NJPW Sakura Genesis 2018





NJPW Sakura Genesis 2018

By GARZA
From April 01, 2018

NJPW Sakura Genesis 2018

Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens) w/ vs The Young Bucks - 6/10


Bucks and BC shook hands before and after the match, but during the bells, it was all about wining. Owens and Yujiro jumped the Bucks to start the match and worked on Nick for most of the match. Matt Jackson was still selling his injured back, but it didn't come into play as much this time. Young Bucks won when Matt Jackson made Owens submit to the Sharpshooter. Good opener.

Suzuki-Gun (Taichi & Takashi Iizuka) vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) - 4.5/10


Taichi came out and as he was about to sing, his song got remixed and he wasn't sure what was going on. Ishii and Taichi started the match with chants of "Let's Go Taichi", meanwhile, outside the ring where the ref doesn't usually pay attention, Iizuka was killing Yano with a chair. Inside the ring, Taichi and Iizuka worked on Ishii, choking him with a string, eventually tagging in Yano for the hot tag. SZKG kept hitting the ref to use weapons, but it turned on them when Yano low blowed both of them, and with help with Ishii, Yano pinned Iizuka for the win. I'm gonna pretend he didn't DQ them because he was gonna fast count them. This was a Yano comedy match, so not much to it.

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championship Match
Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Michael Elgin vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Guerrillas of Destiny) (C) - 5.5/10


Elgin started the match, and from that point on he was babyface in peril, so I just got bored. Eventually get tagged in Makabe for a short little hot tag, but also ended getting worked on by the Bullet Club a bit. At the end, it was Taguchi that had the better hot tag and when it seemed he had it together, BC once again turned things around. Finish saw Tama pin Taguchi after a Gun Stun out of nowhere. It says a lot that the best part of this match was the funny stuff with Taguchi. Tama got busted open on the forehead.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, & David Finlay vs CHAOS (Jay White, Hirooki Goto, & YOSHI-HASHI) - 6.5/10


White and Finlay started the match HOT, they couldn't wait to get their hands on each other. CHAOS had control over Finlay for a while until Robinson got the hot tag and him and Goto worked together a long while. At the end, it was Tanahashi and YOSHI who got the tags. Finish saw Tanahashi pin YOSHI after the High Fly Flow, but pinning YOSHI is easy, the noteworthy thing saw Juice drop Goto with the Pulp Friction and Finlay drop White with the Stunner.

Post-match - Finlay did another challenge to White for the title, Robinson made signs at Goto that he wants a shot for the NEVER title.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, & EVIL) vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad) - 7.5/10


Naito came out with a new cool looking mask. Suzuki made his own entrance after everyone had already been introduced by the Japanese announcer, it doesn't mean anything, but even Naito was introduced with the other two LIJs. Anyway.

This match is building the KES for the tag titles and Suzuki vs Naito. The latter was a weird build since with Naito you have the whole tricking and ignoring the opponent, with Suzuki you have the whole "I don't pay attention to anyone else, I just want to kill you" thing, so when they were not brawling with each other, it was awkward seeing SANADA and EVIL trying to get Suzuki's attention. When they did work with each other, it was pretty good. Suzuki worked over Naito's legs, while Naito worked over Suzuki's head. Even when the other four were in the ring, these two never stopped brawling.

The other feud brewing here was KES going after their titles. They had a short speed vs size fight, mostly between SANADA and Smith, and later on between EVIL and Archer. Finish happened when KES dropped SANADA with the Killer Bomb to take him out, and another Killer Bomb on EVIL for the pin. Overall a great match, really chaotic, but you have no idea how excited i'm about both matches.

Post-match - KES posed with the tag titles. After the beating, Naito grabbed a mic and trying to get in Suzuki's skin, he says that the title used to mean more when he used to toss it around the ring. He invites Suzuki to come to the ring and talk from the heart. Suzuki returns to the ring and just said that Naito belongs on the floor (he was in tranquilo pose) and says the usual Suzuki-Gun Ichiban. He walks away, but before he's gone, Naito once again tries to piss Suzuki off saying that the King is always so mad, he should learn a word: Tranquilo! Suzuki storms off, no title challenges just yet.

