Disastrous Week For NJPW, Outstanding Kaisei Takechi Debut + More| Weekly Puro Guide

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New Japan Pro Wrestling

New Japan held two shows in Sapporo in the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center as part of the New Beginning tour. The first show drew 3231 fans and featured five Championship matches.

The first title match was for the IWGP Women’s Championship when Mayu Iwatani defended against Mina Shirakawa of EXV. They had it tough in front of a crowd that didn’t know them but won them over toward the end of it. They for sure had a better match in them, but it was good for what it was. Iwatani defeated Shirakawa with the Two-Staged Dragon Suplex to retain her IWGP Women’s Championship for the fourth time.

In the next title match, El Desperado defended his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against SHO. It was a bad match that had nothing really good about it aside from the crowd deciding to be hot for just this match. It was typical House of Torture bullshit with Kanemaru interfering. The finish was hilarious, in a funny and bad way, with Desperado getting choked out by Ren Narita on the outside so that he couldn’t make it in the ring and the title changed via count-out. SHO is the new Junior Heavyweight Champion and it’s at least 2 years too late with the wrong gimmick.

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Shota Umino failed to capture the NEVER Openweight Championship from EVIL in a boring match. The structure was a typical HOT match and it was far better than the Junior Championship match, especially with the final two minutes being clean, but it’s just not interesting anymore to watch. EVIL retains for the first time after the “Everything is EVIL” and makes Shota look like a total geek again, who is now 0-5 in Championship matches since coming back from excursion, while he is talking about being the new Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Matt Riddle made his New Japan debut against Hiroshi Tanahashi for the NJPW Television Championship. The crowd didn’t care about Riddle at all, but he got them interested towards the end of the match. Riddle beat Tanahashi in a nothing match with the “Brostone” and is the 3rd NJPW TV Champion. It feels like a decision that was taken so that Tanahashi can fill bigger roles again with Ospreay and Okada leaving, while the young guys aren’t ready. His body is at a point, where he can’t wrestle these long matches anymore, so the TV run would have been much more interesting. Riddle as Champion is uninteresting. His first defense will be against Bad Dude Tito in MLW.

In the main event of the show, David Finlay defended his IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship against the debuting Nic Nemeth. It was more of an American-style main event match than a NJPW-style match and it felt out of place. Nemeth had a really good performance in this first NJPW match against Finlay. He was fighting well from underneath and had fantastic passion & fire that translated well, while Finlay played his role as a good brawler, who dominated the match. In the end, Nemeth hit the “Danger Zone” to pin Finlay and win the IWGP Global Title in his NJPW debut. A huge shock considering the recent booking of the War Dogs Leader who pinned Will Ospreay twice in a short period.

On the next night, Nemeth called out Hiroshi Tanahashi to face him for the IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship and the match will happen at Sakura Genesis. It’s a great first defense in NJPW for Nemeth and should deliver.

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The second show was in front of 5355 fans, which is the best number for New Japan in this building since 2019 and a huge success. The undercard of the show featured the final match of Kazuchika Okada, where he teamed up with his CHAOS boys to face the United Empire and the new NJPW TV Champion Matt Riddle. It was just 11 minutes of solid wrestling with Okada pinning Newman to end his New Japan career. It was an emotional ending to the run of one of the best Wrestlers that ever stepped foot in a New Japan ring.

Tama Tonga also had his final New Japan match on this show, when he teamed up with Tanga Loa to face Hikuleo & El Phantasmo in an OG GOD vs. new GOD match with Jado as the special referee. Tanga & Tama came out to the old GOD theme with the face paint and that was a cool moment. The match itself was nothing special, Hikuleo & ELP won after nearly 15 minutes and gained some momentum again after losing the IWGP Tag Team Titles.

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BUSHI and TAKA Michinoku kicked off the J5G vs. LIJ match series with a solid singles match that has no importance or anything. BUSHI picked up the win in around 9 minutes in a nothing match.

