NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2023 took place this morning and it was a full card with five championship matches. But the most significant title match of the night was Just 5 Guys member, Sanada with his first defence of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against current IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi.
This main event was a battle between former friends and former LIJ stable mates, but tonight that no longer mattered, it was all about Sanada’s world title. To begin the match, both men were just testing each other and seeing what the other had to offer on this given day. The first big move of the match was Takahashi drop-kicking Sanada off the apron into the barricade, which he followed with a leaping dropkick from the apron.
Back in the ring, Sanada reversed a suplex into a rope-hung spinning neck breaker and he then hit another spinning neck breaker, this time on the outside of the ring. Sanada was now focused on the neck of Takahashi, but he could not stay on the offence for long. Takahashi hit a multitude of dropkicks and then a falcon arrow, but Sanada then got him with a dropkick and a springboard splash to the outside.
Sanada followed that with a TKO in the ring before locking in Skull End and swinging Takahashi in circles by his neck. He then went for back-to-back moonsaults, he hit the first one, but Takahashi got the knees up for the second and then hit Time Bomb. Later in the match, Sanada looked for the finish but instead got a German suplex from Takahashi.
That suplex did not serve much purpose, Sanada then began laying into Takahashi with uppercuts and he seemed to have no answer. However, Takahashi did get some momentum after a pop-up cutter and he was able to hit Time Bomb 2, but Sanada kicked out at two! He then tried to go for it again, but Sanada hit him with a knee and then locked in Skull End once again.
Takahashi refused to tap, so Sanada released the hold and hit a diving moonsault from the top rope. Sanada then hit a shining wizard and then finally Dead Fall to retain his world championship!
Following this fantastic main event, Sanada was addressing the crowd, but then the lights went out. NJPW has been airing coming soon videos for weeks and this video was now playing on the jumbotron once again. It seemed like coming soon was right now, and these videos we have been seeing for weeks were for Yota Tsuji, who has officially returned from excursion!
Tsuji laid out all members of Just 5 Guys and then hit Sanada with a brutal spear turning him inside-out. Yota Tsuji then pledged his allegiance to LIJ, he joined the faction and made his message very clear, he is coming for the NJPW World Heavyweight Championship!
NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2023 Results
CHAOS (Yoh, Toru Yano, Yoshi-Hashi & Hirooki Goto) vs. House of Torture (Dick Togo, Sho, Yujiro Takahashi & Evil)
Evil and Takahashi made their way to the ring showing off the IWGP Heavyweight tag titles that they never won and stole from Aussie Open. House of Torture attacked their opponents before the bell, but it was not long before Bishamon got CHAOS back in control. Just three minutes after the bell sounded, Bishamon hit Togo with Shoto and got the win for CHAOS.
After the match, Evil and Takahashi tried to hit Bishamon with the stolen tag titles, but out came the real champs Aussie Open. Davis and Fletcher low-blowed Evil and Takahashi and took their championships back. Fletcher then offered some opportunities for their titles, he said since Bishamon and House of Torture both want a chance they will put the titles on the line in a three-way tag match.
Winners: CHAOS (Yoh, Toru Yano, Yoshi-Hashi & Hirooki Goto)
TMDK (Kosei Fujita, Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
This match felt like a battle between O-Khan and Fujita, as Fujita felt like he had to prove himself to the much more experienced O-Khan. It would be Fujita and O-Khan to end this match, and O-Khan locked him in the Sheep Killer to put the Young Lion down.
Winners: United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
Shota Umino & The Jet Setters (Kevin Knight & Kushida) vs. United Empire (Francesco Akira, TJP & Aaron Henare)
Umino and Henare started this six-man with a very entertaining back-and-forth, and Henare looked great. Just as it seemed United Empire was going to get the win, Kushida slipped TJP into a perfect small package and stole the win for his team.
Winners: Shota Umino & The Jet Setters (Kevin Knight & Kushida)
Los Ingobernables de Japón (Bushi, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Just 5 Guys (Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi)
LIJ and Just 5 Guys have been battling each other for quite some time now and it felt like today was the end of this feud. It all came down to Bushi and Taichi, and it would be Taichi locking Bushi into Seitei Jujiro to get the win for Just 5 Guys.
Winners: Just 5 Guys (Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi)
The Best of the Super Jr. 30 cards revealed
The Best of the Super Jr. 30 cards are official!
