NJPW Resurgence results (5/11): Vetter’s review of Jon Moxley vs. Shota Umino for the IWGP World Hvt. Championship, Eddie Kingston vs. Gabe Kidd for the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Resurgence”
May 11, 2024 in Ontario, California at Toyota Arena
Streamed via New Japan World Pay-Per-View

Ian Riccaboni and Veda Scott provided commentary.

1. Mustafa Ali defeated Lio Rush at 6:33. Lio dove onto Ali as he walked to the ring. Ian noted the title is not on the line; Veda added that Lio is a former TNA champion. Lio hit more dives to the floor on Ali. In the ring, Ali hit a backbreaker over his knee, then a Jackhammer for a nearfall at 2:30. Ali nailed the top-rope 450 Splash for a believable nearfall; Veda was shocked at the kickout. Lio hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly, but Ali applied a Sharpshooter; these two are going at a break-neck pace. Lio hit the Rush Hour stunner out of the ropes, then the Final Hour frogsplash for a nearfall. Lio hit a Poison Rana for a nearfall at 5:30. Ali got a backslide, put his feet on the ropes for leverage, and scored the tainted pin! An excellent match for the time given, with the cheap finish I expected, too…

* Lio argued with the ref. Ali attacked him! The lights went out. When they came back on, Lio had the black goo dripping from his mouth and he began maniacally laughing. Veda and Ian said that “Lio is gone and the Blackheart is here.” So, Lio is continuing this gimmick… I have previously described it as a mix of The Boogeyman and Papa Shango.

2. “House of Torture” Ren Narita, EVIL, and Jack Perry defeated Tomohiro Ishii, The DKC, and Rocky Romero at 11:29. The ringside camera followed Perry and it was clear that the hard camera side of the building is empty. A smattering of “CM Punk” chants could be heard. Romero and Perry opened, but the HoT immediately shoved Rocky into their corner and worked him over. Rocky ran the ropes, but dropped down to his knees and slapped Perry at 2:30, drawing a laugh from the crowd. Perry began working over DKC. Narita entered and choked DKC with his push-up board at 5:00. Ishii got the hot tag and he knocked EVIL down with a shoulder tackle, and he hit a German Suplex on Narita.

Narita went for the Cobra Twist but Ishii escaped. EVIL, from the ring apron, kicked Ishii in the back, allowing the HoT to take over. Rocky entered at 8:30 and hit his Forever Clotheslines on EVIL. They removed a corner pad and slammed Rocky into the exposed turnbuckles. DKC hit a splash to the floor on Perry and Ren, while Rocky got a nearfall in the ring on EVIL at 10:30. Rocky hit his Rewind Kick; EVIL hit a clothesline, then a Darkness Falls powerslam for a nearfall. Perry choked Ishii on the floor with a TV cable. In the ring, EVIL nailed the Everything is Evil uranage to pin Romero. On the high end of what you’d expect from a HoT match; the heels certainly emptied their ‘bag of tricks’ here.

3. “West Coast Wrecking Crew” Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson defeated Fred Rosser and Tom Lawlor at 12:28. At the last NJ Strong show in Chicago, the WCWC attacked Lawlor after they lost their tag match. The WCWC came out first; they all started brawling on the ramp and Ian pointed out the match hasn’t officially started. (I start my stopwatch at first contact.) The bell started at 0:30, with Lawlor choking Isaacs with a towel in the ring. Rosser and Lawlor hit some team moves on Royce. Jorel hit a Pounce at 3:30, and Isaacs hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. Royce hit a guillotine leg drop for a nearfall.

Jorel hit a back suplex at 5:30. Rosser hit a second-rope superplex, but he clutched at his left hamstring. Tom tagged in and hit a series of kicks. He hit a German Suplex on Royce. Tom hit his Kamigoye Kneestrie to Royce’s collarbone for a nearfall at 7:30. Isaacs hit an Exploder Suplex on Rosser. The WCWC hit a team Dominator faceplant on Rosser. Rosser hit a double clothesline at 9:30 but sold the leg injury. Lawlor and Rosser hit stereo roaring forearms on Jorel. Lawlor applied a rear-naked choke on Jorel! Rosser applied a Crossface Chickenwing on Royce, but Royce was still able to barrel onto Lawlor to break up the hold at 11:00. All four got up and fought. Isaacs hit a powerslam on Rosser. Nelson hit a top-rope elbow drop to pin Lawlor! Good, hard-hitting match. “Official” bell-to-bell time is closer to 11:55.

