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Multiple titles change hands outside at New Japan’s Summer Struggle

New Japan Pro-Wrestling took their big August show outdoors, and Sat., Aug. 29’s Summer Struggle was only the second show the company’s ever held in Tokyo’s famous Meiji Jingu Stadium.

In addition to being a logical move given the coronavirus pandemic (normal procedures were in place for fans, with the additional benefit of an open-air environment), a major event at a baseball field just made for cool visuals.

It also allowed for a fireworks display at the end. But we’ll get to that in a second.

We have the full match results here. It was an eventful show, with three titles changing hands and a new belt was awarded for the first time.

Toru Yano is the first King of Pro Wrestling champion, pinning Kazuchika Okada to win the four way tournament final. In typical Yano style, he won with a low blow and a roll-up.

The KOPW title will be different from other New Japan belts as it will be defended in stipulation matches like multi-mans, ladder and cage matches, etc.

The NEVER Openweight title is again around Minoru Suzuki’s waist. After the expected strong-style affair, Murder Grandpa started his second reign with the belt by ending Shingo Takagi’s almost seven-month one with a Gotch-style piledriver.

Hiromu Takahashi’s third run with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship ended as well, as he tapped out to a crossface from Taiji Ishimori. Takahashi looked to be putting Bullet Club’s Bone Soldier away with a second Timebomb into a Bloody Cross, and from there used a crossface to get the submission win. Ishimori worked over Hiromu’s shoulder all match, and it paid off.

After Zack Sabre & Taichi were the only champions to successfully defend their titles at Summer Struggle, defeating the star-powered duo of Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi to keep the IWGP Heavyweight Tag titles, it was main event time.

In a rematch of Dominion’s shocking double-title showdown between then Los Ingobernables stablemates, Tetsuya Naito was able to reclaim both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental belts from Bullet Club’s EVIL.

As you’d expect with Bullet Club, there were numerous run-ins and ref bumps amidst the back-and-forth action. Destino allowed Naito to win back the belts he won at Wrestle Kingdom, and end EVIL’s reign after just 48 days.

Under the stars, darkness was lifted, and the fans left Jingu happy. Or at least tranquilo.

What did you make of an eventful Summer Struggle, Cagesiders?

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