Hiromu & DOUKI delivered the best match of the weekend in the second J5G vs. LIJ match. It had great action and built to an exciting closing stretch with both Wrestlers giving it all. Hiromu was dominant for most of the match, but DOUKI’s fiery babyface performance was the stand-out here. He looked awesome and got the biggest win of his career by beating Hiromu in this match.

Taichi & Shingo had a good match, that we are used to them and have seen a couple of times over the past two years. The match was overdone with them locking up countless times for the KOPW Belt in really long matches that all delivered, and even this match entertained and was maybe the second-best match of the weekend for New Japan. Taichi had a great hometown reaction in Sapporo and he and Shingo got some of the loudest reactions from the dire crowd. Taichi was able to pick up the win after 17:28 minutes with the Dangerous Backdrop.

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Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura faced each other in a Hair vs. Hair match next, and coming into the match, fans were hyped up for this. They built up a great rivalry and story in the past couple of months that all led to this match and it underdelivered. They had a good main event style match, but the problem is it has a huge Hair vs. Hair stipulation and the match itself didn’t feel like that at all. It was too tame and not interesting enough to live up to this stipulation. One minute before the time limit expired, Tsuji pinned Uemura with the Gene Blaster to win the match, and with that, Yuya Uemura lost his hair. From now on he will be bald.

Sadly, they got put in an unfortunate situation, where they needed to wrestle a 29-minute match, but they were not ready for it and it exposed their weaknesses to the fans. Overall, it seemed to be that New Japan was testing the waters with the two young guys here and how they can do in an epic NJPW-style match, and with this match, they showed they aren’t ready at all for it if they are not wrestling one of the best Wrestlers in the world. While Yota won the match in maybe, he lost as well by wrestling this match.

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In the main event of the show, Tetsuya Naito put his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship on the line against SANADA in a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom. SANADA was getting the shot for helping Naito post the Wrestle Kingdom match to prevent EVIL and Ren Narita from ruining Naito’s moment once again. The J5G member debuted a new big match intro before the match that sounded cool.

The match itself started well with Naito’s tremendous neck work and SANADA working well as well to create a good opening and middle stretch that should have led to an amazing finishing stretch, but it fell apart due to SANADA’s clear bicep injury that he has suffered in their Wrestle Kingdom. He couldn’t lift Naito at all nor hold him up, which led to multiple spots being fucked up including multiple Destinos and a Tornado DDT. Naito re-did the Tornado DDT into the roll-up to pin SANADA in 24:05 minutes to retain his title for the first time. A very disappointing Championship match to end a horrific weekend for New Japan.

Post-match, Naito called in Okada in the ring, and they had a cool interaction, where they did a little sequence that ended with both hitting their pose. A cute moment to send the crowd home happy. Backstage, SHO challenged Naito to a singles match at the Anniversary show, which seems to be a break for Naito in his tough schedule this year.

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DDT Pro Wrestling

DDT held a show in a sold-out Korakuen Hall on Sunday in front of 1600 fans that featured the debut of the idol Kaisei Takechi. It’s the best number for DDT in the Korakuen Hall since the pandemic started, and it’s a huge success for the company after a solid start to the year.

After the opening match of the show, New Japan’s Zack Sabre Jr. came out and said that he wants to wrestle in a DDT ring together with Chris Brookes. They joked about potentially facing Yoshihiko and a Ladder but then called out DDT Universal Champion MAO and KO-D Openweight Champion Yuki Ueno to a Tag Team Match. The match was made official for April 7th in the Korakuen Hall which is promoted as a “Dramatic Dream Tag Match”.

In the semi-main-event, MAO defended his DDT Universal Championship against Hikaru Machida from the Ibushi Wrestling Institute, who is a kick boxer who had a couple of wrestling matches over the past few years. The match featured a ton of striking with Machida using his kickboxing offense that gave him a chance to upset the Champion, but in the end, MAO absorbed Machida’s offense and hit the Michinoku Driver II for the three count. MAO retained for the fourth time and is closing in on the defense record of Yuki Ueno. The result was never in doubt, but both Wrestlers did well and had an entertaining match-up. After the match, Takeshi Masada came out to challenge MAO for a Championship Match at Judgement on March 17th.