4. Hikuleo and El Phantasmo defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls to win the New Japan Strong Tag Team Titles at 10:17. ELP and Nicholls opened. HIkuleo entered and brawled with Mikey. Shane entered at 1:30 but TMDK hit quick team moves to ground him. Nicholls hit a DDT on El Phantasmo on the floor at 3:30! In the ring, Haste kept ELP on the mat. Haste hit an impressive dropkick. HIkuleo entered and hit a double clothesline at 6:00. He traded forearm strikes with Nicholls.

ELP entered and hit his Lionsault on Nicholls for a nearfall. TMDK hit a team neckbreaker on Hikuleo at 8:00. TMDK hit a team powerbomb on Phantasmo for a nearfall. They hit a team jumping DDT on Phantasmo for a nearfall, but Hikuleo made the save. Hikuleo went for a double chokeslam but they blocked it. He hit a powerslam on Nicholls. ELP superkicked Nicholls, and he dove throgh the ropes on him. Meanwhile, Hikuleo chokeslammed Haste, and ELP hit the springboard frogsplash on Haste for the pin! New champions!

5. Stephanie Vaquer defeated Alex Windsor to retain the New Japan Strong Women’s Title at 10:52. Vaquer is in all black, has horns on her head and two belts in her hands and one around her waist! I’ll point out GCW referee Scarlette Donovan is in the ring. They traded standing switches and worked each other’s arms. Vaquer stomped on the elbow at 2:30. Windsor yanked Stephanie off the top rope, with Vaquer crashing to the mat. Vaquer put a leglock around the neck and repeatedly slammed Windsor’s head into the mat at 6:00.

Windsor hit a spear and they were both down. Windsor applied a Sharpshooter, but Vaquer reached the ropes. Vaquer went for a package piledriver but Windsor escaped and hit a headbutt. Windsor went for a Sharpshooter again, but Vaquer blocked it. Vaquer hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip, then a Meteora running kneestrike into a corner, then a backbreaker over her knee for the pin. Really good match. Ian and Veda began speculating that Vaquer should consider heading to AEW/ROH to face some new competition. Interesting…

6) “Los Ingoberobles de Japon” Tetsuya Naito and Yota Tsuji defeated “Bullet Club War Dogs” David Finlay and Kenta at 14:40. Kenta is coming off a 30-minute match a night earlier for Defy Wrestling in Seattle, which Veda and Ian acknowledged. Finlay wore his IWGP Global Championship belt, which is not on the line. Ian pointed out that Naito wore his sparkly red suit, which to Ian, means Naito is taking this seriously. (Many times, Naito comes to the ring in a T-shirt and often never removes it.) Finlay and Kenta laid down in the corner, as it took forever for Naito to disrobe to begin the match.

Naito and Kenta opened but Naito tagged out before locking up, so Kenta did, too. Naito teased a dive but did the ‘tranquilo’ pose instead. Kenta and Naito brawled on the floor. The BCWD kept Naio in their corner and this has been methodical early on. Tsuji finally got a hot tag at 7:00 and he worked over Finlay. Finlay nailed his uranage-style backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. Yota hit a HARD chop at 9:30 that dropped Finlay to the mat in pain and it popped the crowd.  Yota hit a release suplex on Finlay, tossing him into the turnbuckles.

Naito tagged back in at 11:00, but Finlay hit a Blue Thunder Bomb. Kenta tagged in and immediately tried to pin Naito, and he argued with the referee. Naito rolled him up for a believable nearfall! Kenta hit a DDT. Kenta hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall at 13:00. Yota entered and hit a Stomp on Finlay’s head. Naito hit a tornado DDT on Kenta, then a flipping face plant from the corner for a nearfall. Naito then hit the Destino on Kenta for the pin. It started slow but it finished strong.

7. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi at 12:11. Strange to see neither of them with a title belt. (Tanahashi apparently didn’t bring his six-man tag belt.) Standing switches to open. Hiroshi hit his second-rope crossbody block at 3:00. Sabre began working the left ankle and I heard some “you’re a wanker!” chants. Sabre applied his Jaime Noble-style Trailer Hitch, but Tanahashi reached the ropes at 5:00. Tanahashi hit a bodyslam and a second-rope summersault slam for a nearfall. Sabre tied him in an Octopus stretch, but Hiroshi got a Dragonscrew Legwhip while escaping. Sabre tied up Tanahashi’s legs on the mat, and he turned it into an STF at 9:00, but Tanahashi quickly reached the ropes.

