KENTA stands tall as NJPW TAMASHII sees successful launch in NZ

Two big events this weekend to launch the new brand

Full results

NJPW TAMASHII launched this weekend with two events in Christchurch New Zealand on November 11 and Sydney Australia on November 13. Loud and lively crowds were on hand on both nights to witness a new chapter in Australasian wrestling, and big stars from NJPW proper compete with fast rising local prospects and the pick of the New Zealand Dojo. 

First to compete at an NJPW TAMASHII event were four prospects from the New Zealand Dojo, Mark Tui and late addition Chris Miles defeating Jordan Allen Wright and Shep Alexander. Tui used his Samoan Knock Out driver to win the debut TAMASHII match for his team, and carry his brand of Polynesian Strong Style to the fans in the Pioneer Center. 

Another NZ Dojo trainee in Jake Taylor had rather less luck, even with head coach Tony Kozina at his side as they took on Bad Luck Fale and new BULLET CLUB recruit Jack Bonza. Taylor would bring the fight to his BULLET CLUB foes alongside his trainer, but a low blow from Bonza and an elbow drop from Fale ended his night. 

Michael Richards had been originally scheduled to face Jeff Cobb in New Zealand, but his replacement opponent in Ricard Mulu was intimidating in his own right. Looking to follow on the success of partner Tui, Mulu brought a heavyweight fight to Richards, but a quick rollup would secure the win for the former Young Lion Cup participant. 

The Natural Classics tag team has long been a recognised name in Australia, and the Fillip brothers had been vocal about wanting to use TAMASHII to propel their name on a global level. Against New Zealand Dojo partners Nikolai Anton Bell and Rowan Davis, they made a statement of intent in just over ten minutes, the Mother of all Bombs putting away Davis and sowing seeds for a promising future.

At the top of the card on the night though were a pair of singles matchups for BULLET CLUB representatives. Taiji Ishimori went head to head with The Factory’s Aaron Solo. Himself a New Zealand/Fale Dojo graduate, Solo would pressure the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, an exploder suplex and top rope double stomp doing damage to Ishimori. 

Yet the Bone Soldier’s unforgiving assault on the shoulder of his opponent proved too much for Solo. After a sustained attack all the way through the match, La Mistica would be turned into the Bone Lock for Ishimori to rack up the semi main event victory. 

Andrew Villalobos would be in a high pressure main event scenario with KENTA. After rattling the veteran in the early going, Villalobos would force KENTA to take a time out on the floor before the former IWGP US Champion re-entered to punish the big young prospect. Stiff kicks and a brutal double stomp would find their mark for KENTA, but Villalobos didn’t easily give up. 

The NZ Dojo representative fought back and delivered a frog splash to his opponent, but a second would be too ambitious finding the knees of KENTA. Villalobos wouldn’t give up to a mocking Boston Crab, but had no choice but to say good night after a Go2Sleep, KENTA nonetheless offering a rare shopw of respect as he raised Villalobos’ hand to close out a heated first night for the TAMASHII brand.