This is final night of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestling Dontaku tour, a tour that was capped off with two big nights. The show previous to this was also in Fukuoka and headlined by two title matches, the Never Openweight Championship and the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. FULL RESULTS HERE.
Our commentary team for this show is; Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, Chris Charlton & Gino Gambino.
Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs Ren Narita & Shota Umino
- Narita still has his shoulder taped up due to a sprain. These young lion matches often look stiff as they always give it everything. Shota Umino pins Tsuji with a bridging fisherman’s suplex. Winners: Shota Umino and Ren Narita in 7:35.
Jeff Cobb, Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Toa Henare & YOSHI-HASHI vs Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taka Michinoku & El Desperado
- For the first time in a long time, Suzuki-gun didn’t start with a jump start. It wasn’t long until Taguchi Japan got the upper hand on Taka. Just as quickly Suzuki-gun got the better of YOSHI-HASHI and beat him down for a while. Suzuki hits YOSHI-HASHI with a chair and it flips up and hits him in the head too. Cobb tags in and suplexs everyone, including Kanemaru and Desperado at the same time. Toa Henare tried to show that he is worthy of a shot at the Never Openweight championship but couldn’t get the win on Taichi. Taichi kicked Henare’s head off with a superkick for the win. Winners: Suzuki-gun; Taichi, Minoru Suzuki, Kanemaru, Desperado and Taka Michinoku in 11:15.
Jyushin Thunder Liger, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano vs Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & JAdo
- Jado started with Liger and, after a lot of temping and convincing, got Liger to shake his hand. Tama and Tanga run in immediately as Liger shakes Jado’s hand, they continue to beat down Liger and his team for a couple of minutes. Liger tags in Togi Makabe and the Unchained Gorilla takes it to the tag team champions, Tama and Tanga. Toru Yano does his usual shtick but is sent into the exposed buckle. Yano sends Jado into the ref, low blows him and rolls Jado up for the finish. Yano pins Jado. Winners: Yano Toru, Jyushin Thunder Liger and Togi Makabe in 7:40.
Gedo, Hikuleo, Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, Jay White vs Tomoaki Honma, Hirooki Goto, Mikey Nicholls & Juice Robinson
- Chase runs in and attacks Goto while Goto is waiting for Jay White but it doesn’t last. After the brief onslaught by Chaos, Bullet club took over and began to get the heat on Honma. Hikuleo chops the hell out of Honma, they are very loud. Juice finished Hikuleo off with a Juice punch and a Pulp Friction. Not a great match but it was everything you’d expect from these guys in this situation. After the match Hikuleo was so upset he through a bottle at the floor and it bounced up and hit him in the head, he no-sold it and moved on. Winners: Chaos; Juice, Mikey Nicholls, Goto and Honma in 11:53.
Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo vs Will Ospreay & Dragon Lee
- El Phantasmo(ELP) is the new member of New Japan and of Bullet Club. He is a Canadian wrestler who has recently been working in the UK, Kevin Kelly brings up his matches for Rev Pro. Will tries to shake the hand of ELP but ELP too sweets him on the head. ELP shows off some of his great high flying, body control and rope walking against Ospreay. Quick tags but Bullet club as they take on Ospreay. Dragon Lee tags in against Ishimori, they exchange some intense knees, forearms and other strikes. Ospreay and ELP tag back in and Ospreay seems to get the better of ELP briefly. ELP hits a superkick on Ospreay as he is in mid-air. ELP pins Ospreay with a pedigree-like move at the ten minute point. Very good match. Winners: El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori in 10:00.
Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs SHO, YOH & Kota Ibushi
- Naito and Ibushi start the match and the crowd is so hot for this. There is some great exchanges in this, from Naito/Ibushi to Ibushi/Shingo, and Shingo/SHO. These are really fun matches with some really good wrestling that builds up future matches. Naito delivers a Gloria bomb onto Ibushi’s head, right on the top of his head. R3K double team Naito but Naito fights back and eventually hits the Destino on YOH to end a wonderfully high-octane bout. Winners: Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI and Shingo Takagi in 13:48.
