Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Results: NJPW Summer Struggle in Jingu

New Japan Pro-Wrestling returns to Meiji Jingu Stadium for their first outdoor wrestling event in 21 years, as the Summer Struggle 2020 tour comes to a head.

Watch on NJPW World with a paid subscription. Live English and Japanese commentary available. This event will have reduced attendance capacity to comply with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

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Start Times (August 29, 2020): 1AM Pacific, 4AM Eastern, 9AM UK, 5PM Japan, 6PM East Australia

NJPW Summer Struggle in Jingu Results

Yoshinobu Kanemaru def. Master Wato (7:31)
The atmosphere of an outdoor show in daylight, albeit the sun beginning to set, was enjoyable and novel for me. Kanemaru dominated the match early, using strikes and holds to wear down his more energetic opponent, for whom this is only his second match since returning in early July. Wato took control with a dropkick to the outside and a plancha. His ability was never in question, just this persona and look of his was the subject of criticism and some humor. Kanemaru pushed Wato into the referee and tried to spit whiskey in his face, but Wato kicked the bottle out of his hand before he could. Wato was on the verge of winning, about to set up his corkscrew senton, but Kanemaru grabbed his legs and rolled him into a flash pin for the three count.

KOPW 2020 Final Four Way Match: Toru Yano def. Kazuchika Okada, SANADA, El Desperado (7:01)
Toru Yano was visibly distraught by the smoke machines as he made his entrance. I’ve never seen a four way match involving heavyweights in my time watching NJPW, but this brought something novel and interesting. Wrestlers from different factions working together to break up other wrestlers’ pinfalls, and wrestlers from the same faction working together, and then turning on each other when one went for the pinfall. Okada and Yano engaged in the latter, and it was sufficiently amusing. SANADA caught Okada in the skull end, but El Desperado broke it up with a top rope splash. Okada caught Desperado with the cobra clutch, but Toru Yano snuck up on Okada from behind, hit him with a blow blow, then rolled him up for the victory! Toru Yano is the provisional KOPW 2020 Champion.

The KOPW 2020 trophy is amusingly small.

NEVER Openweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki def. Shingo Takagi (c) (14:56)
People have been looking forward to seeing Shingo and Suzuki in a straight up fight, but it was not before long that Suzuki’s cunning was on display, as he bullied Shingo around the outside of the ring, slamming him into barricades. As the match returned to between the ropes, Shingo fired back up with his powerful strikes and throws. Perhaps Suzuki had the advantage in pain tolerance too, as he ate Suzuki’s strikes and came up laughing. From there, Suzuki fought back with headbutts, and put Shingo in the sleeper hold. He looked for the Gotch piledriver again, but Shingo slipped out of it, and came off the ropes looking for the Pumping Bomber, but Minoru Suzuki slowed his roll with a dropkick. The two of them continued to exchange strikes and headbutts, which resounded loudly even in the open air stadium. After a particularly blunt sounding elbow strike, Suzuki applied the sleeper hold again and hit the Gotch-style piledriver for the 3 count! Minoru Suzuki is now a two-time NEVER Openweight Champion!

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori def. Hiromu Takahashi (c) (13:30)
This match had a thunderous start, as Hiromu and Ishimori came at each other with all the energy they had, moving fast enough that neither of them could catch each other. But something had to give, and Ishimori was able to throw himself into a La Mistica, putting pressure down on Hiromu’s left shoulder, which is in poor shape as a result of Ishimori’s attacks on it in recent weeks. Hiromu tried to fight back by hitting the sunset flip powerbomb with his opponent on the apron, but Ishimori backflipped out of it and continued to press the advantage. Frustrated, Hiromu ripped all the supportive tape all his shoulder. He tried to throw a running Ishimori into the turnbuckle pad, but Ishimori was able to catch himself, only to fail to do so after Hiromu tried it again. The two madmen traded German suplexes, and Hiromu floored him with a lariat and the Dynamite Plunger. Hiromu kept the pressure on, but Ishimori granted himself a few moments of rest when he hit the Cipher Uteki. He hit the La Mistica again into the Yes Lock, but Hiromu was able to get a free hand on the ropes to break the hold. Ishimori set up the Bloody Cross, but Hiromu got out of it, only for Ishimori to put him down again with a lariat. He tried the Bloody Cross again, but Hiromu stopped the lift, then brought Ishimori to his shoulders and hit a death valley bomb into the turnbuckle pad. He hit the Time Bomb, but Ishimori kicked out at two! He tried for the Time Bomb II, but Ishimori blocked it and hit a move I’ve never seen before, the reverse Bloody Cross. He applied the Yes Lock again and Hiromu submitted! Taiji Ishimori is now a two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.

