NJPW “The New Beginning Osaka” results (2/11): Vetter’s review of Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, dog pound cage match, IWGP Tag Team Title match


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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “The New Beginning Osaka”
February 11, 2024 in Osaka, Japan at Edion Arena Osaka
Streamed live on New Japan World

Walker Stewart and Chris Charlton provided commentary, and they said this venue is sold out with 5,400 people in attendance.

1. Toru Yano and Yoh defeated Ryusuke Taguchi and Boltin Oleg at 3:46. Yano and Oleg opened. Oleg hit a double shoulder tackle on both opponents. Taguchi hit a buttbump and a bulldog on Yoh at 2:30. Taguchi pulled down his pants to show off his lime green underwear and he sat on Yoh’s face. Taguchi tried to flip Yoh in his arms, like Oleg was doing to Yano, but Yoh somehow rolled up Taguchi out of nowhere for the pin! No one, anywhere, minds that this match was kept short.

2. “Bishamon” Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto defeated “United Empire” Great-O-Khan and Callum Newman at 7:33. Charlton and Stewart talked about what happens to the UE after Will Ospreay leaves, as there is a power vacuum at the top. Newman hit a running kick on Goto in the ring, while Y-H and GOK brawled on the floor. Bishamon began working over Newman, as Charlton pointed out we haven’t seen Bishamon as a team since Jan. 4. Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls joined commentary at 3:00. Newman hit an enzuigiri on Yoshi-Hashi. O-Khan made the hot tag and he slammed Yoshi-Hashi for a nearfall.

Four guys on commentary is one too many but I assume they are here just for this match to confront a winner. Newman hit a dropkick in the corner on Yoshi-Hashi, then a penalty kick for a nearfall at 6:00. Yoshi-Hashi hit a Dragon Suplex on O-Khan. Newman hit a suplex on Goto. Bishamon hit the Shoto team slam on Newman for the pin. Good action; they got a lot of offense in a short window. Despite the pin, Newman remains a rising star here. Haste and Nicholls are still in the booth so maybe they are sticking around after all.

3. “House of Torture” EVIL, Sho, Yujiro Takahashi, and Ren Narita (w/Dick Togo) defeated Shota Umino, El Desperado, Tomoaki Honma, and Tiger Mask at 8:58. They started brawling on the floor; the bell sounded about 20 seconds later. Sho and Desperado brawled in the ring. Honma missed a Kokeshi on Sho at 2:00. EVIL and Shota brawled on the floor. EVIL tagged in and he choked Honma with a shirt. Honma hit a suplex on EVIL at 4:30. Shota got the hot tag and he hit a dropkick on Ren and a basement dropkick on Sho’s knee. Shota hit a tornado DDT on EVIL. Shota hit a suplex on Sho.

Tiger Mask tagged in at 6:30 and hit some roundhouse kicks on Shot, then a butterfly suplex for a nearfall. Desperado hit a spinebuster on Sho, and Honma hit the Kokeshi for a nearfall. Tiger Mask hit a Tiger Driver for a nearfall on Sho. Sho hit a low blow uppercut on TM, and Ren struck TM in the face with the pushup bar. Sho then hit the Shock Arrow cross-arm piledriver on Tiger Mask for the cheap pin. Again, this didn’t need to be longer than this. Shota chased EVIL to the back.

* Sho, holding Desperado’s title, got on the mic and he demanded the title belt be on the line on Feb. 23 against Desperado. Desperado got on the mic and said to give him the belt or he’ll take it by force. Sho walked to the back with the belt after saying “possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

4. “Just 5 Guys” Sanada, Yuya Uemura, Taka Michinoku, Taichi, and Douki defeated “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Tetsuya Naito, Bushi, Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, and Hiromu Takahashi at 11:13. Charlton said Haste and Nicholls are leaving after this match to help Zack Sabre get ready for his match. All 10 brawled at the bell. Shingo and Taichi renewed their rivalry in the ring as they traded forearm strikes. Taka and Bushi locked up at 1:30. LIJ got in the ring and stomped on Taka. Yuya tagged in and hit some deep armdrags on Tsuji, then a back suplex for a nearfall at 4:00. Tsuji hit a Mafia Kick. He hit a Flatliner and they were both down.

HIromu and Douki entered at 6:00. Douki hit a springboard back elbow and a doublestomp to the gut for a nearfall. Hiromu hit a German Suplex, so Douki hit one. Hiromu hit a Falcon Arrow and they were both down. Naito and Sanada entered for the first time at 8:00 and Sanada immediately tied him in the Paradise Lock, kicked him in the butt, and hit a plancha to the floor. In the ring, Naito spit on Sanada! He hit his slingshot dropkick. J5G began working over Bushi. Shingo and Taichi traded more punches. Sanada applied a Skull End dragon sleeper on Bushi, and Bushi tapped out. Solid but they have been doing this same dance over and over for a while now.

