The first of two nights at the Fukuoka Convention Center sees the junior heavyweights in the main event performing in front of 4,011 fans for night one of Wrestling Dontaku 2019. Also featured is the NEVER Openweight Championship as Jeff Cobb looks to defend against Taichi. Let’s get started!
Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino & Ren Narita def. Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura @ 10:46 via Narita Bridging Belly-to-Belly Suplex on Uemura – **1/4
Narita takes Tsuji down, gets the headlock and looks for a pin. Tsuji rolls through and applies a headlock of his own. Narita snds him off but Tsuji is thre to shoulder Narita to the mat. He tags in Umino who trades forearms with Tsuji and again the younger lion is able to take his senior down, this time with a dropkick. Umino doesn’t take it lightly and quickly fires back, takes Tsuji down, hits a low dropkick and lays in some stomps before tagging out to Honma. A quick kokeshi but Uemura breaks up the half crab and Honma tags out to Narita. Henare breaks up Narita’s headlock so Honma is brought back in. A series of chops and elbow beore it’s Umino’s turn. He’s able to turn the hips and apply the Boston Crab but Tsuji makes it to the ropes with ease. They trade forearms and Umino wins the exchange but gets caught running in with a backdrop. Henare gets the tag, shoulders Umino down and lays out the reinforcements. Delayed vertical suplex to Umino, the spear is blocked and he catches Henare. They tag out to Narita and Uemura. Uemura is able to shoulder Narita down and applies the armbar. Narita reaches the ropes but takes a flurry in the corner from the opposing team. Uemura again finds the armbar and again Narita finds the ropes. He follows with a belly-to-belly but Narita shows him how it’s done with the bridging variety to pick up the win.
Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado def. YOSHI-HASHI, Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Ryusuke Taguchi @ 9:57 via TAKA Michinoku Driver on Tiger – **1/2
Suzuki-Gun jump and dump before the bell. Liger sends Suzuki into the rails and back in the ring, Y-H plants Kanemaru with headhunter. Taguchi tags in and coaches is team to run a train on Kanemaru. Y-H gets sent into Taguchi’s but and when he turns around, it’s all Suzuki-Gun. Taguchi offers his helmet and tries putting it on Suzuki but Suzuki sends him out and there’s another brawl. Taguchi breaks the count at nineteen, Kanemaru sends him back out and Suzuki goes on the attack with a chair. He starts to fire back, takes an eye poke from TAKA and fires back with a hip attack. Taguchi tries having an exchange with Suzuki but Suzuki catches the hip attack with a sleeper, Taguchi fights out and lands a hip attack. The match again breaks down, this time in the ring. Liger flurries on everyone but gets caught by Suzuki when he tries a frankensteiner and Suzuki turns it into a rolling cross armbreaker. The crowd rallies for Liger and the two have an overhand exchange before Liger tries for a brainbuster. Suzuki fights it off and they tag to Tiger and TAKA. Tiger has a quick flurry before he’s cut off by Kanemaru. Suzuki-Gun all take turns on Tiger before his team makes the safe. He catches TAKA with the Tiger Driver, they trade kicks and out of nowhere TAKA finishes Tiger with the Michinoku Driver. Suzuki and Liger have a standoff with chairs before Suzuki heads to the back.
Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Will Ospreay def. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Hikuleo @ 7:25 via Ospreay Oscutter on Hikuleo – **1/4
Bullet Club jump and dump before the bell. They isolate Yano is the ring, he unties the turnbuckle pad and G.O.D. use it to take him down. Loa sends Yano into the exposed buckle and brings in Hikuleo who does the same, followed by a series of chops and a vertical suplex. Yano finally evens the playing field by pulling Tama down by the hair and tags in Makabe. Corner punches, Loa blocks the northern lights and takes Makabe down before tagging Hikuleo. Makabe makes quick work and brings in Ospreay who has no problem flurrying on all three members of Bullet Club. Jado cuts him off with the cane and Hikuleo follows with a swinging neckbreaker. Ospreay flips out of a flatliner, looks Oscutter but Hikuleo blocks and turns him inside out with a lariat. Ospreay rolls through a second attempt at a flatliner ad drops Hikuleo for the win with the Oscutter.
