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By Matthew Macklin on 2019-02-11 17:38:00

The New Beginning in Osaka, February 11th:

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Takashi Iizuka, Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku.  The story here was with Iizuka’s upcoming retirement, Tenzan was trying to remind him of their long forgotten friendship and bring him back to sanity, Suzuki and Kojima had a great strike exchange, but other than that this was a basic Suzuki-Gun match. 

SANADA & EVIL defeated Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida.  This was a strong win for the tag champions with the young lions getting in enough to look credible. EVIL & SANADA got the win with the Magic Killer. 

Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & Taichi.  Naito was taped up selling his injuries from his match with Taichi. This was a fun back and forth match, but nothing must-see or ground breaking. The finish saw Shingo hit Kanemaru with a pumping bomber and Naito finish him with Destino. 

After the match SHO & YOH attacked Shingo and BUSHI on the ramp and challenged them to a title match. 

Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi defeated Tomoaki Honma & YOSHI-HASHI.  This wasn’t very good. Honma is still struggling to get his form back.  Very little of note happened. Owens pinned Honma after a Package Piledriver. 

Kota Ibushi appeared before the crowd and announced that he will be staying with NJPW and is entering the New Japan Cup. 

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa defeated Toru Yano & Togi Makabe.  This saw the former Most Violent Players, Yano & Makabe team up in a straight tag match for the first time in about a decade.  They were attacked in the ramp and this led to Yano being worked over for quite a while. Makabe got the hot tag and Yano came back in, this time using the buckle pad as a weapon. Jado struck Makabe with a kendo stick and Tonga hit a Gun Stun. Yano was struck between the eyes with the stick and finished with a Gun Stun. 

IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori defeated Ryusuke Taguchi.  This was a great match. This was one of the few matches a year where Taguchi reminds everyone what a brilliant wrestler he is. Ishimori showed insane quickness at times here.  Taguchi went after the ankle, to set up for the ankle lock. Later in the match Ishimori hit Bloody Cross, but hurt his own ankle. Taguchi hit Dodon for an incredible near fall. Ishimori hit a Death Valley Driver and then hit another Bloody Cross to score the win and retain. 

After the match, Ishimori called Jushin Thunder Liger into the ring and challenged him to a title match, which Liger accepted. 

Kazuchika Okada defeated Bad Luck Fale.  Okada gets his annual singles win over Fale.  The first part of this match was based around Okada building to slamming Fale.  Fale’s power was still too much, and Okada was cut off several times. Okada hit a big missile dropkick, then after a ref bump we saw Yujiro and Chase get involved to help Fale, but YOSHI-HASHi made the save. There was some good back and forth in the final minutes with Fale getting a really close near fall after hitting The Grenade.  Okada won after a rolling lariat and a Rainmaker.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Jay White defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi.   NJPW went all the way with this ballsy Jay White push, beating Tanahashi clean and becoming the top guy in New Japan. His push this year, especially over the last six months has been incredible and White has grown into the role.    White went after the knee of Tanahashi, the same knee he injured and used to submit him earlier in this tour with the TTO.  Tanahashi didn’t lay down, he also went after a knee, using dragon screws, eventually locking in the Cloverleaf.  White locked on the TTO and Tanahashi sold like only he can, clawing to the ropes. There was an amazing sequence of reversals in the middle of this, ending with Tanahashi getting the advantage. He countered the Bladerunner into a Slingblade and missed the High Fly Flow. Tanahashi kicked out of everything White had, including the Kiwi Krusher.  The finish saw Tanahashi go for the High Fly Flow and get caught in mid air, with White hitting the Bladerunner to pin Tanahashi cleanly and at 26 years old, become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. 

New Japan do not mess around when they want to make someone a star. Jay White became one on this show.  

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