The main event of the show was all about the debut of Kaisei Takechi, who is a member of the J-Pop group “The Rampage”. He teamed with Shunma Katsumata & Yuki Ueno against Hideki Okatani, Takeshi Masada & Tetsuya Endo in a Six Man Tag Team Match. His performance in this match was amazing, especially for a Rookie.

It started with a grand entrance where he came out with a great robe and his charisma was top-notch. In the match, it was noticeable that he just gets wrestling, and it’s not only his perfectly executed moves that make him stand out but also that he has a good wrestling mind already. He was milking this crowd that came just to see him with his selling, bumping and hope spots. The crowd was electric in this match, with many female voices screaming for Takechi from the top of their lungs to support him in his debut. Rarely a male Wrestler has gotten such female support as Takechi did in this match. He and the Sauna Boys won the match when Yuki Ueno pinned Hideki Okatani. Overall it was one of the best debuts in recent memory and someone DDT needs to bring in frequently.

All Japan Pro Wrestling

AJPW ended their February with a Korakuen Hall show and a three-show tour in the southwest side of Japan this past week. After a successful

The Korakuen Hall show on the 20th drew 1269 fans on a Tuesday, which is a great number and continues to show the momentum All Japan has grown over the past year. The show featured eight matches including three Championship matches and an opening match between Hideki Suzuki and Suwama, who are finally having a Singles Match after months of tensions. The match was held in the opening match after Suzuki proposed it with the explanation that WWE also sometimes has their best matches as the opener of the show. They had a fine match that went 16:25 minutes and ended with Suwama winning by pinning his Tag Team Partner with the Backdrop Suplex.

In the first Championship match of the night, Seigo Tachibana defeated Ryo Inoue in 13:16 minutes to retain the GAORA TV Championship for the first time. Inoue debuted a new look here and looks good and continues to improve as a Wrestler as well as a Performer, while Tachibana develops to be a good hand that All Japan can trust in the midcard spots to have competent matches. He won by pinning Inoue with the Yankee Hammer.

Dan Tamura put his AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship on the line in the semi-main-event against Fuminori Abe. This is a rematch from the Junior Battle of Glory tournament this past year, where Abe was able to put Dan Tamura to sleep on the opening night of the tournament, so this was a chance of revenge for the reigning Champion. Abe worked Tamura’s leg for the majority of the match effectively, and it worked great with Tamura showing his underdog fire and overcoming the pain. The final minutes were great and made this match worth watching. Tamura pinned Abe with a Lariat in a little bit under 15 minutes to retain his Championship for the third time.

After the match, Rising HAYATO challenged Tamura for a Championship match on the March 9 Korakuen Hall show, which the Champion accepted. HAYATO is 0-3 in Singles Matches against Tamura and finally wants to beat him to become the Junior Champion that fans expected him to be for months now.


In the main event of the show, Katsuhiko Nakajima defended his Triple Crown Championship against Jun Saito of the Saito Brothers. Originally, this was scheduled to be Nakajima facing Rei Saito, but Rei suffered a dislocated shoulder in a Tag Team Match just a week prior, so his brother stepped up to get the biggest Singles Match of his career and he delivered. He got the crowd totally behind him against the outsider Champion, who dominated him for the majority of the match with great leg work to cut down the big man, and it worked well with a good structure. Jun had a great big man performance in this match and made the crowd believe that he could pull off the upset, until eventually, Nakajima beat him with the Northern Lights Bomb to retain his Championship for the fourth time. While it was the worst defense of Nakajima yet, his output is so high that it’s still a really good match that is worth seeking out.

