Two title matches highlight tonight’s Sengoku Lord event in Nagoya.
Kota Ibushi will make his first title defense since winning the Intercontinental title at Madison Square Garden when he faces Zack Sabre Jr. in the main event. It was in the second round of the New Japan Cup last month where Sabre was able to defeat Ibushi, and now looks to do the same tonight.
Juice Robinson will also be defending his title on the card as he faces the Rogue Leader of the Bullet Club, Bad Luck Fale. He set his sights on the title shortly after Robinson successfully defended it against Chase Owens last month and looks to do the deed tonight.
Owens will be in a featured match as well, as he is scheduled to face ‘Mad’ Mikey Nicholls in singles action. The rest of the card are mainly tag team matches, with one having Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito in opposite corners in a ten man tag team match.
Join us tonight for live coverage starting at 5 a.m. EST. There will be English commentary.
REN NARITA & SHOTA UMINO DEFEATED YOTA TSUJI & YUYA UEMURA (7:38)
A good little opener here.
The four engaged in some pushing and shoving before the opening bell.
Tsuji and Umino traded forearms on the ground, then standing. Umino scored a nearfall off a back elbow. Narita got a tag and worked over Tsuji’s head and neck.
After being worked over, Tsuji was finally able to make a tag to Uemura for the first time. Tsuji and Uemura hit a double dropkick on Umino. Uemura hit a nice double underhook suplex for a two count on Narita.
Uemura hit the ropes, but ran right into a bridging belly-to-belly from Ren Narita, who used the hold for the pinfall.
MINORU SUZUKI, TAICHI, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU, EL DESPERADO & TAKA MICHINOKU DEFEATED SATOSHI KOJIMA, YUJI NAGATA, TOMOAKI HONMA, TOA HENARE & JUSHIN LIGER (12:16)
A chaotic ten-man followed the very good opener. This was a mixed bag. The Liger and Suzuki showdown was cool, and something I hope to see more of.
Suzuki-gun jumped their opponents before the bell. Honma halted their momentum, hitting a pair of kokeshis on TAKA. TAKA made a tag to Suzuki, who demanded that Liger tag in. Liger obliged.
Liger and Suzuki exchanged palm strikes to the chest. Liger sent Suzuki outside and teased a baseball slide, but Suzuki escaped, then sent Liger into the barricade.
The match broke down into a crowd brawl. Suzuki buried Liger under pile of chairs. Liger beat the count back into the ring at 19.
Taichi tagged in and went for Liger’s mask. Liger fought him off. Suzuki-gun used a series of quick tags, isolating Liger in their corner. Liger hit a superplex on Kanemaru, a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Desperado, then tagged Nagata.
Nagata ran wild with kicks and exploder suplexes. Kojima tagged in, and hit a series of machine gun chops. He went for the top rope elbow, but Suzuki cut him off. Kojima hit a Koji Cutter on Taichi. Henare tagged in. He dropped Taichi with a shoulder tackle, then hit a brainbuster.
The match broke down into chaos. Everyone jumped in. Eventually, Henare and Taichi were the only two left in the ring. Taichi hit a buzzsaw kick, a superkick, then used a stretch plum for the submission victory.
After the bell, Suzuki used a heel hook on Liger on the floor.
Fun fact: Suzuki does a bit on his Instagram where he wears a different pair of Stance socks every day, and posts a photo of them. I met Suzuki at WrestleCon a couple of weeks ago, and I wore a pair of Stance socks. I showed Suzuki, who could not have been less impressed with them, or me.
DRAGON LEE, TOGI MAKABE & TORU YANO DEFEATED TAMA TONGA, TANGA LOA & TAIJI ISHIMORI (8:15)
The best stuff here was in the opening minutes of the match, in the exchange between Dragon Lee and Taiji Ishimori.
Dragon and Ishimori kicked things off. Dragon teased a dive, but Jado nailed him with a kendo stick from the floor, allowing Ishimori to take over. Ishimori hit a sliding German. Dragon hit a knee strike, enabling him to tag Makabe. Dragon and Ishimori have great chemistry.
Makabe and Tonga did a few spots. Yano made a tag, and untied a turnbuckle pad. The Bullet Club went three-on-one on Yano. Dragon hit a tope con hilo to the floor, but took himself out along with Ishimori.
Tonga and Loa doubled up on Yano, but Makabe saved with a double lariat. Yano used a schoolboy on Loa for the pin.
Yano tried to steal Tonga and Loa’s belts after the match, but the Bullet Club preceded to beat down their opponents, leaving them laying.
