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NJPW Wrestling Dontaku night one live results: Tanahashi vs. White

Hiroshi Tanahashi defends the NEVER Openweight Championship against Jay White in the main event of night one of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku. 

Tanahashi claimed the NEVER title with a win over Shingo Takagi at The New Beginning in Nagoya on January 30. White holds a 4-2 career record over Tanahashi in singles matches. 

The semi-main event will feature the second-ever singles ladder match in NJPW history. Taichi will take on Tama Tonga with the iron fingers from hell suspended above the ring. Their tag partners will also face off in a singles match, as Zack Sabre Jr. battles Tanga Loa. If Loa wins, Taichi and Sabre are barred from challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships ever again. 

A series of tag matches will fill out the undercard. 

Los Ingobernables de Japon takes on United Empire in an eight-man tag, with Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare. 

Kazuchika Okada returns to action, teaming with SHO & YOH vs. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru. 

Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tiger Mask & Master Wato will face EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Taiji Ishimori & Dick Togo in the opener. 

Our live coverage begins at 5 a.m. Eastern time. 

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EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Taiji Ishimori & Dick Togo defeated Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tiger Mask & Master Wato (9:57)

The second half of this was pretty good as the better workers got in. 

Bullet Club used a jumpstart attack before the bell. Tenzan spent the next five minutes selling for everyone in Bullet Club. He finally managed a tag to Wato, who ran wild on Togo with a springboard uppercut forearm and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. 

Togo blocked a sunset flip attempt and Ishimori tagged in. Ishimori hit a sliding German on Wato for a near fall. Wato avoided a lungblower. Ishimori avoided a dreamcast. Wato hit a dreamcast on his second attempt. 

Tiger got a tag and hit a crossbody off the top rope. Tiger hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near fall. The good guys went 4-on-1 against Ishimori. Tiger hit a Tiger Suplex off the top for a near fall. Bullet Club jumped in to save Ishimori. 

Tiger kicked out of a lungblower. Ishimori then connected with a Bloody Cross for the pin. 

Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH defeated Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (10:31)

This was very good. All of these guys work well together. Okada was moving much better than he has been of late in his return after about a month off. 

YOH went after Desperado before the bell. The two started off as the leagal men and traded strikes. YOH was getting the better of the exchange. Kanemaru and SHO got tags. Suzuki-gun cut SHO off and turned this into a brawl around ringside. 

SHO came back with a suplex on Suzuki. Okada tagged in for a nice exchange with Suzuki. Okada blocked a PK. Suzuki fought off an air raid crash attempt. Okada blocked a Gotch-style Piledriver and hit a dropkick. 

Desperado and YOH got tags. Desperado tried Numero Dos, but YOH made the ropes. Kanemaru tagged in and continued to go after YOH's legs with a figure four. SHO made the save and hit Kanemaru with a spear. SHO and YOH hit a tandem facebuster for two, with Suzuki saving for Kanemaru. 

YOH teased the Direct Drive, but Desperado saved. Desperado got hit with a thrust kick. YOH hit a thrust kick to Kanemaru, then landed Direct Drive to pick up the pin. 

Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI defeated Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare (11:31)

This was also very good. These guys have mixed and match in just about every conceivable combination of singles and tags on this tour. 

Shingo and Ospreay kicked things off with a great series of counters and teases of their big moves. They will tear the house down tomorrow. 

LIJ briefly established the advantage by gong 4-on-1 against Cobb. BUSHI tagged in and was quickly on the wrong end of a beatdown from United Empire. BUSHI hit a double rana to Cobb and Ospreay and tagged Naito. 

Naito and O-Khan had a brief exchange with a lot of hair pulling and brawling. Henare and SANADA got tags. Henare hit a blue thunder bomb. Empire went 4-on-1 against SANADA. Cobb hit SANADA with a spin cycle. Henare covered for a near fall as LIJ saved SANADA. 

SANADA countered a Streets of Rage attempt into a dragon sleeper. Everyone jumped in for a big move as they worked to the finish. Ospreay hit Shingo with a stunner. 

Henare countered out of Skull End. SANADA slid out of Streets of Rage and used an O'Connor roll to pin Henare. 

Ospreay tried to hit Shingo with a Stormbreaker after the match. Shingo escaped. Ospreay escaped a Last of the Dragon and retreated. 

Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tanga Loa (15:12)

The story here was the story of most Sabre matches -- Sabre is the superior technician, while his opponent has the power and striking edge. It's simple, but it always works. 

Sabre got three quick near falls right away with pinning combinations. They locked up with a knuckle lock. Sabre used some impressive bridges to avoid being pinned. Sabre stomped at Loa's left arm. Loa dropped Sabre with two big forearm shots, then hit a powerslam for a near fall. 

Sabre came back with a DDT, then went to work on the left arm again. He used stomps to the arm, a double wristlock, then twisted the arm with his legs. Loa reached the ropes to force a break on another wristlock. 

Sabre kicked at Loa's left arm. Loa fired back with forearm strikes. Sabre hit a series of kicks. Loa hit a powerslam. He went for a powerbomb, but Sabre turned it into a guillotine. Loa drove Sabre into the corner to break the hold. 

Loa went for Apesh*t, but Sabre slid out. They traded strikes. Loa missed a gamengiri. Sabre hit a PK for a near fall. Loa hit a lariat for a near fall, then locked on the OJK. Sabre forced a rope break. 

Loa hit a delayed vertical suplex, then missed a frog splash. Sabre used a neck twist, then went back to a double wristlock. He transitioned to a crucifix hold, but Loa reached the ropes. 

Sabre went for an octopus hold. Loa reversed into an Apes*t attempt. Sabre reversed that into a European clutch for a near fall. Loa hit a spear and a powerbomb for a near fall. 

Loa ducked a high kick and hit a gamengiri. He went for Apesh*t again, but Sabre escaped and trapped his shoulders to the mat for the pin. 

***** Intermission *****

Iron fingers from hell ladder match: Taichi (w/DOUKI) defeated Tama Tonga (w/Jado) (27:11)

The finish was excellent, but this was far from one of the best ladder matches you'll ever see. 

The iron fingers from hell were suspended from the ceiling in a clear plastic tote bag. The ladders looked like shoot aluminum ladders and absolutely brutal to take bumps with and on. 

They brawled early. Taichi hit an axe bomber. They retrieved a couple of smaller ladders from around the ring and dueled with them. Tama made the first climb on a short ladder, which was wobbling all over the place. The ref wasn't helping to keep the thing stable. He gave up trying to reach the bag and went back after Taichi with right hands. 

Tama whipped Taichi into a ladder in the corner, then followed with a splash. He went for a cover in this here ladder match. The ref refused to count, as there are no pinfalls. Tama missed a splash in the corner and crashed into a ladder. Taichi hit a backdrop into the corner, sending Tama's feet into a ladder. Tama sold his feet. 

Taichi set up a ladder bridge from the ring to the barricade. Jado distracted Taichi to save Tama from a suplex on the ladder bridge. DOUKI saved Taichi from a ladder shot. Tama took DOUKI down with a lariat. Taichi hit Tama with a ladder on the outside. 

Taichi set up a big ladder and started to climb. Tama cut him off with back rakes. Tama took a bump off the ladder. Taichi hit a jumping forearm off the ladder. Tama was first up and started to climb. DOUKI nailed him with a springboard dropkick. Jado got in and hit DOUKI with a kendo stick, then kicked Taichi to the floor. 

Jado taped Taichi's wrists to the barricade. Tama started to climb. Sabre ran in and shoved Tama off the ladder, then used a neck twist on Jado. Sabre freed Taichi. Loa ran in as Taichi started to climb. Loa hit Sabre with Apesh*t. 

Loa went for a powerbomb on Taichi, but DOUKI saved. Loa hit a powerbomb on DOUKI over the top rope and through the ladder bridge. Brutal. DOUKI has taken some bad bumps on virtually every night of this tour. 

Taichi fought out of a Magic Killer. He hit a gamengiri to Loa and a low blow on Tama. Taichi removed his trousers. Taichi no-sold a kendo stick shot from Jado and hit a hip toss on a ladder. 

Taichi started to climb. Tama interfered. Taichi hit a chokeslam off the ladder. Tama intercepted another climb and Taichi got hung up in the ladder. Tama brought a table into the ring. Taichi fought off an attempt at a powerbomb through the table. 

Both climbed the ladder. Tama tried a Gun Stun off the ladder, but Taichi shoved him off through the table. 

Taichi retrieved the iron fingers to win the match. 

NEVER Openweight Championship match: Jay White (w/Gedo) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the title (39:01)

This was an absolute war and an instant classic. 

