NJPW Resurgence: Hiroshi Tanahashi crowned IWGP US Champion

NJPW, Hiroshi Tanahashi (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
NJPW, Hiroshi Tanahashi (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

NJPW Resurgence marked the first show NJPW had in the US with fans since the pandemic began, and saw a great main event with Lance Archer and Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship, and Jay White vs. David Finlay for the NEVER Openweight Championship.

Kevin Kelly welcomed us to the show, which jumped right into the first match.

Karl Fredricks vs. Alex Coughlin

Fredricks has long since graduated as a young lion, but he is facing someone he trained with many times in this match, so it should be a great one. This was a very even match, with both men getting their fair share of offence with Fredricks staying just one step ahead. Fredricks ate a gutbuster, but it didn’t keep him down for long before he hit a Shibata dropkick into Coughlin.

Fredricks hit a huge back suplex and an elbow drop for a 2 count. Fredricks locked on an STF and when Coughlin refused to tap, Fredricks shoved his face into the mat hard, then locked it in again, but Coughlin made the ropes. That looked awesome. Coughlin hit a huge chop, and countered Fredricks into a back suplex for a 2-count.

Coughlin did a fallaway slam with a bridge for a 2 count, and then took Fredricks head off with a lariat for another 2-count. That was incredible. Fredricks countered Coughlin and managed to hit Manifest Destiny for the pinfall victory.

Result: Karl Fredricks

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5 stars)

This was a great opening match. Both guys looked awesome. Fredricks and Coughlin are fantastic wrestlers, and they are the young blood coming up in NJPW. The future is bright with these guys.

TJP, Clark Connors, & Ren Narita vs. Rocky Romero, Fred Rosser, & Wheeler Yuta

Yuta started the match with Connors, but when Rocky Romero came in, the crowd popped huge and chanted “Rocky”. Fred Rosser and Romero showed great teamwork against Connors. Ren Narita got into the ring after Rosser knocked him from the apron, but the referee cut him off. Yuta was tagged in and began to work Connors over with several submissions, making his trainer, Drew Gulak, proud, I am sure.

Connors pulled a great misdirection and hit a pounce on Yuta before tagging out to Ren Narita, who immediately charged the corner and nailed Rosser, giving payback for earlier. Narita attacked Rosser again after Yuta kicked out of a pinfall. Rosser tagged in and immediately took it to Narita and backdropped him on the apron.

All three men came in and grounded Rosser in the corner. TJP hit a boot scrape in the corner, and Narita hit a belly to belly but Romero broke it up. Rosser ate a suplex from Narita, but Rosser got up and hit a gutbuster, but Narita got up and they exchanged strikes until they both hit forearms and went down at once. Narita and Rosser both tagged out and Romero hit a hurricanrana on Connors.

Rocky went for the Forever Clotheslines, but Narita cut him off. Every man in the match then exchanged big moves until Connors speared Rosser. TJP and Connors were in the corners, so Romero started his Forever Clotheslines, and hit them, but Connors hit a back suplex on Romero, and then TJP hit a frog splash on Romero for the pinfall.

Result: TJP, Clark Connors, & Ren Narita

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Another great match here, as NJPW multi-man tags rarely disappoint. Narita and Rosser continued to get in each other’s faces, which was great.

NJPW aired a video about the cancelled shows in 2020, but then told the story of NJPW Strong, and NJPW’s American shows, which was absolutely fantastic. This included footage from AEW Dynamite and the Forbidden Door opening, and NJPW mentioned their relationships with ROH, CMLL, and Impact all in the same video, and then thanked the fans for continuing to support them and the partnerships they have in North America. This was so awesome.

Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, Danny Limelight, JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs, Joel Wilson vs. Lio Rush, Chris Dickenson, Yuya Uemura, Adrian Quest, & Fred Yehi

All 10 men started brawling early on, and the match didn’t settle down at all for several minutes, featuring Kratos destroying Fred Yehi with a punch, and Lio Rush and Danny Limelight have an absolutely incredible exchange before Rush and Lawlor faced off. Rush is getting a title shot against Lawlor soon, so this provided a nice preview.

Rush is finishing his NJPW dates before retiring, as he promised, but he looks so good here; I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t retire. Adrian Quest hit some quick moves on Lawlor, but Lawlor used his size and grappling experience to start to wear him down. Lawlor hit a hard kick to the back and went for a kimura after a suplex, but Quest’s teammates broke it up.

