NJPW paves the way towards the Anniversary Show!
The NJPW 48th Anniversary is on the horizon, so we go down this New Japan Road paved with gold! Will Shingo Takagi stay Mr. NEVER Openweight?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Roppongi 3K VS Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi; RPG3K wins and retains the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Tomohiro Ishii; Takagi wins and retains the NEVER Openweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championships: Roppongi 3K VS Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi!
What an interesting match-up! Sho & Yoh face not only one of the best all time in the Funky Weapon, but they face the man who coached and mentored them to where they are now! Can RPG3K defeat the Mega Coaches and prove the students have surpassed the master?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and the coaches “draw up” a game plan on the buckle pad. They come to an agreement, and Romero dares his boys to step up! Sho tells Yoh he’ll start, and the bell rings. Romero rushes in but Sho sees it coming! Romero backs off, asking for a time-out. Sho won’t give it to him, and starts throwing forearms! Romero throws them back and we have a brawl between teacher and student! Sho rocks Romero, then again. Sho whips, Romero slides under and dodges, but Sho hip tosses to an armbar! Romero slips out, Sho kicks low and runs to sunset flip. Romero drops down to get the armbar! Sho rolls Romero up, TWO and the two separate. Fans cheer the exchange and rally for “Rocky! Rocky!”
Romero and Sho stare down, but back off to tag their partners. Yoh steps up to Taguchi and fans are cheering Taguchi on. Taguchi and Yoh circle and tie up. Taguchi gets a leg, Yoh sits to block. Yoh gets around to a waistlock but Taguchi pries free to wrench. Yoh flips, rolls and wrenches back to a wristlock. Taguchi stays up as Yoh has the hammerlock. Taguchi reaches down and trips Yoh up to get a toehold. Yoh endures as Taguchi drops to a heel hook. Taguchi turns the hold to go after a Half Crab but Yoh scrambles to a ropebreak! Fans cheer as Taguchi lets up. Taguchi and Yoh circle again, feeling out a new grapple. Yoh kicks low, reels Taguchi in to headlock and grinds Taguchi down. Taguchi throws body shots and powers out, then things speed up.
Taguchi drops and drops and drops but Yoh is still ready for the elbow! Yoh whips Taguchi to drop and drop and drop. Taguchi counters Yoh’s cleverness with a basement dropkick! Fans cheer as Sho runs in to get an atomic drop! Tag to Romero and the coaches bring up one each. Romero whips Yoh corner to corner, then Taguchi whips Sho into Yoh. Taguchi whips Romero for Romero to whip Taguchi in but apparently Taguchi insists Romero go in. The coaches carousel around each other until finally Romero goes in to elbow sandwich RPG3K! Romero runs out but Taguchi tells him to keep going. Romero goes back in for another, and another, and Sho flops out of the ring. Now Taguchi runs in to hit Yoh! Taguchi gives baseball signs and the coaches hip bump to celebrate.
Fans rally up as Taguchi climbs up and Romero brings Yoh up. Romero sends Yoh into the Funky Weapon’s “home base!” And then uses it as part of the tornado, only for Yoh to deny the DDT! Yoh suplexes Romero into Taguchi! Sho returns and he stomps Taguchi out of the ring. RPG3K has their coach all alone and stomp him a little. They bring Romero up and to the corner. Sho tags in, RPG3K double whip, speed things up, drop toehold and basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up as Sho clamps onto Romero with a chinlock. Sho digs his knee in and thrashes Romero about but Romero fights up. Romero elbows back but Sho clubs him down. Sho whips and kitchen sink knees Romero down! Then KICKS him hard in the back! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer but Sho keeps his cool.
Sho drags Romero over, tags Yoh and RPG3K mugs Romero in the corner. Romero CHOPS Yoh back! Yoh eggs Romero on and Romero throws forearms and CHOPS! Yoh European Uppercuts then scoop slams Romero down. Elbow drop and cover, ONE, to a knee drop! Cover, TWO! Double stomps! Cover, TWO! Yoh wraps on with a headscissor hold and Sho hits Taguchi down. Romero endures as Yoh cranks and squeezes his head. Fans rally up for Romero as Sho watches Taguchi closely. Sho stomps Taguchi down but Romero rolls to a ropebreak! Yoh lets go at 4, to basement dropkick Romero! Yoh brings Romero back up and throws forearms. He stomps and kicks Romero while he’s down, toying with the ol’ coach. So Romero SLAPS Yoh! Yoh SLAPS back!