After the match, the WON Rookie of the Year Yuma Anzai came out to challenge Nakajima for the Triple Crown Championship and the match is official for March 30th in the main event of AJPW’s next Ota Ward show.

The three-day tour in the southwest was built around crowing new AJPW Tag Team Champions after the Saito Brothers vacated the Championships due to the injury of Rei Saito which makes him unable to compete for the time being. It was announced that the originally scheduled opponents Yuma Aoyagi and Kento Miyahara will face the winner of a Hideki Suzuki & Suwama vs. Ryuki Honda & Yuma Anzai Tag Team Match on the Kyoto show for the vacant Tag Team Titles.

On the February 23rd show, Hideki Suzuki & Suwama defeated Ryuki Honda & Yuma Anzai in a good match when Suzuki defeated Honda with the Octopus Hold to advance to the Tag Team Title match just two days later against Kento & Aoyagi. The Championship match went over 25 minutes and ended with Suzuki & Suwama defeating Miyahara & Aoyagi when Suwama pinned Aoyagi with the Backdrop Hold to crown himself and Suzuki the 98th AJPW Tag Team Champions. It’s the 8th run with Suwama for the belt, while Hideki Suzuki won an All Japan Title for the first time in his career. They were challenged by Shotaro Ashino & Kuroshio TOKYO Japan for a Championship Match at the March 9 Korakuen Hall show after the match.


Pro Wrestling NOAH

NOAH’s new Tag League named “Victory Challenge” started with the winning team earning the right to challenge the GHC Tag Team Champions Jack Morris & Anthony Greene at the Yokohama Budokan show on March 17th. Each match will be held for a twenty-minute time limit based on GHC Championship rules. 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 for a loss. The tournament matches will be held from February 24th at Yokohama Radiant Hall to March 10th at Kumamoto Castle Hall with the final being between the top two teams who have scored the highest points. In the event of tied points between two teams, a match with no time limit will be held to determine the winners.

The Tag League opened with Alpha Wolf & Dragon Bane defeating Daiki Inaba & Masa Kitamiya after Bane pinned Inaba with the Twisterbane. It was a fun match that was there to showcase Los Golpeadores, who started the league on a high with a win to gain the first two points and momentum for the upcoming matches.

Manabu Soya & Shuji Kondo defeated Kenoh & Yu Owada after Kondo pinned Owada with a Lariat to gain two points. Soya & Kondo beat the hell out of Owada in this match, who had a great underdog performance and continues to show his potential. Kenoh shouted encouragement at him, which made him nearly pin Kondo and even kicked out of his Lariat until he eventually fell to another Lariat.

In the third Tag League Match, Saxon Huxley & Timothy Thatcher defeated Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa after Thatcher tapped out Oiwa with the Fujiwara Armbar to win the match for REAL. The match was a typical REAL match who dominated the underdog teams and threw them around to build up the eventual comeback from Oiwa & Kaito, which led to a good finishing stretch.

The main event of the show was the best match of the night and featured Takashi Sugiura & Ulka Sasaki picking up the win against Team NOAH’s Atsushi Kotoge & Go Shiozaki after nearly 16 minutes when Ulka pinned Kotoge. The best sequences in this match were between Shiozaki & Sugiura who had a brutal fight, with Sugiura even busting open Shiozaki’s nose after some brutal machine gun chops followed by devastating elbows. Ulka looked good in the final stretch against Kotoge and picked up the important win here.

Official Victory Challenge Tag League 2024 Standings following Day 1

2 – Alpha Wolf & Dragon Bane (1-0-0)
2 – Manabu Soya & Shuji Kondo (1-0-0)
2 – Takashi Sugiura & Ulka Sasaki (1-0-0)
2 – Saxon Huxley & Timothy Thatcher (1-0-0)
0 – Daiki Inaba & Masa Kitamiya (0-1-0)
0 – Kenoh & Yu Owada (0-1-0)
0 – Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa (0-1-0)
0 – Atsushi Kotoge & Go Shiozaki (0-1-0)


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