Held in front of a SOLD OUT crowd of 10,000 people at the Kobe World Hall in Kobe (Kinki) and shown LIVE on pay-per-view on Sky PerfectTV! PPV
|Akira Tozawa, Blue Wolf, Hiroshi Nagao, James Gibson and Toru Yano vs. Akiya Anzawa, Harry Smith, Hirooki Goto, Naofumi Yamamoto and Ryusuke Taguchi
15-minute time limit
Despite having 10 competitors taking part in the night's opening match, Tozawa and James Gibson carried the 'A Block' team while Goto and Taguchi carried the load for the 'B Block' team.
An exciting start that featured each team one-by-one trading off throwing individuals on the opposing team outside of the ring soon led to rest holds being applied between legal men Gibson and Goto. Each man would only remain in control for a few moments at a time as each competitor would keep finding themselves in a stalemate.
Each team would cycle through their legal men after a minute at a time until both Taguchi and Nagao would find themselves as the legal men. The sides would clear again as each illegal man would take care of each other on the outside - allowing Taguchi to suddenly surprise Nagao with a Missile Dropkick for the three-count.
WINNER: Ryusuke Taguchi, Akiya Anzawa, Harry Smith, Hirooki Goto and Naofumi Yamamoto by pinfall in 9:41.
|'U-30 Challenge Final'
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi
60-minute time limit
After a brief staredown, both competitors charge out of their corner and trade forearms with each other. A missed early Lariat attempt by the larger competitor opened up a chance for Ibushi to hit one of his recent favorites - the Pelé Kick - but Ishii would catch his leg in mid-air and would lock in an Ankle Lock.
Technical skills not being his forté, however, Ishii's grip on the more agile Ibushi would only last for so long as Ibushi would roll out of the hold and recover in his corner. Ishii would charge and continue to light up the 22-year-old with heavy blows in the corner. Red Shoes would eventually step in and back Ishii off, allowing Ibushi to recover further in the corner.
Ibushi was able to use his agility to his advantage as a dodged shoulder block allowed Ibushi to hit some quick kicks and eventually down Ishii with a spinning wheel kick. A top-rope frankensteiner nearly led to a pin fall, which caused Ishii to then retreat to a corner and re-think his strategy.
The match eventually spilled out to the outside where the two traded blows once again until Ibushi would drop a standing Ishii again with a diving knee strike from the apron. Ishii would roll back into the ring in time for the 20-count as Ibushi would again hit Ishii with a variety of kicks and would go for a reverse spin kick, but Ishii would grab Ibushi in mid-air and deliver a release german suplex that sent Ibushi's back crashing into a turnbuckle. The rebound by the dazed Ibushi out of the corner allowed Ishii to send him crashing to the mat with a Lariat! 1...2...Ibushi just got a shoulder up!
Ishii would again nail Ibushi with a variety of stiff, clubbing blows, but an attempt at a headbutt allowed Ibushi to go for a quick small package... 1...2... Ishii now just gets a shoulder up! The attempt served as a distraction of sorts as Ibushi would recover quickly and would hit a quick seated dropkick to the A Block winner. Ibushi would impress with his strength as he would raise Ishii onto his shoulders and plant him with a sit-out powerbomb.
The B Block winner would then ascend to the top rope and despite losing his balance for a moment would prepare to launch off for a Corkscrew 630 Senton... but he would be caught by Ishii with a leaping headbutt that sent Ibushi crashing to the outside! Ishii would then roll Ibushi into the ring as he would then hoist him up for a Sheer-Drop Brainbuster, but Ibushi would attempt to counter with a Tornado DDT, but the counter didn't connect though as both men would find themselves on their feet... at least until Ishii turned Ibushi inside out with an absolutely vicious Lariat. Cover, 1...2...3!
WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall in 16:22.
Tomohiro Ishii wins the inaugural U-30 Challenge. Ishii is the new #1 contender to the IWGP U-30 Openweight Championship.
|Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Minoru Suzuki
30-minute time limit
The MMA influence between both competitors was clear as both would shoot in for wrestling-style takedowns with neither man able to land one. Suzuki then flashed his now trademark sadistic smirk as both men went at it again, with Fujita being the one to land a takedown on Suzuki. Rather than submissions, Fujita kept delivering heavy blows to the downed Suzuki, but Suzuki would soon fight his way back to his feet and contort his mouth back into that signature smirk as they engaged in another standoff.
An exchange of standing blows soon led to a european uppercut that rocked Fujita as Suzuki grounded his opponent and worked on Fujita's dominant-legged knee and ankle. Fujita would soon work his way back to his feet once reaching the ropes and would shove the smaller Suzuki away before charging at him and dropping him with a spear.
