Originally published at New Beginning in Hiroshima: Hiromu vs SHO, GOD vs Dangerous Tekkers
New Japan Pro Wrestling hosted its first of two New Beginning in Hiroshima events on Wednesday featuring Hiromu Takahashi defending the IWGP junior heavyweight title against SHO.
*Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru def. Yuya Uemura, Gabriel Kidd & Yota Tsuji in 8:02
*BUSHI def. Master Wato in 11:10
*Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano def. Jay White, EVIL, El Phantasmo, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Yujiro in 12:09
*SANADA & Tetsuya Naito def. Kota Ibushi & Tomoaki Honma 11:02
*IWGP Tag Team Championship: Guerrillas of Destiny (champions) def. Dangerous Tekkers by DQ in 29:08
*IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi (champion) def. SHO in 35:37
Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Yuya Uemura, Gabriel Kidd & Yota Tsuji
As Suzuki-gun entered the ring to Kaze Ni Nare, the Young Lions attacked displaying their added aggression of late.
After a beatdown of Tsuji early, the Young Lions used a strategy of Kidd attacking Suzuki that allowed Tsuji to get to the corner and tag Uemura. This began the real showdown between Suzuki and Uemura, who essentially had a singles match for the rest of the contest. Their chemistry is off the charts and Uemura shined in this setting.
Uemura stopped the Gotch piledriver and applied a Boston Crab on Suzuki, who made it to the rope. The Young Lions triple-teamed Suzuki and Uemura hit that excellent looking dropkick.
It ended with a big forearm exchange including Uemura delivering a slap. This was met with Suzuki annihilating Uemura with slaps and they inferred he was out on his feet, was placed into the half-crab by Suzuki and it was over.
WINNERS: Minoru Suzuki (submitted Yuya Uemura), El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 8 minutes and 2 seconds
This was an excellent opener and the high point of Suzuki and Uemura’s interaction, which seems to lead to a singles showdown somewhere down the line whether it be a short or long-term affiliation the two have.
BUSHI vs. Master Wato
Master Wato had Hiroyoshi Tenzan in his corner.
Wato immediately landed a tornillo to the floor onto BUSHI.
It was a nice match with a few highlights including a sick-looking tope suicida by BUSHI crashing into Wato and the guardrail. Wato recovered and hit the landed the TTD, attempted to follow-up with the RPP (his version of the Spinal Tap) and missed coming off the top, and BUSHI resumed control. The final minutes included BUSHI using Terrible for a near-fall before hitting the MX for the win.
WINNER: BUSHI in 11 minutes and 10 seconds
BUSHI tossed Master Wato to the floor after the match and dumped the ice pack on Wato. There was nothing wrong with the match, but it didn’t blow me away either and it wasn’t a match you need to seek out if you missed it. The standard is a lot higher for a singles match on a big show.
Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano vs. Jay White, EVIL, El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro
This was your standard multi-man tag with the significant pairings of Okada with EVIL and Ishii with White.
The CHAOS members used the War Drums on Gedo after pulling him into the ring. The camera did a close-up on Gedo right as he yelled out “cocksuckers” at CHAOS. This won’t make the demo reel for any potential television deals.
Yoshi-Hashi was beaten down for several minutes until making the tag to Okada. White and Ishii were in for a period that included Ishii taking a DDT and getting spiked.
It ended with Yano and Yujiro with plenty of involvement from Dick Togo on the apron. Yano removed the turnbuckle paddings and eventually, low blowed Yujiro behind the referee’s back, shoved him into Togo, and rolled up Yujiro for the cover.
WINNERS: Toru Yano (pinned Yujiro), Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI in 12 minutes and 9 seconds
This was more of a backdrop for larger matches in the future. The immediate focus is Jay White teaming with the Guerrillas of Destiny to challenge Goto, Ishii, and Yoshi-Hashi for the NEVER six-man tag titles on Thursday’s New Beginning card.
Okada and EVIL had a face-off, but EVIL bailed on the confrontation that prompted Okada to attack him on the floor before being separated.
Kota Ibushi & Tomoaki Honma vs. SANADA & Tetsuya Naito
Kevin Kelly explained that for the rematch on Thursday between Ibushi and Sanada, both will be fresh, unlike the G1 final.
Ibushi attempted to place Sanada in the Paradise Lock but was unsuccessful with Sanada placing Ibushi in the Paradise Lock. Their interaction was brief throughout this tag while Naito and Honma ate up the bulk of the match.
Honma just appears in pain going through his various sequences with a stiff appearance in most of his offense.
Ibushi was dropkicked off the apron into the guardrail leaving Honma alone in the ring to be double-teamed and then Naito landed Destino for the pin.
WINNERS: Tetsuya Naito (pinned Tomoaki Honma) & SANADA in 11 minutes and 2 seconds
Naito continued his trend of wanting the referee to keep counting after winning the match. King Kong Bundy is a strange influence for 2021.
