|Sakura Genesis 2017|
Promotional poster for the event, featuring various NJPW wrestlers
|Promotion||New Japan Pro Wrestling|
|Sponsor(s)||Sengoku Enbu –Kizna–|
|Date||April 9, 2017|
|Invasion Attack/Sakura Genesis chronology|
Sakura Genesis 2017 was wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), was scheduled to take place on April 9, 2017, in Tokyo at Ryōgoku Kokugikan. The event will feature nine matches (in addition to one dark match), main evented by 2017 New Japan Cup winner Katsuyori Shibata challenging Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Previously held under the Invasion Attack name, this marks the first show under the Sakura Genesis name.
Sakura Genesis 2017 was officially announced on January 4, 2017, during Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome. This marks NJPW's first April Ryōgoku Kokugikan show under its new name. The previous events had been held under the name Invasion Attack. The event will air worldwide through New Japan Pro Wrestling World with English commentary provided by Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.
Sakura Genesis 2017 will feature professional wrestling matches that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portray villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in the scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches.
Sakura Genesis 2017 is the first major NJPW show following the 2017 New Japan Cup. The New Japan Cup is an annual single-elimination tournament, where the winner gets to choose whether to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Intercontinental or the NEVER Openweight Championship. Traditionally, the title match has taken place at the April Ryōgoku Kokugikan show, previously known as Invasion Attack and now as Sakura Genesis. On March 20, Katsuyori Shibata defeated Bad Luck Fale in the finals to win the 2017 New Japan Cup. Following the win, Shibata brought up a promise he had made, before announcing his intention of challenging Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Shibata's promise harkened back to February 2014 and the The New Beginning in Osaka event, where he confronted Okada and challenged him to a title match, which Okada refused, stating that he needed to win the New Japan Cup to earn the right. That day, Shibata promised to win the New Japan Cup and become Okada's next challenger. Although he failed to win the 2014 New Japan Cup, now, three years later, he was a New Japan Cup winner and made the challenge to Okada. The following day, NJPW officially announced the match between Okada and Shibata as the main event of Sakura Genesis 2017. This marks Shibata's first shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship since his September 2012 return to NJPW. He previously challenged for the title on July 19, 2004, when he was defeated by the defending champion, Kazuyuki Fujita. This also marks only the second match between Okada and Shibata with their previous encounter during the 2013 G1 Climax on August 7, 2013, having ended in a victory for Okada.
The semi main event of Sakura Genesis 2017 will see Hiromu Takahashi make his third defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against previous champion KUSHIDA. After capturing the title from Kushida on January 4, 2017, at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome, Takahashi successfully defended it against Dragon Lee on February 11 and Ryusuke Taguchi on March 6. Following the March 6 match, Kushida answered an open challenge by Takahashi, asking for a rematch, and followed that up by pinning the champion in a tag team match the following day. On March 21, NJPW announced the rematch between Takahashi and KUSHIDA for Sakura Genesis 2017.
In the NEVER Openweight Championship match, defending champion Hirooki Goto will take on Zack Sabre Jr. Sabre made his NJPW debut on March 6, defeating Katsuyori Shibata with help from Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Minoru Suzuki to capture the British Heavyweight Championship, joining the Suzuki-gun stable in the process. The following day, Sabre pinned Goto in an eight-man tag team match to set himself up as the next challenger for Goto's NEVER Openweight Championship.
Both of NJPW's tag team championships will also be on the line at Sakura Genesis 2017. In the IWGP Tag Team Championship match, defending champions Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) take on the Ring of Honor (ROH) tag team War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe). War Machine made their NJPW debut in late 2016 during the 2016 World Tag League and put themselves in title contention in February 2017 by defeating The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) and Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) during the NJPW and ROH co-produced Honor Rising: Japan 2017 shows. Tencozy captured the IWGP Tag Team Championship on March 6 by defeating Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano, after stepping in as a late replacement team for Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma. Winning the title for the first time in three years and four months, Tencozy vowed to hold and defend the title until Honma was able to return to NJPW from his spinal cord injury. In the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match, Suzuki-gun's Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru make their first title defense against the veteran team Jado and Gedo. The match was initially set up on March 6, when Jado & Gedo saved previous champions Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Rocky Romero) from Taichi and Kanemaru, after the Suzuki-gun duo had defeated them to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. On March 20, Jado submitted Taichi in a six-man tag team match and afterwards made a challenge for a title match, which was made official the following day.
Other matches at Sakura Genesis 2017 include Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA and Tetsuya Naito) taking on Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi) in an eight-man tag team match, which follows Tanahashi, Ricochet and Taguchi challenging Bushi, Evil and Sanada for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship on April 4, as well as a tag team match between the Bullet Club duo of Bad Luck Fale and Kenny Omega and the CHAOS duo of Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano, which stems from the New Japan Cup, where Ishii eliminated Omega in the first round and Fale eliminated Yano in the second.
In the first title match of the event, Suzuki-gun's Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru made their first successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against Jado & Gedo with help from their stablemate El Desperado. Afterwards, the champions were challenged by Beretta and Rocky Romero. In the eight-man tag team match between Los Ingobernables de Japon and Taguchi Japan, Juice Robinson picked up the win for Taguchi Japan by pinning IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito in what was called "the biggest win of his career". Naito, who had entered the match without a clear challenger in sight, was afterwards challenged to a title match by Robinson. The second title match saw War Machine defeat Tencozy to become the new IWGP Tag Team Champions. Afterwards, Tencozy asked for a rematch, which War Machine accepted, shaking hands with the former champions and bowing to them.
