Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA headlines today's NJPW Sakura Genesis event at Sumo Hall in Tokyo.
Okada is set to defend the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against SANADA, the 2023 New Japan Cup winner. Okada is 8-1 in nine career singles bouts against SANADA.
A total of five title bouts are set for the show.
In the semi-main, Hiromu Takahashi defends the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title against Robbie Eagles, the newest member of TMDK.
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI will defend the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles against Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher of Aussie Open.
Zack Sabre Jr. will defend the NJPW World Television title against Shota Umino.
Mercedes Mone puts the IWGP Women's title on the line in a triple threat match versus AZM and Hazuki.
Tama Tonga, Hikuleo & Master Wato vs. David Finlay, KENTA & El PhantasmoTetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKIJeff Cobb, Aaron Henare & Francesco Akira vs. EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHOMystery six-man tag team match
Our live coverage begins at 4 a.m. Eastern time.
Shinnichi Champion Grand Prix Celebration Six-Man Tag Match: Toru Yano, Great O-Khan, & Minoru Suzuki defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, YOH, & El Desperado
This was an enjoyable opening bout that explored faction relations atypically.
This match's oddball lineup was a part of the stip. Factionmates stood apart from one another while partnering with longtime rivals.
Suzuki and Desperado started the match and had a sportsmanly back-and-forth. This was the end of normalcy, however, as the struggle for tags began around this point.
With neither team wanting to engage in tags, O-Khan and YOH were left to fight each other for some time. Tanahashi eventually forced himself into the fray, taking momentum for his team. O-Khan grew desperate for a tag, but his partners refused to engage.
After much debate, Yano tagged into the match, and partners O-Khan and Suzuki were left to fight each other. Poor Yano was left in a three-on-one situation, but he took advantage of the dysfunction. YOH slapped his partner Desperado, and in the chaos that followed, Yano hit Tanahashi with a low blow and rolled him up to win the match.
United Empire (Aaron Henare, Francesco Akira & Jeff Cobb) defeated House Of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)
This match opened with a brawl. SHO and Akira were left in the ring to fight for control, where SHO gained full advantage for HOT. It took a tag to Cobb for UE to fight into the match, but HOT was willing to use their numbers to retake the lead.
SHO distracted the referee with his wrench, giving Dick Togo an opportunity to hit the ring with his cord. While being choked by Togo, Cobb stood up, grabbed SHO, and dropped him with tour of the islands. With Togo on his back, Cobb pinned SHO and secured the UE win.
After the match, Akira accepted KUSHIDA and Kevin Knight's challenge for the junior tag titles.
Just 5 Guys (DOUKI, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito)
Naito started the match quickly by rushing DOUKI. LIJ fought with what felt like personal animosity towards J5G, leading to an extended sequence of control.
After a double tag, Taichi and Shingo traded heavy blows. BUSHI continued to keep up the fight after tagging in to handle Kanemaru. Kanemaru was able to turn things around, securing a figure four leglock in the center of the ring. As the rest of LIJ tried to make the save, J5G caught them in other holds, protecting BUSHI long enough for him to secure the win.
After the bell, DOUKI held Naito in the DOUKI Chokey for an extended period, forcing the ringside crew to break the hold. DOUKI later would challenge Naito to a singles match.
BULLET CLUB (David Finlay, El Phantasmo & KENTA) defeated Hikuleo, Tama Tonga, & Master Wato
Bullet Club drama will never end. Ten years after this faction's creation, we're still dealing with schisms, splinter groups, and betrayals.
Before the match could begin, ELP and Finlay had a bit of squabble. Once the bout actually started, the babyface squad was quick to take control.
The BC trio eventually took the lead but didn't do much to capitalize as ELP and Finlay continued to argue. Finlay and ELP traded 'tags' that were closer to chops, leading to a rally from the faces.
Even though the disfunction, ELP was able to drop Wato with sudden death and a CR2.
Once the match concluded, Finlay dropped Tama with the NEVER championship. As Finlay beat down Tama, ELP tried to pull him off. Finlay dropped ELP with a forearm, leading into a strike exchange. After being pulled apart, ELP removed his Bullet Club gear. KENTA, who was playing a peacemaker role up to this point, dropped ELP with a GTS.
After KENTA's action, KENTA and Gedo presented ELP to Finlay, who was now wielding his shillelagh. Taiji Ishimori hit the ring to make an apparent save, but instead, he dropped ELP with a low blow. Ishimori then helped Finlay deliver the shillelagh strike, dissolving The World's Cutest Tag Team and ELP's involvement in Bullet Club propper.
Since his arrival in the faction, ELP has been questioning Finlay's authority. ELP seems to be brushing up to Bullet Club Gold and Black, which appears to be Jay White's AEW schism group.
