By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling The New Beginning
Osaka, Japan at Edion Arena
Broadcast live on New Japan World
The English broadcast team was Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.
1. Jushin Thunder Liger, Satoshi Kojima, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taka Michinoku, and Takashi Iizuka.
2. Evil and Sanada defeated Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida.
3. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, and Taichi.
4. Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens defeated Yoshi-Hashi and Tomoaki Honma.
5. “Guerrillas Of Destiny” Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa defeated Togi Makabe and Toru Yano.
6. Taiji Ishimori defeated Ryusuke Taguchi to retain the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
7. Kazuchika Okada defeated Bad Luck Fale.
8. Jay White (w/Gedo) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Tanahashi went for a High Fly Flow, but White caught him and turned it into a Blade Runner and then scored the pin.
After the match, White took the mic and delivered a promo in English and recalled having his last young lion match two and a half years before. He remembered saying that New Japan was his home and the fans were his family. White said he was wrong. He said none of the fans believed in him and now he’s beaten Okada once and Tanahashi twice. White said he did it for himself and Gedo, not the fans.
White returned backstage and continued to boast in a post-show press conference and said he wouldn’t defend the title again until the Madison Square Garden event on April 6.
Powell’s POV: A terrific main event. It’s been obvious that NJPW was serious about establishing White as a major player and I suspected he would be the next IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but I am surprised that they pulled the trigger on him winning the title so quickly. It’s an interesting move given that Tanahashi just won the title from Kenny Omega on January 4 at Wrestle Kingdom. I like it.
Meanwhile, Kota Ibushi also made a surprise appearance for the first time since Wrestle Kingdom. Ibushi headed to the ring dressed in a suit and stated in the ring that he was happy to be back. He said he was in New Japan Pro Wrestling and would not be going anywhere, which led to loud cheers. Ibushi said he would return for the New Japan Cup, which begins on March 8. Ibushi committing to NJPW at least in some fashion is interesting given that AEW is clearly interested in him.
Check below for a past Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Will Pruett reviewing the NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 event.