In the third title match, Hirooki Goto made his third successful defense of the NEVER Openweight Championship against Zack Sabre Jr., despite outside interference from Sabre's Suzuki-gun stablemates Minoru Suzuki and El Desperado. After the match, Goto brawled with Suzuki, setting up the next title program. The fourth title match saw Hiromu Takahashi defeat Kushida in just 116 seconds to make his third successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Afterwards, Takahashi was challenged by Ricochet. In the main event, Kazuchika Okada made his fourth successful defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against New Japan Cup winner Katsuyori Shibata. Following the match, Okada was attacked and challenged by Bad Luck Fale.
Following the event, [ave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter called Okada's first months of 2017, which included singles matches with Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki, Tiger Mask W and Katsuyori Shibata, "on par with any first four plus months of anyone you'll see", adding that "[t]he big take on all this is Okada has won every match clean, and in every case, the loser has gotten over more just by being in the match". Meltzer also praised Tetsuya Naito and the booking around the match between Los Ingobernables de Japon and Taguchi Japan, stating that Juice Robinson was made a star in one night.
During the main event, Katsuyori Shibata delivered a headbutt, which was described as "nasty" and split his head open. After the match, Shibata collapsed backstage and was rushed to a hospital, where it was discovered that he had a subdural hematoma, which required emergency surgery.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Rose, Bryan (January 4, 2017). "NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 live results: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-wrestle-kingdom-11-live-results-kazuchika-okada-vs-kenny-omega-227626. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ Namako, Jason (January 4, 2017). "NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 Results – 1/4/17 (Live from the Tokyo Dome, Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega)". Wrestleview. http://www.wrestleview.com/japan-news/new-japan/71443-njpw-wrestlekingdom-11-results-1417-live-tokyo-dome-kazuchika-okada-vs-kenny-omega-iwgp-title/. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) New Japan Pro Wrestling. January 4, 2017. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. http://www.webcitation.org/6nGYlTed0. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ "NJPW Invasion Attack". Pro Wrestling History. http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/japan/newjapan/invasion.html. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave (January 13, 2017). "NJPW announces English commentary broadcast schedule". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-announces-english-commentary-broadcast-schedule-228236. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ Johnson, Mike (January 17, 2017). "The New Japan World English language commentary team is now...". Pro Wrestling Insider. http://www.pwinsider.com/article/107167/the-new-japan-world-english-language-commentary-team-is-now.html. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ Grabianowski, Ed. "How Pro Wrestling Works". HowStuffWorks, Inc.. Discovery Communications. http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/pro-wrestling.htm. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ Rose, Bryan (February 27, 2017). "NJPW reveals 2017 New Japan Cup brackets". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-reveals-2017-new-japan-cup-brackets-230881. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ Crockett, Paul (February 28, 2017). "Complete details on 2017 New Japan Cup tournament". Pro Wrestling Insider. http://www.pwinsider.com/article/108022/complete-details-on-2017-new-japan-cup-tournament.html?p=1. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ Rose, Bryan (March 19, 2017). "New Japan Cup finals live results: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Bad Luck Fale". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/new-japan-cup-finals-live-results-katsuyori-shibata-vs-bad-luck-fale-232051. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- ↑ 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 (in Japanese) New Japan Pro Wrestling. March 21, 2017. Archived from the original on March 21, 2017. http://www.webcitation.org/6p7rUBKNN. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. March 21, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/665013/. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Currier, Joseph (March 21, 2017). "Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata headlines NJPW Sakura Genesis". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/kazuchika-okada-vs-katsuyori-shibata-headlines-njpw-sakura-genesis-232131. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. March 7, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/659757/. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Rose, Bryan (March 7, 2017). "NJPW 45th Anniversary show results: LIJ vs. Chaos six-man main event". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-45th-anniversary-show-results-lij-vs-chaos-six-man-main-event-231366. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Macklin, Matthew (March 21, 2017). "New Japan in U.S. update, lineup announced for". Pro Wrestling Insider. http://pwinsider.com/article/108512/new-japan-in-us-update-lineup-announced-for.html?p=1. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Rose, Bryan (March 6, 2017). "NJPW 45th Anniversary show live results: Okada vs. Tiger Mask W". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-45th-anniversary-show-live-results-okada-vs-tiger-mask-w-231266. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. March 19, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/664308/. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. April 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/672982/. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. April 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/672978/. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. April 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/672972/. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. April 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/672969/. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. April 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/672975/. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. April 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/672964/. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave (April 9, 2017). "Daily Update: Okada vs. Shibata, Be a Star, Rumble's retirement". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/daily-updates/daily-update-okada-vs-shibata-be-star-rumbles-retirement-233356. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ Johnson, Mike (April 10, 2017). "Shibata seriously injured". Pro Wrestling Insider. http://pwinsider.com/article/108969/shibata-seriously-injured.html?p=1. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. April 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/673194/. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- ↑ Rose, Bryan (April 10, 2017). "NJPW reveals cards for Wrestling Dontaku and Wrestling Toyonokuni". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-reveals-cards-wrestling-dontaku-and-wrestling-toyonokuni-233411. Retrieved April 10, 2017.