Kota Ibushi, YOH & SHO def. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI @ 11:31 via Ibushi Kamigoye on BUSHI – **3/4
BUSHI takes YOH to the ropes, delivers an overhand chop but YOH is quick to fire back and brings in Ibushi. BUSHI gets the knees up on a standing moonsault, Naito fires a dropkick on Ibushi and LIJ go on the attack outside. Shingo brings Ibushi back in for Naito who traps Ibushi in a double armbar before tagging out. He brings in Shingo who clears SHO off the apron before a quick flurry on Ibushi and tags Naito back in for a slingshot corner dropkick. Naito catches Ibushi’s kick, spits in his face and elbows his knee. Ibushi catches him running in with a stomp and they tag out to Shingo and SHO. They trade shoulders and lariats before SHO puts Shingo down with a spear.
Shingo blocks the deadlift German and lands an elbow, punch and lariat. SHO turns a vertical suplex into one of his own and they meet forehead to forehead. SHO fires off a series of forearms, Shingo ducks a lariat and drops SHO with a German but SHO is back up to take Shingo down with a lariat. YOH gets the tag and he too flurries on Shingo, gets the falcon arrow and looks for a dragon suplex. Shingo blocks but SHO is back in for help and they hit a double knee. Shingo fights out of 3K, drops them both and BUSHI gets the tag. Top rope dropkick, YOH catches the boot and turns it into a dragon screw. Ibushi is tagged in, hits a springboard dropkick followed by a powerslam and second rope moonsault combo. Naito makes the save and Shingo follows. 3K clear the ring for Ibushi and he drills BUSHI with a headkick, Boma Ye and Kamigoye. After the match Ibushi calls Naito back and asks for him to make a date for their match. Naito teases tomorrow but says the card has been already decided.
Hirooki Goto, Juice Robinson & Mikey Nicholls def. Jay White, Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens @ 11:23 via Juice Pulp Friction on Owens – **1/4
Nicholls ducks Fale’s attack and tries taking him down with lariats. Juice comes in for help and they dump Fale but White cuts them off and goes on the attack outside. Nicholls breaks the countout but Fale and Owens are there to stay on the attack. They tag in White who applies a headlock and drops Nicholls with a swinging neckbreaker before reapplying the hold. Nicholls catches White with an elbow and blocks the Saito suplex with a series of elbows. He slides through White’s hold and drops him with a DDT and tags in Goto. White eats a corner lariat, fights out of the Saito suplex but is taken down with a hip toss. White fights off an Ushigoroshi and takes Goto out with a Saito suplex. Owens gets the tag, attempts the package piledriver, Goto escapes and drops Owens with a suplex. Juice is the legal man and he flurries on Owens in the corner before planting him with a spinebuster. Fale and White end his flurry and Bullet Club run a train on Juice. He looks for the package piledriver, Juice fights out and lands a leg lariat. He sets up for Pulp Friction but White is there with a Blade Runner, Goto cuts it off with an attempted Ushigorishi. Juice again escapes the package piledriver, hits the left hand of god and finishes Owens with Pulp Friction. A video package for Juice’s next challenge plays. A biker with a knife who claims Juice’s time is up.
EVIL & SANADA def. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii @ 16:52 via EVIL Referee Stoppage on Ishii – ***1/4
Okada asks for SANADA and pulls Ishii to the corner. The crowd’s chants favor SANADA as they lock up. They trade wristlocks, Okada takes the headlock, SANADA sends him off but Okada shoulders him to the mat. SANADA catches Okada running in with a back elbow, Okada ducks the flip into Skull End, they ducks each other’s attacks before SANADA closes in on Skull End but Okada responds by rolling through and they tag out. Ishii and EVIL trade shoulders, forearms and lariats. Ishii wins the first exchange but he brings EVIL back up and they have another battle. EVIL wins this time around, catching Ishii running in with a sidewalk slam. SANADA clears Okada from the apron and EVIL stays on Ishii. He connects with a series of chops followed by boots in the corner and tags out to SANADA.