Fujita's offense still refrained from utilizing technical moves as he continued to wear down Suzuki with stomps and knee drops until deciding to go for a crossface. After writhing around in the hold, Suzuki managed to escape and would stiffly slap Fujita once he got back to his feet. The two exchanged slaps before going forehead-to-forehead with each other, providing Fujita the opportunity to throw Suzuki back to the mat.
Once grounding Suzuki for a while, Fujita attempted to lock in a Rear Naked Choke on his opponent, but Suzuki would fend off Fujita's attempts to fully lock it in. Getting a hand on the rope, Suzuki would manage to get back to his feet as he would deliver a quick knee to Fujita's gut and then go for a Gotch-Style Piledriver, which Fujita fought off by shoving Suzuki against the ropes. As Suzuki rebounded off the ropes he planted Fujita with a running dropkick and then started to lock in a Sleeper Hold on Fujita.
Fujita would appear to fade but would soon begin to fight his way out of the submission. Once free, the brief lack of oxygen caused him to stumble about a bit as Suzuki would then deliver a Gotch-Style Piledriver for the win.
WINNER: Minoru Suzuki by pinfall in 19:57
After the match, Suzuki grabs the ringside microphone as he stands over Fujita. Suzuki says that the era of Minoru Suzuki is upon us and that his path of destruction will not end until he is IWGP Heavyweight Champion. It does not matter who he has to choke out, but the gold will soon be his.
|Brock Lesnar vs. Shinya Makabe
30-minute time limit
The much-anticipated New Japan debut of Lesnar got underway with the former NCAA champ getting behind Makabe and dropping him with some amateur wrestling-influenced takedowns, however, after each one Makabe would rise to his feet and merely laugh off the American's efforts. A slap to the face by Makabe and a taunting "Come on!!!" set Lesnar off as he then speared Makabe into a corner and threw punch after punch.
After the two were separated, Makabe then charged at Lesnar and started returning the favor. The match soon moved back to the center of the ring as the two continuously traded punches until Lesnar ducked a hook to drop Makabe with a german suplex. Lesnar shouted towards the audience as he then locked in various holds targeting his opponent's legs to slow up the match a bit.
As Makabe would rise to his feet, he'd slap Lesnar yet again but then lay in a couple of punches before dropping Lesnar with a spinebuster. From there, it was Makabe's turn to hit some grounded offense, utilizing mostly some knee drops to soften Lesnar up. Lesnar would try fighting back once he stood up, but Makabe would drop him a german suplex of his own.
Makabe would spend time taunting Lesnar as the American continued to get to his feet, but Makabe's cockiness would subside the longer his offense went on. Makabe would drop Lesnar with a Death Valley Driver and would get a near fall for his efforts before going up top for a King Kong Knee Drop.
As Makabe launched off the top rope, he stopped short as he saw Lesnar's potential counter coming. A surprised Lesnar was suddenly hoisted up into the air for a second Death Valley Driver, but he slipped out and hit a release german suplex that sent Makabe landing back-fist against the corner. As Makabe recoiled/rebounded back out of the corner, he walked right into an F-5 by Lesnar to hand the American the win in his debut.
WINNER: Brock Lesnar by pinfall in 15:29.
Following the ringing of the bell, Lesnar immediately pounced back on Makabe and hit a flurry of mounted punches on his opponent. Ringside officials attempted to step in to separate Lesnar from his prey but the imposing sight of the attacker provides them with some hesitation on that action.
Lesnar picks up Makabe and holds him by the shoulders to make sure his knees don't buckle. A taunting shout of "Come on!!!" to Makabe is then followed by yet another F-5 as Lesnar then rolled out of the ring and briskly made his way back up the entrance ramp.
|'IWGP Tag Team Titles'
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura (C) vs. Tatsumi Fujinami and Yuji Nagata
60-minute time limit
Tanahashi and Nagata start out the match with Nagata fending off Tanahashi's various strikes. A shoulder block against a rebounding Tanahashi put Nagata in control of the early stages of the match as he'd wear down a grounded Tanahashi with a variety of different holds. Tanahashi would soon get back to his feet and would drop Nagata with a spinning wheel kick after irish whipping Nagata against the ropes. Tanahashi looked to make a tag to Nakamura, but held off on doing so to allow him to continue to rest his injured elbow.
Tanahashi would continue to hold off Nagata and the now tagged in Fujinami, but ultimately he could hold off against the two for so long as he'd eventually be worn down by New Japan's elder statesman. Tanahashi would manage to escape and roll out of a kneeling headlock and would then get the tag off to Nakamura.