Tanahashi hit some Twist and Shout neckbreakers, then a Sling Blade clothesline for a nearfall. He hit a High Fly Flow on a standing Sabre, but Sabre rolled through and hit a running Penalty Kick. They traded rollups with Tanahashi getting a believable nearfall. Sabre got a close one, too. Sabre hit his own Sling Blade for a nearfall. Sabre avoided a Dragonscrew Legwhip, snapped Hiroshi’s neck between his ankles, and hit a Michinoku Driver for the clean pin. That was an incredible final few minutes. Veda said Sabre got his win back after losing to Hiroshi at Wrestle Kingdom.

8. Jeff Cobb defeated Lance Archer to retain the New Japan TV Title at 11:35. Cobb hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly at the bell! He set up for a Tour of the Islands but Archer escaped; Cobb then hit a German Suplex. Archer hit a rolling cannonball from the apron to the floor at 1:30. Archer grabbed a worker at ringside and bodyslammed him onto Cobb! Archer chokeslammed him onto the ring apron; Cobb got back into the ring at the 17-count at 3:00. They traded forearm strikes and Archer beat Cobb down to the mat. Archer hit a running crossbody block and laughed. Cobb hit a suplex and they were both down.

They traded forearm strikes while on their knees while they were loudly swearing at each other. Ian joked that he won’t be “able to provide a transcript” of their conversation. They got to their feet and traded LOUD chops, then simultaneous clotheslines at 7:00 as fans chanted “beef!” with each collision. Cobb hit a superkick! He hit a uranage and a standing moonsault for a nearfall. Archer hit his own uranage for a nearfall. Archer set up for Blackout, but Cobb escaped at 9:00.

Archer hit a running knee, and this time he hit Blackout! However, Cobb hooked the arms and got a believable nearfall! Archer charged into the corner, but Cobb caught him and hit a Spin Cycle back suplex for a nearfall. (The 10-minute call was spot-on.) Archer did an Old School tightrope walk! However, as he leapt off the ropes, Cobb caught him, hit the Tour of the Islands powerslam, and scored the pin! Nice finish to a really good match. Tomohiro Ishii walked to the ring, pointed at the belt, and made it clear he wants a title shot. Cobb nodded and accepted; Ishii turned and left with no blows exchanged.

* A really nice video package for Henare, who has been out of action since he got injured in NJPW’s cage match. He says he’s coming for anyone who holds the NEVER Openweight Title belt. Good way to re-introduce him after a few months away. We then headed to a video package for our next match!

9. Shingo Takagi defeated Yuya Uemura to retain the NEVER Openweight Title at 21:00 even. Uemura wore his blue KOPW Title belt as well so he has the chance to become a double champion. (KOPW is not on the line.) I feel like Yuya’s hair has grown back quickly after he was shaved bald. They opened with an intense lockup and a feeling-out process and Yuya grounded him with a headlock. They went to the floor at 3:00, where Shingo hit a DDT onto the thin mat; Yuya rolled back in at the 18-count, and Shingo immediately hit a suplex for a nearfall. Shingo now grounded Yuya and focused on Uemura’s neck.

Shingo hit a back suplex at 6:00; he set up for a half-crab, but Yuya reached the ropes, so Shingo snapped Yuya’s throat across the bottom rope. Yuya hit a suplex. He hit some deep armdrags, then a dropkick at 8:00, but he sold pain in his neck. He hit a back suplex for a nearfall, then a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Shingo hit a DDT to regain control of the offense. He hit a sudden Pedigree-type move and a kneedrop on the back of the head. Shingo hit a top-rope elbow drop at 11:00 and a standing powerbomb for a nearfall, and he switched to an STF leglock, but Yuya reached the ropes. Shota nailed a top-rope superplex for a nearfall at 13:00.

Uemura hit a Pele Kick to Shingo’s forehead and they were both down. They got on their knees and traded headbutts. They got to their feet and traded chops as the 15:00 call is right-on, too. Yuya hit a uranage for a nearfall. He set up for the Deadbolt suplex, but Shingo blocked it. Shingo nailed a Death Valley Driver and they were both down. Shingo hit the Made In Japan flipping powerbomb for a believable nearfall at 17:30. Shingo snapped the neck between his ankles, and he hit more forearm strikes, then a headbutt and a sliding clothesline, but Yuya popped up on the one-count.