5. Kazuchika Okada defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi at 16:48. A nice video package aired before the match. Okada hit a shoulder tackle. Tanahashi hit a dropkick. They went to the floor, where Okada cranked the back of Tanahashi’s head against the guardrail at 2:30. In the ring, Okada hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip, then a DDT for a nearfall at 5:00. Tanahashi hit a bodyslam and a second-rope summersault senton for a nearfall, and he hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip at 6:30. Tanahashi hit a top-rope crossbody block to the floor on Okada. In the ring, Okada hit a flapjack at 9:00. Okada hit a neckbreaker over his knee, then a top-rope elbow drop at 10:30, and he motioned he was going for the Rainmaker, but Hiroshi avoided it.

They traded forearm strikes while on their knees, then while standing. Tanahashi hit the Twist and Shout swinging neckbreaker at 12:30, then a Dragon Suplex. He went for the High Fly Flow frogsplash but Okada got his knees up to block it. Okada hit a shotgun dropkick and a short-arm clothesline at 15:00; the time call is right-on. Okada hit a dropkick to the face and a Tombstone Piledriver. Tanahashi again avoided the Rainmaker. Okada hit a Landslide bodyslam and the Rainmaker for the clean pin. A very good match. It didn’t steal the show but was what you’d expect for its placement in the middle of the show.

* They hugged and whispered in each other’s ears. Charlton said what was said will probably be kept between them. The crowd chanted “Okada!” I thought he was going to speak on the mic, but instead he bowed and cried as he placed his hands on the New Japan logo in the center of the ring. He finally stood up and bowed to the crowd. A very emotional moment.

6. “Bullet Club” Kenta and Chase Owens defeated “Guerrillas of Destiny” El Phantasmo and Hikuleo (w/Jado) defeated to win the IWGP Tag Team Titles at 13:08. This feud is ice cold; none of the preview matches this month have really clicked into anything exciting. Kenta and ELP opened. Chase, while standing on the apron, punched Phantasmo. Hikuleo jumped in and hit a double clothesline at 2:30. ELP hit a springboard moonsault to the floor onto the heels. In the ring, Kenta dropped Phantasmo face-first onto the middle turnbuckle, and the heels took over. Owens hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 5:30. ELP hit an enzuigiri and he tagged in Hikuleo at 7:00.

Hikulelo hit a snake-eyes on Kenta, then a clothesline on Owens, then a suplex on Owens for a nearfall, then a Bulldog Poweslam. ELP hit a Lionsault for a nearfall on Owens at 8:30. Owens hit a sunset flip powerbomb, tossing ELP into the corner. Kenta hit a top-rope doublestomp on ELP. Kenta hit a spinning back fist on ELP. HIkuleo set up for a chokeslam on Kenta, but Kenta grabbed the ref to escape, then Kenta hit a chop block to the back of the knee at 11:00. Hikuleo fired back with a powerslam. He hit a big chokeslam on Kenta. ELP hit a springboard frogsplash on Kenta for a nearfall, but Owens pulled the ref to the floor. Sho jumped in the ring and hit ELP with a belt! Taiji Ishimori jumped in and hit Hikuleo with a belt. Kenta got a jackknife cover on the prone Hikuleo for the cheap pin. New champions!

7. Zack Sabre Jr. (w/TMDK) defeated Bryan Danielson at 32:45. Walker Stewart ran through the prior match results between these two. This match has a 60-minute time limit so we’ll see how deep this goes. A feeling-out process to open and they tied up each other’s legs on the mat. Danielson went for a crossarm breaker at 4:30 but Sabre blocked it. Bryan worked the left wrist. They grapevined each other’s legs and no one is getting much of an advantage. Bryan applied a strait-jacket and planted a knee in the back at 8:30. Sabre escaped a hold but his leg struck the bottom rope hard, and Charlton called it a “rare unforced error.” Sabre stood up and tried to shake his leg to get feeling back into it.

Danielson immediately hit a dropkick on the leg and began twisting it. Danielson hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip at 13:00 and Sabre was hobbled. Danielson switched to an anklelock, and he hit a German Suplex. Danielson tied him in a surfboard at 15:00. Sabre snapped Danielson’s neck between his feet, and he hit a basement dropkick. Danielson hit a dropkick on Sabre’s knee as the leg was tied in the ropes at 17:30, and he applied an Octopus Stretch. They tied up each other’s legs on the mat, and Danielson spit on Sabre. Danielson hit a flying knee off the apron to Sabre’s chest on the floor at 21:00. Back in the ring, Danielson leapt off the top rope, but Sabre caught him and tied him in a double armbar.

