NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2021 – Night One

The Never Openweight Championship match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jay White main events this show, plus a ladder match between Taichi and Tama Tonga 

Away we go.

May 3, 2021 

Fukuoka Convention Center, Fukuoka 

Match One:  Bullet Club (EVIL, Togo, Ishimori, Takahashi) vs. Master Wato, Tiger Mask, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Toru Yano 

Has anyone bought any of Yano’s DVD’s?  I’d like to check them out and I feel like I owe him my support.  Bullet Club attacks to start and EVIL and Yano start out for each team, no blindfolds this time.  Yano immediately removes a turnbuckle pad.  Tenzan and Takahashi go next and slug it out which Tenzan gets the better of.  Vertical suplex by Tenzan gets two.  All 8 men go to the outside for some brawling now as Takahashi takes over control in the ring.  EVIL applies an abdominal stretch with extended leverage from the heel side in the corner and gets two.  Togo tries to punch Tenzan, but Tenzan’s head is too hard and a suplex turns the tide as Master Wato is in.  Springboard flying elbow on Togo as the pace picks up.  Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Togo gets two.  Ishimori tags in for the heels and hits his sliding German suplex for two on Wato.  Wato with a dropkick and tags Tiger Mask, who enters with a top rope crossbody onto Ishimori.  Tiger Mask with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker of his own for two.  The babyfaces all come in now and hit corner charges on Ishimori in succession.  To the top and a double underhook superplex gets a two count for Tiger Mask.  Togo attacks from behind to give the BC the advantage, allowing Ishimori to hit Cipher UTAKI for two.  Jumping knee strike and Bloody Cross finishes at 9:57.  ** 


Match Two:  Chaos (Okada, Sho, Yoh) vs. Suzuki-gun (Suzuki, Kanemaru, El Desperado) 

Suzuki rules all.  Although I met him once at a Wrestlecon and was sufficiently frightened for the entire time.  Yoh gets a Jr. Heavyweight title shot on night two against El Desperado.  Yoh attacks quickly on Desperado and they trade punches as Yoh hits a dropkick to stay in control.  Tag to Sho but Suzuki-gun pulls some distractions and everyone is on the outside for some brawling now.  Back in, Kanemaru tags in as Suzuki-gun takes over.  Bodyslam gets two (what year is this?) and a tag to Suzuki now who applies a vicious looking armbar to Sho.  Sho manages to get to the ropes and hit a vertical suplex.  Tag to Okada who takes out all three members of Suzuki-gun.  Okadamania is running wild brother.  DDT to Suzuki gets two.  Suzuki turns the tide with some knees but a Penalty Kick is blocked.  They absorb forearm shots from each other leading to an Okada dropkick.  Yoh and Desperado get tags.  Corner splash and neckbreaker by Yoh gets two.  Double A spinebuster by Desperado and he goes for a Stretch Muffler on the injured knee or Yoh, but Yoh quickly escapes that.  Kanemaru in for a figure four now, but Sho enters to break that up and gets a spear.  Rappongi hits a 3K but Suzuki breaks the count.  Yoh fights off Desperado with a superkick, allowing Kanemaru to get a rollup for two.  Yoh is still on fire though and gets a superkick on Kanemaru followed by Direct Drive for the pin at 10:31.  **½  Yoh looks ready for tomorrow night.


Match Three:  LIJ (Bushi, SANADA, Naito, Shingo) vs. United Empire (Cobb, Henare, Great-O-Khan, Ospreay) 

Ospreay defends against Shingo on night two.  Those two start here and have an excellent sequence of counters and reversals leading to a stalemate.  Ospreay tags out to Cobb, but not before cheapshotting Shingo on the way out.  LIJ can play that game though as they team up on Cobb while the ref is distracted.  Bushi with a missile dropkick to Cobb while the rest of the teams brawl on the outside.  Delayed vertical suplex by Cobb (with squats!) gets two.  Standing moonsault by Cobb gets another two.  Tag to Henare as he maintains the advantage with an armbar.  Tag to Ospreay who applies a rear chinlock.  GOK tags in for his first action but Bushi is able to get a double rana and tags Naito.  Naito runs wild and gets a neckbreaker on GOK for two and chokes him out with his own hair again.  SANADA in with a double axehandle to the ponytail.  GOK has had enough of that and tags out to Henare.  Henare with a PK to the back of SANADA.  Sit out side slam by Henare and Cobb runs in and hits an Athletic-plex allowing Henare to get a two count on SANADA.  The teams brawl on the outside once more, as SANADA briefly gets Skull End until the team members come back in the ring one by one hitting a series of moves on each other.  This culminates in SANADA getting an O’Conner Bridge pin for the win at 11:31.  Henare loses again but the match was good.  ***  Ospreay and Shingo should once again be excellent on night two.   


