I finally got to enjoy the birthday present from my lovely wife when New Japan Pro Wrestling held the first show of their three event tour at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA.
Eight matches were on the line up as an all-star six-man tag team match served as the main event. The show was structured as an intimate house show setting as opposed to a significant event.
There was nothing newsworthy that came out of the event, but it was still fun. Winning the lottery via an amazing parking spot in front of the building was first sign that the night was going to be alright.
Upon, entering the realm of ‘Fight Spirit Unleashed,’ I got to meet two wrestlers who weren’t advertised for a meet and greet. Hirooki Goto and one of my favorites, Tomohiro Ishii were in the foyer. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in line, which never happens.
Next up, was the merchandise table for authentic New Japan goods that are normally only available in Japan. The line was super long, however, it moved rather quickly. I purchased some of the popular muffler towels… and let’s just say I’ve never spent so much money on linen in my life.
-The Rock & Roll Express/Chase Owens & Jado might have had the best match of the night. The audience was super into it and seeing Ricky Morton pull off a hurricanrana in 2019 was absolutely nuts! It was a great piece of nostalgia
-Lance Archer was over like a rockstar and beat the hell out of poor Ren Narita.
-Jay White is genuinely the top heel in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Heck, he might be the top heel in the entire industry. No matter how you slice it, the audience loves to hate him.
-Guerillas of Destiny (GoD)/Roppongi also deserved consideration for match of the night and probably garnered the loudest reaction. GoD was super over with the crowd during their entrance.
While there were some minor miscommunications between the wrestlers in the ring, the audience couldn’t tell. The last five minutes of the match had everyone on the edge of their seat.
YOH kept creatively rolling up Tonga with each pinfall attempt being more exciting than the last. Tonga went for the Gun Stun and YOH caught him for a backslide teasing a remarkable near fall.
New Japan does a great job of augmenting the prestige of their championships by having one title match per show on every tour. This makes the titles and the match mean more, which was evident here.
-The main event was more spectacle than anything else. It was a sight to behold having who many consider the top four wrestlers not only in the promotion but in the world in the same match. Three of them were on the same team.
None of the wrestlers hit their signature maneuvers, which was kind of surprising. It was even more surprising when Tanahashi pinned Naito out of nowhere with a reverse cradle.
This match wasn’t anything special and it didn’t need to be. It was about having all of New Japan’s big guns in the ring at the same time.
The maiden voyage of ‘Fighting Spirit Unleashed’ had a little something for everyone. It wasn’t a blow away event. However, it was a house show where all of the matches were well worked. New Japan didn’t need to go all-out crazy for this show. It was a pleasure seeing the best wrestlers in the world apply their craft. The first five matches were finished in 57 minutes. Nothing felt rushed and it gave more time for the two featured matches to shine. This feat is an independent wrestling promoter’s dream. Overall, New Japan adds another fun chapter to the wrestling history of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.
-Karl Fredericks made Alex Coughlin with a modified half crab.
-Lance Archer pinned Ren Narita with the EBD Claw (Everybody Dies).
-Juice Robinson & Mikey Nicholls defeated Clark Connors & TJP
-Chase Owens & Jado defeated The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) when Owens pinned Gibson with a package piledriver.
-Tomohiro Ishii & Amazing Red defeated BUSHI & Shingo Takagi when Ishii hit BUSHI with a brainbuster for the win.
-Hirooki Goto, Rocky Romero & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Jay White, KENTA & Gedo, when YOSHI-HASHI made Gedo submit with a Butterfly Lock.
–IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) defeated Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) to retain the titles when Tama Tonga hit the Gun Stun.
-Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi defeated Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & EVIL when Tanahashi pinned Naito after reversing a cradle pin attempt.