Welcome to Wrestling INC's recap of today's New Japan Pro Wrestling Southern Showdown event, streaming live via Fite.tv and New Japan World. Today's show takes place from the Festival Hall in Melbourne, Australia. Feel free to follow along and sound off in the comments. Enjoy the show!
A video vignette runs down the faction of NJPW, including Bullet Club and CHAOS. The voice-over narrating the package runs down the evening's card. The main event will see IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada team-up with long-time rival Hiroshi Tanahashi to battle Bullet Club leader Jay White, and the Underboss Bad Luck Fale.
Commentary welcomes us to Festival Hall for NJPW Southern Showdown. Michael Richards, Andrew Villalobos, and Mark Tui are out for opening tag action. They represent Bad Luck Fale's dojo. They'll be facing...Toa Henare, Shota Umino, and Australia's own, Nick Bury. Ren Narita was supposed to originally be scheduled in this bout, but commentary says that due to travel issues he had to be replaced.
Michael Richards/Andrew Villalobos/Mark Tui versus Toa Henare/Shota Umino/Nick Bury
Villalobos and Umino start. Tie-up. Nice chain wrestling sequence. Quick tags to Bury and Tui. Tui instantly gets the heat on Bury and wears him down before bringing him to his team's corner. All-three men light him up with strikes and stomps. Backdrop attempt from Richards...Bury lands on his feet and connects with an enziguri. He makes the tag to Umino who comes in hot with a back elbow. Tui goes to slow him down but Umino dumps him over the ropes. Boston crab applied by Umino onto Richards...he makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Villalobos and Henare come in. Suplex by Villablobos...it has little affect on Henare who jumps back to his feet. Elbow strike, followed by a spear. Cover...only two. Back and forth striking...Henare wins the exchange nailing a headbutt, followed by the Toa Bottom. That'll end this one early.
Toa Henare/Shota Umino/Nick Bury win by pinfall
Coming up next...Aaron Solow will be battling Slex, who is hailed as a local hero being from Melbourne. Commentary says that this is the type of match that neither man can afford to lose. Solow is out first...Slex second. Huge ovation.
Aaron Solow versus Slex
Grapple to start. Waistlock from Solow but Slex reverses to apply one of his own. Both men trade dropkicks. Slex gains control...backbreaker sends Solow to ringside. Slex off the ropes...suicide dive connects! Back in the ring Slex puts Solow on the top and climbs for a superplex attempt...Solow blocks it...he slips out and drops Slex on his crotch...neckbreaker off the ropes by Solow. Solow slows the action down with a rest hold...striking exchange...Enziguri from Slex. More striking...it appears that Solow has the advantage but Slex out of nowhere with a blue thunder bomb with pin...Solow gets a shoulder up. Slex goes for a maneuver that Solow escapes from....superkick! Thrust knee nearly wins the match for Solow. He climbs...Slex meets him up there...superplex! Cover...still alive.
Solow rolls Slex up with a schoolboy...only two. He transition right into a standing double-stomp landing on Slex's chest. Solow climbs...double-stomp lands! Pace picks back up...disaster kick by Slex. He sets Solow up...he hits his finisher, trouble in paradise, called the Slexecution, for the victory.
Slex wins by pinfall
A faction versus faction tag match is next, pitting CHAOS's Toru Yano and YOH against Bullet Club's Gino Gambino and former Junior-Heavyweight champion, the Bone Solider, Taiji Ishimori. The Bullet Club is out first, followed by the much more charming YOH and Yano. This should be fun.
Taiji Ishimori/Gino Gambino versus YOH/Toru Yano
Yano and Gambino begin with some funny bits that the crowd eats up. Yano goes for his traditional untying of the turnbuckle pad with Gambino chasing him around to cut him off. Ishimori eventually gets tagged in...he unloads strikes on Yano targeting the neck. Quick tags by Bullet Club to wear Yano down. Yano in trouble...he yanks at Ishimori's hair to create separation and make the tag to YOH. YOH fights off Ishimori and Gambino on his own...Bullet Club goes for a double-team but YOH has it scouted...dragon screw and bridging suplex in succession. Cover...easy kickout. Ishimori retakes control by trapping YOH in the ropes and connecting with his signature sliding German suplex. YOH fires back with a flying forearm but Ishimori responds with a handspring kick.
