After Wrestle Kingdom 18 on Jan. 4, New Japan Pro-Wrestling stalwart Tama Tonga announced that January would be his last month with the promotion. The Bullet Club founder had just won NJPW’s NEVER Openweight title at the Tokyo Dome show, which meant there was one loose end to tie up before he took his next job.
That was dealt with today (Jan. 20) in Nagoya as New Japan started their The New Beginning tour.
Tonga’s title defense against EVIL initially ended in a double disqualification when Tama’s Guerrillas of Destiny partners, EVIL’s House of Torture partners, and even some unaffiliated members of the roster turned the main event into a multi-man brawl. Not wanting to go out like that, Tonga asked for a restart with the factions and others who ran in serving as lumberjacks.
Outside involvement continued, especially after a ref bump. In the end, EVIL won with his Everything is Evil finisher, which was set-up by Ren Narita’s attack on Tonga. Afterwards, Tama said a few words and bowed to the crowd with tears in his eyes.
"Thank you for giving me a chance to know you. I love you." -Tama Tonga following his NEVER Openweight Championship match at #njnbg. Extremely emotional moment and hard to process. Great showing from Tama Tonga. @njpwglobal— Walker Stewart (@VelvetVoiceWS) January 20, 2024
Tonga is booked in multi-man matches on The Road to The New Beginning shows for the remainder of the month, but this seems to have been his last singles match. It was also his last stop in Nagoya, something that was also true for the more high-profile name who recently announced he’s leaving New Japan — Kazuchika Okada.
Okada was on the losing end of an eight-man tag match today, but made sure to return to the ring afterwards to give the fans a bow for his last show in Nagoya.
Here’s a rundown of all the results from today’s show, which saw the King of Pro Wrestling trophy change hands, and a successful Tag title defense:
• House of Torture’s Ren Narita & Yujiro Takahashi def. Shota Umino & Tomoaki Honma
• Bullet Club War Dogs (David Finlay, Alex Coughlin, Gabe Kidd, Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney)) def. United Empire (Jeff Cobb, HENARE, TJP, Francesco Akira & Callum Newman)
• House of Torture’s Yoshinobu Kanemaru & SHO def. El Desperado & Master Wato
• TMDK (Zack Sabre Jr., Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste & Kosei Fujita) def. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Togi Makabe
• Just 5 Guys (SANADA, Taichi, Yuya Uemura, DOUKI & TAKA Michinoku) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI)
• Great-O-Khan def. Taiji Ishimori in a “Ring Fit” match to win the provisional KOPW 2024 title
• Guerrillas of Destiny’s El Phantasmo & Hikuleo def.Bullet Club’s Chase Owens & KENTA to retain the NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team championship
• EVIL def. Tama Tonga in a Lumberjack match to win the NEVER Openweight title
You can stream The New Beginning in Nagoya on the NJPW World subscription service.