NJPW Sakura Genesis 2021

NJPW Sakura Genesis 2021NJPW Sakura Genesis 2021

By GARZA
From April 04, 2021
Discussion

Hiromu Takahashi Opening - Hiromu came out, running and no sling. He was there to do commentary, but talked about the LIJ vs UE match and the main event. He did mention that while he's pat the surgery, he still has some time to rehab.

Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. BULLET CLUB (Jado, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) - 6/10


Match was fun, Jado seems to have been working out a lot, he's moving better now that he's wearing shorts and no sleeves. His skull long sleeve run was terrible, but now at least he can do some spots. Even with all this praise, he's still the worst in the match.

Match was a lot of Tama Tonga vs Taichi and Loa vs Sabre, with DOUKI and Jado sprinkled here and there. Finishing sequence saw everyone fight to get their hands on the Iron Fingers, but no one could keep it for long, with Loa being the last one to have them before Sabre pinned him with the European Clutch. Given that DOUKI and Jado were there, and it was Loa getting pinned, the Tekkers vs GoD rematch seems imminent.

Post-match - Referee took away the Iron Fingers from both teams and gave it to Chairman Sugabayashi, who decided to take it with him. Backstage, Tama Tonga cut a promo requesting a match with Taichi for the Iron Fingers. In their promo, Taichi said the Fingers mean a lot to Suzuki-Gun since they were inherited from Iizuka. Sabre instead, wanted a shot at the tag titles.

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo, EVIL, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi) - 6.5/10


Ok match, it's one of those with so many people, that it's hard to build up much in the match. This one is preparing for the NEVER Openweight 6-man match with Ishii, Goto, and YH defending against KENTA, Ishimori, and Yujiro. It's building KENTA vs Yano for the KOPW trophy. Okada is not really building any feud here, but gotta get him in the show. Yano pinned Togo after putting him in a hood and that just made me think that Yano vs EVIL is going to be a blindfold match.

KENTA stole YH's stick for love reasons, which he sold me on in his backstage promo.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. The United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) - 7/10


So the big reveal was indeed Henare, who is now going as Aaron Henare. He looks like a cheap knockoff Chono wearing Seth Rollins' gear. This is probably going to do a lot better for him than being in the home team, but I do feel that NJPW needs to add some strong members to the home team. Anyway, back to Henare, it's hard for me to take him seriously, I just do see potential in him, just a good hand in the ring.

Match saw Naito be the babyface in peril, a good Shingo vs Cobb face off, and at the end, SANADA took on all three UE members, ending with Cobb hitting a Tour of the Islands and Henare's new Death Valley Bomb for the win. Henare got a pin over a big name, but he had to get that Cobb assist nonetheless. Good stuff, it was a total LIJ beatdown.

Post-match - O-Khan dragged in Naito into the ring and while Cobb and Henare held him, O-Khan attacked his leg with a chair. Naito vs GOK probably coming in one of the Grand Slam shows.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Satoshi Kojima vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Jay White) (w/Gedo) - 7/10


This was good. Tanahashi and White are building to their NEVER title match, and so this match heavily relied on them, they got a lot of time together, and did bigger spots than your usual Road to show. Tanahashi actually worked on White's leg here. At the end, Fale came in, and between Kojima and Tana, they brought him down for Tana to finish off with a High Fly Flow.

Post-match - Tana locked in White in a Texas Cloverleaf and made White tap out. Tanahashi told White he accepted his challenge, because White tapped out, and so, he'd be calling his move, the JTO.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K - 8.5/10


R3K came out to a new, totally out of character music, it's not bad, just not good for a wrestling theme, and for them especially. YOH is also now dressing as a fashionable version of 2021 Chris Sabin, with the long black shorts and tall kick pads.

The match revolved around YOH and his leg being worked on, it almost felt like we had two babyface in peril heat segments in the match, one early on when YOH got cut off. SHO got worked on a little bit too before YOH returned to the match, and once again Desperado took his leg out.

Post-match - YOH had a speech thanking the crowd for supporting him to return, he and SHO have won the Jr. tag titles, and now he wants a shot at Desperado for the singles title. Backstage, Desperado asked for a rematch for the tag titles.

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match
Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Will Ospreay - 9.5/10


This was a fantastic match. The match went a little over the 30 minute announcement, but it only felt about half of it, time flies when you're having fun.

They told a really interesting story, after seeing the overall thing, you can notice that Ospreay was portrayed in a far more dominant fashion. Just to name a few, Ospreay had his spot where Ibushi went for the top rope rana and Ospreay lands on his feet; Ibushi (be it accidental or not) relied on going after Ospreay's broken nose to cut him off; Ospreay cut off Ibushi quite quickly after Ibushi started his terminator striking spot; and finally, Ospreay blocked, reversed, AND kicked out of Kamigoye, while Ibushi fell to the first Stormbreaker.

Ibushi did have a couple of strong spots, he took out Ospreay outside the ring, he hit the deadlift German on the ropes, he had a great rolling suplex thing that looked devastating, but at the end, Ospreay was just stronger that night. Ibushi and Ospreay are now 2-2 in win losses, but for the second time, Ospreay has defeated Ibushi when Ibushi tried to defend a title against Ospreay, so there is a trend starting.

I thought that there was the potential of Ospreay winning here, especially after the whole idea of Ibushi not wanting to wear the title until he had his first defense, it's the type of story that Gedo tends to write in order to build to Ibushi regaining the title one day, especially if he ends up winning it from someone else and his first defense of the second reign is against Ospreay. Nonetheless, it was still surprising that he won it.

Post-match - Before Ospreay cut his big winner's promo about no one believing in the British kid, we saw Cobb deliver a Tour of the Islands on the already fallen Ibushi, so this could potentially be another match for the Grand Slam shows. Ospreay was visibly shaken by the win, he had trouble hiding the tears.

Ospreay called out Okada because he wanted to get his win back from the Tokyo Dome match, but before Okada could accept, Shingo came out and made the argument that he defeated Okada at the New Japan Cup and he, even if he lost, was at the finals of the Cup with Ospreay. Okada didn't say anything, but Ospreay accepted Shingo's challenge for Dontaku, before he gets his hands on Okada.

OVERALL THOUGHTS


A really noteworthy show, we had title changes, returns, gimmick debuts, and some build up to the next tour or two. Arguably a one match show when talking workrate, but I thought the whole show delivered quite good and it went by somewhat fast. Definitely one of those shows that will go down in history for the newsworthy title change, one of those that a couple of years ago, you'd wake up and find out that the IWGP title had changed unexpectedly.

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