The final night of Wrestling Dontaku 2019 takes place in front of 6,105 fans at the Fukuoka Convention Center, eager to see SANADA challenge Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The show also features the debut of the Bullet Club’s newest member, El Phantasmo, and several other surprises along the way so let’s get started!
Shota Umino & Ren Narita def. Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura @ 7:36 via Umino Bridging Fisherman’s Buster on Tsuji – **3/4
Narita and Uemura trade waistlocks and suplex attempts. Uemura backs Narita to the ropes and delivers an overhand. Narita returns with stomps, throws Uemura in his corner and tags Umino. Umino continues the stomps, tags Narita back in an the two double shoulder Uemura to the mat. Uemura powers up and delivers another overhand but Narita fires right back with a flurry of overhands and brings in Umino. One slam and a pin, Tsuji breaks it up. Another slam and a Boston Crab, Narita guards Tsuji from breaking the hold but Uemura makes it to the ropes. Low dropkick from Umino, a desperate Uemura manages a dropkick of his own and quickly tags Tsuji. A big forearm exchange is cut off by a Tsuji dropkick, he sends Umino to the corner and Uemura follows in with his own dropkick. Tsuji applies a Boston Crab but Narita is there to break it up. A pair of corner back elbows on Tsuji, followed by a top rope dropkick from Umino and he finishes Tsuji with a bridging Fisherman’s Suplex. Umino and Narita shake hands and while Umino goes to the back, Narita stays and gives out a few stomps to Tsuji and Uemura before heading back himself.
Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Deperado & TAKA Michinoku def. YOSHI-HASHI, Jeff Cobb, Toa Henare, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask IV @ 11:16 via Taichi Tensho Jujihyo on Henare – **3/4
Taichi serenades Kanemaru with his entrance song. Cobb and Taguchi confront Taichi but Taguchi is shoves aside. Tiger and TAKA start, Tiger lays in a series of kicks before tagging out to Y-H. A draping dropkick and every runs a train on TAKA in the corner via instruction of the coach. Taguchi puts the rugby helmet on Y-H and requests he await the hip attack. It’s Taguchi himself that’s thrown into Y-H and before he can turn, Suzuki is there to dump Y-H to the outside and attack with chair shots. Y-H breaks the countout but Kanemaru is there to lay in the stomps. Desperado does the same and brings in Suzuki. Y-H tries to meet Suzuki strike for strikes, manages to catch a PK and kick Suzuki to the mat.
Taichi and Cobb are brought in, Cobb powers Taichi arounds and hits the standing moonsault but Suzuki-Gun are there to break the pin. Cobb lands a double backdrop suplex on Kanemaru and Desperado, Taichi ducks a corner lariat and lands an enziguri. Cobb eats another boot but takes Taichi down with a lariat and tags in Henare. A tackle and delayed vertical suplex from Henare but Taichi avoids the spear and Suzuki-Gun are in to run a train on Henare. His team makes the save and a brawl breaks out. Cobb takes TAKA on a Tour of the Islands and Henare gets the spear on Taichi but Taichi kicks out and responds with an enziguri, backdrop suplex and a superkick to win the match. Taichi waves off Taguchi after the match.
Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger def. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jado @ 7:40 via Yano Schoolboy on Jado – **
Jado offers a handshake to Liger who waves him off so Jado shakes with the referee and G.O.D. to show he’s good on his word. Liger shakes with Jado but he’s attacked by G.O.D. from behind. Liger dumps them all out, looks for the sliding dropkick but gets caught and Bullet Club go to work outside. They bring Liger back in and take turns targeting his back. Liger fights them off and tags Makabe for corner lariats and punches but Loa breaks free of the northern lights. Loa catches Makabe running in and drops him with a powerslam but Makabe responds with a lariat and tags Yano who immediately unties the turnbuckle pad. Yano is sent into the exposed buckle, Bullet Club clear the apron and go to work on Yano. Jado catches Yano in a crossface, Liger comes in and makes the save. Makabe cuts off Jado’s attempt at using the cane, double lariats G.O.D. and Yano low blows Jado, rolls him up and picks up the win.