Ishii clears EVIL from the apron so SANADA is quick to tag EVIL back in. He flurries on Ishii, lands a senton and brings in SANADA. Ishii eats overhand chops from SANADA, powers up and lands a few chops of his own. SANADA dropkicks the knee but it doesn’t stop Ishii from hitting the powerslam. EVIL pulls Ishii from the ropes and looks for a fisherman’s buster but takes a suplex from Ishii instead. Okada gets the tag and he elbow EVIL out of the ring and follows him out with a plancha. He brings EVIL back in and looks for a neckbreaker but EVIL fights free and tags in SANADA. Okada fights off the Paradise lock twice and catches SANADA with a flapjack. SANADA avoids the top rope elbow drop, lands the double leap frog dropkick followed by a backdrop suplex.
SANADA applies the dragon sleeper and looks for a tiger suplex but Okada escapes, tries to apply a cobra clutch, SANADA sends him through only to get caught with the reverse neckbreaker. Okada tags in Ishii but SANADA is quick with a springboard dropkick and bring in EVIL. A corner lariat followed by Darkness Falls but Ishii elbows out of the STO and lands a backdrop suplex. EVIL ducks a corner lariat and he and SANADA double Ishii. He fights free of the Magic Killer and Okada runs in with a dropkick on SANADA. EVIL escapes Ishii’s brainbuster, pulls him up for one of his own and SANADA comes in, together dropping Ishii with Magic Killer. EVIL then applies the Scorpion Deathlock and when Okada tries to break the hold, SANADA comes in with Skull End. The crowd rallies for Ishii but he collapses and the referee stops the match.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Taichi def. Jeff Cobb (c) @ 17:50 via Black Mephisto – ***1/4
Taichi disrobes reveals Iizuka’s satchel with a smirk on his face. He hands it over to his seconds and the match begins. Taichi refuses to lock up and goes back to his corner where Miho straightens out his hair. He bails to the outside and brings Miho up to the apron to distract Cobb so he can make a sneak attack. The attack has no effect on Cobb and Taichi backs away. He baits Cobb in and gouges his eyes but Cobb lands a dropkick and Taichi bails. Cobb looks for a dive but Taichi pulls Miho in front of him so Cobb puts on the breaks and steps out of the ring. Kanemaru attacks Cobb from behind but is quickly sent into the rails. Taichi uses the distraction to choke Cobb with his mic stand and comes back in the ring to pose with the title.
Cobb makes his way back in but Taichi stays on the attack by standing on Cobb and ripping at his eyes. He pulls Cobb up by his hair, sends him over and kicks Cobb on the back. Cobb powers up and delivers a series of forearms but Taichi quickly responds with a kick. Cobb ducks a lariat and looks for a suplex but Taichi rips at the eyes so he takes Taichi to the ropes and drops him off the second with a suplex. Cobb ducks an enziguri and lands a running European in the corner but misses the standing moonsault. Taichi ducks a corner European and catches Cobb with an enziguri before trying for the last ride. Taichi gives a series of kicks before trying again for the last ride but Cobb fights out and eats a series of kicks. Cobb ducks the superkick, follows with a punch to the jaw and no sells Taichi’s kicks to the leg before firing off forearms that rock Taichi. Taichi connects with two kicks to the chest but Cobb catches the third and throws Taichi.