G1 Climax 2023 Schedule
July 15-16: Hokkai Kitayell | July 18: Yamagata | July 19: Xebio Arena Sendai | July 21: Ao-re Nagaoka | July 23: Nagano | July 25-26: Korakuen | July 27: Otaku | July 30: Aichi | August 1: Takamatsu | August 2: Hiroshima | August 5-6: Osaka | August 8: Yokohama Budokan | August 9: Act City Hamamatsu | August 10: Chiba | August 12-13: RYOGOKU
IWGP Women's Championship: Mercedes Mone (c) defeated Hazuki and AZM
The match opened with a fast triangle sequence, leaving all women on equal footing. AZM and Mone made an on-the-fly agreement to write off Hazuki, but instead, Hazuki took control of both of her opponents.
After a brief sequence of Hazuki control, the match turned into a series of dives. From here, the trio traded tandem submissions and quick pin attempts, never leaving out any competitor for long.
Mone eventually landed a pair of code breakers and a Meteora for a near fall over AZM. AZM scored a nearfall of her own with a quick trapping pin before Hazuki fought back into the match with an explosive set of strikes.
Hazuki tried to close with a brainbuster, but AZM hit the ring to interrupt. Instead of securing a pin, as she had hoped, AZM was caught by Mone. Mone dropped AZM onto Hazuki with Money Maker, winning the match and retaining her belt.
After the match, Mayu Iwatani walked to the ring to challenge Mone for the Women's title. Mone answered with a slap to the face.
NJPW World Television Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) defeated Shota Umino
The match opened with a series of quick pin attempts. After the opening pin sequence, things calmed down a little, with both men trading uppercuts instead. Some intensity from Umino allowed him to gain a lead, which he used to work the leg.
ZSJ caught Shota with an armbar that forced him into the ropes. Continued work on the arm allowed ZSJ to retake the lead after Shota began to rally.
After escaping a brutal armbar, Shota attempted another rally with various quick pins. A swinging DDT and a death rider scored Shota a convincing nearfall late in the match. Shota tried for another death rider, but ZSJ reversed into a pin, winning the match.
IWGP Tag Team Championship: Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) defeated Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (c)
Aussie Open started the match by isolating YH. Once Goto tagged in, Aussie Open upped the stakes to maintain their control, landing huge dives to the outside, leaving Bishamon on the backfoot.
YH eventually launched a rally, but Fletcher and Davis kept on the same page. At some point, Fletcher was busted open, but he continued to fight, even with a tapped-up head.
Once Goto tagged into the match, he began to turn things around. After sending Davis to the floor, Goto dropped Fletcher with a lariat and a backdrop. YH hit the ring to help Goto close, but Fletcher escaped Shoto. Goto persisted, dropping Fletcher with GYW, but Davis was able to make the save.
Another save from Davis allowed Fletcher to score a near fall. To clear the ring of YH, Aussie Open hit a double lariat. A follow-up sandwiching-lariat to Goto and Coriolis was able to close out the match for Aussie Open, winning them the match and IWGP gold.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi (c) defeated Robbie Eagles
The opening sequence saw Hiromu bait Eagles to the floor. Hiromu tried his sunset flip bomb, but a bad knee gave out, opening him up to a targeted attack from Eagles. Eagles' attack on the leg was focused and relentless, using strikes, holds, and his environment to put Hiromu through the wringer.
Hiromu's eventual rally started with a victory royal after minutes of agony. Back-and-forth suplexes led to a slam into the corner and a Timebomb for a Hiromu nearfall.
An encounter that forced the pair into the corner ended with a poison rana and a 450 to Hiromu's knee. After landing the splash, Eagles locked in the Rob Miller Special; Hiromu barely escaped.
After a brief pause, Hiromu was able to land Dynamite Plunger and Timebomb 2 to win the match.
SANADA defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP World Heavyweight title
The match began with a typical collar-and-elbow tie-up. As the match continued, it soon worked its way to the floor. On the outside, SANADA dropped Okada on the concrete with a barricade-assisted DDT. Back in the ring, SANADA maintained this control for some time.
A flapjack to SANADA allowed Okada to fight into a leading position. A dropkick from Okada sent SANADA crashing to the floor, where he returned the concrete-DDT favor.
SANADA was quick to fight back after returning to the ring. A quick dropkick to Okada left SANADA a step ahead. The match wandered back outside again, leading to a SANADA dive.
Okada blocked SANADA's moonsault attempt by extending his knees. A follow-up suplex led to a pair of lariats and the money clip. Okada landed a dropkick and landslide, but SANADA reversed the rainmaker attempt into a lariat of his own.
After escaping Okada's finish, SANADA challenged Okada to a strike exchange. Okada ended the strike exchange with a dropkick, but SANADA revered the rainmaker into a cutter and a pair of moonsaults for a nearfall.
Okada tried for landslide, but SANADA turned it into a choke. After dropping Okada, SANADA landed a shining wizard but failed to follow up. Once he escaped another finish attempt, Okada tried again for rainmaker. This time, SANADA reversed rainmaker into Deadfall. After landing his swinging DDT variation, SANADA pinned Okada to win the belt for the first time in his career.
During SANADA's victory speech, Hiromu walked to the ring. He congratulated SANADA for his win before challenging for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Kanemaru asked Hiromu for a junior title shot before Hiromu got a chance to challenge for the heavyweight title.
SANADA closed the show with a promo and shower of confetti. Just 5 Guys have arrived.
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