|The New Beginning in Sapporo|
Promotional poster for the event, featuring various NJPW wrestlers
|Promotion||New Japan Pro Wrestling|
|Date||February 5, 2017|
|Venue||Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center|
|City||Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan|
|The New Beginning chronology|
The New Beginning in Sapporo was a professional wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The event took place on February 5, 2017, in Sapporo, Hokkaido, at the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center. The event will feature nine matches, four of which will be contested for championships. In the main event, Kazuchika Okada will defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Minoru Suzuki. This was the eleventh event under the New Beginning name and the first to take place in Sapporo.
In recent years, NJPW has held the opening day of the G1 Climax tournament in Sapporo. With The New Beginning in Sapporo, the promotion revives an old tradition of holding a show during the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, resulting in the show being promoted under the subtitle Fukkatsu! Yuki no Sapporo Kessen (復活！雪の札幌決戦, "Revival! Sapporo Showdown in Snow"). The event will air worldwide on NJPW's internet streaming site, New Japan Pro Wrestling World, with English commentary provided by Kevin Kelly and Don Callis, the latter of whom replaces Kelly's previous broadcast partner Steve Corino.
The New Beginning in Sapporo will feature nine 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.
The New Beginning in Sapporo will be main evented by Kazuchika Okada making his third defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Minoru Suzuki. After spending two years away in Pro Wrestling Noah, Minoru Suzuki, along with his Suzuki-gun stable, returned to NJPW on January 5, 2017, attacking Okada and his Chaos stable with Suzuki laying out Okada with his finishing maneuver, the Gotch-Style Piledriver. Suzuki then declared war on all of NJPW, stating that his stable would take over all of the promotion's championships, just like they had done in Noah. Okada, however, promised to show Suzuki how far NJPW had come during the two years that Suzuki-gun had been away. The main event was officially announced on January 10.
The Suzuki-gun return angle resulted in The New Beginning in Sapporo also featuring other prominent matches featuring the stable. On January 4, 2017, at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano forced their way into the IWGP Tag Team Championship match, originally scheduled between champions Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) and challengers Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma), and then proceeded to win the match to become the new champions. G.B.H., who were not involved in the pinfall that decided the match, remained in position to challenge for the title. The following day, both Chaos' Ishii and Yano as well as G.B.H. were part of the group of wrestlers attacked by the returning Suzuki-gun stable. During the attack, Suzuki-gun's designated heavyweight tag team Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer) targeted Ishii and Yano, and afterwards declared themselves the true IWGP Tag Team Championship, stating that they would regain the title in their first attempt. On January 10, NJPW announced a three-way match between Chaos and Yano, G.B.H. and K.E.S. for The New Beginning in Sapporo. The event will also feature a third title match involving members of the returning Suzuki-gun stable with Taichi and Taka Michinoku challenging Chaos' Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Rocky Romero) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. This also stemmed from the January 5 attack, during which the challengers had targeted the champions. Taichi and Michinoku previously held the title in November 2013.
The NEVER Openweight Championship will also be defended at The New Beginning in Sapporo with champion Hirooki Goto taking on challenger Juice Robinson in his first defense. Goto captured the title at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome on January 4, but was pinned by Robinson in a ten-man tag team match the following day, leading to NJPW announcing the title match on January 10.
The event will also include a ten-man tag team match, where the Los Ingobernables de Japon stable of Bushi, Evil, Hiromu Takahashi, Sanada and Tetsuya Naito takes on Dragon Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi, Michael Elgin and Ryusuke Taguchi. This match builds to title matches taking place six days later at The New Beginning in Osaka, where Naito will defend the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Elgin and Takahashi will defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Lee, while Tanahashi, Nakanishi and Taguchi defend the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship against Bushi, Evil and Sanada.
The undercard will feature two more matches involving Suzuki-gun with Takashi Iizuka taking on Chaos' Yoshi-Hashi, while El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru take on Hirai Kawato and Kushida. The New Beginning in Sapporo is noteworthy for Kenny Omega and the entire Bullet Club stable being absent from the event.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 (in Japanese) New Japan Pro Wrestling. January 10, 2017. Archived from the original on January 10, 2017. http://www.webcitation.org/6nPTiO083. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) New Japan Pro Wrestling. November 6, 2016. Archived from the original on November 6, 2016. https://web.archive.org/web/20161106190151/http://www.njpw.co.jp/news/detail.php?nid=17722. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ Currier, Joseph (January 17, 2017). "NJPW World finds its new lead English color commentary voice". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-world-finds-its-new-lead-english-color-commentary-voice-228506. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- ↑ Grabianowski, Ed. "How Pro Wrestling Works". HowStuffWorks, Inc.. Discovery Communications. http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/pro-wrestling.htm. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. January 10, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/637976/. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Rose, Bryan (January 5, 2017). "NJPW New Year's Dash results: The return of Suzuki-gun". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-new-years-dash-results-return-suzuki-gun-227721. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Sports Navi. Yahoo!. January 6, 2017. http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20170106-00000100-spnavi-fight. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Currier, Joseph (January 10, 2017). "Okada vs. Suzuki headlines NJPW's New Beginning lineup". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/okada-vs-suzuki-headlines-njpws-new-beginning-lineup-228036. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) New Japan Pro Wrestling. http://www.njpw.co.jp/card_result/79443. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- ↑ Namako, Jason (January 11, 2017). "Full cards set for the New Japan “New Beginning” iPPVs taking place in Sapporo and Osaka in February". Wrestleview. http://www.wrestleview.com/japan-news/new-japan/71738-full-cards-set-for-the-new-japan-new-beginning-ippvs-taking-place-in-sapporo-and-osaka-in-february/. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- ↑ Johnson, Mike (January 10, 2017). "New Japan announces first 'New Beginning' event lineups". Pro Wrestling Insider. http://pwinsider.com/article/107010/new-japan-announces-first-new-beginning-event-lineups.html?p=1. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave; Currier, Joseph (February 4, 2017). "NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo live results: Okada vs. Suzuki". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-new-beginning-sapporo-live-results-okada-vs-suzuki-229561. Retrieved February 5, 2017.