10/14 NJPW “Battle Autumn” results: Vetter’s review of Alex Zayne vs. Zack Sabre Jr., and David Finlay vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru in NJPW TV Championship tournament matches, Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi, and Sanada vs. Kenta, Taiji Ishimori, and El Phantasmo

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Battle Autumn”
October 14, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World

New Japan Pro Wrestling announced this week it is creating a “TV title” through a 16-man, single-elimination tournament. Two first-round tournament matches headline this show.

Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided commentary from ringside.

1. Ryohei Oiwa and Ren Narita defeated Tomohiro Ishii and Yuto Nakanishi at 10:40. Good to see Ishii back, who didn’t compete on the show earlier in the week. Ren and Ishii opened by trading stiff forearms and slaps to the face. Yuto and Oiwa then traded blows. Oiwa hit a nice dropkick on Ishii at 4:00. Ren hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Ishii. Ren laid in some stiff forearms, but it just ticked off Ishii.

Ishii hit a German Suplex at 7:00, and they were both down. The Young Lions both tagged in. Oiwa applied a Boston Crab but Yuto reached the ropes. Ren got in and traded blows with Yuto. Ren applied a mid-ring Figure Four Leglock, and Yuto tapped out. That was a really good match; good use of the Young Lions mixing it up with an upper mid-card wrestler like Ishii. Narita and Ishii continued to jaw after their match, and that should be a great singles match in the near future.

2. Rocky Romero, Tomoaki Honma, Master Wato, and Togi Makabe defeated Douki, Taka Michinoku, El Desperado, and Taichi at 8:43. Romero and Douki started. Honma traded blows with Taichi. Desperado brawled on the floor with Master Wato. The heels took turns working over Honma. Wato made the hot tag at 5:30, and he hit a flying forearm on Desperado for a nearfall. Desperado came back with a high back suplex. Taka applied a Crippler Crossface on Wato. However, Wato tied him in a knot on the mat, cranked on the head, and Taka tapped out. Basic match but it never dragged.

3. EVIL, Sho, Yujiro Takahashi, and Dick Togo defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ryusuke Taguchi, Hikuleo, and Jado at 7:45. All eight brawled at the bell. The heels worked over Tenzan. Hikuleo made the hot tag and cleared the ring. Jado applied an STF on Yujiro, and Yujiro tapped out but the ref was distracted and didn’t see it. Sho nailed Jado with his wrench, and Yujiro pinned Jado after his Pimp Juice jumping DDT. Blah. Eight guys in the match, and Hikuleo is the only one that’s “over” right now.

4. Yoshi-Hoshi, Hirooki Goto, and Toru Yano  defeated “The United Empire” Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare, and Great-O-Khan at 9:51. Khan and Yano started, and Yano slapped him playfully on the back of the head. Khan hit his Mongolian Chops on Goto. The UE began working over Goto. Cobb surfed on his back at 5:00. Yoshi-Hoshi got in and worked with Goto to drop Cobb. Yoshi-Hoshi hit a superkick on Cobb. Cobb hit a belly-to-belly overhead suplex on Yoshi-Hoshi at 8:00. Yano made the hot tag and immediately removed a corner pad. Henare and Yano brawled. Yano escaped a Full Nelson by hittin a low blow mule kick on Henare, then rolled him up for the pin. Cobb and Yoshi-Hoshi argued after the match; they are facing each other in the TV Title tournament.

5. Bushi, Tetsuya Naito, and Titan defeated TJP, Francesco Akira, and Gideon Grey at 8:19. Titan just joined LIJ earlier this week, and he opened against TJP with some nice lucha reversals. Naito entered and hit an enzuigiri on TJP at 4:00. Bushi and Akira traded forearm shots. Akira hit a German Suplex on Titan. Titan hit a tornado DDT on TJP. Grey tagged in for the first time. Titan hit a double stomp on Grey’s back for the pin. Good match until Grey tagged in for the final 30 seconds to wrap it up.

6. Kenta, El Phantasmo, and Taiji Ishimori defeated Sanada, Shingo Takagi, and Hiromu Takahashi via DQ at 9:44. Takagi carried his broken KOPW trophy to the ring and looked dejected. Shingo and ELP started, and Shingo dropped him with a punch. Hiromu and Ishimori traded quicker offense, and they brawled to the floor, with Ishimori whipping him into the guardrails. In the ring, the heels began working over Sanada. Kenta tagged in but couldn’t figure out how to tie Sanada in the Paradise Lock at 5:30.

Sanada and Phantasmo twisted each other’s nipples. Yes, I just wrote that. Shingo made the hot tag at 7:30 and resumed beating on his nemesis Phantasmo. Shingo hit a DDT for a nearfall. ELP hit a low blow punch and got a visual pin but the ref was down. Phantasmo tossed a chair to Shingo and did the “Eddie spot,” collapsing on the mat and pointed at Shingo. However, Shingo nailed ELP with the chair, right in front of the ref, causing the disqualification. Good match, and it’s clear this feud is not over.

* NOTE: The TV title matches have a 15-minute time limit, so we’ll see if that comes into play in our first two tournament matches.

7. David Finlay defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru in a first-round NJPW TV Title tournament match at 11:51. Finlay is hot right now, and Kanemaru is ice cold, so the winner here “should” be straight forward, right? They immediately traded rollups on the mat and I thought we might have one of those one-minute matches. Kanemaru grounded him early with headlocks, and he switched to a leglock around the neck. Finlay hit a dropkick and they were both down at 6:30. Finlay hit a second-rope flying forearm for a nearfall.

Finlay hit a spinning Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. Kanemaru fired back with a spike DDT and they were both down at 8:30. Kanemaru hit a top-rope moonsault for a nearfall. Finlay caught him with a stunner, then a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall, then a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. He then hit the Trash Panda/neckbreaker over his knee for the pin. Decent match, but I never once thought Kanemaru would win here.

8. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Alex Zayne in a first-round NJPW TV Title tournament match at 14:55. Zayne attacked Zack as he tried to enter the ring, and Alex hit a corkscrew press and a dropkick. Sabre bailed to the floor and was finally able to remove his jacket. They brawled on the floor. Zayne slammed his back onto the ring apron at 2:00. Sabre took control and tied him up on the mat, then he began hitting some stiff European Uppercuts. Sabre tied up Alex’s foot and twisted it, and kicked away at it.

Zayne hit his forward roll-into-a-huracanrana out of the corner at 9:00. Sabre got an O’Connor Roll for a nearfall, and he tied Zayne up in a mid-ring Octopus. Zayne hit a hard clothesline for a nearfall. Sabre applied a Triangle Choke. Zayne missed his top-rope Phoenix Splash, and Sabre immediately tied up his legs on the mat, but Zayne reached the ropes at 13:00. Sabre hit European Uppercuts, and he again applied an anklelock on the mat, and Zayne tapped out. Kelly and Charlton pointed out he only needed to survive five more seconds to get a draw.

* Sabre got on the mic and spoke in Japanese and got a laugh from the crowd. He put over Zayne. He said after five years in New Japan, he’s going to win a singles title. He thanked the fans for coming. I am impressed with how he mixes in English and Japanese.

Final Thoughts: In my last NJPW review, I hoped we had seen the last of the KOPW trophy, largely because there are too many title belts in New Japan. So, as much as I love a good tournament, I really don’t think they needed to create a TV title.

While I think it is important to rotate the roster and give guys nights off, I definitely missed seeing Will Ospreay and Jay White.

A slightly shorter show, at about two-and-a-half hours.


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