White did his customary stalling right away. Tanahashi broke cleanly against the ropes. White used a hair pull and went to work on Tana's knees, dropping him knee-first on the apron. White hit a backbreaker for a two count. 

White used a leglock on the mat. Tanahashi tried some forearms, but White rolled over and maintained the hold. Tana forced a rope break. White hit an inverted dragon screw in the ropes. Tana came back with a dragon screw and flying forearm. 

Tana hit a dropkick in the corner and a somersault senton for a one count. Tana hit a basement dropkick to White's left leg. Tana went for the Texas cloverleaf, but White kicked him away. White hit a DDT. 

White posted Tanahashi's legs. Tana fought for a dragon screw as White climbed back inside. White avoided one attempt, but Tana got it on his second try. Tana hit a standing High Fly Flow to the floor. Both beat the count back inside. 

White blocked three slingblade attempts. He hit a complete shot and a wheelbarrow German suplex. White hit a snap Saito suplex at the 15 minute call. Tana blocked a Kiwi Krusher and hit twist and shout twice. White turtled up to avoid a third. Tana then hit an inverted dragon screw, then hit the third twist and shout. 

White again avoided slingblade and hit a uranage. White hit a sleeper suplex, then used Tana's own Texas cloverleaf. White transitioned to the TTO. Tana forced a rope break after fighting the hold for a long time. 

Tana fought off another sleeper suplex attempt, but White hit a chop block to the left leg. Tana again fought off the sleeper suplex with a slap. Tana went for a dragon suplex. White fought it off, but Tana trapped his arms and hit a straightjacket German into a bridge for a great near fall. 

Tana hit slingblade. Gedo jumped on the apron. Tana bumped him to the floor. Tana went for a High Fly Flow, but White caught him coming off the top. He teased a Blade Runner, but went back to the TTO instead. Tana powered his way to the ropes to force a break. 

Tana refused to let go of the ropes. White argued with the referee. Tana used the opportunity to hit a dragon screw at the 25 minute call. White hit his own dragon screw. Tana went for a cloverleaf, but White kicked his leg out. White hit another dragon screw. Tana kicked White off as he went for a TTO. 

Tana hit another dragon screw. Both guys were down, selling the incredible damage they had done to each other's legs. There was a scramble on the mat. Both grabbed a leg. Both agreed to back off. 

They met back in the center of the ring on their knees and traded strikes. They climbed to their feet and continued to trade. White hit a dragon screw and kicked at Tana's left leg. White hit another dragon screw. White hit an uppercut forearm in the corner at 30 minutes in. 

White taunted Tana to get back to his feet. He hit two more uppercut forearms in the corner. They did a long ref stoppage tease. White pulled Tana to his feet. Tana whiffed on a dragon screw attempt and a slap attempt. White was in total control. Tana hit a hail mary lariat into a double down. 

Tana powered White into the corner and hit a dragon screw at the 35 minute call. Tana reversed a Blade Runner into a slingblade. He hit another slingblade for a near fall. 

Tana hit a High Fly Flow. He hit a second High Fly Flow to the legs. Tana used the cloverleaf. Jay tapped out, but Gedo jumped on the apron and took the ref, so the ref missed the tap. Tana hit Gedo with a dragon screw. 

White caught Tana in a small package for a near fall, then used a backslide with his feet on the ropes for another near fall. Tana blocked a Blade Runner. 

Tana fought for a dragon suplex. White reversed into a Blade Runner and pinned Tanahashi to win the title. 

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White cut a promo after the match. He mocked Tana's "Never give up, never quit" catchphrase that he's been using in promos building to this match. White said it's time for Tana to hang up his boots. 

White said this completed his NJPW Grand Slam, he's won every heavyweight singles title in NJPW. He said he's the real belt collector and if anyone has a problem with that, they know where to find him. 

He said he's the last rock 'n' roller, the man who sold out Madison Square Garden, the first ever quadruple crown champion. He said this proves that it's still his era. 

Read into the belt collector line what you will. 

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Here is the lineup for tomorrow's show:

NJPW Wrestling Dontaku night two, Tuesday, May 4, 2 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --

  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs. Shingo Takagi
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado (c) vs. YOH
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Jay White, EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Taiji Ishimori & Dick Togo
  • Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare
  • Kazuchika Okada & SHO vs. Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  • Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI vs. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jado