Wrestling Review: NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo (2020) (Day 2)

[Please note: I completely flubbed the start time here, and missed the first hour to watch it live. I’ll attempt to go back and watch the first four scheduled matches which I missed — that said, if I missed four matches in an hour, I can’t imagine any of them were particularly great. Also, be aware of spoilers for the first day of action, which I previously reviewed here.]

Following on from Day 1, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) continues the action with Day 2 of the New Beginning in Sapporo. In the main event, hometown “hero” Taichi will face off against Kazuchika Okada, in a match that has gotten very heated, very quickly. Unofficially, a number one contender’s spot might be on the line for the winner, as current Double Champ, Tetsuya Naito, faces off in tag team action with his upcoming challenger at the New Beginning in Osaka show next weekend. The RevPro British Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in the semi-main event, as current champion Zack Sabre Jr. looks to defeat long time rival, Will Ospreay, in a match seven years in the making. All of this and many more tag team contests on the second night of action at NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo.

+ Kazuchika Okada vs Taichi: ooh boy, that Taichi has some babyface fire — at least in his hometown of Sapporo. Okada is an all time great, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was swayed to be solidly behind Taichi in this match. Taichi was at his absolute best, usually reserved for his battles with Tomohiro Ishii, and it made for an incredible contest
+ Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Will Ospreay (RevPro British Heavyweight Championship): I don’t know what I expected from these two, but they always have at least a good match (along with any combination of these two and Marty Scurll, who I hope to see again soon in NJPW). Sabre really is the windy man he claims to be, and while Ospreay didn’t look to be quite at the near best-in-the-world level he was for much of 2019, he was able to keep up with Sabre like few can. I enjoyed this, but I can’t say it was the ‘Tanahashi/Okada of England’ that commentary was making it out to be
+ Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Jay White & KENTA): this was fine, but nothing particularly special. KENTA is a jerk, Naito is seemingly constantly on the verge of falling apart, SANADA and White had some good interactions folling on from yesterday’s action, it is still a thrill to have Hirmou back and Ishimori is great, but I’ve been enjoying his tag team work. In the end, this was fone for the stories it set up or continued
+ Ryusuke Taguchi, SHO, YOH & Jon Moxley vs Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki): this match had everything. Moxley/Suzuki did not stop the entire time, Kanemaru/Despy and the R3K boys had solid tag action, and there was even some good comedy spots with Taguchi involved. This was great

njpw_newbeginninginsapporo_2020_day2_2
SANADA (left) looking a bit lost without some gold around his waist, as Tetsuya Naito carries both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles, and Hiromu Takahashi wears the IWGP Junior Heavywweight gold.

Should you watch this event: I’m disappointed in myself for missing the start time here, but at least I caught the final four matches, all of which were good to great. Moxley/Suzuki is going to be an absolute banger, and Naito/KENTA should be something really interesting, as well. I am interested as to what is coming next for Okada, Taichi, EVIL, Ospreay and Ishii following their matches over these last two events, not to mention any upcoming challengers for Sabre or Shingo. The four matches I caught on Day 2 were all worth seeing.

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