Yano and Gambino back in. Yano unties the pads again...Gambino gets his hands on another one. They have a duel, slapping the pads against each other, with neither man able to gain a clear advantage. Yano gets run into an exposed turnbuckle...Ishimori makes him pay with a meteora in teh corner and a seated senton. Gambino to the middle-rope...splash lands. Somehow Yano escapes the pinfall attempt. YOH and Ishimori begin brawling on the outside...meanwhile Gambino and Yano tangle...Yano baits him into hitting an exposed ringpost...low-blow! YOH out of nowhere with a superkick to Gambino. Yano with the cover...got em!
Toru Yano/YOH win by pinfall
Commentary says the action has already been up to standard, and hypes the title bouts coming up later on the card, including El Phantasmo defending the Rev-Pro cruiserweight title against Rocky Romero in a rematch of their BOSJ classic. More faction versus faction up next, as the Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI battle Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi. Bullet Club enters first, CHAOS second.
Tomohiro Ishii/YOSHI-HASHI versus Chase Owens/Yujiro Takahashi
Owens and Takahashi attack before the bell even rings to gain the upperhand. They separate the CHAOS members to garner a two-on-one advantage. Eventually order is restored and the traditional tag bout resumes, with Takahashi and Owens working over Hashi. Hashi attempts to gain momentum but Bullet Club thwarts his comeback. Hashi finally connects with a boot and makes the tag to Ishii. The stone pitbull runs through Owens with a shoulder tackle, then lights up his chest with vicious chops. Owens goes for a suplex but gets overpowered by Ishii. Release German suplex. Crowd heavily into Ishii. Owens responds with a Russian leg sweep catapulting Ishii into the turnbuckles. Takahashi tags in...he picks Ishii up impressively with a fisherman buster. Owens right back in...shining wizard for a nearfall. Owens keeps the pressure on...Snap dragon. V-trigger. Ode to Kenny Omega. Owens sets him up...Jewel Heist lands! Ishii kicks out! He tries a package piledriver..Hashi breaks it up. This brings in Takahashi who takes Hashi to the outside for a brawl. Owens tries another package piledriver...Ishii breaks free...thunderous lariat. Sliding lariat. Ishii picks Owens up...brainbuster. That'll do it.
Tomohiro Ishii/YOSHI HASHI win by pinfall
Our first title match is next. Rockery Romero's music hits and the Roppongi 3K member enters to a nice response from the crowd. The champ is out second.
El Phantasmo versus Rocky Romero for the Rev-Pro British Cruiserweight championship
Like the previous match, Phantasmo attacks Romero before the bell. The fight heats up with a striking exchange...Romero is able to take control with a frankensteiner off the second rope. He traps Phantasmo win the corner and climbs...ten punches. Phantasmo is able to push him off but Romero makes him pay with a series of eye pokes. He starts to target Phantasmo's arm just like in the BOSJ. Romero with the corner forever lariats...Phantasmo eventually cuts him off...he ties Romero up in the tree of woe in the corner...he nails him the groin, dangerously close to a disqualification. Quebrada by Phantasmo with pin...Romero stays alive.
Romero battles back...he drapes Phantasmo over the ropes, then lays into his arm with a stiff kick. Romero climbs...double stomp misses...Phantasmo slides to ringside and pulls Romero out with him. Up on the apron...asai moonsault connects. He throws Romero back in and makes quick cover but Romero kicks out. Chinlock from Phantasmo to slow things down. He walks the ropes...he nearly gets around the entire ring before Romero crotch drops him. Romero climbs for a coast to coast...he hits it! Forever corner lariats again...Phantasmo catches him with an airplane spin neckbreaker. He goes for the CR2...Romero with a cradle...two count. Tornado DDT and falcon arrow in succession. He immediately transitions into an armbar! Phantasmo in trouble...this is how he lost in BOSJ...he manages to escape and applies an ankle lock. Romero with another cradle...he JUST kicks out.
Short kicks from Phantasmo. Romero responds with a flurry of strikes and a pair of lariats. Sliced bread from Romero. Only a two count on the pin. He goes for it again...Phantasmo is prepared this time...he goes for a tombstone...Romero turns it into a reverse Canadian Destroyer! Unfortunately the feed cuts out at this point, and it doesn't return until the match is over. Phantasmo retained.
