New Japan Pro Wrestling is back in Japan, folks!
Sakura Genesis returns for a second year and as always, the April show is built around the New Japan Cup winner challenging the champion of his choice. In this case, that’s Zack Sabre, Jr. challenging IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. Okada is coming up on Hiroshi Tanahashi’s defense record, and a victory tonight will tie it, so if ZSJ can take him down here, not only does he become the first-ever Englishman to hold wrestling’s most prestigious title, he’ll deny the Rainmaker one of the few accomplishments left to him in New Japan.
Plus we have defenses of both junior heavyweight titles, the NEVER trios belts, EVIL’s return from injury, and two drama-soaked matches as both the Young Bucks and Golden Lovers find themselves pitted against different Bullet Club tag teams today.
Today’s action takes place in Tokyo’s Ryogoku Sumo Hall, kicking off at a brisk 3AM Eastern / 12AM Pacific, and you can watch live on NJPW World no matter where you are.
Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) over Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) by submission with a Sharpshooter from Matt on Owens.
Post-match, the Bucks offer handshakes and Chase & Yujiro accept them.
Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) over Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Takashi Iizuka) by pinfall with a low blow and a lariat-assisted schoolboy pin from Yano on Iizuka.
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Loa) (c) over Taguchi Japan (Michael Elgin, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Togi Makabe) by pinfall with Gun Stun from Tonga on Taguchi to retain the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.
David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Juice Robinson over Chaos (Hirooki Goto, “Switchblade” Jay White, & YOSHI-HASHI) by pinfall with High Fly Flow from Tanahashi on YOSHI-HASHI.
Suzuki-gun (Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Lance Archer, & Minoru Suzuki) over Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) by pinfall with Killer Bomb from Killer Elite Squad on EVIL.
Naito cuts a post-match promo telling Suzuki that he doesn’t think the Intercontinental Championship is worth anything, but if he wants a fight, all he has to do is step up and ask. Suzuki fires back that Tetsuya is “a piece of shit” and claims that he is the king of pro wrestling.
Naito proceeds to say that maybe he’s pissed Minoru off enough for one night and drops the catchphrase, which just makes Suzuki angry enough to throw furniture, as it turns out. (Hat tip to Chris Charlton on Twitter for the live translation.)
After, we take a short break for a video confirming all the dates for this year’s G1 Climax.
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) over Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) and Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. by pinfall with Pinche Loco from Desperado on YOH to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
Will Ospreay (c) over Marty Scurll by pinfall with the OsCutter to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Post-match, a bloodied Ospreay calls KUSHIDA out, saying he’s beaten Hiromu and Marty and to prove to everyone that his victory over KUSHIDA wasn’t a fluke, he wants the match one more time. KUSHIDA accepts with a thumbs up and we’re on!
Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page) over Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) by pinfall with a schoolboy pin and a handful of tights from Rhodes on Ibushi.
Post-match, Cody and Hangman beat Kota down while Omega reaches desperately to help his partner. Kenny manages to find a second wind in time to save Ibushi from being attacked with a chair!
Kazuchika Okada (c) over Zack Sabre, Jr. by pinfall with the Rainmaker to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Post-match, Okada and Gedo issue their usual show-closing comments, asking who could possibly be next, and Tanahashi comes out to lay his claim to the next title shot.
Enjoy the show!