By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Golden Fights Series”
April 18, 2022 in Aichi, Japan at Nagoya Congress Center Event Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World
There was Japanese-only commentary for this one. Roughly ten wrestlers who have competed in New Japan recently are in the United States and were not on on this show, leaving a somewhat thin roster. They really need Kenta, Sanada, and Kota Ibushi back and healthy. Also, a Kushida return would really energize the junior heavyweight division.
1. Ryohei Oiwa defeated Kosei Fujita at 8:40. We started off with the Young Lions, who of course wear plain, black trunks. Basic mat reversals, and Oiwa won with a Boston Crab, and Fujia tapping out. What you’d expect here.
2. Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Yuto Nakashima and Master Wato at 11:55. Desperado worked over Nakashima early, then Wato mixed it up with Kanemaru. Nakashima applied a Boston Crab on Kanemaru, but Desperado made the save. Kanemaru applied a figure four leg lock, and Nakashima tapped out. Once again, what you’d expect, with the Young Lion taking the loss.
3. Douki and Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Togi Makabe and Ryusuke Taguchi at 9:19. The heels jumped the babyfaces at the bell and they brawled to the floor. In the ring, Douki shoved a stick at Taguchi’s butt, and I rolled my eyes at the stupidly of Taguchi’s childish antics. Sabre tied him in a knot in the ring. Douki applied a Gory Special at 6:00. Togi made the hot tag and beat up on Douki. Sabre tagged in and put Togi’s arms in a submission hold, and Togi tapped out. Passable.
4. Yoshi-Hoshi, Hirooki Goto, Tiger Mask, and Toru Yano defeated Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, and Taiji Ishimori at 10:58. The heels attacked to start the match. Ishimori hit a handspring back-enziguri on Tiger Mask at 3:00, and the heels worked him over. Fale gave him the “Tongan Massage Parlor” by standing on his chest. Yoshi-Hoshi finally made the hot tag at 7:00, and he worked over Owens, including a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker for a nearfall. Fale hit a shoulder tackle on Yoshi-Hoshi and Goto, and they were all down at 9:00.
Yano entered the ring for the first time and removed a corner post. Gedo and Yano traded offense; Gedo went to hit him with brass knuckles but Yano avoided it. Yano then got the low blow and rollup to pin Gedo.
5. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Jado, and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Dick Togo, and Sho at 11:40. The big storyline here is that Tama Tanga and EVIL will have a singles match coming soon. Tanga Loa worked over Yujiro early. The heels began to work over Jado, with EVIL choking him with a shirt. Tama Tonga made the hot tag at 7:00 and he hit a nice dropkick on EVIL and was fired up. Tonga hit a Stinger Splash on EVIL in the corner. Tanahashi hit a flying forearm on Togo and a Swanton Bomb for a nearfall at 9:30. The heels worked over Tanahashi. Everyone hit their finishers in rapid order. Tanahashi nailed the top-rope frogsplash on Togo for the pin.
6. BUSHI and Shingo Takagi defeated Taka Michinoku and Taichi at 10:35. Yoshi-Hoshi was shown at ringside now on Japanese commentary. Taichi and Shingo started against each other, then Bushi got in and hit a huracanrana on Taka. Taichi choked Bushi at 5:30. Shingo hit a senton on Taichi. Taichi hit a spin kick to Shingo’s back, and they were both down at 9:00.
Taka tagged in and hit a running boot on Shingo. Bushi nailed a dive to the floor on Taichi. Shingo immediately nailed his Pumping Bomber clothesline on Taka for the pin. Best match of the show thus far. Taichi and Shingo continued to jaw at each other afterward, so it appears they are headed towards a singles match.
7. Hiromu Takahashi and Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada and Yoh at 15:37. Okada and Naito start with basic reversals. Yoh and Hiromu entered at 4:00 and sped it up. Naito applied a leg lock, tying up Yoh’s arms. Yoh hit a running kick on Hiromu, and they were both down at 9:00. Okada and Naito got back in and had quicker offense than in their first segment. Naito hit a basement dropkick to Okada’s back.
Okada got Naito up for a piledriver at 11:30, but Naito turned it into a rollup for a nearfall. Hiromu got in and hit several quick moves on Okada. Yoh performed a Northern Lights suplex on Hiromu for a nearfall. Naito and Takahashi hit some quick team moves on Yoh. Hiromu superkicked Yoh, then a spinning Death Valley Driver move for the pin on Yoh. Good match, what you’d expect from these four.
* Tanahashi spoke on the mic afterward. It appeared as though he was talking to Yoh, who was down and out on the floor. Yoh won the last Super Juniors tournament, and I am assuming Hiromu is telling him he will win it this year. Naito also spoke. But unfortunately, Chris Charlton was not on commentary to give us instant translation.
Final Thoughts: Okada vs. Naito is always good, but we’ve seen it so much lately, I am ready for them to move on to different opponents. I was more intrigued by the few seconds of Okada-Hiromu.
Not much new here, with few storylines really moving forward. Shingo-Taichi is an interesting development, and Shingo needed a new matchup, and Taichi needed to get away from that Toru Yano stench.
Pretty sad to see Sabre, who won the New Japan Cup, competing in an undercard match against opponents much lower on the card than him. He needs to quickly find a new foe.
I do enjoy watching the Young Lions when they are facing the middle- and top-tier of the roster, but their singles matches against each other just leave me cold, as they keep the moves very basic.