12 Ups & 5 Downs From NJPW The New Beginning In Osaka 2019

'Switchblade' shocks the world (and Hiroshi Tanahashi) in Osaka.

Jay White Hiroshi Tanahashi

New Japan Pro Wrestling's New Beginning tour concluded in Osaka today, headlined by rising star 'Switchblade' Jay White challenging company ace Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship he'd taken from Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 13.

This was an important show for countless reasons, both business and creative. The global pro-wrestling landscape is changing. The Elite are gone, AEW has rewritten the rulebook without holding a single show, and the free agent market has spiralled out of control. It's a time of great turmoil, and never has the 'New Beginning' name been so apt for the world's second-biggest promotion.

Booking decisions are subjective, and only time will tell how the bold choices made on this show pan out, but the event felt like a big, big deal. The filler matches varied in quality, but many came with important storyline considerations. Further up the card, the two major title fights (Tanahashi vs. White, Taiji Ishimori vs. Ryusuke Taguchi) delivered and then some, Bad Luck Fale and Kazuchika Okada exceeded expectations, and a surprise Kota Ibushi appearance brought the evening's most important announcement.

A big, ballsy show that left nothing on the table, The New Beginning In Osaka will prove divisive, but there was plenty to dissect throughout its three-and-a-half hours...

Channel Manager
Channel Manager

Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.