With Honor Rising 2018 out of the way, the New Japan Tour continues in Tokyo for the Anniversary Event, coming to us live from the Ota City General Gymnasium. The main event is a CHAOS Champion vs. Champion match with the IWGP Heavyweight champ Okada taking on the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Osprey
Main event: Singles — Will Osprey (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion) vs. Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Champion)
While this is a Champion vs. Champion match, neither title is on the line. We get the British “Ole!” chants before the match starts. We get a Code of Honor handshake and the bell rings.
We start off with some mat and chain wrestling for a couple of minutes. This reminds me of the start to the Sakura Genesis main event from last year, my pick for Match of the Year.
Okada steps out of the ring to compose himself and we get a test of strength. Of course, Okada has the advantage. We get a nice sequence with Okada trying to pin Osprey with both hands, forcing Will to bridge out a few times. Then both men try the same thing, forcing a double bridge.
The pace quickens a bit and Okada goes for a Rainmaker that misses. Okada gets Osprey to the ropes and fakes the hit. Will then slaps Okada across the face, stomps on his foot and pushes Okada down.
Okada hits a shotgun dropkick, takes Will outside and bodyslams him on the floor. While Will composes himself, Okada sprints around the ring and clocks him with a push kick. Red Shoes starts the count and Osprey makes it inside by the count of 16.
A few lazy covers by the heavyweight champ as he continues to wear down the junior champion. Will escapes a hold and hits his Pip Pip Cheerio, tosses Okada into the corner and hits a few moves culminated by a dropkick.
Will considers doing the Rainmaker taunt, thinks better, gets kicked in the face for his troubles and then hits a standing shooting star press but can’t go for a cover. He misses a Robinson Special and eats a very elevated flapjack.
Okada hits his top rope dropkick to send Osprey out of the ring. Okada tosses Osprey into the barrier and kicks him over. Okada preps for his running and diving full body, but Will beats him to the punch and hits a diving move and tosses Okada in the ring. Osprey goes for a pin but Okada kicks out at two.
Osprey hits the Robinson Special and Okada turns the Osscutter into a cobra clutch. Okada hits a neckbreaker, which he follows into a running uppercut. The two exchange blows with Okada hitting another dropkick which he follows into an elbow drop from the top turnbuckle.
Okada motions for the Rainmaker. Osprey elbows Okada and Okada answers with a few stiff forearms. Red Shoes goes to check on Will. Okada then starts to lightly kick the top of Will’s head, this angers Osprey and the two trade shots. The sequence ends with Osprey hitting a One Man Spanish Fly for a two count.
Osprey then hits a Rainmaker of his own. Okada kicks out. Will takes to the high rent district and hits the 450 implosion. Okada kicks out. Osprey calls for the Beheader and clocks Okada on the back of the head. He goes for an Osscutter but is caught and eats a Tombstone for his troubles.
Okada goes for a Rainmaker which is countered into a sitout powerbomb. Will goes for another Osscutter which is countered with another dropkick. Okada hits a bridging German suplex. Osprey kicks out.
Okada hits a Rainmaker, holds onto the wrist. He hits another big Rainmaker, goes for a third but it’s countered. As Will goes for the Osscutter again he gets caught into another Tombstone and Rainmaker. That’s all she wrote.
Winner by pinfall…Kazuchika Okada
Okada motions for Osprey to stand up and the crowd chants his name. Okada offers his hand. Rather than a handshake the two embrace.
Match 1: 10-Man tag — Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask IV, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Ren Narita, Tetshuhiro Yagi, Shota Umino, Tomoyuki Oka and Yugi Nagata
So a group of veterans against a team with four Young Lions and one legend. I think we all know how this one’s going to pan out. Taguchi hits a couple of hip attacks and tags in Tiger Mask who brutalizes the Young Lion. Liger comes in and goes to work on Ren Narita. The veterans hold off the Young Lions but Nagata breaks up a submission attempt.
Tenzan gets the tag and after a quick beating tags in KUSHIDA. We get a nice DDT from KUSHIDA who then slaps on the Hoverboard Lock. Shoto Umino tries to escape it and counters for a pin attempt. KUSHIDA reverses that, slaps on an arm lock cross hold and that’s all she wrote.
Winner by submission…KUSHIDA
Match 2: 6-Man tag — Toa Henare, David Finlay and Juice Robinson vs. CHAOS (Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto)
If you know your history, you know Henare and Ishii have a little history. They start off by throwing bombs at each other. Henare gets the initial better of the exchange. Ishii tags in Yano and Finlay tags in. The two have a quick exchange and and Goto tags in.
Finlay gives Yano a taste of his own medicine, Irish whipping him into the exposed turnbuckle before tagging Juice in.
Juice questionably decides to start pumping all three opponents and tags in Henare. He hits Goto with a diving shoulder tackle and the trio gangs up on Goto, smashing him into the exposed turnbuckle. Yano breaks up the tag. Juice and Finlay hit diving attacks on Yano and Ishii, respectively.
We go back to the two legal men in the ring. Goto hits hits GTR and that’s it. Juice was held up by Yano to prevent the breakup.
Winner by pinfall…CHAOS
Match 3: 3-Way tag match for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championships — Suzuki-Fun (LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi) vs. (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. Roppongi 3k (Yoh and Sho) (c)
Just going to say that both masks LIJ wear to the ring are awesome. This is a traditional tag match, in the sense that only 2 wrestlers are technically legal any any point so you can tag with anyone. Kevin Kelly calls it “Lucha Rules”.
The match starts to get really good when Kanemaru locks Sho into a Boston Crab while Desperado prevents the other guys from breakup up the submission. Sho is able to make it to the ropes and finally gets a tag in to Yoh, whose chest it beet red from all the chops he took earlier.
