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NJPW 45th Anniversary show live results: Okada vs. Tiger Mask W

New Japan Pro Wrestling will hold its 45th anniversary show early this morning at 5 a.m. ET at Ota City General Gymnasium, the venue where the very first show was held on March 6th, 1972. It will air live on New Japan World, including both Japanese and English commentary.

In the main event, Kazuchika Okada will square off against Tiger Mask W (Kota Ibushi). Tiger Mask W has been decent in the midcard, if not somewhat unspectacular. It will be interesting to see how Ibushi works as Tiger Mask W under a main event scenario, and also with a new mask that’s better fitting. The IWGP title will not be on the line.

However, there will be several title matches on the show. They include Hiromu Takahashi defending the IWGP Jr. title against Ryusuke Taguchi in the co-main event, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defending the IWGP Heavyweight tag titles against Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (replacing Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma), Katsuyori Shibata taking on the debuting Zack Sabre Jr. for the RPW British Heavyweight title, and Roppongi Vice defending the IWGP Jr. tag titles against Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru.

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Manabu Nakanishi defeated Tomoyuki Oka

Well, I can tell you this: Nakanishi didn’t look entirely awful. And hey, Oka shows promise, though he’s not going to show it in a match against Nakanishi. Regardless, this was fine. Nakanishi submitted him with the torture rack.

Hirooki Goto (NEVER Openweight champion), YOSHI-HASHI, Jado, Gedo and defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taka Michinoku, Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Desperado 

This was your standard, eight man New Japan tag team match you’ll find at the start of each show. A lot of action and constant motion. YOSHI-HASHI took out Suzuki and targeted Taka Michinoku, taking him down with Karma and submitting him in a good bout.

Kevin Kelly on commentary gave an update on the condition of Tomoaki Honma. He referred to Chris Charlton’s Twitter, where Charlton mentioned that Honma is regaining feeling in his extremities and notes he would like to return to pro wrestling. Hopefully he takes his time to recover fully.

Kenny Omega, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tonga Roa defeated Jushin Thunder Liger, Yuji Nagata, David Finlay and Tiger Mask

Again, a typical New Japan tag match. I thought the previous match was better, but this was still pretty decent. Tiger Mask worked a lot of the match, selling for the heels. David Finlay tried to go toe to toe with Fale but the rest of the BC laid him to. Omega tried to bodyslam Fale on Finlay but it didn’t work as all the faces entered the ring and made their comeback. It boiled down to Fale and Finlay again at the end, with Fale getting the better of things this time and pinning Finlay with the grenade.

Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Roppongi Vice to win the IWGP Junior tag team titles

Taichi came out with Miho Abe, his manager of sorts for the night. As RPG Vice came out, Kanemaru and Desperado jumped them and worked them over a long time, including Abe slapping Romero and Taichi using the ring well. RPG Vice came back with stereo suicide dives to the outside. 

They land Strong Zero, but a distraction by Desperado allows Taichi and Desperado to lay out the two with belt shots. Kanemaru hits a tilt a whirl DDT, but Romero kicks out. Kanemaru follows with a DDT off the top rope to win the titles for his team. This was fine, but nothing special, though there were one or two good near falls toward the end.

Taichi and Kanemaru continued to lay waste to Roppongi Vice until Jado and Gedo made the save. So whether you like it or not, that's your next title program.

Sabre came out for the next match with both the PWG and Evolve world titles. That’s an interesting political situation. 

Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Katsuyori Shibata to win the RPW British Heavyweight title

They started off with some really great technical mat wrestling. Shibata wraps Sabre’s wrists around his neck, but Sabre reverses it. Shibata manages to counter before they break. Sabre works on the injured shoulder of Shibata.comes back with a penalty kick attempt but Sabre does a fake out and takes down Shibata with a gogoplata. 

From there, he then transitions into a double arm scissors. This had some really great technical wrestling and different than other New Japan matches, really cool to see. Shibata puts Sabre in a sleeper then drills him with a half dragon suplex. 

Minoru Suzuki comes in out of nowhere and begins to distract Shibata as he was going for the penalty kick. Shibata instead attacks Suzuki, but it was all a ploy as Davey Boy Smith Jr. runs in and lays him out. Suzuki puts him in the sleeper and allows Sabre to hit the penalty kick to pin Shibata, winning the title.

