11/20 NJPW “Historic X-over” results: Vetter’s review of Kairi vs. Mayu Iwatani to become the first IWGP Women’s Champion, Will Ospreay vs. Shota Umino for the IWGP U.S. Championship, Great Muta, Kazuchika Okada, and Toru Yano vs. Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare, and Great O Khan in Muta’s final NJPW match

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Historic X-over”
November 20, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan at Ariake Arena
Streamed live on New Japan World

This event has matches from both the men’s roster and the Stardom women’s roster. I admittedly don’t know the Stardom roster. Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided live commentary from ringside. The commentators had to wear masks so they were a bit muffled.

We started with a few pre-show matches, and the building is only 20 percent full as we get underway, but it appears this will be a great crowd, based on how far away some fans are seated. Charlton immediately said it was going to be a huge crowd. We open with two pre-show matches.

1. Kevin Knight, Clark Connors, Alex Coughlin, and Gabriel Kidd defeated Oskar Leube, Yuto Nakashima, Ryohei Oiwa, and Kosei Fujita at 9:44. Knight and Nakashima started; I’ve said this before, but Nakashima’s size will carry him a long way. Kidd entered at 2:00 and squared off with Oiwa, and they traded shoulder tackles with neither man going down. Coughlin entered and hit chops on Fujita, and Kelly put him over as the “strongest pound-for-pound wrestler you might see.”

Oskar entered at 7:00, he’s tall and pale; think a skinner version of Gunther. He is German and apparently been wrestling in WXW throughout the pandemic. Knight hit a stellar dropkick on Oskar as Oskar was seated on someone’s shoulders. Wow. Coughlin and Kidd hit a team Musclebuster move on Oskar for the pin. Really good use of these Young Lions/recent graduates.

2. Mirai won a “Rambo” gauntlet at 23:15. This is a Royal Rumble-style match with staggered entrances, but pinfalls and submissions also can occur. Mirai was first. Ami Sorei was second. Kelly and Charlton stressed this is the first-time to have a truly crossover event with New Japan and Stardom. Saya Iida entered at 1:30. Natsuko Taura is #4; she carried a pipe to the ring and my first thought is she’s the female Sami Callihan. Hanan is #5. Hina is #6, and she’s Hanan’s sister. Rina is #7, and she’s also a sister to the prior two competitors, but the three of them are all in different factions. Hazuki is #8.

Koguma is #9. Momo Kohgo is #10. Charlton is doing a great job trying to fill me in on who they all are; I am certainly not the only person who hasn’t watched Stardom before and seeing these competitors for the first time. Waka Tsukiyama is #11 at 14:00, and Charlton said she’s his pick to win. Saki Kashima is #12. Ruaka is #13. Ruaka immediately hit a top-rope frogsplash for a pin. Miyu Amasaki is #14. The masked “Super Stardom Strong Machine” hit the ring at 20:00 as #15, but we’ve had rapid-fire pins in the ring.

The match was suddenly down to just Mari, who started, and the masked SSSM. Machine hit a suplex for a nearfall at 22:00. Machine wore a full-body outfit, like NWA’s Question Mark, hiding any distinguishing characteristics. Mirai placed Machine on her shoulders, did an airplane spin, down into a powerbomb, for the pin. Alright action, but as I literally didn’t know any of them, it was hard for me to follow.

Note: Tomohiro Ishii is not in World Tag League, which starts this week. So, presumably in the next 48 hours, he will get on a plane to fly to the United States to face Chris Jericho on Wednesday.

* The main show is now underway, and yes, this building is packed. This must be a 5,000 or so seat venue.

3. Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hoshi, Yoh, and Lio Rush vs. EVIL, Sho, Yujiro Takahashi, and Dick Togo at 7:11. This is Lio Rush’s debut in New Japan. Rush and Yoh, who are competing in the junior tag tournament, did some quick team moves on Togo early on. As EVIL and Yoshi-Hoshi traded chops, Kelly and Charlton ran through all the teams in the two tag tournaments. Charlton acknowledged Ishii is headed to face Jericho. Ishii dropped EVIL with a shoulder tackle at 5:00. Ishii hit a back suplex on Togo. Togo got his wire and choked Lio Rush. Rush and Yoh hit a move that looked a lot like FTR’s Big Rig on Togo to score the pin.