Shingo immediately hit a Pumping Bomber clothesline. Yuya hit the Deadbolt double-underhook suplex for a believable nearfall! Yuya hit a frogsplash for a believable nearfall at 19:30. They traded more forearms; Shingo hit a headbutt so Yuya hit one back. Yuya got an O’Connor Roll for a believable nearfall. Shingo hit another Pumphing Bomber clothesline for the clean pin. That was stellar. Ian made a comment that “the future is in good hands.”

* A video package aired showing the feud between Eddie Kingston and Gabe Kidd, including footage from a press conference a day earlier.

10. Gabe Kidd defeated Eddie Kingston in a no-ropes, Last Man Standing match to win the New Japan Strong Openweight Title at 20:20. This match is no-disqualification and the only way to win is by knockout (not getting to your feet at a 10-count.) A rapper sang Kidd to the ring. Kingston has the New Japan Strong title. They immediately traded chops. Kingston mounted him and punched him repeatedly as Ian reminded us there are no pins in this one. Gabe rolled to the floor and got a chair from underneath, and he threw it at Eddie. Eddie was already bleeding at 3:00. Gabe wrapped a chain around his left arm and hit a clothesline with it. Gabe hit a DDT and was in charge.

Kingston wrapped the chain around Kidd’s throat as Gabe was on the floor, and Eddie pulled on the chain, essentially hanging him at 6:30. They continued to brawl on the floor, using trash cans, stop signs, etc. Gabe also was now bleeding from the forehead. They got back in the ring with Eddie hitting Gabe repeatedly in the head with the garbage can. Veda pointed out Eddie’s eye is injured. Gabe hit a Saito Suplex onto a garbage can at 10:00. Kidd began throwing more weapons in the ring, including a ladder. He got a chair wrapped in barbed wire, too. He hit a piledriver onto the barbed wire chair at 13:30. Kidd began peppering him with slaps to the side of his head.

Eddie slammed Kidd onto the barbed-wire chair, then stomped on him, pushing Gabe’s chest into the barbed wire! Eddie hit an Exploder Suplex onto the horizontal ladder at 16:00 but Kidd got to his feet. Eddie set up a board bridge between the ring apron and the guardrail. Eddie knocked Gabe down and the ref was about to get to the 10-count, but Eddie stopped the ref’s count! Eddie handcuffed himself to Kidd by their left wrists, and they traded punches with their right. Gabe suplexed them both from the ring and onto the table set up on the floor! Gabe got to his feet at the 9-count to win! New champion! That was a war; not my style of match but it was intense and highly watchable. Finlay and the rapper returned to the ring and celebrated with Kidd.

* It took a while for Eddie to get up. He was helped to his feet and got in the ring. Jack Perry walked down the ramp! Out of nowhere, Nick and Matt Jackson jumped into the ring and beat down Eddie Kingston! Veda noted that the Young Bucks will be facing Kingston’s team as part of Anarchy in the Arena. Matt got on the mic and said Eddie was an idiot for picking a fight with them on Wednesday, then coming to their hometown just a few days later. Matt said “this was a great place to live, back when we were poor.” He said the best thing they ever did was become millionaire executives and pack their bags and leave. Nick got on the mic and said he loves the partnership with NJPW, as it gives him the opportunity to beat up Eddie in two promotions! The Bucks then hit the EVP Trigger on Eddie.

* We headed to a video package showing the build-up to the main event. Shota Umino came out first through the crowd, and Moxley had his own separate entrance, also coming out through the crowd.

11. Jon Moxley defeated Shota Umino to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at 34:23. Shota hit a dropkick from behind as Moxley stood on the apron and looked out at the crowd! Shota hit a flip dive to the floor, and they brawled at ringside. They got in the ring and Moxley hit a series of clotheslines. Back on the floor, Moxley suplexed him onto the entrance ramp at 2:30! In the ring, they traded forearm strikes. Umino hit a standing neckbreaker, then a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 5:00. He hit some elbow strikes to the side of Moxley’s head! They traded more forearm strikes, and Moxley bit his forehead. Umino trapped Jon’s head in the corner and kicked him in the face at 7:00, then he whipped the knee around the ring post.

Shota hit a basement dropkick onto Jon’s knee as they brawled at ringside. Back in the ring, Shota twisted Moxley’s left leg and ankle; Moxley reached the ropes at 9:00. They got to their feet but Shota kept kicking at the damaged left knee. Moxley dove through the ropes onto Umino. In the ring, Moxley hit a slam for a nearfall at 11:30. They went right back to the floor but Moxley was now in charge, as he worked the left arm and shoved Shota shoulder-first into the ring post. In the ring, Moxley hit some kicks to the spine, then his own elbow strikes to the side of the head. They got up and traded forearm strikes at 15:00. Moxley applied a hammerlock and switched to a cross-armbreaker.

