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New Japan Pro Wrestling: Sakura Genesis
April 4, 2021

by SamoaRowe

Live, from Tokyo, Japan. Our English hosts are Kevin Kelly, Gino Gambino, and Chris Charleton.

Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Taichi, and Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. Bullet Club (Jado, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Loa)

Suzuki-gun strikes first before the bell, as per usual, and DOUKI catches Jado with a quick DDT. Jado backdrops DOUKI to ringside, where Tonga can drive him into the rails. Bullet Club cut DOUKI off to make him the heel in peril. DOUKI saves himself with a tornado DDT. Taichi storms in on a hot tag and chokes Tonga rather than totally clean house. Loa pulls Taichi off and gets choked out as well. The ref breaks up the choking, inadvertently letting Tonga ambush Taichi with a neckbreaker. Taichi hits an enziguri for some separation and ZSJ hot tags in. Loa breaks ZSJ's guillotine choke, but eats a series of uppercuts. ZSJ counters into a cross armbreaker, but Loa reverses into a crossface. The match breaks down, and Taichi's iron fingers come into play. ZSJ rolls Loa into a European press to win at 10:21. This was just okay, **¼.
Winners: Suzuki-gun

Officials confiscate Taichi's iron fingers, leaving him to pout, despite his team's victory.

Bullet Club (KENTA, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro Takahashi, and Dick Togo) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, and Toru Yano)

CHAOS jumps Bullet Club before the bell and they brawl all over the place. CHAOS enjoys a hot start and gather around Togo for a drumming session. Ishimori single handedly gets Bullet Club back into the match by clearing the ring. YOSHI-HASHI gets worked over in the Bullet Club corner, with his taped shoulder making for a useful target. YOSHI takes away KENTA's bo and hits a dropkick. Hot tag to Ishii, and CHAOS flood the ring to help clean house. Yujiro bites Ishii to counter into a side Russian leg sweep. Fisherman buster by Yujiro, but Okada saves Ishii. Okada hits his neckbreaker on KENTA. Yujiro sneaks an Angle Slam on Ishii. EVIL whips Ishii into an exposed turnbuckle, but Ishii then reverses to buy time. Yano gleefully exposes another buckle and bounces EVIL into it for a close roll-up. Yano soon finds himself getting swarmed by Bullet Club, and Togo almost pins him after EVIL's fisherman buster. CHAOS return for a save, and Yano blindfolds Togo for an easy roll-up at 11:45. Good pacing on display here, this felt much shorter than twelve minutes, **¾.
Winners: CHAOS

CHAOS and Bullet Club have a standoff until KENTA ambushes with his bo staff before scurrying away.

The United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, and ???) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, SANADA, and Tetsuya Naito)

??? is revealed to be Toa Henare, now rebranded as Aaron Henare. The Empire assaults LiJ before the bell. Henare is eager to please, but SANADA catches him with a pair of dropkicks. Hanare backdrops SANADA over the ropes and drops Naito into the buckles. Henare snapmares Naito and hoists him into a suplex for 2. The Empire pick Naito apart as dictated by Tag Team 101. Shingo gets the hot tag and suplexes Henare, and fends O-Khan off with a lariat. O-Khan answers Shingo with a deep arm drag. Cobb and Shingo slug it out. Shingo hits a back suplex. SANADA tags and looks for a rana, but Cobb counters into a cool pop-up powerbomb. Henare returns to soccer kick SANADA's chest. Blue Thunder Bomb by Henare gets 2 on SANADA. The match breaks down, giving Cobb a chance to shine with drive-by power moves. Henare's DVD finishes SANADA at 9:54. Solid match with the right outcome, **½.
Winners: The United Empire

Bullet Club (Jay White and Bad Luck Fale, with Gedo) vs. Satoshi Kojima and NEVER Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi

Tanahashi and White start with a posing contest before locking up. They both go for each other's hair, and White stomps a mudhole in the corner. Springboard crossbody by Tahanashi allows a tag to Kojima. White eats a double shoulder block, and Tanahashi and Kojima celebrate by flexing their pecs. Machine gun chops by Kojima, but Gedo grabs his leg to allow White to slam him off the buckles. Bullet Club utilizes the guard rails to establish control of Kojima. Tanahashi gets the inevitable hot tag and hits White with a somersault senton for 2. White counters into a dragon screw and Blade Buster for 2. Tanahashi kicks White away and repays the dragon screw. Fale tags in to splash Tanahashi in the buckles and drop an elbow for 2. Lariat by Fale, but Kojima prevents a Bad Luck Fall. Tanahashi pops up for Sling Blade on White, and Twist and Shout on Fale. Kojia stuns Fale to set him up for Tanahashi's High Fly Flow for the win at 10:07. Serviceable match, which felt more like a handicap match as White essentially wrestled the whole match with Fale mainly offering interference, **¼.
Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi and Satoshi Kojima