Sabre applied a modified Figure Four, but Danielson reached the ropes, and the Japanese crowd chanted “This is awesome!” in English. They got to their feet and traded European Uppercuts. Danielson hit a buzzsaw kick to the head and they were both down. They traded headbutts in the corner at 25:00, and Danielson hit a second-rope back suplex for a nearfall. He hit the elbow strikes to the side of the head and he applied Cattle Mutilation but Sabre immediately broke free, and Zack hit a release German Suplex and a Zack Driver for a believable nearfall, and this crowd was HOT. Sabre hit a hard penalty kick to the chest, then another. Sabre applied a Triangle Choke but Danielson escaped.

Danielson held Sabre’s wrists at 28:30 and stomped on his chest, and he applied a double armbar. Danielson applied a half-crab but Sabre reached the ropes. Danielson hit some Yes Kicks to the chest but it fired up Sabre. They traded quick reversals and Sabre got a believable nearfall at 31:00. Danielson hit a running knee and they traded more rollups, when Sabre suddenly got the clean pinfall on a folding press rollup. Stellar stuff. Charlton reiterated that Danielson got beat fair-and-square. Danielson initially refused a handshake, but then he walked over to Sabre and shook his hand and that got a nice pop.

** We had a break while this cage was set up. The cage is set up on the FLOOR, not on the ring apron. So, it feels more like a Hell in a Cell structure but without a roof. So, there is maybe six feet of space to walk around the ring. The cage appears to only be about eight feet high. This match also is set up like “War Games” as we aren’t starting with all 10 in the ring, just two! Will Ospreay got on the mic and demanded five minutes with David Finlay, not two as originally scheduled.

8. “Bullet Club War Dogs” David Finlay, Alex Coughlin, Gabe Kidd, Drilla Moloney, and Clark Connors defeated “United Empire” Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, TJP, Francesco Akira, and Henare in a steel cage match at 64:05. Finlay and Ospreay opened and they immediately traded forearm strikes, and Ospreay hit a plancha to the floor. Finlay whipped Ospreay into the cage. Ospreay hit a slingshot into the cage wall at 2:00. They got back in the ring and traded chops. At 5:00, Drilla Moloney was announced; he dragged a beat-up Callum Newman onto the entrance ramp. The distraction allowed Finlay to hit Ospreay in the back with a steel chair. Drilla handcuffed Callum to the outside of the cage.

Drilla has a belt that has several forks on it, but he slid it under the ring. Drilla suplexed Ospreay into the cage wall at 8:00. Henare came to the ring to even the teams, and he hit a Berserker Bomb on Finlay. Ospreay slammed a chair across Finlay’s back. Clark Connors entered at 11:30 and he speared Henare. Connors has his left arm wrapped in tape, and barbed wire on top of the tape, and he punched Henare with it. Also, all of the BCWD are wearing camouflage pants; Connors has dog tags around his neck and war paint on his face. Ospreay was bleeding from the forehead. TJP joined the match at 14:00 to even the sides. He wrapped barbed wire around his boot and he pressed it into Connors’ forehead and did some Facewash kicks!

Alex Coughlin joined the match at 16:30 and he carried a dozen chairs to the ring; six on each arm. He got in the ring and suplexed two men. Charlton noted this is the first cage match he’s ever called. Coughlin tossed TJP like a lawn dart into the cage wall. Coughlin tossed Henare onto a pile of chairs on the floor. Francesco Akira ran to the ring at 19:00; he scaled the cage wall and hit a crossbody block onto the heels! In the ring, Akira hit a low blow punt kick on Finlay. He got a kendo stick and repeatedly hit Finlay with it. Connors speared Akira through a table in the ring. Gabe Kidd entered at 21:30, bringing a big tote of weapons with him, and the BCWD beat down the UE.

Jeff Cobb joined the match at 24:00 and he slammed Drilla into the cage wall, and he hit a belly-to-belly suplex. He hit a dropkick on Coughlin in the ring, then a German Suplex. Finlay hit Cobb with a kendo stick to the back that Jeff no-sold. Jeff got a nearfall on Finlay; Walker noted that pinfalls are now legal. We see a referee place a padlock on the cage door. Cobb hit a back suplex on Coughlin. Ospreay hit a Leap of Faith corkscrew press for a nearfall. Kidd put a ladder on his head and spun repeatedly, striking several UE members. Kidd was bleeding profusely. Ospreay hit a handspring-back-kick onto the ladder, knocking two heels down at 29:00.

