NJPW New Japan Cup Quarterfinals (3/8/2015) Results and Review

New Japan Pro Wrestling presents
New Japan Cup – Second Round
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo Japan
March 8, 2015

For my review of the First Round of the New Japan Cup, exclusively on Voices of Wrestling, click HERE.

Match # 1 – Jay White vs. YOSHI-HASHI – This must be the match to rehab YOSHI-HASHI from the 476 matches he’s lost in a row.  Honestly, though, White may already be better than YOSHI.  I’d just go ahead and let White win.  (Yes, I know there is 0% chance that will ever happen.)  I really struggle watching this match.  Crowd really seems excited when White has the advantage.  Couple that with the fact that YOSHI is a perpetual underdog, it makes for a weird match watching YOSHI play dominant.  YOSHI slaps on a single leg crab, which could honestly be a finish in a match like this, but White makes the ropes.  White is going to be really good.  He leapfrogged YOSHI and landed on his one knee, because YOSHI worked over the knee earlier in the match.  White counters YOSHI’s suplex neckbreaker spot into a small package for a nice nearfall.  Because YOSHI doesn’t have any other moves, he goes right back to that spot.  White gets another near fall off a hurricanrana rollup.  Eventually, YOSHI comes back and hits a Senton Bomb for the win. Ugh.  My match rating: *** for White. -½* for YOSHI. (YOSHI-HASHI pinned Jay White at 7:04 with a Senton Bomb – Rating: **½)

Young Lion Crabs: None

Match # 2 – Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tomoaki  “Freaking” Honma, KUSHIDA, and Captain New Japan vs. Satoshi Kojima, Mascara Dorada, Manabu Nakanishi, Tiger Mask, and Ryusuke Taguchi – Holy lots of statistics to track, Batman! Liger & Tiger Mask start and do a whole lot of nothing.  In comes KUSHIDA and Dorada to flip and flip and flip some more. KUSHIDA has a fun exchange trying to survive Nakanishi and he tags in Honma.  Kojima tags in and attacks Tenzan, which is all sorts of awesome.  Dorada tags in and hits a crappy let drop off the middle rope on Honma.  I really don’t get the fascination with this guy.  Taguchi tags in and does a mock Kokeshi, managing to land on his back, because f his failures at being a competent professional wrestler. Tenzan tags in.  I really wish he’d retire that Cattle Brander top rope move. It looks horrible and always has, the best I’ve been able to tell.  Kojima tags in and he goes to war with Tenzan.  Captain New Japan hasn’t tagged in yet, so it’s pretty obvious what the finish will be.  Speaking of which, here comes Captain New Japan!  Taguchi comes in and illegally hits all his fricking stupid butt offense.  Words can’t describe how much I hate grown men selling for that crap.  I refuse to track it just for that fact.  Anyways, Dorada hits another one of his “Why are they all just standing there for him?” moonsault spots on a group of like 46 people on the floor and Kojima lariats Captain for the pin. After the match, Tenzan knocks Kojima out by THROWING the NWA World Heavyweight Title at him.  Uffda.  Eventually Kojima gets up and challenges for an NWA World Heavyweigth Title Match.  That should be fun.  Fun match, as you’d expect when you have 11 minutes for a 10 man tag. (Satoshi Kojima, Mascara Dorada, Manabu Nakanishi, Tiger Mask & Ryusuke Taguchi d. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tomoaki Honma, KUSHIDA, and Captain New Japan at 10:56 when Kojima pinned Captain with the Lariat – Rating: ***)

Mongolian Chop Tracker: 7 (3 on Taguchi by Tenzan, 2 on Taguchi by Tenzan, 1 on Kojima by Tenzan; 1 on Kojima by Tenzan)
Kokeshi Tracker: 1 for 2 (Missed of the ropes on Nakanishi; HIT off the ropes on Kojima)
Captain New Japan’s Missile Shoulder-Block Tracker: 1 for 1 (HIT on Kojima)
Satoshi Kojima’s Machinegun Chops Count: 42 (on Tenzan)
Number of Times I Said “Why are they just standing there!?!” while Mascara Dorada does his spots: 2
Number of Times Jushin Liger releases a submission hold where his opponent is completely trapped in it: None

Match # 3 – Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata & Sho Tanaka – Things I’d never thought I’d ever see:

  1. Hiroshi Tanahashi on before Intermission.
  2. Hiroshi Tanahashi working with a Young Lion.
  3. Hiroshi Tanahashi working against a Young Lion.
  4. Hiroshi Tanahashi working a match with a 20 minute time limit.

Tanahashi & Tanaka start off, which gets a huge pop from the crowd.  Tanaka is the crowd favorite here.  Tanaka gets Tanahashi in the ropes and slaps him!  Let’s just put Tanaka and Komatsu in the G1.  They can each lose every match and be tournament stars, like Honma was last year.  After a really fun two minute stretch, Tanahashi tags Komatsu in who then sucker punches Nagata, so now Nagata is angry.  Komatsu continues to jab with Nagata.  THis is terrific.  Nagata tags in and Komatsu does not back down, knocking Nagata down with hard shots.  He then sinks in a Camel Clutch, which was broken up by Tanaka.  That opening allows Nagata to start kicking the crap out of Komatsu.  Nagata locks in one of the deepest Abdominal Stretches I’ve ever seen.  Komatsu absorbs some nasty chest kicks and hits his spinning forearm to tag in Tanahashi.  Tanahashi locks on a Texas Cloverleaf and Tanaka dropkicks him off.  Tanahashi looks really annoyed.  Tanaka breaks up a straight jacket suplex attempt and Tanahashi gets even more annoyed.  Nagata makes his always awesome, “Screw It, I’m going to lose tag” to Tanaka.  Tanaka then runs wild on Tanahashi.  They battle over Gutwrench Suplexes, which is won by Tanaka.  Tanaka locks on a Boston Crab, but Tanahashi makes the ropes.  Tanahashi catches a backbreaker and tags in Komatsu.  What?  The  New Japan formula has been broken!  Komatsu nails a corner suplex and then kills Nagata on a cheap shot.  This match is great!  Komatsu locks in a Crab hold.  Tanaka escapes and they have a slap exchange.  Tanaka goes off the ropes and runs into the Canadian Maple Leaf (Rolling Half Crab) and taps.  Freaking awesome match. (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yohei Komatsu d. Yuji Nagata & Sho Tanaka at 12:06 when Komatsu submitted Tanaka to a Rolling Half Crab – Rating: ****)

High Fly Flow Tracker: None
Young Lion Crab Tracker:
Sho Tanaka: 1 (on Tanahashi – Full Boston Crab)
Yohei Komatsu: 2 (on Tanaka – Full Boston Crab; on Tanaka – Rolling Half Crab)

Match # 4 – Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, Tama Tonga & Cody Hall – The happiest man on the planet has to be Toma Tonga after seeing Hall is his partner.  There is one major problem with this match: I chose to watch this match last.  I watched all the New Japan Cup matches first.  I cannot stand Bullet Club multi-man tags as it is, so this makes it just that much tougher to complete.  Anderson stalls against Sakuraba to begin.  He’s fresh off his best match in forever and continues to goodness in trying to spar with Sakuraba.  Sakuraba slaps him silly and he screams for dear life when Sakuraba locks in the Kimura.  Bullet Club gets the advantage at the 3:30 mark when Tonga hit a jumping crotch to the face on Ishii.  Even poor Ishii, one of the best sellers on the planet, had no clue how to sell that one.  In comes Cody Hall.  I believe this is his first match that has been on New Japan World.  Based on his first interactions with Ishii, he seems very clumsy, but that may just be his style.  Especially humorous was his attempts to leave the ring, going over the top rope….VERY awkwardly.  Ishii hit a suplex (why not just Brainbuster him) on Gallows and makes the hot tag to Okada.  Man, this has the feel of a Saturday Night’s Main Event tag team match.  That heat segment on Ishii lasted all of two minutes.  Anderson makes the fateful tag to Cody Hall when Nakamura was in the ring.  You know the rest. Hall doesn’t impress me at all.  It’s one thing to be related to a wrestler.  It’s another to wear the exact gear and do the exact moves and signals  He has a bit of athleticism, as he was able to jump to the top rope (being tall helps), but he just seems really awkward.  He’ll grow, as he’s with the best group of wrestlers in the world night in and night out.  Probably the worst match of the night, despite me rating it higher than two others.  Figure that one out. (Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazushi Sakuraba d. Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, Tama Tonga & Cody Hall at 11:19  when Nakamura pinned Hall with the Boma Ye – Rating: **¾)

Number of Doc Gallows Elbow Drops: 1 (Miss on Ishii)
Percent of Tomohiro Ishii’s Body Covered by Tape: 9%
Percent of Match Shinsuke Nakamura was Cooler than you (the reader) will ever Be: 100%
Feature Word on Sakuraba’s Shirt: WATER

Match # 5 – New Japan Cup – Second Round Match – Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi – I was one of the 20% of people who thought Yujiro (sadly) would be advancing to the Semi-finals.  His match vs. YOSHI-HASHI was absolutely dreadful.  On the other hand, we have Makabe.  He managed a four star match vs. Tomohiro Ishii and a three and a half star against Tomoaki Honma, each of which was the worst singles match either of them have had this year.  Early in the match, Yujiro targets the knee, hitting the ever devastating knee breaker OF THE FLOOR!  Yujiro continues with his painfully slow offense, including a BIG SPLASH TO THE KNEE.  From Yujiro Takahashi.  He’s a guy who says, “I am going to squash your leg with the fat in my stomach.”  Makabe comes back with a powerslam and a powerbomb.  Yujiro fights back and hits the Tokyo Pimps for a two count.  I guess it is good to have to finishers. Oh man…Yujiro murders Makabe on a Buckle Bomb, throwing him head first into the corner.  Makabe fights right back (thankfully he’s okay).  Makabe fights back and hits the top rope German Suplex and the King Kong Knee Drop for the pin.  Surprisingly okay.  Once Yujiro’s WWE inspired heat sequence ended, it was a fine match.   (Togi Makabe pinned Yujiro Takahashi at 10:12 with the King Kong Knee Drop – Rating: ***¼)

Time of Yujiro’s Dumb Thumb Spot: 6:47 (Reversed a German Suplex with that…think about that.)

