Change has been very good for Sanada. Not only has a new look and has joined a new faction but he is your new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

It was just a few weeks ago that Sanada won the New Japan Cup by defeating Tetsuya Naito and then rubbed salt into Naito’s wounds by leaving Los Ingobernables de Japon and turning the Just Four Guys faction into Just Five Guys.

Sanada defeated Kazuchika Okada in a barn burner of a match that saw Sanada use his technical skills to completely overwhelm Okada.

Sanada took it to the champ right away with a corkscrew neckbreaker off the ringside barricade and onto the concrete floor. Okada fought back by ripping up the ringside mats and DDTing Sanada right on the concrete floor.

Sanada blocked Okada’s Rainmaker and then delivered one of his own. The crowd then abandoned Okada and threw their support totally behind Sanada. Exhausted, both men sat on their knees in the middle of the ring delivering haymakers to one another. Okada gave Sanada a running big boot. Sanada no-sold it popping right back up. Okada tried a shotgun drop kick. Sanada just rolled through and stood up. Another drop kick though brought Sanada down. Sanada stopped another Rainmaker by turning it into a pop-up cutter.

Sanada borrowed from Naito’s toolbox with an Destino attempt but then held on with a facelock submission hold. Okada began to slowly fade away. A shining wizard from Sanada stunned Okada who still had enough to follow through with a slam. Sanada countered a Rainmaker again this time also driving Okada’s head into the canvass for the win.

“Finally, I am the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion!” he said triumphantly.

Sanada tipped his hat to Okada saying they would meet again in the future.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takashasi interrupted the celebration by saying that Sanada did live up to his words by changing the world as he had promised.

“It is a little sudden but I want to challenge for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship!” he said.

“You can but there is someone you have to deal with first,” answered Sanada as Yoshinobu Kanemaru took the microphone.

“Before you challenge Sanada let me challenge you,” said Kanemaru.

Takashasi agreed to the arrangement promising to beat both men. Just Five Guys then celebrated with Sanada.

Sanada revels in the moment with the others in  Just Five Guys. Courtesy: NJPW.

Sanada wasn’t the only one to win gold at the event though. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis) have finally been rewarded with all of their incredible work over the last few years all over the world with the IWGP Tag Team Championships by defeating Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto. It wasn’t an easy win especially for Fletcher who as he leapt on Goto on the floor smashed the back of his head into the ringside barricade. After The United Empire helped him back into the ring blood was pouring down Fletcher’s head. He had to be taped up before continuing on. Funnily enough, the fans began chanting for Aussie Open right after that. Davis stops a Shoto on Fletcher by kicking Hashi in the head. Hashi saves Goto before Aussie Open can pin him. Aussie throw Hashi out of the ring and pin Goto with Corealis.

Kyle Fletcher bleeds after striking his head against the ringside barricade. Courtesy: NJPW.

Bullet Club took care of some business at Sakura Genesis too by coming to terms on the release of El Phantasmo. As you might suspect they don’t wish him all the best in his future endeavors though.

ELP’s four year membership in the Bullet Club has came to an end with the crafty Canadian couldn’t get on the same page with Kenta and David Finlay in their tag team match against Master Wato, Hikuleo and Tama Tonga.

Before the match began, El Phantasmo interacted with a kid in the audience. He traded his beanie for the kid’s Tanahashi hat. Finlay arrived throwing the Tanahashi hat into the crowd. ELP didn’t understand what just happened. The crowd booes Finlay. ELP takes his shirt off, throws it to the kid when Finlay’s back is turned.

ELP and Finlay argue throughout the match with Finlay wanting ELP to take things more seriously. ELP dodges Wato. Cracks him with a Sudden Death and a CR2 for the win. Finlay grabs the Never Openweight Championship and smashes Tonga in the head with it. Hikuleo tries to chokeslam Finlay. Kenta takes out his knee from behind and then hits him with the Strong Openweight Championship belt. Finlay punches a fallen Tonga in the head over and over.

ELP shrugs his shoulders on the apron. He steps in pulling Finlay off Tonga. Finlay shoves him away and continues punching Tonga. The crowd starts chanting: ELP! ELP!

ELP grabs Finlay again. Finlay punches him in the face. ELP punches him back. They begin brawling. Kenta and Gedo break up the fight. ELP takes off his elbow pads and throws them at Finlay. Kenta and Finlay argue about what to do. Finally, Kenta picks up ELP and KO’s him with a Go To Sleep.

As Gedo and Kenta hold ELP, Finlay is ready to bust ELP in the head with his shillelagh. ELP’s tag team partner Taiji Ishimori slides into the ring stopping Finlay. Ishimori and Finlay then share a smile. Ishimori turns around and kicks ELP in the “lower abdomen”. Ishimori and Kenta hold ELP as Finlay hits him in the head with the shillelagh knocking him into next week.

