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By Mike Johnson on 2019-09-28 23:15:00

Welcome to's live, ongoing coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling's Fighting Spirit Unleashed in NYC at the Hammerstein Ballroom!

The event is completely sold out.

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Mike Lombardi and Northeast Wrestling are handling logistical support for NJPW, including staffing and assistance for the pre-show meet and greets.

Brian Kanabroski's PWX out of North Carolina are handling the production aspect of the event.  There is a Titantron-like screen above the entrance way for the show.

Merchandise lines at the Hammerstein are absolutely, insanely long.  There is a tour shirt as well as a tribute shirt for Tiger Hatori.  They are also selling a Jushin Liger shirt even though he's not on the tour.

It was announced live in the venue there would be a delay starting due to a logistical issue.  We are told that the ambulance required by the New York State Athletic Commission to be on hand is stuck in NYC traffic.  Once it arrives, they will begin the show.

Live in the venue, they are airing clips of matches on the screen.  The crowd is starting to get a little restless.

7:32 PM Update - They are still waiting on the ambulance.    Cameramen are taking their place around ringside.  It appears they are no closer to starting.

7:57 PM Update - New Japan's Vice President and Rocky Romero came out and apologized to the crowd for the "technical issues."  They tossed t-shirts to the crowd.  Romero asked the fans to bear with them and promised to rock NYC with tonight's.

Based on numerous sources, here is the problem.  The ambulance company that the Hammerstein Ballroom uses for all their events (and used last night for a concert) did not show up as scheduled.  The belief originally was that the ambulance was stuck in traffic, but when the venue called the ambulance company to check up on their status, they were told that the ambulance company received a phone call this morning telling them tonight's show was canceled and therefore they were not needed - and were now not available.  Someone involved in the show was able to scramble and get a FDNY ambulance to come to the show and FDNY offered to help and remain until the show could get another ambulance to take their place, so that New Japan could star holding matches.  However, we are told that New York State rules would not allow that and everyone is working on getting another ambulance there.  The Commission does not allow matches to take place unless there are EMTs with an ambulance present at the venue.    As you can imagine, everyone working the show is beyond stressed at the moment.

8:14 PM - The ambulance just arrived at the front of the venue.  Once they are parked behind the building and EMTs are stationed in the venue, the show will be allowed to begin. 

It is the Commission who are holding up the show.  They have also given very strict rules for tonight.  No chairs, no tables, no blood, no whipping into the guard rails, no fighting in the crowd.

They are airing the opening video on the screen above the entrance way.

Hey, the show is going to start!

Ren Narita vs. TJP

They had some nice back and forth wrestling early on.  Narita went for a Boston Crab but TJP made it to the ropes.    Narita rolled him over back into the center of the ring and locked on the Crab.  TJP finally made it to the ropes.  TJP locked on a shoulder submission but Narita made it to the ropes.  TJP rebounded off the ropes but ate a dropkick to the face.  Narita went for a hold but was caught in a leg submission.  He made his way to the ropes but was pulled back.  They battled until TJP forced him to tap to a shoulder submission.

Your winner, TJP!

A solid opener but not memorable.

The referees are all wearing the Tiger Hatori tribute t-shirts.

Karl Fredericks vs. Lance Archer

Fredericks tried his hardest to wear down Archer with chops and strikes, but to no avail.  Archer slammed him on the floor and at another point, walked the ropes.  He slapped Fredericks several times, which fired the young lion up but Archer took him down again with a lariat.  Fredericks ducked a lariat and nailed a dropkick to the mid-section.  He nailed a leaping back elbow in the corner.  Fredericks nailed a suplex for a two count.     Archer kicked him off but Fredericks nailed several stomps.  Archer nailed him with a Pounce and a big chokeslam for a two count.  He nailed another but this time, pulled Fredericks up at the two count.  Archer applied the Iron Claw and pinned Fredericks. 

Your winner, Lance Archer!

Archer attacked several officials at ringside after.


Mikey Nicholls and Juice Robinson vs. Alex Coughlin and Clark Connors

Nicholls and Connors started out and went back and forth.  Robinson and Coughlin tagged in.  Juice showed a lot of charisma.   Connors and Coughlin took control and doubleteamed Robinson, scoring several near falls.  Nicholls finally made the hot tag and nailed several clotheslines.  He and Robinson nailed stereo charging clotheslines in opposite corners, then reversed and hit another opponent.    Connors and Coughlin battled back and locked on stereo Boston Crabs.  Robinson and Nicholls grabbed each others' arms to propel each other forward and get out of the moves.  Connors nailed a Fallaway slam into a bridge on Nicholls for a two count.  They slapped each other.  Nicholls caught him with a DVDR and a lariat for a two count.     Nicholls finally scored the pin.

Your winners, Mikey Nicholls and Juice Robinson.

Solid tag match.  The crowd was really excited to see Robinson.

SHO, YOH and Rocky Romero vs. Jado and Guerillas of Destiny 

Yoh had control of Jado early but the GOD overwhelmed him on the floor and controlled Yoh, scoring several near falls.  Rocky Romero tagged in and scored a series of lariats on Jado and Tonga Loa.  Tama Tonga cut him off with a back suplex.  They went to hit the Magic Killer on Romero but Yoh hit the ring and speared one of them   Roppongi 3K nauled stereo kicks and knee strikes on Tama Tonga.    Tonga Loa nailed a cutter on Sho.  Jado caught Yoh with a cane shot to the back and Loa nailed him with a lariat.   Romero got caught coming off the top and nailed with the Magic Killer for the pin.

Your winners, Jado & the Guerrillas of Destiny.

Perfectly fine for what it was.

Tiger Hatori came to the ring and there was a big "Thank you Tiger" chant.  He is officiating the next match.

Rock n Roll Express and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. BUSHI, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito

Tanahashi and Takagi started out.  Morton tagged in, setting up he and Robert Gibson nailing all their trademark moves until Naito attacked Morton and worked him over on the apron.  Morton was worked over for a long time by members of LIJ.  The crowd chanted “Rock N’ Roll” to fire up Morton but every time he fought to his feet, he was taken back down.  Tanahashi finally got the hot tag and cleaned house, hitting a frog splash off the top on BUSHI for the pin.

Your winners, The Rock N' Roll Express and Hiroshi Tanahashi!

OK match.

They announced tonight was Hattori's final match in the United States.  The fans chanted, "Thank you Tiger."  His family entered the ring and embraced him and everyone posed for photos.  It was a really nice moment.

Hatori took the mic and said he was thankful to have been in the business for 50 years.  He said that he had his grandchildren here and lives in NYC, the number one city in the world.  He thanked everyone for their support of New Japan Pro Wrestling.

There was another "Thank you Tiger" chant on the way out.

Thus far, it feels like a house show, not a major event.

Coverage continues on Page 2!

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