Welcome to the first of today’s coverage of Sakura Genesis 2021! Tonight will see the first defense of the shiny new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, but first we need to get through the undercard. We have a lot of big names on display here, but the real fun comes with The United Empire vs. Los Ingobernables de Japón, as the United Empire debuts a new member of their faction! Let’s waste no time, and get right into this action packed show.
Before action could begin, former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi rushed the ring to explain that while he’s not cleared to return to the ring, he was planning to join Japanese commentary for the night. He’d also run down the card, showing that maybe he should be the ring announcer as well. Will Ospreay was called a dirty stinky cat, something Takahashi has known all along and has warned us for years.
Six Man Tag Team Match – Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. BULLET CLUB (Jado, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Kicking off the night is a six man tag team match with Suzuki-Gun taking on BULLET CLUB. More specifically, Dangerous Tekkers are taking aim at the current IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions the Guerillas of Destiny, and brought DOUKI along to fight Jado.
This one started with a brawl, as expected from these two teams. Jado & DOUKI remained in the ring, and DOUKI nailed a DDT early. DOUKI was sent over the top rope and thrown into the barricades and the ring post. Back in the ring, Jado kept control with some punches and a side headlock. DOUKI would be faced with Tanga Loa, and just got tossed around like a small child with some suplexes.
Tama got countered into a roll up when he tagged in, before DOUKI slipped to the corner and tagged in Taichi. Taichi applied the Greco Roman Throat Hold on Tama, and when Loa came in he got the dreaded G.R.T.H on himself. Jado ran a distraction, and Tama hit the Tongan Twist for a two count. ZSJ got a tag alongside Loa, and it was power vs. technique. Loa was run into the corner and ZSJ tried to keep him there with uppercuts, but ZSJ got bulldozed across the ring.
ZSJ countered a powerbomb into an armbreaker, before applying a cross armbreaker. Loa countered into the Jado Crossface, and DOUKI came in to try and break the hold. Tama brought the Iron Fingers of Izuka in, and Jado was taken out. Loa wanted to use them after dropping Taichi, but ZSJ rolled him up for the win. The chairman of NJPW claimed them at the end of the match, ending this feud over Izukas Iron Fingers… for now.
A solid tag team opener which sets up Dangerous Tekkers vs. Guerillas of Destiny, likely at Wrestling Dontaku. ZSJ & Loa are a fun combo and they did the bulk of the work here. Match Rating: 2.75/5 (** 3/4)
Ten Man Tag Team Match – CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo, EVIL, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi)
Ten man tag team matches in NJPW are always chaotic fun, but never an absolute classic. CHAOS takes on BULLET CLUB here, with some major names thrown into the mix. While CHAOS has brought their best, BULLET CLUB brought Yujiro Takahashi and Dick Togo, a questionable choice. Also, KENTA stole the Bo-Staff of YOSHI-HASHI and is using it as a weapon.
With ten men, this one was always gonna start with a massive brawl. Everyone went off to the outside, but Ishimori took Goto into the ring. Ishimori pinned Goto after KENTA used the Bo-Staff this past Monday. YOSHI-HASHI tagged in and dropped Ishmori. KENTA came in and was dropped, and next was EVIL & Takahashi who were hit by a double DDT from Okada.
Dick Togo was stomped by all of CHAOS, before BULLET CLUB was able take control in the ring. Togo hit a fist drop on YOSHI-HASHI, before tagging EVIL. YOSHI-HASHI was thrown into exposed steel twice, before KENTA tagged in. The Bo-Staff was pushed into the ring, and YOSHI-HASHI threw it out of the ring.
KENTA looked for Go To Sleep, and YOSHI-HASHI slipped out and hit a lariat. Ishii & Takahashi tagged in, and Ishii obviously won out. EVIL came in and things started to break down again, before Okada, Goto & Ishii took down BULLET CLUB one by one. Ishii was hit the Pimp Drop and Fisherman Buster, before Okada made the save.
Takahashi was able to hit an Olympic Slam, before tagging EVIL. Ishii was thrown into the steel, before EVIL tasted it as well. Yano got the tag, exposed more steel before Togo tagged in. EVIL hit a Fisherman Buster before everything broke down. Yano hit a low blow, blindfolded Togo and won with a crisp roll up.
You’re never going to get a five star classic from a NJPW ten man tag team match, but you’re gonna get something fun. The story between KENTA & YOSHI-HASHI continues, as KENTA stole the Bo-Staff after the match. Match Rating: 2.5/5 (** 1/2)
Six Man Tag Team Match – Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. The United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb) & ???
This is the big one tonight for the undercard. The United Empire has three members, but with Will Ospreay in the main event of the show, how will they run a six man tag? Simple, they have a new member, and it’s Toa Henare! They will meet rivals Los Ingornables De Japon here, and this new addition could really tip the scales in their favour.
Henare was sick and tired of losing in NJPW, and a new faction, look and name of Aaron Henare could help him out. The United Empire started fast, with Henare taking SANADA in the ring. SANADA hit a dropkick, and tagged in Naito. Henare took out Naito with a mid kick, and Shingo with a back elbow when he tried to interfere.
Naito was hit with a deadlift brainbuster, before Cobb tagged in and continued the manhandling of Naito. O-Khan got the tag, and looked to pick up where he left off when he beat Naito in the New Japan Cup. He’d use a V-Tubers signature move to drop Naito before trying to get Naito to kiss his boot. Naito refused so O-Khan hit the Mongolion Chops, only for Naito to hit a running dropkick.
Shingo tagged in and was met with Henare & Cobb, but was able to win out and match up with O-Khan. Cobb quickly got a tag, and matched up with Shingo only to get thrown with a back suplex. SANADA tagged in, and Cobb blocked Skull End into a pop-up powerslam. Henare came in and hit a PK, before a Blue Thunder Bomb.
Henare would narrowly avoid Skull End as this one broke down. SANADA ran into Tour Of The Islands after missing a dropkick and hit with a Death Valley Driver from Henare, ending this match.
This was the coming out party of Aaron Henare, and he never looked better in NJPW. The United Empire is becoming a dominant faction for sure, and we could be seeing them prepare to take all the gold. Solid action from both teams here, but this one was about sending a message. Match Rating: 3/5 (***)
Will The United Empire add a Junior Heavyweight soon? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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