10 block matches each night before Osaka's block finals!
Semifinals see top two advance this year!
All LIVE IN ENGLISH on @njpwworld!
Full schedule: https://t.co/xLcvMGdzD1#njpw #BOSJ30 pic.twitter.com/9mjWpjqOfy
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) May 3, 2023
Kenta (C) vs. Hikuleo — Strong Openweight Championship Match
Hikuleo caught Kenta with a big boot to the skull before this match even started, but as the bell sounded Kenta was after the knee of Hikuleo. Despite the continued attack on the knee, Hikuleo got back into the match with some quickness. Hikuleo then attempted another big boot, but he got the referee instead of Kenta.
Kenta then low-blowed Hikuleo and started laying into him with the kendo stick once again. However, Hikuleo powered right through the hits and dropped Kenta with a sit-out chokeslam. There was now a new ref, but Kenta pushed this ref and low-blowed Hikuleo again. Despite all the cheating, Hikuleo would not stay down and he found the power to hit Kenta with God Sends and win the Strong Openweight Championship!
Winner: NEW Strong Openweight Champion, Hikuelo
Zack Sabre Jr. (C) vs. Jeff Cobb — NJPW World TV Championship Match
Sabre and Cobb were battling it out in this fifteen-minute war for the TV Championship. It began with a lot of back-and-forth tests of strength, but Cobb was clearly the stronger of the two. Sabre then started to put on a technical master class, he was after the leg of Cobb and finding unique ways to cause him pain.
Cobb did not let that pain keep him down, and he came back into the match by hitting Sabre with an avalanche gut-wrench suplex from the top rope. Both men then started trading strikes, which culminated with Cobb hitting Sabre with a brutal headbutt followed by a lovely German suplex. With only thirty seconds left on the time limit, both men were now giving it their all to get the win. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for anyone to come out the victor. So, with a time-limit draw, Sabre has retained his TV Championship.
Winner: Time Limit Draw (Zack Sabre Jr. retains NJPW World TV Championship)
Strong Style (Ren Narita, El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki) (C) vs. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Hiroshi Tanahashi — Never Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match
This bout had the potential match of the night written all over it, and it started quite aggressively with Okada pummeling Narita on the outside of the ring. A brawl ended up occurring on the outside between all four men, while Narita remained the focus of Okada. Suzuki and Tanahashi had a very entertaining exchange in the ring as well, both men were giving it their all and Suzuki was hitting his classic stiff strikes.
Ishii and Desperado also got their time to shine, and these two men have such chemistry that I could watch them wrestle all day. This match ended the exact same way it started, with a battle between Okada and Narita. This time it was Narita getting the best of Okada, but he could not keep The Rainmaker down. Okada got back into the match with a dropkick, the landslide and then finally a Rainmaker to secure the victory.
After the match, Shota Umino made his way out saying that he wants to create a paradigm shift in NJPW and so he needs to take down Okada. Umino then said he wants to bring someone in that hasn’t been in NJPW in quite some time. That man is Jon Moxley! Mox will be returning to NJPW at Dominion on June 4 to team with Umino and another man to compete for the 6-man titles.
JON MOXLEY IS COMING TO DOMINION!#njpw #njdominion pic.twitter.com/JYdS0DpnbT
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) May 3, 2023
Winners: NEW Never Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Hiroshi Tanahashi
Tama Tonga (C) vs. David Finlay — Never Openweight Championship Match
These men have so much animosity towards one another that they could not even wait for the bell to begin the brawl, and they were destroying each other on the outside and through the crowd. Finlay threw Tonga into all the chairs, before bringing him back to the ring and starting his slow attack. There was a lot of striking, strong Irish whips and gloating from Finlay, nothing exciting really.
Tonga got back into it and started returning the favor to Finlay by throwing him into all the barricades outside the ring. Tonga then hit his big splash, rolling fireman’s carry and he went for the top rope splash, but Finlay got his knees up. Tonga did have some more offences including a Bloody Sunday and a Scorpion Death Lock, but in the end, it would be Finlay violently hitting multiple powerbombs and Into Oblivions to win the gold.
Finlay beat Tonga so badly that he had to be taken from the arena on a stretcher, it was a vicious attack. However, after the match, he could not gloat for too long as we saw the return of El Phantasmo! ELP has not been seen since he was expelled from Bullet Club, but he is back and he wants to destroy David Finlay!