Will Ospreay defends the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Shingo Takagi in tonight’s main event. And just because we needed a reminder that the world still sucks, El Desperado vs. Yoh is off the card tonight due to COVID protocols.
Away we go.
May 4, 2021
Fukuoka Convention Center, Fukuoka
Match One: Suzuki-gun (Douki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi) vs. Bullet Club (Jado, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa)
Douki starts with Jado and attacks first. This quickly break down as all 6 men come in, with Suzuki-gun getting the better of things. Douki hits an Asai moonsault to the outside on G.O.D. but misses a plancha attempt on Jado. Jado immediately uses the Kendo stick to get the upper hand and Bullet Club takes over. Tama Tonga tags in and takes out his frustrations from yesterday’s loss on Douki. Tanga Loa in next with a running powerslam for two. Douki manages to fight back and hit what seemed to be a DDT, then tags Taichi. Taichi takes out Jado and goes toe to toe with Loa. That doesn’t go so well for him as he gets driven into the corner and Tama Tonga comes back in. Taichi manages to fight him off and tag Zack and the pace immediately picks up. Jado tags back in as the BC triple team Sabre and get a two count. Taichi and Douki try to intervene and help to no avail. Zack manages to avoid a Magic Killer sending G.O.D. outside the ring and makes Jado tap at 10:00. Thank goodness for Zack Sabre Jr. **
Match Two: Master Wato and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Bullet Club (Ishimori and Takahashi)
Tenzan and Yujiro start. Early advantage to Tenzan with the Mongolian chops. Tag to Wato for a double-team which gets two. We get some weak brawling on the outside which doesn’t really go anywhere. Ishimori tags in and gets some chops, then it’s back to Yujiro. Bodyslam gets two. More brawling on the floor follows. Wato eventually gets even with a high kick but Ishimori comes in to cut off his attempt at a tag. Wato gets a leg lariat however and tags Tenzan. More Mongolian chops follow to Yujiro followed by a vertical suplex. Tag to Wato, but a springboard attempt is stopped by Ishimori. Ishimori eats some front kicks from Wato for two. Powerbomb attempt is countered and Ishimori gets a back-handspring leg lariat. Wato fights off both BC members briefly but the BC hits a double team neckbreaker. Jumping knee and Bloody Cross from Ishimori follows for the win at 10:24. *½ Not much to see here.
Match Three: LIJ (Bushi, SANADA, Naito) vs. United Empire (Cobb, Henare, Great-O-Khan)
The heels attack at the start and then comes our favorite part of all these multi-man tag matches, brawling on the floor! Henare and SANADA get to the ring where SANADA gets a dropkick. Bushi in with a neckbreaker for two. Tag to Naito who applies a neck crank. Double team dropkick with SANADA gets two. GOK tries to intervene but gets more ponytail punishment. Interference from Cobb turns the tide to UE though. Tag to GOK for some choking, and finally we get Cobb in. Delayed vertical suplex (with squats again!) from Cobb gets two on Naito. Standing moonsault gets two. GOK back in and sits on Naito. That’s quite the downgrade in moveset from Cobb to GOK. Strike exchange ends with Naito getting a tornado DDT. SANADA and Henare tag in where SANADA gets an atomic drop and the Paradise Lock. SANADA dropkicks him in the keister for two. Henare manages to come back with a fall away slam. Spear attempt is blocked and they duke it out, ending in a vertical suplex for Henare. Cobb in and he receives a hurricanrana from SANADA who tags Bushi. Charge by Cobb is ducked, followed by a tope suicida from Bushi. DDT from Bushi gets two. Missile dropkick from Bushi and LIJ triple teams Cobb. Backcracker from Bushi gets two. We get the sequence of each team member taking out the other one by one, leaving Cobb and Bushi alone again. Rana by Bushi for two. Cobb with a dropkick and komigoye followed by Tour of the Islands for the pin at 14:54. Glad to see Cobb and the UE get the win here. **¼
Match Four: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Bullet Club (EVIL, Dick Togo and Jay White)
Tana and Jay go first in a rematch from day one, both still selling their leg injuries. Tana gets the better of an early armdrag exchange. EVIL and Yano tag in next. Yano goes for the hair and we get everyone in the ring grabbing each other’s hair, until Taguchi can’t grab Togo since he’s bald. Ok that made me laugh. Taguchi then gets a hip attack on Togo and everyone falls like dominoes. Taguchi with more hip attacks to EVIL including a springboard hip attack. EVIL tosses him to the outside where we get some brawling and choking. Back in, Taguchi has no one to tag as EVIL slams him and gets two. Tag to White for another bodyslam for two. Togo in with a fistdrop for two. Back to White who applies a rear chinlock. Taguchi flying hip attack misses but he gets a dragonscrew and Tana is in next. Elbow and senton on Jay and then Tana gets a dragonscrew on Gedo. Neither can get a Cloverleaf on the other and ultimately Jay gets a Blade Buster for two. Togo tags in and gets a jackknife pin attempt for two. Tana counters a corner charge and gets a second rope crossbody and tags Yano. There goes the turnbuckle. He tries to put a blindfold on Togo but EVIL hits Yano from the outside. Togo puts the hood on Yano and gets a schoolboy for two. Double senton but that only gets two. Low blow for Togo as Tana covers him with the hood and a schoolboy by Yano gets the win at 12:14. That’s why he’s the King of Pro Wrestling folks. **