4. AZM, Lady C, and Saya Kamitani vs. Himeka, Mai Sakurai, and Thekla at 9:10. Ruaka, a competitor from the Rambo gauntlet joined commentary; her English is alright but she wasn’t adding a lot. Saya is really tall, and she started. Thekla is white; I think the announcers said she is Austrian. She did the Bray Wyatt spider crawl and is a that sort of spooky character. Himeka put two women on her shoulders before hitting a double Samoan Drop at 4:00. Lady C hit a top-rope chokeslam. Saya hit a spin kick for a nearfall. Saya hit a top-rope 450 Splash for the pin. Good action.

5. Giulia and Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tom Lawlor and Syuri in a mixed tag match at 10:57. Giulia wears an eyepatch. All four brawled at the bell. If you look back at my G1 Climax reviews, I praised the Sabre-Lawlor matchups in non-tournament action and said I wanted to see more of it. Clearly, others shared my thoughts, as these two renewed their fighting here, as they were tied in a leglock on the mat, and rolled to the floor still tied up. Syuri bodyslammed Giulia onto Sabre at 2:00. Kelly said the women were only fighting the women here (like in a WWE mixed tag match.)

In the ring, the women traded hard open-hand slaps to the face. Lawlor tried to break it up, so they turned on him and worked together to beat him up, hitting a double clothesline in the corner. Sabre made the hot tag at 6:30 and began trading European Uppercuts and forearm shots with Lawlor. Lawlor hit a uranage and applied an Anaconda Vice on the mat, but Sabre reached the ropes. Sabre and Giulia each applied a mid-ring Octopus submission hold. Sabre and Lawlor continued to trade reversals until Sabre got a rollup and the pin.

6. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Tam Nakano, and Natsupo defeated Momo Watanabe, Douki, Starlight Kid, and El Desperado in a mixed tag match at 11:58. Strange matchup as the four men are all aligned in the same faction. Desperado and Kanemaru, who are frequently teammates, started against each other. Starlight Kid wears a mask. All the women were beating up Kanemaru on the floor. Momo and Tam entered and fought at 5:00. Tam and Natsupo hit simultaneous springboard dives to the floor. In the ring, Taichi and Douki traded offense.

Douki applied his “Douki chokey” modified Triangle Choke on Taichi. We suddenly had three separate submission holds going on in the ring. Desperado grabbed a woman by her hair, so she slapped him. She then sprayed another woman with mist. Taichi hit his modified Snow Plow on Douki for the pin. I am sure if I knew the players involved I would have enjoyed this more.

7. Maika and Hirooki Goto defeated Utami Hayashishita and Hiroshi Tanahashi in a mixed tag match at 9:35. The women started; their outfits are almost identical but Utami’s hair is longer with a splash of purple. The men entered at 2:00. Tanahashi ‘put the boots’ to Maika! Hiroshi and Goto traded forearm shots. The women made the hot tag at 6:00 and traded shoulder tackles. Maika hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. Tanahashi slapped Utami! I am surprised.

Goto hit a knee shot on Utami. Utami hit a back suplex on Goto, and they were all down. Maika hit a Falcon Arrow at 9:00 on Utami. Maika picked up Utami, as if going for a Razor’s Edge, spun her around, and dropped her to the mat for the pin. I really don’t know if men were allowed to fight women in this match, or if they just went ahead and did it.

8. “United Empire” Mark Davis, Kyle Fletcher, TJP, Francesco Akira, and Gideon Grey defeated “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, Sanada, and Bushi at 9:57. All ten brawled at the bell. Gideon hit Shingo with a series of blows that had absolutely no effect. Shingo slammed him for a nearfall a minute into the match, but the Aussie Open made the save. The LIJ members took turns beating up Grey. TJP entered and hit a springboard forearm shot on Naito at 4:00. Akira hit a Doomsday Senton, then a flip dive to the floor.

Davis and Sanada entered and traded blows; these two will square off in tag action in the upcoming tag league. Sanada tied Fletcher in the Paradise Lock. Hiromu hit a shotgun dropkick. Shingo and Mark Davis got in and couldn’t budge each other at 9:00. Aussie Open hit their “Korealis” swinging slam on Bushi for the pin. Kelly predicted Aussie Open will win World Tag League. (That’s not really going out on a limb with that prediction. They are clearly the favorites.)