Romero staggers and Yoh throws EuroUppers. Yoh runs corner to corner but Romero boots him away. Yoh runs into another boot, then Romero jumps up to tornado DDT! Fans rally up again and Romero tags in Taguchi! Sho jumps in but gets the Funky Weapon! Taguchi fires up as he has RPG3K on opposite ends. The Funky Weapon Train begins! Taguchi hits Yoh, Sho, back to Yoh, back to Sho, and then slides out to get Yoh on the apron! Fans cheer as Taguchi watches Yoh stand back up. Taguchi springboards but Yoh gets clear. Taguchi keeps going to triangle PLANCHA onto Sho! The Funky Weapon gets in the ring and baits Yoh into rushing him. Shout out to Shinsuke and Yoh is sent tumbling out! Taguchi builds speed as RPG3K regroups, TOPE CONJILO! Fans are fired up for Taguchi and he’s a bit bashful now.
Taguchi puts Yoh in the ring and aims again. Yoh slowly stands, Taguchi springboards, flying hip attack! Cover, TWO! Yoh survives but fans are even more fired up behind Taguchi. Taguchi drags Yoh up and snap suplexes! Uno amigo! Dos amigo! But Yoh slips out to dragon sleeper. Taguchi fights out but Yoh ducks his clothesline. Yoh hops on for the satellite DDT! Cover, TWO!! Yoh keeps his focus as he drags Taguchi up. Waistllock, half nelson then full nelson. Taguchi breaks free and elbows out. Yoh ducks to EuroUpper and mule kick! Yoh runs, sunset flips but Taguchi rolls through to the ANKLE LOCK! Fans fire up but Yoh rolls and throws Taguchi off. Taguchi goes up, missile dropkick! And the Ankle Lock is back! Yoh reaches for ropes but Taguchi pulls him back and leans into the lock!
Yoh claws forward but Taguchi brings him away! But Taguchi reels Yoh in and goes for chicken wings! Yoh elbows free, shiranui to dragon sleeper, elbow drop DDT! Both men are down and fans rally up! Yoh crawls to tag Sho, and Sho goes after Taguchi in the corner with a big corner clothesline! Sho whips corner to corner, Taguchi reverses but Sho reverses back to kick out a leg. Sho kicks and kicks and MULE KICKS! Cover, TWO! Taguchi still lives and fans are still fired up. Sho drags Taguchi up in a dead lift waistlock, but Taguchi fights free. Taguchi runs, into a big elbow! Sho runs, into an enziguri! Fans fire up as both men are down again. Taguchi crawls to his corner, tag to Romero! Romero runs in to huricanrana Sho!
Yoh gets in, Romero kicks low and whips but Yoh reverses, only for Romero to huricanrana him! RPG3K are in opposite corners, Romero starts up the Forever Clotheslines! But he only gets two before Yoh dodges and Sho follows to clothesline Romero! Yoh goes to the other corner as Sho becomes a step stool, but Romero is the one who hits Roppongi in Motion! Romero downs Yoh and dodges Sho to LARIAT! Fans fire up for “Rocky! Rocky!” as Romero aims at Sho. Sho stands, Romero runs and swings around for the Shiranui DDT! Cover, TWO!! Sho survives but Romero drags Sho up. Romero knuckle locks then climbs the ropes, meteora to the arm!
Romero looms over Sho and drags him up to wrench. Shoulder breaker! Romero kicks the bad arm, wrenches and wants another, but Sho gets Romero in a sleeper hold! Sho squeezes tight but Romero pries at the hold. Romero frees himself, rams shoulders then suplexes for a takedown and armbar! Taguchi intercepts Yoh with the ANKLE LOCK! Yoh reaches for Sho as Sho scrambles around! Romero cranks the arm back, Sho rolls him. Romero won’t let Sho lift, so Sho shifts to an armbar of his own! Yoh counters Taguchi to a “Star Gazer” Kneebar! Romero gets the ropebreak! Sho lets Romero go and Yoh lets Taguchi go. Fans rally as the four men are down. The teams regroup, and RPG3K bring the coaches up.
