New Japan Pro Wrestling
Dominion in Osaka-Jo Hall
July 12, 2020
Watch: NJPW World
Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & Gabriel Kidd
This was your usual New Japan opening tag match involving a young lion. Nagata and Kojima worked really well here and if we need to have an old guy tag team I hope these guys get to team going forward. Especially now since Tenzan is busy with his new friend Master Wato and Nagata’s partner just retired.
LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi, SANDADA & BUSHI) def. Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) & Yota Tsuji
Hiromu showed quite a vicious edge here. All of LIJ seemed a bit depressed after the EVIL turn yesterday, which makes for some nice storytelling. Yota Tsuji has improved a lot during the year and could have a bright future ahead of him if he keeps this up.
Hiromu being all business for once is a nice change and he just takes it to poor Tsuji. This set up nicely his run-in during the main and the following challenge.
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki) def. “Way of the Grandmaster” Master Wato, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Yuya Uemura
I somewhat question the decision to have Wato be on the losing side of a match so soon after this debut. Then again it also kind of confirms that they don’t intend to protect him all that much or have some major plans for him. Nevertheless, he looked as good here as he did last night. He already looked a bit more comfortable than he did yesterday so I expect him to pick up even more as time goes on. Tenzan getting beaten up by a bunch of juniors is funny though and shows how far he has fallen now.
This Suzuki-gun trio works great together and New Japan should put the NEVER Six-Man titles on them. They have just the right amount of sleaze and have nice fluid tag moves on top of that. This match exceeded my expectations and ended being a really nice fun undercard tag. I would rank it as the third-best match on the show.
BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori) def. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto)
With the New Japan roster depleted at the moment, it seems that Yujiro will get himself a bit of a push for the time being. Ultimately this all just so he can eat a Rainmaker or tap out to the cobra clutch in Korakuen but it is more than he’s gotten in years. With restriction unlikely to ease any time soon he will likely get a spot in this year’s G1 Climax as well.
Ishimori’s style works really well with heavyweights and I wouldn’t mind seeing him face off against them more. He briefly was a heavyweight at the end of his NOAH run but obviously will never be one in New Japan. Goto continues to be the biggest geek in the promotion even with a depleted roster. Nothing can stop this man’s dork aura, not even a pandemic. Still a great worker though.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Shingo Takagi (c) def. SHO
This ruled and was easily the match of the night.
New Japan will likely keep them apart for a bit now but hopefully, they run this match again at Tokyo Dome with SHO overcoming Shingo to win the title. Their chemistry is off the charts and SHO is improving every time I see him. He just keeps adding little wrinkles all the time to make himself into a better worker.
His arm work here was superb and him daring Shingo of all people to him harder was great. Shingo was more than happy to comply with that request of course. They worked this match at a relentless pace and with some proper intensity. This felt like a proper feud and you could feel the animosity between these two men. It will be interesting to see what’s next for SHO. He is still the Jr. tag champ but with YOH out for a year he will be stripped of that soon. Personally I would prefer if he moved up to heavyweight now but I am not sure if New Japan things he is ready for that yet. El Desperado is a great choice as Shingo’s next challenger. He has been working his ass off for years while rarely getting a singles push. This matchup has a ton of potential and cements Shingo’s title reign as the current go-to for great matches in New Japan.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) defeat Golden Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi) (c)
This is the best New Japan heavyweight tag team feud in years and eventually, the match lived up to those expectations. I hope that Golden Ace stays a team despite their loss here. Their double team moves are a ton fun and they have good chemistry together. With the result in the main even I could see them do a bit more singles stuff now but I also expect New Japan to run this match again later in the year.
The beginning of the match was a bit meandering but had some fun stuff like Taichi working Tana’s hair. But once the match got going it was really good with Zack being the standout. They booked Sabre like a complete killer here, which makes sense given that he is only non-Young Lion gaijin in the promotion at the moment. Once Taichi takes off his stripper pants you know that things get serious. Although I realized that this basically makes him the Gob Bluth of New Japan. I absolutely loved the finish of this. No back and forth just Dangerous Tekkers mercilessly annihilating Tanahashi’s knees until he couldn’t even stand anymore. A very dominant win from them and I’m excited to see where they go from here. They can now put the tag titles on top as a money drawing match on secondary shows and there are a lot of fresh matchups for them.
IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Championship
EVIL def. Tetsuya Naito (c)
What was this?
That’s the way you chose to end Naito’s big title reign that you had built up for three years in this wet fart of a match against a mall goth with spiky nipples?
I hated this match even before the entire all of the interference nonsense. EVIL’s control sequence was just very plodding and boring, which makes me dread his title matches going forward. I’m not letting Naito completely off the hook here. Naito’s selling was great like always but the issue here is that he just did his normal Naito tranquilo routine. Last night, EVIL turned on Naito after being his ally for five years. After half a decade of working together, your former friend turns on you and Naito responds with no fire no real emotion from Naito besides just a shoulder shrug. I love Naito’s LIJ persona but there are moments where he needs to adapt it to fit the situation and he completely failed to do so here.
The result was an overly long boring match that turned into an overbooked mess by the end. I don’t star rate but this match was a dud.
Now I did actually like the post-match stuff. The Dick Togo reveal was not something I expected, but am very excited about it. While he has slowed down a bit Togo can still go and he makes a fun addition to BULLET CLUB. It’s funny that BULLET CLUB is now all Japanese given what the original intention of the stable was.
I also loved the Hiromu challenge afterward. He showed all of the necessary fire that Naito didn’t have.
Even with the horrible main even I would call this a good show. Everything else delivered and we had a genuinely great match in SHO vs Shingo. Go out of your way to watch that and do try and watch the Heavyweight Tag title match as well as the Suzuki-gun six-man. As for the main event skip ahead until “BUSHI” comes out like nothing before then mattered anyway.