The first night of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s New Beginning In Sapporo kicked off in a big way. In the evening’s main event, Suzuki-gun leader Minoru Suzuki defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
— 新日本プロレスリング株式会社 (@njpw1972) January 27, 2018
Throughouth the match, Suzuki tortured Tanahashi’s injured knee with various leg locks. After 32 minutes, the referee stopped the match.
This ended Tanahashi’s second Intercontinental title reign, which last 230 days and featured four notable title defenses against Billy Gunn, Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi and Jay White.
As for Suzuki, this is his first IWGP Intercontinental title reign. He is also the first wrestler to bring the IWGP IC title to Suzuki-gun and is the only member in the stable who holds a NJPW championship.
No disrespect to past IWGP Intercontinental champions, but Suzuki could be a great holder of the title. He is popular with the crowd, he has an impressive resume and a devastating in-ring arsenal he uses to torture his opponents. He also has his Suzuki-gun stablemates ready to back him up and help him retain his title.
Depending on how NJPW books Suzuki’s title reign, fans could see the Suzuki-gun leader face off against several rising stars or big names in the next several months.
The evening’s other title bout, Bullet Club’s Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa defeated Henare, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Togi Makabe to retain the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship.
Below are the full results of New Beginning in Sapporo Night 1
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 27, 2018
Full results from New Beginning In Sapporo night 1
- Michael Elgin defeated Katsuya Kitamura (Kitamura Challenge Series, 0-2)
- Jushin Liger, KUSHIDA, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, and Tiger Mask IV defeated El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano defeated Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi
- Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Roa defeated Henare, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Togi Makabe to retain the NEVER Openweight 6-Man tag team championship.
- Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page, and Marty Scurll defeated David Finlay, Juice Robinson, and Kota Ibushi
- Hiromu Takahashi and Tetsuya Naito defeated Will Ospreay and YOSHI-HASHI
- Gedo, Hirooki Goto, and Kazuchika Okada defeated BUSHI, EVIL, and SANADA
- Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson defeated Jay White, SHO, and YOH
- Minoru Suzuki defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Night two of NJPW’s New Beginning in Sapporo will take place tomorrow at 1 a.m. EST on New Japan World.
The evening’s main event will feature “Switchblade” Jay White challenging Kenny Omega for the IWGP United States Championship. Roppongi 3K will face the Young Bucks for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
Full card for New Beginning Sapporo Night 2
- Juice Robinson vs. Katsuya Kitamura (Kitmaura Challenge Series, 0-2)
- Jushin Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, Shota Umino, and Tiger Mask IV vs. El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Leo Tonga and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano
- Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Roa vs. Henare, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, and Togi Makabe
- Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin vs. Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka
- Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page, and Marty Scurll vs. David Finlay, Kota Ibushi, and KUSHIDA
- Gedo, Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, and YOSHI-HASHI vs. BUSHI, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, and Tetsuya Naito
- Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) vs. the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) (c) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
- “Switchblade” Jay White vs. Kenny Omega (c) for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
Satoshi Kojima Talks Return, ACL Injury
Legendary Japanese star Satoshi Kojima made his in-ring return at Blue Justice VIII ‘Road To Destruction’, teaming with Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Manabu Nakanishi as they took on, and defeated, the team of Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Juice Robinson and David Finlay.
Following the match, Kojima took the mic and discussed his first in ring action since suffering an ACL injury back in January.
“These last 8 months, which I missed, were very long and tough for me” Kojima said. “But, at the same time there was joy and happiness too. I learned that there are always good things waiting for you if you keep going. For those who are struggling with issues in life, please watch us, and feel alive. Thank you.”
Kenny Omega Talks Making An Alternative to WWE
While the rumors of Kenny Omega heading to WWE continue to swirl, the global superstar is busy making a professional wrestling product that is an alternative to WWE programming, and seems proud in doing so for fans.
“Fans, wrestlers, and even the general public have been conditioned to believe that there’s an enormous skill gap between WWE and everyone else,” Omega said, during an interview with Sports Illustrated. “A major league and a minor league. It’s either you’re there or you’re just not good enough.
“While it’s true their collection of talent is undeniable, a small group of us have bet on ourselves and on the unique alternative vision we have for pro wrestling. What they can offer in flash, we can offer in substance. While their writers produce TV for a certain demographic, we’re producing stories for fans that want something a little different.”
Following the success of All-In it’s not clear what the next big thing for Omega may be, but one cannot 100% rule out a run in WWE should all the stars align, which may come down to WWE making concessions on how many limitations they would place on Omega in a WWE ring.
Flip Gordon Discusses Future with ROH
Ring Of Honor (ROH) star Flip Gordon has some lofty goals with the promotion, and he discussed them, along with his journey to the Ring of Honor promotion, recently during an interview with Wrestling Epicenter.
“It has been a fun journey. I wanted as much as I could and that is kind of what I did very early on. I started just wrestling in the Northeast.
“I’ve always wanted to travel more, I always wanted to go further, I always wanted to wrestle new people. I think while doing that, I got to get into the ring with a lot of good guys probably before I should have had the chance to be in the ring with them.
“But, I did! I was able to learn at a very fast rate and I think that is what caught Ring of Honor’s attention.”
Gordon has his sights set on Bully Ray.
“Well, I want to get this thing with Bully Ray squashed, get that out of the way. And then, you know, I’ve been with Ring of Honor for over a year now, I have just re-signed, maybe it is time for a TV title run?”
Gordon also discussed New Japan Pro Wrestling and ROH’s Supercard of Honor selling out MSG, a huge milestone for any professional wrestling brand.
“It is just insane! Not just from a wrestling standpoint but from an entertainer’s standpoint! Anybody from basketball to comedy to music to wrestling to theater, they want to perform in Madison Square Garden!
“That is the World’s Most Famous Arena! Like you said, it is the Mecca! That is a dream of mine coming true. I can’t wait! I wish it was April already! (laughs)
“For Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling to put on a co-show, the G1 Supercard, and to sell it out that quick is a testament to how popular wrestling is right now and how much of a variety there is. Wrestling fans want something different.
“You can have a WWE show across town and have a non-WWE show sell out in the same city! There’s such a variety and it is cool to see how much wrestling is thriving right now!”
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