Lawlor tagged in Kratos and he threw Quest around the ring easily. Kratos hit some hard knees and elbows to Quest before hitting a deadlift suplex. Team Filthy posed with Quest’s broken body and continued to beat on him 5 on 1. Lawlor locked a rear-naked choke on Quest, but there was a dog pile in the middle of the ring to break it up.

Quest managed to hit a Code Breaker on Isaacs, and tagged out to Uemura, who ran wild. Kevin Kelly noted that Uemura took on Minoru Suzuki willingly in Japan, so he’s nuts. Lawlor and Dickenson started exchanging forearms in the middle of the ring, and tried for submissions and strikes before Lawlor hit a tombstone on Dickenson, but Rush took him out.

Rush ran across the ring but ran into a wall… I mean Kratos. Quest hit a top rope springboard moonsault to the floor, and Rush faced off with Kratos. I worry for Rush’s health here. Rush went for a hurricanrana on Kratos, but Kratos caught him and tossed him over the top rope onto everyone before climbing the ropes himself.

Uemura grabbed Kratos from the top turnbuckle and powerbombed him into the mat. After a Rush Hour from Rush to Limelight, Uemura hit a capture suplex for the pinfall, getting his first win on his excursion! That was fantastic.

Result: Lio Rush, Chris Dickenson, Yuya Uemura, Adrian Quest, and Fred Yehi

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5 stars)

Fantastic 10-man tag here, highlighting everyone well, and it was specifically designed to give Uemura a big win and credibility. This was really great.

Uemura grabbed a mic and said that he was here and going to get stronger in the LA Dojo before calling Shibata to the ring. The crowd went nuts for Shibata, and Shibata said “Come with me!” and brought him backstage. Great stuff.

Hikuleo (Bullet Club) vs. Juice Robinson

Robinson decided to use a side headlock on Hikuleo to start the match, but that came to an end when Hikuleo shoved him off and hit a shoulder tackle. Hikuleo hit a big back suplex on Robinson before hitting some forearms on the ground. Robinson low bridged Hikuleo and he spilled to the floor. Robinson hit a plancha to the floor and wipes Hikuleo out.

Hikuleo, however, made Robinson regret it beating him around ringside and slamming him into the guardrails, causing Juice to bleed from the mouth. Hikuleo hit a suplex for a 2-count. Robinson tried to make a comeback, but at every count, Hikuleo was able to counter, including hitting the top ropes to crotch Juice on the turnbuckles.

Hikuleo got hit with a powerbomb by Juice out of the corner, but Hikuleo was able to hit a huge lariat and picked up Juice in a fireman’s carry. Robinson rolled Hikuleo up and managed to score a pinfall, but Hikuleo chokeslammed Robinson through the mat, leaving him laying, even though Robinson won the match.

Result: Juice Robinson

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Solid little match here. Juice Robinson is really good, and Hikuleo can be carried to a good match, which is what happened here.

A video aired announcing the NJPW USA tours for the fall season, which was very exciting.

Tomohiro Ishii (CHAOS) vs. Moose

Moose and Ishii clashed right away, with Ishii trying to brawl with Moose. Ishii hit several hard strikes and shoulder tackles, but Moose wouldn’t go down. Moose hit one big shoulder tackle and dropped him, before hitting a corner dropkick on Ishii. Moose tried to run at Ishii on the outside, but Ishii dodged and Moose crashed into the guardrail.

Ishii and Moose exchanged chops in the corner, but Moose hit harder and Ishii went down. However, Ishii hit a lariat in the corner and went for a brainbuster, but Moose countered and hit a hard forearm. Ishii hit a hard forearm of his own and suplexed Moose to the delight of the fans. Ishii’s gimmick of being tougher than everyone is paying off here, as he started to wear Moose down.

Every time Ishii got back up and hit harder strikes Moose showed more and more damage, and Ishii just kept coming back for more punishment. Moose went for a powerbomb, but Ishii blocked it. Moose hit a pump kick, but Ishii no-sold it, ate another, no-sold it again, then hit a back suplex. Moose no-sold it and they exchanged clotheslines until they both went down. That was so awesome.

Moose hit a hard chop and dropped Ishii. Moose ran up the ropes and hit a flying crossbody and then kicked up like a junior heavyweight before hitting a powerbomb for a 2-count. Ishii ate a chokebomb from Moose for another 2-count. Moose hit a lariat, but Ishii kicked out at one. Ishii hit one of his own, and Moose kicked out at one, too.