Announcers made a huge deal about this being the first time that Naito had called out Suzuki.

G1 Climax 28 Commercial - It starts July 14 in Tokyo. Usual 19 dates. Nothing on participants yet. Slogan is "Can You Survive?"

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (C) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) vs Roppongi 3K w/Rocky Romero - 8.5/10


During Suzuki-Gun's entrance, RPG cleared the ring and jumped the champs with topes con giro. Most of the first half of the match was Suzuki-Gun and LIJ working over YOH. SHO got the hot tag and worked with Kanemaru for a while until LIJ came back in the ring, at this point RPG are going all out on both teams.

At one point, LIJ got tired of Rocky's presence outside, so they threw him inside and started beating him up, but SHO would cover him with his own body. If anything else, this led to RPG firing up against LIJ. At this point all teams just get in there and take each other out leaving Takahashi and SHO fighting, with Hiromu getting a lot of near falls, but failing due to Kanemaru pulling the ref. Desperado takes advantage of the distraction to get in, take out Hiromu, hitting the Guitarra de Angel on SHO for the pin. Really action packed match, great fighting by all involved, and not a lot of Suzuki-Gun's shtick, but it did at some points feel like it was all over the place. Can we now get two-on-two matches now?

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
"The Aerial Assassin" Will Ospreay (C) vs "The Villain" Marty Scurll - 9.5/10


Match started evenly between both men, going hold-by-hold, British style, but soon after, the match devolved into striking and Scurll's villainous tactics in order for him to gain control of the match. Scurll worked over Ospreay's head/neck. After about a third of the match being worked on, Ospreay finally made a comeback, but his neck was killing him, which he sold perfectly while executing all his spots. Scurll would regain control of the match, keeping up with the punishment on Ospreay's neck, dropping him at one point with a Tombstone outside the ring. Ospreay made one more comeback, this time going for the finishing moves. There was a really ugly Spanish fFy in the apron into the floor where Ospreay landed head first in the apron, busting himself up badly.

After a near count-out, both men make it back in the ring and they start going for the kill. Ospreay is in bad shape, but Scurll still can't put him out. Ospreay reverses a Crossface and hits the Os Cutter, but he is too injured to make the cover and the ref is going crazy for Ospreay to make the cover. Scurll hits yet another Tombstone, but he can't keep Will down for the third. Scurll goes crazy, break two dislocates two fingers, stomps on Ospreay's head and finally locks in the Crossface Chickenwing, but once again, he can't put Ospreay down. He starts going for a third Tombstone, but Ospreay reverses into a Slumdog Millionaire and an Os Cutter for the win.

This was a match that perfectly showcased the history these two have together, as they knew how to counter each other, they knew how to target each other, and overall had the chemistry to not just rely on a spotfest. This was arguably the best Scurll vs Ospreay match I've seen since their match at High Stakes years back. I wasn't; a big fan of the finish since I felt that Scurll hadn't taken enough for that pin, but overall it was an amazing match.

Post-match - Ospreay is celebrating in the ring, he can barely stand. All show, KUSHIDA had been on commentary. Ospreay grabs the mic and challenges KUSHIDA since he has already beaten Hiromu and Scurll (from WK), and so now he aims to defeat the last one to prove that it wasn't a fluke. KUSHIDA just says 'Of course'.

Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman Page) vs Golden Lovers - 8.5/10


This is the build up match for ROH's Supercard of Honor challenges between Ibushi and Page, and Cody and Omega. Omega is still sporting a black eye from the headbutt he had with Ibushi during the Strong Style Evolved match with the Bucks.

Match saw a lot of Cody avoiding Omega as much as possible, but also getting as many cheap shots as he could. He would indeed get in there once Page had either Ibushi or Omega in peril. Cody and Page got heat on Ibushi for a while, Kenny came in with the hot tag, but it didn't last long as Cody once again got some cheap shots in to kill off the momentum and becoming babyface in peril.