Moxley hit a superplex and a piledriver for a nearfall at 17:00. Jon went under the ring and got a table and set it up on the floor. Back in the ring, they traded more forearm strikes and chops. Shota hit a dropkick and he hit a DDT onto the ring apron at 20:00 (the official clock was nearly on with mine.) Shota put Moxley on the table, and he hit a top-rope elbow drop onto Moxley’s sternum, with the table shattering and it drew a “holy shit!” chant. Moxley dove back in at the 19-count; Shota immediately hit a top-rope missile dropkick on him. Shota hit a running neckbreaker for a nearfall at 23:00. He set up for Death Rider but Moxley escaped and hit a stunner for a believable nearfall.

Moxley locked in a headlock on the mat, but Shota escaped and applied an STF and we got a “This is awesome!” chant. Umino hit a swinging faceplant for a nearfall. He put Moxley stomach-first on the mat and hit repeated forearm strikes to the base of the neck at 25:00. Shota set up for a second-rope Death Rider, but Moxley escaped. Shota raked his back, clawing his fingernails. Shota hit a top-rope superplex for a nearfall. Shota set up for Hidden Blade, but Moxley hit a DDT. Shota hit a Hidden Blade and they were both down. They traded forearm strikes while on their knees, then while standing. Moxley hit some Danielson-style Yes Kicks at 29:00.

Umino hit a forearm that dropped Moxley to his knees! Jon got back up and they traded more forearm strikes. Shota hit a pop-up European Uppercut; Moxley hit a German Suplex; Shota hit a half-nelson suplex; Moxley hit a clothesline; Shota hit a shotgun dropkick. Awesome exchange as we’ve hit 31:00. Moxley nailed the Death Rider for a believable nearfall. Umino hit a leaping DDT and they were both down. Shota hit a fisherman’s brainbuster for a nearfall at 33:00. Shota hit a Hidden Blade to the chin, then a swinging Death Rider for a believable nearfall; I really thought that might be it. He hit a Hidden Blade to the back of the neck and he set up for Death Rider, but Moxley escaped and hit a Stomp, then his own Death Rider for the pin. What a war!

* EVIL and Ren Narita jumped into the ring and attacked both Moxley and Umino and were LOUDLY booed. EVIL grabbed the mic and said, “Hey Jon Moxley, f— you! Next challenger is me. No, no, no, I am the real IWGP heavyweight champion. So, next challenger is you, bitch!” He pulled out a can of spray paint and covered the belt in black paint! “You know why? I am the real New Japan president. Everything is evil.” (Hey, his English was really good here. I don’t think he meant to say “president,” but rather he meant “champion.”)

Final Thoughts: What an incredible main event. Wow. I don’t know how Moxley can keep up this level of work rate. While I didn’t see Moxley losing the belt so soon after winning it, wow there were some moments here where it looked like the title change was happening. Shota is just so incredibly good. I personally will go with Shingo-Uemura for second-place. The Kidd-Kingston match will have its fans, but it also was bloody and more violent than I care for. Quite a top three matches of the show, regardless of your order of preference.

A great show top to bottom and especially when you consider half the roster is in Japan for the juniors tournament. I think Lance Archer is the best big man (6’9″ or taller) going today and he sure brought a great fight to Cobb. Sabre and Tanahashi was fun and felt fresh, even though they’ve done that dance multiple times now. I really liked the women’s match, too.

My criticisms are minor. Naito’s match started a bit too slow; with a show this long, they could have just done a faster-paced shorter match. I don’t see the point in constantly bouncing the tag title belts around; it is getting to the point where it is meaningless if everyone has a turn holding them. Also, two things that are true at the same time: Lio Rush is super-committed to this Black Heart gimmick and he’s working hard to make it work, but I think a wrestler as talented as him just doesn’t need the creepy supernatural gimmick. It doesn’t help that it feels exactly like what Jonathan Gresham has just started doing in TNA.

Like I said, the criticisms are minor. This was a tremendous show, with a heckuva main event worth checking out.

WE VALUE YOUR PRIVACY

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Did you miss the first match on the pre show? Just curious. I read a lot of your reviews and i don’t recall ever seeing you skip a match especially without mentioning it

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