Match # 6 – New Japan Cup – Second Round Match – Kota Ibushi vs. Toru Yano – Well, I’d be feeling uncomfortable if I were Mr. Ibushi.  Upsets to allow easily beatable wrestlers into the short Semi-final matches happen.  Yano did it two years ago when he beat Minoru Suzuki and Shelton Benjamin did it last year when he beat Katsuyori Shibata.  Yano taunts Tanahashi, who is now doing commentary, as he comes to the ring.  I love how New Japan throws different wrestlers into the commentary booth every now and then.  It’s nice just to see the different perspective of a top guy providing commentary for different matches.  Ibushi beat Yano in their only singles match, which opened the 2013 G-1 Climax.  Yano has not won a match over 6 minutes in length in nearly a year and a half.  Yano drop toe holds Ibushi into a chair after throwing water into his face at :30, and nearly schoolboys him for the win.  Yano feigns a low blow to get another school boy.  He then low blows Ibushi and cradles him for another near fall.  Yano’s really got these flash pins working for him, so it makes all these near falls believeable.  Yano tries a slingshot into the exposed corner, but Ibushi stops short, jumps up top and Sunset Flips Yano from the top and scores the pin.  Ibushi’s foot kept Yano’s right shoulder off the ground, but whatever.  Honestly, I feel bad I gave Yano vs. Tanahashi one star, as these Yano three minute sprints are insanely entertaining.  I will not make the same mistake today. (Kota Ibushi pinned Toru Yano at 2:40 with a Sunset Flip off the top rope. Rating: **1/2)

Time Yano Removed the Corner Pad: 0:48
Number of People Rammed into Exposed Corner: 1 (Ibushi by Yano)

Match # 7 – New Japan Cup – Second Round Match – Tetsuya Naito vs. Bad Luck Fale – Fale holds two singles match victories over Naito, including in the second round of the New Japan Cup last year.  The winner of this bout will face Kota Ibushi in the Semi-finals.  I am going to be paying extra close attention to my rating tonight, as numerous people were OFFENDED that I only gave Fale vs. Okada 2 stars.  Naito pulled a four star match out of Karl Anderson.  I honestly think he’ll get more out of Fale, too.  Naito blasts Fale with a low dropkick and awesomely stalks on the apron as Fale recovers.  Sadly, that doesn’t work for him as Fale catches the dive and slams him on the floor.  Fale hits two seat drops to Naito’s back at the five minute mark.  That’s immediately my favorite move he does (except for the Bad Luck Fall).  Naito fights back with a stiff low dropkick to the knee.  Fale looked planted when the move hit.  Naito continues to work the knee, locking in an Indian Death Lock.  He really slams himself hard as he falls to the mat. Man, Naito has been on the top of his game lately.  Honestly, he is probably one of the most underrated wrestlers on the planet right now.  Naito somehow uses the Dodan Cradle to go into a knee bar.  Naito escapes the Bad Luck Fall (Fale had stopped him from hitting the Stardust Press) but lands on the back of his head after a lariat.  Fale goes for the Bad Luck Fall again, but Naito reverses into a hurricanrana cradle for the pin.  After that, I dare say Naito may be a tad better than Okada.  He worked his behind off and got a really good match out of Fale. Naito vs. Ibushi should be awesome if given time.  No need to worry about cardio for those two guys. (Tetsuya Naito pinned Bad Luck Fale at 12:52 with a hurricanrana cradle – Rating: ***½)

Dancing Time (Time of Bad Luck Fale’s Entrance): 1:06

Match # 8 – New Japan Cup – Second Round Match – Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata – This is my last chance to get any points in the New Japan Cup pool.  I am still at 6 points.  If Goto wins, I still have a shot to max out at 11, as I picked him to make the finals.  This should be great.  I wish they wouldn’t have wasted a Goto vs. Shibata match in the G-1 final night.  This match already was beaten into the ground in 2013 to a point of diminishing returns.  Had they not done that match at the G-1, I think this match would have felt a lot fresher.  That being said, this should be amazing. as I love this style of match.  Hand shake to start, which is so awesome.  “Let us shake hands before we beat the tar out of each other.”  You can tell that New Japan is starting to trust Shibata more and more, as he is starting to now main event shows.  Previously, he’d just be in the Honma roll of having amazing matches on the undercard…but Shibata would win most of them.  Shibata now is that guy who gets to the main event and loses.  So that is something of a promotion.  Grappling and submission holds to start the match.  Shibata gets bored at 2:45 and slaps Goto and here we go.  They do the near countout spot while they are both delivering forearms.  I love that spot, but they just did it last week with Kojima and Shibata, so it’s a lot less fun.  Seriously, that spot needs to happen once a year tops.  Shibata escapes a head scissors and transitions flawlessly into a Figure Four Leglock.  Does anyone do the Figure Four better than Shibata at this point? Shibata UNLOADS with a brutal kick to Goto’s right arm.  Shibata then pulls out the rarely used Key Lock.  I’ve always been a fan of that hold.  Goto fights back off an attempted Shibata Dropkick.  At the 10 minute mark, Goto and Shibata exchange pop up belly to back suplexes before Shibata downs Goto with a Bicycle Kick. He then MURDERS Goto with the SHIBATA DROPKICK!  He kicked him right in the face prior to the leg extension.  Just brutal.  He must have gotten a lot of grief from coming up a foot short on Kojima.  They spend the next couple minutes beating the crap out of each other.  Shibata gets an awesome Downward Spiral/Judo takedown on Goto, but Goto comes right back with an awesome double arm trap submission.  Shibata hits that nasty spinning back fist at the 15 minute mark after Goto hit two headbutts.  Goto caught the Penalty Kick and they continue to just beat on each other.  Manly Men.  They then battle over a Shouten Kai.  Goto blocks and then lifts Shibata up forever before planting him with the Shouten for the win.  Awesome match.  Best match of the tournament so far, but again, diminishing returns from these two.  (Hirooki Goto pinned Katsuyori Shibata at 17:18 with the Shouten Kai – Rating: ****¼)

Poor Sap Who Took The Shibata Dropkick: Hirooki Goto at 10:40 (This stat works better for tag team matches…)
Number of Unprotected Headbutts: 2 (2 by Goto)

Final Thoughts:
Semi Finals: Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito and Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto.  Each man has a ready made challenge if they win, which should make for really unpredictable matches.  Goto and Naito are both challenging A.J. Styles if they win.  Ibushi wants Nakamura if he wins and Makabe wants Ishii.  That should be a lot of fun.  Makabe is the wild card.  If he beats Goto, he’s obviously winning the tournament.  There is no reason to knock out the better worker in the Semi’s if he’s not winning.  Ibushi and Naito should be awesome given time, and time always worries me with Semi-final matches.  If I were to guess, I think we’ll get Ibushi winning the tournament over Goto in the finals.  I am super pumped for the finals.


NJPW New Japan Road (2/27/2015) Results & Review

New Japan Road
February 27, 2015

Arena Breakdown – Sadly, there are no visible basketball hoops.  However, the show is a single camera, no commentary show, which is always great.  The entrance way has a set of stairs.  They black out the entire arena, expect the ring, which gives the show the feet of a grimy 1980s indy show.  I’m not complaining at all…except for being cranky that I had to get up at 3:20 AM.  Wait..What are those two giant white boxes on each sides of the stage?  Could they house a Gobbledy Gooker type surprise?  I’m so excited to find out!!!  Let’s get to the show!

Match # 1 – Sho Tanaka vs. Yohei Komatsu – When these two are headlining Wrestle Kingdom someday, I’m going to think about how I used to wake up early in the morning to watch them battle over Boston Crabs.  Tanaka works over Kotmatsu’s knee in the early part of the match, using a variety of leg locks.  Komatsu comes firing back with a spinning back elbow, a head and arm suplex, and a Boston Crab.  Tanaka barely makes the ropes.  Tanaka then gets a Crab of his own off a Spinebuster for a nice tease of the finish.  I believe that the finish was a direct copy of their New Beginning match finish, as Tanaka caught a kick, hit a Stretch Muffler Slam, locked in a Single Leg Crab, and then transiitioned into the full Crab for the tap out.  Not bad. Not great. (Sho Tanaka submitted Yohei Komatsu at 9:56 with the Boston Crab – Rating: **½)

Young Lion Crab Attempts:
Sho Tanaka: 2 for 2 (Boston Crab out of a Spinebuster; Stretch Muffler Slam into a Single Leg Crab transitioned into the full Crab Hold)
Yohei Komatsu:1 for 1 (Boston Crab)

Match # 2 – Manabu Nakanishi & KUSHIDA vs. Gedo & Jado – I am glad Jado is still trying to wrestle when he has no business wrestling.  I always enjoy watching them work so hard to do the little bit they can.  Speaking of which, here comes Manabu Nakanishi!  Great comedy to start, as neither man wanted in there with Nakanishi.  KUSHIDA comes in and they are fine to wrestle, but Nakanishi swaps back in as the bell rings.  Gedo tries to tag out, but Jado walks to the other corner, ignoring his partner.  Gedo then hugs the referee, just for fun.  Gedo blind tags Jado in after a couple minutes.  This is great.  His chops don’t hurt Nakanishi at all.  Gedo continues to be on fire, as he sidesteps an arm drag attempt.  The closest comparison is to imagine an NFL offensive lineman who is way offside and does the full backing up like there was a play and just looks stupid.  Yeah, that was KUSHIDA trying an arm drag to mid air.  Jado does the most wacky Flair Flop I’ve ever seen off KUSHIDA getting his feet up off a middle rope move at 7:20.  Against all odds, Jado nearly taps out Nakanishi with a Crippler Crossface.  KUSHIDA barely makes the save.  Soon after, Nakanishi gets the Torture Rack and the submission.  I hope Gedo puts himself in the Best of the Super Juniors this year.  He’d be a great addition to fill out what should be a really deep pool this year.  I enjoyed that match quite a bit. (Manabu Nakanishi & KUSHIDA d. Gedo & Jado at 10:17 when Nakanishi submitted Jado to the Torture Rack – Rating: **¾)

Flying Nakanishi: NONE (Sigh)
Number of Jado Woo’s!: NONE (Sigh)
Time of Jado’s Flair Flop: Teased at 2:58, Flop at 7:20

Match #3 – Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask – Cool stuff with handshakes all around to start the match.  Liger’s submission wrestling just infuriates me, as all his submissions literally traps his opponent, so they have no escape and then he just releases the hold.  Tenzan and Kojima lock up and I’m immediately excited for their eventual singles match.  Tenzan talks trash to Kojima while holding a half crab on Tiger.  I imagine that would be like me going and playing on the other team at a pick up softball team because the other team didn’t have enough guys.  These guys hit all their trademark spots in a very solid match and eventually, Tiger slides out of a Liger Bomb and gets a Crucifix for the win.  Fun stuff.  After the match, Kojima signals to Tenzan that he wants a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Title.  That would have meant something in the 1980s.  Today, it means they be on third on the card. (Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask d. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Thunder Liger at 10:30 when Tiger pinned Liger with a Crucifix – Rating: ***)

Mongolian Chop Tracker: 8 (3 on Kojima by Tenzan, 3 on Tiger by Tenzan, 2 on Kojima by Tenzan)
Number of Kojima’s Machine Gun Chops: 35 (on Tenzan)

Intermission – We are just 52 minutes into the show.  (48 if you exclude the two old timers that were awkwardly receiving a trophy at the start of the show)  I tell you what, watching these shows live is so much better for me because of the Twitter interactions I can have during the shows.  I’m so used to watching NJPW alone that it is really fun to get to chat with people while watching the shows.  We are back at the 64 minute mark.

