Tanahashi retains at New Beginning in Hiroshima
Hiroshi Tanahashi yet again bested Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in Hiroshima last week.
The Wrestle Kingdom 8 rematch headlined the first of two New Beginning events for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and lived up to the standard set by both men in their initial meeting on January 4.
Both men proved wary of one another’s signature moves, and would find counters for Tanahashi’s High Fly Flow and Nakamura’s Boma Ye knee strike, until Nakamura tried to submit Tanahashi with an armbar.
Tanahashi stacked Nakamura on his shoulders to cover the challenger and force Nakamura to break the hold or be pinned. Nakamura was able to apply the armbar for a second time, but Tanahashi forced a rope-break.
With the IWGP Intercontinental Champion focussed on defending his arm, Nakamura blasted Tanahashi with the Boma Ye, and a second Boma Ye from the second rope.
When Nakamura attempted a third Boma Ye to secure the win, Tanahashi had him scouted and countered with a roll-up before transitioning into the Sling Blade (spinning sit-out sleeper slam) for a near fall.
Once Nakamura kicked out, things went up a gear and Tanahashi nailed the “King of Strong Style” with a High Fly Flow to knock him to the mat, and a second High Fly Flow once Nakamura was lying prone on the canvas.
Nakamura was still able to kick out at a two-count, and both men began trading hard shots.
Tanhashi ducked under a shot from his challenger and slammed Nakamura to the mat with a bridging Dragon Suplex, which proved to be enough to get the win and retain his IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
Earlier in the day, Tanahashi had declared himself ineligible for the New Japan Cup – a tournament in which the winner receives a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Instead, Tanahashi said, the winner would be able to choose between the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships, with the runner-up receiving a match for the other title.
Also at The New Beginning in Hiroshima, Bullet Club’s Doc Gallows and “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson retained their IWGP Tag Team Championships against Killer Elite Squad, Davey Boy Smith Jr and Lance Archer.
The former titleholders did their best to unseat the Bullet Club from their perch atop the tag team division, but Anderson’s Magic Killer proved to be too much for Smith to kick out of, giving Bullet Club their first successful title defence since becoming champions at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in January.
NJPW The New Beginning in Hiroshima Results:
- El Desperado & Jushin Liger def. BUSHI & Kota Ibushi
- Minoru Suzuki def. Tama Tonga
- Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano def. Kazushi Sakuraba & Yuji Nagata via disqualification
- Michael Tarver def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- NWA Heavyweight Championship:
Satoshi Kojima def. “Big Daddy Yum-Yum” Brian Wilcott
- Tomohiro Ishii & Yujiro Takahashi def. Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaka Honma
- Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Prince Devitt & The Young Bucks) def. Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Togi Makabe
- Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata def. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
- IWGP Tag Team Championship:
Doc Gallows & “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson (c) def. Davey Boy Smith Jr & Lance Archer
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship:
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) def. Shinsuke Nakamura