NJPW The New Beginning in Nagoya results: Vetter’s review of Shingo Takagi vs. Great O Khan for the KOPW Title, Kazuchika Okada, Yoh, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Shota Umino vs. Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, Sanada, and Bushi, Will Ospreay, TJP, Francesco Akira, and Aaron Henare vs. Taichi, Douki, Taka Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “The New Beginning in Nagoya”
January 22, 2023 in Aichi, Japan at Dolphin’s Arena
Streamed on New Japan World

Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided live commentary from ringside. This show was held the day after the NJPW vs. NOAH event (my review of that show is also available). This is a large building with at least 1,000 present.

1. Togi Makabe and Toru Yano defeated Oskar Leube and Yuto Nakashima at 9:24. Late in the match, Makabe applied a Boston Crab on Yuto, but Oskar made the save. Makabe hit a clothesline for a nearfall, then a top-rope kneedrop to the head on Yuto for the pin. Basic Young Lions’ match.

2. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Tomoaki Honma, and Ren Narita defeated “House of Torture” EVIL, Sho, Yujiro Takahashi, and Dick Togo at 10:47. All eight brawled at the bell, while Kelly and Charlton praised Yo-Hey for the match a day ago against El Desperado. Charlton “had breaking news” that Kazuchika Okada would face Kaito Kiyomiya on Feb. 21. The HoT were working over Honma in fairly basic offense, so the announcers spent a lot of time talking about the event Saturday. Honma finally hit a DDT on Yujiro at 6:00. Suzuki got the hot tag and he attacked EVIL with forearm shots and kicks to the gut.

Minoru nailed a Mafia Kick to EVIL’s face. After Yujiro’s interference, the HoT began working over Suzuki. Suzuki made it to his corner, hit Ren with a chop at 8:30 to tag him in, and ordered Ren to get in the ring. So, Ren is still a reluctant teammate of Suzuki and Desperado. Togo got his wire and choked Narita. Narita hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Togo, then a mid-ring Octopus submission hold, and Togo tapped out.

* Suzuki got on the mic and he challenged the House of Torture to put their six-man titles on the line against his new faction. It appeared that HoT were uninterested, and they headed to the back.

3. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Zack Sabre, Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, and Kosei Fujita defeated Ryohei Oiwa, Yoshi-Hoshi, Hirooki Goto, and Tomohiro Ishii at 11:11. Nicholls and Yoshi-Hoshi started. Oiwa and Fujita got in and traded chops and forearm shots. Sabre and Ishii got in and traded some really good offense; they have a title match on Feb. 5. Ishii dropped him with a hard forearm shot. TMDK began working over Ishii in their corner, as they were teaching their Young Lion Fujita how to do some moves. Ishii finally hit a German Suplex on Nicholls.

Goto made the hot tag at 6:00 and he hit a spin kick in the corner on Nicholls, then a bulldog. Yoshi-Hoshi entered and hit a standing neckbreaker. Haste hit a reverse powerslam, dropping Goto gut-first on the mat. Oiwa entered and hit a dropkick at 8:30. The Young Lions traded forearm shots, and Fujita hit several dropkicks. Ishii and Sabre re-entered, and Ishii hit a back suplex, and they were both down. Haste hit a nice dropkick on Oiwa, then a sit-out powerbomb on Oiwa for the pin. Good match.

4. “Bullet Club” Kenta, El Phantasmo, and Taiji Ishimori defeated Master Wato, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Gedo at 11:26. Kelly and Charlton talked about the stipulation of “loser leave Japan” for the upcoming Jay White-Hikuleo match and what that would mean to the Bullet Club. Tanahashi hit a senton on Ishimori, and the babyface team worked over Ishimori in their corner. The BC began working over Wato on the floor.

Tanahashi finally made the hot tag at 6:00, and he hit a second-rope twisting crossbody block on Kenta, then a second-rope summersault slam. Kenta got an inside cradle for a nearfall, and they traded forearm shots. Kenta hit a powerslam, and they were both down. ELP entered at 8:00 to face Tanahashi. Tanahashi applied a Texas Cloverleaf, while his partners also had submission holds applied. Gedo entered and hit a back suplex on Phantasmo at 10:30. Tanahashi hit a twisting neckbreaker on Kenta. ELP nailed a superkick to pin Gedo.

5. “United Empire” Aaron Henare, Will Ospreay, and Francesco Akira defeated Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Taichi (w/Taka Michinoku) at 9:35. All six brawled at the bell. Akira hit a plancha on Kanemaru. Ospreay whipped Taichi into a guardrail. In the ring, Ospreay hit a backbreaker over his knee on Kanemaru at 3:00, and the UE were in charge. Henare hit a senton on Kanemaru, then Sheamus-style blows to the chest as Kanemaru was tied in the ropes. Taichi entered at 5:30 and traded offense with Henare. Henare hit a second-rope spin kick on Taichi.