At one point, Cody and Page set up a table, and as they're about to put Omega through it, The Young Bucks came around ringside, with a condescending look in their face, not really trying to stop Cody, but giving enough time to Omega to save himself. Back in the ring, Cody got busted open badly over the eye (that's 3 this show), and Omega finally made the tag to Kota and they started hitting their signature moves. They kept going at it for a while, Omega teased breaking the table outside with Cody, but after a bit, it backfired and Page kicked Omega into the table. Inside the ring Ibushi is about to take out Cody, but thanks to a distraction, Cody rolls him up with the tights for the win.

It was a great match, but I actually had trouble getting into it coming off the Junior Heavyweight match, and differently from the Suzuki-Gun vs LIJ match, my excitement for the Omega vs Cody match didn't go beyond of what it was already, and I still can't find myself caring for Page.

Post-match - Page attacks Ibushi and just before Cody is about to kill him with a chair, Omega comes back and saves Ibushi.

Okada vs Sabre Build Up Video - It focused on two things, Sabre's ability to make literally anyone tap out vs Okada's defense record beating everyone in his path. I really like seeing Gedo and TAKA arguing with each other as the mouth pieces to their respective champions.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
Kazuchika Okada (C) w/Gedo vs Zack Sabre Jr w/TAKA Michinoku - 10/10


In the 650 day reign that Okada has up to this match, this probably was the one match that really stands out for showing a completely different Okada style as this time, Okada gets to show off his ability to go hold-by-hold with arguably the best technical wrestler in the world, and while Okada had some decent surprises in his arsenal since he has the Mexican lucha libre submission school, the proficiency of Sabre just showed as he was easily able to get out or counter any of Okada's moves.

Sabre worked over Okada's legs for about a third of the match, to the point that Okada must force the match into a striking one if he hopes to get control over Sabre. While Sabre doesn't back down from a striking match, Okada does gain momentum. At this point, Sabre starts working the arms in order to get control over Okada again, to counter this, Okada really starts working over Sabre's head. They finally start going for the finishing moves as Okada makes a comeback, and after several piledrivers and rainmakers (weak arms), finally puts down Sabre for the pin.

This was an interesting match up since for no reason would anyone imagine that Sabre could beat Okada, not when he's so close to breaking the defense record, not to a gaijin that is not that high in the totem pole; however, Sabre did have something going on for him as he comes off as the most prepared wrestler that Okada has faced. All the matches where Okada came close to losing were because the other guy was genuinely a great strong wrestler, but here Sabre was a guy that had thoroughly studied Okada and his offense. Sabre lost the match, but thanks to the New Japan Cup run and this match, he has been cemented as a dangerous guy that can at any point defeat anyone, because no matter the style, Sabre's style can counter anything.

I also loved how this match was built. If we look back at the past months, we not only saw Sabre submit the top guys in the company during the New Japan Cup, but prior to that, we've seen Suzuki also submit top guys, and in one particular match, we saw the referee end a match when one wrestler wouldn't submit, and that match was a title match, so at this point, we did have the antecedent that red shoes will consider the title change if Okada were to find himself dismantled and no where to go.

Post-match - TAKA, literally crying, carries Sabre away to the back. Beautiful visual. In the ring, Gedo grabs the mic saying that Sabre wasn't at the level of Okada, and that Okada has tied the record, but there is a problem, there is no more people to challenge Okada so he can break the record. Okada is then going for this 3 point promo when Tanahashi finally walks out. He says that things have changed, now it's Tanahashi that is gonna stop Okada.

Tanahashi leaves and Okada continues with his promo. He puts Sabre over saying that his submission work is on another level and that he made Okada stronger. He tells Tanahashi that he is no longer Mr. Tanahashi, he doesn't have titles, gets injured a lot, lost the New Japan Cup, and he is no match for Okada now. And lastly, he says that he will break the defense record and continue defending until 100 because no one will ever take the title away. Awesome promos.

OVERALL THOUGHTS


Another great show by NJPW, that started someone dull with the tag matches, but then it picked up and it never went down. We had to legit MOTYC this show. The Bullet Club stuff was interesting, but it was mostly build up towards the ROH SCOH show.

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