The younger half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions was able to keep Fujinami down with several running clotheslines and knee lifts, but a tactically placed dropkick to Nakamura's injured left elbow sent him reeling as Fujinami went back on the attack. Despite it being the logical limb to attack, Fujinami chose to avoid Nakamura's left elbow and instead worked on the right with submissions while on the ground. Once Nakamura fought his way back to his feet, Fujinami would drop him yet again with a double underhook DDT and went for the pin, 1...2...Nakamura kicked out!
Nakamura would recover on the outside as Fujinami would tag to Nagata, who went to chase the injured youngster back in the ring. Nakamura would slide back in ahead of time to hit the ropes and drop an entering Nagata with a seated dropkick. Several knee drops later and Nakamura would tag back out to Tanahashi. Tanahashi would resort to his traditional mid-match arsenal to best Nagata, but the grizzled veteran would stay vertical and would throw Tanahashi around the ring.
The lack of respect from Nagata towards the younger team was on full display as he continually berated Tanahashi while on the ground and would give light kicks to the top of his head as he went to stand. Tanahashi would only stand for enough of this as he would hit a quick succession of kicks on Nagata to take him by surprise and then hit a snap neckbreaker to stun him.
A diving elbow drop would only yield a two-count for Tanahashi as he would raise Nagata and spear him into his corner. While he wasn't looking, Nakamura tagged in and he went to work by punishing Nagata in a neutral corner with a running splash into the corner. A bulldog back out of the corner dazed Nagata enough for Nakamura to go for a Landslide, but the attacker's injured elbow didn't allow him to get the defender onto his shoulders completely, allowing him to climb down with ease.
Nagata then dropped Nakamura with a Backdrop Hold and then spun around on the ground to lock him into a Nagata Lock II. Tanahashi entered the ring to attempt to break up the hold, but Fujinami impeded his progress. Nakamura's elbow could only handle so much punishment as New Japan's lone dual champion was forced to tap out from the crossface.
WINNERS: Tatsumi Fujinami and Yuji Nagata by submission in 16:02.
Tatsumi Fujinami and Yuji Nagata become the 48th IWGP Tag Team Champions. (6th reign for Fujinami) (2nd reign for Nagata)
After the new champions clear the ring, Nakamura gets to his feet as Tanahashi slowly goes over to check on him to see if his elbow is in an okay state. The pair don't seem to be much for conversation as Tanahashi then leaves to go... Nakamura then spins him around though to stare his partner down.
Eventually, Nakamura shoves Tanahashi, who doesn't return the attack but gets back in Nakamura's face. Nakamura then starts mouthing off to Tanahashi with the camera picking up bits and pieces of his verbal attack on him with Nakamura suggesting that Tanahashi has become jealous of what Nakamura's accomplished at only 24 years of age. Tanahashi asks Nakamura if he's done yet, which prompts the younger wrestler to slap him across the face and yell at him some more. Tanahashi finally fights back by shoving Nakamura as the two then go back and forth shoving each other across the ring.
Tanahashi grows tired of the confrontation as he backs away from Nakamura and exits the ring. Nakamura poses with his IWGP U-30 Openweight Championship and points at Tanahashi with an intense look in his eyes.
|'IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title'
Minoru Tanaka (C) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
60-minute time limit
The two athletically dance around each other's early moves to the delight of the crowd as each man employs the perfect counter to the other's offense. Tanaka eventually catches Liger with a drop toe hold and then starts wearing down Liger with some submission holds in the early stages of the match. Liger's experience pays off as he's able to exploit some holes in Tanaka's ground work to go on the attack.
The two competitors continue to go back and forth with each only being able to go on offense for a minute at a time, but Liger punches through with a major opening with a Tornado DDT that almost provided him with his 12th IWGP Junior Heavyweight title reign with a near three-count. After keeping him down on the ground with several boots, Liger would lift Tanaka up and stretch him with his signature Romero Special submission.
Liger's offense would continue on with a frogsplash that would also just come up short in delivering the three-count. A follow-up attempt with a brainbuster was slipped out of by Tanaka as the Junior Heavyweight champion dropped the back of Liger's head on his knee. Tanaka would continuously target Liger's head and once the masked wrestler returned to a standing base, Tanaka would go for a Superkick to bring the match to an end but Liger would catch his leg and go for one of Tanaka's favorites - the Ankle Lock - to surprise the champion.
Tanaka would roll through the submission and kick Liger away, dropkicking him away again as Liger would charge after standing quickly. It was Tanaka's turn to lock in an Ankle Lock as he started to target the veteran's legs. After the hold served its usefulness, Tanaka hit several targetted dropkicks to Liger's knees in an attempt to immobilize him. Liger would dodge such an attempt, however, and would instead take out the champion with a Abisegeri.