9. Great Muta, Kazuchika Okada, and Toru Yano defeated Great-O-Khan, Aaron Henare, and Jeff Cobb at 9:45. A few weeks ago, Muta sprayed O-Khan, allowing Yano to get a schoolboy rollup and pin him, so there is a storyline here. Muta and O-Khan started, but they brawled to the floor, with Muta choking him with a cable. In the ring, Yano began removing the corner pads. Henare tagged in at 2:30, and he beat down Yano. Cobb entered and dropkicked Yano, then he hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall at 4:00.

Muta entered and hit some dragon screw leg whips on O-Khan, then on Henare. Okada entered for the first time at 6:30 and he hit a neckbreaker over his knee on Henare, then a top-rope elbow drop. However, Henare blocked the Rainmaker. The heels each took turns hitting Okada in the corner. O-Khan tried to use green mist on Muta, but Muta ducked and it hit Cobb. Muta then hit red mist on O-Khan. Okada hit a dropkick and the Rainmaker clothesline on Henare for the pin. Fun match. Muta hit a post-match Shining Wizard on O-Khan, and Kelly noted that Muta ended his New Japan career with a win.

10) Will Ospreay defeated Shota Umino for the IWGP U.S. Title at 23:29. Ospreay wore gear inspired by Hyabusa. Several of the United Empire faction joined Ospreay to ringside. An intense lockup at the bell. They went through a series of moves with neither man able to connect on a big spot, ending in a draw at 2:30. They switched to trading stiff forearm shots. Charlton is making it clear that Shota’s excursion in England is over and he’s back here permanently, which is a great thing. Ospreay dropped him throat-first over the top rope, then hit a running Mafia Kick for a nearfall at 5:00.

Ospreay hit a backbreaker over his knee, and Umino sold it like he’d been shot. Umino fired back with a basement dropkick at 7:00, then a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. Charlton noted that Umino is 25 years old “and the future of this company.” He’s not wrong. Umino hit a running summersault off the apron to the floor. Back in the ring, Shota hit a missile dropkick and a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 9:30.

Shota hit his Moxley-style elbow shots to the head. Ospreay fired back with a handspring-back-elbow, then a plancha to the floor. In the ring, Ospreay hit several Kawada Kicks to the face. They went back to trading forearm shots. Ospreay went for a running shooting star press at 13:30, but Umino got his knees up. Ospreay nailed a jumping sit-out powerbomb, and they were both down. Charlton reminded us that Umino’s father is the referee. Umino nailed a shotgun dropick into the corner. (Ruaka became quiet, allowing Charlton and Kelly to really focus on the action.)

Ospreay hit a Falcon Arrow at 16:30, then a top-rope 450 Splash for a nearfall. He went for an Oscutter, but Umino blocked it. So, Ospreay hit another sit-out powerbomb, and this time, he nailed the Oscutter for a nearfall. Ospreay began hitting forearm shots to the back of the neck, but Shota reached the ropes at 18:30. Shota ducked the Hidden Blade running forearm, and he hit a swinging neckbreaker. Shota went for the Death Rider double arm DDT, but Ospreay escaped. Shota hit a pop-up European Uppercut. Shota hit the Death Rider. However, Ospreay nailed the Hidden Blade forearm shot for a believable nearfall at 23:00. Ospreay hit another Hidden Blade, then the Stormbreaker/spinning faceplant off his shoulder for the pin. Really good match.

* Gideon Grey got on the mic and wondered who was left to challenge Will Ospreay. The lights went out. When they came back on, we watched a video of Kenny Omega, seated on a throne. He spoke in Japanese, with English subtitles. “I’ll show you what separates Kenny Omega from Will Ospreay,” he said. “I will, once again, change the world. I haven’t forgotten what you’ve done, and I’m coming for you.” He said the match will take place at Wrestle Kingdom. We have a closeup of Ospreay, who looked angry, not intimidated. “The way I see it, he left, and I stayed. I kept the heartbeat going. So if you want to come back, be my guest,” he said. Charlton speculated that Ospreay-Omega could be the Wrestle Kingdom main event.

