Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. This time, you’re all her Valentines.
I wondered for a bit who was going to put up a Valentine’s Day themed breakdown of the New Beginning in Sendai show before I realized that this falls squarely in the Wrestling On Earth wheelhouse, which means I must be the one who has to write it, SO:
NJPW’s The New Beginning in Sendai
On Saturday, February 14th, at 6:00 PM Japan time, 4:00 AM Eastern, New Japan Pro Wrestling presents THE NEW BEGINNING IN SENDAI live exclusively on NJPWWorld. This card features a few title matches, some of which will be great, and a bunch of tag matches because why not make everyone work for their money?
See below for a match-by match breakdown, and to see all the custom Valentine cards I’ve made for you. They’re all for you. You’re all my Valentines here on the S.S. Strong Style (Love Boat Edition). Feel free to steal them and give them to someone you love (YOU CAN CLICK THROUGH TO BIGGER VERSIONS OF THE LITTLE ONES, JUST SAYING). Here’s a preview:
Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma & Yohei Komatsu vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Captain New Japan & Sho Tanaka
Breakdown: Basically – a tag match for the NJPW Young Lions Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu to get some ring time with some legends (Kojima, Honma, and Nakanishi) and Captain New Japan (because Tenzan is busy fighting for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship I assume).
The Young Lions are great and we’re all very excited for their excursion and subsequent returns to take over the whole promotion to the surprise of NO ONE who saw their excellent singles match at the New Beginning in Osaka the other day.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: (♥_♥)
Tiger Mask & Jay White vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish
Breakdown: Jay White is the very new Young Lion that we all just learned about this year. reDRag0n have been doing nothing but delivering great matches in NJPW and this should be no exception. It’ll be fun to see what this kid is made of in the ring with Kyle & Bobby.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: ヾ（＾ヮ＾)ﾉ
Special Six Man Tag Match: Mascara Dorada, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA vs. Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson
Breakdown: Mascara Dorada signed a one year contract with NJPW so it’s great to see them using him already. I’m not too familiar with his work in CMLL but he was great on the Fantasticamania show that NJPW puts on jointly with CMLL.
The Bullet Club half of the team currently hold the IWGP junior heavyweight title (Kenny Omega) and the IWGP jr heavyweight tag titles (The Young Bucks), so they will come to the ring all cocky and dripping with gold and too-sweets and crotch-chops and super kicks and whatnots. Hopefully Dorada & the Time Splitters can beat the snot out of them.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: b(~_^)d
NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Title: Jushin Thunder Liger (c) vs. Chase Owens
Breakdown: Guys this is actually important and I am legitimately terrified. Bruce Tharpe has an engaging twitter presence and he’s been saying to all of us who will listen that he’s going to take Liger’s mask. If you don’t know what happens when you mess with Liger’s mask, it’s this:
Please google Kishin Liger and also be scared with me. Chase Owens and Bruce Tharpe may not be long for this world. Liger, please don’t mess up Bruce’s jacket too badly, Shinsuke wants it.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match:┣¨キ(*ﾟДﾟ*)┣¨キ
NWA World Heavyweight Title: Rob Conway (c) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Breakdown: OKAY I don’t remember why this match is happening because it the set up for it was all the way back last year (like, before Wrestle Kingdom 9 — what was life before WK9? Was it real?) during the World Tag League.
Wikipedia tells me that Tenzan submitted Rob Conway twice and decided he wanted a title shot. So it looks like he gets it. Rob Conway is coming off surgery for appendicitis (omg get better soon Rob) but apparently he’s ready to go.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶
Special Tag Match: Tetsuya Naito & Kota Ibushi vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Toru Yano
Breakdown: I can’t really describe the warm fuzzy glow that inhabits my brain when I think of Naito & Ibushi as a tag team — collectively known as Golden Stardust (I prefer to go all the way and call them the Golden Stardust Geniuses thanks) — they’re high flying heavyweights who have proven that they can put on incredible matches.
No, I don’t know why Naito gets booed out of arenas but it’s probably because his hair is ridiculous, yes, because it isn’t like he’s not great at wrestling. And yes, Ibushi is nearly flawless in literally every way, yes. Sakuraba and Yano are going to try to break arms and get a nutshot-rollup-one-two-three, but we shall see. We shall see.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: (ﾉ>｡☆)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
Special Tag Match: Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi
Breakdown: I guess Tacosmaker had to do something on the card, and maybe this match will surprise us. Maybe it’ll be fun. Maybe Okada will just lose again like he’s been doing. Maybe YOSHI-HASHI will save us all and take out the entire Bullet Club singlehandedly like Yoshitatsu was supposed to.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: Σヽ(ﾟДﾟ; )ﾉ ｱｯ
Special Six Man Tag Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Tama Tonga
Breakdown: Goto & Shibata recently (like, the other day) lost their IWGP tag championship title to Gallows & Anderson. It’s hard to know what mindset they’ll be in — Shibata doesn’t care about titles but he’s down for kicking the hell out of whoever whenever for whatever reason.
Goto really wanted the belts, he said so, but he’s a stoic Samurai-type so it’s really hard to tell if he’ll be angry and out for revenge. Maybe he’ll just want to prove he’s not a loser. In any case, Goto & Shibata and Anderson & Gallows can work really beautifully together.
Hiroshi Tanahashi just lost the IWGP heavyweight championship to AJ Styles and I have no insight into how he’s feeling about this, but I would guess miserable. I’m sure he’ll be back to winning titles and air guitaring in no time, though.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: (´∩｀。)
NEVER Openweight Title: Togi Makabe (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Breakdown: This is Ishii’s rematch for the NEVER Openweight Title, which he lost to Togi Makabe at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in January. Hopefully it knocks almost as much slobber as that one did. Togi Makabe has the flu, according to the NJPW website, so this match might not take place.
tl;dr: rough dudes hit hard.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: (○ ｀ｰ´)○☆)ﾟoﾟ/
IWGP Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Yuji Nagata
Breakdown: If you’ve visited Wrestling on Earth before or seen me anywhere online you know that Shinsuke Nakamura is probably my favorite wrestler of all time and I hail him as lord and savior and king and whatnot with worshipful adoration and eternal devotion because I have lost my goddamned mind. Still, I think this will be a tough contest for him.
Yuji Nagata is a legendary badass and, though he’s been out of title pictures for a while, is clearly sick of all these youngsters and their bullshit antics and he’s ready to put Shinsuke in his place. It is going to be wonderful to watch and I anticipate a rating of 11/10 on malice and viciousness, which is my favorite thing of all of the things in all of the world, amen.
Kaomoji excitement level rating for this match: ｡･:*:･ﾟ★,｡･:*:･ﾟ☆(o(*ﾟ▽ﾟ*)o)｡･:*:･ﾟ★,｡･:*:･ﾟ☆