Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI become 21st NEVER Champions
The finals of an eight team tournament to crown new NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Champions took place in Korakuen Hall on August 9, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI emerging from an all CHAOS affair with what was also YOSHI-HASHI’s first championship in his 12 year career.
YOSHI-HASHI and Kazuchika Okada formed an interesting picture at the start of the match. Two firm friends, they have been together since their starts in NJPW, and after they both returned from excursion in the same match on January 4 2012, Okada went on to be the most celebrated champion in IWGP history while YOSHI-HASHI had never held gold.
The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on the Headhunter, who went aggressively at Okada before both sides tagged out, SHO then locking up with Goto, who bowled the lighter junior heavyweight over with a tackle and set up a run of triple team attacks. The Junior Tag Champion was able to fight up from underneath though, showing impressive power with a suplex on Goto and then landing a spear to bring in Yano.
Evoking memories of rapid fire G1 matches of the past, Yano tried to put Goto away as quickly as possible with his cunning but was unable to do the job, instead tagging out to Okada who tore into YOSHI-HASHI with trademark flair. A tombstone was blocked however, and moments later a Headhunter neckbreaker led to a train of attacks into the corner on Okada, a German suplex from Ishii and a Blockbuster for two.
As Okada’s teammates headed in to make the save, the match descnended into a fitting chaos, all six men being laid out before Okada found his feet first. A dropkick and Tombstone led to the Money Clip locked in on YOSHI-HASHI. The hold that brought Okada to the New Japan Cup finals couldn’t break the heart of the Headhunter, who held on long enough for Ishii to dive to his rescue, and as Okada took wrist control, YOSHI-HASHI fired in with a superhuman lariat. A Butterfly Lock followed, but Okada managed to struggle out, bringing SHO and Ishii into the match.
SHO fought tooth and nail with Ishii in a thrilling series of blows, eventually landing a German Suplex for a near fall after Yano catapulted the Stone Pitbull into the steel turnbuckle. Sickening thuds echoed through the Hall as SHO kicked at Ishii’s chest, but Ishii would fire back with a crashing powerbomb for two.
SHO fought out of two successive attempts at a Vertical Drop Brainbuster though and then locked in a cross armbreaker to Ishii, the limb and his team’s chances barely saved by Goto. A Wrist Clutch German suplex produced an even nearer finish for SHO, but Goto and YOSHI-HASHI would make the save with an assisted Ushigoroshi and a series of strikes before a huge lariat. A Vertical Drop Brainbuster followed as did the three.
Post match, YOSHI-HASHI admitted that he had ‘no plan’ in mind for what he’d say in this situation, but nevertheless delivered an inspirational speech. Stating pride that he had ‘finally delivered on a promise,’ the Headhunter stated ‘maybe you’re going through some stuff, but it can all change. Keep standing up. It all changes in an instant.’ Backstage he went on to say that ‘I’ve never been the type to try and look cool, say I’m tough, or that you should respect me. All I’ll say is that I always have enough strength to face tomorrow. And that’s enough’. The new NEVER 6-Man Champions will be back in action on live events starting Tuesday.