wrestling / TV Reports

Kevin’s NJPW The New Beginning In Sapporo Night Two Review

February 4, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Tetsuya Naito G1 Climax
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Kevin’s NJPW The New Beginning In Sapporo Night Two Review  

NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo
February 3rd, 2019 | Hokkaido Sports Center in Hokkaido, Sapporo | Attendance: 6,089

After a decent show on night one, NJPW was back for another edition of The New Beginning in Sapporo. With three title matches, all involving Los Ingobernables, the card is stronger than the first night on paper. The attendance jump from night one certainly seems to indicate that most people felt that way.

Toa Henare vs. Yota Tsuji
Tsuji tripped doing the Young Lion run to the ring. Henare still baffles me with how quickly he seemed to graduate from Young Lion. This was a HOSS fight between two beefy boys. They wailed on each other and threw out several slam variations. Tsuji got a chance to show off his quickness. It doesn’t often look that great because he works with quicker Young Lions, but against Henare it stood out. Obviously, Henare put him down with a Uranage in 7:07. Your standard NJPW opener for the most part. I dug the big boy battle aspects. [**¾]

Ayato Yoshida and Shota Umino vs. Manabu Nakanishi and Tiger Mask IV
I’ve praised the Yoshida/Umino tandem. They’re a lot of fun. In terms of Nakanishi, it can be hit or miss with him. Sometimes you get motivated and mobile Nakanishi. This wasn’t one of those cases. He was plodding and slow. It happens when you’re his age. Tiger Mask IV did alright to cover it up but not quite enough. He beat Yoshida with an avalanche Butterfly Suplex in 9:31. That move always looks good. A fine enough tag. [**¼]

Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Ren Narita vs. TAKA Michinoku and Takashi Iizuka
Tenzan continued to plead with Iizuka to “wake up.” I’m assuming Iizuka finally does in his retirement match. Anyway, Tenzan has called Narita his favorite Young Lion, so he enjoys teaming with him. They wrestled basically the same match on night one, but swapped Tiger Mask for Narita. It didn’t make much of a difference, though I guess I slightly preferred this one. Iizuka got disqualified for using the iron glove gimmick again in 9:47. [*½]

The Guerrillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi w/ Jado vs. NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions The Most Violent Players and Tomoaki Honma
Tama Tonga is in no way my favorite wrestler, but I will admit I prefer watching him to his brother and the perpetually awful Jado. Anyway, this is a prime example of why extending these events over multiple nights isn’t a good idea. We see the same shit over and over to build it up. It’s not fresh or original in any form. The match was indeed more of the same, from Honma as the face in peril to Tama Tonga doing his “good guy” stuff to me yawning. The highlight was again the back and forth between Taguchi and Ishimori. Their eventual singles match should be fun. Yano won with another cheap rollup in 14:15. Even with slightly different players, this was almost a carbon copy of night one. [**]

Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens and Jay White w/ Gedo vs. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI
Jay White is fresh off making Tanahashi tap out. I chuckled at how adding HASHI and Owens took this from a main event tag to a midcard six man tag. The best part about this was watching HASHI fail at getting his teammates to do a pose with him like in CHAOS matches. He’s so lame even Okada and Tanahashi are done with him. Remember when they kind of battled over him last year? Yikes. Other than a few other bits from HASHI and Owens, this was similar to night one’s main event. The finish was less notable, as Tanahashi didn’t tap out. Instead, it was YOSHI-HASHI who submitted to the TTO in 17:57. It was a bit tighter than the straight tag on night one, but HASHI is just a drag to watch. Owens was a solid addition, making up for Fale doing nothing of note. [***¼]

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: BUSHI and Shingo Takagi [c] vs. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Everyone in this match, other than Kanemaru, is enjoyable. Suzuki-Gun loves playing up their dirty tactics. It can often be grating but what has made LIJ a great foil for them is that they aren’t shy about returning the favor. LIJ aren’t a bunch of cheesy good boys. BUSHI went after Desperado’s mask just as often as Desperado went after his. I dig that dynamic. It was kind of what you expect from a Suzuki-Gun match, except that it worked in a way it usually doesn’t. Shingo was the guy who took a lot in this, selling more than we’ve ever seen from him in NJPW. He usually is powerful enough to throw his fellow juniors around. We got some great close calls late, including one where the referee was pulled out following a Pumping Bomber. BUSHI got involved for the finish, hitting Rebellion on Kanemaru to retain in 18:04. One of the better Jr. Tag Title matches in quite some time. I love the BUSHI/Shingo team. I was glad that BUSHI got the chance to shine and show everyone that he is really good. He’s been overlooked for a while now. [***¾]

IWGP Tag Team Championship: EVIL and SANADA [c] vs. Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.
Easily the most excited I’ve been for an IWGP Tag Title match in years. Four great wrestlers who all excite me with different styles. Suzuki still seemed pissed that he got put in the Paradise Lock on night one because he and Sabre jumped the champions during their entrance. Furthermore, Suzuki beat on SANADA in the crowd and choked him with his title. SANADA getting his ass kicked was kind of the theme of the match. Both Sabre and Suzuki took it to him. EVIL fared better against both opponents, playing off his win on night one. SANADA was often the face in peril and it worked as EVIL came in with the save. They hit Suzuki with the Magic Killer and SANADA beat him with the moonsault in 16:52. Interesting that Suzuki got pinned and not Sabre. I feel that’s notable. Like the Jr. tag, this was a very good match. The story told worked well and everyone involved played their part well. [***¾]

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito [c] vs. Taichi
During Naito’s entrance, he was attacked from behind by Takashi Iizuka with a ladder. That set up one of the most overly long and blown out spots I can recall. Naito was out on the ramp and they teased whether or not he’d compete. This felt like it took longer than the entire Royal Rumble. Not just the match, the event. Including the Kickoff Show. And they added a segment where Naito went backstage to heal up before coming back out for the match. Ridiculous. Once the match started, Naito did everything in his power to make Taichi look good. Bless him, the man took insane neck bumps for Taichi of all people. The closing stretch had some solid drama and close calls, where they made you believe Taichi might really take home the title. Naito still won with two Destinos in 21:31. The end was fine but getting there was rough. This wasn’t as good as their match last year and the angle around it sucked. [**½]

6.0
The final score: review Average
The 411
About on the same level as night one. There were two standout matches in the Tag Title matches because LIJ can make even the worst divisions interesting. Neither one is a MOTYC or anything, but they’re worth watching. The rest of the show could be skipped and the main event is mediocre at best.
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