Match Four:  Rights to Challenge the IWGP Tag Team Championship – Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tanga Loa 

The good news is there’s less chance of me mixing up Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga in this match.  They lock up and Sabre gets a sunset flip for two and another series of rollups for two.  Loa grabs a knucklelock, but of course Sabre manages to escape from that and stomp on the elbow of Loa.  That just angers Loa however and he levels Zack in the face and follows with a corner clothesline.  Running powerslam from Loa gets two.  Tanga Loa goes for some Greco-Roman choking next.  Zack manages to counter an Irish whip into the corner into a tornado DDT.  European uppercuts don’t phase Loa, but a series of kicks to the arm, leg and chest have him down.  Sabre goes to work on the left arm of Loa now.  Zack with a series of big boots but Loa puts him down with a powerslam.  Powerbomb attempt by Loa is countered into a guillotine choke from Zack, and its back to the left arm once more.  European uppercuts again have no effect but a PK does which gets two.  Loa quickly hits a Lariat for two and gets a Crossface.  Sabre gets to the ropes, but Loa comes back with a delayed vertical suplex.  I guess his arm was ok enough to do that move.  Sabre attacks the arm again quickly to probably remind Loa he should be selling again.  Sabre with a bridging pin for two.  Loa gets a spear and powerbomb for two.  Enzuigiri by Loa but Sabre manages to catch him in an arm lock cradle for the pin at 15:12.  *** I don’t really think much of Loa as a singles worker but I generally enjoy Sabre’s style and I thought he got a good match out of Loa here.  Sabre and Taichi now earn get a Tag Title shot. 


Match Five: Iron Finger from Hell Ladder Match – Taichi vs. Tama Tonga 

Booked by Gedo’s alter ego, Gedo Russo apparently.  Douki and Togo are at ringside, respectively.  They duke it out to start and Taichi gets a lariat to win that.  They roll around the mat with some choking, then stand off again.  Both men grab ladders on the outside and take their sweet time getting in the ring with them.  A ladder duel ensues which ends with Tonga dropkicking the ladder into Taichi.  Tonga tries to climb but the ladder isn’t quite high enough and he sets it up in the corner instead.  Taichi gets tossed into it back first.  Corner splash onto the ladder by Tonga and he goes for the pin in a match with no pinfalls.  Did he not learn from Randy Savage at the 1993 Royal Rumble?  Taichi avoids the next corner splash sending Tonga into a ladder, and Taichi then backdrops him onto a ladder in the other corner.  To the outside next, where Taichi sets up a ladder across the ring apron and barricade.  Douki prevents a ladder attack but gets a clothesline for his troubles.  This allows Taichi to take control though and he runs a ladder into Tonga’s face.  Taichi climbs a taller ladder but Tonga jumps back in to stop him.  Taichi shakes him off and catches a glancing shoulderblock onto Tonga from the ladder.  Not sure if Tonga was supposed to get a cutter there or not, but he then does a slow climb which is cut off by a springboard dropkick from Douki.  Togo then enters and takes out Douki with a Kendo stick, and proceeds to tie Taichi to the barricade outside with wrist tape.  Slow climb commences from Tonga as Sabre runs into push Tonga off the ladder and then untie his partner.  Now Tanga Loa runs in to counter Sabre and knock Taichi off his climb.  Loa takes out Zack and is ready to powerbomb Taichi into a ladder until Douki saves.  Loa then powerbombs Douki over the top and through the previously set up ladder on the outside.  That woke up the crowd a bit.  Magic Killer attempt is fought off by Taichi and he kicks Tonga low and the pants are off.  Taichi’s pants to be clear.  He shrugs off a Kendo stick attack from Togo and tosses Togo onto a ladder.  Taichi with a chokeslam from the ladder.  Taichi climbs but Tonga swings a ladder to knock him off.  Tonga grabs a table now and tries a powerbomb but Taichi is able to hang onto the ladder to avoid the table.  Both men climb now and battle at the top.  Tonga looks to hit the Gun Stun from the top but Taichi is able to push him off and through the table.  Taichi is then able to grab the IRON FINGER to win at 27:11.  **¾  This was ok, but went probably 10 minutes too long and the loads of interference didn’t help it. 