MIKEY NICHOLLS DEFEATED CHASE OWENS (8:55)
This was an odd match. There was nothing technically wrong with it. The work was solid. It also had little heat from the crowd. It felt like they had just started when they were already getting into nearfalls and the closing sequence.
As Nicholls made his entrance, Jado came down the ramp behind him, and hit him with a kendo stick. Owens used the attack to establish the early advantage. Owens hit a leg sweep on the floor, sending Nicholls into the barricade. They teased a countout, but Nicholls made it back in at 19.
Owens used an abdominal stretch, and pulled on the top rope for extra leverage. Nicholls hit a DDT, four clotheslines, and a spinebuster. Nicholls hit a DVD, and used a sliding lariat for a nearfall.
Owens hit a series of strikes, a lariat, and hit a running knee. Owens used a Final Cut for a two count. Owens hit a thumb to the eye, then a superkick. He hit the ropes, but ran right into a Mikey Bomb, and Nicholls got the pin.
HIROOKI GOTO & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI DEFEATED JAY WHITE & HIKULEO (10:57)
The theme of the night was CHAOS picking up wins over the Bullet Club, and that continued here. The match was just alright.
Goto wanted to start things off with White. White agreed, but then immediately tagged out. Goto made quick work of Hikuleo, and White tagged in. Goto and Taguchi hit a series of clotheslines on White in the corner.
Hikuleo jumped back in and hit both with clotheslines, allowing Bullet Club to take over. White and Hikuleo used quick tags, and worked over Taguchi. White countered two hip attacks, but Taguchi hit a third, into a double down.
Goto tagged in, going one-on-one with White. Goto hit a Saito suplex for a two count. White escaped the ushigoroshi twice, then hit a Saito suplex of his own. Hikuleo tagged in. Taguchi jumped in for the save, but Hikuleo hit him with a powerslam.
Gedo jumped on the apron for a distraction, but Goto shoved White into him. Goto hit an ushigoroshi on White, then one on the legal man, Hikuleo.
Goto followed with a GTR on Hikuleo, and got the pin.
TETSUYA NAITO, SHINGO TAKAGI, BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA DEFEATED KAZUCHIKA OKADA, SHO, YOH, YOSHI-HASHI & TOMOHIRO ISHII (16:32)
This was a fun ten-man tag. With as much talent as there was in the ring, it would have been nearly impossible to have a bad match. The EVIL and Ishii showdowns here were especially good.
YOH and Shingo began. Shingo went for a dragon screw, but YOH avoided it, and hit one of his own. Ishii got a tag, and demanded EVIL. EVIL entered, and the two traded strikes. This got a great reaction. They exchanged for a solid minute without a respite. They then went to trading shoulder blocks, and Ishii finally got the upper hand.
YOSHI-HASHI tagged in, and chopped away at EVIL. EVIL used misdirection, and knocked Ishii off the apron. Ishii jumped in, and EVIL dropped him with chops. SHO tagged in, and YOH entered illegally for the double team on EVIL.
Everyone got involved as the action spilled to the floor. The brawl ended with BUSHI and Shingo in the ring, doubling up on SHO. Shingo and SHO went one-on-one. SHO ducked the Pumping Bomber, then hit a dropkick and a spear.
Okada and SANADA tagged in, ahead of their upcoming IWGP title match. They did a series of counters and reversals based on their trademark spots. Okada hit a DDT, while SANADA countered with a leapfrog dropkick.
BUSHI and YOH got tags. BUSHI avoided a 3K from SHO and YOH, and hit a double rana. Naito tagged in, and YOH took him out with a dropkick to the knee. YOSHI-HASHI tagged in, and hit Naito with a double stomp.
CHAOS teamed up on Naito. YOSHI-HASHI hit double knees on Naito and made a cover, but EVIL made the save.
The match broke down, with everyone hitting a big move. The sequence ended with YOSHI-HASHI hitting Naito with a lariat for a two count.
LIJ teamed up against YOSHI-HASHI, who ate a Codebreaker from BUSHI, then a Destino from Naito, who got the pin.
IWGP UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: JUICE ROBINSON DEFEATED BAD LUCK FALE TO RETAIN THE TITLE (17:33)
This was tough sledding. It’s tough to have a good match with Fale, and it’s even tougher to have a good, long singles match with him.
They built the match around Juice trying to slam Fale. Fale knew that Juice’s plan was to slam him. So he worked over Juice’s back, so that Juice could slam him.
