NJPW New Beginnings in Sapporo 2018 - 1.28





NJPW New Beginnings in Sapporo 2018 - 1.28

By GARZA
From January 28, 2018

NJPW New Beginnings in Sapporo 2018 - 1.28

Seven Match Trial, Third Match
Katsuya Kitamura vs Juice Robinson - 5.5/10


Similar to the other Trial matches with Kitamura having a good showing, but ultimately being too green for his opponents. I didn't like this match this as much since I don't think Robinson should at any point out-strength Kitamura, but as the match progressed it told me a better story. To me the Trial matches should be a learning run for Kitamura, each match should teach him something like strength (Elgin), heart (Robinson), killer instinct (White), so I did kinda like how Juice at first wouldn't give in to KItamura's offense, but later on, Kitamura would also kick out until he couldn't respond to the 3rd count after the Pulp Friction.

Suzuki-Gun (Taichi w/Miho Abe, El Desperado, Taka Michinoku, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger, Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Shota Umino - 4.5/10


Taichi did get to sing tonight, he had to come alone and well before the other guys came out. To begin the match, Taguchi tried to sexually harass Miho Abe and all SZKG valiantly came in defense of the damsel in distress, so from the get go the match got chaotic and they all brawled around the ring. Once inside the ring, Liger was worked on but made a good comeback, Tiger had a great run with Desperado before SZKG started working on his mask and kept at it for most of the rest of the match until Shota Umino took the hot tag and along with all babyfaces, they got the match back in control, but at the end, Taichi was too much for Umino and pinned him after a superkick. Not a better match than the one yesterday, but I did like Tiger Mask's run.

Post-match - Taichi stole Tiger Masks' mask and gave it to Miho that looked quite cute. Taguchi tried to save Mask, but they all stomped on him, including Miho that stabbed him on his balls with her high heels. I'm sure it wasn't on purpose, but that's how it turned out.

Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Hikuleo) vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) - 5.5/10


Hikuleo is the now former Leo Tonga, I'm ok with a new name for him since we already have enough 'Tonga' in the roster. This was a nothing match, Bullet Club had heat on Yano for a while and it all built to Ishii getting Hikuleo into the brainbuster, which unfortunately wasn't the finish, which went back to Yano who rolled up Hikuleo. I do enjoy seeing Yujiro get some offense now and then, so it wasn't all bad.

Bullet Club (Guerrillas of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale, & Chase Owens) vs Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi, & Tomoyuki Oka - 5.5/10


This was mostly the same thing as the previous Suzuki-Gun match except there was no awesome Tiger Mask run and this time they got heat on Nakanishi. There was a cool tease between Nakanishi and Fale, but since neither can healthily lift each other, it worked up to a back-toss and that was it. Finish saw Owens pin Oka with a Package Piledriver.

Michael Elgin & Henare vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) w/Suzuki-Gun - 6/10


Oh man, don't tell me Elgin is Suzuki's first challenger, i'll die of boredom. Usual Suzuki-Gun match with the brawl opening. SZKG got heat on Henare for a while, Elgin came in for the save and went at it with both Suzuki and Iizuka, at the end Henare came in to get submitted by Suzuki with the same knee bar that he applied on Tanahashi last night, but Henare doesn't have the fighting spirit of our ace, so he tapped in less than a second.

Post-match - Suzuki-Gun all gang up on Henare, but Makabe makes the save, so it seems like it will be Makabe that challenges Suzuki first. I definitely rather watch Makabe vs Suzuki than Elgin vs Suzuki right now.

Bullet Club (Cody, Hangman Page, & Marty Scurll) vs Kota Ibushi, KUSHIDA, & David Finlay - 6.5/10


Once again, the match was really focused on getting Hangman Page over, he was the one doing the SSPs to the outside and getting heat on Finlay, and to even further this push, Page pinned KUSHDIA and not Finlay; meanwhile, Cody and Scurll just played being eccentric villains, Cody particularly taunting Ibushi left and right. Ibushi got the hot tag and went against all BC and for a while it seemed like he had their number, but at one point he had to get KUSHIDA in. Good match, good sequences with everyone involved.

Los Ingobernables de Japon vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Will Ospreay, & Gedo) - 8/10


YOSHI is still pissed from last night, so he went straight for Naito and beat the living shit out of him, but he's still a geek, because it didn't take long for Naito to get back on top. Since this match is building four different feuds, we constantly see these pairings fight off aroudn the ring while another takes place inside the ring, EXCEPT for Okada and SANADA that would work with the lower junior of the teams.

We had a GREAT Ospreay vs Hiromu run, an ok EVIL vs Goto one, and a good SANADA vs Okada one with the champ being a complete dick to SANADA. Finish saw Gedo get in the match with SANADA, he got a slight amount of offense, but ended up tapping out to SANADA's

Post-match - YOSHI-HASHI once again attacks Naito and Naito once again ignores him, actually the whole LIJ ignored him, CHAOS had to drag him off. But most importantly, SANADA TALKED!!! HE HAS AN AWESOME PROMO VOICE! GIVE THIS MAN THE TITLE!



IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Roppongi 3K w/Rocky Romero vs The Young Bucks (C) - 9/10


Bucks are mentioning '7-Time Champions" too much, so i'm guessing they're losing tonight. They're also keeping the whole Young Boy thing going against RPG3K. Story of the match was that early on, the Bucks tried to powerbomb Romero in the ramp, but RPG saved him, after a little brawl in the ramp, Matt Jackson did a tope con giro from the ramp onto everyone that was under the stage, he landed the move seemingly perfect, but he suddenly starts grabbing his back as if he compressed a muscle while landing. Back in the ring he seems ok, but suddenly buckles under the weight of YOH while trying to power bomb him, he makes the tag and we have the ref and doctors checking him. Up to this point, it looks perfect because they're moving the camera away from Matt buckling or being checked on. He's still trying to work like normal, but you can tell he's hurting, until YOH sends him out the ring and he lands on his side on the apron, and now he's not pretending to be OK.

At that point, the whole Bucks game plan break down, Matt can barely move and Nick is having trouble fighting off both RPGs until they straight up take him out. RPG work on Matt for a long while, coming close to finishing him, but Nick makes it back in the match and single-handedly takes out both SHO and YOH, so that when Matt is back the match feels more balanced, but the Bucks can't take out RPG either. Finish comes when Matt locks in the Sharpshooter on YOH, but Matt can't keep the position that lock requires and stumbles to the floor releasing the YOH. He goes for another, and YOH rolls him up for the pin. GREAT story, and they say The Bucks don't know psychology.

The idea that these teams have mostly been able to win their matches only when the other team gets injured mid-match is an interesting thing that makes me hope that they'll now stay away from each other until both teams are perfectly healed, and it actually does warrant the quick title changes we've had. I think this is the perfect time to introduce a new contending team, even Suzuki-Gun at this point.

IWGP United States Championship Match
"The Cleaner" Kenny Omega (C) w/Nick Jackson vs "Switchblade" Jay White - 9.5/10


A similar situation as last night is going on that Kenny, even though we got 'Main Event Kenny' tonight, he's still not fully taking Jay White seriously, and soon after, this becomes a costly mistake for Omega. Jay White worked on Omega's back from early in the match. Kenny also started working White's upper back/neck after he started making a slow comeback.

This match has three different parts in it, the initial that I mentioned with White's dominance, then the second when Omega makes the full comeback into dominance, and if you saw the match, you know exactly which knee and powerbomb made the turn, and finally, when Omega thinks he has White done, and White starts to laugh off the pain and makes his own comeback, i'd say we start the third, with several exchange of finishers, including a second Switchblade that Kenny wasn't able to kick out. The Elite has lost all their titles tonight.

This was by far a better breakout performance for Jay White, this is the match he really needed at Wrestle Kingdom. I'm not so sure Page [read below] will be a good follow up since I can't imagine it will be a barn burner, but it will at least be a good first defense for White. Time-wise, that match may make it to the US shows in march.

Okada was on commentary during this match and he has a face that he doesn't know what's going on.

Post-match - Hangman Page comes out, he snatches the title from White's hands in an obvious challenge. White can barely stand, but Omega comes in and gets between them, takes the title from Page and hands it off to White. Page and White kinda get in each other's dace and out comes Cody. Cody is bragging that this is Page's moment and Kenny needs to step aside. Scurll is now out here too. Cody and Kenny are getting in each other's face like Dominion last year. In all the chaos, Kenny accidentally shoves the injured Matt Jackson. Kenny seems incredibly sorry, the Bucks broken hearted walk away. Scurll and Page walk out saying Cody and Omega should deal with this. Everything seems to be ok like we've seen for months now. They shake it off and as Kenny is leaving the ring, Cody drops him with HUGE CROSS RHODES!!

Scurll and Page come back. Scurll is defending Omega, Cody is brainwashing Page. Cody grabs Kevin Kelly's chair and as he is about to kill Kenny, OUT RUNS IBUSHI!! IBUSHI!! Crowd goes wild! Everyone bails leaving Ibushi and Omega, Ibushi helps Omega up, everyone pleas for Kenny to take Ibushi's hand. At first Omega denies the hand shake from Ibushi, they turn each other's back, but they quickly turn back and embrace! LOVE WINS! GOLDEN LOVERS!! I'm crying of happiness!!

AWESOME ANGLE! This was built since Ibushi vs AJ Styles and Omega vs Okada II. Awesome payoff. No one from Bullet Club Japan was out for this angle, so I don't know what it will mean for them, but we know Tama Tonga has never liked The Elite nor NJPW US.

Okada still has no idea what he just saw.

OVERALL THOUGHTS


A really dull show that will be forever remembered for how memorable that ending angle was. The final three matches are worth watching, and the ending angle is a MUST SEE for the year.

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