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NJPW New Year's Golden Series live results: Tanahashi vs. SANADA

Three titles will be on the line on tonight's show, including Tanahashi defending the US title against SANADA.

Three titles are on the line tonight on the penultimate night of NJPW's New Year's Golden Series tour.

In the main event, Hiroshi Tanahashi will defend the IWGP United States Heavyweight title against SANADA. Tanahashi is in the midst of his second reign with the US belt, defeating KENTA at Wrestle Kingdom in January to kick off his second run.

In the semi-main, Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI will try for their first defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles, facing EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi.

A four-way for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles will take place today, with Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask defending against Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo.

The rest of the card:

  • Kazuchika Okada, Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & Hiromu Takahashi
  • Great-O-Khan vs. Tomoaki Honma
  • Tomohiro Ishii & YOH vs. Dick Togo & SHO
  • Toru Yano & Ryohei Oiwa vs. Minoru Suzuki & Taichi
  • Togi Makabe & Kosei Fujita vs. TAKA Michinoku & DOUKI

Our live coverage begins at 3 a.m. Eastern time.

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DOUKI and TAKA Michinoku (Suzuki-gun) defeated Kosei Fujita and Togi Makabe

This was a fine opener.

Fujita opened the match passionately, taking the fight to both his opponents; his eagerness was punished as the Suzuki-gun pair found their footing. DOUKI and TAKA had their way with the young lion, eventually forcing the tag.

Makabe connected with heavy offence after tagging in, successfully fending off both opponents for some time. When Fujita tagged back in, he maintained this momentum, locking DOUKI into a Boston crab, forcing a rope break. An inside cradle nearly left Fujita with the quick win, prompting TAKA to hit the ring. TAKA and DOUKI landed a double kick, and DOUKI secured the DOUKI Chokie to submit Fujita. 

Minoru Suzuki and Taichi (Suzuki-gun) defeated Ryohei Oiwa and Toru Yano

This match was quite busy, but somehow they pulled it off. It was silly fun, start to finish, with a decent Taichi/Oiwa match snuck in.

Yano came to the ring pushing his dog cage.

Before the match, Suzuki made the referee do a full frisk of Yano, revealing Yano came to the ring with handcuff keys.

After the referee found Yano’s key, Suzuki rushed him only to find a few more keys hidden in his wrist tape. Then Yano and Suzuki wandered to the outside, where Yano tried rolling Suzuki over with the dog cage (it’s on wheels). Yano missed his target but slammed Suzuki into the cage regardless.

Back inside, Yano smacked Suzuki with a turnbuckle pad only to be slammed into the buckle himself. Yano then patted Suzuki’s head; Suzuki responded by securing a leg lock. Yano managed to reverse the piledriver and tag out, leaving Taichi and Oiwa legal.

Oiwa, try as he might, had little success over Taichi; he even had a significant string of offence, but generally, Taichi was unphased. Taichi tried to lock in a single leg Boston crab, but Yano interrupted. This prompted Suzuki and Yano to continue brawling on the outside. Taichi secured the cobra twist, forcing Oiwa to submit.

While the finishing sequence played out in the ring, Suzuki handcuffed Yano and the referee to the dog cage. Suzuki’s music played him out as Yano and the official awkwardly walked to the back attached to end this spectacle.

YOH and Tomohiro Ishii (CHAOS) defeated SHO and Dick Togo (House of Torture)

This match wasn’t filled with the HoT junk, but it wasn’t particularly good.

YOH started the match by attacking SHO on the outside, prompting a brawl on the floor. Inside the ring, YOH continued his attack. SHO responded by throwing YOH back to the outside. Then the dynamic change as SHO focused Ishii and Togo focused YOH.

Once Togo established control over YOH, SHO tagged back in to choke his former partner with a buckle cover. YOH eventually tagged out, allowing Ishii to run through Togo and SHO. SHO turned things around with a quick knee to the midsection. After Togo tagged in, Ishii landed a suplex, opening the match up for YOH to take control once more.