Hirooki Goto, Juice Robinson, Mikey Nicholls & Tomoaki Honma def. Jay White, Juice Robinson, Chase Owens & Hikuleo @ 11:57 via Juice Pulp Friction on Hikuleo – **3/4
Goto demands he and White start the match. White agrees but when Goto turns his back, Owens goes on the attack. Goto very quickly takes care of Owens and tags out. Nicholls and Juice double Owens, bring in Honma for a kokeshi but he comes up short. Bullet Club clear the apron while Owens focuses on the neck of Honma. White gets the tag and applies the half crab on Honma, who gets to the ropes. White brings in Fale and both he and Hikuleo stand on Honma’s back. Hikuleo lands a series of chops on Honma who fires off one of his own but is taken right back down. A series of right hands from Owens and he himself looks for a kokeshi, Honma moves but before he can recover, Owens tags in White. Honma finally fights free, landing the kokeshi rocket on White and brngs in Goto.
Owens tries to cut off Goto but Goto suplexes White on top of Owens and follows with a Saito suplex onto White. White fights off an Ushigoroshi and drops Goto with his own Saito Suplex. Hikuleo is brought in, he sends Goto to the ropes and trade shoulder tackles until Goto puts him down with a lariat. Juice and Nicholls double Hikuleo in the corner, Juice is caught coming off the top but Nicholls makes the save and together the two suplex Hikuleo. Fale breaks the count and holds the ropes on their Irish Whip, shouldering them both to the mat. The match breaks down, Goto hits an Ushigoroshi on Owens, Honma follows with a kokeshi. Juice fights off Hikuleo’s flatliner, lands a DDT, running lariat and wins with Pulp Friction.
Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo def. Dragon Lee & Will Ospreay @ 9:58 via ELP Double Underhook Facebuster on Ospreay – ***1/4
Ospreay offers his hand to the debuting ELP but takes a too sweet to the forehead for his troubles. Ospreay monkey flips ELP, ELP cartwheels out of a rana and lands a dropkick. He spits in his hand before delivering a chop. He cuts off Ospreay’s return, walks the ropes while securing the wrist clutch on Ospreay, kicks Lee off the apron and lands a rana on Ospreay. He tags in Ishimori for a quick breakther but he’s right back in to tie Ospreay in the ropes and stomp him low. Ishimori is back in, Ospreay avoids his springboard and puts him down with a handspring enziguri and tags out to Lee. Lee cuts off La Mistica, Ishimori floats over, gets caught in a pin, kicks out and they trade a series of lariats and knee strikes.
ELP dishes out a series of chops, Lee sends him to the ropes and catches him with a German before tagging out to Ospreay. Ospreay clears Ishimori from the apron, hits the springboard forearm, looks Storm Breaker but settles for the stundog millionaire. He takes ELP to the top but ELP fights him off and scales to the middle of the rope to moonsault to the floor. Ishimori and ELP double team gutbuster followed by a moonsault to Ospreay’s back. Lee makes the save, Ospreay gets the wallflip enziguri, Spanish Fly, Robinson Special, sets up for the Oscutter but eats an ELP superkick. ELP drops Ospreay with a swinging torture rack reverse cutter and picks up the win with a double underhook facebuster.
Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI def. Kota Ibushi, YOH & SHO @ 13:47 via Naito Destino on YOH – ***1/4
Huge chants for Naito and he and Ibushi start the match. They lock up and trade wristlocks. Naito takes the headlock, Ibushi sends him off, gets shouldered, nips up and Naito spits in his face. Ibushi misses the standing moonsault, Naito gets the armdrag, they stalemate and tag out. YOH and BUSHI trade overhands, YOH pulls BUSHI’s shirt off and they continue the exchange. BUSHI rips at the eyes, SHO comes in and they double BUSHI and cut off Naito’s run in with a dropkick. Shingo cuts off SHO’s flurry with a pair of lariats then goes on the attack on YOH outside. BUSHI boots SHO into his corner and tags Naito who fakes out the slingshot dropkick, attacks Ibushi instead and then runs in for a corner dropkick on SHO before tagging out to Shingo.
Top rope back elbow drop from Shingo, looks to follow with a suplex but SHO blocks. They trade forearms, SHO hits the ropes and is cut off by BUSHI. SHO gets a spear on BUSHI and a vertical suplex on Shingo and tags out to Ibushi who comes in with a springboard dropkick on Shingo followed by a plancha. He sends Shingo back in and they trade forearms. Shingo catches Ibushi with a back elbow and pops him up for a DVD. Naito gets the tag, lands a frankensteiner off the top to Ibushi followed by a single leg dropkick. Ibushi fights off Gloria once, can’t a second time but YOH breaks the pin. Naito hits an enziguri, Ibushi right back with a lariat, both down. YOH gets the tag and flurries on Naito. 3K double Naito in the corner, he fights them off, dumps SHO and looks for the slingshot DDT on YOH but he blocks and turns it into a falcon arrow. Naito blocks the dragon suplex, Shingo lariats YOH down, SHO lariats Shingo, BUSHI dropkicks SHO and dives on Ibushi outside. Naito finishes YOH with Destino to win the match. Naito requests his match with Ibushi happen at Dominion. Ibushi agrees.
