Four Championship Matches highlight spectacular end to New Beginning tour
The New Beginning tour ends on a huge note Sunday in its biggest ever setting of Osaka Jo hall!
Main event- Double IWGP Intercontinental & Heavyweight Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA
First singles meeting
KENTA blindsided Naito during his closing address after El Ingobernable made history by becoming the first ever double IWGP Champion January 5 at Wrestle Kingdom. At New Year Dash, with steel chair in hand, he further assaulted Naito and denied him his moment in the spotlight.
Naito would vow that he’d be more than happy to fight KENTA, and will now do so with both freshly won titles at stake. As much as he couldn’t forgive KENTA’s actions, as a wrestler he respected his courage. Chalking it up to KENTA’s ‘worldly experience’, he is inviting his challenger to bring the benefit of that experience to Osaka.
For KENTA, disrespect to Naito and to the fans. While booing has been relentless for KENTA, cheers and support rain down on Naito. This despite the two men being shaped by international experience and a willingness to ignore the public and focus on their own goals and desires in very similar fashion. In Sapporo, KENTA suggested that after victory he may even give up the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and let it rotate among the top four participants in the Double Gold Dash, such was the public’s refusal to accept him in the main event mix.
Whether KENTA leaves with two championships or one, he is convinced that he will beat Naito in Osaka, by any and all means necessary. Can El Ingobernable prove him wrong?
7th Match- IWGP United States Championship: Jon Moxley vs Minoru Suzuki
First singles meeting
In the seventh match of the night, the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship is at stake as Jon Moxley defends against Minoru Suzuki. In a unique turn of events at Wrestle Kingdom 14, Moxley both won and defended his US gold in the span of one weekend, defeating Lance Archer in a Texas Deathmatch war on night one, and then retaining his title by narrowly defeating Juice Robinson the very next night. Before Moxley could soak in his success however, some familiar and sinister music played, and Minoru Suzuki headed to the ring to deliver a Gotch Style Piledriver. Then at New Year Dash, Moxley repaid the favour with the Deathrider on the King.
From there, the situation escalated at New Beginning in Sapporo. Suzuki and Moxley fought all over Hokkai Kita Yell on both nights, but the record books say definitively that on February 1, Suzuki pinned Moxley with the Gotch Style Piledriver. Moxley has been very public about respecting Minoru Suzuki and wanting to test himself against him. The old adage of one having to be careful for what they wish could come back to bite Moxley here, as Suzuki seeks to become the King of the United States of America.
6th Match- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi vs Ryu Lee
Overall singles record: 12-6 Lee
In NJPW: 2-2
In IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship matches: 2-0 Takahashi
In a sense, Hiromu Takahashi and Ryu Lee come full circle at New Beginning in Osaka. In their last singles meeting in San Francisco two years ago, Hiromu suffered a severe neck injury that took him out of action for 530 days. Even while, unable to move, retirement was on the mind for Takahashi, he never carried particular resentment for the rival he respected, but it seemed that their epic rivalry was nonetheless over.
Then, December 2019 saw Hiromu’s return, and when Jyushin Thunder Liger wanted the greatest junior heavyweight rivals of the modern era to face him inhis last match, Lee and Takahashi were drawn back together. In the end, it was only a matter of minutes before new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu called out Ryu Lee to face him once more. Just as Hiromu refuted any ideas that his style may be more considered after his return from injury, expect this match to be a 360 degree revolution in approach: high octane, high speed, high impact.
5th Match: SANADA vs Jay White
First singles meeting
In the fifth match on the card, Jay White takes on SANADA in singles competition. A night after Wrestle Kingdom 14 at New Year Dash!!, White and KENTA teamed up to take on Tetsuya Naito and SANADA. After SANADA caught White with a Japanese Leg Roll Clutch to win, the BULLET CLUB duo viciously assaulted both Naito and SANADA with steel chairs. A few weeks later in a tag rematch in Sapporo, Gedo with a steel chair distraction led to White getting his win back. Jay has said that SANADA is ‘believing in himself far too much lately’ and declared he would ‘do something about that’.
Jay White has absolutely earned his confidence, but SANADA has also earned the ability to make the Switchblade sweat. Who will come out of Osaka Jo on top?
4th Match: CHAOS (Will Ospreay & Kazuchika Okada) vs Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Junior & Taichi)
It seemed as if the talking points in this tag team matchup would all be about fallout from the prior weekend in Sapporo, yet it seems as if the four men in this contest are still tied together going into the future. Zack Sabre Junior retained his British Heavyweight title in a classic in Sapporo on Sunday, but Ospreay quickly bounced back, scoring victory in an elimination tag main event the following Tuesday and declaring his intention to challenge ZSJ in a rematch on Valentine’s Day in London for RevPro.
Then there’s Taichi who is still picking a fight with Okada even after his defeat to the Rainmaker in Sapporo. Threatening that he wants another shot at Okada as soon as, NJPW return to Hokkaido this summer, if not sooner, it could well be that Taichi has soemthing in mind for Okada in Osaka.
3rd Match: Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
The third match of the night sees BULLET CLUB face the combination of FinJuice, Tanahashi and Ibushi.
Five weeks is a very long time indeed when it comes to the IWGP Tag Team Championships. On January 4, FinJuice continued GoD’s Tokyo Dome curse by unseating the champions and starting their first reign. The very next night at New Year Dash, it appeared that they had more than one contender waiting for an opportunity, as Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi seemed to form an official combination, and threatened a potential future challenge.
First though, a rematch with GoD in Atlanta, and a belt shot off the skull to Finlay leading to the Guerrillas of Destiny’s record tying sixth tag title reign. FinJuice will rightly be upset at the controversy surrounding the title change, but the only thing they can do is carry their dispute to the ring.
As for Ibushi and Tanahashi, they were set to face GoD in Miami during the New Beginning USA tour, but influenza caused Ibushi to miss out on the action. Now recovered, he and the Ace still have much to prove if they’re serious about future tag title contention.
2nd Match- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
IWGP junoir tag gold is at stake in the second match of the evening as SHO & YOH face familiar foes in Desperado and Kanemaru. After scooping the IWGP Junior Tag Team Championships at the Tokyo Dome, Roppongi 3K were riding high into New Year Dash, but in a four way bout, BUSHI’s errant mist led to a win for Desperado over SHO. Despite being in their fourth title reign, SHO and YOH have only defended the titles successfully once. Can they finally vanquish Suzuki-Gun and stay strong as tag champions this time round?
1st Match: Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe
In the first match of the evening, Manabu Nakanishi continues his countdown to February 22 retirement, teaming with Third Generation members to face four men he’s very familiar with when it comes to fighting alongside or against over the years. The big strong country boy will look to make a monster impact as he wrestles in Osaka for the last time.