Minutes to Bell Time

Sakura Genesis – Apr. 8

Sakura Genesis – Apr. 8

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Sakura Genesis Results

Hello and welcome to my live blog and coverage of the New Japan Sakura Genesis show.

*Sakura Genesis is LIVE from Ryogoku.

Tonight’s show features five title matches and four multi-person matches on the undercard.

Match 1

El Desperado, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Yoh v. Minoru Suzuki, Toru Yano, & Great-O-Khan

The teams in this match were randomly selected. Suzuki and Khan got in a bit of a striking battle before the match even started (and they’re on the same team). ELD and Suzuki start things off and of course these two are former stablemates. Tagging in and out on the Suzuki side is almost non-existent. At one point, Great-O-Khan and Suzuki fight on the outside while Yano is triple teamed on the inside. Of course that triple team falls apart when Yoh and Desperado get after each other. Yano ends up hitting Tana with a low blow before rolling him up for the pinfall (13:10).

WINNERS: Minoru Suzuki, Yano, Great-O-Khan

Match 2

Francesco Akira, Aaron Henare, Jeff Cobb v. Sho, Yujiro Takahashi, Evil w/ Dick Togo

This match could have been for the NEVER Six-Man titles if House of Torture won the titles earlier this week, but they did not. Watching Jeff Cobb no sell all of Sho’s offense was fun while it lasted, but Yujiro and Evil jumped in to help him out and secure an advantage. Perhaps the most impressive thing was the finish. Per House of Torture protocol, Dick Togo eventually jumped in the ring and started choking Jeff Cobb out. Cobb got out of the choke and with Togo still on his back, Cobb gave the Tour of the Islands to Sho. Very cool (8:01).

Winners: Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare, and Francesco Akira

After the match, Francesco Akira accepted the challenge of Kevin Knight and Kushida for the IWGP Junior Tag Titles on behalf of himself and TJP.

Match 3

Bushi, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito w/ Taka Michinoku v. Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi

Taka Michinoku cuts a promo before the match saying that Just Five Guys is going to change everything. LIJ is already dead. This entire rivalry centers around the fact that Sanada has left LIJ to join Just Five Guys. Yoshinobu Kanemaru got a submission victory over Bushi with the Figure-Four Leglock (9:20). While Kanemaru had the figure-four on Bushi, Douki also had the Douki-Chokey on Naito, which he refused to break after the match. Taichi and Shingo seem to be squaring off for another KOPW match. It also appeared that Douki has challenged Naito for a one on one match, but that doesn’t seem like a competitive match (not at all).

Winners: Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi

Match 4

Master Wato, Hikuleo, Tama Tonga v. El Phantasmo, Kenta, David Finlay w/ Gedo

Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton tell the story that David Finlay is having trouble assimilating into Bullet Club. It actually becomes the story of the match as David Finlay is constantly trying to get ELP to stop with his shenanigans and focus on the match. ELP hit sudden death and CR2 for the pinfall victory (8:46). After the match, David Finlay drilled Tama Tonga with the NEVER title. Hikuleo tried to make the save, but Kenta hit him with the Strong Openweight Title. Seems like Finlay will challenge Tama for the Strong Title while Kenta will defend against Hikuleo. ELP tries to pull Finlay off Hikuleo, and they end up throwing fists. Kenta tries to make peace, but he hit ELP with the Go To Sleep. I guess ELP is out of Bullet Club. Taiji Ishimori runs out and joins in on the attack.

Winners: El Phantasmo, Kenta, and David Finlay


G1 Climax 33

  • The 17 Night G1 Climax kicks off 7/15 and 7/16
  • Concludes on 8/12 and 8/13

They announced all the dates and locations for the G1 Climax. It is notable that New Japan did not announce any international dates for the tournament this year. All dates listed below.

Match 5

Mercedes Mone (c) v. AZM v. Hazuki – IWGP Women’s Championship

Really positive fan reception for this match. Crowd was into it even if they weren’t loud the entire time. Hazuki hit a big dive from the top rope to the floor. Tons of chain wrestling and submission in this match with a million pinfall attempts and triple submission attempts. Mercedes hit the Money Maker to get the pinfall victory and retain the title (13:52).

The commentators kind of gave this away if you’re not paying attention to Stardom. Stardom has a major show coming up on April 23 (Yokohama Arena), and they sort of indicated that they needed Mercedes on the card to move tickets and Pay Per View.

Winner: Mercedes Mone

After the Mayu Iwatani came out to say that on April 23rd that IWGP Women’s Championship will belong to Mayu. Mercedes slapped Mayu and left.

Coming Soon Video Package

They played another video package advertising someone new coming into the company. They’re advertising destruction and such with an image of a wolf to close it out. I’m not sure when the debut of this person will happen, but there aren’t a ton of major shows after this one before the G1 and Best of Super Jr tournament.

Match 6

Zack Sabe Jr. (c) v. Shota Umino – IWGP TV Title

As a reminder, all TV title matches have a 15 minute time limit. Shota has a win over Zack, but it took over 20 minutes. The match kicks off with about 10 different quick pin attempts, and Zack nearly had his shoulders pinned. One of the key spots came when Zack put on a cross arm breaker and then transitioned to a deep fujiwara armbar. Sabre released at the 10 minute mark. Shota kept going for the Death Rider, but Zack managed to evade on a couple of occasions. Umino did hit it on the third attempt, but Zack kicked out. Shota hit another one from a package position, but he didn’t go straight for the cover or a follow up move. When Umino picked Sabre up, Zack went straight to a pinning comb for the win (13:35). They utilized the 15 minute time limit really well here. It looked like it might go to the limit, but things got really interesting and fast toward the end.