The coaches forearm, but RPG3K forearm back. We have a back ‘n’ forth, the coaches fire each other up, and fire off more forearms. The coaches fake RPG3K out on the knees, but then RPG3K catches the coaches into stereo atomic drops! RPG3K runs, into stereo hip attacks! Fans fire up and the coaches have Sho alone. Taguchi goes to the corner again and Romero whips Sho. Sho stops himself from running into the Funky Weapon, so Romero runs in. Sho side steps and Rocky has to stomp himself! Romero blocks as Sho tries to throw him in. Romero ax handles Sho away, then catapults Sho into the Funky Weapon! Tornado DDT! Taguchi calls upon the power of Shinsuke and runs, BUM-A-YE! Romero rolls Sho up, TWO!! Sho survives but the fans are thunderous for the coaches.
Romero rolls Sho to Taguchi for a wheelbarrow, CODE BREAKER! Cover, but Yoh breaks it! Taguchi throws Yoh out and Romero fires up! Romero drags Sho up, cravat and run the corner, but no Sliced Bread. Sho dodges Romero to send him into posts, then waistlocks. Romero fights out and kicks the bad arm! Romero runs into Yoh’s SUPERKICK! Taguchi kicks RPG3K then runs, into the double knees! RPG3K drags Romero up, suplex and Canadian rack, but Romero slips out to send Sho into Yoh. Romero grabs Sho and uses Yoh for the launch pad, but Sho blocks Shiranui! Sho flips Romero over and Yoh runs, Dominator Cutter! Cover, TWO!! Romero lives and fans are at a fever pitch! But RPG3K still has things to try.
Sho gives Romero a backstabber, then feeds him to Yoh’s shotgun dropkick! RPG3K tune up the band as Romero stirs. Romero slowly stands, Sho & Yoh call for it, but Taguchi saves Romero from 3K! Taguchi throws forearms and CHOPS on Sho and Yoh, then runs. Sho lifts but Taguchi hip attacks Yoh! Taguchi runs into Sho’s LARIAT! Romero LARIATS Sho! Yoh dropkicks Romero! Taguchi is up again, and hip attacks Yoh! Sho SPEARS Taguchi! Romero KNEES Sho and ROCKS Yoh, Yoh PELES! All four men are down again and the fans cheer again. Fans rally for the four as they all stir. Taguchi flops out of the ring, as does Yoh. Sho gets to a corner, as does Romero. Romero runs in to corner clothesilne! But Sho gives it back! Sho runs, but Romero slips to a backslide, TWO!! Huricanrana and cover, TWO!!
Sho slowly gets to his feet, Romero throws an uppercut! And ROCKS Sho with a right! Romero runs, Sho LARIATS! Sho dead lifts Romero for the GERMAN! Bridge, TWO!?! Romero barely escapes and Sho can’t believe it! Fans haven’t slowed down one bit as Sho drags Romero up. Sho lifts, POWER BREAKER! High stack but Taguchi breaks it! Yoh throws Taguchi out and PESCADO! Sho fires up and draws the bow! Sho drags Romero up, pump handles, but Romero slips out to cradle counter!! TWO!!! Romero KNEES Sho, but Sho KNEES back! Sho drags Romero up, pump handles, but Romero tries to huricanrana out! Sho blocks but Romero escapes. Romero enziguris but Sho ducks! Yoh keeps Taguchi down but Romero rewind mule kicks!
Sho flounders and Romero jumps, but no code breaker! 3K!! Cover, but Taguchi breaks it within seconds! Yoh and Taguchi brawl, and Yoh gets the edge. Yoh runs, into the Funky Weapon! But he rewinds with the ropes, only for Taguchi to use Sho as a shield from the SUPERKICK! Romero rolls Sho and Taguchi goes after Yoh, but Yoh just pushes the cover over! Taguchi drags Yoh up, whips, Funky Weapon again! Taguchi leaps at Sho, but Sho catches him! GERMAN SUPLEX! Yoh builds speed to FLY! Direct hit takes Taguchi out! Sho builds power once more as Romero rises. Sho runs, to LARIAT Romero inside out! He drags Romero up, pump handles, SHOCK ARROW DRIVER! Cover, TWO!?!? Rocky Romero will not die! Sho drags Romero up again, Yoh is up top, Shock Arrow + Double Stomps = STRONG X!! Cover, Yoh intercepts Taguchi, RPG3K wins!!
Winners: Roppongi 3K, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)
An incredible showdown, and the students have surpassed the teacher! RPG3K show respect and compassion to their mentor, as well as the Junior Heavyweight icon. Will the Mega Coaches be back again? Will RPG3K only rise to even greater heights?
NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Tomohiro Ishii!
The Last Dragon won this title when NJPW returned to Sapporo, becoming Los Ingobernables de Japon’s other Double Gold Champion! Shingo swears to become THE champion in NJPW, but can he first get past the Stone Pitbull?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and a truly solid showdown for this championship begins!
Fans are fired up for Takagi as he and Ishii tie up. They’re in a deadlock as they’re even in strength. Ishii pushes Takagi but Takagi pushes back. Ishii manages to win out and put Takagi on the ropes. Red Shoes calls for a break and Ishii pats Takagi on the shoulder. But then Ishii swings a chop! Takagi ducks to swing back but Ishii ducks! Fans cheer as the two stare down. Ishii and Takagi tie up and Takagi headlocks. Ishii powers out, the two collide, but neither falls! Takagi dares Ishii to try again so Ishii does. They collide, still neither falls. Takagi goes now, bumps Ishii but Ishii hits back on the rebound. Takagi comes back, the two ram like rams, but neither falls!
Fans are firing up as the two go again, and again, and again! They aren’t stopping, but Takagi wobbles. Ishii rams him again, but Takagi runs Ishii over! Fans fire up as Takagi drops an elbow. Takagi stands on Ishii’s stomach then drops a senton! Takagi gives toying kicks and then stands on Ishii’s back at the ropes. Red Shoes reprimands and Takagi lets off. Takagi drags Ishii up to facelock and grind Ishii down. Ishii has the ropes and Red Shoes calls for a ropebreak. Takagi lets go long enough to knee Ishii low. Takagi whips and follows to knee Ishii again. He runs, but Ishii runs him over! Fans cheer and duel as Ishii looms over Takagi. Ishii sits Takagi up to KICK and KICK! Ishii stands Takagi for a headbutt, and another headbutt, and another headbutt!
Takagi leans on the ropes and Ishii eggs him on. Takagi headbutts back! And again! And again! Ishii stays up to headbutt back! Takagi sits down in a corner and Ishii gives him toying kicks. Ishii CHOPS but Takagi leans into it. Ishii CHOPS, Takagi gives a forearm, repeat. Takagi CHOPS but Ishii manages to shrug. Ishii CHOPS, Takagi CHOPS, repeat! They start giving out CHOPS faster and faster! Ishii staggers Takagi and fires off a few more, but Takagi double CHOPS back! Both men are stinging but fans are cheering! Takagi drags Ishii up to whip him to a corner. Ishii comes back, they ram shoulders, and then Ishii CHOPS! Ishii grabs Takagi but Takagi suplexes Ishii instead! Fans stay fired up as Takagi gets to his feet. Takagi jumps and drops a knee!
Takagi takes a moment to adjust his knee pads before he brings Ishii up. He elbows Ishii then gives toying kicks at the ropes. Takagi clubs and forearms away, but Ishii eggs him on! Ishii and Takagi go forearm for forearm, elbow for elbow! Fans love the fast and furious action! Ishii wobbles and Takagi adds on! Takagi gives toying boots in the corner and a slap to the head! Takagi throws forearms but Ishii just stares him down. Ishii throws a forearm, Takagi gives it. Ishii wants to feel it, so Takagi hits harder. That still wasn’t enough! Takagi keeps throwing but Ishii leans into the forearm shots! Ishii backs Takagi down, then ROCKS him! Takagi flops right over and the fans reach a thunderous level!
Ishii stalks Takagi and gives him those toying boots now. Ishii CHOPS and forearms, repeat! Over and over! Takagi starts dropping but Ishii talks trash to him. Takagi hits back and grinds foreheads with Ishii. Ishii doesn’t back down, so Takagi headbutts! Ishii comes back with more forearms and chops! Red Shoes reprimands but Ishii gets mad at him. Ishii kicks at Takagi and eggs him on more. “What’s up, champion?!” Ishii whips Takagi corner to corner and hits a big clothesline! But now Takagi comes back and grinds foreheads. Takagi shoves, catches Ishii to chicken wings then spins him around to DDT! He SPIKES Ishii with that one! Red Shoes checks on Ishii but Ishii is somehow okay to continue.
