The Best And Worst Of NJPW: Royal Quest 2019

Previously on NJPW: Katsuyori Shibata got so mad about Kenta joining Bullet Club that he defied all medical advice to dropkick him in the face and Kota Ibushi won the G1 Climax.

You can watch New Japan Pro Wrestling shows on their streaming service, NJPW World, which costs 999 yen (about 9 USD.) You can also watch certain NJPW matches on Saturdays on AXS TV.

You can keep up with With Spandex on Twitter and Facebook, follow our home site Uproxx on Twitter, and even follow me on Twitter @emilyofpratt. Don’t forget to share this column on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media you use! Also, leave a comment with your thoughts on the show and/or article! All feedback is appreciated and will help us keep up the NJPW coverage.

And now, the best and worst of Royal Quest, which took place August 30, 2019, at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Best: London Bridges

NJPW’s first UK show, finished with its two strongest matches, and, surprisingly, noted British person Zack Sabre Jr. lost his British Heavyweight Championship in one of them.

As we’ve seen time and time again and several times this year, ZSJ and Hiroshi Tanahashi work really well together. Though it was a rematch, it was a first-time-ever in the UK match, and probably even more of a natural crowd-pleaser than when it happened at Madison Square Garden this spring. I don’t think it was the strongest match these two have had – some of their previous ones had clearer directions – but their Royal Quest match is still entertaining and well-done. Tanahashi’s bridge counter of that leg hold early on is incredible and his win after only one High Fly Flow is a cool surprise.

Tanahashi winning the title wasn’t only a neat moment, but a smart use of the post-Ace and recent (once again) gravure model as it looks like NJPW is looking to strengthen their partnership with RevPro and make more moves in the British scene. (See also: picking up Gabriel Kidd for the LA Dojo and stating interest in opening a dojo in the UK.) If Tanahashi keeps the title beyond Destruction in Beppu, RevPro will probably get him for at least one main event. This could also easily lead to that guy who has his old slogan on his t-shirt winning the title.

It honestly sucks for the UK wrestling scene that they built something up for years and then once it was its own thing enough for big companies to notice, WWE ate up most of it and now it looks like NJPW is going after what’s left. But with a clear demand for wrestling in the region, this is what’s happening! At least people are getting jobs and some good shows out of it.

Worst: The Wrong Kind Of Going 2 Sleep