Match # 4 – Captain New Japan & Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata – I sacrificed my New Japan Cup bracket by picking Hirooki Goto to make the finals.  Man, he needs to catch fire soon.  He’s just become such an afterthought as of late.  Even Shibata isn’t nearly as hot as he’d been. Captain New Japan busts out his Blue Camo today.  That would be useful if he’s trying to blend into a cloud on a partly sunny day.  Shibata is awesome.  He does a clean break with Captain in Nagata’s corner and then just slaps Nagata.  Nagata tags n and kills Shibata with a slap.  That’s something that was really missing from the Nakamura feud.  Nakamura never really took Nagata as a threat, so the matches always felt like they were missing something.  Nagata stares down Shibata after every move he hits on Goto.  Shibata in turn hits Nagata with a running big boot as he stands on the apron.  Awesome.  Captain plays babyface in peril, which means we are getting the exact finish I expected. Nagata tags in and the first thing he does is boot Shibata off the apron.  I love those two.  Sigh.  Nagata didn’t sell the “I’m going to lose tag. Ah! Screw It. I’ll tag anyways” tag like he normally does. From there, the match goes exactly as one would expect.  Good stuff. (Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata d. Yuji Nagata & Captain New Japan at 11:42 when Shibata pinned Captain after the Penalty Kick – Rating: ***¼)

Poor Sap Who Had to Take the SHIBATA DROPKICK: Captain New Japan
Captain New Japan’s Missile Shoulder Block Tracker: 1 for 2 (Miss on Goto; HIT on Goto)

Match # 5 – Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tetsuya Naito & Ryusuke Taguchi – YOSHI’s stick is now only half as large as it used to be.  Taguchi has to keep pulling his trunks up higher and higher to hide all the fat around his midsection.  He’s up to 1987 Adrian Adonis level at this point. After a great Naito and Okada sequence to start, Taguchi kills the match dead for the next five minutes.  I hate it, but the crowd seems to like him tonight, so whatever, I guess.  On Twitter, I make jokes about Taguchi being so pale that the ring lights make him invisible in certain spots of the ring.  Naito and Okada are in and Naito makes the concede the match tag to Taguchi!  Great!  I hope he lands on his head when he gets Rainmaker’ed.  Watching all these asinine butt moves just makes me cringe.  I hate hate hate it.  Taguchi teasing trying to tap out Okada to an Ankle Lock is so hilarious. Okada gives Taguchi the full on squash treatment at the end: Dropkick. Top Rope Elbow. Rainmaker.  I must also note that Taguchi had the most patheitc attempt at selling the Rainmaker ever, as he just took a standard clothesline bump.  I hope he is punished severely and then fired.  (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI d. Tetsuya Naito & Ryusuke Taguchi at 12:57 when Okada pinned Taguchi with the Rainmaker – Rating: **3/4)

Match # 6 – Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki “Freaking” Honma vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & “Super Athlete YTR” Toru Yano – I freak out, realizing that I have seven different sets of statistics to keep track of during this match.  Ishii taunts Makabe with the belt that Makabe lost because he had the sniffles.  Tano and Tanahashi start.  I am actually really excited for their bout in the New Japan Cup.  I honestly think Yano has a chance to win the match, too.  Yano was great with his mallet spot.  The crowd tried alerting the referee and he put a finger up to his mouth to quiet them down.  Man, that deadlift suplex Honma does is impressive.  I track Ishii’s tag match match bumps right now to put into comparison how hard he works every night compared with the man he is feuding with right now.  Right after I say that, Makabe takes two light bumps off a back body drop and a clothesline, which makes the score 5-3 Ishii.  Yano is going for a second corner pad removal!  Sadly, Tanahashi stops him.  Nakamura tags in against Tanahashi at the 13 minute mark.  Man, he’s been invisible so far this match.  Looks like he’s pinning Honma, though.  Tanahashi counters the Boma Ye with a Sling Blade and makes the fateful tag to Honma.  I love Honma’s counter to the Boma Ye with the Missile Kokeshi.  Honma then slams Nakamura and takes FOREVER before going up top as the crowd chants KOKESHI! KOKESHI!  He of course misses it.  I laught.  Tomoaki “Freaking” Honma is great.  Tanahashi saves Honma after a Boma Ye, but that just allows Nakamura to hit another one to get the win.  A fun match to close a fun show.   (Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano d. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma at 17:00 when Nakamura pinned Honma with the Boma Ye – Rating: ***½)

High Fly Flow Tracker: NONE
Number of Togi Makabe Tag Team Match Bumps: 3
Number of Tomohiro Ishii Tag Team Match Bumps: 6
Kokeshi Tracker: 2 for 5 (Miss off the ropes on Nakamura; Miss off the ropes on Ishii; HIT off the ropes on Nakamura; HIT missile version to counter a Boma Ye on Nakamura; Miss off the top rope on Nakamura)
Time Toru Yano Removed Corner Pad: 4:28
Number of People Ran Into Exposed Corner: 4 (Honma by Yano, Tanahashi by Yano, Makabe by Yano/Ishii, Honma by Yano)
Percent of Time Shinsuke Nakamura Was Cooler Than You Will Ever Be: 100%

NJPW The New Beginning in Sendai (2/14/2015) Results & Review

New Japan Pro Wrestling presents
The New Beginning in Sendai
February 14, 2015
Sendai, Japan

Before we begin, here are the links to my other reviews of the shows from this tour:
Road to the New Beginning Night 1 – 1/30/2015 (Exclusively on VoicesOfWrestling.com)
Road to the New Beginning Night 2 – 2/1/2015
Road to the New Beginning Night 7 – 2/8/2015 (Exclusively on VoicesOfWrestling.com)
The New Beginning in Osaka – 2/11/2015

Thank you.  Here. We. Go!

Holy crap.  Based on my limited Japanese, it sounds like Togi Makabe isn’t going to make the show tonight and he was replaced by…..TOMOAKI “FREAKING” HONMA.  I got goosebumps if I heard that correctly.  I was excited of the possibility of Satoshi Kojima against Ishii, but this blows it out of the water.

Match # 1  – Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan vs. Satoshi Kojima & Yohei Komatsu – This may be the first time that every wrestler in a tag match has had a statistic in my statistics.  I just love that Nakanishi will not sell for Komatsu.  Rich & Joe talked about it on this weeks Voices of Wrestling podcast.  That aspect of New Japan is something I really love.  It just works.  I hope Nakanishi works until he’s 70.  He gets the hot tag and works over Kojima and then hits the worst big boot in history to knock Komatsu off the apron.  That makes Komatsu mad, so unwisely, he demands the tag, which Kojima, stupidly, allows.  Komatsu fights for a Cross Armbreaker on Nakanishi, which is great, because that was Nakanishi’s finisher in WCW in 1995.  Nakanishi eventually spears Komatsu out of his boots and nails a Torture Rack style Reverse TKO for the pin.  I don’t care what anyone says, that was a lot of fun.  (Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan d. Satoshi Kojima & Yohei Komatsu at 6:17 when Nakanishi pinned Komatsu with a Torture Rack TKO – Rating: ***)

Young Lion Crabs – None
Satoshi Kojima Machine Gun Chops – 43 (on Captain New Japan)
Captain New Japan Missile Shoulderblocks – 1 for 2 (Missed on Komatsu & Kojima; HIT on Komatsu)

Match # 2 – reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Tiger Mask & Jay White – White gets an early advantage on the former champs and then as O’Reilly dodges a dive by Tiger, White hits a move off the apron on O’Reilly. From what I’ve seen of White so far, he’s been impressive.  Hopefully he can continue to grow and develop like his fellow Young Lions have done.  Tiger Mask got the hot tag and looked really slow in there.  O’Reilly had to stand and wait for him to hit a top rope cross body and then Tiger hit a really poor 619.  Tiger suffered one kick to the head and determined that the best course of action would be to tag in the man that will guarantee defeat for his team.  Awesome spot as White got the Crab on Fish and absorbed O’Reilly forearms to keep the move on.  O’Reilly makes a blind tag (the second time White got Blind tagged and the former champs eventually hit the Chasing the Dragon for the win.  The match was fine, but I have no idea why they gave this one so much time.  reDRagon appear to be heading for a showdown with the Young Bucks at Invasion Attack, which should be great.  (reDRagon d. Tiger Mask & Jay White at 10:31 when O’Reilly pinned White after the Chasing the Dragon – Rating: **¾)

Young Lion Crabs – 1 for 1 (Boston Crab on Fish)

Match # 3 – Mascara Dorada, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA vs. Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson – I still do not see anything out of Dorada that is remotely interesting.  He seems like just a generic flipper diver style Junior Heavyweight.  As such, I am not looking forward to his eventual match with Kenny Omega.  Matt Jackson has a big welt on his forehead from smacking skulls with Hiroshi Tanahashi.  I’m sure he’d perfectly healthy and non-concussed.  Otherwise, he wouldn’t be in this match.  I even notice the announcers talking about that spot during this match.  It always makes me happy when I understand what the announcers are talking about.  Watching Dorada in this match, I still don’t understand his push at all.  Half the time he’s in the ring, his opponents have to stand there and wait for him.  He ends up hitting a convoluted flip over Omega and KUSHIDA to the floor and carries Omega over into a Powerbomb on the Bucks, who were conveniently standing there.  The heels somehow hits a Double Springboard Spike Tombstone on both Time Splitters.  So, of course, Dorada becomes John Cena, overcomes the odds by taking out both Young Bucks and counters the One Winged Angel and pins Omega with a cradle.  Fine match, but there is nothing about Dorada that excites me about having to watch a 15 minute singles match. I may be wrong, but I think Nick Jackson was the legal man.  (Mascara Dorada & Time Splitters d. Kenny Omega and Young Bucks at 11:12 when Dorada pinned Omega with a cradle – Rating: **½)

“Unnecessary” Flips by Young Bucks:
Matt Jackson: 2
Nick Jackson: 0
Number of Time Splitters Arm Bar Tags: 7 (2 on Nick Jackson – 5 on Matt Jackson w/ Dorada also involved in the tags)
Time of Kenny Omega’s Chainsaw Spot: NONE
Number of Times I asked “Why are they just standing there?” while waiting for Mascara Dorada to hit his spot: 4

Match # 4 – NWA Junior Heavyweight Title Match – Champion Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Chase Owens – Mr. R. Bruce Tharpe has a glorious Purple sparkly jacket with matching glasses that are strapped to his head.  If Bruce Tharpe had been working for WWE in the 1980s, he’d have been one of the greatest managers in wrestling history.  He over exaggerating of EVERYTHING is so awesome.  Tharpe continues to do his awesome 1980s manager style by standing in between Owens and Liger, as Liger was perched up top.  It’s a great spot because it looks like Liger is planning on jumping even though he realistically can’t do that kind of spot anymore.  Owens hits a variety of backbreakers and gutbusters.  Liger fights off the Package Piledriver and hits a variety of cradles until one finally works.  That wasn’t a very good match at all.  Liger just looks worn down and Owens hasn’t done anything special in New Japan at all.  After the match, Liger challenges Tiger Mask to be his next contender for the title.  That will be…something.  (Jushin Thunder Liger pinned Chase Owens at 7:51 with a Cradle – Rating: **)

Match # 5 – NWA World Heavyweight Title Match – Champion Rob Conway vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan – In one of the most brilliant, high comedy spots in wrestling history, Mr. R. Bruce Tharpe channels his inner Miss Elizabeth and has a glamorous silver sparkly jacket with matching strap on glasses.  It’s even more awesome that he changed in the two minutes between these two matches.  Watching Conway out there, he just looks so out of place.  His punches look so timid compared to the typical New Japan wrestler.  Conway dominates forever (in reality, it was about six minutes) before Tenzan finally fights back a little.  Tenzan locks in the Anaconda Vice, so Bruce Tharpe jumps on the apron, and like a 1980s babyface, Tenzan drops the hold.  Conway hits Tenzan with one of the weakest belt shots ever in response. Tenzan blocks the Ego Trip and hits Conway with one of his own, but Conway kicks out at two.  Big pop from the crowd from that one.  Tenzan goes for the Moonsault.  Bruce Tharpe jumps on the apron, so Tenzan headbutts him a few times.  He then casually hits the moonsault and pins Conway to win the title.  Camera cuts to Tharpe, who is nearly crying on the floor, blood pouring out from above his nose.  Looks like he took a hard headbutt or those glasses ripped into his face on one.  I’m surprised that they decided to put the NWA Title on Tenzan.  He’s had a pretty good run as of late, but I think he’s better saved for tag matches on the whole.  Seeing him having to defend that belt often will only further his body degradation.  The first six minutes were dull as dirt, but that last 6 were really great and it helped it end up being a fine match.  (Hiroyoshi Tenzan won the NWA World Heavyweight Title pinning Rob Conway at 11:51 with the Moonsault – Rating: ***¼)

Mongolian Chop Counter: 6 (3 by Tenzan on Conway, 3 by Tenzan on Conway)

Intermission: It features a lengthy 10+ minute interview with Yuji Nagata by Shinpei Nogami.  There’s nothing I’ve seen that makes me think he’s losing tonight.  I saw an article last night that he was thinking of retiring due to not being booked at Wrestle Kingdom.  I really think he’s going to win this belt tonight.  I think he’s needed to transition the belt to the Bullet Club, as I think Nakamura taking another loss to the Bullet Club will hurt him more than losing to the legendary Yuji Nagata.  I’m not editing this if I am wrong.  Feel free to make fun of me for that if I am wrong.