Takagi kicks at Ishii while he’s down, puts him in a corner and jabs, CHOPS, jabs, CHOPS, then fires off haymaker after haymaker! Red Shoes tries to back Takagi off but Takagi pushes him away! Takagi keeps elbowing and stomping Ishii as Red Shoes is a bit indignant. Fans rally and duel as Takagi looms over Ishii. Takagi keeps kicking and poking at Ishii. Takagi talks some serious smack as he gives one BIG kick! And Ishii is right up!! Ishii grabs Takagi by the jaw but Takagi CHOPS! Ishii CHOPS to the throat! And again! And again! The Stone Pitbull is baring his fangs and going for the throat! Red Shoes tries to pull Ishii off after the fourth shot but Ishii goes to six. Ishii even pushes Red Shoes away!
Red Shoes comes back to keep Ishii back and Takagi flops over. Fans duel again as each man works to breathe. Ishii runs in but Takagi boots him away. Ishii keeps trying and gets another boot. Takagi fireman’s carries Ishii and brings him up the corner. Ishii slips out but Takagi headbutts and hotshots! Takagi runs side to side but Ishii clotheslines him first! Ishii looks around and looks to suplex Takagi out! Takagi resists but Ishii headbutts! Ishii drags Takagi up and out onto the apron. Ishii works to lift Takagi but Takagi shovels Ishii up! Fans start to worry as both men fight for control. Takagi fireman’s carries Ishii up! APRON DEATH VALLEY!! Ishii writhes in pain, his arm may have been broken! Red Shoes checks on both men, and somehow Ishii is okay.
A ring count begins and Takagi springs up at 3 of 20. Takagi goes into the ring at 6, but Ishii is still down at 10. Takagi stops the count, wanting to end this properly. He drags Ishii into the ring, and fires up! Fans join in with the “OI! OI!” Takagi goes corner to corner, corner clothesline! Ishii avoids Pumping Bomber and waistlocks! Takagi elbows and hauls Ishii up for a Backpack drop! Sliding lariat! Takagi drags Ishii up, underhooks for Gory Especial, NOSHIGAMI! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives but Takagi keeps his cool. Fans duel hard as ever but the majority is for Takagi. Takagi drags Ishii up and pump handles, but Ishii fights off the lift. Takagi point-blank LARIATS! Ishii wobbles back but stays up.
Takagi gives another LARIAT, and another! Ishii falls to his knees but Takagi isn’t done with him! Fans rally as Takagi runs, into a spinning powerslam! Both men get up and Takagi back elbows and JABS! Ishii ducks the clothesline to waistlock, Takagi swings but misses. Ishii swings but misses, Takagi blocks and NORTHERN LIGHTS! But Ishii is up to SAIDO! Takagi is up to SNAP SAIDO! Ishii staggers up to SAIDO again! Takagi flounders up and swings, into Ishii’s SAIDO!! But both men are so dazed, they flop down! Fans reach that thunderous level again as both men stir. Ishii gets to a corner and stands. Takagi stands, Ishii runs and LARIATS, but Takagi stays up! Takagi runs to LARIAT, but Ishii also stays up! Ishii comes back to LARIAT, Takagi LARIATS! Ishii flounders and leans on the ropes as we reach a fever pitch.
Another LARIAT from Ishii! Another LARIAT from Takagi! Ishii leans on the ropes but refuses to quit. Ishii LARIATS, Takagi flounders! Takagi stands only to get another LARIAT! Ishii runs but Takagi follows to LARIAT Ishii against ropes! Takagi runs but Ishii returns the favor, LARIAT against the ropes! Ishii runs, ducks a clothesline, and both run to DOUBLE LARIAT! Yet still, neither man falls! They go again, and Ishii’s LARIAT wins out!! The fever pitch returns, Ishii drags Takagi up, POWERBOMB! Matchbook stack, TWO!! Ishii is too tired to be frustrated, and he brings Takagi up to the top rope. Ishii climbs up but Takagi throws hands. Takagi slaps and jabs and headbutts! Ishii headbutts back! Ishii climbs up again, to the very top, for a SUPERPLEX!! Cover, TWO!! Takagi still lives and this is just the 20 minute mark!