El Phantasmo wins by pinfall to retain the Rev-Pro British Cruiserweight championship
Phantasmo celebrates in the ring. No mention from the commentary team regarding the lost feed. Wonder if it was only on Fite.
Tag team titles are on the line next, as the Guerrillas of Destiny defend against Mikey Nicholls and former United States champion Juice Robinson. The challengers are out first, followed by the champs, Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa. They are accompanied by heel valet Jado.
Guerrillas of Destiny versus Juice Robinson/Mikey Nicholls for the IWGP tag team championship
All four men engage in a brawl to start. Tonga destroys Robinson with a backdrop on the entrance ramp while Loa and Nicholls collided in the ring. Tonga joins his brother...Gun Stun onto Nicholls! The Guerrillas methodically work over Nicholls until he's able to make the hot tag to a recovered Robinson following a DDT to Loa. Robinson with his signature "Juice" jabs. He sets up for Pulp Friction...Tonga distracts the referee and Jado nails Robinson with a kendo-stick.
Loa slows down Robinson's momentum with a chinlock. Double team by the Guerrillas...double back suplex. Loa with a big powerslam. Cover but only two. Robinson in trouble...he manages to make the hot tag to Nicholls, who runs through Loa and Tonga with lariats. Robinson in for a double team cannonball spot, followed by a tandem facebuster onto Tonga. Cover...Tonga escapes. Jado jumps on the apron to get involved again...this time Robinson KO's him with the left hand of God! Tonga takes advantage of the distraction and takes Robinson out with a Gun Stun. Nicholls goes for a powerbomb...Loa rolls him up and has the tights...got em!
Guerrillas of Destiny win by pinfall to retain the IWGP tag team championship
Marquee title matchup is next. Bullet Club's Robbie Eagles makes his way out along with El Phantasmo, who gets sent to sit near the announcers table. Will Ospreay is out next. Crowd is somewhat into Ospreay, but Eagles is the hometown hero. Here we go.
Will Ospreay versus Robbie Eagles for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship
Tie-up. Action picks up quickly. Great sequence of counters and athleticism. Shoulder block by Eagles but Ospreay refuses to go down. Eagles challenges Ospreay to hit him with one...he gets chopped for his troubles. Both men run the ropes...Eagles surprises Ospreay with a dropkick sending Ospreay to the outside. Quick dive by Eagles connects. He immediately throws Ospreay back into the ring. Running kick. Eagles traps Ospreay in the corner...chops and a back elbow. Eagles climbs...Ospreay knocks him to the outside with a chop. He pursues...Eagles attempts to throw Ospreay into the barricade but Ospreay jumps over. Pip Pip cheerio off the barricade! Hook kick by Ospreay...he sets Eagles onto the apron...drive-by.
Back in the ring...powerslam by Ospreay. Kneedrop. Eagles crawls to a seated position in the corner. Ospreay targets the neck with forearms, then runs back to pick up speed...delayed dropkick. Phantasmo tries to urge Eagles on from ringside. Quick cradle but it was more for an escape than a pin...DDT by Eagles to retake control. He lays into Ospreay wth mid-kicks, then connects with a running meteora in the corner. Ospreay to the apron...Eagles makes him pay with a double-stomp. Eagles starts stringing together offense...dropkick to the knee, followed by a 619. Springboard elbow. He goes after the knee again with an atomic drop kneebreaker. Irish whip attempt but Ospreay falls due to the damage to his leg. Ospreay baits Eagles in....kick combo. Pip Pip Cheerio again with cover...Eagles refuses to quit. Eagles with another kneebreaker...Ospreay avoids it and nails him with an enziguri. Storm Breaker attempt but Eagles counters and goes for a Miller Special...Ospreay kicks him off. Pulse Drop gets teased, however Ospreay slows him down with a handspring kick. Ospreay looking to end it...reverse bloody Sunday lands. He goes for the Robinson special...he got it. Oscutter...Eagles has it scouted...Pulse Drop! Both men are down.
