New Japan’s Castle Attack double-header wrapped up with a new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, while Kota Ibushi defended the IWGP Intercontinental title against Tetsuya Naito.
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan pinned Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay in 9:56 (***)
Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano submitted Chase Owens, Jay White & EVIL in 8:35 (**¼)
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa pinned Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI in 15:46 to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships (***¼)
Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned Great-O-Khan in 18:44 to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship (***½)
El Desperado pinned El Phantasmo & BUSHI in 23:12 to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (***¾)
Kota Ibushi pinned Tetsuya Naito in 27:50 to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship (****)
We’re back to Osaka-Jo Hall for the second night – and once again we’ve got English commentary via the remote studios of Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton and Gino Gambino…
United Empire (Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
We have a jump start as Ospreay and Cobb attack Kojima and Tenzan before the bell, taking them outside and throwing them into each other.
Ospreay goes back inside for a plancha… but he hits his own man and gets taken back to the ring as Kojima and Tenzan batter him from pillar to post. Tenzan seemed a little sad that Kojima took his Mongolian chops, before the slingshot elbow/falling headbutt led to a pinning attempt on Ospreay. Kojima goes in for Machine Gun chops on Ospreay… Cobb tries to save, but ends up chopping his own man as the Empire were misfiring. Cobb takes Kojima off the top rope as he went for a flying elbow, but a DDT took care of Cobb as Ospreay finds a way back in with a forearm off the middle rope.
Cobb’s back to chop away on Kojima, before a flying stomp to a draping Kojima gets Ospreay a two-count. A forearm to the gut doubles-over Kojima, but a powerbomb’s escaped as a Koji cutter buys time… in comes Tenzan, who boots Ospreay to the corner for some headbutts and chops. The regular kind, mind you. A brainbuster drops Ospreay for a two-count, before Tenzan short-circuits on a Mongolian chop. Ospreay capitalises with a springboard forearm, then brought Cobb back in… only for Tenzan’s spinning heel kick to keep Cobb on the back foot. Kojima’s back to land a suplex for a near-fall, but Ospreay catches Kojima from behind as the Empire double-team Kojima into the corner.
Ospreay throws Kojima towards Cobb for the Spin Cycle, getting a near-fall, before Ospreay mocked Tenzan with Mongolian chops. Cobb gets in on the act too… but finally Tenzan’s had enough and breaks out a metric tonne of Mongolian chops of his own… and that’s not a DQ. A TenKoji Cutter followed on Cobb, but Ospreay makes the save… only to get taken out with an Anaconda Buster. The end came when Cobb looks for a Tour of the Islands… but Kojima escaped and finished him off with a Cozy Lariat for the win. So… what was the deal with the Mongolian Chops if there’s no repercussions? That win looks to boost Kojima going into next month’s New Japan Cup, so there’s that at least. ***
Bullet Club (Jay White, EVIL & Chase Owens) vs. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
The Bullet Club trio had mixed fortunes yesterday, with Jay White being the only one leaving with a win…
Ishii starts… so Jay White instantly tags out as Chase Owens opens things up, hitting the ropes for some forearms on Ishii, who gets winded from the effects of yesterday’s match early on. Ishii shrugs it off and chops White into the corner ahead of some elbows, only for White to capitalise on the damage he inflicted yesterday by throwing Ishii back into the corner. Ishii’s thrown outside, so Gedo and Dick Togo could take their shots, with White getting some two-counts back inside. A slam from EVIL leads to Owens starting the cheating abdominal stretch, with some extra leverage, as the Bullet Club looked to force a stoppage. Finally Ishii gets free, taking down all three opponents before making the tag out to Yano, who goes right for the corner pad.
Gedo distracts, but gets pushed off the apron as Yano bopped EVIL on the head… twice. Owens returns with elbows, only to run into a Manhattan drop as Okada comes in. He takes a bell clapper for a two-count, before White and Ishii come in for their aggressive line dancing that ends with a suplex from Ishii. Owens’ lariat gets rid of Ishii before Okada countered Chase’s Jewel Heist into the Money Clip… and Chase taps. That’s a move to put you in your place on the card, huh? A perfectly fine undercard tag that raises questions over Ishii’s status for the New Japan Cup – don’t expect a long run from him! **¼
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c)
These two teams split the wins in singles action yesterday, and we’ve a jump start as Goto and YOSHI-HASHI go for the champions.
