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By Matthew Macklin on 2015-02-14 19:52:09
NJPW The New Beginning in Sendai, February 14th

The big news here was that due to being unable to compete because of the flu, Togi Makabe relinquished the NEVER Championship. So that gave us Tomohiro Ishii vs Tomoaki Honma to crown a new champion.

Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan defeated Yohei Komatsu & Satoshi Kojima. This turned out to be a fun opener, and much better than expected mainly due to the hard work of Kojima and Komatsu, who work very well as a team. Nakanishi got the win with the Argentine Backbreaker into a neckbreaker on Komatsu.

Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish (ReDRagon) defeated Jay White & Tiger Mask IV. This was really really good, as you'd expect with a match involving ReDRagon. Jay White looked great in his big show debut and was given plenty of time in the ring. O'Reilly and Tiger had some fun exchanges as Kyle becomes seemingly more at home in NJPW with every match. ReDRagon got the win after Chasing The Dragon on White.

Mascara Dorada, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA defeated Kenny Omega, Nick & Matt Jackson. My advice would be to stop reading this and go and watch this match. This was bat shit crazy and wrestled at a ridiculous pace. As mentioned before, The Bucks & Omega work amazingly well as a team. Some of the highlights were a triple superkick from team Bullet Club, a ridiculous sunset flip powerbomb to the floor from Dorada and a double Indytaker as Omega & Matt simultaneously tombstoned Time Splitters. Dorada pinned Omega when he countered the One Winged Angel into a sunset flip. I am already looking forward to the Omega/Dorada match whenever it happens.

NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship: Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Chase Owens. Bruce Tharpe's jacket colour of choice here was pink. It's sometimes very easy to forget Liger's age due to being covered up, but the way he still moves in the ring is incredible for his age. This was another really solid match with Liger winning after a roll up. Owens isn't bad, but he's just not very memorable. After the match Liger challenged Tiger Mask to a title match. Tiger accepted. I'm looking forward to this one as both can still go in the right scenario.

NWA Heavyweight Championship: Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Rob Conway. Tenzan is the new NWA champion. If there was ever a match that overachieved this was it. As I mentioned before, Tenzan is badly broken down and although he is capable of pulling out miraculous performances, I wasn't sure if Conway was the guy he'd do it with. Well this turned out to be great. There were lots of great near falls towards the end with Tenzan escaping the Ego Trip, and Conway escaping the Anaconda Vise. After Tenzan took out Tharpe, he hit a moonsault for the win. As broken down as Tenzan is, it's always amazing to see him hit a picture perfect moonsault.

Tetsuya Naito & Kota Ibushi defeated Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba. Given that Yano & Sakuraba are up there with the most bizarre pairings ever and the fact that their ring styles are the polar opposite of Naito and Ibushi, this somehow worked. After just a few minutes I was already wanting an Ibushi vs. Sakuraba singles match as Ibushi seems to be joining the list of the few guys that Sakuraba has chemistry with given how awkward he is in the ring. Naito got the win after Yano's usual exposed buckle/low blow shenanigans after countering Yano's roll up into one of his own. I really hope we see Ibushi & Naito as a regular team as they could have incredibly fun matches with Gallows & Anderson and Meiyu Tag.

Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale. The story here was Okada getting back on track as he pinned Yujiro after a Rainmaker. This was another fun match. Okada still has Fale in his sights as he looks to get his win back from him. It looks like we might get Okada winning the New Japan Cup while beating Fale along the way. YOSHI-HASHI is criminally underrated and I would love to see him get a spot in the G1 Climax this year.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata defeated Tama Tonga, Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson. Tanahashi got the win here with a High Fly Flow on Tama in yet another fun tag match. Bullet Club worked over Tanahashi's eye injury from Osaka for most of the match. At one point Shibata hit a trifecta of his corner dropkicks on all members of the Bullet Club team. Tama Tonga looked good here and I'd love to see him given more of a chance to shine. Bullet Club paid tribute to KISS with their face paint.

NEVER Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii defeated Tomoaki Honma. Just stop reading this and go and watch this match. Ishii and Honma had an absolute classic. The circumstances were a bit odd with Makabe relinquishing the title and I'm not sure what qualified Ishii for the title opportunity, but what we got was an absolute belter and one of the best matches so far this year. This was better than anything on the NXT Takeover show, and that's not to take anything away from NXT. Honma and Ishii are two of NJPW's toughest bastards who fight from underneath and if you didn't find yourself getting behind Honma in this one you're probably not human. Even if you have never seen him before I can guarantee you will be begging for him to win come the end of the match. He is right up there with Sami Zayn as the most sympathetic performers in pro wrestling. Ishii was my wrestler of the year in 2014 and he is on track for another amazing year. How he does what he does with all the injuries he has is crazy. These guys hit each other with everything and it was a spectacle to watch. Ishii got the win with a brainbuster.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Yuji Nagata. Before the match we got an emotional video package showing Nagata with his wife and son leading into the match. Nagata was accompanied to the ring by the NJPW veteran army of Tenzan, Kojima & Nakanishi, so this already felt special and everyone was rooting for Nagata, even if you were the worlds biggest Nakamura fan. The match fell below expectations, but that's not to say it was bad. It was a really really great match which had the unfortunate task of following Ishii vs. Honma. The finish fell slightly flat as Nakamura pinned Nagata with a Boma Ye that felt like it came from nowhere. Nagata proved what we already thought and that is that he is still as good as anyone and deserve a more prominent position on the card than multi man tag matches.

This show was much better than the Osaka show and the whole show is worth going out of your way to see, particularly Bucks/Omega vs. Dorada/Time Splitters, Honma/Ishii & Nagata/Nakamura. Honma was the MVP of both shows with the best match of the night on both.

Both shows are available on demand on

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