4/9 NJPW Hyper Battle results: Vetter’s review of Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, El Desperado vs. Sho for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title, Yoshi-Hoshi and Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles, Hiromu Takahashi vs. Evil


By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Hyper Battle ’22”
April 9, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan at Ryogoku Kokugikan
Streamed live on New Japan World

The event drew a large crowd. Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided English commentary remotely from their homes. The sound was really good, not stuffy or distant like sometimes can happen with remote commentary. The show is headlined by heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada vs. New Japan Cup winner Zack Sabre Jr., and I’m rooting for a title change.

1. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Jado defeated Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, and Gedo at 10:19. All eight brawled at the bell. Tonga and Loa hit a team suplex on Fale. Tanahashi hit a flip dive onto Owens for a nearfall. Owens hit his C-Trigger on Tanahashi. All the faces worked over Gedo. Jado and Gedo traded nearfalls. All four faces applied cross-face submission holds on the heels, and Gedo tapped out to Jado. Solid opener, and it was about time the babyfaces got a win in this feud. Jado, Tonga, and Loa put on New Japan T-shirts.

2. Tetsuya Naito and Shingo Takagi defeated Will Ospreay and Aaron Henare at 9:28. Ospreay had his Rev Pro Title on him. Not surprisingly, Naito and Ospreay traded good offense. Shingo got in and had a fantastic series of exchanges with Ospreay. Naito hit a spinebuster on Ospreay. Shingo hit the Made In Japan flipping slam for the pin. Really, really good action. Shingo and Ospreay continued to jaw at each other; I’d have no problem if they start feuding again.

3. Ryusuke Taguchi and Master Wato defeated El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles at 15:40. Too much of Taguchi’s butt-offense early on; I just don’t like this humor.  Late in the match, Taguchi hit a second-rope superplex on El Phantaso and they were in control. Phantasmo did an airplane spin into a slam on Wato for a believable nearfall. Phantasmo hit a top-rope frogsplash for another nearfall, but Taguchi made the save. Phantasmo went for a rollup and yanked down Taguchi’s pants, revealing his red underwear. However, Taguchi sat down on him and got the pin. I just can’t get into Taguchi’s comedy, and it hurt a good match.

The ropes were removed, because the next match is a sumo match. Taichi sat cross-legged on the floor, behind a ring post, in deep meditation. Yano is usually the fan favorite, but I’m cheering for Taichi here. Yano’s comedy has worn thin for me.

4. Taichi defeated Toru Yano in a sumo match to win the KOPW Title at 4:16. The wrestlers weren’t dressed any differently than usual.  The objective is to thrown your opponent entirely out of the ring. Of course, a comedy spot early where Yano grabbed the ref and held on to avoid falling to the floor. They traded standing switches and Yano hit a low blow mule kick. The ref got shoved to the floor at 2:30. They fought around a ring post, holding on to avoid falling to the floor. This is barely better than Big Show’s sumo match at WrestleMania. Taichi got a hip toss, sending Yano to the floor, to win the match. Exactly what I expected, action-wise.

Taichi grabbed the mic and vowed he will defend the KOPW trophy in a main event, and he challenged Shingo Takagi. It’s so great to have Chris Charlton in the booth to provide the instant Japanese translation.

Intermission. At the conclusion of intermission, Sanada walked to the ring, wearing a suit, with his U.S. Title on his shoulder. He got injured during the New Japan Cup, suffering a broken orbital bone during a match last month with Will Ospreay. Charlton said eye injuries can be dangerous. Sanada said he doesn’t know when he can return to full-time competition, and he will have to relinquish the title. He wants to hand the title back to Hiroshi Tanahashi, the former champion. However, Will Ospreay walked to the ring and said New Japan is trying to “screw him again.” He demanded Sanada hand him the title belt now.

Tanahashi walked to ringside and confronted Ospreay. He got on the mic and in English, told Ospreay they will fight for the title on May 1. Sanada left the ring, swearing up a storm at the camera. Kevin Kelly said it is disappointing for Sanada to have his first-ever singles title reign end by having to relinquish the belt.