Powerbomb and Ligerbomb by Ospreay nearly wins the match but Eagles won't stay down. Ospreay climbs to the top...Eagles grabs his ankle and meets him up there...top rope frankensteiner! Eagles climbs now...450 misses! Ospreay slow to get up...hook kick. He climbs the ropes with Eagles on his shoulders in an electric chiar...iconoclasm! Cover...still not over! Ospreay calls for an Oscutter...Phantasmo slides a chair into the ring...Ospreay doesn't lose focus...O'Connor roll for two. Ospreay gets sent to the outside...Eagles with a suicide dive but he hits Phantasmo! Eagles somehow gets the upper hand on Ospreay draping him over the ropes...450 hits this time! Turbo Backpack with pin...Ospreay gets a shoulder up. Miller Special applied by Eagles...Ospreay in trouble....he gets to the ropes. Eagles can't believe it...he goes for a springboard maneuver but jumps right into an Oscutter! A second one! Cover...Phantasmo pulls out the ref! Crowd is livid!
Phantasmo jumps in and attacks Ospreay. He goes to hit him with the title but Eagles stops him. Ospreay hook kicks Phantasmo. He and Eagles stare each other down...they trade shots to a loud ovation. Lots of counters...Ospreay tries for Storm Breaker but Eagles falls into a poison frankensteiner. Tornado DDT by Eagles. He climbs...450 onto Ospreay's knee! He goes for the cover...Ospreay cradles him! Two! Standing spanish-fly from Ospreay. On one good leg he gets to the top...shooting star! He calls for the Hidden Blade...he nearly decapitates Eagles. Storm Breaker...and...it's...over.
Will Ospreay wins by pinfall to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship
Post-match, Eagles punches El Phantasmo in the face and shakes hands with Ospreay.
Main event time. The Rainmaker, and current IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada joins Hiroshi Tanahashi in a battle against the leader of Bullet Club Jay White, and the Underboss Bad Luck Fale. Okada's former manager and head NJPW booker, Gedo, accompanies Bullet Club.
Kazuchika Okada/Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Jay White/Bad Luck Fale
Fale and Okada begin. They lock up and work to the ropes, and we get a clean break. Lock up again, and Fale fires away with strikes but Okada hits the sliding dropkick. Fale cuts him off and tags in White. Tanahashi joins him and White powders. Back in and they lock up, and Tanahashi grounds the action. White fights to his feet, they work to the ropes and White gets in a cheap shot and follows with chops. Tanahashi fires back and follows with a high cross, but White then dumps him to the floor as Fale attacks Okada. White lays in chops on the floor, and rolls back in as Fale attacks Tanahashi. He rolls him back in and White tags in Fale. Fale works over Tanahashi in the ropes, Tanahashi fires back but Fale cuts off the sunset flip with the sit-down splash for two.
White back in and follows with a neck breaker. They trade strikes, but White hits the dragon screw and follows with the Muta lock. Okada makes the save, but Fale dumps him. Fale now tags in and follows with clotheslines. He then stomps on him, Tanahashi fires back, avoids a charge and dropkicks the knee. Okada tags in and runs wild on Fale, hits the DDT and running elbow. Fale fights off the slam, but Okada hits it the second time. Gedo distracts Okada, allowing Fale to cut him off and tag White in. The snap Saito follows, they work into counters, and Okada hits the air raid neck breaker. Tag to Tanahashi, and he lays in strikes on White. The dragon screw follows, but White cuts off the cloverleaf and lays in chops. Tanahashi fires up, but White hits the German and the twister follows for two. The uranage follows that for two. Tanahashi counters blade runner, and hits twist and shout. Tags to Okada and Fale, Okada hits John Wooooooo and teases a tombstone but Fale cuts him off. Fale hits the corner splash and running splash...cover...only two. Okada counters the grenade, it breaks down and Fale clotheslines Okada, The bad luck fall is countered, dropkick by Okada and then another. White in and he and Okada work into counters and Tanahashi hits sling blade on White. They double team suplex Fale, Tanahashi hits a plancha onto White and Okada hits the top rope elbow drop. Okada counters the grenade and hits the rainmaker and another for the win.
Kazuchika Okada/Hiroshi Tanahashi win by pinfall
Okada cuts a post-match promo thanking the Australian fans, who give him a warm ovation. Tanahashi and Okada then share a staredown ahead of their G1 Climax opener next week in Dallas. Commentary team thanks us for joining them for Southern Showdown.
That's the show friends.