Match # 6 – Kota Ibushi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba – Talk about a Styles Clash.  I was really looking forward to this match, thinking it’d propel Ibushi & Naito to a match against Shibata & Goto for the tag team titles.  Yeah…about that. Ibushi and Sakuraba start, thus making another pairing I never dreamed I’d watch wrestle.  They open with a kickboxing match.  That’s awesome.  Yano & Naito repeat the arm wringer rope spot from Wednesday.  Yano keeps yelling BREAK in Japanese every time (If I understand my Japanese correctly).  Also awesome is how they each managed to catch each other’s respective kicks.  I love how Sakuraba just stands on the apron, respectfully, as Yano does his shenanigans out on the floor.  Naito and Sakuraba have a nice exchange with Naito absorbing kicks.  Sakuraba tags out, but he throws one extra kick in there, just to be mean.  Awesome spot as the double hot tag is made to Ibushi and Sakuraba.  Ibushi tries a springboard dropkick and Sakuraba just sidesteps him.  Soon after, Ibushi tries a standing moonsault and he ends up moonsaulting right into a Triangle Choke.  That Ibushi vs. Sakuraba section of the match was great.  Yano and Naito finished off the match as Ibushi & Sakuraba continued to go at it.  Ibushi was low blowed but reversed the Yano cradle and managed to pin Yano.  Strange finish to a really fun match.  Sakuraba choosing to go with a high impact striking style helped the match a ton. (Tetsuya Naito & Kota Ibushi d. Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba at 12:53 when Naito pinned Yano with a reversed cradle – Rating: ***½)

Time It Took Toru Yano To Remove Corner Pad: 4:46
Who Was Rammed Into Exposed Corner: 5 (Naito by Yano; Yano by Naito; Naito on a missed charge at Yano; Ibushi drop toe hold by Yano; Naito slingshotted by Yano)

Match # 7 – Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi – I don’t have much more I can say about this feud.  Hopefully this match changes my mind, but I just can’t comprehend why they wouldn’t want to just get the Fale vs. Okada singles match out of the way.  I remember a year ago I wrote, “I know three things about YOSHI-HASHI. 1. He wears parachute pants. 2. He carries a big stick to the ring. 3. He gets pinned every match.”  I know nothing else about the man.  As for Yujiro, are Temporary Tattoo’s considered cool in the pimp industry?  Fun spot near the end where Fale jumps in and attacks Okada during the Rain Maker pose, so the camera was pulled way back…Fale still looked enormous.  This was just another match and Okada picked up another win, so I’m no longer sure what the point of this feud is. (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI d. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi at 9:55 when Okada pinned Yujiro with the Rainmaker – Rating: **½)

Time of Yujiro’s Stupid Thumb Bite Spot: None

Match # 8 – Hiroshi Tanahashi, Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto vs. Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga – It appears that Tama Tonga decided he was a cat and Anderson & Gallows are paying tribute to Dale Torborg with their face paint tonight.  The face paint immediately comes off on everything it touches.  I wouldn’t like being the babyfaces.  Early on, Anderson bites on Tanahashi’s head wound from Wednesday night.  I swear that every time Anderson & Tanahashi face off in tag team matches, it is exactly the same.  The referee annoys me to no end by refusing to count a Tonga pin on Tanahashi because he hit an elbow smash to Tanahashi’s Band-Aid.  Anderson crotches himself on the middle corner pad in a spot that would have been much worse for him had he hit it, which allows Goto to tag in.  Anderson blows a reverse Gun Stun spot as Shibata has Gallows in a sleeper. Tanahashi and Tonga tagged in.  Man, this match is as paint by numbers as it comes.  You know the rest if you’ve read my reviews of if you’ve ever watched New Japan before. (Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata d. Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga at 12:09 when Tanahashi pinned Tonga with the High Fly Flow – Rating: **½)

Number of Doc Gallows Elbow Drops: 1 (on Tanahashi)
High Fly Flow Counter:  1 for 1 (HIT on Tama Tonga)
Poor Sap Who Had To Take The SHIBATA DROPKICK: Tama Tonga AND Karl Anderson AND Doc Gallows. Suck to be them.

Holy crap. I just realized that they stripped Togi Makabe of the NEVER Openweight Title.

Match # 9 – Vacant NEVER Openweight Title Match – Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki “Freaking” Honma – Well, despite Honma not winning a match in five years, you can justify this title shot because he’s in the same stable as Makabe.  This sure would be a great time to see him finally get his big win.  That’s why Honma’s gimmick works.  Maybe…just maybe….tonight will be the night.  Big staredown in the center of the ring.  This is going to be so great.  So much better than Ishii vs. Makabe.  They lock up to start the match, which I find really funny.  Honma misses two back to back Kokeshi’s off the ropes almost immediately and I have to pause the feed just because I was laughing so hard.  Ishii manages to top the by standing up as Honma signaled he was going to go for another Kokeshi.  I love these two men.  Ishii is bleeding from the mouth at the five minute mark as they trade vicious knife edge chops.  That exchange went nearly a minute.  It was awesome.  It led to Honma hitting his first Kokeshi of the match.  At the eight minute mark, Honma teases Superplexing Ishii to the floor before dropping down and stunning Ishii over the rope rope.  At the 11 minute mark, Honma KILLED Ishii with a DDT.  Ishii did a headstand and his head torqued as he tried to finish the roll.  He either felt like death or sold death as he screamed in pain.  At the 13 minute mark, Honma hit a clothesline to the back of Ishii’s head on the apron and he hit the post.  This caused Honma to go WAY up to the top and…………HE HIT THE SMILING HEADBUTT OF DOOM ON ISHII FROM THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   ……. No, that needs more exclamation points.   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, back to the match.

Honma throws Ishii back in the ring at 18.  Nice touch, as he could have won the title on a countout in this circumstance.  Honma looks exhausted, despite dominating most of the match.  Ishii starts no selling repeated forearms and takes Honma out with one of this own. He then his a top rope superplex.  Honma fights off the Brainbuster and hits the Missile Kokeshi.  I love that move.Honma then hit Ishii with Ishii’s Brainbuster, but Ishii kicked out at two.  What a freaking match.  We’ve hit 20 minutes.  I hope they go 60.  Honma slipped over as Ishii went for Honma’s sit down Tombstone.  Honma hit the Missile Kokeshi to the back of the head and then hit the Sit Down Tombstone (Ishii just crumpled) and ISHII KICKED OUT AT TWO!?!?!?  Holy freaking crap.  This is insane.  This is moving into “Do I give it 5 stars?” insane.   He hits another Kokeshi off the ropes…AND HE’S GOING UP!!!  HE’S BATTERED ISHII FOR 21 MINUTES!!!  HE’S DONE EVERYTHING PERFECTLY, HITTING 5 KOKESHI’S IN A ROW!!!  THIS IS THE TIME!!!  THIS IS HIS MOMENT!!!  HE SMILES!!!  HE TILTS HIS HEAD!! AND……………HE………………. MISSES THE SMILING HEADBUTT OF DOOM!!!!  The referee fell to his knees in disbelief.  The crowd collectively watched their mothers all got pushed in front of a herd of stampeding cattle.  The modern day equivalent of Casey at the Bat (if Casey was a career .150 hitter).

Screenshot 2015-02-14 at 11.38.20 PM

(I needed a picture of that moment.  And yes, this is the moment that this match hit 5 Stars.)

Honma is never usually able to recover after missing the Smiling Headbutt of Doom.  They exchange one count kickouts and then crumple down after a double clothesline.  They tease a double countout, which would be totally appropriate, but they get up at 6.  They continue to batter each other and Ishii hits a straight headbutt, then hits the Sliding Clothesline to the side off the head and finally hits the Brainbuster to win back the title.  I somehow now have to determine where this match sits against Okada v. Tanahashi and Nakamura v. Ibushi…it’s not easy being a professional wrestling writer.  I just cannot fathom how a man held together by athletic tape and a man who hasn’t won in years can continue to churn out some of the most amazing professional wrestling matches of all time on a consistent basis.  (Tomohiro Ishii won the NEVER Openweight Title pinned Tomoaki Honma at 24:45 with the Brainbuster – Rating: *****)

Kokeshi Counter: (5 for 10 – Missed off the ropes followed immediately by a Miss off the ropes; Missed off the ropes; HIT off the ropes; HIT from the top rope to the floor; HIT Missile Kokeshi as Ishii ran the ropes; HIT Missile Kokeshi to back of Ishii’s head; HIT off the ropes to the back of Ishii’s head; Missed off the top rope; Missed Missile Kokeshi off the ropes)

Promo Video For Main Event: They really seem to be playing up the Nagata on the pre-show match at Wrestle Kingdom.  This is one interview I really wished I could understand.  I really want to see Nagata with this match.  There’s only three ways this match can go, in my opinion. 1. Nagata wins the title. 2. Nagata loses and retires. 3. Nagata loses and snaps like Bob Backlund in 1994.

Match # 10 – IWGP Intercontinental Title Match – Champion Shinsuke Nakamura v. Yuji Nagata – Nagata is cornered by Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, & Hiroyoshi Tenzan, which can’t be a coincidence with the “Old guy going for one last title” story line.  Nagata comes out wearing a ring robe, instead of his normal T-Shirt.  Nagata gets how to sell this match as a big deal.  Nakamura looks overly confident, which he always does against Nagata.  Nakamura casually opens his jacket, flashing the belt at Nagata as he goes to the center of the ring.  38 Minutes left in the New Japan World feed as the match begins.  Amazingly, Red Shoes Referee also has the main event, which should win him some sort of reward after refereeing the last match.

Nagata snaps early on as Nakamura did the Nakamura style rope break, pulverizing him with knees before attacking the left arm viciously.  Nakamura comes back and continually taunts Nagata.  Nagata fought back with a slap, but the younger, stronger Nakamura came back with a harder slap.  He then hit a jumping knee drop and did the Nagata Style pose on the pinning attempt.   My problem with this early part of the match is that most of the spots I’ve seen so far have been repeated in the various tag team matches over the last tour.  At the 10 minute mark, Nagata counters the first Boma Ye attempt with a belly to belly suplex.  See, that would have been awesome, had that spot not happened in every match on the tour.  Nagata totally redeems every bad thing I said right after with a slap across the face of a downed Nakamura.  Now both men are mad and they have a brutal slap exchange that end with Nakamura crumpling to the ground.  Nagata gets Nakamura on the top and does his Hulk Up spot four times as Nakamura tries to fight him off.  I really enjoy that spot.  Nagata hits a nasty top rope Exploder Suplex soon after with Nakamura landing right on his hip.  Nakamura lands of the back of his head trying to flip over on a German Suplex but no sells it and hits a Boma Ye to the back of Nagata’s head.  Nakanishi sold it better than I could ever write…

Screenshot 2015-02-15 at 12.16.49 AM

Nakamura proceeds to hit a Boma Ye off the middle rope and one off the ropes, but Nagata kicks out at two.  As they did a crowd shot, Nagata hit the Back Suplex without the Hold.  Nagata just starts kicking the crap out of Nakamura.  Just insanely hard kicks.  The crowd just doesn’t seem into this one, which is sad, because these guys are really giving it their all.  Nakamura blocks the arm trap Exploder and then catches a Boma ye out of nowhere for the win.  I’m not sure what to think after that one.  I really think Nakamura needs to get out of the Intercontinental Title picture, especially if they go through with the all titles on the Bullet Club storyline.  Losing to Nagata would have been much less harmful than losing to Yujiro or Fale (again).  It was a fine match, but the crowd (and I) felt exhausted after Ishii vs. Honma. (Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura pinned Yuji Nagata at 17:56 with the Boma Ye – Rating: ***½)

Percent of Match That Shinsuke Nakamura Was Cooler Than You Will Ever Be: 100%

Final Thoughts: This show was way better than Night 1, which is strange, because I think that the average match ratings for Night 1 were higher than for tonight.  However, tonight was about wrestling and Night 1 was about stories.  Make sure you watch Honma vs. Ishii.

NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka (2/11/2015) Results & Review

New Japan Pro Wrestling presents
The New Beginning in Osaka
February 11, 2015
Osaka, Japan

Match # 1 – Sho Tanaka vs. Yohei Komatsu – This is easily the biggest match of each of their careers. They’ve got a singles match on a major show to showcase just how good they are. This should be great. Crowd pops huge for the dueling chest slaps. I can tell early just how much fun this show is going to be just from this crowd. Komatsu is so crisp and sells so well. He’s getting his signature spots down (spinning forearm, head and arm suplex, etc.) Soon after, Tanaka slapped Komatsu silly and nailed a spinning power slam for a two count. Kind of the cool thing of not having established finishers is that you never know the finish (other than the Crabs). Tanaka slams Komatsu down and locks in a Half Crab. Komatsu crawls for the ropes, so Tanaka pulls him center and locks in the full Boston Crab and gets the submission. These two are great. Komatsu looks like a sure fire star and Tanaka isn’t far behind. This match, sadly, well…and obviously got cut short to make sure some of the higher card guys got more time. It’s a shame because it the short time they had, they had a fine match. (Sho Tanaka submitted Yohei Komatsu at 5:40 with the Boston Crab – Rating: **¾)

Crab Variations:
Sho Tanaka: 3 (Boston Crab – Komatsu reached ropes; Half Crab transitioned into Boston Crab with a tap out)
Yohei Komatsu: 1 (Single Leg Crab – Tanaka reached the ropes)

Match # 2 – Tiger Mask & Mascara Dorada vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan – Based on New Japan Heavyweight vs. Junior Heavyweight logic, I think it is mathematically impossible for Nakanishi to lose if he just does not tag out. I do think he made a mistake not being Mascara Don on this evening. Nakanishi just watches Dorada flip around and casually knocks him down every time he got close. Words cannot describe my hatred for Dorada’s stupid spinning rope walk. It’s amazing how over Tomoaki Honma’s top rope headbutt is compared to Captain New Japan’s. Eventually Dorada reverses a Captain cradle and he pins Captain. The match was not good at all. (Mascara Dorada & Tiger Mask d. Captain New Japan & Manabu Nakanishi at 5:04 when Dorada pinned Captain with a cradle – Rating: ¾*)

FLYING NAKANISHI (Nakanishi Top Rope & Dive Moves): None
Captain New Japan Missile Shoulderblock Success: 1 for 1 (HIT on Dorada)

Match # 3 – Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Liger vs. Rob Conway & Chase Owens – Who cares about the match. Mr. R. Bruce Tharpe is there with a glorious Gold Blazer and matching Sunglasses. He promotes his Bruce Tharpe trading card. His scowl is simply amazing. He introduces his guys and all I can think is, “I wish they brought in someone GREAT from the U.S. for Tharpe to manage in the main event.” You know, when Rob Conway was released from WWE a decade ago and I had never watched a Japanese pro wrestling match before, never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed I’d be watching Rob Conway in Japan in 2015. Anyways, Bruce Tharpe is a straight on corner man in this match and he trips up Liger, leading to massive heat (at him) and the heat-less heat segment, as the fans don’t care about the heel wrestlers at alll. Well, that was a bad heat segment, as Conway misses an elbow drop and tags in Tenzan. This match feels like it’s been going on forever. I check the watch…it’s been 6 minutes. Liger & Owens end up in the ring while there was a brawl on the floor. Bruce Tharpe gets on the apron, which distracted Liger. Conway comes in and hits Ego Trips on both men and then Owens hits a package piledriver to pin Liger. Thank God that Ibushi vs. Honma is next. That match didn’t make me excited to watch the singles matches on Saturday at all. However, it did make me excited to see Bruce Tharpe’s new blazer. (Rob Conway & Chase Owens d. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Liger at 7:54 when Owens pinned Liger with a Package Piledriver – Rating: *½)

Mongolian Chops: 5 (2 by Conway on Tenzan; 3 by Tenzan on Conway, 3 by Tenzan on Conway)

Match # 4 – Kota Ibushi vs. Tomoaki Honma – Great. Great. Great. This should be great. Honma misses the Kokeshi off the ropes early and he dodges an Ibushi kick. Honma booted Ibushi in the face as he tried for a half crab, so Ibushi drops the hold and just stomps Honma in the face. Honma gets gets up and starts chopping the crap out of Ibushi. Did I mention that is is going to be great? Then he missed the Kokeshi off the ropes again. I hope he has 10 attempts in this match! Crowd was chanting for Ibushi at the start and they are now chanting for Honma. Honma hits a bulldog and misses a third Kokeshi. This may be my favorite match ever. Finally he hits one off a 360 lariat. Honma goes up for the Smiling Headbutt of Doom at the 5 minute mark, but Ibushi stops him, so Honma hits some headbutts and Ibushi counters with a Pele Kick. These guys are already selling death and I buy it just from how hard they’ve been hitting each other. Ibushi goes for the Phoenix Splash, but Honma stops him. Ibushi knocks him down and then Honma sidesteps a missile dropkick. Honma is so dead that Ibushi is up first. I love this match. Ibushi just spiked Honma’s head on a Frankensteiner and then on the kick out manages to jump up and hit a double stomp. That man defies the physics. Ibushi nails two Missile Kokeshi’s and gets a close nearfall off a belly to back off the top rope. Honma crushes him with a Sit Down Tombstone, yet Honma kicks out. HE’S GOING UP AND……….MISSES the Smiling Headbutt of Doom. Wow. What a couple of minutes by Honma and Ibushi survived. My gosh…these guys are throwing knock out haymaker elbows. Then comes the killer lariats. Honma with the one count kick out before eating a kick and a Liger Bomb. My gosh. Ibushi nails the Stardust Press and gets the win. What a match. These two are certifiably insane. Unbelievably match. Ibushi offers a handshake. Honma backs off and Ibushi slaps him! Honma slaps him back. Then they leave. Holy. Freaking. Crap. (Kota Ibushi pinned Tomoaki Honma at13:17 with the Phoenix Splash – Rating: ****½)

Kokeshi Counter: 3 for 7 (Missed off the ropes; Missed off the ropes, Missed off the ropes, HIT off the ropes, HIT missile version off the ropes, HIT missile version to the back of Ibushi’s head, Missed off the top rope.)

Match # 5 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Triple Threat Match – Champions ReDragon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Time Splitters (KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley) – I look at these six guys and I am incredibly excited for the Best of the Super Juniors this year. There is going to be so much talent (and Ryusuke Taguchi) in that tournament this year. My wife was very concerned when I said, “Aw! That’s cute.” I had to show her KUSHIDA handing his dog tags to a little kid, who then walked away as KUSHIDA whiffed on shaking his hand. I always love how these wild multi-man tag matches start via traditional tag team wrestling. It takes four minutes to break down into the insanity portion of the match. However, ReDragon kills everyone and we go back to KUSHIDA being the babyface in peril. I notice Cody Hall is cornering the Bucks. Man, is he ever tall. Shelley tags in and hits an awesome bulldog/Hart Attack combo on the Bucks. Crowd is very silent until KUSHIDA hits a combo rollup/German Suplex on the Bucks for a (double) two count. Everything breaks down and they hit the traditional mid Junior heavyweight match dive onto everyone. After KUSHIDA whips everyone out, KUSHIDA jumps off the top into a Triangle Choke. So then everyone starts diving off of the top ropes killing each other with moves. I cannot imagine the planning that goes into a match like this. The Bucks hits the Spike Tombstone, but because it wasn’t the Meltzer Driver, KUSHIDA was saved. The Bucks continue to clean house and a dead KUSHIDA is picked up and they hit the More Bang For Your Buck and win the titles. ReDRagon is obviously upset that they lost the belts without being pinned. This was one of the better multi-man tags I’ve seen out of these guys. (Young Bucks won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles d. ReDRagon & Time Splitters at 13:35 when Matt Jackson pinned KUSHIDA after More Bang For Your Buck – Rating: ***¾)

“Unnecessary” Flips by the Young Bucks:
Matt Jackson: 4
Nick Jackson: 4
Time Splitter Arm Wringer Tags: 6 (on Matt Jackson)

Match # 6 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match – Champion Kenny Omega vs. Ryusuke Taguchi – I was not kind to this match at Wrestle Kingdom. I gave it a whopping one star (2/10 in my old 0-10 ratings). People say I have a Taguchi bias and that is 100% true. I don’t care. I know what I like in pro wrestling and Taguchi’s mid life crisis, comedy, counter everything, tough guy isn’t it. Omega is growing on me the more I watch him. Sadly, I only seem to be able to watch him against Taguchi. Having to watch Omega (or anyone) sell these ridiculous butt moves is so painful. It’s like watching Taguchi wrestle. See what I did there? Omega shoves a Bullet Club flag into Taguchi’s anus. Taguchi does the same and isn’t disqualified. This match may be worse than Wrestle Kingdom. To make things worse, Taguchi starts Hulking Up from Atomic Drops. He is worse than X-Pac on X-Pac’s worse night. I’m just done with this match at this point. Omega hits an exposed knee running knee, so of course, Taguchi counters with a Dragon-rana. Omega does the Dodon Cradle, but Taguchi counters (for once) and piledrives him. He hits a Sliding Butt for a two count. Eventually, Omega hits the One Winged Angel for the pin. THANKFULLY, after the match, Omega and the Young Bucks hit a Spike Tombstone on a chair, hopefully ending Taguchi’s career. Hey, we can all hope. Time Splitters and Mascara Dorada come out and Dorada appears to be the next contender. They get a stretcher for Taguchi and he waves it off, because apparently he needs to be Mick Foley on top of Doink the Clown, Rey Mysterio & Kurt Angle. I hate him so much. (Kenny Omega pinned Ryusuke Taguchi at 13:59 with the One Winged Angel – Rating: *½)

Time of Kenny Omega’s Chainsaw Spot: 7:20

Match # 7 – Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi – Ugh. Typical Bullet Club brawl to start the match. Yujiro reminds me of a guy who used to play on my softball team. He thought he was the coolest guy on the planet. We once lost a game because a guy hit a single at him in Right Field. He needed to walk five feet to his right to cut the ball off. He just stood there and expected the Right Center Fielder to get it. That’s Yujiro. Fale manages to take off the announcer’s tie and then uses it to choke Okada. I give him points for creativity. Yano gets the hot tag and is his usual wacky self, even scaring Yujiro at one point, which was pretty funny. Okada and Fale tag in at the 7 minute mark. This actually holds a lot of intrigue with Okada losing twice to Fale in the lead up. Fale cuts off the top rope elbow (again…he’s done it all tour), as people continue to counter all of Okada’s big spots. Okada slips out of the Bad Luck Fall and hits the dropkick, but he had no one to tag, as the Bullet Club destroyed his partners. They do a corner whip and Okada staggers into the corner, completely beaten. Fortunately, Okada is saved. Then Okada realized he’s wrestling Tama Tonga and is able to hit the OKADA DROPKICK. He takes care of Fale and then…RAINMAKER POSE!!! Rain Maker. Ball game. Interesting…I can’t quite make heads or tails over that result. (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba d. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi at 11:46 when Okada pinned Tonga with the Rain Maker – Rating: **¾)