5. EVIL (w/Dick Togo) defeated Hiromu Takahashi at 15:46. EVIL stalled on the floor. Hiromu hit the running dropkick off the ring apron into EVIL’s chest at 2:00. In the ring, EVIL nailed a clothesline and took control. On the floor, Evil put a chair around Hiromu’s head, and he swung another chair at it. Togo got in a shot on Hiromu behind the ref’s back.

In the ring, Hiromu hit a huracanrana at 6:30, and the crowd was energized. Hiromu hit a running DVD into the turnbuckles. Hiromu powerbombed EVIL off the ring apron onto Togo on the floor. EVIL suplexed him on the floor, and they were both down at 9:00. In the ring, Evil hit Darkness Falls (DVD into a bodyslam) for a nearfall. Togo tripped Hiromu and choked him in the ropes. Hiromu got a rollup for a visual pin but the ref was distracted. The ref was bumped at 12:00 so Togo jumped in the ring and helped in a beatdown.

Hiromu hit the Everything is Evil (Rock Bottom) on Togo, then the Time Bomb spinning DVD for a nearfall on EVIL. Hiromu hit a jumping faceplant for a nearfall. EVIL hit a low blow, so Hiromu hit one too, and they were both down at 14:30. Hiromu nailed a clothesline and the crowd was fired up. EVIL nailed the Everything is EVIL out of nowhere to score the pin. This topped my expectations.

Suddenly, Tama Tonga hit the ring, and EVIL scampered away. Yujiro Takahashi attacked Tama Tonga from behind. EVIL got in the ring, so Tanga Loa ran down, and the Guerrillas of Destiny beat up EVIL and Yujiro. Tama Tonga got on the mic and told EVIL that he betrayed him. Very good segment. I was just writing earlier this week that Tonga and Loa needed to move up and into a feud with EVIL, and that’s happened here.

6. Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan defeated Yoshi-Hoshi and Hirooki Goto to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles at 16:00 even. O-Khan carried a framed proclamation of him being honored for saving a 10-year-old girl from being abducted (true story!). O-Khan hit a fisherman’s suplex on Yoshi-Hoshi for an early nearfall. They all brawled to the floor. The heels worked over Yoshi-Hoshi in the ring. The faces hit their team Blockbuster move on O-Khan at 7:00. Goto and O-Khan traded stiff forearm shots. Cobb entered and hit a running back body drop on Goto.

Yoshi-Hosh made the hot tag at 9:30 and hit a basement dropkick on Cobb’s left knee. Cobb hit his standing moonsault on Yoshi-Hoshi for a nearfall. Goto got in and he dropped Cobb’s neck across his knee. Cobb hit the spin cycle side suplex on Yoshi-Hoshi for a nearfall. Yoshi-Hoshi hit a Canadian Destroyer on Cobb at 13:00. They hit their team slam on Cobb for a nearfall but O-Khan made the save.

Yoshi-Hoshi applied a leglock on Cobb on the mat; O-Khan made the save at 15:00. O-Khan applied the Claw and hit a chokeslam move on Yoshi-Hoshi. Cobb nailed the Tour of the Islands spinning powerslam on Yoshi-Hoshi to pin him. Excellent match, and I like this title change.

7. El Desperado defeated Sho to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship at 21:09. Sho attacked Desperado on the floor to kickstart the match. They got in the ring and the bell sounded a few seconds later, but they brawled right back to the floor. Desperado went for a dive through the ropes, but Sho caught him with a chairshot to the head at 4:30. In the ring, Sho tore at the mask. Back on the floor, Sho worked over Desperado with chairshots to the back. Sho sent Desperado flying off the ring apron, with Desperado absolutely crashing on top of the guardrail at 8:00. OUCH. Desperado stayed on the floor for several seconds; he is definitely going to be feeling this bump for a few days.

