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Title change at NJPW Summer Struggle Night Two

NJPW issued the following:

Uncontrollable Roofers See LIJ to Tag Gold

Naito scores the first winner of the title in 11 years, SANADA secures third roof reign

July 11, 2021 saw the first IWGP Tag Team title change in Sapporo in 17 years as Summer Struggle night two ended with Tetsuya Naito and SANADA brand new champions. Speculation on the way into their challenge to the Dangerous Tekkers was that it would be akin to two singles matches mingling. In fact, Zack Saber Jr. and SANADA’s questions are well documented, as are Taichi and Tetsuya Naito. Questions threatened whether one of these combinations would start the match, and after much teasing between all four, SANADA and ZSJ made first contact.

As Saber and SANADA continued where they left off after their six previous singles encounters with each other, they went gold on teams while ZSJ tried to create a weakness in Cold Skull’s arm. However, when SANADA countered and tried to bring Naito in, the Briton was quick to roll away and tag in Taichi, who was frustrated by a confident El Ingobernable. Naito and SANADA wanted to complement each other well inside, not verbal communication, as they were paired with double teams that both had masters eating Naito dropkicks and Saber in isolation. Working in the neck, Naito locked in a full leg Nelson while SANADA kept the pressure with a cravate, but Saber wanted to escape Naito’s claws with an overhead kick to Naito’s arm.

The mark in Taichi had a goal for his offense, and kicks to the arm combined with shots on ring steel did their damage. Naito was stuck in the wrong part of town, but some wild boots and a necklace breaker would finally lead to a mark on the challenger’s side. SANADA played his part perfectly in entry, grace, and precision, first taking Taichi out and then Zack; a dragon screw through the ropes to the Briton, who was chased by a high cross that got two.

Sanada and Saber almost ended the fight, as so many of their singles have with flash pins, but when SANADA wanted a standing Moonsault, he only got ZSJ’s knees instead. Saber followed up with a triangle and an arm wrestler to bring in Taichi, who put in hard-hitting work. Heavy kicks threw themselves into SANADA, who fired back with some own solid shots, but the game giri jumped high kick had Cold Skull crashed down to the mat. Another kick and Taichi appeared to powerbomb his challenger, but a hurricane escape followed by a TKO let SANADA put Naito back inside.

Looking for a major offense, Naito fought for and got a Frankensteiner for two, but a Gloria attempt saw him back into the corner. Naito and SANADA opposed a double team attempt as the corpses began to fly, but after a bouncing high kick in the corner, all four men would be down. Taichi fought back and connected a dangerous background to feel Saber inside. The arrogant Briton played with his wounded opponent before a neck spin stopped Naito’s momentum, but SANADA appeared from apparently nowhere to help Naito with Saber before taking Taichi out.

A Naito Esperanza folded ZSJ up to get a very close two, but Saber countered Destino to a punishing Cobra Twist, with Taichi stopping SANADA with Seirei Jujiho to start. Naito refused to stop, but was almost pinned instead with a Dragon Suplex; SANADA stopped the pinfall, but took a Nodo Otoshi from Taichi right after. The Holy Emperor called for a Zack Mephisto finish before settling with a Last Ride / PK combination, but Naito still refused to be beaten. SANADA instinctively traded the ring to break up a Holy Zack Driver and connect with a lunar ship on the Saber before dropping Taichi with Skull End. Backup taken care of, ZSJ became Naito and Destino swap when the 90th IWGP Tag Team Champions were crowned.

However, after taking the time to absorb what had happened to them in the ring, Dangerous Tekkers would not go towards the back of the line. Saber and Taichi immediately demanded a rematch against Naito and SANADA, where the match was apparently set for what will be a stacked Wrestle Grand Slam card on July 25; official confirmation is forthcoming.

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