Ospreay hit a springboard forearm to the back of Finlay’s head. Finlay hit a uranage over his knee for a nearfall. Stewart had said medics were treating Henare at ringside; I haven’t seen him in a few minutes now. TJP emerged with his scary mask on, and he hit a crossbody block. Akira and TJP hit their team X-Factor, then team Helluva Kicks. TJP hit a doublestomp to the chest on Drilla for a nearfall at 23:00. Drilla hit a low blow on Ospreay. Connors hit a top-rope superplex. Henare jumped in the ring with his whole head bandaged! TJP hit a Mamba Splash, and suddenly all 10 were down at 34:30.

Everyone got up and traded punches. Finlay and Ospreay again traded punches, then clotheslines and both went down. Connors speared Ospreay out of the ring and through a table on the floor. Henare threw a garbage can at Finlay. He put it over Finlay’s head and kicked it. Henare and Kidd traded blows. Henare punched his hand through a chair, and he slapped Kidd hard on the face at 38:30. Akira and TJP repeatedly hit Coughlin with kendo sticks. Henare climbed the cage and he hit a senton on Coughlin through a table at 40:30. Connors poured a bag of thumbtacks onto a tray, but TJP slammed Connors onto the pile of thumbtacks. He then dropkicked Connors onto it. Cobb hit a Tour of the Islands powerslam on Connors for a neafall, but Finlay made the save.

Finlay got his shillelagh! He hit Cobb with it at 43:00, and he hit a con-chair-to on Cobb. Drilla handcuffed Cobb to the cage wall! In the ring, Ospreay hit a Spanish Fly on Finlay for a nearfall. He went for an Oscutter but Finlay hit a stunner. Ospreay hit a Hidden Blade for a nearfall at 44:30. Finlay hit the Oblivion neckbreaker over his knee, then a second one, for a believable nearfall. Gedo dragged a table covered in barbed wire to the ring. He has a key and he unlocked the cage so the table could be brought in. Great-O-Khan showed up and he beat up Gedo. He took the key and freed Callum Newman.

Ospreay slammed Kidd’s head into the barbed wire table and raked it. Gedo jumped in the ring and hit Ospreay but Newman made the save. Ospreay hit an Oscutter on Finlay while Newman hit an Oscutter on Gedo! Ospreay then powerbombed Finlay through the barbed wire table in the corner for a nearfall at 50:00 (this call was spot-on; the 45 minute call was late.) Moloney stabbed Ospreay in the forehed with a fork. Kidd hit a piledriver off the apron and through a ladder. Moloney jabbed Akira in the forehead with a fork then he licked it clean. Gross. Akira was heavily bleeding, and he got a fork, and it was his turn to stab Drilla with it.

Akira put a dog collar around Connors’ neck, and he hanged him over the top rope with it. Finlay hit a spike piledriver on TJP at 54:00. Kidd and Finlay started removing the ring canvas and pulled the protective foam off the wood boards. Henare brawled with BC in the ring, but Stewart noted he didn’t like the way the wooden boards were shifting under their feet. Henare hit a suplex onto Kidd; they nearly fell through the ring. Coughlin  handcuffed Henare to the cage wall. Finlay and Akira fought in the ring, with Akira hitting a DDT for a nearfall. The match has really lost steam since they started pulling the ring apart.

Coughlin hit a spike piledriver on Akira at 60:30. Ospreay pulled a prone Akira to safety and cradled him in his arms. The BCWD surrounded Ospreay, who was struggling to get to his feet. Ospreay collapsed as he went for a Hidden Blade. Drilla and Connors hit front-and-back strikes on Ospreay. Finlay hit the kneestrike to Ospreay’s chest for the pin. The crowd was clearly deflated by the outcome.

* Finlay got on the mic and said that the War Dogs run the company. Just a one-sentence statement. The heels left, and the United Empire stood together in the ring as the crowd chanted “Thank you, Ospreay.” Will grabbed the mic and said “Osaka. For eight years you guys have been my home. You’ve seen me from a young boy become a man. I want to thank everybody, every single person here. I promise you all, I swear to this, I will come back one day. Please, please do not forget me because I will never forget any of you. I love you, I love you so f—ing much.” He concluded by saying he’s the man he is today because of all of you. They were covered in streamers to close the show as they all hugged.

Final Thoughts: The Danielson-Sabre match was fantastic and everything I expected it to be. I fully believed Sabre needed to win here, and he did. I wouldn’t mind if we see it again in England in late summer. I always say that a death match (anything with violent stipulations) needs to have a backstory to it, and clearly, the UE-BCWD had that story. So, I didn’t mind the violence as much and it was a compelling long match although it struggled once they paused to tear the ring apart, as everyone was a bit hesitant to move around on the shifting wood boards. In retrospect, that was a mistake. Okada-Tanahashi was fine; as I noted, it didn’t steal the show but was good where it was. I hate moving the titles to Kenta and Chase Owens.


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