A special appearance from Tanahashi who has taken this tour off in order to recover. He was hurt last year but rode it to a G1 Climax victory and a Tokyo Dome win. He plans to return on June 5th with the goal of reclaiming the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
White comes out and says he’s next in line for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He attacks and beats down Tanahashi, goes to slam his arm in a chair but the young lions cut him off from further attack.
Tomohiro Ishii def. EVIL @ 23:08 via Brainbuster – ****
They charge at each other with shoulder tackles but neither man goes down. They meet forehead to forehead and exchange forearms until EVIL is rocked. Ishii runs in for a final blow but EVIL has recovered and they trade shoulders again. EVIL wins the shoulder exchange, Ishii collaspes and EVIL sends him outside. Ishii is driven into the rails and the post before EVIL brings him back inside. He hammers at Ishii’s knee and they begin trading chops, another exchange won by EVIL. He muscles Ishii up, slams his knee into the mat and tries to apply the Scorpion Deathlock. Ishii slaps his way out of the hold, EVIL returns the slaps and lets Ishii up. Ishii shoulders EVIL to the mat, sends him to the corner and delivers a series of chops and elbows before dropping EVIL with a powerslam.
EVIL blocks the backdrop suplex but is again driven to the corner where he eats a lariat. Ishii takes EVIL to the top for a vertical suplex, EVIL tries to fight it off but Ishii headbutts him on the back of the neck and gets the suplex. EVIL blocks two lariats and suplexes Ishii into the corner and Ishii bails outside. EVIL follows and drapes Ishii over the rails for a swinging neckbreaker to the floor and unfolds a chair over Ishii’s head, hitting it off with another chair. EVIL sends Ishii in and charges with a lariat in the corner, takes Ishii to the top rope and drops him with a vertical suplex. He applies the Scorpion Deathlock but Ishii manages to find the ropes. Ishii fights off Darkness Falls, ducks series of lariats and drops EVIL with a backdrop suplex. EVIL catches a boot and hammers at the knee.
Ishii tells him to bring it, fights off a lariat and drops EVIL with a lariat and applying a Scorpion Deathlock of his own. EVIL finds the ropes but Ishii stays on the attack. He lands a series of forearms that drops EVIL, followed by a sliding lariat for a two count. EVIL ducks a lariat, lands a German, Ishii powers up and headbutts a lariat before being put down with a second, followed by a third, but only a two count. Ishii escapes the STO, they trade lariats that take both crashing down to the mat, they make it back to their feet and continue the lariat attacks. Ishii lands a big headbutt and lariats EVIL down, EVIL knees out of a brainbuster and drops Ishii with a half and half suplex. Ishii fights off the STO and lands an enziguri followed by a lariat for two. He immediately picks EVIL back up and drops him head first with a brainbuster to score the victory.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. SANADA @ 38:03 via Rainmaker – ***3/4
SANADA debuts new gear, completely ditching the black in favor of blue as well as both a haircut and beard trim. Huge explosion from the crowd. SANADA’s chants slightly outweigh Okada’s. They go to lock up but Okada backs away before finally engaging. SANADA takes the waistlock, Okada takes the wrist and they trade wristlocks before Okada sweeps the leg. SANADA grabs a hold of the arm but Okada fights through and grabs the foot, SANADA flips through and they stalemate. Okada takes the wrist and gets a hold of both arms. SANADA swings his way through, they sweep the leg and trade pins and nip up together for another stalemate. Okada backs SANADA to the ropes, gives a clean break, SANADA charges in, eats a boot followed by a running basement dropkick. Slingshot senton and a chinlock from Okada. SANADA fights through and lands a dropkick to Okada’s knee. He tries for the Paradise Lock, Okada fights it off, SANADA lands a rana, Okada rolls through, SANADA hits another dropkick to the knee and traps Okada in the Paradise Lock. Headlock, elbow drop and back to the headlock but Okada finds the ropes. SANADA quickly charges in with a back elbow in the corner followed by a snap suplex.