Main Event: IWGP World Heavyweight Championship – Will Ospreay © vs. Shingo Takagi
Crowd is amped up for this and I don’t blame them. It’s crazy to me that these guys were Jr. Heavyweights just two years ago. Feeling out process early on as we know these guys are going to go for a while. They have a sequence of counters and reversals that is so quick and smooth it’s hard for me to capture it all. Back body drop and a lariat from Shingo. Senton gets a one count. Shingo clotheslines Will to the outside where he throws Will into the barricade. The UE distracts Shingo at ringside allowing Ospreay to backdrop suplex Shingo onto the ring apron. Each man grabs a table and Shingo tosses it in Will’s face and sets both tables up on the floor. Shingo tries a suplex from the ring through the tables, but Ospreay suplexes him back in and gets Pip Pip Cheerio for two. Ospreay works on the left arm of Shingo next, wrapping it around the ring post. Back inside Will continues to go after the left arm grabbing an armbar. Shingo shakes off shots to the turnbuckle and gets a DDT. Another great sequence ends in a vertical suplex by Shingo for two. Ospreay then hangs Shingo in the tree of woe and slaps him around just to be a prick. Bloody Sunday from Ospreay gets two. Shingo gets a quick dragonscrew to even things up. Suplex attempt is countered by Ospreay into Stundog Millionaire and he goes back to an armbar on Shingo. OsCutter attempt is blocked and a standing moonsault is countered with the knees by Shingo. Gory Bomb by Shingo. Wheelbarrow suplex from Shingo gets two. Will goes for some kicks but Shingo catches him and just flips him down with a full rotation. Once again they have a great series of counters which finishes with a low clothesline from Shingo and both guys are down. Will sets up Shingo’s head against the buckle and connects with a superkick. To the top, Ospreay tries for a Super Stormbreaker but settles for a sunset flip attempt instead which fails. He does however connect with a jumping enzuigiri, stunning Shingo. Top rope Spanish Fly follows for two. Will hangs him on the top rope and comes off the top with a Shooting Star Press, then goes back up for another Shooting Star but it only gets two.
To the outside now where Shingo is set onto the tables from earlier. Will goes to the top but Shingo manages to get up and pull him to the apron. They struggle there and Will gets a side kick but Shingo is able to get Made in Japan through the tables. That was cool. Osrpeay’s back is bloodied but he’s able to beat the count at 19. Made in Japan again only gets two. Will can barely get to his feet and when he does Shingo drills him with a corner clothesline. Shingo carries Ospreay on his shoulders to the top rope but Will shakes loose and tries a top rope rana but Shingo holds on, and jumps off into an OsCutter. Another OsCutter only gets two. Hidden Blade attempt is ducked and another OsCutter is blocked, allowing Shingo to hit a GTO. Huge lariat-o by Shingo. Another is avoided by Ospreay but Shingo gets his own OsCutter and Pumping Bomber for two! Will gets a crucifix pin for two and a roaring elbow to put Shingo down. Poison rana by Will, and Shingo gets his own, but Ospreay is able to muster up enough energy to hit the Hidden Blade for two. Both men are exhausted now and they duke it out. Shingo gets a DVD but another Pumping Bomber is countered into a Spanish Fly by Ospreay for two. Lariat by Shingo with the bad arm doesn’t work, letting Will hit a jumping knee. It’s a forearm battle next, then headbutts. Ospreay gets a roaring elbow and a Rainmaker. Hidden Blade to the face (not so hidden I guess) followed by the Stormbreaker for the win at 44:53. ****3/4 Another great effort from these two. I didn’t really feel like Ospreay would lose, but there’s been some surprising title changes the last two years so anything was possible.
Overall Thoughts: Pretty much a one match show with the major bummer of El Desperado vs Yoh being removed from the card last minute. However, the main event more than delivered as you’d expect, so skip the rest and go right to that match.
Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
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