Sabre Jr. and the rest of Suzuki-gun put the boots to Shibata after the match. Suzuki cut a promo officially welcoming Zack Sabre Jr. as the newest member of Suzuki-gun as the stable posed for photos.  

Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano to win the IWGP Heavyweight tag team titles

Ishii and Kojima worked together and it was awesome, they had a back and forth slap battle that felt like it lasted a full minute. Kojima did the kokeshi on Yano as a tribute to Makabe. Kojima ran into Yano’s exposed turnbuckle but kicked out of a roll up attempt. Kojima missed a lariat, ate a headbutt by Ishii and Yano followed with a roll up but Kojima still kicked out. 

Tenzan tagged in, was about to be slingshotted into an Ishii lariat but he countered with a  headbutt. Kojima took out Yano with another kokeshi as Tenzan took down Ishii with the anaconda vise, then Kojima hit one more lariat to win the IWGP tag team titles for his team in a good little match.

Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi came out to celebrate with the new champions after the match.

BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL (NEVER Six Man Tag Team champions) and Tetsuya Naito (IWGP Intercontinental champion) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Micheal Elgin and KUSHIDA

This was another eight man match full of action, probably the best out of the three tonight. Elgin and Sanada worked a lot together and was pretty good. KUSHIDA and BUSHI also worked together for a time. Naito and Juice were the two left in the ring towards the end of the match, with Naito scoring the win for his team with the Destino.

EVIL took out Tanahashi, who are scheduled to face one another in the New Japan Cup preliminary round, with a new submission as LIJ stood tall.

Hiromu Takahashi defeated Ryusuke Taguchi to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title

They started off having a nice back and forth affair. Then it got real interesting as Takahashi started laying in the slaps. Taguchi followed, and the comedy was over as he took down Takahashi with some big slaps. He took down Takahashi with the dodon then follows that with the ankle lock. Takahashi gets the knees up on a frosh splash attempt.

 He gains momentum, hitting the running death valley driver into the corner but as Takahashi goes for the timb bomb but Taguchi counters with the ankle lock. Taguchi looked like he was going for a torture rack but Takahashi counters with a small package. Takahashi hits another running death valley driver then hits the time bomb to retain the title. This was a really good, but not spectacular match, though there were some really great moments during the match.

Takahashi takes the mic after and declares he’s looking for a challenger. KUSHIDA responds, wanting his rematch from the Tokyo Dome. The two stare down one another, the next junior title program clear.

Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight champion) defeated Tiger Mask W in a non-title match

Takahashi takes the mic after and declares he’s looking for a challenger. KUSHIDA responds, wanting his rematch from the Tokyo Dome. The two stare down one another, the next junior title program clear.

This match started out as a nice, clean back and forth match. Tiger Mask W did the Golden Triangle moonsault but Okada countered the tiger bomb. Okada busts out red ink as Tiger Mask fights to make it to the ropes. Okada tries for the rainmaker but Tiger Mask counters and hits a snap German suplex (after faking out with a dragon suplex, which is pretty cool). 

Okada starts stomping on Tiger Mask which gets him angry and starts mounting a comeback. Tiger Mask shoves the referee but Okada comes flaring back with shots of his own. He hits the dropkick and goes for the rainmaker but Ibushi counters with a kick to the head. Still holding Okada’s hand, Tiger Mask connects with another and hits the press powerbomb but Okada kicks out.

Tiger Mask tries for the tiger bomb but Okada fights out of it. They go to the top rope where Okada tries to go for a tombstone but Tiger Mask lands on his feet and nails a reverse dropsault. Tiger Mask then comes off with an amazing tiger bomb off the top rope but Okada still kicks out. Tiger Mask goes for one more tiger bomb but Okada counters and follows with two rainmakers. Okada goes for a third, but Tiger Mask counters with a kick to the temple. Okada catches Tiger Mask off the top rope, hits a scary deadlift German suplex then hits the third rainmaker for the win. Excellent main event with some crazy moves near the end.

Okada wanted to shake Tiger Mask’s hand but he refuses, exiting the ring. He cut a promo promising he’ll deliver the rainmaker for many anniversary shows to come as the show ends.