Okada fights him off, SANADA comes up empty on a standing moonsault and Okada comes in with a running back elbow followed by a flurry of more elbows and a DDT. SANADA bails, avoids the plancha, pulls Okada off the apron but eats a boot and falls over the rails. Okada jumps over the rails with a running crossbody onto SANADA. He brings SANADA back in and looks for the elbow drop off the topbut SANADA is back to his feet, hits the double leap frog dropkick and follows Okada out with a plancha. He brings Okada back in and pins him for two. Okada elbows out of a backdrop, flips through a second attempt, escapes a dragon sleeper and drops SANADA with a flapjack. Okada catches SANADA’s boot, SANADA does the same, lands a rolling kick and holds the ropes on an Okada dropkick, follows with a springboard dropkick. SANADA charges in the corner and gets caught in a reverse neckbreaker. Top rope elbow drop and Rainmaker pose from Okada. They trade a series of pin attempts, SANADA’s Japanese Leg Clutch is transitioned to an Okada cobra clutch. SANADA powers out and lands a dropkick, Okada returns the fire with one of his own. He attempts the tombstone, SANADA rolls through into a dragon sleeper, looks for Skull End but Okada gets the tombstone. SANADA is quick to transition back into the dragon sleeper, Okada fights it so SANADA lifts him for a rope-assited Magic Killer.
Tiger suplex by SANADA but Okada kicks out. He tries to follow with a moonsault but Okada moves. Okada ducks a lariat, hits a discuss lariat, sets up for the Rainmaker, SANADA ducks and rolls through into a dragon sleeper. He spins Okada around and drops him into Skull End. Okada pulls his head out momentarily but SANADA gets the hold back. Okada again pops his head free, SANADA pulls him from the ropes and applies the hold once more. He lets go of the holds, climbs the top, hits a moonsault to Okada’s back, climbs the top again for another moonsault but Okada gets his knees up. They trade forearms on their knees, continue the exchange on their feet and SANADA wins the battle with a European. The crowd rallies for SANADA as he drops Okada with another European. Okada turns a third into a backslide, sets up for a Rainmaker but SANADA ducks and takes a dropkick. He catches Okada running in and applies the deagon sleeper. Okada fights through and looks for the tombstone but SANADA takes control of the waist and looks to hit the move himself. Okada escapes for a moment but is caught in the dragon sleeper. He rolls through Skull End, SANADA ducks the Rainmaker and hits a Rainmaker of his own for a two count. He blocks an Okada discuss Rainmaker, lands a discuss forearm, looks to set up for Skull End but Okada drops him with a tombstone and picks up the win with the Rainmaker. Okada offers his hand to SANADA and he gives it a light shake followed by a fist bump. Okada takes the mic and says his rivalry with SANADA has just begun. As he’s making his closing speech, Chris Jericho appears on the screen and announces he’ll be Okada’s challenger at Dominion.
A slight disappointment in the main event. SANADA really had to bring it in order to make the fans believe he had a chance at winning. At no point did the match truly feel like it was in SANADA’s control. His new gear and possible shift towards something new is interesting but the edge wasn’t quite there tonight. Still, it’s a match to see but I don’t think it’s one that quite fits the current run of matches we’ve seen for this title. Tomohiro ‘Show Stealer’ Ishii was at it again. Both he and EVIL went out there to prove a point and came out of the show with what I feel was the better match despite the fact no titles were on the line. El Phantasmo’s debut went over well. He showcased a great amount of athleticism heading into Best of the Super Juniors and on his debut got a win over the recent NEVER Openweight Champion.
Chris Jericho returns to the crowd’s approval. No doubt that’ll be a good match but I can’t help but to wonder if this does anything positive for New Japan. Jericho already brought all the eyes he could by debuting in the match against Omega. If you weren’t already sold in New Japan, I doubt a match between Jericho and Okada will move the needle for you. The match will be good, I just don’t see this as a move forward for New Japan while you have actual roster members who could do use this main event spot at Dominion to bring them to another level. Speaking of, Naito and Ibushi is officially set for Dominion as well. Tanahashi and White seem to be having another program now that Jericho has leap frogged them both to an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match. There’s a lot to take in from the show. Best of the Super Juniors begins in a little more than a week. Until then.
Ishii vs EVIL
Okada vs SANADA
Ishimori & ELP vs Lee & Ospreay
Naito, Shingo, BUSHI vs Ibushi, YOH, SHO
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