A simple tag match and was treated like the dress rehearsal for Ibushi and SANADA tomorrow. They are promoting this match as two big competitive rivals having the big classic title match without animosity. Ibushi and SANADA fist bumped after the match after having a face-off with the Double Championship. The expectations are high for this match tomorrow.
Then, El Phantasmo joined Kevin Kelly on English commentary and thus, completed the homage to Conor McGregor’s tweet by coming out of retirement in record time.
Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi for the IWGP Tag Titles
I went through many different stages of emotions during this match.
For the first five minutes, I hated this. Tama Tonga brought down a bag of gifts that Taichi attempted to open and was attacked. Over the next minutes, we learned that they contained wrapped gifts including bread, a boxing glove, a ping pong paddle, a stuffed animal, and the tease that one of them contained the Iron Fingers. The final gift was revealed to contain a bra. This part of the match was terrible.
Then, they had the heat on Taichi for the first ten minutes of the match and finally, made the tag to Zack Sabre Jr. Then, the match got really good as Sabre has become an excellent babyface wrestler that has mastered the hot tag comeback. He was showcasing all his submissions and was so fluid from one moment to the next, very strong stuff.
The match is building to its peak with Taichi removing the pants and everyone knows that the Iron Fingers have to come into play. The challengers hit Zack Mephisto but referee Marty Asami is pulled to the floor.
Jado came down wearing the Iron Fingers and handed them to Tama Tonga. Douki ran in and stopped Tonga but got nailed with the glove. Taichi landed a spin kick to Tonga’s body and briefly reclaimed the glove only to be stopped again by Tanga Loa. Sabre gets involved and they get the advantage, Taichi is about to use the Iron Fingers when Asami stops him and gets shoved down. Jado used a kendo stick but the Iron Fingers make Taichi impervious to pain – stay with me.
Jado is nailed with the Iron Fingers by Taichi and then turns his attention Tama Tonga, who is begging for mercy. In front of Asami, Taichi cannot resist the demonic power of the Iron Fingers and uses them on Tonga leading to the disqualification…after 29 minutes.
WINNERS: Guerrillas of Destiny by DQ at 29 minutes and 8 seconds to retain the IWGP tag titles
There needs to be a law restricting disqualifications after the fifteen-minute mark of a wrestling match. In fact, I am making it my own personal law that if there is a DQ that late in the match, I will hate it. I went from despising this match early, to really invested in the middle, and then it dragged and had a completely ludicrous finish that lost me. Yes, the story of the Iron Fingers was front and center, which is going to be met with groans by some, and therefore, the compromise should have been to wrap this up in sixteen minutes rather than twenty-nine.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru took the Iron Fingers off Taichi and sealed them in a case. Gedo must have watched “Annabelle”. Kanemaru and Zack Sabre Jr. are playing Ed & Lorraine Warren.
Hiromu Takahashi vs. SHO for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title
They went out to have the long epic style of title match but to me, it was even more perplexing to book the tag title match at that length and finish knowing this was the plan for the main event.
The wrestling was very good, but the last match took me out of this for a good period of time, and going 35 minutes seemed way too long.
Kevin Kelly got upset when El Phantasmo used the term “dipshit” on the broadcast.
The match began with a heavy striking showcase from Hiromu and attacking SHO’s neck. This led to a sunset bomb off the apron to the floor from Hiromu, although SHO recovered and hit his own powerbomb to Hiromu on the edge of the apron minutes later.
The intensity picked up at the twenty-minute mark as they were throwing everything at each other and both kicking out at one several times. The audience was into this through their clapping. Hiromu put SHO in D (triangle), SHO escaped and applied a kimura before the rope break.
Hiromu had numerous counters for the Shock Arrow and was never hit with the move, although SHO managed a cross-arm piledriver that Hiromu kicked out from. The match closed with Hiromu using the DVD into the corner and hit Time Bomb for SHO’s big kick out spot and was his big moment of the match. Hiromu followed with Time Bomb II and won the match.
WINNER: Hiromu Takahashi at 35 minutes and 37 seconds
El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori stormed the ring to attack Hiromu, who was helped by BUSHI. Hiromu fought them off and Phantasmo issued the challenge to Hiromu and said he was “given” the title by New Japan and didn’t earn it. ELP said he won’t leave Japan until he wins the title.
Overall, I thought the big negative was the booking of the IWGP tag title match as I definitely think it affected the presentation of the main event. The closing stretch was strong and the kick out of the Time Bomb was a nice spot for SHO and positioning him as a future star that isn’t at the championship level yet.
The belief that the main events need to top 35 minutes is a flawed one in my opinion. When a match clicks, the time isn’t a factor and it builds the drama but when it feels like it’s the mandatory time allotment, there will be matches that are greatly enhanced at a reduced time.