Time It Took Toru Yano To Remove Corner Pad: 5:42
People Rammed Into Exposed Corner: 1 (Yujiro by Yano)
Time Of Yujiro’s Stupid Thumb Bite Spot: 51 seconds (on Sakuraba)

Match # 8 – Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe & Tetsuya Naito vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI – I’m all confused, as the graphic said that Satoshi Kojima was in this match. So I was wondering where Naito was and then Naito comes out. But then Kojima comes out, so I am wondering where Togi Makabe is. I wonder if he’s hurt? I will check it out after this match and totally forget to reference it again during this review. I LOVE Yuji Nagata’s Pirates of the Carribean New Japan World Overdub Theme. It may be my favorite them after Minoru Suzuki’s and Bad Luck Fale’s. With no Makabe, it ruins my Statistical Joke for the night, as I was going to compare bumps taken by him compared to Ishii. Nakamura and Nagata start. Don’t quite understand why, but I’m more hyped for their main event in three days than I am for Tanahashi vs. Styles tonight. I really enjoy older wrestlers, so I think the story of the old guy trying to win one more big one really appeals to me. Nakamura continues to treat Nagata as a joke, mocking him early in the match. He’s done this the entire build to this match. Kojima tags in and he wants Ishii. Boy, I really think Makabe’s out on Saturday and they are going with Kojima vs. Ishii. I honestly think that will be a better match, so I’m fine with that. They beat the crap out of each other with forearms. They get exhausted and then start doing it again. Ugly spot as Ishii tried to roll out of the way of the Kojima elbow, but he rolled the wrong way and Kojima landed partially on Ishii’s skull. YOSHI-HASHI, meanwhile, hit Naito with a bodyslam on the floor. The crowd thought he was dead. Nagata and Nakamura end up in there and they kick and hit each other very hard. Nagata locks on the Eye Roll Armbar. You know, that move would be much more effective if he ever won with it. Nagata counters a Boma Ye with a belly to belly. Thankfully, unlike on Night One, Nakamura didn’t land on his face. Nakamura pops up from a German Suplex and hits a Boma Ye to the back of the head on Nagata. So, he does what any logical man would do and tags………anyone got a guess? YOSHI-HASHI. Naito tags in and the crowd is very mixed to him. Naito plays it up nicely. Anyways, everyone kills everyone with finishers, leaving YOSHI and Naito. Naito gets his mouth busted open somewhere in there. Eventually Naito pins him with the Stardust Press. It was a fine match, but despite all the talent, things just seemed a little off. I don’t know. It was just weird that Naito and YOSHI were the finishing guys, as they aren’t doing anything right now. (Yuji Nagata, Tetsuya Naito & Satoshi Kojima d. Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI at 16:31 when Naito pinned YOSHI with the Stardust Press – Rating: ***¼)

Satoshi Kojima Machine Gun Chops: 5 + 13 (on Ishii – Ishii reversed after 5 and then got hit for 13 more soon after)
Percent of Time EVERYONE Knew YOSHI-HASHI Was Getting Pinned: 100%
Percent of Time Shinsuke Nakamura Was Cooler Than You Will Ever Be: 100%

Match # 9 – IWGP Tag Team Title Match – Meiyu Tag (Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto) vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows – I am so excited for this match to be over so I can be interested in the tag team division for the first time since Anderson & Gallows won the tag team titles 13 months ago. Five minutes into the match, Anderson powerbombed Goto into the ring apron. Yeah, I don’t really have much to say about an Anderson & Gallows tag team match at this point. At Wrestle Kingdom, I rated their match about a full star lower than most people did. There’s just not much fun about them. I mean Goto & Shibata end up having to wrestle a Anderson/Gallows style match. That’s like Ishii having to wrestle a Taguchi style match. Shibata pulls out a Double Chickenwing and transitions into a CROSS FACE CHICKEN WING on Anderson. Sadly, the New Japan directors thought that was the best moment to do a close up on the title belts. I was not happy, as the Chicken Wing is one of my favorite moves in wrestling history. At the ten minute mark, Goto accidentally clotheslines Shibata off the apron. They hit a bunch of moves, but Goto keeps kicking out. He eventually makes the tag to Shibata, who goes nuts and beats both men down in opposite corners. Meiyu Tag hit their corner moves and run wild on the former champs. Anderson saves Gallows and he and Goto have a nice exchange that led to Anderson hitting Goto with the Goto neckbreaker. Gallows hits an awesome Liger Bomb on Shibata, who fought the whole way for a two count. Anderson caught Goto with the Gun Stun. Shibata fights out of the Magic Killer and battles both men by himself as the crowd goes nuts. Anderson finally kills him with the Gun Stun. They hit the Magic Killer and…ugh…back to not caring about tag teams in New Japan. That said, the closing few minutes were great, but the first 10 were a real bore. It is kind of poetic justice that Hirooki Goto loses the title in his first title defense. (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows won the IWGP Tag Team Titles d. Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto at 16:26 when Gallows pinned Shibata after the Magic Killer – Rating: ***¼)

Number of Doc Gallows Elbow Drops: 1 (off a double team with Anderson while Anderson held Goto in a backbreaker)
Poor Sap Who Had To Take The SHIBATA DROPKICK: Karl Anderson AND Doc Gallows.

Match # 10 – IWGP Heavyweight Title Match – Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. A.J. Styles – Tanahashi won every single match on this tour, so far. A.J. Styles has yet to wrestle on this tour, as he was apparently taking knitting classes or something better than entertaining me for the $10 I pay a month to New Japan World to see him wrestle. Just a hunch that the Styles Clash is going to play a part in the finish. The entire Bullet Club is seconding Styles. Tanahashi is seconded by…Captain New Japan. Advantage: Styles. I realized that Bullet Club guys have won four titles tonight so I’m dreading another “Bullet Club holds all the titles” story arc. That would mean Yujiro is getting pushed…again. That sent a shiver down my spine. As chain wrestling starts, they focus on the corners. I THINK they were making the point that the Bullet Club is all healthy, yet all of Tanahashi’s friends (Shibata, Goto, Taguchi, Time Splitters) all lost tonight to the Bullet Club and thus, can’t be here to help. Yujiro looks like more of a geek than ever, as he’s the only guy not wearing a belt. This match is really interesting in the New Japan Cup, because a Tanahashi loss could potentially put Tanahashi, Okada & Nakamura all in the same tournament (if they choose to get rid of that IC Title possibility for the tournament winner). Add in Ibushi, Ishii, Naito, Shibata, Goto and that is a really deep tournament. Eight minutes in, Tanahashi ran on the apron at Styles (who was on the floor) and tried a Senton. Styles sidestepped him and Tanahashi splatted. Nasty spot, especially considering Tanahashi’s back problems. Bullet Club takes the opportunity to lay the boots to Tanahashi. CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN WITH THE SAVE! Just kidding. He tries and is promptly stomped three feet into the earth. Styles focuses on the back. The referee tells him to pin him and Styles responds, “I’m not done with him yet.” He then says, “I’ll pin him when I am ready! All right!”

I’m going to start a new paragraph at the 10 minute mark. I can tell I’ll be typing a bit more here tonight. Tanahashi skins the cat at the 15 minute mark and flips Styesl to the floor and hits the High Fly Flow on the entire Bullet Club, who had huddled around Styles on the floor. Oh man, Tanahashi got busted wide open there. I rewatched the spot and it looked like he caught his forehead on Gallow’s tag team title belt. With how rare blood is in wrestling these days, I’m all for this. Back in the ring, they get nailed with an awesome double clothesline. I was wrong. Another replay shows he met head to head with Matt Jackson on that dive. Referee checks Tanahashi’s cut while he’s down. They show Matt on the floor and he looks like he’s concussed, as Nick sits there talking to him. Wow. Tanahashi hits rolling Straight Jacket German Suplex holds . Styles grabs the referee on the third attempt and low blows Tanahashi. Yujiro, ever the geek, jumps on the apron, which allows Tanahashi to low blow Styles. We hit the 20 minute mark with dueling forearms. Styles, brilliantly, hits a punch to the cut. Spot of the night was Styles hitting an enzigiri on Tanahashi. Tanahashi keeps holding the leg and Styles stands up and says, “Do you want another one?” He tries it and mid move, Tanahashi Dragon Screws him. That was such an awesome spot. Tanahashi gets his knees up on a Springboard 450, as both men sell hardly being able to move. This is fun. I honestly have no idea who is going to win this match. They’ve only teased one Styles Clash so far, 25 minutes in. As I say that, Tanahashi counters a top rope hurricannranna and teases hitting a top rope Clash. Styles blocks it and hits a Pele Kick. Styles goes for the Clash as Tanahashi desperately fights it off three times before Styles hits a knee drop Piledriver. He then hits Bloody Sunday and picks up Tanahashi, nails the Styles Clash and wins the IWGP Heavyweight Title for the second time. Awesome match. They kept the Bullet Club stuff to a minimum and let Styles go out there and be A.J. Freaking Styles against the best pure professional wrestler on the planet today. Fantastic battle. (A.J. Styles won the IWGP Heavyweight Title pinning Hiroshi Tanahashi at 26:10 with the Styles Clash – Rating: ****1/4)

High Fly Flow Counter: 1 for 2 (HIT on entire Bullet Club from the top to the floor – Miss due to Styles getting his Knees Up)

Final Thoughts: Strange Show. Some really good stuff and some really bad stuff. I need some time to process it all.

NJPW Road to The New Beginning Night 2 (2/1/2015) Results & Review

New Japan Pro Wrestling presents
February 1, 2015
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan

Here’s my review of Night 1 on Voices of Wrestling.

I always love how the ring announcer announces each match of the night to the crowd.  It just makes everything seem a little bit more important.

