History was made and a double champion crowned at Wrestle Kingdom, as Testuya Naito became the first ever man to hold the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships at the same time. Now, at New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) New Beginning in Osaka, Naito will defend both his prizes against the biggest jerk in a stable full of jerks, KENTA of the Bullet Club. In the penultimate match of the evening, current IWGP United States Champion, Jon Moxley, will go to war with Minoru Suzuki, as Suzuki seeks to claim the title, and become the most dangerous King of the United States of all time. Not to be outdone, tonight will be the rematch nobody thought would ever happen, as new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, the returning Hiromu Takahashi, faces off against the former Dragon Lee, now Ryu Lee, in the pairs’ first meeting since Lee broken Hiromu’s neck in late 2018. These three matches, as well as appearances from Roppongi 3K, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Kota Ibushi and Jay White, and Manabu Nakanishi’s final ever match inside Osaka-jo Hall at NJPW New Beginning in Osaka.
+ Tetsuya Naito (c) vs KENTA (IWGP Heavyweight Championship & IWGP Intercontinental Championship): of all the matches on the show, I can’t say I thought this one would be the bloodbath. KENTA’s chicken-shit antics drew nuclear ire from the 11,000 plus crowd, as they spent the entire match length chanting Naito’s name. KENTA’s strikes and Naito speed made for a frantic, back and forth match, fitting of the main event and Naito’s first double title defence
+ Jon Moxley (c) vs Minoru Suzuki (IWGP United States Championship): sweet merciful crap, this was awesome. I wasn’t expecting a flashy match here, but this had all the thrills you may expect from any of the best NJPW matches. Moxley’s foul mouth was matchonly by the filthy strikes the two were throwing at each other, which both men seemed to enjoy like nothing else. I loved this match so, so much
+ Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs Ryu Lee (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship): god almighty this was hard to watch. Full of (literal) blistering strikes to the chest, one of the most insane topé dives I’ve ever seen and the scariest, most dangerous callbacks to their past, I couldn’t take my eyes off this match. This was terrifying, and wonderful
+ Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (c) (w/ Rocky Romero) vs Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships): the crowd was super hot for the R3K boys, but I have to say I’m a little bit sick of this pairing. I love Despy, of course, but but I just want to see these two teams face off against the Bullet Club juniors, or for BUSHI to find another junior partner in LIJ. This did still have some twists and turns, and a very interesting aftermath was worth seeing the same match again
+ Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe: Nakanishi’s final match ever in Osaka-jo Hall was pretty much what you’d expect. Kojima, Makabe and Nagata all looked pretty good, as did Taugchi and Henare, but Tenzan, Nakanishi and Honma each were well past their prime. As a match this wasn’t particularly good, but sometimes these dad fights are far more fun than you think they’ll be
– SANADA vs Jay White: this was fine, but it just felt inconsequential. With their stablemates fighting in the main event, this felt like the very small leagues, without even a ‘most likely going to be the next contender’ feel to it all. Gedo had all the standard interference stuff, White was the slimy bad guy and the crowd was always behind SANADA, so it just felt like every other interaction they’ve had lately
– CHAOS (Will Ospreay & Kazuchika Okada) vs Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi): outside of a smooth sequence between the Brits, and a wild lariat from Taichi, this didn’t really feel like anything special, especially since these four have had their respective singles matches on the New Beginning in Sapporo shows. If either rivalry is to continue, then I hope there is a good reason for that incoming
> Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga): unfortunately, I missed this match due to a personal emergency. It didn’t seem to be a very long match
Should you watch this event: The three main event matches here were spectacular, and the Junior Tag match was well worth your time (if you’re a fan of either team). Hiromu/Lee and Mox/Suzuki will be on most match of the year ballots in the months to come, I guarantee it.