Like WrestleKingdom in The Tokyo Dome, New Japan’s anniversary show happens on the same date, regardless which day of the week it falls on. This year, the 47th anniversary falls on a Wednesday.
The usual tradition is the IWGP Heavyweight Champion faces the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. However, this year will be a little different. New IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White will face the new NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay. Perhaps both IWGP singles champions being heels played a factor, but regardless, that is still a good matchup on paper, given White isn’t far removed from a Junior Heavyweight. Plus, Ospreay fares well against heavyweight opponents
Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Bad Luck Fale, Hikuleo, & Chase Owens w/Jado) b. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, Ren Narita, Shota Umino, & Ayato Yoshida when Owens pinned Yoshida with a Package Piledriver – Obviously, Makabe & Yano had an uphill battle against an established stable with three young lions as teammates. Narita took the brunt to the beatdown before getting the hot tag to Makabe. However, it didn’t last long with the young lions got back in. Yoshida did get a few roll-up attempts on Owens, but Owens was able to hit the Package Piledriver for the win.
Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI of CHAOS b. Yuji Nagata & Toa Henare when Hashi pinned Henare with a Brainbuster – A feud between Nagata & Ishii has been brewing since New Year Dash. A singles match was supposed to take place at the L.A. show, but that didn’t happen. Now the two are set for an opening round match in the New Japan Cup. The two veterans started the match with strikes. Henare and Hashi did likewise. Nagata and Ishii came back with the dueling strikes spot. When Nagata got Ishii down and tried his trademark armbar, Hashi tried to stop it with kicks. This only served to anger Nagata, who tossed him arouund. Henare tagged in and got a near fall with a Samoan Drop. A four way brawl broke out with Nagata and Ishii going to the floor. Hashi blocked a Uranage and landed a lariat. After that a brainbuster put Henare down for the count.
Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask IV, & Dragon Lee b. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, & Taka Michinoku) when Taguchi pinned Michinoku with a Dodon – Taichi and Honma are set for first round New Japan Cup matches, as are Kojima and Suzuki. Of course, the fight broke out before the bell. The heels managed to cut off Tiger and work him over. Honma got the tag and traded blows with Taichi, abd even landed a Kokeshi. Kojima hit Suzuki with the Machine Gun Chops. They barely fazed Suzuki, as Suzuki responded by knocking Kojima to the mat and hit a PK. Kojima no-sold that and got to his feet. Suzuki went for the Rear Naked Choke, which Kojima turned into a Koji Cutter and tagged Taguchi. The heels in unison cleared the ring except for Taguchi, and commenced to pummel him. Taka and Taguchi exchanged submissions. Lee hit a dive to the outside, leaving Taguchi alone against Taka. A Dodon later and the babyfaces got their win.
After the match, the heels got a measure of revenge by using chairs on the babyfaces.
Roppongi 3k (Sho & Yoh w/ Rocky Romero) b. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champions Shingo Takagi & BUSHI of Los Ingobernables De Japon when Sho pinned BUSHI after a 3K – This is a match that was brewing since WrestleKingdom. LIJ won the titles in a three-way with R3K and Desperado & Kanemaru. So this makes the straight up defense against the former champions. These teams predictably went at it right out of the gate. R3K gained the momentum and worked over Takagi. The match spilled to the outside where Sho and Yoh both got whipped into the barricade. This gave LIJ the edge once everything got back in the ring, where they worked over Sho. Yoh got the hot tag and ran wild. R3K then got both opponents in a submission. Bushi battled back, and went for his finisher. R3K countered and went for their finisher. Bushi countered that and dove onto Yoh on the outside. Back in the ring, Takagi worked with Sho. Bushi spat mist, and LIJ his Rebellion (their finisher), however Yoh made the save. Bushi tried for his finisher, MX, but Sho caught him. Yoh jumped in and hit 3K for the win. A very exciting finish.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori s. Jyushin Thunder Liger – Liger started out with a mat game, and was successful for the first few minutes. Ishimori managed to turn the tide, but maintain a ground game. The battle spilled to the floor, where Liger surprisingly hit a brainbuster on the floor. Ishimori barely made the 20 count, but battled back and hit a dive to the outside. Liger made a comeback, and hit a Liger Bomb for a near fall. Ishimori countered, and hit a lariat for a two count. Liger tried to follow up, but the more agile champion reversed into a submission for the win.
After the match, Ishimori took the mic, and apparently issued a challenge. Dragon Lee walked out and accepted. So it looks like we’ll get Ishimori vs. Dragon at the MSG show.
Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto of CHAOS & Hiroshi Tanahashi b. Los Ingobernables De Japon (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Nailto, EVIL & SANADA) when Goto pinned Sanada – Several of these guys are in the New Japan Cup. Naito and Okada started. Coincidentally, both men are favorites to with the tournament. The dream team trio actually got most of the offense, with LIJ not getting a sustained momentum for very long. Goto used an unorthodox combo of a Figure Four and pinning combination to get the three count on Sanada.
After the match, Goto took the mic and proclaimed he will win the New Japan Cup. Of course, Tanahashi grabbed the mic and proclaimed he would win the Cup. Naturally, Okada had to get his words in too, and declared he would be the winner.
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White (w/Gedo) p. NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay with two straight Blade Runners – As soon as the bell rang, White escaped to the floor to stall. The opening minutes started slow, with each man trying to test the other. Ospreay used his speed and agility advantage, which worked until White hit a Saito Suplex on the floor. White controlled the match for the next several minutes and stalked Ospreay. In an impressive moment, Ospreay managed to hurracanrana White to the outside floor. He followed that up with a Space Flying Tiger Drop. When Ospreay went for another dive, White diverted hit momentum to crash Ospreay into the guardrail. Again, White stalked Osprey. Again, Ospreay was able to make a comeback. This time, Ospreay managed to get White in the Tree Of Woe. White escaped and tried a Blade Runner that got reversed. The two exchanged an exciting sequence on moves, including dueling strikes. Ospreay hit a top rope Falcon Arrow type slam for a near fall. White caught Ospreay in an Oscutter attempt, and grounded hi with shots to the throat. Ospreay reversed a Blade Runner with a reverse hurricanrana for a double down. Gedo entered the ring and distracted referee Red Shoes, allowing White to hit a low blow from behind. White signaled for a Blade Runner. Ospreay quickly dodged and hit a powerbomb for a two count. Ospreay went for the kill on the top rope, and hit an inverted 450. White escaped by grabbing the rope. Ospreay tried for Stormbreaker, but White dodged. After a flurry of exchanges, Ospreay tried another Oscutter, which White coutnered into a Blade Runner. Just for the heck of it, White hit a second Blade Runner and covered for the pin.
After the match, Gedo grabbed a chair. It looked like they were going to attack Ospreay when Kota Ibushi made the save. That save was short lived, as more Bullet Club members jumped Ibushi from behind. Before too much damage was done though, Okada, Goto, and Tanahashi ran out to stop it. White grabbed his title, and he and the rest of Bullet Club made their exit.
Ibushi helped Ospreay to his feet. All five men stood in the ring and posed, as all five will be in the New Japan Cup.