New Japan Pro Wrestling has just finished its annual Dontaku Tour. With changes in the global pandemic, the company has had to adapt to changes in the card, losing wrestlers and adapting to new health measures.
Yet, despite being plagued with the world’s circumstances, New Japan managed to produce a very good Dontaku tour with some amazing matches. From special singles to title matches, they continue to showcase their talent as well as possible.
Here is a look at all of the big matches from this year’s tour!
6. Tama Tonga v TAICHI – Special Ladders Match – 3/5/21
Ladder matches are very rare in New Japan and the match between Tama Tonga and TAICHI was only the second in the company’s history. Going into the match, there was a solid storyline present with the battle for Iizuka’s iron fingers.
After the iron fingers were raised, you could see that both men were already uncomfortable with the concept. There was hesitation climbing the ladders and hitting some of the big spots that seem almost natural in other companies. Yet, it just served to show just how inexperienced the roster is with these matches in this environment.
However, the strength of this match was emphasizing the storyline that has been going on since Wrestle Kingdom. After Tanga Loa and ZSJ came out, it added more impact to the match, making an awkward match more watchable. In particular, there was a nasty spot where DOUKI was power bombed into a ladder that broke in half and that seemed to be the highlight for many fans.
In the end, TAICHI got the win, grabbing the iron fingers and bringing them back to Suzuki Gun. Despite the great psychology and storytelling within the match, it definitely was not the strongest match between the two men. Yet, there is no denying that both men put their hearts and bodies into the bout, and it showed fans that Suzuki Gun can be very good babyfaces. However, another ladder match might not be in the company’s immediate future for a while.
5. Tanga Loa v Zack Sabre Jr – Special Singles Match – 3/5/21
Like the previous match, Tanga Loa and Zack Sabre Jr had a score to settle with their singles match. Tanga Loa made the challenge by saying, if ZSJ lost, he would never be able to challenge them for the IWGP Heavyweight tag titles. It was always going to be a battle of different ideologies, but it seemed to allow both men to shine.
When the match started, Tanga Loa quickly had the size and power advantage over the much smaller ZSJ. Yet, Zack proved why he is one of the best submission wrestlers in the business, finding a way to transition any of his moves into a submission or pin. He also quickly found the best way to equal the odds by targeting Tanga Loa’s arm, one of his main weapons.
While both men are fundamentally different, fans got to see new moves from each athlete. Zack showcased his beautiful tornado DDT and Tanga Loa had to slow down his offence to ensure Zack’s high ring IQ did not catch him out. In the end, as Tanga Loa set up for his finisher Apeshit, ZSJ managed to counter into a crucifix pin to get the win!
Even though ZSJ did not tap Tanga Loa out as he wanted, it was still a great match. Zack Sabre Jr proved that he can still safely beat men much larger and stronger despite his size and stature. For fans, it is also a match they would happily see again because the two styles blended much better than many expected.