Bushi tags in and Sho tags back in. After hitting a double spear on Suzuki-Gun. Desperado gets hit with the apron bomb and Bushi hits a topei. Bushi gets hit with a bunch of double team moves by 3K. Before they can hit their signature move things get crazy.
Essentially, Sho gets hit with Bushi’s mist. Then Kanemaru hits Bushi with his whiskey and they cover Sho for the win.
Winners by pinfall…AND NEW CHAMPIONS…Suzuki-Gun
Match 4: Singles — Yoshi-Hashi vs. Sanada
About midway through this match Yoshi prevents a Skull End and hits a western lariat but can’t put Sanada away. Yoshi hits a sit-out powerbomb but Sanada again kicks out at two. Yoshi goes for a butterfly lock in the middle of the ring. Sanada stands up but Yoshi muscles him back down to the canvas. Sanada makes a last chance rush and touches the rope for the break.
Yoshi gets his Karma reversed into a Skull End with a body scissors for good measure. It looks like Yoshi’s out, and he is. Sanada drops the hold goes up to the top and hits a moonsault for the pin.
Winner by pinfall…Sanada
Match 5: Singles — Taichi vs. Tatsuya Naito
We’re given some backstory on why Taichi attacked Naito last month. Essentially Naito competed at an event that Taichi helped to set up and Naito complained about it/didn’t have anything good to say about the event.
Naito doesn’t even have a chance to take off his hat before Taichi blast him with his microphone stand. Taichi takes him back out to the entrance ramp. He loads up and nails a powerbomb on Naito and then makes his way back to the ring. Naito’s favoring his right shoulder or collarbone.
Taichi goes back in the ring and hits Naito’s signature pose. The ref counts, which is odd because the bell never technically rang. Naito makes it in at the count of 19. Taichi then does Naito’s eye pose and goes for a lackadaisical pin. Naito kicks out.
Naito finally gets vertical and gets in some offense. He dropkicks Taichi out of the ring, giving him some time to recover. Naito takes the fight outside and finally has the upper hand. Taichi kicks Naito out of the ring and tosses him into the barricade. He gets Naito back in the ring and hits him with a buzzsaw kick. Naito kicks out as Taichi does a lazy cover.
Now the tearaway pants come off and Taichi gets hit with an inverted atomic drop and a swinging DDT. Naito hits an avalanche hurricanrana. Taichi counters Destinto into a suplex and then lariat’s the back of Naito’s head. Taichi hits a massive Last Ride Powerbomb and goes for an elevated, but legal, cover. Naito kicks out.
Naito hits a reverse ‘rana to buy himself some time to recoup. The fans are now 50-50 split on the let’s go Naito/Taichi chants. Naito hits a suplex and Gloria but Taichi kicks out. Destino is blocked and Taichi kicks Naito in the crotch. The ref doesn’t see it but Taichi can’t get the pin.
Taka finally starts to interfere, distracting the ref. Naito picks up the microphone and when the ref admonishes him for it, Naito tosses the ref into Taka. With the ref down, Naito kicks Taichi in the crotch to even the score and then hits him square in the head with the microphone so hard the thing snaps off. Ouch. A Destino later and we have our winner.
Winner by pinfall…Naito
As Naito leaves Taka gets on the mic and reminds him that at the New Japan Cup he’ll face Zach Sabre Jr. and Naito will tap out.
We get a video package of Rey Mysterio Jr. wearing an NJPW shirt and confirming he’ll be at the US special.
Match 6: Singles for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship — Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki (c)
For the first time I’m able to hear Makabe’s theme song. Not a bad rendition of Led Zeppelin
A cool bit of history is that Suzuki’s mentor and trainer, Karl Gotch, was in the main event against Antonio Inoki back in 1972 with the first ever Anniversary Show.
With the Unchained Gorilla and the sadist ruler of Suzuki-Gun, you know this is going to be a brutal match.
The two trade forearms and Minoru gets the better of that exchange. Suzuki gets knocked down in the ropes and starts taunting Makabe. Makabe knocks Suzuki out of the ring and tosses him into the barricade.
Suzuki catches Makabe in the ropes with a hold, but falls off the apron. The favor is returned as Makabe is driven into the barricade, tossed back in the ring and then Suzuki goes to destroy Makabe’s leg with a chair. Red Shoes tries to prevent it, but gets tossed for his efforts. Makabe eats the chair to the leg.
Suzuki goes for another chair shot but Red Shoes this time successfully stops it. Suzuki slaps on a heel hook and it looks like Makabe is bleeding from the mouth. Makabe struggles, but grabs the bottom rope.
Makabe gets in some offense and hits a Northern Lights suplex but Suzuki kicks out. A PK is denied and now both men are tired. The two stand toe to toe and Makabe gives Minoru a free shot and gets decked with a forearm shot. Makabe calls for another and Suzuki obliges.
The two trade blows, Makabe goes for a spider suplex, something I haven’t seen in ages, and goes for the King Kong Knee Drop but misses it. Suzuki then locks on another heel hook and adds a figure-four for good measure. Makabe breaks the hold.
The two are now down on their knees and trade blows. Makabe hits a German with a bridge. Suzuki then kicks Makabe in the injured knee and hits a running drop kick. Suzuki slaps on the sleeper and then goes for the Gotch piledriver, It gets countered but Suzuki just starts slapping Makabe in the face and then takes out his knee.
Makabe goes for a clothesline that’s turned into another sleeper. This time, the Gotch piledriver is successful.
Winner by pinfall…AND STILL CHAMPION Minoru Suzuki