New Beginnings for New Japan as the promotion turns the page on a new year
This was one of those wonderful weekends where wrestling took over, from Japan to the Americas. NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo (Night 1 & 2) did not disappoint as new storylines were created for 2018. With surprising title changes and a possible dissension in one of the most over groups in the world, NJPW showed why they are one of the best companies in the world.
Suzuki v Tanahashi
Suzuki is a coldblooded wrestler, a character that only he can portray, and it was to perfection. It’s no secret that Tanahashi is injured but Suzuki did not care, laughing at his injuries as he continued to push Tanahashi to the limit. Tanahashi is the king of selling as he kept grabbing his leg after every move; his injury hindered his movements especially after performing the High Five Flow. Suzuki was so merciless that after he hit his Gotch Driver, he proceeded to not pin him and quickly put him in a submission. Tanahashi did not give up but was screaming in pain as the ref put a stop to the match. Suzuki becomes the new Intercontinental Champion and now Tanahashi can fully heal his numerous injuries and come back for a rematch for the ages.
New U.S. Champion
While a lot of viewers did not think that Jay White was going to defeat the incredibly popular Kenny Omega, I thought different. After watching Tanahashi lose his title to Suzuki, I knew that anything was fair game within this title match. White’s WK12 match left much to be desired as he continues to find his footing in NJPW and Kenny was trying to help him every step of the way. While this match was good (Not great, the crowd didn’t quite take a liking to Jay White), it told a better story after. Hitting the blade runner on Omega and subsequently pinning him, there was a stunning silence, then the unthinkable happened.
The Elite are No More?
If you watch NJPW quite often, you can notice the disagreements between Cody & Kenny Omega. Both are considered the leaders of the Bullet Club/Elite. From Cody almost throwing the towel at Dominion in Omega/Okada II to Cody’s fascination with Kota Ibushi, Kenny’s former tag team partner. Once Kenny lost, Adam Page went to Jay White to show that he is next challenger, Kenny allowed Jay White to walk off in peace as a deserving champion. Cody runs to the ring and argues with Kenny to let him know that he’s not being a good leader. The Young Bucks try to break up the fracas and suddenly Kenny pushes Matt to the canvas. After the Bucks leave the ring, Cody acts like he’s making up with Kenny as he grabs him and gives him the Cross Rhodes. No one is there to protect Kenny, until Kota Ibushi runs down the ramp to save Kenny. The pop was immense as Kenny & Ibushi’s wrestling history runs deep. The Golden Lovers are back and this shakes up the dynamic of NJPW.