Some double-teaming ended rudely when YOSHI-HASHI was left laying after a powerbomb. Sentons atomico keep YOSHI-HASHI down, before Hirooki Goto came in and suplexed Tama Tonga onto Tanga Loa for a near-fall. Tanga lands a leaping kick to knock Goto back, before a battle of clotheslines knocked both men down. YOSHI-HASHI and Tama Tonga tag in, with a Head Hunter taking down Tama ahead of a Western lariat that gets a two-count. A Tongan Twist turns it back around for a two-count, with the Guerrillas double-teaming YOSHI-HASHI ahead of a neckbreaker for another two-count.
YOSHI-HASHI tries to fight back, but takes a back suplex/neckbreaker for a two-count as Goto breaks up the cover. Guerrilla Warfare takes care of Goto, with a Magic Killer dropping YOSHI-HASHI for a near-fall as the Guerrillas were looking to end this efficiently. Escaping a splash in the corner, YOSHI-HASHI ends up hitting a ‘rana on Tanga Loa… but he’s just pancaked by Tama Tonga. Finally YOSHI-HASHI gets the tag out, but Goto’s early fire is stopped via a Jado distraction. He’s back with a double clothesline, before YOSHI-HASHI superkicks Tama Tonga head of a GYW that nearly leads to a title change. A GYR looks to follow, but Tanga Loa makes the save as all four men stay in the ring, sparking a brief Parade of Moves that left everyone laying.
YOSHI-HASHI batters Tanga Loa with elbows, then hit a back cracker before Tama Tonga uses misdirection and leapfrogs to try and catch out Goto… only for Veleno to get blocked, Instead, Goto hoists him up for a superkick-assisted ushigoroshi, but Tama’s up at two before Tanga Loa threatened a belt shot. The referee takes care of that, but lost track of Jado cracking Goto in the back with a Kendo stick as a Gun Stun gets Tama the win. The weirdness aside of YOSHI-HASHI being KO’d by that early powerbomb, this was a pretty decent tag match with YOSHI-HASHI having to come from behind – but in the end, it’s Bullet Club interference that gets the W. ***¼
Apparently every team who’s attacked first on this show has lost their match. Hmm…
NEVER Openweight Championship: Great-O-Khan vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)
A rematch from WrestleKingdom, where O-Khan took a loss to Tanahashi… will second time be the charm?
Tanahashi has to escape the Eliminator early, as O-Khan kept going for that. A Mongolian chop misses, with Tanahashi going low on a dropkick to send O-Khan to the outside. O-Khan baits in Yota Tsuji, which drew Tanahashi into O-Khan’s clutches as he’s Snake Eye’d on the apron before O-Khan held up Tanahashi for Tsuji to have a shot… but of course, he couldn’t as English commentary was calling out Tsuji as perhaps willing to take that shot. A side Salto suplex from O-Khan back inside gets him a two-count, before he worked over Tanahashi’s left leg. O-Khan’s leglock ends in the ropes, so he takes Tanahashi into the corner for a seat, before Tanahashi looked to fight back… only for a throat thrust to stop him. Tanahashi fires back with a forearm off the ropes, then with a slam and a flip senton for a two-count.
O-Khan looked to respond, but Tanahashi targets the knee with a Dragon screw and a dropkick in the ropes, setting up for a Cloverleaf that forces O-Khan to drag himself to the ropes for a break. Tanahashi goes for a Twist and Shout, but O-Khan throws Tanahashi’s head into his knee damaging it more in the process, before a front suplex left both men laying. Getting back up, O-Khan took Tanahashi into the corner for a Mongolian chop to the back, then pulled Tanahashi into the Tree of Woe for a baseball slide kick that gets a two-count. A pancake keeps O-Khan ahead, before he went for a Head Claw… Tanahashi tries to counter with one of his own before a palm strike breaks it up.
