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Naito Retains, Okada Says Goodbye, Yuya Loses His Hair

4 months ago Masahiro Kubota | Monthly Puroresu

Masahiro Kubota | Monthly Puroresu

Naito Retains, Okada Says Goodbye, Yuya Loses His Hair

The second day of New Beginning in Sapporo saw three major goodbyes, including a loss of hair for Yuya Uemura

By: James Carlin

Night One of New Beginning in Sapporo had three title changes, but the hits aren’t over as both Kazuchika Okada and Tama Tonga wrestled their final matches for New Japan Pro-Wrestling today. Okada had been working as a free agent since his contract expired at the end of February whereas Tonga announced his decision to leave immediately after winning the NEVER Openweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom in January.

However, there was also a third major loss for the company as Yuya Uemura was forced to shave his hair after losing to Yota Tsuji in penultimate match of the show. The Heat Storm took the loss well as he also shaved a part of his hair off after Tsuji had done his part.

Photo c/o New Japan Pro-Wrestling

In the main event, Tetsuya Naito defended his gold against former LIJ stablemate and current Just 5 Guys leader SANADA in a re-match of their emotional classic at the Tokyo Dome. The Sapporo fans were very behind Naito throughout, and it was a roll-up that sealed the deal and allowed the Stardust Genius to get his first title defence of his fourth world championship reign.

New Beginning also saw El Desperado, Oleg Boltin, Shota Umino, Togi Makabe & YOH face off against House of Torture. Post-match an on-screen promo was shown by Scapegoat Jack Perry – who ripped up his AEW contract at Battle in the Valley – once again targeting Shota Umino as he did previously in San Jose. In the promo, Perry said: “What do people need more than a hero? Someone they can blame when their heroes let them down”. Umino responded to the promo on the microphone by saying “I don’t care; I bitch his ass”.

The post-match also saw YOH steal SHO’s newly won IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, hinting at a Roppongi 3K showdown for the belt to come, potentially as SHO’s first defence.

The start of the event was changed on quick notice due to an injury suffered by Hiroshi Tanahashi; new IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion Nic Nemeth had requested to team with The Ace, but instead teamed with his original partner Ryusuke Taguchi against Bullet Club’s David Finlay and Gedo. After their successful victory, Nemeth got onto the mic and instead nominated Tanahashi to be his first challenger for the title, which Tanahashi accepted. While Nemeth may be The Wanted Man, the NJPW President is now a wanted man as per Nemeth’s desire to either team with or face off against him in some capacity in the near future.

Photo c/o New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Tama Tonga’s last match was a one-night only tag match between the Guerillias of Destiny – ELP and Hikuleo vs. Tonga and Loa (in full GoD makeup), with Jado acting as the special guest referee. The match ended with Hikuleo giving a “thank you” to Tonga and hitting the Godsend for the win. Afterwards, Tonga kneeled down and cried in the middle of the ring, with all four men raising their arms high to send off the departing Good Bad Guy.

Kazuchika Okada said goodbye to New Japan Pro-Wrestling in his last match, teaming with his CHAOS stablemates Bishamon, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano (replacing Tanahashi) against United Empire and NJPW World Television Champion Matt Riddle – who, as Jeff Cobb confirmed, is not part of United Empire.

Okada’s farewell to the King of Sports came after the main event itself, bowing in the middle of the cerulean blue canvas following a brief exchange of attempted holds and mutual respect towards the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. After twelve years performing at the highest level in professional wrestling for NJPW, a new beginning will emerge without The Rainmaker as an active member of the roster.

New Beginning in Sapporo 2024 Day Two Results:

El Desperado, Boltin Oleg, Shota Umino, Togi Makabe, & YOH defeat House of Torture (EVIL, Ren Narita, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Bishamon (Goto, YOSHI-HASHI) & Toru Yano) defeat United Empire (Callum Newman, Khan On The Cobb (Great O’Khan, Jeff Cobb), Francesco Akira) & Matt Riddle
Guerillas of Destiny (El Phantasmo & Hikuleo) defeat Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Nic Nemeth & Ryusuke Taguchi defeat Bullet Club War Dogs (David Finlay & Gedo)
Team Series: BUSHI defeats TAKA Michinoku (1-0 to Los Ingobernables)
Team Series: DOUKI defeats Hiromu Takahashi (1-1, in favor of Just 5 Guys)
Team Series: Taichi defeats Shingo Takagi (2-1 to J5G)
Hair vs. Hair: Yota Tsuji defeats Yuya Uemura (2-2; in favor of LIJ)
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito (c) defeats SANADA to achieve V1 (3-2 to Los Ingobernables)

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