Match # 1 – Non-Title Match – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions ReDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Yohei Komatsu & Sho Tanaka – I hate non-title matches.  Much respect to Mr. Fish, as I appreciate any wrestler who wears a mouth guard.  Tanaka looks to be growing his hair out.  The Young Lions control the early portion of the match.  The crowd gets a kick over O’Reilly waving his arms at a flustered Fish on the floor, trying to cool him down.  Watching ReDRagon for the first time every when they started this run in New Japan, I’m now very excited for the Best of the Super Juniors this year.  Adding these two to the mix is going to help differentiate the pack quite a bit.  The Lions hit a combo flying forearm Hart Attack move and Tanaka locks on the Boston Crab on O’Reilly.  Komatsu locks another Crab on Fish for good measure.  Awesome nearfall save by Komatsu, as Tanaka was murdered off a kneedrop style Demolition Decapitation.  The champs take care of Komatsu with some nifty moves and finish off Tanaka with the Chasing the Dragon.  Fun match.  I am 100% sold on Komatsu becoming a star and nearly there with Tanaka.  ReDRagon d. Komatsu & Tanaka at 9:21 when O’Reilly pinned Tanaka after the Chasing the Dragon.  (Rating: ***)

Match # 2 – Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger, & Tiger Mask vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Captain New Japan, Mascara Dorada, & Jay White – White is coming off an impressive debut two days ago against Alex Shelley.  I must really question poor Nakanishi’s decision making in tag team partners.  You never want to have more than one fall guy on your team.  Nakanishi has two and the Youngest Lion.  Dorada appears to be trying to eventually dress exactly like Jushin Liger.  Tiger Mask and Dorada starts, so we get a bunch of flipping, dodging, and reversing.  I take a nap.  Spot of the match has to be Liger bumping after attempting to shoulder-block Captain.  Nakanishi was all kinds of awesome here, putting the Torture Rack on Kojima and then one by one absorbing kicks until Liger, Tiger & Tenzan jumped kicked him all at once.  White tags in for the first time at 7:45.  It feels like the tag of DOOM for Team Nakanishi.  Big fight breaks out everywhere.  White absorbs Tenzan headbutts, which was great, but then he runs into a spinwheel kick and Tenzan finishes him off with a Tombstone.  Another enjoyable match.  Everyone worked really hard and it made for another fun match.  Team Kojima d. Team Nakanishi at 9:18 when Tenzan pinned White after a Tombstone Piledriver (Rating: **½)
Statistics: Mongolian Chop Count: 5 on Captain New Japan by Tenzan
             Captain New Japan’s  Diving Shoulder Counter: 1 for 1 (Hit on Kojima)
             Kojima’s Machine Gun Chops: 21 (on Nakanishi)

Match # 3 – Ryusuke Taguchi & Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) vs. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega & Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) – If Taguchi stays out of this match, it should be quite a bit of fun.  Looks like every Junior Heavyweight Bullet CLub tag team match needs to start just like every heavyweight Bullet Club tag team match.  Taguchi’s pants are pulled higher than a 1987 WWF Jobber.  Once the brawling calms down, KUSHIDA plays the babyface in peril. Taguchi illegally breaks up a pinfall attempt by Omega, which leads to THE CHAINSAW.  I am enjoying that move more and more every time I see it.  KUSHIDA tags n Taguchi to apathy from the crowd.  Can we please book Taguchi against Tiger Mask again and hope for the best?  Guys are flying all over the place from about the 8 minutes mark until the end of the match.  Bullet Club really does a number on KUSHIDA.  They hit a Triple Superkick for a nearfall.  Eventually KUSHIDA avoids the More Bang For Your Buck and the Splitters hit a Sliced Bread No. 2/PowerBomb combo to pin Jackson.  Fun match.  The Bucks and Splitters really starred, which played into ReDRagon coming out and attacking the Splitters, setting the stay for the title Triple Threat Match at the New Beginning.  Meanwhile, Omega continued to work over Taguchi on the floor.  The was a very enjoyable match (except Taguchi…but that is just a given.)  Taguchi & Time Splitters d. Bullet Club at 11:27 when KUSHIDA pinned Nick Jackson after a Sliced Bread/Power Bomb Combo. (Rating: ***¼)
Statistics: “Unnecessary” Flips by the Young Bucks: Matt Jackson: 5
Nick Jackson: 2

Match # 4 – Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma v. Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba – I love when New Japan gives us a relatively fresh matchup.  Honma, the typically fall guy, isn’t a sure thing at all, as he has a big singles match against Kota Ibushi.  That adds a little extra to this match.  Sakuraba is wearing a shirt that says “WATER.”  That must be how he keeps up his physique.  Yano is awesome early, as he keeps desperately grabbing the ropes whenever Naito locks in Chris Jericho’s favorite move, the arm bar.  That leads to Honma & Sakuraba squaring off.  Talk about a styles clash.  That leads to some of the most surreal Chain Wrestling I’ve seen since that infamous Big Show vs. Kane match in 2006.  Honma’s countered a Sakuraba choke into an awesome deadlift vertical suplex, with Sakuraba kicking the entire way.  That leads to Naito vs. Sakuraba.  Watching Sakuraba take Naito’s spots really makes me want to see how he’d hold up in the G-1.  I don’t think he’s great or anything, but I love watching style clash matches.  At 8:30, HONMA HEADS UP AND….MISSES THE SMILING HEADBUTT OF DOOM.  Yano then hits a low blow, Sakuraba hits a kick to the side of the head and a School Boy finishes.  Another fine match on tonight’s show.  I’m intrigued as to where they go with Yano & Sakuraba over the next couple of months.   Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba d. Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma at 9:00 when Yano pinned Honma with a School Boy (Rating: **¾)
Statistics: Kokeshi Count: 2 for 4 (Missed off the ropes on Sakuraba, Missed off the ropes on Yano, HIT off the ropes combined with a Naito backbreaker on Yano, HIT off the ropes on Sakuraba)
          Time to Remove Corner Pad by Yano: 3:44

Match # 5 – Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga – Okada goes face to face with Fale, which would mean something if they were actually building to a singles match at the upcoming show.  Fale tags out to Tonga before touching Okada, always a great spot.  Okada kicks Tonga around and dives at Fale and Fale jumps off the apron to avoid him.  I love the anger and desperation coming out in Okada.  YOSHI plays face in peril.  This portion of the match feels like it lasts 45 minutes.  Okada and Fale make the hot tag at 6 minutes for Okada’s long awaited tag team showdown against Fale.  Nice spot where Okada jumps off the top over Fale but turns around into a huge running shoulderblock.  Holy crap.  Fale counters the Rainmaker with a Huge Lariat of his own and hits the second greatest move in professional wrestling today, the Bad Luck Fall and pins Kazuchika Okada again.  I repeat: Bad Luck Fale has pinned Kazuchika Okada again.  I’m not digging this tag team matches but the story they are telling is fantastic.  The Rainmaker completely failed Okada tonight.  This wasn’t anyone kicking out of it.  This was Fale knowing what was coming through Okada’s desperation to hit the move after just one dropkick and killing an unprepared Okada.  Brilliant stuff. Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga d. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI at 9:07 when Fale pinned Okada with the Bad Luck Fall. (Rating: **¼)

Match # 6 – Yuji Nagata & NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe vs. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii – This match should be fantastic.  This really should be the main event of this show.  Four legitimate top guys with no clear fall guy.  I mean, does anyone think that Yujiro is not getting pinned in the main event?  Split Introductions.  One thing I hate about New Japan World is that they don’t splice in Nagata’s Pirates of the Caribbean theme that I got so addicted to during the G-1.  Nagata and Nakamura start.  Nakamura looks awfully cocky for a guy who was just dropped on his face on a belly to belly attempt two nights ago.  Of course, Nagata has pinned YOSHI-HASHI three times to earn this title match…so yeah.  Nakamura tags out at 2:00 and sadly, Nagata does not want anything to do with Ishii.  Nagata really concentrates on Nakamura’s left arm, as he locked in the Eye Roll armbar and a Kimura.  Nagata fights back and CHAOS gets the advantage at 5:30 when Nagata goes over the top to the floor.  An abbreviated heat sequence leads to Makabe tagging back in two minutes later.  Ishii absorbs around 20 forearms and nearly kills himself on a Powerslam on Makabe.  Ishii pulled out the unprotected headbutt, which Makabe no sold for a lariat.  I probably wouldn’t have wasted one my my unprotected shots to the skull on that, if I were Ishii.  Nagata and Nakamura come in at 11:30, and they kick each other as hard as Makabe and Ishii hit each other.  Ishii nails the Sliding Clothesline (which should be his finisher) and Nakamura nails the Boma Ye.  Makabe makes the save at the last moment.  I really thought that was the finish.  Great spot.  Man, watching Nakamura and Nagata battle…this match at The New Beginning is going to be great!  Nagata hits a Brainbuster (which countered a front choke) and Nakamura kicks out at one.  So Nagata hits a kick to the head, and hit the Backdrop Hold for the pin over Nakamura.  There aren’t many nights you can say you watch both Nakamura and Okada be pinned in tag team matches.  Fantastic match.  These guys hit each other so hard.  I loved every second of it.  Yuji Nagata & Togi Makabe d. Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii at 15:23 when Nagata pinned Nakamura with the Backdrop Hold (Rating: ***¾)
Statistics: Togi Makabe Tag Team Match Bumps: 5

Match # 7 – IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi & IWGP Tag Team Champions Meiyu Tag (Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata) vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Karl Anderson, & Doc Gallows – The entire Bullet Club (sans A.J. Styles) joins them at ringside because the finish of the match of Tanahashi pinning Yujiro was too much of a foregone conclusion.   Maybe this won’t be like every Bullet Club main event tag match ever, as Goto and Anderson start wrestling instead of their typical brawl to start.  Shibata locks in a figure four leglock on Gallows, which makes me appreciate Shibata’s little work with submissions.  He always adds a little pause before a jerking motion to lock it in.  It gives the move that little extra kick.  Tanahashi gets to be in peril as a “brawl” breaks out at 6:30.  I’ll take this time to mention that Bullet Club needs to take lessons from Suzuki-Gun on how to do wild brawls.  Yujiro’s surprised look on his face when Tanahashi kicked out of a body slam was great.  He honestly thought he was going to propel himself from a complete failure to #2 contender for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.  Anderson pulls out a new move, a package vertical suplex into a neckbreaker over the knee.  That was pretty cool.  Anderson sold death, crotching himself on the corner, when Tanahashi moved.  I’d have hated to see his face if he actually hit Tanahashi with that move.  Shibata’s favorite wrestler has to be Minoru Suzuki, as he added the surprise dropkick in this match.  At 13:50, what a surprise, Tanahashi & Yujiro end up in the ring.  I honestly quit paying attention for a bit, cause it’s so apparent what is going to happen.    Shibata ends up hitting the Penalty Kick on Yujiro, which allows Tanahashi to hit the Styles Clash (just like two nights ago) and hit the High Fly Flow for the win.  That was fine, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve given a Anderson/Gallows anchored tag team match above three stars. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, & Katsuyori Shibata d. Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, & Yujiro Takahashi at 16:57 when Tanahashi pinned Yujiro with the High Fly Flow (Rating: **¾)

Statistics: Time of Yujiro’s Thumb Bite Spot: 5:32 (on Tanahashi)
Number of Doc Gallows Elbow Drops: 3 (on Tanahashi)
    Poor Sap Who Had To Take the SHIBATA DROPKICK: Doc Gallows (12:50)

Final Thoughts: This show blew Night 1 out of the water.  The Nagata v. Nakamura tag team match was the highlight of the show.  Check this show out.  It’s an easy 2 hour watch if you skip the intermission.  I am hyped for the New Beginning shows!

Platinum Game Review: Final Fantasy X (PlayStation 3 & PlayStation Vita)

Platinum Game Reviews is an idea that I’ve had running through my head for a while now.  Instead of reviewing video games straight up, I am going to review the process of getting a Platinum Trophy in the video game.  I will only review the video games that I have personally achieved a Platinum Trophy in.  Then at the end, I’ll try to summarize how the game is in terms of getting the Platinum Trophy.

Final Fantasy X

This game haunted my past for years and years.  I completed it in 2001 and was not impressed.  It was my least favorite of the Final Fantasy games (because Final Fantasy XIII did not exist yet).  In 2003, I went through the worst case of depression that I have ever had in my life.  I’m not really sure what I had to be depressed about, but it was bad.  It was during that time that I became immersed in the world of Final Fantasy X once again.  It was one of those things where I felt like I could relate to the struggles the characters were going through.  I put 100 hours into the game and never finished it.  I kicked my depression and then refused to go back to the game, scared to re-live that case of depression again.

Fast forward to 2014.  This year, I probably had the second worst case of depression that I’ve ever had.  This time, I had a pretty good reason.  My Grandma, who was a key reason that I am the person I am today, died on March 7th.  The HD Remaster of Final Fantasy X game out a few days later. Funny how that works.  Either way, I had planned on buying this game and had one goal: earn the Platinum Trophy.  I knew it was an insane trophy list, but I was determined to reach my goal.