O-Khan punches out Tanahashi after using the referee as a human shield… and now here’s Yota Tsuji with a chair. He slides it into the ring for Tanahashi to use though, which he does as a drop toe hold saw O-Khan fly into the chair. A Twist and Shout followed, but O-Khan is back with a boot before the Eliminator was countered into a Slingblade… Tanahashi heads up top for Aces High, but whiffs on the High Fly Flow! O-Khan hit back with a shotgun dropkick, then a diving shoulder tackle, but it’s not enough. A clothesline traps Tanahashi in the corner, but he rebounds with a pair of Slingblades, only for a lariat from O-Khan to dump him for a near-fall, before an Iron Claw stretch led to Tanahashi being spun out to the mat. From there, O-Khan calls for the Eliminator, but Tanahashi switches it into a crucifix and snatches the pin from there! The result surprised me greatly, but once again Tanahashi managed to use his experience to eke out a win – in spite of O-Khan’s attempts to sway Tanahashi’s biggest fan (at ringside). ***½
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Phantasmo vs. El Desperado vs. BUSHI
This is to crown a new champion after Hiromu Takahashi vacated the title due to injury…
Phantasmo tries to charge at the bell, but everyone sidesteps as he’s sent outside as BUSHI and Desperado went at it. Headscissors from BUSHI are blocked, before Desperado sweeps BUSHI’s legs to send him into Phantasmo for an early one-count. BUSHI recovers with more headscissors, before a bulldog/dropkick combo took out Phantasmo and Desperado for a two-count.
Phantasmo takes over, crotching both BUSHI and Despy in the top rope… then went up top for a back senton onto Desperado on the top rope. Some biting from Phantasmo leads to a spot of rope-walking that ended with him getting crotched as BUSHI capitalises with a see-saw DDT onto the apron on Despy… then a springboard ‘rana back to ELP in the ring for a two-count. A tope suicida from BUSHI wipes out Desperado before ELP’s springboard body press met them both on the floor. Heading into the aisle, ELP rips open Desperado’s mask, then dropped him with a cradle piledriver on the ramp before he took the remains of Despy’s mask. Oh boy.
The Young Lions scramble to cover up Desperado’s head, as Phantasmo stomps on the mask… then punted the mask skyward. BUSHI’s still in the ring and gets thrown into the corner, but an overhead kick and a missile dropkick takes ELP back to the outside ahead of a slingshot ‘rana. Back inside, Phantasmo chucks BUSHI into the corner before he ripped off BUSHI’s shirt and punched him with it. Choking follows, before ELP flipped into a Gas Pedal on BUSHI, following up with a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada for another two-count. ELP slows it down a little with a chinlock on the mat, then took BUSHI up for a whirlibird neckbreaker that keeps the near-falls coming.
ELP steadies himself for a big splash off the top, but it’s still not enough to put BUSHI down… but here comes Desperado, with a sore neck and a new mask! A spear drops ELP, but aggravates the neck some as Desperado mounted ELP for some punches, before a clothesline knocked ELP over the top and to the outside… with Desperado following that up with a tope con giro! Back inside, Desperado rolls a suplex and takes ELP up top for a superplex… which BUSHI helps as he sunset bombs Desperado for a near-fall. BUSHI tries to get a pin over ELP too, but no dice as a back cracker dropped Despy for another two-count, before ELP gets tied up in the ropes.
BUSHI tries to get the win, but to no avail as he hits a lungblower on Desperado, only to get thrown out as ELP tries to steal the pin. Phantasmo calls for the CR2, but he turns it into a Styles Clash for a two-count, with BUSHI hitting a crucifix to pull him out of it. Phantasmo boots Desperado in the ropes and goes for a One Winged Angel… before El Es Claro nearly stole the win for Despy! Desperado keeps going with a spinebuster, then Numero Dos, but ELP rolls out of it and pulls the tights to get a near-fall. Pinche Loco followed from Desperado, but Phantasmo counters out, only to take an Angle slam. From there, ELP stomps on Desperado’s foot, then hits a buzzsaw kick… before CR2 should have gotten the win, but BUSHI grabs the ref to stop the count. Rather than, you know, break up the pin?
