NJPW's Battle Autumn tour concludes today in Osaka with a card that includes three title matches, plus the semifinals of the IWGP World Television title tournament.
In the main event, Will Ospreay will defend the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against Tetsuya Naito.
In the semi-main, FTR will put the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles on the line against Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan of the United Empire.
In the show's other title bout, United Empire's Francesco Akira and TJP defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag titles against BUSHI and Titan.
In the TV title tournament semifinals, SANADA takes on Ren Narita, plus Zack Sabre Jr. faces EVIL. The winners will square off at Wrestle Kingdom on January 4 to crown the first IWGP World TV Champion.
The full card:
- IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) (c) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
- Kazuchika Okada & Tama Tonga vs. Jay White & KENTA
- Parejas Increibles: Master Wato & El Desperado vs. Hiromu Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori
- IWGP World Television Championship tournament semifinals: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. EVIL
- IWGP World Television Championship tournament semifinals: SANADA vs. Ren Narita
- Hikuleo vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, David Finlay & Alex Zayne vs. United Empire (Aaron Henare, Gideon Gray, Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: TJP & Francesco Akira (c) vs. BUSHI & Titan
Our live coverage begins at 4 a.m. Eastern time.
IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship: Fransico Akira and TJP (United Empire) (c) defeated Titan and BUSHI (Los Ingobernables de Japon)
This was an action-packed way to open the show: an all-out sprint, a great way to start the night.
LIJ landed a double dropkick and tandem tope to the floor as the opening bell sounded. Akira and TJP fought back in the ring before landing a dive of their own to reverse momentum in the opening sprint. UE controlled the match for some time following the first turnaround, isolating BUSHI and Titan while using double-team tactics when possible.
Titan eventually received a hot tag and turned things around for his team. Titan landed a springboard moonsault to the floor to take out both of his opponents before taking the fight to TJP in the ring.
With all men in the ring, the match broke down, trading momentum before a late-match reset. Once the fog cleared, UE landed their double knee finish, but Titan broke up the pin. After clearing Titan from the ring, UE hit leaning tower to retain their titles.
Gideon Gray, Arron Henare, Kyle Fletcher, and Mark Davis (United Empire) defeated Toru Yano, David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Alex Zayne
Gideon Gray, the financier of UE, was the first to come to the ring. From the ring, Gray introduced each of his partners in an awkward promo.
Henare and Finlay opened the match with a standard back-and-forth. Zayne tagged in to take advantage for his team with an impressive sequence of moves. UE rushed the ring to bring Zayne's hot start to a close, isolating him from his partners and establishing a solid lead.
Tanahashi eventually received a tag and turned things around for his team. Gray tried to challenge Tanahashi, but a single strike left him on his back.
A short rally from UE forced Yano to tag in. Yano immediately removed the turnbuckle cover and, after a bit of a runaround, slammed Fletcher into the exposed corner. UE rushed the ring to prevent Yano from causing any more chaos, leading to the match losing its structure for a bit. After clearing the ring of all his partners, Aussie Open hit Yano with Coriolis to win the match.
Hikuleo defeated Yujiro Takahashi
This was excellent.
Before the opening bell, SHO helped Yujiro blindside Hikuleo with an unfair assault. Hikuleo withstood the attack, beat down both members of House of Torture, and called for the opening bell himself. Hikuleo landed a chokeslam and pinned Yujiro to win the match in under 30 seconds.
After the match, Hikuleo called out Karl Anderson.
NJPW World TV Championship tournament semi-final: Ren Narita defeated SANADA
This was another great outing from Narita -- an entertaining match bell-to-bell.
The match opened with a back-and-forth grappling sequence that worked its way to the mat. The extended sequence ended after a rope break, and SANADA immediately took control. After escaping an early skull end attempt, Narita bounced out of a paradise lock with a quick response. The match then spilled to the floor, where SANADA landed a suplex and a piledriver, leading to a near count out.
Narita landed a sudden overhead throw to put SANADA on the back foot. Narita tried for an armbar, a limb he would target even after SANADA's escape. Narita locked in a cobra twist, forcing SANADA into the ropes.
Narita hammered SANADA with heavy kicks as the match entered its ending stretch. SANADA answered with multiple skull end attempts, which he eventually secured in the middle of the ring. After Narita was limp, SANADA tried for a moosault, but Narita caught him with his knees.