Ishii hit a ton of forearms, but Moose hit a huge dropkick off the ropes. Ishii side stepped Moose and hit a German Suplex, dropping him on his head. The crowd went nuts for this match. Ishii hit some headbutts and hit a lariat that caused Moose to do a backflip, but Ishii only got a 2-count. Moose hit a huge uranage on Ishii, but Ishii blocked a lariat and hit the sliding d for a 2-count. Ishii went for the brainbuster, but Moose fought out of it. Ishii fired up and picked him up again and hit vertical drop brainbuster for the pinfall. This match was awesome.

Result: Tomohiro Ishii

Rating: ****1/4 (4.25 stars)

My goodness, this match was fantastic. I think this might have been one of the best matches of Moose’s career. Ishii, of course, was Ishii. He’s one of the best in-ring wrestlers of all time, and every single one of his matches always work for me.

Will Ospreay’s music hit, and he made his way down to the ring in a complete surprise! Ospreay grabbed a mic and announced he has been medically cleared. He said, “Isn’t there a tournament coming up in Japan soon?” Ospreay then announced he wasn’t in the G1, and he wasn’t going to because NJPW stripped him of his world championship even though he was only out for four months.

Ospreay then pointed out that Moxley had the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship for a year without defending it, but he was willing to negotiate. He then called out Shingo Takagi, saying he was holding a fake championship and he was the interim champion at best, before pulling out another IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, and they better be careful with the Forbidden Door, because he might walk in and take it all.

Ospreay then announced that he was going to be on NJPW Strong for the next few months, and said he was bringing real star power to the LA Dojo, and saving Strong. Karl Fredricks and Clark Connors came out, but security held them back as he insulted Shibata. TJP came out to call them off, and Ospreay insulted him. TJP challenged Ospreay, and Ospreay backed down, threw a bottle at TJP and ran away through the crowd.

This was a fantastic promo, and creates a very compelling story of two world champions in NJPW, with both having a claim to the title. I really like this.

The Good Brothers  (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows) (The Elite) vs. Jon Moxley & Yuji Nagata

Nagata and Moxley went right at the Good Brothers, but the Good Brothers cut off the ring with Nagata early on. Fireworks went off in the background at a nearby area, and it shook up the match a little bit, but after the action spilled to the outside and Mox and Nagata were able to turn it around with some smart brawling.

Moxley and Nagata locked on stereo submissions, but the Good Brothers got out. Nagata worked over Anderson’s arms, but the Good Brothers used some cheap tactics and hit a Magic Killer on the floor onto a chair on Moxley. They went for a Magic Killer on Nagata, but Nagata fought both men off for a bit, but it wasn’t long before they hit the Magic Killer on Nagata and pinned him.

Result: The Good Brothers

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Perfectly acceptable tag match here. Moxley was laid out with the Magic Killer on the floor, but the war between these men is far from over. The Good Brothers grabbed a mic and said that it didn’t matter what company it was, it was the same story, a Magic Killer, and a pin, and it’s too sweet.

The mic stopped working, and Anderson and Gallows freaked out that they couldn’t get a working one. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa come out claiming they turned off the mics. Bullet Club vs. The Elite! Both teams came face to face, and looked like they were ready to fight, but the Good Brothers fled the ring, taking their Impact Tag Team Titles with them. The Elite and Bullet Club are going to be feuding across three different promotions, and I love it so much.

NJPW working with AEW, ROH, Impact, CMLL, and others is nothing but good for wrestling. Wrestling outside of WWE hasn’t been this strong in a very long time, and it’s so exciting to see how they have made inroads with US promotions. The feeling that anyone can show up anywhere at any time is so exciting as a fan.

Jay White (Bullet Club) (c) vs. David Finlay: NEVER Openweight Championship

White and Finlay exchanged hard chops in the corner, but Finlay chopped harder. White dumped Finlay over the top rope to the floor, leaving him splattered on the ground. White hit a front suplex on the apron on Finlay. White sent Finlay into the corner, who hit hard and dropped to the mat before White threw him to the floor again.

Finlay got some offence in, but White dumped him to the floor again with a back suplex that caused Finlay to crash into the apron and floor again. White went to the apron and Finlay managed to hut a superplex into the middle of the ring. Finlay sent White to the floor, giving him a taste of his own medicine.

White made him pay for it with a German suplex, but Finlay was able to counter with a Rings of Saturn. White barely dragged himself to the ropes, but he made it. White threw Finlay into the ref and low blowed him, but Finlay did the same back to White and hit the Last Shot on White for a 2-count. White then countered the Sliced Bread and hit a Blade Runner out of nowhere and scored the pinfall.

