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NJPW Festival 2016 report: New rookies debut

Here is what went down tonight at NJPW Wrestling Festival 2016, a Axxess-like event featuring matches between wrestlers who are not on the main WrestleKingdom 10 card. It will also feature the debut of two new rookies, Kanemitsu Teruaki and Kawato Hirai as they face off against long time young lions Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu, respectively.

Hirai Kawato  vs. Yohei Komatsu

Hirai is only eighteen. Just to compare, Yohei is 27. Okada is 28. Weird how some guys start older while some start younger. He looked fine here as it was mostly a chain grappling match. People were behind Kawato immediately, chanting his name. I guess that’s because it’s his first match. Komatsu won with the Boston crab.

Teruaki Kanemitsu vs. Sho Tanaka

Same deal here. First part of the match was chain grappling. Kanemitsu busted out a dropkick and a gutwrench, but ultimately Tanaka got the win with a Boston crab. Interesting to see both of the older younger lions control the match. Kanemitsu looked fine here as well for his first ever match.

Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & Jay White vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Mascara Dorada & David Finlay

Another short match. It was good enough for what it was, which was a typical New Japan six man. White was pinned here via a Dorada Screwdriver by Mascara Dorada.

Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Juice Robinson

This got more time than the other matches. Another solid match. CNJ, Nagata and Nakanishi worked as the heels. CNJ did the Mongolian chops to irritate Tenzan and the crowd booed. They all worked on Robinson for a bit. One funny spot was Robinson doing his punches, hit the last one, and Nagata responded by doing a Flair flop. Kojima got the pin for his team with a diamond cutter followed by a lariat.

Other show notes:

At one point Yuji Nagata came out and introduced two new young lions, Oka and Kitamura. Oka is a national wrestling champion that’s been in the dojo off and on for a while while Kitamura is a freestyle wrestler who was undefeated from 2008 to 2010. Kitamura in particular looks gigantic and already has a presence about him. Let’s just say WWE would probably sign him on the spot if he weren’t 5’11.

The first Lion’s Gate show will be on 2/25. This was the concept introduced last year where young wrestlers would be brought in from various promotions. The new young lions debuting tonight (Kanemitsu and Kawato) will be a part of that show.

Rest of the stream, besides a few comedy segments with celebrities and Ryusuke Taguchi, was dedicated to promos for tomorrow’s show. Nothing noteworthy other than good promos from Elgin and Tama Tonga. Kushida said his second was about to arrive in Japan for tomorrow’s show, which is probably Shelley if I were a betting man.