11. Kairi (f/k/a Kairi Sane) defeated Mayu Iwatani to become the first IWGP Women’s Title at 25:27. Kairi came out in the outfit we first saw her wear in NXT: the pirate hat and white jacket, holding a boat’s steering wheel. Charlton said Mayu is 3-2 all time in singles matches, but they haven’t faced each other since 2017. They shook hands and went to a test of strength. Mayu hit a kick that sent Kairi to the floor to regroup. Mayu nailed a dive through the ropes at 2:00. In the ring, Mayu hit a top-rope missile dropkick, and she was in control. Charlton explained that Mayu “has open contempt” for Kairi for leaving for WWE, while Mayu carried Stardom. (Charlton keeps slipping into speaking Japanese to Ruaka when she becomes stumped for a word in English.)

Kairi hit a spear at 5:30, then a dropkick into the corner. They brawled up the ramp toward the back. Kairi hit a drop-toe-hold that dropped Mayu chest-first onto the ramp at 8:30. Kairi began selling an elbow injury. Back in the ring, Kairi hit a top-rope flying elbow for a nearfall, then she placed a leglock around the neck. They traded hard open-hand slaps to the face and both collapsed at 11:30. They traded more stiff forearm shots. Mayu hit a hard dropkick in the corner. Mayu nailed a Frankensteiner out of the corner at 14:00, then a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall.

Mayu missed a top-rope moonsault. Kairi cut her in half with a spear. She tied up Mayu’s legs and leaned back, bringing Mayu’s feet up near her ears. Mayu escaped and rolled to the floor. So, Kairi hit a top-rope crossbody block onto Mayu on the floor at 17:00. In the ring, Kairi hit a half-tiger suplex, and Kelly wondered if that could have won the match if Kairi’s could have hooked both arms, noting the injured elbow. Kairi hit a Kingston-style spinning back fist. Mayu caught her with a superkick, then a tombstone piledriver, then a Dragon Suplex for a believable nearfall at 19:30.

Kairi hit a second-rope elbowdrop to the spine, then an elbowdrop to the chin for a believable nearfall. Mayu hit another Dragon Suplex for a believable nearfall, and they were both down at 23:30. She hit another Dragon Suplex, but Kairi’s feet were in the ropes! Kairi nailed another spinning back fist. Kairi nailed another top-rope elbowdrop to the chest for the clean pin. That was really, really good.

* Kairi was presented with the title in a short ceremony. She spoke in Japanese, saying she struggled with depression and isolation. She talked about how Stardom and New Japan came together to hold this event, and she’s so proud. She said with the love and energy of the fans, Stardom will get even bigger. She said she will compete at Wrestle Kingdom on January 4. She wondered who would challenge for her belt. Tam Nakano hit the ring. Tam got on the mic and accepted the open challenge. The confetti cannon went off to cover Kairi in golden streamers to close the show.

Final Thoughts: Two really, really strong matches to close the show. I liked Ospreay-Umino more because I know both competitors and I know the storylines. Kairi-Mayu was really good. I can’t stress the importance of having Kelly and Charlton sell the storylines and get over all the female wrestlers, not just the main event.

The undercard matches were all fine, certainly nothing bad. Again, I just don’t know the Stardom roster. I sure am glad to have Charlton and Kelly provide their insight. This was a really long show; including the two pre-show matches, this topped five hours.

SPECIAL EPISODE

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Couple notes here.

    You have Maika and Goto beating Utami and Tana, but it was the other way around. Utami pinned Maika with her hijack bomb(spinning razor’s edge type move) finisher.

    All the mixed matches were supposed to be men on men and women on women only, but most of the wrestlers involved made Twitter posts in the days leading up to the show expressing their annoyance with and in some cases their open intention to ignore those rules. Maika in particular stressed that she likes to throw people, and noted she is fully capable of throwing someone of Tana’s weight. Despy and Starlight Kid both noted that the rule doesn’t count if the ref isn’t looking. Taichi asked NJPW if they were trying to say the women weren’t as good as the men by making this rule then basically agreeing with Tam and Natsupoi that they’re might consider it more a “suggestion” than a rule.

    Super Strong Stardom Machine is Saya Iida. It’s a running joke in Stardom battle royals where Iida gets eliminated, then later “SSSM” shows up and everyone feigns ignorance as to who it actually is. Battle Royals in Stardom are fairly uncommon, and are generally more light hearted/comedic than much of their stuff.

    And it was Waka Tsukiyama on commentary(she was born in New York, and at least speaks a little bit of English), not Ruaka.

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