It may have not been WWE or ECW style of crazy but the Iron Finger From Hell Ladder Match between Tama Tonga and Taichi was definitely the best thing about night one of NJPW’s Wrestling Dontaku.
The goal of the match was for either Tonga or Taichi to retrieve the Iron Glove hanging high above the ring. The mystical Iron Glove was passed down from Takashi Iizuka to Taichi when he retired from the ring in 2019 after a 33 years with NJPW.
Ladders surrounded the ring as Jado accompanied Tama to the ring. Douki was with Taichi and he had his steel pipe with him to counter Jado’s kendo stick. Taichi and Tama blistered each other with rapid fire kicks and punches to start things off. They started rolling around on the mat trying to choke the life out of one another. The crowd begins clapping for Taichi. Tama stares out at them with distain.
Taichi and Tama both dash outside the ring for a ladder at the same time. They circle the ring eyeing each other. They finally both enter the ring engaging in a ladder duel smashing the ladders against each other. Tama drops his ladder but he drops kicks the ladder out of Taichi’s hands to even the odds.
Tama sets up a ladder, climbs to the top and finds that it is too short. He cannot reach the Iron Glove.
Tama sets up a ladder in a corner whipping Taichi into it. Things take a turn for the worse for Tama though when he misses a Stinger Splash and hits the ladder awkwardly hurting his ankle and leg. Taichi does more damage backdropping Tama into another ladder.
The fight goes to the floor where Taichi places a ladder between the ring and the barrier. Douki and Jado interfere though at different times stopping any plans Taichi or Tama have on using the ladder against their opponent. Taichi picks up a ladder running Tama over with it.
Observing how Tama screwed up, Taichi brings a taller ladder into the ring to see if he can reach the Iron Glove. Tama dives into the ring grabbing hold of Taichi’s leg so he cannot climb up. As Tama made his attempt to climb to the top of the ladder Douki drop kicks him from the top rope. Jado jumped into the fray whacking Douki with his kendo stick. Jado kicked Taichi through the ropes and to the floor. Taking out a roll of tape Jado taped Taichi to one of the ringside barriers. Jado instructed Tama to quickly get the glove. Tama couldn’t help himself. He took some time to gloat before setting up a ladder inside the ring. Tama wasted more time shaking a finger at the crowd who were clapping for Taichi to free himself and stop Tama.
Jado took a swing at Zack Sabre Jr. who raced past him and into the ring. Zack pushed over the ladder. Tama fell into the top rope clotheslining himself in the process. Zack took care of Jado and hurried to free Taichi. Zack helped Taichi get back into the ring. Tanga Loa arrived on the scene next to make sure Taichi didn’t get the glove down. Loa gave Zach Ape S–t then beat down Taichi until Douki stepped between them. Loa powerbombed Douki over the ropes and through the ladder that was in place between the ring and the barrier. The ladder snapped in half when Douki hit it.
Taichi kicked is way out of a Magic Killer. He caught Tama’s kick booting him in the “lower abdomen”. Tama brought a table with him into the ring. He and Taichi fought at the top of the ladder. Taichi shrugged off a Gun Stun sending Tama down and through the table. This gave Taichi time to take possession of the Iron Glove and win the match. Zack climbed to the top of the ladder congratulating his tag team partner.
The NEVER Openweight Championship changed hands on the card as challenger Jay White defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi for the title. White tapped out to The Ace’s Cloverleaf. The only problem was that the official was distracted by Gedo. A frustrated Tanahashi gave Gedo a dragon screw leg whip in the ropes. A Blade Runner from White beat The Ace though.
NJPW Wrestling Dontaku Night One
Bullet Club (Dick Togo, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori and Yujiro Takahashi) versus Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Master Wato, Tiger Mask and Toru Yano
Tiger Mask executes a fantastic double underhook suplex on Ishimori from the top rope. Why isn’t this guy in some kind of title picture? In the end though, Tiger Mask is pinned by Ishimori’s Bloody Cross. A short and sweet match.
Winners: Bullet Club (Dick Togo, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori and Yujiro Takahashi)
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) versus Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, SHO and YOH)
Not much to talk about here. Another short match. Yoh gets the pin on Kanemaru. El Desperado hangs around on the ring apron looking kind of pissed off.
Winners: Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, SHO and YOH)
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito) versus United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb and Will Ospreay)
Takagi and Ospreay get into a nasty slugfest, slapping each other as well. Sanada gets a sneaky bridging pin on Henare. Henare is so pissed he chases the official out of the ring. Young Lions have to restrain Henare. Ospreay and Takagi worm their way out of each other’s finishes. Ospreay flees the ring with the belt and the rest of the Empire.
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito)
Zack Sabre, Jr. versus Tanga Loa (Tag Team Title Qualification Match)
Zack wriggles out of Ape S–t to roll up Loa for the 1,2,3 securing a future IWGP Tag Team Championship match against the Guerrillas of Destiny for himself and Taichi.
Winner: Zack Sabre, Jr.
Taichi versus Tama Tonga (Iron Finger From Hell Ladder Match)
“Switchblade” Jay White versus Hiroshi Tanahashi (NEVER Openweight Championship Match)
Winner: …and new NEVER Openweight Champion, Jay White.