NJPW: Sakura Genesis Review

Zack Sabre Jr. challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, everyone’s favourite (and currently, only) Jr. member of the Bullet Club challenges for the Jr. Heavyweight title against Will Ospreay, it was a veritable feast of British talent here as New Japan presented Sakura Genesis

The Young Bucks(Matt & Nick Jackson) vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi)

Bullet Club is fine.  Owens and Takahashi attack the Bucks from behind to start.  A lot of double team action until Nick becomes the face in peril.  The heels work some quick tags and cut off the tag.  Matt comes in on the hot tag and clears house.  We get false finishes and interruptions until Nick wipes out Takahashi and Matt locks in a Sharpshooter to win by tap out.  A nice win for the Bucks as they win their first match since moving to heavyweights.

Winners: The Young Bucks Rating: 5 out of 10

CHAOS(Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii) vs Suzuki Gun (Taichi & Takeshi Iizuka)

Do I even need to tell you how this started? Suzuki Gun dominated after a pre-match attack.  All the shenanigans that you expect.  Yano gets tagged in and the match peaks with his comedy.  Yano hits a low blow and Roll Up to pin Iizuka.

Winners:  CHAOS Rating: 2 out of 10 (without Yano bias 1)

IWGP Never Openweight Six-Man Title Match- (C) Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale, & Tanga Loa) vs Taguchi Japan? (Michael Elgin, Togi Makabe, & Ryusuke Taguchi)

Loa and Elgin open with good power based work.  Elgin becomes the face in peril.  Makabe gets the hot tag and does what he does best.  He lays in with some beautiful lariats.  Fale cuts him off with a big shoulder block.  Taguchi gets in and brings up the pace.  The challengers work over Tonga with Taguchi doing his coach gimmick, Fale and Loa pull Makabe and Elgin out of the ring,  they work over Taguchi who fires up and uses his educated ass.  Tonga hits the Stun Gun on Taguchi to win.

Winners: Bullet Club Rating: 4 out of 10

David Finlay, Juice Robinson, & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs CHAOS(Hirooki Goto, Jay White, & YOSHI-HASHI)

Finlay looks great to start taking the fight to White.  White takes control and we get some floor brawling, Goto is in as Finlay fires up.  He knocks White off the apron and dropkicks Goto.  This gives him the opportunity to make the hot tag to Robinson.  Juice lets loose with the jabs and a full nelson bomb.  They trade clotheslines until Goto hits an Ushigoroshi.  Tanahashi gets in and lays into HASHI, Tanahashi hits some signature offence until HASHI hits a blockbuster.  CHAOS clear the ring and work over Tanahashi, Finlay and Juice come in and hit their finishers on their rivals allowing Tanahashi to hit the High Fly Flow on YOSHI-HASHI to win.

Winners: David Finlay, Juice Robinson, & Hiroshi Tanahashi Rating: 5 out of 10

Los Ingobernables De Japon (SANADA, EVIL, & Tetsuya Naito) vs Suzuki Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, & Davey Boy Smith Jr)

Again, do we need to talk about the beginning of a Suzuki Gun match?  It is LIJ in control early as they work over Suzuki.  We end up with everyone brawling, on the outside, Suzuki lays some chair shots in on Naito.  Naito makes the hot tag to SANADA, the match breaks down from here in typical multi-man fashion.  It comes down to the two tag teams, KES eventually hit the Killer Bomb on EVIL to win

Winners: Suzuki Gun Rating: 5 out of 10

Post Match: Naito cuts a promo challenging Suzuki to an IC title match.  Suzuki calls him a piece of shit and kills a young lion.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match: (C) Suzuki Gun (Desperado & Kanemaru) vs Roppongi 3K( Sho & Yoh) vs LIJ (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi)

R3K fly out of the gate early.  R3K dominate until LIJ take over and work double teams.  Suzuki gun tag in and continue to work over Yoh.  Yoh hits an enziguiri and makes the hot tag to Sho.  Sho runs wild until it all breaks down.  A lot of near falls with saves.  Takahashi looks to have it won with his time bomb but Kanemaru pulls the referee out of the ring.  Despy with a belt shot and Pinche Loco for the win.  This was a victim of expectations, people expected a great match but it just didn’t work.