YOH fell to a double team combination punctuated with a SHO spear. Ishii made the save, however, leading to a CHOAS rally. Ishii landed a sliding lariat, letting YOH tie up Togo in his new leg submission; Togo tapped out immediately after YOH locked in the hold.

Great-O-Khan defeated Tomoaki Honma

I might be crazy, but I quite liked this match. Even though Honma was never beating O-Khan, this match gave me just enough hope to believe it was possible.

O-Khan and Honma went back and forth in the opening moments in a basic wrestling exchange. As things progressed, O-Khan gained mat control, locking in a head-and-arm choke that forced Honma into the ropes. O-Khan then sat on the back of Honma, pressing him into the top turnbuckle to cement his control.

After escaping a stomach claw, Honma landed a DDT. Honma’s follow up consisted of a shoulder tackle, a bulldog, and a KoKeShi attempt; O-Khan avoided the headbutt, resulting in a match reset.

The pair traded strikes, with O-Khan winning out. O-Khan landed a throw and a powerslam for a near fall. O-Khan then landed a few Mongolian chops but was cut off by a rocket, KoKeShi, followed by a falling KoKeShi. Honma climbed to ropes and delivered a rocket KoKeShi from the top for a near fall. Honma landed a lariat; O-Khan kicked out at one. Honma tried for another rocket KoKeShi but was caught by O-Khan. O-Khan transitioned into the eliminator; after landing the move, O-Khan pinned Honma to close the match. 

Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon) defeated Kazuchika Okada, Satoshi Kojima and Yuji Nagata

Okada and Naito opened the match with a tie-up. Naito used a headlock to take the match to the mat, and Okada responded with a takedown of his own. After the pair established they were on equal footing, they tagged out.

Shingo and Nagata traded blows, as did Hiromu and Nagata. Kojima struck down Hiromu, forcing Hiromu to tag back into Naito. Naito unloaded on Kojima, forcing a reversal followed by a tag back into Okada. Okada and Naito traded forearms before Okada gained control with an air raid crash neckbreaker. Okada landed heavy rain for a near fall. Naito turned things around with a dropkick to Okada’s knee, followed by a neckbreaker of his own. Naito tried for Gloria, but Okada avoided the move, transitioning into the money clip. Naito fought free, resulting in a match reset.

Nagata and Shingo traded strikes again. Nagata landed an exploder and locked in a chinlock, forcing the save. Nagata landed the justice knee and driver for a near fall. Hiromu made the save, prompting Okada to hit the ring. Naito answered, dropping Okada with Destino. Shingo then landed a pair of lariats for another near fall. Shingo closed the match after hitting Nagata with last of the dragon.

Once the match ended, Naito continued to attack Okada ahead of their match tomorrow. Naito then symbolically pinned Okada, Hiromu counted to three and lifted Naito’s hand. 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Master Wato and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask (Flying Tiger) (c), El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori (BULLET CLUB's Cutest Tag Team), El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Suzuki-gun)

This match was always in full gear—absolutely packed full of flying sequences and general insanity.

This match opened chaotically. Suzuki-gun managed to isolate TM, but Bullet Club fought off the Suzuki-gun squad to focus TM themselves. Eagles kind of made the save, occupying the attention of ELP. Wato and Taguchi tried to score a quick pin over TM, prompting Wato and Eagles to trade moves.

Eagles tried for a dive, but Ishimori interrupted him to land a dive of his own. Desperado interrupted Ishimori’s dive to try a dive of his own, but he was interrupted by ELP. ELP and Desperado traded strikes before swapping positions with TM and Taguchi. TM considered a dive but was stopped by Suzuki-gun. Perhaps wisely, Suzuki-gun let TM get in his dive by throwing him through the ropes. Ishimori and Wato also landed their dives soon after. ELP tried for own of his own, but Eagles stopped him with a super rana to the floor.

Flying Tiger isolated Taguchi. TM landed a butterfly suplex from the top, and Eagles landed a 450 for a near fall. TM locked in an armbar that Bullet Club interrupted. Bullet Club landed plenty of double team offence before Kanemaru made the save. Wato dropped Kanemaru with a dropkick. Taguchi dropped everyone in the match with a hip attack before two quick pin attempts from Flying Tiger. Taguchi tried for a pin attempt of his own that everyone broke up. Somehow Taguchi, Wato, and TM were left alone in the ring. Taguchi hoisted up TM, setting Wato up for an assisted facebuster. Taguchi then pinned TM to win the match and become the 69th IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions.

