Kensuke and Kobashi chopped each other for about four straight minutes. I thought these two did a little better than Kensuke and Kobashi, but I still got bored with it well before they stopped. The repeated German Suplex spot worked a bit better, in my opinion, and I liked the way they did the fighting spirit-type stuff there (i.e. they did actually sell while still being tough and getting up), but I still think it would have worked just as well if they had cut four German supelxes off of the sequence.
They had a mixed story of a battle of wills and the idea that these two know each other so well, plus their usual flippy and daredevil spottiness. That last part definitely got old quick, as it felt like they were just taking turns doing spots rather than having actual transitions at times, but on the whole, this was the usual awesome craziness. I was actually pretty disappointed that Hiromu retained, simply because he’s only been back for five weeks and has already not only recaptured the title, but also vanquished his career rival who broke his neck and almost killed him during a match. What’s he going to do now? This feels like a match that should have been saved for Dominion, and they’ve blown the heat off already.
IWGP UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: Jon Moxley(c) vs. Minoru Suzuki- 6.75/10
We start off with Kevin Kelly completely misusing the phrase “mutually assured destruction.” Specifically that second part. I would hope that Kevin will feel like an idiot when this match ends and one of these men is left standing, and thus will learn his lesson to not say dumb sh*t, but it’s been years now, so I’m not holding my breath.
Kevin also gave us this whole spiel about how no matter what illegal thing these two do to each other, Red Shoes will never call for the bell because he knows both guys will beat him up. Okay… well here are two possible solutions for that each took me about two seconds to think up:
1. Have a bunch of security on hand so that the referee can do his job correctly without fear of being assaulted by the competitors. That seems like a pretty basic security measure to have in a combat sport.
2. If Kevin Kelly can figure out that these two are going to use weapons whether it’s legal or not and that they’ll hurt the referee if he tries to enforce the rules then surely President Harold and everyone else running the company should be able to figure it out as well, so why not just BOOK THIS AS A NO DQS MATCH?! That way you not only avoid setting the precedent that wrestlers can intimidate referees into letting them break the rules but you also make the show seem bigger with a gimmick match that might actually sell you a few extra tickets!
So the bell rings and they’re fighting out the outside and hitting each other with sh*t. Suzuki eventually gets Moxley up on a table for a Piledriver… and Red Shoes starts counting them out. Are you telling me that Red Shoes calling for a DQ would drive these two to violently assault the referee… but they’d be fine with a count-out? F*ck off.
And if Red Shoes is so afraid he’ll get beaten up for calling for a DQ, why is he even applying a five-count or stopping people from trying to use weapons?
This whole thing really isn’t even Kevin Kelly’s fault. He’s just trying to preemptively come up with any explanation he can to cover up the fact that there is absolutely no consistency in the enforcement of the rules in this company, and when the wrestlers or referee then do something that contradicts the explanation that Kevin just gave us, he comes out of it looking like an idiot.
Would it have been that f*cking difficult to just make this a no DQs match? The wrestlers could have the same exact f*cking match, but it wouldn’t drive people like me nuts and it wouldn’t force your announcers into a situation where they inevitably wind up damaging their credibility! What would be lost by doing so? Is there really someone out there who only thinks it’s cool when the wrestlers use weapons in regular matches but not in no DQs match because in regular matches they’re being rebellious? If this type of hypothetical moron does exist, they’re probably so obsessed with being rebellious that they’ll always stream your product instead of paying for it, so their opinions should be discounted.
There was some good stuff in here, but the negatives dragged it down very far. In one of the dumbest spots you’ll see all year, Moxley ran into the barricade as if they were ropes that could give him extra momentum on his running forearm. You know… because metal is famous for its elastic force. I also really hate the spots where guys smash weapons on their own heads to prove to me how tough and crazy they are. How about trying to win the match instead?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Zack Sabre Jr. ran out and choked Moxley out. The match should be good, but it’s going to be a match where not only do I not think there is a chance of the US Title changing hands but also is almost certainly going to result in Zack not defending the RevPro belt, meaning that he’ll be keeping that thing for even longer, and doing a job that won’t ever be followed up on.
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE & IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Tetsuya Naito(c)(c) vs. KENTA- 7/10
Bullet Club all came out to ringside with KENTA but Red Shoes threated to wave the match off if they didn’t leave. Okay…
1. Are you telling me that Red Shoes, who almost never calls for DQs no matter what happens and gives the wrestler an insane amount of lenience on count-outs because- as Kevin Kelly always tells us- the fans would be so disappointed to have the match end in such a manner, is willing to just call off a main event world title match before it even starts if one wrestler’s buddies don’t leave the ringside area?
2. If that’s the case then it begs the question of why he doesn’t do this in EVERY match in which known interlopes like Jado, Gedo, and Kanemaru are on the outside.
Would it really have been that hard to just do a spot early on where you tease Bullet Club interfering but then Naito’s buddies in LIJ run out and they all brawl to the back? That way you both get over the idea that LIJ is a cohesive unit as well as solve the problem of Bullet Club being on the outside without opening up a can of worms!
And speaking of Bullet Club members being on the outside, the bell rings and KENTA quickly goes to the outside to stall. And he stayed there. Then teased getting back into the ring but didn’t. Then he finally did get back into the ring, but then went right back to the outside. Over and over and over again, for THREE MINUTES AND FIFTY-FIVE SECONDS. And not once did Red Shoes even start to count him out.
Then they locked up, KENTA gets pushed back to the ropes, resulting in a rope break… and he rolls right back to the outside. We get another forty seconds or so of stalling before KENTA tries to get back into the ring but Naito has had enough and knocks him off the apron, then hits the ropes full speed and charges towards KENTA… and then hits the ropes again, does his stupid role and lands in his stupid pose in the middle of the ring. STOP F*CKING STALLING!
Then KENTA charges into the ring to try to catch Naito while he’s doing his pose but Naito rolls out of the ring and now he’s the one walking around on the outside stalling. Five minutes have elapsed since the opening bell and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. They haven’t even traded wristlocks! F*ck this sh*t! It’s looking like one of those terrible Christopher Daniels draws from 2005 that started with thirty minutes of gaga.
I didn’t despise this match or anything, but I think if they had kept it tighter and not spent so much time on the outside (both stalling and doing other things without getting counted out), it would have been much better. The last five minutes or so were great and the story of working over Naito’s neck was told well, but this was fifteen minutes of good stuff in a thirty-six-minute match.
POST-MATCH STUFF- fine
Naito having the title means that he and stablemate Hiromu Takahashi will face off at the Anniversary Show in the traditional match-up of heavyweight champion vs. junior heavyweight champion.
This was a shockingly bad show from New Japan. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it’s definitely one of the worst big shows I’ve seen from New Japan… and this one only had two throw-away undercard matches rather than the usual four or five we get from their worst big shows. The top of the card especially completely failed to deliver, and I’m not really excited about any of the directions they have teased. Hopefully things get better.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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Hold #712: ARM BAR!
FIP in 2005
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FIP in 2005
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