Winner: Zack Sabre

Match 7

Yoshi Hashi and Hirooki Goto (c) v. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis) – IWGP Tag Team Championships

New Japan has been doing short video packages to recap the storylines. They (thankfully) aren’t anywhere near the length of the WrestleMania packages. A couple of minutes into the match, Kyle Fletcher hit a moonsault off the second rope to the floor, but Fletcher didn’t stick the landing. Instead he hit his head on the barricade. The doctors taped Fletcher’s head up because he was busted open. Seems to me that it would be more prudent to go to the finish and get Fletcher to the back where he can get proper medical attention. Fletcher continued to sell the injury during the match. Aussie Open hit Coriolis around the 15 minute mark to win the IWGP Tag Team Championships (15:30).

Winners: Aussie Open – TITLE CHANGE

Match 8

Hiromu Takahashi (c) v. Robbie Eagles – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

The story of this match is building off a leg injury that Hiromu suffered earlier in the week. Eagles would use the Ron Miller Special over and over including a barricade assisted version when the action spilled to the outside. Through the first 10 minutes, there were bursts of speed from Hiromu but nowhere near his normal match. Eagles systemically tore Hiromu apart. Eagles hit a running diving somersault senton through the ropes to the floor with Hiromu being all the separated Eagles from kicking the front row fans straight in the face. Hiromu did manage to hit Time Bomb right at the 15 minute mark, but the move only earned him a near fall. Eagles hit a 450 splash on Hiromu’s legs and then put on the Ron Miller special. It looked like Hiromu was going to have to tap, but he somehow countered into a pin which forced Robbie to break the hold. Eventually Hiromu managed to hit Time Bomb 2 for the pinfall victory. Really solid storytelling in this match.

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi

Match 9 – MAIN EVENT

Kazuchika Okada (c) v. Sanada – IWGP World Championship

Well. We’ve seen this match a thousand times. It always ends the same. Sanada has Okada dead to rights in the Skull End Submission, but Sanada releases the hold, goes for the moonsault, and he misses. One or two rain makers later, and Okada wins. Let’s see if tonight is any different.

Sanada’s presentation could not be any different. New entrance robe, new trunks, new music, and clean shave. If he doesn’t win here, he’ll never win.

Through the fist 15 minutes, Sanada went for Skull End many times. On some occasions, Okada would evade the move entirely and in other occasions Okada would squeeze out. As predicted. . .Sanada had Okada in Skull End, he released it, went for the moonsault, and got caught with Okada’s knees. This time around, Okada hit two rain makers and then put on the money clip. Okada released the rain maker, climbed to the top, and hit the elbow drop followed by his dropkick and landslide. Sanada would evade the rainmaker to hit one of his own. Both men are down to close out that sequence.

The crowd has been whipped into a frenzy here because they are ready for a title change. Sanada hit a moonsault to the back and then one to the front for a near fall. Okada countered deadfall.

Sanada hit deadfall a few moments later and scored the pinfall to become the new IWGP Champion.

Winner: Sanada – IWGP Heavyweight Champion

Post Match:

Hiromu challenges Sanada for the IWGP World Championship, but Sanada says you need to give Kanemaru a Jr. Championship match first.


Upcoming New Japan Stuff

+ Capitol Collision in Washington D.C. on April 15 featuring a three way Strong Openweight Tag Team Title Match between the champions Motor City Machine Guns, Aussie Open, and the team of Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi

+ Wrestling Dontaku 2023 on May 3 in Fukuoka

+ Best of Super Juniors Tournament Kicks off in Korakuen Hall (Tokyo) on May 10.

+ Dominion in Osaka on June 4

+ Forbidden Door in Toronto on July 25


G1 Climax

G1 CLIMAX 33 July 15- August 13 2023

Nights 1 & 2 July 15 & 16 Hokkaido: Hokkai Kita-Yell

Night 3 July 18 Yamagata: Yamagata Sports Center

Night 4 July 19 Miyagi: Xebio Arena Sendai

Night 5 July 21 Niigata: Aore Nagaoka

Night 6 July 23 Nagano Big Hat

Nights 7 & 8 July 25 & 26 Korakuen Hall

Night 9 July 27 Tokyo: Ota-Ku Gymnasium

Night 10 July 30 Aichi: Dolphin’s Arena

Night 11 August 1 Takamatsu: Takamatsu Gymnasium

Night 12 August 2 Hiroshima: Sun Plaza

Nights 13 & 14 August 5 & 6 Osaka: EDION Arena

Night 15 August 8 Kanagawa: Yokohama Budokan

Night 16 August 9 Shizuoka: Act City Hamamatsu

Night 17 August 10 Chiba: Funabashi Arena

Nights 18 & 19 (final) August 12 & 13 Ryogoku Sumo Hall

Ryan Joy and John D’Aconti host the Daily Wrestling New Show podcast. They’re focused on Teaching, Learning, and Remembering the history of Professional Wrestling with everyone that wants to join them. 

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