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NJPW Wrestle Dontaku 2023.

The Natural

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C&P from f4wonline.com:


NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku, Thursday, April 27 --

  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: TJP & Francesco Akira (c) vs. KUSHIDA & Kevin Knight
  • Tetsuya Naito vs. DOUKI
  • Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs. SANADA & Taichi
  • Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Tomoaki Honma vs. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Ren Narita & Shota Umino
  • Zack Sabre Jr., Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste vs. Aussie Open & Jeff Cobb
  • Tama Tonga, Hikuleo & Master Wato vs. David Finlay, KENTA & Taiji Ishimori
  • Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano & YOH vs. EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & Dick Togo
  • Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare vs. Oskar Leube & Boltin Oleg

NJPW Wrestling Dontaku, Wednesday, May 3 --

  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: SANADA (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Tama Tonga (c) vs. David Finlay
  • NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Ren Narita (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada & two partners TBA
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jeff Cobb
  • KENTA vs. Hikuleo
  • BOSJ lineup announced
  • Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI
  • Shota Umino, KUSHIDA & Kevin Knight vs. Aaron Henare, Francesco Akira & TJP
  • Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste & Kosei Fujita vs. Great-O-Khan & Aussie Open
  • Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano & YOH vs. EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & Dick Togo
  • Pre-show match: Young Lion gauntlet match

Most looking forward to SANADA/Takahashi, Takahashi/Kanemaru, Sabre Jr./Cobb and the BOSJ announcement.

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2 hours ago, Niners Fan in CT said:

ZSJ vs. Cobb isn't a TV title bout?

Not yet, will likely become one if ZSJ retains against Tom Lawlor on one of thr US shows.

Most of the title matches look interesting, personally hyped for Aussie Open vs TMDK of course as well as another KOPW Takagi/Taichi match (both on the 29th). The December 22 KOPW match was one of my favourite matches of 2022...surely Taichi wins it this time?

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30 years but it's not like it was consecutive. Sort of misleading for them to say that.

They are back in the Kokusai Center after running the Pay Pay Dome last year (which was only because they couldn't use the Kokusai Center). Stardom will run the Kokusai Center the next day.

The highest and second highest priced seats are already sold out. The next two tiers are almost gone.


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  • 4 weeks later...

SANADA wins, of course, but Hiromu made it entertaining. Post SANADA pointing, a video hits that was teased earlier and Yota Tsuji comes out, takes out the other Four Guys and spears SANADA. Then, with impeccable timing, Tsuji waits a beat for the crowd to die down then hits the LIJ pose with a big smile on his face.

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I've been saying this for years - Yota Tsuji looks big league. That Mifune smile is worth a million bucks. That's one of the best re-debuts I've seen in a long while, he almost feels like what people wished Young Lion Kenzo Suzuki was gonna feel like 20+ years ago, but I think the LIJ lucha swagger suits him great. I was enjoying his work in CMLL prior to this.

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I think NJPW goes to the "champion gets attacked after the main event" well relatively often, but I agree that Tsuji looked really good here. For someone who hasn't been around in a while, the reaction to him doing the LIJ pose was impressive. Fun shout back to his history with Naito before excursion, too. 

Also, unless my ears deceived me the crowd was really hot for that ZSJ/Cobb match. I'm definitely interested in seeing more from those two. Really cool style matchup/good story told through the match. Engaging in anything even resembling a legitimate grappling contest with Jeff Cobb looks like a nightmarish idea, so seeing ZSJ really have to work to find spots to capitalize on made for a fun watch.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'm excited for the rest of the year. With it seeming like Umino, Narita, and now Tsuji being likely candidates for spots in the G1, there should be a lot of fresh matchups. 

(One last thing...I can't believe the insanity of Hiromu sometimes. My dude shotgun dropkicks over a barricade and lands flat on concrete when he has all of BOSJ to work, starting in nine days time.)

Edited by Teflon Turtle
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I remember when I was younger joining in all the outrage at Vince pushing guys based on looks. Nowadays I'm all 'yeah Shota had a few good matches but let's wait and see if Tsuji and Uemura are carryable so we can pull the trigger on those beauts instead'. Cool smiles = prosperity.

Have seen a few Roman Reigns comparisons about the presentation but to my eyes in that outfit and psycho grin Yota was a violent snap away from being Ryuji Yamazaki.

In response to Moxley announcing himself for Dominion, I love the way that fans have accepted the NJPW incarnations of wrestlers like Kenny and Mox as distinct from the ones they see on TV each week. Would be a loss if the differences were watered down and the two territories started to feel the same. Haven't seen people clamour for a wrestler to appear in shorts like this since Okada's balloon run.

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Tsuji's been fun to watch in CMLL in recent months (from what little I've seen), and no doubt he's picked up plenty of new tricks and ideas. However, If anyone's curious about what Yota Tsuji can really do in the ring, in regards to a hypothetical singles match you might see in Japan, I highly recommend watching his RevPro match with Tomohiro Ishii from last October on New Japan World.  I had to do a search to find it, but it's still there.  It's one of the most definitive "okay, I see it now" matches in recent memory.  It's really quite the eye-opener.  


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Not sure if this will work but here's the search tag for Tsuji on NJPW World.


NJPW has tried to make things happen at Dontaku so I was waiting for something. Mox appeared on video and then ELP showed up to solidify his face turn. The Tsuji appearance was out of nowhere (he's still got CMLL bookings this weekend according to cubsfan).

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