From the beginning of their hunt, Taguchi and Wato wanted these belts just to be the 69th champions; tonight, they accomplished their goal. 

IWGP Tag Team Championships: Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (Bishamon) (c) defeated EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi (House Of Torture)

Someone, anyone, please, make this stop. 

This match began with HoT jumping Bishamon. Once in the ring, Goto and YH were able to gain some ground, but on the outside, SHO and Togo (who accompanied EVIL and Yujiro to the ring) made things difficult for the champions.

Yujiro and EVIL isolated YH after Togo and SHO beat him with chairs. YH eventually tagged out, letting Goto turn things around for a little while. An exposed buckle and another outside beatdown allowed HoT to retake control. EVIL choked Goto with a shirt for three near falls.

Goto landed a lariat to slow down HoT’s snowballing offence. YH had some successes against Yujiro until Yujiro bit his hand; Yujiro landed a slam for a near fall of his own. YH connected with a pump kick for a quick turnaround, but Togo distracted the referee. Yujiro landed a low blow before bumping the official, letting all four HoT members attack YH. Goto interrupted the beatdown with a stick, buying enough time for the rest of CHAOS to make a save.

Once the referee was standing, YH landed a lariat for a near fall over Yujiro; a GYR yielded another. EVIL stopped all of Bishamon’s offence with a chair shot to YH. Yujiro landed pimp juice for a near fall of his own. Goto then hit the ring, fighting off EVIL and Yujiro. Bishamon landed Shoto and pinned Yujiro to end the match.

After the match, the CHAOS squad posed with the NEVER belts ahead of their match for the titles tomorrow. 

IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: SANADA defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)

I’m generally not a fan of big match SANADA, but there was a lot to like here. Overall, this was a good match with an excellent showing, as always, from Tanashai.

This match opened with an extended feeling-out process. The alternating control in the prolonged kickoff sequence continued on the outside. SANADA gained the first lead following a paradise lock/dropkick combination. As a result, SANADA took the match to the mat, slowly wearing down the defending champion.

Tanahashi began to turn things around following a leaping forearm. A senton from the second rope left Tanahashi with a two count and a strong lead over the challenger. Tanahashi then turned his attention to the leg of SANADA. After a dropkick to the leg and a dragonscrew, Tanahashi tied SANADA into the paradise lock. Tanahashi sent SANADA to the outside before jumping to the floor, delivering a picture-perfect crossbody. As SANADA tried to make his way back in the ring, Tanahashi continued to focus the leg. SANADA escaped the Texas cloverleaf once, only to be locked in the move again moments later.

After escaping Texas cloverleaf a second time, SANADA responded with skull end. Tanahashi slipped free, lading a sling blade followed by high fly flow; SANADA blocked the move with the knee Tanahashi focused earlier in the match, sending both men into deep pain. Through the pain, SANADA locked skull end in once more. Once Tanahashi was lifeless, SANADA tried for a moonsault; Tanahashi blocked it with his knees.

The pair went back and forth, trying for a skull end/dragon sleeper, respectively. Once the submission seemed unlikely, Tanahashi transitioned into a triad of twist and shouts followed by a sling blade. Tanahashi went for high fly flow, but SANADA rolled through. SANADA landed TKO and a moonsault but missed the second moonsault attempt. Tanahashi capitalised with a dragonscrew.

Once the pair was back standing, they traded passionate strikes. SANADA dropped Tanahashi and tried following with a TKO; Tanahashi escaped, landing a suplex and a sling blade before trying another high fly flow. SANADA rolled out of the way and bridged into a leg clutch pin. Tanahashi failed to kick out, leaving SANADA with the win. SANADA is the US Champion.

After his title win, SANADA cut a promo, offering Tanahashi a rematch and saying thanks to the fans. Lance Archer and Jon Moxley were mentioned by commentary as potential challengers.