NJPW Sakura Genesis Report: Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Show: NJPW Sakura Genesis
Location: Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Date: April 1st, 2018
Review by: Amin Ajani
NJPW Sakura Genesis
The Young Bucks def. Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi via Submission
- Rating: **3/4
Takahashi and Owens attacked The Bucks when they had their backs turned. The Bucks delivered stereo plancha to the floor. Nick delivered a neck breaker and Matt delivered a slingshot senton to Owens. Owens and Takahashi delivered a double team neck breaker to Nick. Takahashi delivered a sliding dropkick for a near fall. Owens blocked a bulldog and delivered a back breaker and followed up with a face buster for a near fall. Matt got a hot tag and delivered a double clothesline to Owens and Takahashi. Matt applied the sharpshooter to Owens but Takahashi broke it up. Matt delivered a double spear to Owens and Takahashi. Nick delivered a springboard splash to Takahashi and Matt delivered a standing reverse moonsault to Owens for a near fall. Takahashi stopped the Meltzer Driver and Owens delivered Jewel Heist for a near fall. Owens delivered a brain buster and followed up with a shining wizard for a near fall. Nick delivered a tornado DDT to Takahashi on the floor. Owens tapped out after Matt applied the sharpshooter and Nick followed up with a slingshot X-Factor.
- A fine tag team match to open the show. After the match The Bucks, Owens and Takahashi shook hands.
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii def. Takashi Iizuka & Taichi
- Rating: *1/4
Iizuka and Taichi attacked Ishii and Yano before the bell rang. With the referee distracted Iizuka attacked Ishii with a chair. Taichi attacked Ishii with the bell hammer. Iizuka choked Ishii with a rope. Yano finally got the hot tag and exposed the turnbuckle. Iizuka pulled out the medal fingers but Yano countered with a back slide but Taichi broke the count up. Finish came when Ishii bulldozed Iizuka and Yano followed up with a roll up for the win.
- This match was long and dull.
NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship Match: Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa def. Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin & Ryusuke Taguchi to retain the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles.
- Rating: **2/4
Loa delivered a back suplex but Elgin held onto the side headlock. Elgin and Loa had a nice back and forth shoulder tackle exchange. Elgin delivered a power slam and middle rope dropkick for a near fall. Fale clotheslined Elgin from the ring apron and then tossed him into the barricade. Fale chocked Elgin with the microphone wire. Fale delivered big blows to Elgin in the corner. Makabe got the hot tag and delivered running clothesline to Fale and Loa in the corner. Taguchi tagged in and delivering running hip attacks to Loa and Tonga. Taguchi directed traffic as Elgin and Makabe delivered running clotheslines to Tonga in the corner. Loa then directed traffic as Fale and Tonga delivered big splashes in the corner. Taguchi delivered the 619 to Tonga. Tonga quickly recovered and delivered the Stun Gun to Taguchi for the win.
- The match started slow but ended up turning into a fun match near the end.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson def. YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Jay White
- Rating: ***2/4
Finlay and White exchanged strikes. Finlay delivered a running uppercut to White in the corner. Goto, White and YOSHI tossed Finlay, Juice and Tanahashi into the barricade. YOSHI hung Finlay on the top rope and delivered a dropkick for a near fall. Finlay delivered a dropkick to Goto and tagged in Juice. Juice delivered jabs and full Nelson bomb to Goto. Juice delivered a flying cross body to Goto for a near fall. Juice delivered a running clothesline but Goto made a quick comeback and delivered delivered an Ushigorishi. Tanahashi and YOSHI got the tags. Tanahashi delivered a dragon screw to YOSHI. White delivered a running European uppercut. Goto and YOSHI then delivered clotheslines Tanahashi in the corner. Goto and YOSHI delivered a double team neck breaker to Tanahashi for a near fall. Finlay delivered a stunner to White. Juice delivered Pulp Fiction to Goto. Tanahashi delivered a slingblade and a High Fly Flow for the win.
- A solid tag team match that had a nice and fun closing sequence with all the faces hitting their big moves.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki def. EVIL, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito
- Rating: ***1/4
Suzuki attacked Naito as the bell rang. Naito and SANADA delivered low dropkicks to Suzuki. Suzuki applied a triangle hold into the ropes and then attacked Naito with a steel chair. Suzuki chocked Naito with a rope. Suzuki applied a knee bar to Naito who grabbed the bottom rope. Smith delivered an overhead suplex to Naito for a near fall. Smith missed a top rope leg drop as Naito delivered a tornado DDT. SANADA tagged in and delivered a plancha to Archer on the floor. SANADA delivered a springboard dropkick as EVIL tagged in. Suzuki attacked Naito on the floor. Archer delivered a Black Hole Slam to EVIL. Suzuki applied a knee bar to Naito on the floor. Archer and Smith delivered a Killer Bomb to SANADA and then one to EVIL for the win.
