Bullet Club has acquired another rising talent. On the first night of Wrestle Grand Slam from the MetLife Dome in Saitama, Sho made the full transition to heel defeating his former tag team partner Yoh and accepting Bullet Club’s offer.

In one of the best matches of 2021, Sho comes to the ring wearing a darker outfit and there is a darker demeanor about him. Yoh attacks Sho before the bell. Both former best friends throw wrestling out the window hammering on each other with haymakers. Yoh hasn’t even taken his jacket off yet. The commentators wonder if Sho and Yoh can fight this fight, get the frustration out of their systems and move on together?

As Yoh chases Sho on the floor, Sho shoves a Young Lion into Yoh’s way. Sho whips Yoh into the ring side barrier over and over. Sho takes the padding off one of the cables that supports one of the turnbuckles. Sho wraps Yoh’s arm around the cable. The official goes ballistic. Sho takes Yoh’s arm, wraps it around the ringside barrier and kicks it repeatedly. Sho smiles while the official begins a count on Yoh. Yoh makes it back at seventeen.

Sho punishes Yoh. Courtesy: NJPW.

Sho shoves Yoh into the official twice, spears Yoh and brings a chair into the match. Yoh super kicks Sho in the face gaining control of the weapon. An angry Yoh smashes the chair on the mat warming up for something. Sho begs off reminding Yoh of their friendship. An anguished Yoh drops the chair. The fans cheer him. He super kicks Sho in the face instead. Sho returns the favour with a low blow and cracks Yoh over the head with the chair. Sho gets a two count but picks Yoh up. Sho makes Yoh submit with a new triangle-like hold. Sho refuses to let go of the hold until Yoh is completely out.

Sho stands over Yoh with the microphone in his hand.

“I told you, you need to quit!” yells Sho kicking a prone Yoh along until he falls out of the ring.

Bullet Club’s Evil, Gedo and Yujiro Takahashi are on the scene. Evil is carrying a Bullet Club shirt. It is symbolic that it is these three Bullet Club members as they are infamous for betraying allies to join.

“Well, folks, if you haven’t figure it out already Sho is the newest member of Bullet Club,” says Kevin Kelly as Sho puts on the shirt and joins in on a group Too Sweet salute with the other members.

Sho is the newest Bullet Club member. Courtesy: NJPW.

The other standout match of the night was the Provisional KOPW2021/No-DQ I Quit Match between champion Chase Owens and challenger Toru Yano.

Toru Yano comes out with dyed hair and an umbrella. He looks like he did before when he was a member of the Great Bash Heels. Yano empties a bag full of handcuffs in his corner. Chase Owens is wearing fatigues. It seems he means business too. The match starts on the floor. Owens throws a handful of that “blinding powder” in Yano’s face. Yano finds some plunder under the ring. He blasts Owens with a garbage can to the head and a cookie sheet as well. Owens refuses to quit.

Fans file into the Met Life Center. Courtesy: NJPW.

Yano puts a garbage can over Owens’ head beating with his wooden umbrella. Owens doubles over in agony after being whipped into a steel chair that is propped up in a corner. Owens regains the momentum by suplexing Yano onto one of the garbage cans. Owens takes a page out of Bret Hart’s book by applying a figure four to Yano around one of the steel posts.

Owens buckles Yano to a strap then ties him to a steel post. Owens canes him with a kendo stick demanding he quit. Yano refuses. Since the kendo stick hasn’t done the job Owens retrieves a ladder from under the ring. He unshackles Yano rolling him back into the ring. Yano crotches Owens on the ladder. Yano hits Owens in the head with a ladder. Owens falls through a ladder that he himself bridged between the ring and the security barrier.

Chase Owens hurts…a lot. Courtesy: NJPW.

Owens tears up some of the mats around the ring with the intension of giving Yano a Package Piledriver on the stadium floor. Yano backdrops Owens instead. Owens drills Yano with a Package Piledriver on two tables. The tables don’t break. Yano cannot answer the official’s question of whether he quits or not because he is knocked out. Owens carries a KO’ed Yano over to a security barrier handcuffing him to it. Owens pours water over Yano waking him up. Yano won’t quit so Owens whips him with the leather strap some more.

While Owens finds a baseball bat Yano unlocks the cuffs with a key he had hidden in his wrist tape. Yano kicks Owens in the “lower abdomen” as he approaches with the bat in hand. Yano powerbombs Owens through a table in the middle of the ring. Owens won’t quit.

Yano handcuffs Owens to the ropes. He comes back with a pair of scissors. Yano threatens to press the scissors into Owens’ eye socket. Owens finally admits defeat. Yano is your new Provisional KOPW2021 Champion. After he is freed from the handcuffs Owens promises the fans that this feud isn’t over by a long shot.

NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam Night 1 results

Lady C and Maika vs. Queen’s Quest (Saya Kamitani and Momo Watanabe)

Stardom’s Saya Kamitani puts Lady C away. Courtesy: NJPW.

It is amazing to see the spectacular Stardom talent sharing the stage with NJPW. HHH had it wrong. Stardom has the best women’s wrestling today and for only like $8 a month for so, so many monthly events at https://www.stardom-world.com. So much content for so little but…enough of my shilling. Saya Kamitani and Momo Watanabe are from Queen’s Quest, a faction once headed by Io Shirai. Kamitani, a true wrestling prodigy, has the match won with a Star Crusher on Lady C. Maika makes the save. Watanabe and Kamitani hit a double knee drop from the top rope on Lady C. Kamitani pins her with the Phoenix Splash from the top rope.

Winners: Queen’s Quest (Saya Kamitani and Momo Watanabe)

Match Rating: 7 / 10

Tiger Mask and Robbie Eagles vs. Los Ingobernables de JapĆ³n (Bushi and Hiromu Takahashi)

Bushi takes a shortcut. Courtesy: NJPW.

As Eagles and Hiromu square off they clap each other on the back. Tomorrow’s match should be phenomenal. Tiger Mask has really raised his game since teaming with Eagles. Come on, NJPW. Give this veteran a decent run. Bushi takes his shirt off choking Tiger Mask out with it. Eagles makes Bushi submit with a Ron Miller Special after a Turbo Back Pack. Eagles tells Hiromu that he won’t take the belt from him tomorrow. He has worked too hard for too long. Me, I am torn. I am a massive fan of them both. They are both two of the best in the world and that is no exaggeration.

Winners: Tiger Mask and Robbie Eagles

Match Rating: 7.5 / 10

Yoh vs. Sho

Winner: Sho

Match Rating: 8.5 / 10

Toru Yano vs. Chase Owens (champion) – Provisional KOPW2021/No-DQ I Quit Match

Winner: …and new Provisional KOPW2021 Champion…Toru Yano.

Match Rating: 8 / 10

Kazuchika Okada vs. Jeff Cobb

In a brutal match Okada cannot match Cobb’s power. Cobb just devastates Okada with a Tour of the Islands from the top rope and another shortly after they land.

Winner: Jeff Cobb

Match Rating: 8.5 / 10

Hiroshi Tanahashi (champion) vs. Kota Ibushi – IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Match

Tanahashi holds onto the title fending off Ibushi’s challenge with an Ace’s High and a High Fly Flow from the top rope. It is nice to see Tanahashi moving back into the spotlight.

Winner: …and still IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Champion…Hiroshi Tanahashi.

Match Rating: 8 / 10


NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam Night 1


Not a single disappointing match on the card. The grudge matches were all fantastic filling the card with exceptional bouts in an exceptional venue. Some of the best matches of 2021…and this was just the first night. A great event from beginning to end.