Sho got impatient, walked over, and dragged Desperado into the ring. He applied a keylock on the left arm. (Shouldn’t he be going for the lower back, the way Desperado landed on the guardrail?) Desperado hit a high side suplex, and they were both down at 11:30. Desperado nailed a flipping dive through the ropes, but his momentum made him crash into the guardrail again! In the ring, Desperado hit Homicide’s Cop Killah for a nearfall. This has really been good. Sho went for a Divorce Court armbreaker; Desperado reached the ropes.

Sho unloaded some Yes Kicks to Desperado’s chest at 14:30. Sho grabbed the left wrist and began wrenching on it, and Desperado screamed in pain. Desperado hit a spinebuster, then a modified Michinoku Driver for a believable nearfall at 16:30, and they were both down. The crowd is hot. Sho blocked the Angel’s Wings, and he hit a low blow. Sho got his wrench. Desperado ducked, got Sho on his back, and hit a piledriver, and they were both down again. Sho applied a modified Triangle Choke. Sho went for a piledriver. When Desperado escaped, Sho hit a low blow. Desperado hit the Angel’s Wings for the clean pin.. Wow, that was really good.

Taiji Ishimori walked to the ring, got on the mic, and challenged Desperado to a match. The lights went out! A white guy I’ve never seen before stood in the ring. He unzipped his jacket and revealed he was wearing a United Empire T-shirt. Chris Charlton said he is “Fireball” Francesco Akira; a quick Google search tells me I spelled it correctly (he is clearly the mysterious guy that was in the Will Ospreay video earlier in the week). He said he would be in the best of super juniors tournament. Francesco left the ring. Desperado accepted Ishimori’s challenge.

8. Kazuchika Okada defeated Zack Sabre Jr. to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at 28:24. Sabre came to ringside carrying the oversized New Japan Cup, and Kevin Kelly said this is the best we’ve seen from Sabre. Good reversals to start and the crowd is hot. They rolled to the floor and Sabre applied a Divorce Court armbreaker at 5:30. Sabre focused on the damaged left arm in the ring. Okada hit a flapjack faceplant at 8:30. Sabre taunted Okada with kicks to the chest. Okada hit a neckbreaker over his knee at 12:30 and they were both down.

Okada applied the Money Clip sleeper hold. Okada nailed a top-rope elbow drop at 15:00. Sabre applied a modified Triangle Choke on the mat. This is good but they are working at a pace that says they are going 30 minutes or more. Sabre went back to a Divorce Court arm hold. Okada escaped and rolled to the floor. They fought on the floor, and Okada hit a Tombstone Piledriver at 20:00 on the floor!

Okada hit a top-rope missile dropkick, then a spinning piledriver. Okada went for the Rainmaker clothesline, but Sabre hit his Michinoku Driver, and they were both down at 22:30. They traded several stiff European Uppercuts. Sabre went back to an armbar on the mat. Okada nailed his dropkick to the face at 27:30. Sabre applied a rear-naked choke. Okada hit a Michinoku Driver, followed by one Rainmaker clothesline, and scored the pin. Superb match. While I wanted to see a new champ here, Okada is clearly The Man in New Japan right now.

Okada got on the mat and said he’d be happy to have another match with Ospreay in the future, and he’s proud of beating the New Japan Cup winner. Naito came to the ring. This was entirely expected being as Naito pinned Okada in the tournament. They agreed to a match May 1. Golden streamers covered Okada to end this excellent show.

Final Thoughts: Lots of good things here. The main event was fantastic, as expected. Desperado and Sho put on a clinic, proving that (along with Hiromu Takahashi), they are among the top three juniors in New Japan. The United Embassy needed this tag title win to keep their momentum. We had a new name introduced to the juniors division. Tonga and Loa are going to enter a feud with Evil and Yujiro, while Ishimori emerged as a new challenger to Desperado. The LIJ-Embassy match that was second was really good. I am so used to seeing Yano win by one trick or another, it was refreshing to see the rising Taichi get a victory here.

On the flip side, I wouldn’t mind if Taguchi and Yano vanish and take their brand of comedy with them. Give those slots to the impressive new core of young lions. This show clocked in at four hours, including an intermission, but it never dragged.


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