Liger would head up top and (despite it taking awhile) would bust out an old favorite, the Shooting Star Press, with the move connecting! Liger with the cover, 1...2...No! Tanaka just managed to get a shoulder up. Liger would throw Tanaka out of the ring and take the champion out with a dive to the outside from the top rope in a move that brought the 10,000 in attendance to their feet.
Both would recover at the same time and would engage in a chopfest on the outside, the back-and-forth between the two would be broken up as Tanaka would grab the back of Liger's head and drive it into the ring apron. Rolling him into the ring, Tanaka ascended to the top rope and went for a Fireball Splash, but Liger would just manage to roll out of the way and would go for a Crash Thunder Buster on a reeling Tanaka, but his stunned opponent would roll through for a pin! 1...2...Liger just kicked out!
Both men again would stagger to their feet and would go back and forth on punches with Liger's efforts having a bit more 'oomph' to them. Liger would whip Tanaka against the ropes and would go for a clothesline but Tanaka would leap into the air and drop Liger to the mat with a Minoru Special!
Tanaka had Liger right where he wanted him in the center of the ring. With nowhere to go for the former champion, he had no choice but to tap out to the Minoru Special after a minute of struggling.
WINNER: Minoru Tanaka by submission in 26:46.
Minoru Tanaka retains the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title. (Defense #13)
|'IWGP Heavyweight Title'
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (C) vs. Scott Norton
60-minute time limit
The night's main event got off with an impactful tone as Norton slapped the Heavyweight Champion right across the mouth. With that, we were off to the races as Tenzan immediately threw Norton into the corner and started lighting him up with punches to the abdomen. Norton would quickly recover and reverse the roles as he'd repeat the same sequence by throwing Tenzan into the same corner.
Tenzan would ultimately fight his way back out of the corner with his trademark overhead chops with a backhand chop doing the job of sending Norton to the mat. A headlock on the mat slowed the action for the champion until Norton would get his foot on the rope, prompting Red Shoes to break up the action.
Once both men got to their feet, they went back at it again trading blows until Tenzan again threw Norton into the corner. Taking a page from ally Satoshi Kojima, Tenzan hit Norton with several backhand chops in the corner with rapid succession that left Norton reeling and dropping to his knees. The moment of weakness by the gaijin opened him up for a clothesline into the corner... but a second attempt was avoided by Norton with an elbow out of the corner.
Norton would charge out of the corner and drop the champion with a leaping shoulder block as he'd hit him with several stiff blows after raising him to his feet. A scoop powerslam would thunder around the arena as Norton would then go up to the second rope and then jump off and hit an aerial knee drop to the downed Tenzan. With some momentum now in his corner, Norton went up to the second rope again and then dropped a rising Tenzan with a diving shoulder block.
Norton would pick up the champion for a belly-to-back suplex but would instead lock in a Dragon Sleeper. Tenzan would appear to fade at times but he would soon manage to get back to his feet and break out of the hold. Spinning around, Tenzan started fighting back with more overhead chops before dropping the challenger with a quick DDT.
A successful sequence of moves put Tenzan in the position to go for a Tenzan Tombstone Driver, but Norton would destabilize the champion and fall backwards, in turn hoisting Tenzan up in Powerslam position and subsequently dropping him with the move! Norton covers! 1...2...No dice! Tenzan kicked out!
Norton would get to his feet and would signal for a Lariat as Tenzan slowly started getting to his feet. Once he was standing, Norton charged for his finisher but Tenzan ducked while grabbing one of Norton's arms, kneed the American in the face, and then picked him up for a second attempt at a Tenzan Tombstone Driver with the move connecting this time. As both competitors lay on the ground, Tenzan then locks in an Anaconda Vice and does so with a ferocity to ensure Norton can't escape.
The move ultimately prevails as Tenzan finds himself heading into the month of March with his IWGP Heavyweight Title reign intact.
WINNER: Hiroyoshi Tenzan by submission in 18:34.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan retains the IWGP Heavyweight Title. (Defense #2)
After the match, Tenzan hypes up the capacity crowd with the IWGP Heavyweight Title belt before grabbing a microphone from a ringside attendant.
Tenzan says that he's gone up against some of the best that New Japan has to offer and has left each of his confrontations with the IWGP Heavyweight Title still held over his shoulder. He says that, unlike the G1 Climax, the reigning Heavyweight champion won't be permitted from entering into the New Japan Cup, but he welcomes the challenge of facing the new tournament's winner at May's major pay-per-view.
With the conclusion of his remarks, red-and-yellow streamers fill the ring as the show comes to a close.
SHOW RATING: 73
PPV BUYS: 0.47 (238,750 buys)
Jon the GOAT: 8/9
DGenerationMC: 8/9 (might need to do MotN and MotN runner-up? Congrats, guys)
Last edited by Rogue : 03-22-2018 at 03:53 AM.