New Beginning in Sapporo Report: Tanahashi & Okada vs. White & Fale

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Here are the results from Saturday’s New Beginning card from Sapporo, which was the first of two shows in Sapporo this weekend.

Wai Ting and I will have a show Sunday afternoon for members of the POST Wrestling Café reviewing both New Beginning cards this weekend.

Ren Narita vs. Yuya Uemura

This was a solid opening match with the story that Narita is one of the senior members of the young lions and is Uemura’s superior. Uemura showed great displays of selling and his big moment was applying the Boston crab. Narita won with a gorgeous bridging belly-to-belly suplex.

Manabu Nakanishi and Toa Henare vs. Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida

It’s tough when Nakanishi is placed into sequences where he has to run as his age and limitations are spotlighted. Umino displayed great fire and applied a flying armbar onto Henare. Umino was hit with a lot of offense from Henare before being kept down with a uranage.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Tiger Mask vs. Takashi Iizuka and Taka Michinoku

This was the worst match on the show. The audience doesn’t want to boo Iizuka as his retirement looms and received light applause at the beginning. They brawled around the floor before returning. Tenzan applied the Anaconda Vice to Michinoku and Iizuka broke it up and attacked both opponents with a chair for the DQ.

Taiji Ishimori, Guerrillas of Destiny, Chase Owens and Yujiro vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, Tomoaki Honma, and Yoshi-Hashi

Tama Tonga continues to be conflicted by the heelish actions of his teammates but it’s all played for comedy. Tanga Loa was entertaining yelling instructions to Tonga from outside. There was a focus placed on Ishimori and Taguchi ahead of their title match in Osaka next week. I thought Honma stood out more than Yoshi-Hashi, who has returned to his former background player role in record time since returning last month. There was a brawl and amidst the chaos, Yano scored a roll up on Yujiro to win.

Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi vs. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado

This was a preview of two title matches on Sunday’s card in Sapporo. There was lots of brawling and weapon use at the start. Bushi fought off Desperado and Kanemaru and went for the MX but was stopped by Kanemaru spitting whiskey. Suzuki-gun got the advantage and Taichi hit a high angle backdrop driver onto Bushi while Naito was held in the ring to watch his partner defeated.

Sanada vs. Minoru Suzuki

They had a lengthy match that clocked in just under 20 minutes. Sanada kept trying to place Suzuki into the Paradise Lock and finally got it. They went into the crowd, which was overkill at this point on the card. Suzuki and Sanada had numerous striking exchanges in the ring. Sanada avoided the Gotch piledriver, Sanada’s TKO was blocked and then Sanada attempted a backflip to apply the Skull End but they stumbled. Suzuki rolled out and went from a rear-naked choke to Gotch piledriver and pinned one-half of the tag champions on the eve of their title match.

EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

This was another long match and turned into a very solid one by the end. Zack attacked EVIL’s arm throughout the match with his submission attacks and would transition to different body parts. They fought on the ramp where EVIL landed a fisherman buster suplex. The transitions at the end were tremendous and the closing sequence saw Everything is Evil countered, Zack went for a wrist clutch cradle and EVIL countered that to hit his finish and win the match.

So EVIL and Minoru Suzuki got wins for their teams heading into Sunday’s title match, which has been built very well.

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White and Bad Luck Fale

I enjoyed this a lot. They are pushing Tanahashi and Okada as the “Dream Team”. White and Fale attacked Okada’s lower back as it was run into the guardrail and apron repeatedly. Tanahashi and Okada were constantly trying to help the other.

White focused his attack on Tanahashi’s knee stemming from the attack after the match with KUSHIDA this past Tuesday.

Fale hit Grenades to Okada and Tanahashi. Gedo tried to distract Tanahashi allowing White to use a chair but missed. Tanahashi fought off Fale and Gedo but was nailed with a chair shot to the injured knee by White. White hit two dragon screw leg whips and applied an inverted figure-four. Okada couldn’t save his partner due to Fale and Tanahashi was forced to tap.

After the match, White wore the IWGP title and cut a promo stating that it won’t be a shock when he wins in Osaka, he will embarrass Tanahashi, it is the “cutthroat era” and then Tanahashi was held by Fale as White hit another Blade Runner.

The last two matches were solid and I loved the main event. They have heated up White to a degree that he’s very believable in the role of a legitimate challenger for Tanahashi.

Overall, a good show, not a great show. There were some matches in the middle that dragged after the ones involving the young lions. They should be more judicious on the brawling into the crowd and weapons use as there was a lot of it and felt more like a crutch than a necessary component for any match.