NJPW New Beginning: Osaka - Hot Take
Following the insane action and amazing pageantry of Wrestle Kingdom 14, FITE is proud that the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling will present New Beginning: Osaka live on FITE.TV on Saturday February 9th.
The event will be New Japan's first major event featuring the fallout of Wrestle Kingdom. It will be the first in a post-Liger world, the first major championship defense for Tetsuya Naito and the battleground where Bullet Club attempts to take back its clout and power in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
It will also be ground zero for perhaps the most unique and fearsome singles confrontation ever presented by the King of Sports, with the IWGP United States Championship hanging in the balance.
New Beginning in Osaka will feature the following clashes inside the squared circle:
TETSUYA NAITO VS. KENTA
Wrestle Kingdom 14 appeared to be the sunset of Bullet Club, who were all but neutralized over the course of the two day event at the Tokyo Dome. At the same time, it appeared to be the sunrise of a new regime with Tetsuya Naito, in successive days, capturing the IWGP Intercontinental and then the IWGP Heavyweight titles, creating New Japan's first-ever Double Championship. It was not only a rise in power for Naito and LIJ, but an emotional rebound for Naito, a chance to exorcize past demons and losses alike. Until, that is, KENTA arrived. Assaulting the spent new champion, KENTA took all the attention back for Bullet Club and reminded the world at large that they are always one moment away from changing the narrative. At New Beginning in Osaka, Naito doesn't only look to kick off his regime as the most important combatant in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but to avenge the disrespect at Wrestle Kingdom. KENTA, meanwhile, seeks to put Naito and his title reign to sleep and ascend to the highest level possible in NJPW, bringing Bullet Club along with him.
JON MOXLEY VS. MINORU SUZUKI
The IWGP United States Championship may be at stake in this first-ever encounter, but the only prediction anyone can genuinely make is PAIN. At Wrestle Kingdom, Suzuki, the violent veteran who never met anyone he didn't love to torture went face to face with Jon Moxley, himself a violent brawler who lives for the violence, right after Moxley regained the U.S. title. They two brawled but Suzuki shocked Moxley with a rear naked choke and a Gotch-style piledriver. Leaving the new Champion stunned, Suzuki made it clear he wanted the title and he wanted Moxley's corpse as well. Moxley, who has traveled the world to battle in some of the most violent encounters ever witnessed, quickly signed off on their Osaka bout. No one – the fans, the referee, the promoters and certainly not the competitors themselves, are safe from anything that goes down once the bell rings. Forget King Kong vs. Gojira, this battle will bring Osaka crumbling down around it.
HIROMU TAKAHASHI VS. RYU LEE
Takahashi steps into the ring to defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against perhaps his greatest rival. Having retired Jushin Liger, Takahashi is the hottest star in New Japan and Lee, his counterpart for Mexico, may be the most explosive Luchador alive today. Much like the classic rivalries between Dean Malenko and Eddy Guerrero or Jack Brisco and Dory Funk Jr., these combatants bring forth the best in professional wrestling from a technical and work ethic standpoint, creating mental and physical games of chess that explode across three dimensions for FITE viewers. As New Japan revs up its 2020, this will be first of championship encounters that set the stage for this year's Best of Super Juniors tournament and beyond.
WILL OSPREAY & KAZUCHIKA OKADA VS. ZACK SABRE JR. & TAICHI
This special tag team attraction puts Zack Sabre Jr., perhaps the most dangerously gifted and arrogant technical wrestler who ever lived against the most celebrated pro wrestler in New Japan, former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. A dream match itself, the fact these two will be facing off is only enhanced by the fact that Will Ospreay is teaming with Okada, bringing CHAOS' two most beloved talents on the same side of the ring. Undeterred, Taichi will team with Sabre Jr., a dangerous duo, seeking to prove the might of Suzuki-Gun. On any other event, a tag team bout with this much raw talent and clashing egos in the same ring would be the main event. FITE viewers are certainly going to get more than their money's worth with New Beginning Osaka!
SANADA VS. JAY WHITE
While Bullet Club vs. Los Ingobernables de Japan will main event New Beginning Osaka, the battle between the factions rages on underneath as well. Jay White is working to climb back to the top of New Japan after some frustrating performances at Wrestle Kingdom. He sees SANADA as the next stepping stone he must pass over to return to greatness. Meanwhile, SANADA has continued to morph into one of the most explosive pro wrestlers in the world, bringing a charismatic ferocity to his performances in the ring. The bragging rights over who is the mightier competitor will certainly go to the victor – but could the result of this match also predict whose arm is raised in the main event?
IBUSHI & TANAHASHI LEAD THE BATTLE AGAINST BULLET CLUB
Kota Ibushi, who headlined Wrestle Kingdom Night One against Kazuchika Okada, will team with the legendary "Ace" of New Japan Pro Wrestling and Hiroshi Tanahashi and the newly crowned IWGP Tag Team Champions David Finlay and Juice Robinson in a high profile eight man tag team war, taking on Bullet Club's Guerrillas of Destiny, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi. The Guerrillas want vengeance after losing their titles at Wrestle Kingdom and Bullet Club just wants to crush everyone in their way to prove their Kingdom shut-out was a fluke. Victories over the beloved Tanahashi and Ibushi would certainly start 2020 off strong, but beating any of these competitors alone is a hard task – combined, it may be impossible.
MANABU NAKANISHI FAREWELL
The storied career of former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Manabu Nakanishi, the strong fighter who once represented Japan at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, is coming to an end. After over 17 years of competing in the ring in Japan and the United States, Nakanishi has made the decision to retire and will make his final in-ring appearance at Osaka-Jo Hall, teaming with fellow veterans Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan in an eight-man tag team bout against the combined might of Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe Nakanishi has always fought bravely forward and one would assume this final Osaka war will be waged in the same manner.
IWGP JUNIOR TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Sho and Yoh, Roppongi 3K will once again be led into battle by Rocky Romero, facing the challenge of Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado, who once again seek to bring golden championship glory to Suzuki-Gun. Expect a strong battle with each side bringing their tag team abilities to light.