Today, New Japan Pro-Wrestling will hold their first wrestling event in 110 days. Since late February, the promotion has cancelled all events as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, with testing of workers and staff, and approval of the Japanese government, that hiatus ends today.
NJPW Together Project Special Results
Yota Tsuji def. Gabriel Kidd (8:43)
Even without a crowd, the fire of young lions often leaps off the screen. The noise of the commentary, the ring, the grunts and growls of the wrestlers, and their hard strikes more than compensated for the lack of an audience to react. Yota Tsuji hit a spear and then submitted Gabriel Kidd with a Boston crab.
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) def. Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura (12:57)
Yuya Uemura has clearly gained muscle mass over the last several months. Ishii and Uemura attacked the Suzuki-gun junior heavyweights before the bell rang. The main focuses of this match were Suzuki-gun beating down Uemura together, followed by Ishii fending off both of them by himself. Suzuki-gun worked together to attack Ishii’s knee. After taking him out of commission, they systematically dismantled Yuya Uemura in similar fashion. El Desperado submitted Yuya Uemura with a Numero Dos, a stretch muffler.
Ishii did some squats outside of the ring to show El Desperado that his knee wasn’t affected that much. Tomorrow, June 16th, Tomohiro Ishii faces El Desperado in the first round of the New Japan Cup, as does Yuya Uemura against Yoshinobu Kanemaru on June 17th.
Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro Takahashi, Gedo & Jado) def. Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma (13:20)
Toru Yano entered with a disinfectant spray bottle instead of his usual spitting water, as compliant with NJPW safety regulations. YOSHI-HASHI entered with new black and red gear that says “Get Back Up” on one leg, which I’m convinced is a rib. Yano immediately went to remove the turnbuckle, while Jado brandished a kendo stick. They dared each other to drop their weapon first. Honma missing the second-rope Kokeshi was surprisingly impactful considering the lack of reaction, but this gave Yujiro the opening he needed to secure the victory. Yujiro Takahashi pinned Tomoaki Honma with the Pimp Juice DDT.
The New Japan Cup fixtures for this match are as follows: Toru Yano versus Jado (6/16), Taiji Ishimori versus Gabriel Kidd (6/17), and Hirooki Goto versus Yujiro Takahashi (6/23).
During the intermission to disinfect the ring and the ringside area, a vignette played for a new wrestler coming to NJPW. It only referred to them as “The Grandmaster.”
Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI) (13:33)
Tenzan and Kojima looked much more well-rested than they did prior to this hiatus. Kojima and EVIL took each other on in a battle of brawn. Failed attempt at the Paradise Lock aside, Taguchi looked surprisingly capable of standing in the ring with SANADA. Notably, SANADA is the only member of Los Ingobernables de Japon who does not possess any championship, and some have postulated that he should be the favorite to win the New Japan Cup. This was a chaotic match involving a lot of teamwork, but TenCozy and Taguchi showed unexpected synergy. Ryusuke Taguchi submitted BUSHI with his ankle lock known as Oh My and Garankle to win.
The New Japan Cup first round matches involving people in this match are Ryusuke Taguchi versus SANADA (6/22), Hiroyoshi Tenzan versus YOSHI-HASHI (6/23), and EVIL versus Satoshi Kojima (6/23).
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata def. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & DOUKI) (13:04)
Hiroshi Tanahashi might have appreciated three months of rest more than anyone. Neither arm of his donned a compression sleeve for what seems like the first time in ages. Suzuki and Nagata defied their combined age of 104 years old with some of the hardest strikes on this whole show while Zack Sabre Jr., the only non-young lion foreign wrestler on this show, squared off against Ibushi at a high rate of speed. Ibushi hit a double Pele Kick on both DOUKI and Zack to stop Suzuki-gun all ganging up on him. Togi Makabe hit the King Kong Knee Drop on DOUKI to win the match for his team. Makabe’s music, a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, played in the building. This is unusual, usually a generic dubbed rock song plays when he wins since paying for licensed music is expensive.
Minoru Suzuki goes one-on-one with Yuji Nagata on day one of the New Japan Cup tomorrow while Tanahashi and Ibushi compete against Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. respectively on June 22.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) def. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH) (14:17)
It was amusing watching Okada gesticulate excessively to absent members of the crowd. In what might be a first for Okada, he was the only person in this six man tag team match to not be a Champion. Naito and Okada briefly opened the match with grappling, but it kicked into the next gear when SHO and Shingo Takagi tagged in to batter each other. SHO and Shingo have both stated that their rivalry that began in last year’s Best of the Super Juniors is not over, and they took the fight especially hard to each other. Tetsuya Naito pinned YOH with the Destino to close out the show. Naito and Hiromu fist-bumped each other after the match, but Shingo did not take part.
In the New Japan Cup first round, Kazuchika Okada will face Gedo, Hiromu Tanahashi will face Tomoaki Honma, it’s Shingo Takagi versus SHO, and YOH versus BUSHI. Tetsuya Naito sits out of the New Japan Cup as the reigning IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Champion, set to defend both championships against the winner of the tournament at Dominion next month.