Taichi ducks a lariat and lands a headkick that puts Cobb down. He tries for Holy Emperor’s Crucifix Tomb but Cobb sends him off. Taichi responds by landing his dangerous backdrop suplex and apllies the Holy Emperor’s Crucifix Tomb. He lets go of the hold for a pin attempt but Cobb kicks out and connects with a series of gutwrench suplexes followed by a piledriver. The crowd rallies for Taichi and he boots off the Tour of the Islands. Cobb catches him with the swinging backdrop, sends Taichi off for Tour but Taichi instead lands a series of kicks punctuated by a lariat. Cobb catches the superkick, Taichi fights through Tour but eats a lariat followed by the standing moonsault. Cobb again tries for Tour, Taichi rolls through, shoves the referee and hits a low blow followed by a Gedo Clutch for two. Taichi follows up with the superkick and finishes Cobb with Black Mephisto to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Dragon Lee (c) def. Taiji Ishimori @ 25:53 via Desnucadora – ****1/2
Lee offers his hand but Ishimori kicks it away. They trade headlocks for headscissors until a stalemate is reached. Lee takes the legs, grabs the headlock, Ishimori slides through and they sweep each other’s legs and flip up for another stalemate. Ishimori sends Lee off the ropes, gets shouldered, slides under a lariat and neck cranks Lee. He takes Lee to the corner, they charge at each other with kicks and lariats, run the ropes and Lee ranas Ishimori out of the ring and follows him out with a dive. Lee sends Ishimori back in, lands a corner dropkick and hits Shibata’s pose. He drives Ishimori’s knee into the mat and into his own knee before setting up for the double underhook backbreaker. Ishimori breaks free, hits the ropes and drops Lee with a handspring enziguri.
Ishimori puts a series of shoulders into Lee’s neck before taking him to the top and tries to unmask. Lee is caught up in the corner, Ishimori charges in from the opposite corner with a dropkick followed by a neckbreaker and knee drop to the back of Lee’s neck. Lee elbows free of one headlock but immediately gets caught running in with another but makes it to the ropes. Ishimori lands an enziguri to the back of the neck, a sliding German that takes Lee to the floor and follows him out with a second rope moonsault. Lee shows signs of life by catching Ishimori running in with a jackknife but Ishimori very quickly puts him back down with a John Woo followed by double knees in the corner. Lee sends Ishimori off of a suplex and catches him with an STO. Ishimori fights out of a dragon suplex but Lee turns it into a straight jacket German, a la Tanahashi. He boots Ishimori in the corner, sends him to the opposite, catches Ishimori’s springboard but Ishimori is right back with a crucifix bomb.
Ishimori catches Lee in a triangle, Lee sitout powerbombs free and catches Ishimori on the apron with a rana to the floor. He tries sending Ishimori back in the ring but Ishimori handsprings off the apron and armdrags Lee into the rails. They both manage to break the countout at nineteen and trade forearms on their knees. They fight to their feet but Lee’s forearms cause Ishimori to collapse. He brings Ishimori back to his feet and they continue the exchange. Lee catches Ishimori’s handspring, goes for a German but Ishimori flips through, they meet with strikes, Lee sends Ishimori to the ropes, lands the German but Ishimori is right back up and connects with a Destroyer. Ishimori hits the ropes and charges in only to get caught with Lee’s Desnucadora but he can’t get to the pin quick enough to pick up the win.
Lee sends Ishimori to the top for a draping double stomp for two. Lee tries Desnucadora again but Ishimori ranas through and hits La Mistica into a crossface. Ishimori rolls Lee from the ropes twice but can’t a third time so he picks Lee up and lands a double knee gutbuster, only getting a two count. They trade jumping knees, Lee gets a poison rana, ducks a lariat and follows with a German and running knee for two. He immediately brings Ishimori back up and finishes him with Desnucadora. Lee greets and thanks the fans for their support before circling the ringside to give out high fives.
Incredible main event, one of the best matches of the year. Giving the juniors the opportunity to go all out twice on this tour and both matches delivering huge shows just how talented the division is right now. Lee and Ishimori are so fluid, everything looked excellent from both guys making for one of the best main events this year. The Taichi match came off better than expected. If you go into his match with low expectations you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Most everything else didn’t leave second gear but the top three matches are all worth the time. The main event is not to be missed.
Lee vs Ishimori
Taichi vs Cobb
EVIL & SANADA vs Okada & Ishii
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