NJPW is busy on the Road to the New Beginning, and every show feels a little more special these days as Kazuchika Okada is on his final run with the company.
The Rainmaker addressed the crowd following his match, but he could not hold back his tears. He said he’s cried enough already, but he needs to thank the fans for 17 years of support. Okada announced that he is vacating the 6-Man tag titles and he wanted to thank Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomohiro Ishii for his first team championship. He asked for his teammates’ support during his last three matches and bid farewell to the fans in Korakuen Hall before promising that he would see them again someday.
Okada teamed with Ishii and Tanahashi to successfully defend their NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships against TMDK’s Kosei Fujita, Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste today.
Okada, in one of his final few matches with NJPW, seemed like he wanted to send a message to the future star, Fujita. He made it clear that there will never be another Okada as he hit Fujita with a dropkick, a diving elbow drop and a Rainmaker to retain the titles. Following the match, all members of TMDK showed their respect to Okada as the crowd chanted his name.
The main event of the show was a grudge match between the former friends Shota Umino and Ren Narita. Umino attacked Narita as soon as he entered the ring, he threw him into all the steel barricades repeatedly. He then delivered a flapjack and a sliding dropkick to Narita, which was followed by the STF. Narita pulled himself out of the ring to break the hold, he then booted Umino into the barricade before throwing him into them. He kicked Umino so hard in the face that he fell into the crowd, he was then bashing Umino’s head into the ring post.
Narita now choked Umino with a piece of steel before side-slamming Umino on the ring apron. The fight was now taken into the fans, and Narita was slamming Umino’s face into the back wall. Now back in the ring, Narita dropped Umino with a double under-hook suplex, but Umino began to battle back with a big forearm. He then hit Narita with a back elbow and a fisherman buster, which was followed by a big dropkick and repeated elbows to Narita’s jaw.
To get back into the match Narita caught Umino with a knee to the abdomen, Narita continued with a kick and raked Umino’s face against the ropes. Narita was drilling Umino with forearms and kicks, he then went for a superplex, but Umino slipped out and trapped Narita’s head. Umino was now laying into Narita’s face with kicks, he then springboarded to the outside catching Narita with a DDT into the apron. He dropkicked Narita into the crowd before taking him into the stands where he sat Narita on a chair and sent him flying off of it with a running dropkick.
Umino then brought a table into the stands, he hit Narita with the table before setting it up on a staircase. Narita ended up getting powerbombed through that table by Umino and he fell down the stairs afterwards. Umino now dragged Narita back to ringside where he set up another table leaning against the barricade. He then hit Narita with a diving dropkick, a Cross Rhodes and a lifted reverse DDT. That was all followed by an innovative maneuver, a twisting neckbreaker of some sort.
He wanted a Death Rider next, but Narita retreated to the outside and Umino chased after him. As Umino ran towards Narita, he got sent flying with a belly-to-belly from Narita and Umino crashed through the table he set up. Once back in the ring, Narita hit a running knee and a diving knee from the top rope. Narita now distracted the referee with his metal bar, so while the referee was removing that, Narita hit Umino with a low blow. He then delivered a German suplex and locked in an abdominal stretch, but he released the hold to hit an exploder suplex.
Narita continued with a Northern Lights suplex, but a second was reversed into a satellite DDT from Umino. He then delivered a knee to the back of Narita’s head, a tornado DDT and an impact DDT with Narita’s legs trapped. The end was near, but of course, House of Torture rushed the ring. Narita pushed Umino into the referee and House of Torture attacked Umino with the ref down. It was a four-on-one attack and Dick Togo hit Umino with the Dick-to-Dick action! SHO was then ready to use his wrench, but the lights went out and when they came back Tama Tonga was in the ring.
Tonga began to battle back and El Desperado made his way out as well to even the odds. Tonga hit EVIL with a Gun Stun and Desperado hit SHO with El Pinche Loco. The match was down to Umino and Narita, Umino hit two half-and-half suplexes before going for a Death Rider, but Narita reversed into a sleeper. Narita released the hold to hit a belly-to-belly and then locked it back in, however, this time Umino broke it to hit a pop-up uppercut. Umino then landed a rolling elbow and a spinning Death Rider, but Narita kicked out!
Umino hit Narita with a Blaze Blade before finally connecting a Death Rider to earn the victory. The crowd then bid farewell to Tonga and Umino promised to carry on his legacy.
NJPW Road to The New Beginning 01.24.24 Results
Tiger Mask vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre Jr. forced Tiger Mask to submit with a very innovative submission hold that targeted Tiger Mask’s shoulders.
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Hikuleo & Jado vs. Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens & KENTA)
Ishimori stole the win for Bullet Club by reversing Jado’s cross-face into a roll-up.
Winners: Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens & KENTA)
Tomoaki Honma, YOH, El Desperado & Tama Tonga vs. House of Torture (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & EVIL)
EVIL knocked off Honma with an Everything is Evil. After the match, SHO hit El Desperado in the head with Desperado’s own IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. He then stole Desperado’s mask, the ultimate sign of disrespect.
Winners: House of Torture (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & EVIL)
United Empire (Callum Newman, Francesco Akira, TJP, HENARE & Great-O-Khan) vs. Bullet Club War Dogs (Drilla Moloney, Clark Connors, Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin & David Finlay)
Connors won the War Dogs by hitting Akira with a No Chaser. As soon as the bell sounded the brawl was on. These two factions were destroying each other, but the War Dogs stood tall. Finlay hit Newman with a shillelagh and they then tried to attack Akira, but the rest of the United Empire chased them off. The steel cage war cannot come soon enough.
Winners: Bullet Club War Dogs (Drilla Moloney, Clark Connors, Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin & David Finlay)
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Yota Tsuji & Shingo Takagi) vs. Just 5 Guys (TAKA Michinoku, Yuya Uemura & Taichi)
Takagi defeated Michinoku with a powerbomb. Following the match, Tsuji attacked Uemura on the outside, leading to a brawl between the two.
Winners: LIJ (BUSHI, Yota Tsuji & Shingo Takagi)
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Just 5 Guys (DOUKI & SANADA)
DOUKI got the shock victory by catching Takahashi in a Jorge Rivera Special roll-up.