As the clock ticked down, the pair entered a short strike exchange. SANADA tried for a bridging pin, but Narita answered with a rear naked. SANDA escaped and pushed for skull end once more, but, again, Narita locked in the rear naked.
With less than one minute left on the clock, both men started throwing bombs. SANADA tried for a spinning lariat, but Narita caught him, landing a Narita Special #4. Narita pinned SANADA, winning the match and moving on to WrestleKingdom to challenge for the new NJPW World TV Championship in the Tokyo Dome.
NJPW World TV Championship tournament semi-final: Zack Sabre Jr. defeated EVIL
ZSJ used two young lions to distract EVIL before the match began. A quick crucifix after the opening bell nearly scored ZSJ an effortless win.
EVIL fought back after the opening shenanigans by taking the match to the floor. EVIL used chairs and young lions as weapons to establish an early lead. Even with EVIL's antics, ZSJ was able to tie up EVIL on the outside and nearly force a countout.
ZSJ secured a choke in the middle of the ring, prompting Dick Togo to interfere. ZSJ's young lion backup helped fight off Togo, leaving ZSJ and EVIL alone in the ring. EVIL escaped the choke and tried for Everything is Evil, but ZSJ reversed, turning EVIL's finish into a quick pin, winning the match.
The match is set. ZSJ vs. Ren Narita, January 4, WrestleKingdom for the new New Japan World TV Championship.
Incredible Tag Match: Master Wato and El Desperado defeated Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori
This was great. The inter-team dynamics were incredibly fun.
Ahead of their four-way match at WrestleKingdom, Wato, Desperado, Ishimori, and Hiromu drew straws to determine teams for this "Incredible Tag Match".
Before the match began, Hiromu tried shaking Ishimori's hand; the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion rejected the gesture. Wato and Desperado also had an awkward encounter before the match's start.
Wato and Hiromu opened the match with a strike exchange. Hiromu established control and tried passing it off to Ishimori, but Ishimori rejected the tag. Desperado then pulled Hiromu to the floor and laid the boots to Hiromu. Wato was unhappy with his partner's interference, pushing him into the barricade for his help. Desperado tagged into the match with a slap across his partner's face.
Hiromu grew desperate for a tag as Wato and Desperado traded slaps for tags. Ishimori rejected Hiromu's tag attempts, leaving Desperado and Wato with an awkward lead.
After a suplex to the entrance ramp left Hiromu laid out, Desperado and Wato traded heavy strikes. Hiromu was able to use their miscommunication to take light control over his opponents. After this turnaround, Ishimori finally tagged in. After the tag, Hiromu dropped Ishimori with a dropkick into the barricade and tried pinning his own partner.
A blind tag caused some confusion among Desperado and Wato. Regardless, Desperado locked in numero dos on Ishimori while Wato focused on Hiromu. Ishimori reversed into a yes lock, but Wato chose to maintain his own hold instead of helping his partner; luckily, Ishimori broke up the submissions.
Wato landed a dive to the floor, taking out Ishimori. Hiromu responded with a dive of his own that left Ishimori and Wato on the mat. Desperado finished the deal with a dive, taking out all three of his WrestleKingdom opponents.
Back in the ring, all four men went back and forth. Hiromu and Ishimori finally came to terms, working well together for a short sequence. Hiromu positioned Wato in the fireman's carry, looking to close. Ishimori then landed a jumping knee on his partner, sending him crashing down with Wato in perfect pinning position. Wato unknowingly pinned Hiromu, leaving only Ishimori standing at the match's end.
Tama Tonga and Kazuchika Okada defeated Jay White and KENTA (Bullet Club)
White was quick to use the referee to create some early separation which he used to take the initial lead. Okada interrupted White during a taunting spree, leading a rapid sequence and forcing a frustrated White to tag out.
Tama and Okada worked together to take full control of the match. White answered the face's lead with a well-timed pull to the floor, leading to a weapon-filled assault outside the ring. Back inside the ropes, BC worked to isolate Tama, eventually leading to the hot tag.
Okada launched his team's comeback with a barrage of offense against White. White avoided the Okada elbow, landing a DDT in response to end Okada's uncontested rally. A sequence of finish attempts followed, ending with an air raid crash. White was first to tag out, buying KENTA enough time to prevent Okada's escape.
