March 21, 2023
Nagaoka, Japan – Ao-re Nagaoka
English Commentary: Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton
Results via Chick Fritts of F4WOnline.com
Quick Match Results
- Just Five Guys defeated Yuto Nakashima & Hiroshi Tanahashi via Dangerous Backdrop (pinfall 10:03)
- Ryohei Oiwa & Shota Umino defeated TMDK via Death Rider (pinfall 9:44)
- El Phantasmo, Chase Owens, & KENTA defeated Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, & Tama Tonga via CR II (pinfall 8:14)
- Dick Togo, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi, & EVIL defeated Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, Ren Narita, & El Desperado via Big Juice (pinfall 2:45)
- Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito defeated Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan via Roll-up (pinfall 12:43)
- United Empire defeated YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, & Kazuchika Okada via Coriolis (pinfall 11:13)
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship – Hiromu Takahashi (c) defeated Lio Rush via Time Bomb II (pinfall 21:27)
- New Japan Cup 2023 Finals – SANADA defeated David Finlay via Modified DDT (pinfall)
Yuto Nakashima & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Just Five Guys (DOUKI & Taichi)
This was a fine little opener here to shine some light on Nakashima.
DOUKI and Taichi took an early lead over an overly-ambitious Nakashima. Once Nakashima tagged to Tanahashi, the crowd came unglued. After Tanahashi gained control, Nakashima begged for a tag. Once obliged, Taichi hit Nakashima with an axe bomber and a dangerous backdrop to win the match.
Winner: Just Five Guys via Pinfall.
Ryohei Oiwa & Shota Umino vs. TMDK (Kosei Fujita & Zack Sabre Jr.)
The young lions opened the match with a bit of grappling. Despite Fujita’s accelerated learning as a part of TMDK, Oiwa took the lead and passed it off to Umino. After a tag to ZSJ, TMDK started to fight into the match.
After an ample selection of back-and-forths, Fujita tagged back in. He nearly caught Umino with a bridging pin, but Umino kicked out, hit Fujita with a death rider, and won the match.
Winner: Ryohei Oiwa & Shota Umino via Pinfall.
After the match, Umino challenged ZSJ to a TV title match; ZSJ accepted.
Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, & Tama Tonga vs. El Phantasmo, Chase Owens, & KENTA
Ishii and Owens were a bit of a focal point throughout this match. I still don’t know why this is happening.
Bullet Club used heelish tactics early to take advantage. The match then played out fairly typically, filled with Bullet Club using their numbers to overwhelm their opponents before an eventual babyface rally. In the end, ELP won by hitting Honma with CR2.
Winner: El Phantasmo, Chase Owens, & KENTA via Pinfall.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, Ren Narita, & El Desperado vs. Dick Togo, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi, & EVIL
This was far from a good match, but the post-match visuals were powerful. If they were to set up something other than a HOT trios match, I would have loved this.
The match opened with HOT attacking their Strong Style opponents. After a mostly one-sided beatdown, Yujiro hit Taguchi with a wrench.
Winner: Dick Togo, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi, & EVIL via Pinfall.
After the match concluded, HOT unmasked Desperado. The post-match beatdown continued with HOT cutting off Narita’s shirt and spraypainting “HOT” on his torso. This led into an even more brutal beatdown and another Desperado unmasking.
Video: New Debut Teaser
Following House of Torture’s post-match attack and promo mocking Ren Narita and El Desperado, New Japan Pro Wrestling aired a video teasing the debut of a new mystery person arriving soon in the company.
?#njpw pic.twitter.com/jRQRIC9mjh— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) March 21, 2023
Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito vs. United Empire (Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan)
This was a tag built entirely around some firey exchanges between Shingo and Henare. For most of the match, Naito failed to get his wheels turning, and O-Khan was just kind of there.
In the end, it was O-Khan and Naito left alone in the ring while Henare and Naito brawled outside of the ring. Naito caught O-Khan with a rollup to win the match.
Winner: Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito via Pinfall.
Henare and Shingo had a staredown over the KOPW belt after the match, further setting up their upcoming bout.
YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, & Kazuchika Okada vs. United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis))
CHAOS gained the upper hand early, but UE fought back, using environmental offense to take control. After an extended period with UE in the lead, the match entered a stretch of turbulence, with neither team being clearly ahead.
Ultimately, Aussie Open weathered the storm and came out on top after hitting YH with Coriolis.
Winner: United Empire via Pinfall.
After the match, Aussie Open made their challenge for Bishamon’s title clear. Cobb also called out Kenny Omega, who he imitated at points in the match.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Lio Rush vs. Hiromu Takahashi (c)
The match opened at a fast pace, with Lio taking the fight to the floor. Hiromu landed a powerbomb onto the apron and a slam into the barricade to take the early lead. Back in the ring, Hiromu maintained control for a while with a variety of wear-down moves.
To get himself back in the match, Lio hit an impressive flipping dive from the apron to the floor. Hiromu answered Lio with a powerbomb, but Lio held on, landing a poison rana and Rush Hour for a quick response.
Lio landed one splash, but Hiromu reversed the second and immediately followed with timebomb for a nearfall. Lio fought back with a Spanish fly and a DMV, both yielding nearfalls. Lio hit YOH’s direct drive and attempted another dive, but Hiromu rolled out of the way.
After surviving everything Lio could throw at him, Hiromu hit a lariat and timebomb 2 to win the match.
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi via Pinfall to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Zack Sabre Jr walked to the ring and announced the next challenger would be the newest member of TMDK, Robbie Eagles.
New Japan Cup 2023 Finals
SANADA vs. David Finlay
This was a nothing match, but the crowd made it bearable.
This match opened with the loudest reaction from a New Japan crowd in years, in support of Niigata’s own, SANADA.
Finlay opened the match, taking the match to the floor and establishing control. As SANADA tried to fight back into the match, Finlay took the match back outside, slamming him into the barricade and apron. Back in the ring, Finlay clubbed SANADA with offense for quite some time. Most of the match spawned from this period of control.
Finlay began to look for the finish, but SANADA reversed the trash panda attempt into skull end. After escaping skull end, the pair traded shots at their finishers until SANDA landed a shining wizard and his new DDT to win the match.
Winner: SANADA via Pinfall to become the winner of the New Japan Cup 2023 tournament.
After the match, SANADA challenged Okada to meet him in the ring. Okada toyed with SANADA, pointing out his previous failings ahead of their title bout. Before leaving, Okada stood tall, IWGP in hand.
After Okada left, SANADA cut the show-ending promo with a sea of lights in the crowd.