After the match, Naito grabs a microphone and challenges Kota to an Intercontinental Championship match at the Osaka Jo-hall on June 9th at the Dominion show and Kota accepts.
The Ace of New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi makes his return since he got injured and had to have surgery on his left elbow. Tanahashi has something to say and that is, he wanted to wrestle but he cannot. Tanahashi will be at the finals of the Best of the Super Jrs. Tanahashi looks to become the IWGP Heavyweight champion once again. Jay White comes to the ring to tell Tanahashi that he is at the back of he line, while Jay White is the next champion. Jay attacks Tanahashi but it is broken up by young lions.
Tomohiro Ishii vs EVIL
- This starts like their previous encounters, with a barrage of shoulder tackles, followed by constant forearms. EVIL gets the upper hand early on and takes it to ringside. EVIL goes for Ishii’s leg but Ishii begins to fight back. EVIL chops the hell out of Ishii and gets the better of Ishii once again. Ishii powers back after getting slapped by EVIL. Ishii goes to powerslam EVIL but doesn’t get the rotation he wanted and EVIL landed on his head. Ishii gives EVIL a superplex which looked really good. EVIL suplexes Ishii into the corner and Ishii rolls outside in pain. EVIL puts a chair on Ishii’s head and bats it of with another chair. Back in the ring, EVIL gives Ishii a superplex then gets Ishii in a Scorpion Deathlock but somehow Ishii gets to the ropes. EVIL tries to use misdirection to lariat Ishii but Ishii lariats EVIL then locks in a Scorpion Deathlock of his own. Ishii now targets the leg of EVIL. EVIL fights back as they trade headbutts, German suplexs and lariats. Eventually, after giving everything, they both fall back into opposite corners. They begin to trade headbutts, clotheslines and suplexs again. Finally, EVIL seemed to run out of steam and Ishii hits a brainbuster for the win. Ishii sells the back and leg then hobbles out. Winner: Tomohiro Ishii in 23:08.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match – Kazuchika Okada(c) vs SANADA
- This starts slow with some wrist locks. After five minutes, these two are coming up pretty even as they trade leg sweeps into kip ups. SANADA gets Okada in the Paradice lock and dropkicks his ass to release him. About fifteen minutes in, Okada fights back with a diving uppercut. SANADA heads outside after a DDT. Okada kicks SANADA over the barrier and into the VIP section, Okada delivers a running crossbody over the barrier and into the barrier behind him. Okada grabs his knee is pain but doesn’t want to sell it. SANADA hits a dropkick and Okada rolls out, SANADA immediately dives on Okada. Minutes later, Okada delivers a brutal looking elbow drop and calls for the rainmaker but it is reversed. Okada goes for a tombstone, SANADA reverses it into Skull End but Okada reveses that into a tombstone piledriver and lands it. After some back-and-forth, SANADA comes out on top again and tries the moonsault but Okada moves. Okada hits a spinning rainmaker and goes for the finish but is reversed again and SANADA gets Skull End on the champion. Okada pulls himself out of the Skull End twice and attempts to get the rope but is pulled back in by SANADA. SANADA hits the moonsault to the back of Okada then quickly goes back up for another the the chest but Okada gets his knees up. Both back to their knees, Okada and SANADA trade strikes. Okada goes for two consecutive rainmakers but SANADA ducks both and hits one of his own. Okada finally hits the rainmaker to finish off SANADA and retains his IWGP Heavyweight championship for the first time on his fifth reign as champion. Winner: Kazuchika Okada in 38:03.
After the match Okada made a lighthearted speech about his next opponent and making everyone love professional wrestling, then his next opponent made himself known. Chris Jericho will face Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight championship in Osaka on Dominion.
That was another really good show from NJPW but it was quite long. I really enjoy New Japan so long isn’t too bad for me but my recommendation for you, if you are short on time, the last four matches were excellent, especially the main event.
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