Okada withstood KENTA's stalling long enough to tag Tama back in the match. Tama overwhelmed Kenta with boots, a clothesline, a splash, and a back suplex, scoring a near fall.
White hit the ring, helping KENTA fight back against Tama. White hit Tama with a suplex, and KENTA landed a double foot stomp and busaiku knee, forcing Okada to make the save.
KENTA tried for a quick pin, placing his feet on the top rope. The referee caught KENTA, giving Tama enough time to drop KENTA and land supreme flow for a near fall. After a brief reversal sequence, Tama hit KENTA with a gun stun to win the match.
After the closing bell, White and Okada had a momentary stare down.
IWGP Tag Team Championship: Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler (FTR) (c) defeated Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan (United Empire)
What a match. Great.
The match began with a solid feeling-out segment. FTR was the first team to gain an advantage, filled with double-team maneuvers to cement their lead. O-Khan used his braid to choke Dax, buying himself space and time to tag out to Cobb. Cobb and O-Khan then returned the favor, using tandem offense to establish control.
Cash eventually received a hot tag, leading to a superb sequence to re-establish FTR in the match. A knee from Dax to an elevated Cobb resulted in an FTR favored near fall. O-Khan saved Cobb from any more punishment, pulling him to his corner and tagging in.
O-Khan and Dax came to blows in the middle of the ring. The men eventually fought into the corner, where a sly tag led to a suplerplex/splash combination for a near fall.
With UE looking to close, FTR blocked tour of the islands and attempted big rig. O-Khan stuffed FTR's finish and tried for eliminator. With Cobb nowhere in sight, O-Khan couldn't secure his finish, instead opening the door for another big rig attempt; this time, it connected, leading to the FTR victory.
IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) defeated Tetsuya Naito
The match started fast, with a rapid sequence ending with both men on equal footing. Naito followed the open by slowing the pace, connecting with offense to focus Ospreay's neck and back. A chop from Ospreay stopped Naito's advance, sending him crashing to the floor.
On the outside, Ospreay sent Naito smashing into the barricade. Back in the ring, Ospreay continued with his newfound lead, connecting with chops before landing a colossal backbreaker.
Naito didn't let Ospreay's offense continue for long. After a reversal, Naito connected with various moves, including a falling neckbreaker and a double-leg nelson that forced Ospreay into the ropes.
Ospreay fought back into the match with a handspring enziguri followed by a plancha to the floor. A step-up enziguri ended an attempted rally from Naito.
A pair of falling neck breakers, one to the floor, interrupted Ospreay's lead and let Naito convincingly retake the match. Naito slammed Ospreay into the ring post, but a quick leaping cutter from the barricade ended Naito's assault.
Back in the ring, the pair traded forearms. Naito clubbed Ospreay down, even after a quick suplex, focusing the neck even further. Naito landed a rope-assisted DDT before attempting a poison-rana; Ospreay landed on his feet and landed an OsCutter in response. Naito kicked out.
Ospreay lifted Naito onto his shoulders and climbed to the top rope. Naito reversed whatever Ospreay was attempting into a rana and attempted Destino. Ospreay stuffed Naito's finish and landed a giant powerbomb for a near fall.
Naito turned things back around with a quick sequence before attempting Destino two more times; the second connected. After Ospreay kicked out, he tried for a Stormbreaker which Naito reversed. After surviving another Destino, Ospreay connected with a pair of hidden blades for another near fall. Ospreay then hit Stormbreaker and pinned Naito to retain his title.
To close the show, Ospreay cut a promo to set up his next challenger. He offered an open challenge at the Stardom crossover show, asking anyone from the back or behind the "Forbbiden Door" to step up. It seemed no one was willing to answer his call. After the confetti fell and Ospreay was leaving the ring, the lights went dark and a video package played revealing Ospreay's next challenger, "Roughneck" Shota Umino.
Umino walked to the ring and stared down Ospreay. Umino grabbed a mic, but instead of answering with words, Umino laid out Ospreay and the rest of United Empire who stood by his side. Umino stood tall with Ospreay's belt. Umino exited through the crowd.
Umino vs. Ospreay is now set for November 20th, Stardom X NJPW with the IWGP US championship on the line.