Ospreay entered and hit a springboard flying forearm for a nearfall on Taichi. Ospreay hit an enziguri. Kanemaru hit a DDT on Ospreay. Douki hit a top-rope doublestomp on Ospreay, and he applied the Douki Chokey triangle choke! Henare hit a Blue Thunder Bomb. Douki hit an enzuigiri on Ospreay. Akira hit a DDT on Douki, and Ospreay immediately hit a Hidden Blade flying forearm to Douki’s chin for the pin. Good match.

6. Kazuchika Okada, Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoh, and Shota Umino defeated “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Tetsuya Naito, Bushi, Sanada, and Hiromu Takahashi at 11:19. In the events of New Year’s Dash, Naito and Umino started feuding, and they opened the match here against each other with quick reversals. Yoh and Hiromu got in and traded offense, with Yoh hitting a huracanrana. Yoh hit a standing neckbreaker. Taguchi entered and hit his buttbumps on Hiromu. Sanada entered and worked over Taguchi. Okada tied up Sanada in a Rings of Saturn-type submission hold at 5:30, but Sanada reached the ropes.

Naito and Okada traded offense, as Kelly and Charlton talked about Okada’s brawl with Kiyomiya a day earlier. Umino entered and hit a summersault senton on Naito, then a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 8:00. They traded forearm shots. The LIJ team hit some quick moves on Shota. Shota hit a sideslam on Bushi for a nearfall. Shota then hit his Death Rider double-arm DDT for the pin on Bushi. Good action. Takahashi and Yoh continued to argue after the bell.

7. Shingo Takagi defeated Great-O-Khan to retain the KOPW Title at 22:37. They wore karate-style blue outfits, and Charlton explained that all the offense must take place in the ring. This is supposed to be some type of MMA-rules match. They wrestled on the mat, and these robes make it look like it is uncomfortable for them to do anything. O-Khan’s United Empire partners are at ringside. We reached the 5:00 mark and it felt like they haven’t done anything, and the crowd is extraordinarily quiet. The LIJ squad walked to ringside to be in Shingo’s corner, and this is now looking like a lumberjack match. Right on cue, Shingo rolled to the floor and the UE immediately threw him right back in.

O-Khan applied a leg lock, but Shingo reached the ropes at 9:00. This is so sluggish that Kelly actually acknowledged “I told you Chris, the 30-count match would have been better.” (Fans voted on two different matches; they clearly chose the wrong one.) Shingo hit a hard clothesline at 13:00 and ripped off the ugly blue robe, and Charlton said he’d had enough. Shingo hit a sliding lariat and applied a sleeperhold on the mat, but O-Khan reached the ropes. O-Khan rolled to the floor but LIJ tossed him back in, as Kelly noted what I wrote earlier, that this is essentially a lumberjack match.

Back in the ring, Great-O-Khan had a sleeperhold on the mat. O-Khan choked Shingo with the belt of his outfit at 18:00. The UE beat up Shingo on the floor while the referee was distracted. Back in the ring, O-Khan applied the sleeper again. Shingo finally escaped and slammed him to the mat at 21:30. Shingo nailed a series of Moxley-style elbow shots to the side of the head. He again applied the sleeper, until O-Khan passed out.

* Shingo got on the mic and said, “Somehow, I was able to win.” He also noted he won a day earlier at the NOAH show. He said he has no reason to be afraid of anyone. He will now focus on his title match against Kazuchika Okada. He called out Okada. Okada emerged from the back and got in the ring. Shingo said he would put the KOPW Title on the line as well, so the match would be under KOPW rules (meaning the fans get to vote on the rules and stipulations.) Okada got on the mic and rejected the idea, saying he doesn’t want two belts; he only wants his world title belt. He taunted Shingo, saying Shingo must think he can only win with gimmicky rules. Shingo said he expected that response from Okada; he said he will be a double champion then. Okada left, and Shingo celebrated with his LIJ teammates to close the show.

Final Thoughts: The main event didn’t work for me; worked shoot-style matches rarely do. They wrestled on the mat and just didn’t do a lot of interesting moves. I’m sure there are some people out there that will rave about this, but the crowd was by-and-large quite quiet for a main event. Further hurting the match is that I never once considered the possibility that Great-O-Khan would win here, as Shingo has clearly been set on a collision course with Okada.

There is nothing stand-out, must-see here. The key thing is we moved feuds and storylines forward. You are more excited, not less, to see Umino vs. Naito, Ishii vs. Sabre, Yoh vs. Hiromu, etc. They are taking their time with Ren Narita deciding if he likes and trusts Minoru and Desperado.

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