Though the shows are usually in February, New Japan Pro Wrestling's New Beginning tour kicked off in Sapporo this morning. And though the tour is usually two shows, this year it's three -- with two consecutive nights in Sapporo and a February date in Osaka.
Night one was headlined by a match that was set up at New Year's Dash, with Hiroshi Tanahashi defending his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Minoru Suzuki, whose hair is growing back. On the undercard, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Los Ingobernables de Japon, and Chaos were all in action in tag matches.
- Michael Elgin defeated Katsuya Kitamura
The show opened with the continuation of Kitamura's challenge series. Elgin hit a powerbomb to beat him, and Kitamura is now 0-2 in the seven-match series after losing to Jay White in the first bout.
- KUSHIDA, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger, Manabu Nakanishi & Tiger Mask IV defeated El Desperado, Taichi, Taka Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
This ended when KUSHIDA used the Hoverboard Lock to tap out Michinoku.
- Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defeated Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi
The Bullet Club Job Squad fell to Chaos when Ishii hit Owens with a vertical brainbuster.
- NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa defeated Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe & Toa Henare to retain their titles
In the first title match on the card, the champions retained when Tonga made Henare tap with the Dream Catcher.
- Cody, Marty Scurll & Hangman Page defeated Kota Ibushi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson
Page hit the Rite of Passage (kneeling back-to-belly piledriver) on Finlay to win it. The story between Cody and Ibushi doesn't seem to be over. Following the match, they exchanged words and Cody taunted Ibushi.
Cody told Kevin Kelly to be ready for plan D, D for Don. Kelly then asked Cody if there was trouble in paradise and if Cody and Kenny Omega are on the same page. Cody replied, "Kenny Omega is the leader of the Bullet Club. God bless America and god bless Kenny Omega. I love him." So, there's that -- for now.
- Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi defeated YOSHI-HASHI & Will Ospreay
Naito used a jackknife pin to get the fall on Ospreay. That came after Naito kicked Ospreay low and Takahashi connected with a superkick.
In a chaotic scene after the match which saw the guardrails falling down and young lions getting involved, YOSHI-HASHI attacked Naito, specifically going after his eyes. YOSHI-HASHI walked away, but Naito came back for more. Eventually, YOSHI-HASHI made his way to the back and Naito and Takahashi posed in the ring.
- Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto & Gedo defeated SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI
BUSHI tapped out to Okada's Cobra Clutch for the finish. After the match, Okada (still wearing those really ugly pants from Wrestle Kingdom) called out SANADA (who updated his already amazing mohawk to make it even more amazing) to get back into the ring, which SANADA did.
SANADA grabbed the mic and just threw it down and left. A now angry Okada went after him, put him into the ring post, hit a tombstone piledriver, stuffed Rainmaker bucks in his mouth, and slapped on the Cobra Clutch.
- Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks defeated Jay White, Sho & Yoh
The Bucks hit the Indytaker on Yoh to win it. The story here was what happened after the match, with White hitting the Blade Runner on Omega to send a message to him ahead of their IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship match at night two in Sapporo.
- Minoru Suzuki defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
In a match that has gotten strong reviews, Suzuki won the title when the referee called for the stoppage with Tanahashi in a kneebar. The story with Tanahashi has been the fact that he's been working with all sorts of injuries. Suzuki took advantage of that and captured the title for the first time, but Tanahashi never gave up and never tapped out.
Before the finish, Suzuki hit the Gotch piledriver but insisted on going for the submission.