- A fun match. Archer and Smith looked strong as they pinned the champs and looked to set up a IWGP Tag Team Title match. Naito and Suzuki cut promo on each other and a teased an IWGP Intercontinental Title match. Naito was completely over and felt like a superstar.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Desperado def. Sho & Yoh, and Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.
- Rating: ***
Sho and Yoh delivered stereo flip dives to Desperado and Kanemura as the match began. BUSHI choked Yoh with his shirt. Takahashi delivered a sliding dropkick for a near fall. BUSHI applied the STF to Yoh but Kanemaru broke the hold up. Sho tagged in and delivered a dropkick to Kanemaru and a spine buster to Desperado. Takahashi tagged in and took a spear from Sho. There was a crazy spot which involved a sunset flip into deadlift German suplex. Sho delivered deadlift suplex to both BUSHI and Takahashi. Takahashi delivered a pop-up power bomb to Yoh. BUSHI delivered a tope to Desperado on the floor. Takahashi delivered the Time Bomb to Sho but Kanemaru pulled the referee out of the ring. With the referee out, Desperado delivered belt shots to BUSHI, Sho and Takahashi. Desperado then delivered the Angel Wings to Sho for the win.
- A fine match as Hiromu, Sho and Yoh all did a good job. There wasn’t much reaction from the crowd, the finish sucked and something was just missing.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Will Osprey def. Marty Scurll to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title.
- Rating: ****3/4
Ospreay delivered a head scissors and followed up with a dropkick. Ospreay with a tiger drop to the floor. Scurll snapped Osprey in between the ropes and then delivered a thrust kick from the ring apron. Scurll delivered a draping DDT for a near fall. Scurll applied a torture rack, launched him into the turnbuckle and delivered a snap DDT for a near fall. Scurll applied a Gory Special but Ospreay broke free. Ospreay went for a head scissors but Scurll caught him and delivered a guillotine in the bottom rope. Ospreay delivered a springboard forearm and a standing shooting star press for a near fall. Ospreay kicked Scurll in the face and follws up with a German suplex. Scurll delivered a rolling DDT but Ospreay delivered a stunner. Scurll delivered a pump handle neck breaker for a near fall. Scurll delivered a rolling forearm and a big lariat for a near fall. Ospreay tried to spin-the-cat but Scurll caught him and delivered a tombstone on the floor. Osprey and Scurll exchanged forearms and strikes. Ospreay delivered a jumping sit-out power bomb and followed up with the Robinson Special. Ospreay caught Scurll running on the ring apron and delivered a one-handed Spanish Fly to the floor. (This spot was crazy) Ospreay landed head first on the ring apron and was busted open on the impact. Ospreay delivered a corkscrew Phoenix Splash for a really close near fall. Ospreay went for a springboard shooting star press but missed as Scurll delivered a kick to back for a near fall. Scurll caught him in the chicken wing but Ospreay rolled him up for a near fall. Ospreay delivered a Oz Cutter but couldn’t make the cover. Scurll delivered a jumping pile driver for a near fall. Scurll snapped the fingers and then stomped on Ospreay’s head multiple times. (Announcers questioned why Red Shoes didn’t call for the stoppage) Scurll applied the Chicken Wing but Ospreay placed his foot on the bottom rope. Ospreay countered a tombstone and delivered a Stunner. Ospreay then delivered a springboard Oz Cutter for the win.
- This match was amazing but also crazy. The story that Ospreay and Scurll told was terrific. Ospreay selling of his neck on every move he took and delivered was something too see. Both Scurll and especially Ospreay worked really hard. The Spanish Fly spot on the floor was nuts especially how Ospreay landed. The match would have been great regardless even if that spot wasn’t there. After the match, Ospreay challenged KUSHIDA to a championship match who was doing commentary at ringside. KUSHIDA gave a thumbs up and accepted.