Ishii stands up and drags Takagi to sit. But Takagi avoids the sliding lariat to pump handle. Ishii elbows out but Takagi elbows, JABS and LARIATS! Takagi staggers and flops against ropes as fans continue to duel. Takagi fires himself up, “Not yet!” He and Ishii junkyard dog headbutt each other! Then they headbutt as they go up to their feet. Takagi wobbles for just a moment and Ishii fires off elbows from all sides! Ishii reels back to ROCK Takagi, but not at all!! Takagi stares Ishii down to throw elbows from all sides in return! Takagi ROCKS Ishii and Ishii does fall! Fans are electric as Takagi drags Ishii up. Takagi throws more elbows, ducks Ishii’s, pump handle and, MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO!?! Takagi doesn’t bother with being frustrated, he prepares the arm.
Takagi runs, PUMPING BOMBER!! Cover, ONE!?!? What?!? Takagi can’t help but be shocked! And pissed! Takagi clotheslines, Ishii stays up, Ishii LARIATS Takagi off his feet!! The Pitbull still has a lot of bite left! Ishii gets to a corner and headbutts the buckle pad to fire up. Ishii runs, Takagi blocks, but his back hand misses, Ishii waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES! But Takagi’s right up, only for Ishii to LARIAT him again! Cover, ONE!?!? Takagi surprises Ishii, Ishii blocks and snipes the back hand with an enziguri! Ishii fires himself up and sits Takagi up, SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Takagi lives but Ishii drags Takagi up. Ishii suplexes, Takagi knees out, but Ishii spins Takagi, only for Takagi to scoop! USHI DRILLER!! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives the piledriver but Takagi knows he can do this!
Takagi drags Ishii up but Ishii fights the fireman’s carry off. Takagi still gets it, but Ishii slips out. Ishii and Takagi fight for suplex control, but Takagi spins through, only for Ishii to forearm! Takagi JABS! Takagi runs, double clotheslines collide! Ishii headbutts! Ishii runs, LARIATS, but now Takagi HEADBUTTS! Takagi puts Ishii on the ropes, dragon sleeper, draping GTR! Takagi learned much from his match with Hirooki Goto! Fans rally up as Takagi drags Ishii up again. Takagi clubs Ishii, runs, PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO!?!?! Ishii survives again and the fans again reach the electric level! Takagi drags Ishii up, pump handle and fireman’s carry, LAST OF THE DRAGONS!! Cover, Takagi wins!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Champion)
The “E-Zero Curse” does not strike Takagi down! Takagi survives his first defense, and perhaps the toughest match of his entire career. Will Takagi stay Mr. NEVER Openweight after tomorrow’s Six Man Tag Team Championship match? Will Takagi make the NEVER Openweight Division the biggest thing in NJPW?
Ishii crawls over to Takagi, reaching for the belt. Ishii throws one last forearm!! Takagi gives him heel kicks back and Young Lions rush in to pull the two apart. Ishii flounders about and takes a chair from the timekeeper’s area! But he can’t use it on Takagi because he flops over at ringside. The Stone Pitbull’s body may have lost, but his spirit concedes nothing! Will he be back for another round with the Dragon?
Takagi stays in the ring and cheers in respect to Ishii. He gets the mic and admits he’s not sure how he did it, but he’s still NEVER Champion. Ishii beat the hell out of him for sure, and with every single bit of strength in his body. Takagi’s body hurts all over, and yet he feels great. “It’s a good kind of pain.” Fans cheer that as Takagi admits, he doesn’t have a a match that hard “for kicks.” But this is what NEVER is about! This is what NJPW is about! It is about clashing spirit with spirit! “That is professional wrestling!”
Now, Takagi know that there is still more to come. He promises to elevate the NEVER Openweight Championship and fight anyone who crosses his path! Anyone that wants a fight, come get it! The NEVER Dragon reigns strong, but he only has 24 hours to rest up before joining his trios partners in another big fight. Will Takagi still be the Double NEVER Dragon at the end of New Japan Road?
These championship matches were amazing! I really loved the story going on in the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag title match, and how it blended some comedy into it. Taguchi is always great at that stuff. Rocky taking the finish was both for story and for the reality, as Taguchi is going to jump right into the Openweight Six Man Championship match tomorrow, and because RPG3K pinning their manager/mentor is a great passing of the torch kind of move. Takagi VS Ishii was INSANE! If you didn’t physically react to things while watching this, you’re either a robot or dead inside. Those two really did go hard, and Ishii surely won the respect of everyone watching, new or old to NJPW. Takagi also jumps into another championship match tomorrow, and he could become THE workhorse of NJPW through the Openweight Division.
My Score: 9.3/10