Finlay stands over a fallen ELP. Courtesy: NJPW.

“You f—-d with the wrong guy!” said Finlay to an unconscious ELP.

On the way back to the locker room Finlay continued to rant.

“This is MY club! This is MY time! I call the shots! I run the world!” he raved.

NJPW Sakura Genesis Results

Yoh, El Desperado and Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Great-O-Khan, Toru Yano and Minoru Suzuki

As per the rules of this match the competitors were not announced beforehand. Khan goes for the tag. Suzuki and Yano drop off the apron. They don’t like Khan’s attitude. They want him to go it alone. Finally, Yano agrees to tag in. Suzuki and Khan get into an argument on the floor. They start pushing and shoving. They brawl to the back leaving Yano all alone. Yoh and El Desperado clash inside the ring. The Ace takes control and brings some order back to the match until Yoh slaps Desperado in the face and Desperado chokes him in response. Yoh shoves the trio into each other, punches The Ace in the “lower abdomen”, rolls him up for the win.

Winners: Great-O-Khan, Toru Yano and Minoru Suzuki

The United Empire (Francesco Akira, Aaron Henare and Jeff Cobb) versus The House of Torture (Sho, Evil and Yujiro Takahashi)

Jeff Cobb slams two for the price of one. Courtesy: NJPW.

The official is distracted by Sho retrieving his wrench from outside the ring. Dick Togo slips into the ring wrapping his garotte around Cobb’s throat. Akira disarms Sho with a super kick. With Togo on his back, Cobb gives Sho a Tour of the Islands for the three count.

Winners: The United Empire (Francesco Akira, Aaron Henare and Jeff Cobb)

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito) versus Just Five Guys (Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Taichi)

Douki puts Naito to sleep. Courtesy: NJPW.

All of LiJ get put in submission moves. Bushi taps out to Kanemaru’s figure four. Douki refuses to break his submission move and continues strangling Naito. Shingo breaks things up by throwing a steel chair into the ring. Taichi and Shingo share some words.

Winners: Just Five Guys (Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Taichi)

Master Wato, Hikuleo and Tama Tonga versus El Phantasmo, Kenta and David Finlay

Winners: El Phantasmo, Kenta and David Finlay

Mercedes Mone (c) versus AZM and Hazuki – IWGP Women’s Championship Match

Mone has the challengers all locked up. Courtesy: NJPW.

It is great to see some of the amazing talent from Stardom on the NJPW stage. The phenomenal AZM is truly the future of women’s wrestling. It is only a matter of time before she invades North America and starts collecting gold. This is one of the best women’s matches of the year. Hazuki offers AZM her hand. They shake. She does the same to Mone. Mone turns around and offers AZM her hand. The shake hands and attack Hazuki. Hazuki throws them both over and drops kicks them. AZM whips Hazuki out and Hazuki flies at Mone as if she were shot out of a cannon. AZM runs across the ring and in one fluid motion leaps onto the top rope and then onto both women. Mone puts both women in her facelock submission. AZM interrupts Hazuki’s brainbuster with a with an attempted bridging pin but Mone intercedes slamming AZM on Hazuki for the 1, 2 , 3. Mayu Iwatani congratulates Mone but reminds her they will clash on April 23rd in Stardom for the belt. Mone slaps Iwatani in the face.

Winner: …and still IWGP Women’s Champion, Mercedes Mone.

Zack Sabre Jr. (c) versus Shot Umino – NJPW World TV Championship

As with all NJPW World TV Championship matches only 15 minutes on the clock for this one. Sabre and Umino begin the match with a million roll-ups and attempted pins. Umino puts up a good fight but Zack kicks out of a Death Rider. Zack counters a second attempt with a roll-up and a pin.

Winner: …and still NJPW World TV Champion, Zack Sabre Jr.

Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto (c) versus Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis) – IWGP Tag Team Championship Match

Winners: …and new IWGP Tag Team Champions…Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis).

Hiromu Takashasi versus Robbie Eagles – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match

Eagles has Hiromu all tied up. Courtesy: NJPW.

This match shows how Takahashi and Eagles are two of the best in the world today. Hiromu flips over Eagles onto the floor but hurts his knee on the landing. Eagles attacks that knee relentlessly by wrapping it around the ringside barricade with a Ron Miller Special. Hiromu survives though to retain with a Time Bomb 2…but just by the skin of his teeth.

Winner: …and still IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, Hiromu Takashasi.

Kazuchika Okada versus Sanada – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match

Winner: …and new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion…Sanada.