Cody & Hangman Page def. The Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega)
- Rating: ****2/4
Cody and Omega locked up. Omega back dropped Page to floor and delivered a plancha to Cody and Page on the floor. Ibushi delivered a thirst kick and Omega delivered Guitar crush to Page. Ibushi and Omega went for the Cross Slash but was stopped. Ibushi delivered a head scissors to Page on the floor. Omega went for a V-Trigger but Cody threw a chair in his face. Omega tagged in delivered a rolling senton to Page. Omega went for his moonsault but Cody stopped him as Page delivered a neck breaker from the middle rope for a near fall. Page delivered a pump handle suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Cody brought out a table but Omega suplex him on the floor. Page scoop slammed both Ibushi and Omega on the table. Cody went to splash Omega through a table but The Young Bucks appeared. Cody went to shake their hands but The Bucks looked displeased and left. Ibushi kicked Cody in back as Omega delivered a spinning wheel kick. Cody had a cut above the eye as blood smeared over his face. Ibushi got the hot tag and delivered a springboard dropkick and a head scissors to Cody. Omega delivered a rolling senton. Ibushi delivered a standing shooting star press, then both Ibushi and Omega delivered middle rope moonsault for a near fall. Ibushi and Omega delivered a picture perfect Cross Slash to Cody and Page on the floor. Omega had Cody in a power bomb position as Ibushi delivered a German suplex. Cody delivered a spike DDT to Ibushi. Omega with a V-Trigger to Cody and a snap dragon suplex to Page Omega teased delivering the One-Winged Angel to Cody through the table but Page made the save. Page delivered a running big boot as Omega went crashing through the table. Ibushi went for a standing moonsault but Cody got his knees up as Page delivered a German suplex for a near fall. Ibushi with a sit-out power bomb to Cody for a near fall. Ibushi countered a Cross Rhodes and delivered a German suplex. Ibushi went for the Kamigoye Knee Strike but Page held his foot from the floor. Cody rolled up Ibushi and grabbed a handful of tights for the win.
- This was a great tag team match as everyone worked hard and the crowd was hot for this match. The ongoing storyline with The Elite continued on. Cody and Page attacked Ibushi after the match. Omega returned and eventually made the save.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada def. Zack Sabre Jr. to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Title
- Rating: ****3/4
We got chain wrestling early. Okada applied a Cloverleaf but Sabre quickly reversed into a heel hook. Okada with a head scissors but Sabre escaped and applied a surfboard. Okada went for a hip toss but Sabre countered into a cobra twist. Okada went for the Cobra Clutch but Sabre reversed with a Cobra twist. Sabre twisted the knee of Okada. Sabre countered a dropkick and applied a STF and transformed into a head scissors but Okada placed his foot on the bottom rope. Okada delivered a flap jack. Okada delivered a flying elbow and followed up with a DDT. Sabre applied an octopus hold in between the ropes. Okada tossed Sabre into the barricade and delivered a big boot. Okada cleared the barricade with by delivering a cross body to Sabre into the crowd. Sabre countered a back breaker by applying a stretch muffler but Okada grabbed the bottom rope. Sabre twisted and stomped the right arm of Okada. Sabre applied a guillotine but Okada broke free by delivering a back breaker. Okada went for the flying elbow drop (missed his mark) as Sabre saved it by catching him with a cross arm breaker. Okada and Sabre exchanged strikes. Sabre countered a tombstone by transitioning into a Gedo clutch with a bridge for a close near fall. Sabre delivered the PK kick. Okada delivered a Woo dropkick. Sabre countered a Rainmaker and applied a double wrist lock. Okada delivered a dropkick and followed up with a tombstone. Sabre countered a Rainmaker into a bridge for a near fall. Okada and Sabre has a kicking contest. Sabre countered a Rainmaker by transitioning into a flying arm bar to a triangle. Okada countered by delivering a Rainmaker and maintained wrist control and delivered a second Rainmaker. Okada went for a third Rainmaker but Sabre countered with a Octopus hold. Okada broke free by delivering a jumping tombstone and delivered one final Rainmaker for the win.
- This was a great professional wrestling match as both Okada and Sabre worked really hard. We saw some great transitions and counters. The match started really slow but got really good as the crowd was hot for this match. The crowd reactions were great especially when Okada was selling.
Okada tied Tanahashi record with 11 consecutive successful IWGP Heavyweight Title defences. Gedo cut a promo about the record as Tanahashi came out. The crowd loudly chanted for Tanahashi as he challenged Okada to a IWGP Heavyweight Title match and left. Okada then cut a promo and looked like he accepted Tanahashi’s challenge the show came to a close.
NJPW Sakura Genesis was a good show. The last three matches were terrific and worth watching for sure. NJPW also did a good job by setting up some upcoming championship matches.
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