Winners: Suzuki Gun Rating: 3 out of 10

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: (C) Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll

Very technical start from the two Brits.  The two hit some of their signature offence early.  Scurll starts to focus on the neck setting up for the Chicken Wing.  Ospreay fires back with his handspring kick leading to his standing Shooting Star Press for 2.  Both men go for broke as they tease finishers and trade false finishes.  Scurll manages to hit a tombstone piledriver outside.  The two work to the apron where Ospreay attempts to hit a Spanish Fly.  It goes wrong as Ospreay hits his head off the apron and got his neck caught under Scurll.  He comes up bleeding from the head, somehow he can continue.  Back in and Ospreay hits an Oscutter but is too hurt to capitalise.  Scurll unleashes his array of superkicks on Ospreay before stomping the hell out of the back of his head.  Chicken wing is locked in but Ospreay barely manages to get a rope break.  Ospreay counters a move into his sitout stunner.  OsCutter connects for 3.

Winner: Will Ospreay Ratings: 8 out of 10

Post Match: Ospreay calls out Kushida who was on commentary for the match.  He aims to continue carving out his legacy by proving he can beat Kushida once and for all.

Golden Lovers(Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) vs Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman Page)

Cody and Omega start things off but Cody stalls as usual.  Page tags in, attacking Omega with strikes.  They work over Omega.   Ibushi in and they work double teams. They brawl to the floor, and Cody tosses a chair into Omega’s face. Bullet Club work over Ibushi.  Omega gets in and he runs wild.   Cody and Page again work over the face.  Cody gets a table. Omega fights back and suplexes Cody on the floor. Page then slams Omega & Ibushi onto the table. He sets it up now, they lay Omega on the table, the Young Bucks come out to dissuade Cody from hurting Omega.  They argue and the Bucks refuse to shake his hand. Cody relents and rolls Omega back in.  The match breaks down and we get the signature Lovers offence and Page and Cody hitting some bombs Ibushi looks to end the match but Page distracts him allowing Cody to Roll Up Ibushi with a handful of tights for the win.

Winners: Bullet Club Rating: 7 out of 10

Post Match: They beat down Ibushi but Omega stops it before they go too far.

IWGP Title Match: (C) Kazuchika Okada vs Zack Sabre Jr.

The main event style of NJPW is much better with ZSJ involved.  His technical wizardry is so good that I could watch him and Okada roll around for an hour.  ZSJ works in the uppercuts and starts picking at the leg.  ZSJ counters a dropkick into a crossface in another key moment.  They spill outside, Okada boots ZSJ over the barricade and hits his over the barricade crossbody.  ZSJ continues to counter Okada and starts to work on his arm as well.  Okada attempts his elbow drop but its countered into an armbar.  He rolls into the ropes but ZSJ continues to kick his arm.  Okada fires up and starts to power through uppercuts.  Okada hits a tombstone, he hits the rainmaker pose but ZSJ springs into action and has him in a double arm lock.  They trade stiff kicks on the mat.  Okada goes for the Rainmaker but ZSJ REVERSES INTO AN ARMBAR.  A callback to the only time Okada has ever tapped out.  Okada fights out and powers up into a powerbomb.  Okada hits two rainmakers and sets up his finish.  ZSJ reverses again into an Octopus Hold and locks up both arms.  He is attempting to transition into his Orienteering With Napalm Death that saw him capture the New Japan Cup.  Okada counters into the spinning tombstone.  And there’s only one way this goes from here.  Rainmaker for three.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada Rating: 9 out of 10

Post Match: Gedo hypes up Okada.  Tanahashi appears and congratulates Okada on tying his record before making the challenge we all expected.  We are going to get these two one more time at Dontaku?  With Tanahashi’s record for most defences in a single reign on the line could we see the Ace roll back the years and end this legendary reign.