Main Event: Never Openweight Championship – Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs Jay White 

Full disclosure, I’m a big Jay White-o fan.  White starts with some trash talk telling Tanahashi he’ll be losing tonight.  Lockup to start and Tana grabs a side headlock.  Tana gets a springboard crossbody off the second turnbuckle and goes back to the headlock.  White dumps Tana on the top rope crotch first and to the outside.  Gourdbuster on the apron by White, who then goes after the right leg of Tana.  Jay goes to work in the corner next, hits a backbreaker and gets two.  The Tanahashi Tap Out follows but Tana gets to the ropes.  Slingshot to the bottom rope as Gedo yells “nice move!” on the outside.  Tana fights back with a dragonscrew, but he’s feeling the effects of the TTO on the left knee.  Flying forearm by Tana and a somersault senton from the middle rope gets two.  Dropkick to the knee of White and Tana can’t get a Cloverleaf as Jay grabs the hair and gets a DDT instead.  White charges but eats another dropkick to the knee.  Tana goes to the corner, but Jay has already slipped to the outside, grabs Tana’s leg and wraps it around the ring post a few times.  Back in Tana catches Jay and gets another dragonscrew on the middle rope.  Tana to the top and gets a big crossbody to the floor.  Both men beat the count inside where Jay catches a German suplex and a side suplex.  Tana blocks a Kiwi Crusher attempt and gets two Twist and Shouts.  Tana attacks the left leg of White followed by another Twist and Shout.  Tana clothesline is ducked though and White gets a uranage.  Rear chinlock suplex from Jay who then goes back to work on the leg of Tana, getting a Cloverleaf of his own.  White switches to the TTO while taunting the crowd but Tana gets to the ropes.  Tana fights back with a slap and full nelson, then a straight-jacket suplex.  Slingblade from Tana as he goes to the top but Jay catches him and goes back to the TTO.  Tana struggles and eventually gets to the ropes.  Jay stops to argue with Red Shoes, which lets Tana recover and get another dragonscrew to even things up.  White gets his own dragonscrew, as each man attacks the other’s leg.  They slug it out from their knees then stand up until Jay chops the left leg of Tana.  Running European uppercuts into the corner have Tana down and almost out.  Things slow to a crawl for a bit with Tana not being able to get up and Jay asking the ref to check to see if Tana quits.  Tana tries a low dropkick and some wild swings but White is able to avoid them all until Tana drills him with a lariat out of nowhere.  To the corner where Tana gets another dragonscrew and now both are down. Bladerunner attempt countered to a slingblade by Tana for two.  High Fly Flow to a standing Jay White connects, followed by another to the legs of a prone White who yells in agony.  Tana goes for the Cloverleaf now and locks it in.  White is tapping but Gedo has the ref distracted, so Tana breaks and gets a dragonscrew on Gedo to send him to the floor.  White counters a Cloverleaf attempt with a small package for two.  Jay with a backslide pin with his feet on the ropes that only gets two.  Tana locks in the full nelson again but White manages to break out of that and drill Tana with the Bladerunner for the win at 39:01.  ****¼  Limited Bullet Club interference and good selling by both guys make this a winner.  And hey, Jay White told Tana he’d win tonight and he did. 


Overall Thoughts:  The main event was excellent as you’d expect.  The ladder match not as much, but throw in a solid Zack Sabre Jr. match and a good 6-man tag between LIJ and the United Empire and this was an entertaining overall show.    

Final Rating:  7 out of 10. 


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