IWGP Tag Team Championship: Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) (c) def. Golden Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi) (16:01)
As the sky turned dark, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi entered to new mashup entrance music.These two teams, some of the most high-profile to fight for the IWGP Tag Team Championships in recent memory, have been at each other’s throats ever since NJPW began having shows again in June. As such, they know what to expect of each other more than ever. Furthermore, the dynamic between Golden Ace has been brought into question; Ibushi questioned his faith in Tanahashi as a partner after he took the losing fall at Dominion, but they have since reassured the public that they are fine. As Ibushi and Taichi were about to begin, Tanahashi called out that Zack was sneaking up behind Ibushi. Dangerous Tekkers focused their double team offense on Tanahashi, meaning perhaps they thought he was the weak link of the team as well. Ibushi ran wild after getting tagged in, hitting a running shooting star press on a prone Taichi. Ibushi and Taichi engaged each other in a battle of kicks under the lights. After Ibushi hit a brutal high kick, he tagged in Tanahashi, who delivered repeated dragonscrew leg whips to Zack Sabre Jr, and then to Taichi, with the aid of Ibushi. Zack slowed Tanahashi’s roll with the Jim Breaks Armbar, but was interrputed by Taichi, who had pulled out the Iron Finger from Hell. Ibushi kicked him in the face nonchalantly and continued on. Tanahashi hit the High Fly Flow on Zack Sabre Jr., and climbed to the top rope for another, but Zack moved out of the way. From that point, Taichi ran in, and they together hit the Zack Mephisto on Tanahashi for the pinfall victory. Dangerous Tekkers retain the IWGP Tag Team Championships. Kota Ibushi looked absolutely distraught, and perhaps disappointed yet again.

IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Championship: EVIL (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito (26:20)
EVIL had a very cool entrance, emerging from the dugout in pitch-blackness, with the stadium lights turned off, as if entering from “The Darkness World” if you will. EVIL controlled the match early on, as well-timed help from Dick Togo enabled him to take advantage of the leader of the unit he used to be a part of. Naito came back multiple times, but Dick Togo was continually a thorn in his side. It’s unknown whether Naito, like Hiromu, has insisted to the rest of LIJ that he fight his own battle regardless of the circumstances, but he could really use their help in these circumstances. Naito’s comebacks continued to garner thunderous applause, and he looked to be making the most progress yet before EVIL pushed the referee into an exposed turnbuckle, and Dick Togo came in again to attack Naito. He and EVIL hit the Magic Killer on Naito, prompting heavy boos. BUSHI ran in and fought off the two of them, but Gedo was also there to take out BUSHI. EVIL brandished a chair as Naito rose to his feet, but Naito kicked it away before Dick Togo came in and choked him with a wire. SANADA ran in and he and BUSHI fought off everyone, hitting simultaneous planchas on Togo and Gedo. EVIL and Naito rose to their feet, and Naito hit the running Destino for a near fall. Naito hit the Destino again, but EVIL blocked it and hitting a mule kick. EVIL went for his self-named finish, but Naito managed to block it. EVIL tried to hit Naito in the groin again, but Naito blocked his hand and slapped him in the face before hitting the Valentia. Finally, he hit the Destino for the three count. Tetsuya Naito is IWGP Heavyweight Champion and IWGP Intercontinental Champion again!

As he always does after winning in a main event, Tetsuya Naito performed the roll call of Los Ingobernables de Japon, emphasizing not mentioning EVIL. A firework display began, and Naito posed under the dazzling night sky.

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