Zack Sabre Jr. has been crowned the first ever NJPW World Television Champion – winning his first ever singles title in New Japan.
In the final match of the NJPW World Television Championship tournament, Zack Sabre Jr forced Ren Narita to tap out to win a hotly contested match that went a little over ten minutes. With his mentor and last years Wrestle Kingdom opponent, Katsuyori Shibata, at ringside, Ren Narita was hoping to end a year on excursion with victory over his English opponent in only his second Tokyo Dome singles match of his career.
As with any match involving Zack Sabre Jr, technical wrestling was the style of the match. He boasts the moniker of “best technical wrestler in the world”, although that is disputed by the American Dragon Bryan Danielson. The pair were set to face off at Forbidden Door last year, but due to a concussion the English wrestler lost in a match to a debuting Claudio Castagnoli instead.
Despite that loss, Zack Sabre Jr has had a great year in New Japan. Apart from winning the first ever NJPW World Television Championship, he also won the New Japan cup and came so close to defeating Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. With his new blonde look and bigger size, his time in the heavyweight division is not over and could move back up into title contention once he elevates the TV title to the level he needs to.
While he is known primarily for his technical skills, Zack Sabre Jr vs Ren Narita was as much a test of will as a test of skill. Both men traded huge shots, with Narita taking the hits better than his opponent. Sabre Jr sold well for his younger opponent, who has been named the “Son of Strong Style” and “the next Katsuyori Shibata”. He clearly has a huge future despite his big loss at the Tokyo Dome. The match was held under a 15 minute time-limit, which will be the rules of the title matches going forward.
With his title win, Zack Sabre Jr becomes an even bigger name in the singles heavyweight division in New Japan Pro Wrestling. With the news of the Suzuki-Gun stable disbanding last month, he was somewhat in a rut and out in the wilderness as to what he would do next. Luckily, he found his future after this match as the leader of his own faction.
After the match, he was met in the ring by Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls – also known as The Mighty Don’t Kneel (or TM-61 or The Mighty during their time in WWE). TMDK offered him a spot in their faction and Sabre Jr agreed. He is expected to be the leader of the four-man group which also includes Bad Dude Tito.
Zack Sabre Jr picked up some big wins en route to becoming the inaugural NJPW World Television Championship. He beat Alex Zayne, David Finlay, and former IWGP Heavyweight Champion EVIL on his way to meeting Ren Narita in the final. Narita, meanwhile, had an equally tough bracket to contend with. He picked up victories against Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and Sanada before falling tot he Englishman in the final, albeit in impressive circumstances that he can be proud of.
What did you think of Zack Sabre Jr vs Ren Narita? Let us know in the comments down below what you’d rate the match out of 5 stars.