The landscape of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) got altered Saturday as gold changed hands in two matches. SANADA defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to become the new IWGP United States Champion. The team of Master Wato and Ryusuke Taguchi beat three other teams, including Tiger Mask and Robbie Eagles, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
SANADA Wins First Singles Championship in NJPW
SANADA has won his first singles championship since 2014 as this marks his first singles title win in his NJPW career. “The Cold Skull” has long been trying to get to the top of NJPW but has failed on numerous occasions — mostly against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Fans and analysts of NJPW began to wonder if SANADA’s laid-back demeanor was what held him back from winning gold all this time. So often the determination of SANADA would be non-existent to the point that his rises to the top would be stunted. He has failed more often than not, watching EVIL, Shingo Takagi, and Tetsuya Naito all lap him to win the top title in the promotion. As he got this shot against “The Ace,” it almost felt as though it was now or never.
Hiroshi Tanahashi seemingly had the number of SANADA in the early going but as the match went on, the challenger only looked better and better. It became a war of attrition for both. Whoever made the final slip-up was going to be the man who walked away without a championship in his possession. As Tanahashi went for the High Fly Flow, SANADA managed to move out of the way and get the shock pin on the NJPW great to win the IWGP United States Championship. With such a major win against such a major opponent, this should go down as the biggest victory of his career thus far.
Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi Overcome Odds To Win Tag Belts
Master Wato and Ryusuke Taguchi have taken up a student and teacher relationship, leading them to the promised land in a short fashion. After Wato had the biggest match of his career just over a week ago against El Desperado for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, he needed to keep up the momentum that he had gained from that match. This is the first title reign of any kind for Wato since returning to NJPW. On the other hand, Taguchi adds his seventh IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship to his collection with it being his fourth tag team partner.
Wato and Taguchi defeated the Flying Tigers, Bullet Club’s Cutest Tag Team, and El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru to walk out as the champions.
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