Fale attacked Juice before the bell. The assault continued after the bell, and Fale slammed Juice into a row of seats. They teased a countout, but Juice made it back to the ring in time. Fale continued working over Juice’s back.
Juice made a comeback, but continued to sell his back. He hit a cannonball, but could not follow up due to the damage to his back. Juice avoided a Grenade twice. He went for a slam again, but Fale collapsed on top of him for a nearfall.
Fale hit a splash for a two count. Fale hit a spear, then hit a Grenade, but Juice kicked out at two. Fale went for the Bad Luck Fall, but Juice slipped out and hit the Left Hand of God.
Juice hit a high cross off the top, then another Left Hand. Juice finally got the bodyslam, then hit Pulp Friction for the pin.
I liken trying to have a match with immobile or musclebound big guys to attempting to wrestle various appliances or pieces of furniture.
Wrestling Jinder Mahal would be like wrestling a recliner. Wrestling Drew McIntyre would be like wrestling an office chair. Office chairs have wheels, so they’re a little more mobile. I think wrestling Fale would be like wrestling a refrigerator.
IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: KOTA IBUSHI DEFEATED ZACK SABRE JR. TO RETAIN THE TITLE (29:09)
An excellent main event. I think this was better than their most recent singles match, but I think I liked their 2018 New Japan Cup match a little bit more.
Ibushi used a blistering kick to the quad to keep Sabre at bay early on, as Sabre looked to take the fight to the ground. They eventually locked up, and Sabre used some holds to ground Ibushi. Ibushi quickly baited Sabre into striking again, and Ibushi landed another hard kick to the leg. Sabre took a stroll around the ring to regroup.
Sabre tied up Ibushi. He went for a headscissors, but Ibushi blocked it. Ibushi sent Sabre to the outside after a snap rana. They fought on the floor. Sabre locked Ibushi up with a bodyscissors over the barricade. Sabre then applied a cobra twist over the barricade.
Sabre cranked on Ibushi’s head and neck with his legs, as they fought on the apron. Ibushi fell to the floor, while Sabre went back inside. Ibushi made it back in as well, and Sabre continued to target the head and neck.
Sabre hit a suplex, then a pump kick to Ibushi’s left arm. Ibushi fought back, hitting a pair of strikes to the abdomen. Sabre pinned both of Ibushi’s arms behind him, tied up his legs, and made a cover for a nearfall.
Sabre used a neck crank, then slipped to a head and arm choke, but Ibushi powered out with a slam. Sabre used an octopus hold, but Ibushi rolled to the ropes, forcing a break. Sabre used a modified single-leg crab, but Ibushi again forced a rope break.
Ibushi hit a dropkick out of nowhere, sending Sabre to the floor. Ibushi hit a pescado. Sabre rolled back inside, and Ibushi hit a springboard dropkick. Ibushi hit a powerslam. He went for a moonsault, but Sabre caught him coming in, and turned it into a triangle choke at the fifteen minute mark. Ibushi forced a break.
They traded pinning combinations. Ibushi hit a straightjacket German for a two count. Sabre used a European clutch for a two count, then transitioned to a butterfly neck crank. Ibushi again forced a rope break. Sabre hit a running uppercut, but missed a PK. Sabre blocked a head kick, then used a bridging suplex for a nearfall. Sabre hit a PK for another two count.
Sabre taunted Ibushi with some short kicks to the head, then followed with three PKs. Ibushi caught a fourth, and dropped Sabre with a palm strike to the chest.
They had a slap fight, ending with Ibushi hitting a lariat. Ibushi went for a Last Ride, but Sabre turned it into a triangle. Ibushi powerbombed out of the triangle. Ibushi went for another Last Ride, but Sabre hit the Zack Driver. Exhausted, Sabre could not follow up.
They traded strikes on the mat. They made it back to their feet, and continued to trade. Ibushi hit a suplex, and Sabre rolled to the apron. Ibushi tried for a deadlift suplex back inside, but Sabre cut him off with a guillotine. Ibushi escaped, and hit a backflip kick.
Ibushi went for a Bomaye, but Sabre ducked it, and used a bridge for a two count. Ibushi hit a high kick, then hit Last Ride for a two count.
Sabre escaped a Kamigoye, and slipped to an octopus hold. Ibushi slid out, and hit a knee strike. He followed with a Kamigoye, and got the pin.
Naito came out after the match, and grabbed a microphone. He challenged Ibushi to face him at a later date, and Ibushi accepted.