NJPW Sengoku Lord 2020. ANALYSIS
By: Alejandro Casañas Romero
NJPW introduced a mini PPV in Nagoya called Sengoku Lord. This time there was almost 100% capacity in a country that has managed to handle the pandemic in an exemplary manner. The event had three main struggles, standing out on the poster
EVIL has become a polarizing issue regarding his reign. Some like a server, think that it is something cool and that it was unexpected. Hiromu Takahashi came out to defend the honor of former double champion Tetsuya Naito (leader of the Japanese Ungovernables).
The change from EVIL to the Bullet Club is something that Gedo had to improvise due to the travel ban. The budgeted winner of the New Japan Cup was to be Jay White (leader of the Bullet Club). With the theme of the pandemic, that changed and this storyline of EVIL betraying the Ungovernables occurred.
EVIL (c) vs Hiromu Takahashi
IWGP Heavyweight and IC Championship
Hiromu Takahashi as the current Jr. Champion was the one who came out heartbroken after Dominion to challenge EVIL. Takahashi since returning from the CMLL and more after the terrible neck injury has been one of NJPW’s most popular. His strange and irreverent gimmick goes perfectly with what the Ungovernables are. Plus he backs that up with a frenetic and varied moveset in the ring.
For all this, the fight was better than that of EVIL vs Naito. The fight was good but again very long by EVIL standards. The King of Darkness works much better in short sprints and against powerhouse rivals. Either way, Hiromu was the one who bore the brunt of the fight.
EVIL played the role of heel with little but brutal offense and aided by interventions. No one expected Dick Togo as EVIL’s manager. Hiromu did everything to win the fight. From his Sunset Bomb to EVIL impacting Togo at ringside. He also made his saddle out of the ring.
The best moment of the fight was when the two started exchanging German suplexes. Hiromu showed great heart in those sequences. The best false end of the fight was when EVIL held the Time Bomb driver. Although it was obvious that Hiromu would not win, more than one doubted that result.
The interventions at the end were unfortunate. Togo with Red Shoes lying around, hanged Hiromu with that utensil he used against Naito in Dominion. EVIL applied its Darkness Falls bombshell plus the STO Everything is Evil. The count of 3 was very anticlimactic. Now EVIL will be measured on the Summer Struggle show in a rematch v Naito. It would be very surprising if Naito does not cover his belts.
Rating: 4 stars
Shingo Takagi (c) vs El Desperado
NEVER Openweight Championship
The Desperado had a great fight in the New Japan Cup against Ishii and with that the company trusted him for this fight. The Suzuki-Gun member seems ready to make the leap from junior to fullweights.
Shingo Takagi had a great NEVER title defense against Sho at Dominion. A scepter that fits someone like the member of the Ungovernables. The NEVER Openweight Championship has always been that belt for powerhouses and pure strong style. Veterans such as Nagata, Goto, Ishii, Makabe or Shibata are some of those who have worn this belt.
The fight was very good because Desperado’s psychology made it credible that he dominated someone like Takagi. The challenger early injured Takagi’s knee with a saddle. From there he was always ahead in combat and attacking the knee with a lever to the knee using his neck as a fulcrum. That key put Takagi in predicaments throughout the fight.
Little by little, Takagi found small rallies and downloaded his power movements like his Gori Bomb Noshigami or the lariats like the Pumping Bomber. The Desperado even resisted the Made in Japan driver.
In the end, a lariat and driver combo Last of the Dragon wiped out the masked Suzuki-Gun heel. Shingo is ideal for a long reign with the NEVER scepter.
Rating: 3 stars 3 rooms
Kazuchika Okada vs Yujiro
It is rare to see Okada in an undercard fight. Kazuchika has had a long rivalry with Gedo and this cost him the final of the New Japan Cup vs EVIL. In addition, many fans saw their wish fulfilled, to see Naito triumphant against the Rainmaker at the Tokyo Dome in January.
Yujiro has not had a leading role in many years; few remember once he challenged Tanahashi. Yujiro stayed like that heel Don Juan of the Bullet Club. Naito many years ago took off when leaving that No Limit couple. Yujiro is not a great fighter, but a performer who can shine with the right opponent.
The fight was solid but far from what we know Okada can give. The Rainmaker always chose to seek the surrender of his rival with his King Cobra Clutch. Since the New Japan Cup, they have wanted to establish that new key and therefore Okada’s finisher.
Gedo intervened but either way Okada surrendered Yujiro with the King Cobra Clutch. Okada did not win the New Japan Cup but many hope he will get his third G1 Climax. That way he would return for his IWGP title and as the ace of the company.
Rating: 3 stars a quarter
Rating of the show: 7 out of 10
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