Result: Jay White

Rating: **** (4 stars)

You can tell White and Finlay are friends in real life, because they beat the crap out of each other here. White and Finlay have so much chemistry in the ring, and know exactly how to work against each other.

Tomohiro Ishii walked down to the ring to face off with Jay White, and it looks like White and Ishii are going to be wrestling soon for the NEVER Openweight Championship. White grabbed a mic and said it didn’t matter how tough Ishii was, because championships are the only thing that matters.

White said that Ishii never won the big ones, so he couldn’t possibly stand up to him, and he was the real number one wrestler in the world. White claimed he sold out Madison Square Garden in 2019, and he is the first and only Grand Slam Champion in NJPW. White said it didn’t matter what company, AEW, Impact, or anywhere else, as he will show up and take what is precious to everyone there.

Lance Archer (Suzuki-gun) (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship

Tanahashi tried to slam Archer, but Archer simply shrugged it off, but Tanahashi was luring him in and chop blocked the leg and hit two dropkicks to Archer’s knee. Tanahashi tried to put a leglock on Archer, but Archer applied the Claw and shoved Tanahashi back to the ropes. Jon Moxley was seen in the crowd, keeping a close eye on the match.

Archer shoved Tanahashi into the guardrail and started to beat him around ringside. Archer chopped Tanahashi against the guardrail which made the crowd groan in pain. Tanahashi got crushed in the corner several times, and Archer soaked in boos from the crowd here. Tanahashi’s selling here was perfect.

Tanahashi hit several chops, but Archer ate them and dropped Tanahashi with a forearm. Archer jawed with the crowd saying he was going to send Tanahashi back to Japan. Archer grabbed Tanahashi’s hair and the crowd turned on him completely and started cheering for Tanahashi. Perfect work here from both of them.

Archer chased the referee out of the ring and low-blowed Tanahashi. Tanahashi blocked a kick and hit a dragon screw leg whip, which popped the crowd. The initially split crowd was completely behind Tanahashi now due to the good heel work of Archer, and the exceptional selling of Tanahashi. Guys, he is the best babyface ever.

Archer choke slammed Tanahashi on the apron then hit his ropewalk moonsault on Tanahashi for a 2-count. Archer went for the Blackout, but Tanahashi got his foot on the ropes to break the pinfall, and he barely did it. Tanahashi managed to hit a Slingblade, but Archer was up before him.

Archer and Tanahashi exchanged several hard forearms, with Archer getting the best of it. Tanahashi hit a sling blade and a twist and shout, then another sling blade. Archer kicked out, and crushed Tanahashi in the corner again, before taking off the turnbuckle pad and hitting Tanahashi with it.

Archer grabbed a chair and brought it into the ring and wedged it between the top and middle rope. Kevin Kelly took this time to remind people that titles do change hands on a DQ in NJPW. Tanahashi reversed the whip into the chair by driving Archer into it for a 2-count. Archer hit a lariat and a black hole slam for a 2-count again. Archer went for a superplex on Archer, but Tanahashi knocked him off the ropes and hit a High Fly Flow before going for a second one! Tanahashi hit a second to the back, and went for a third and pinning Archer!

Result: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Rating: ****1/2 (4.5 stars)

This was outstanding. Hiroshi Tanahashi finally wins the one title that eluded him, and further establishes that he’s still the Ace. Archer grabbed a mic and talked about how Tanahashi was someone he always respected. Archer then told Tanahashi to come to AEW and give him a rematch when he is ready to return, and Tanahashi agreed.

Tanahashi promised to bring the title to AEW soon, and thanked the audience for coming, and Tanahashi posed with the IWGP United States Championship and played air guitar to the delight of the fans.

Show Rating: ****3/4 (4.75 stars)

Hiroshi Tanahashi is the greatest babyface of all time. I have said it before, and I will say it again, this man always makes me believe. Tanahashi looked excellent in this main event, and it really drove home how important the working relationships are with other promotions because Tanahashi wants to wrestle for AEW, Jay White is in Impact, and we simply don’t know who is going to show up.

Next. AEW Rampage results: Christian Cage becomes Impact World Champion. dark

This was absolutely fantastic from top to bottom. A great card, great storylines being developed, and a lot of interesting things going forward. The rumours of NJPW’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The announcers signed off as Tanahashi went around ringside making sure to high-five everyone he could.