A running lungblower from BUSHI follows for a two-count, before he went up top for MX… but Sudden Death stops him in his tracks! BUSHI rolls to the outside, so ELP can’t capitalise. Desperado can though, ducking another Sudden Death to punch out Phantasmo as he eventually lands Pinche Loco… then rolled through to hit a second… and that’s the win! Desperado ends busy week by winning both the junior tag and singles titles, wrapping up a three-way that heated up towards the end. I wasn’t too struck on how long this was one-one-one after Despy had been laid out very early on, but it played into the finish, so at least it wasn’t for nought. ***¾
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi (c)
For the first time since they made “double gold” a thing, we’re only getting one of the two titles defended as Tetsuya Naito looked to win the Intercontinental title for a seventh time.
Both men are coming in with bad knees – with Naito in particular missing recent shows due to injury. They start by locking up into the corners, before things went to the mat as Ibushi trapped Naito with some headscissors. An armbar followed as they stay grounded, leading to Naito backing into the ropes to break a front facelock. Resetting, Naito flips out of a wristlock but gets tripped up as they end up in the corners again. Elbows from Naito hammer down Ibushi as the referee’s chucked aside… a pop-up dropkick to the knee has Ibushi down, before Naito took him to the outside for some more stomps to the knee. Ibushi stumbles as Naito tries to whip him into the barriers, so Naito elbows away on the knee some more, hoping to keep the double-champion on the deck.
A modified Figure Four keeps Ibushi down ahead of a rope break… but Naito drills the knee into the mat some more as Ibushi stays in trouble. Ibushi fires back with a diving kick, then with a standing moonsault, but Naito’s right back in with a kick to the knee before Combinacion Cabron caught Ibushi in the corner. Naito keeps going with a neckbreaker into the headscissors nelson, right as my feed dropped out for a spell. It’s back as Naito and Ibushi traded elbow strikes… but another low dropkick from Naito puts him ahead as he slides in for an ankle lock. More torque’s applied as Naito scissored the knee as well, but the hold ends in the ropes, so Naito just fires in more elbows trapped Ibushi in the corner.
A Diamond Dust off the top rope, then a Gloria sees Naito push ahead more for a two-count as we pass the 20-minute mark. Naito teases a German superplex, but Ibushi slips free and lands a kick to get back in it… taking Naito onto the apron as he instead looked for a deadlift German suplex, folding Naito in half for a near-fall. Ibushi keeps going with a Bomaye, before a Last Ride powerbomb dropped Naito for a near-fall. From there, Ibushi goes for Kamigoye, but Naito slips out and catches him with Valentia instead before Naito elbowed away on Ibushi to try and soften up for a Destino. Ibushi just drops Naito with a lariat to stop all that, but he can’t get the Kamigoye off as Naito avoids it and runs in with a Destino for a near-fall!
A second Destino’s blocked as Naito’s forced to elbow free… he does so, then runs into a head kick. Ibushi followed that up with a knee strike, then a Kamigoye to the back of the head. A second Kamigoye goes nowhere as Naito rolls his way free for a two-count, but in the end the Kamigoye lands as Ibushi flops on top of Naito for the pin. A slow burner of a match that kicked into top gear at just the right time – and Tetsuya Naito’s bid to wrestle SOMETHING back from his WrestleKingdom defeat ends in nought. ****
After the match, El Desperado came down to issue the traditional challenge for the Anniversary show – but rather than it be non-title, Desperado wanted it for Ibushi’s belts, noting their prior match in February 2014 when Desperado lost to Ibushi for the junior title. Ibushi accepts it (although whether it’s for the titles remains TBC) and there’s our main event for next week!
New Japan return on Thursday with their 49th Anniversary show from Budokan Hall – a show that’s feels like it’s flown under the radar – before the New Japan Cup starts the following day as part of a run of 14 shows in 17 days. In terms of consistency, night two of Castle Attack was easily the better night – and the more noteworthy as well, if only for the title change. Desperado’s win means that that mooted El Phantasmo title chase continues – and maybe makes him a favourite for this year’s Best of the Super Junior to boot. But first, we’ve got the New Japan Cup, and no idea who’s in – once we know the field, we’ll have a much better idea of the lay of the land for the next few weeks…