Tanahashi loses his cool and puts White into a cloverleaf to send a message. White taps out, which pleases Tanahashi to no end.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship:
Suzuki-gun © (El Desperado and Kanemaru Yoshinobu) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH)

YOH and Desperado start with a chain wrestling sequence. YOH kips up to escape head scissors. YOH hits a spinning elbow, and SHO helps hit double dropkicks. R3K choke Desperado in their corner, and SHO follows with a hard scoop slam. Desperado shifts the momentum by attacking YOH's previously injured knee and puts him into a Stretch Muffler. YOH gets a needed tag and connects with a series of stiff kicks. Desperado blocks a spinebuster and Yoshinobu pulls SHO down and into the rails. Suzuki-gun put SHO through the wringer with quick tags. SHO desperately hits Suzuki-gun with a double spear, and YOH hobbles through a hot tag, still managing a double dropkick. YOH is too injured for a suplex, and Yoshinobu takes him down by the bad knee, and puts him into a Figure Four. YOH fights for a rope break, but Yoshinobu hits Deep Impact, but SHO saves the match. YOH blocks a second Figure Four and hits a desperation Pele kick. SHO returns with a German suplex on Yoshinobu, but turns into Desperado's spinebuster, and everyone is down. R3K hit stereo leaping knee strikes, and Deseprado rushes back, only to eat a 3K. Yoshinobu comes back with a superplex on YOH for only 2. YOH comes back with a thrust kick, and SHO spins Yoshinobu with a lariat. Sky X on Yoshinobu, but Desperado makes the last second save. YOH finishes Yoshinobu with a brainbuster at 20:49. Rock solid match that told a strong story surrounding YOH's injury. Title changes are fun, ***¼.
Winners and new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions; Roppongi 3K

IWGP Heavyweight Championship:
Kota Ibushi © vs. Will Ospreay (with The United Empire)

Ospreay recently won the New Japan Cup and broke up with Bea Priestley via a cutter. The new IWGP title carried by Ibushi bears an unfortunate similarity with the old Divas Championship, but it might grow on me with time. Match starts with some cautious mat wrestling. A quick rana by Ibushi sends Ospreay retreating to ringside, where he eats Ibushi's plancha. Ibushi follows up by slugging Ospreay's taped shoulder. Ospreay crotches Ibushi on the ropes and sends him crashing to the floor with a running big boot. Ospreay incorporates the rails while picking apart the champion's back and neck. Ospreay tries to win by countout, then hits a knee drop to the back of the head. Ospreay methodically attacks the neck, but misses a knee drop to give Ibushi an opening. Standing moonsault by Ibushi gets 2, as does a spike suplex. Ospreay answers with a back handspring kick. Ospreay hits a running dropkick into a tree of woe. Springboard elbow by Ospreay gets 2. Ibushi lands a knee directly into the nose. Ospreay fires off an enziguri, but Ibushi spins into a lariat. Sitout Last Ride by Ibushi gets 2. Ospreay blocks Kamigoye with a headbutt to the gut. Ospreay wins a slugfest, but Ibushi taps into his serial killer persona and unleashes a flurry, but Ospreay knocks him down and hits Bloody Sunday for 2. Ospreay drapes Ibushi on the ropes for a SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Ospreay hits a second SSP for the first great nearfall of the match. Ibushi blocks Chelsea Grin, but his back gives out and they tumble down. Ibushi goes for a super poison rana, but Ospreay lands on his feet! Ibushi desperately counters into a normal poison rana, but Ospreay rolls to ringside to avoid a cover. Ibushi hits a second rope German and Ospreay suffers a terrible landing onto his head. Ospreay desperately counters with a standing Spanish fly. Oscutter only gets 2! Ibushi reverses Stormbreaker into a pair of Kamigoyes, but Ospreay kicks out! Ospreay lands a roundhouse kick and tight running knee strike. Stormbreaker finishes Ibushi at 30:13! No way! Ospreay had tons of momentum going into this match, but I was not expecting Ibushi's reign to end after only 3 months. Everything after Ospreay's draping SSP was gold here, ****.
Winner and new IWGP Heavyweight Champion: Will Ospreay

Jeff Cobb can't help but put Ibushi down. Ospreay stands tall with his new championship and complete stable.

Final Thoughts: Good show, no bad matches, and some fun and surprising title changes make this an important show that you shouldn't skip.

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