My journey to the Platinum Trophy spanned from March through early December, as I took a couple prolonged breaks along the way.  I ended up with 152 hours on the game clock when I claimed my Platinum Trophy.  That’s way longer than it should have taken, however, I spent way too much time playing Blitzball early on, which was a big mistake.  I’ll get more into that in a bit.

Anyways, if you’re going for the Platinum Trophy, when you start, just play the game as normal.  Try to collect the Al Bhed Primers along the way, but if you miss some, it’s no big deal, because you can come back and get them later.  There is one exception to that rule.  I don’t want to spoil it, so if you need to know, look up “Missable Al Bhed Primers” on Google.  Once you reach the Calm Lands, the game opens up and you are free to work to achieve your Platinum.

The final trophy I earned for this game was the trophy for beating the game.  I earned every other trophy first, so it was kind of fun (and kind of lame) that I was able to defeat the final bosses in a couple of hits.  So we will work backwards from there.  You will have to earn every Celestial Weapon.  You do not have to upgrade them, but I ended up doing that for everyone except Kimahri.  I skipped Kimahri because the Butterfly Catching game was not required, nor is Kimahri really needed for any of the challenges.  There are trophies for getting 0:0:0 in the Chocobo Race for Tidus and for the 200 Lightning Dodges for Lulu.  The Chocobo Race is every bit as antagonizing as advertised.  I believe I spent three and a half hours on that alone.  The Lightning Dodging was not too bad, but I totally understand how that one can be really tricky if you do not have good hand-eye coordination.  There are helpful videos on YouTube that will help show you how to trigger a lightning bolt, which makes it much easier.

At bare minimum, you’ll need fully upgraded Celestial Weapons for three people.  I’ll recommend four:  Tidus, Wakka, Rikku, & Yuna.  Tidus and Wakka have the best Overdrive damage, Rikku’s Mix Overdrive will provide unique abilities that can’t be achieved in any other ways, and Yuna is useful because of her Summons and cheap magic.

The Calm Lands triggers the start of the Monster Arena quest.  This is a grind.  There are 102 monsters across Spira and you’ll need to capture 10 of every single one of them.  The most annoying part of this quest is that it wasn’t able to start at the beginning of the game, so you’ll have to revisit all the areas again to start collecting with the special Capture weapons.  The Monster Arena unlocks 35 new insanely tough enemies as you will also have to beat.  Some of those 35 you’ll only need to beat once, but many of them you will have to beat numerous times.  One enemy in particular, you will have to beat 175 times in order to get all your characters to 100 Luck.  You will spend many, many hours of your life in the Monster Arena.

You will need to max out the Sphere Grid, which serves as Final Fantasy X’s leveling system, for every character.  Just like for monster capturing, the annoying part of this is the fact that your characters will have already completed a third of the Sphere Grid by the time you’ll be strong enough in the Monster Arena to unlock the spheres needed to place in the open spots of the Sphere Grid.  So you’ll have to go over the Sphere Grid a second time with each character to fill in the gaps.  The easiest way to level up the Sphere Grid is through the legendary Don Tonberry method.  Like everything else in getting the Platinum Trophy, this is a grind.  I won’t go into detail, but you’ll have to fight Don Tonberry over and over (all while fighting another monster, Kottos, over and over to unlock the spheres needed to unlock spheres on the Sphere Grid).  I strongly recommend maxing the grid with three characters first (or four if you also want to make use of Yuna).

Exhausted yet?  Have I mentioned the Dark Aeons?  These are eight ultra hard Aeons that are placed throughout Spira.  You’ll have to defeat all of them.  Some of them aren’t that difficult, however if you are not prepared, they can even give you a tricky fight for a maxed out party.  For one of the fights in particular, I ended up with my entire party dead except one character with 100 HP remaining.  Knowing the Aeon would kill my party off if I revived on my next turn, I threw one more attack at him that ended up winning the fight for me.  Defeating all of the Aeons unlocks the game’s Super Boss, Penance, who must be defeated as well.  Penance is not really a difficult fight.  There are some helpful videos that show a completely fail-safe method at defeating him.

We can’t forget Blitzball.  An addition to some.  The bane of existence to others.  I love Blitzball, but I played over 100 games of it along the way and even I burned out on it by the end.  Games take 10-15 minutes each.  At minimum it will take 26 games of Blitzball to earn all of the trophies, so if you don’t like Blitzball…sorry.  The final 10 games are not totally necessary, but it is if you want to use Wakka towards beating the high end enemies (and trust me, you want Wakka.  He has the best Overdrive in the game).

After all of that, there are a couple of clean up items.  You’ll have to buy audio & video spheres at a Theater in Luca and you’ll have to spend 100,000 Gil on bribe.  Those are no big deal.  You’ll have a ton of money at the end of the game.  There is also a Chocobo race that you will need to win where you have to collect 5 treasure chests en route to winning the race.  I had almost as tough of a time with this as I did the other Chocobo race.  I believe I spent two hours working on this one.

My game clock said 152 hours when I earned my Platinum Trophy.  I hear of people doing it is 80 or so hours, but plan on investing around 100 hours minimum if you are attempting to earn this one.  If you do not mind grinding, this is a really enjoyable Platinum Trophy to earn.  I had an awesome time with this for the first 140 hours of it.  Those last 12 was where I was nearing the “I just want to be done with this” point.

In Summary:

Game Rating (0-10 Rating) : 10 – This is one of the best RPG’s of all time and it holds up 14 years after it’s original release.

Platinum Trophy Difficulty : 8 – There are a lot of tough challenges and monsters to defeat along the way.  Prepare to want to throw your controller (or God forbid you Vita) a few times.

Platinum Game Ranking: 6 – The difficulty and grinding draws the game’s score down quite a bit.  That’s not to say it’s not fun.  It is an insanely fun game.  However, you have to grind a lot.  You have to attempt ridiculous challenges involving gigantic chickens a lot.  Just be prepared and know what you are in for.  Once you hit the grinding stage, you just enjoy the ride to the best of your ability.  Attempting the Platinum Trophy for this game should only be attempted if you love Final Fantasy or are attempting to collect every Platinum Trophy on the planet. 

NJPW New Year Dash (1/5/2015) Results & Review

NJPW New Year Dash Review
January 5, 2015
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan

Well, Wrestle Kingdom was awesome.  Last year, New Japan followed that up with a couple less awesome (but still really good) New Beginning shows.  Those shows should be set up tonight.  I expect tonight will set up IWGP Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi against A.J. Styles.  I suppose Minoru Suzuki may be a dark horse candidate.  I guess we’ll see.  As for Nakamura, I guess Suzuki is the logical choice.  Yuji Nagata could be in the running.  Styles would be a great match to carry one of the shows if they decide to not give Styles his rematch with Tanahashi.  There aren’t really many choices due to the lack a singles matches.  I suppose tonight could determine a lot, too.  I should just quit talking and watch the show.

Mr Announcer Man is in the ring.  For once, New Japan is booked like WWE, so we have no clue what the matches will be.  Here comes the announcement:
Match 1: Taichi & TAKA Michinoku v. Sho Tanaka & Tiger Mask
Match 2: ReDRagon vs. Forever Hooligans (No mention of the titles, so…yeah.)
Match 3: Minoru Suzuki, Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Lance Archer, Shelton X Benjamin & Takashi Iizuka vs. Captain New Japan, Tomoaki Honma, Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Match 4: NWA Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Desperado
Match 5: Kenny Omega & Young Bucks vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Time Splitters
Match 6: Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga v. Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano (Crowd popped a bit for that one)
Match 7: Shinsuke Nakamura, YOSHI HASHI, & Tomohiro Ishii v. Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Togi Makabe (Crowd liked that one, too!)
Match 8: A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Yujiro Takahashi v. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata & Tetsuya Naito  (Crowd really liked that one!!!)

Match 1: Taichi & TAKA Michinoku vs. Tiger Mask IV & Sho Tanaka
Result (Time):  Taichi pins Tanaka with a Double Team Black Mephiso (Credit to Puroresu Spirit for that move name) (7:30)
Match Rating (0-10): 4/10
Comments: It is CRIMINAL that New Japan World mutes Taichi’s entrance music/singing.  Tanaka looks fired up, as usual, as Taichi continues to use his microphone to insult Tiger Mask.  If I remember correctly, TAKA is celebrating his one year anniversary of when he announced he was leaving New Japan.  After some early chain wrestling with TAKA, Tanaka is isolated by the Suzuki-Gun.  At around the 3 minute mark, they do the spot where TAKA counts the pin, but Tanaka is so low on the card that Taichi was pinning him off a high knee.  Soon after, Tanaka hits a nice dropkick and tags in Tiger Mask, who hits some not as nice dropkicks.  Tiger runs wild for a couple minutes before tagging Tanaka in for no good reason, conceding the match. Tanaka runs wild.  He hits a dead-lift gutwrench suplex on Taichi (who landed really hard on his upper back/left shoulder) and gets some near falls and teases the Crab finish before TAKA makes the save.  This match crosses the six minute mark, which is more than Jeff Jarrett got last night at the Dome.  A big brawl breaks out.  Suzuki-Gun hits a double team move for the win in a decent, inoffensive opening match.

Match 2: Non-Title Match – ReDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov)
Result (Time):  O’Reilly pinned Koslov after the Chasing the Dragon (10:20)
Match Rating (0-10): 6/10
Comments: Romero comes out tonight as the BLACK TIGER!  Because if there is one thing that New Japan does not have enough of, it men wearing masks with a tiger on them.  Alex Koslov was just awesome, taunting a lady in the crowd for a high five.  Every time she’d walk over for it, he’d walk away.  Koslov continues the run of awesomeness with the fake handshake that was cool when we all were in fifth grade, hence why it is a great move in professional wrestling.  The Hooligans have the champs off their game early in the match with their wacky antics.  Romero finally gets caught by O”Reilly and the Champs take advantage, hitting a variety of trademark spots.  Great stuff as Fish goes to the top rope and Romero rolls to the other sides of the ring.  So Fish climbs up the other turnbuckle and Romero rolls to the other side again.  I’m cracking up at this point.  O’Reilly slams Romero and they mount opposing corners and of course, Romero dodges the dive.  Great stuff.  He makes the hot tag to Koslov at 5:30ish.  Koslov and Romero continue with more of the Hooligans antics.  They quickly hug it out, like men.  They exchange nearfalls and reversals.  Koslov avoids the Chasing the Dragon, obviously not wanting to take any more finishers after taking the Meltzer Driver last night and get a near fall on a school boy.  However, that was the planned finish for the match, so they quickly bring him back to the script and hit the Chasing the Dragon for the pin.  Like all Hooligans tag matches, if you like what they do, you’ll like this match.  If you are not a fan, you probably won’t.  I’m a fan, so 6/10.  I will use this opportunity to point out how much I hate non-title matches.  Gah!  I better just go and create a NJPW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Linear Title so it doesn’t bother me anymore.

Match 3: Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith, Jr., & Shelton X. Benjamin vs. Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi, & Captain New Japan
Match Statistics: Kokeshi Counter: (0 for 1, Missed off the ropes on Shelton)
Mongolian Chop Counter: 6 – Tenzan hits 3 on Iizuka.  Archer hits 3 on Tenzan.
Result (Time):  Suzuki-Gun is victorious after Archer pinned Captain New Japan after the Killer Bomb (11:59)
Match Rating (0-10): 5/10
Comments: Sadly, Minoru Suzuki decided to only keep the insanely awesome God Mode Suzuki attire for one night only.  I’d have loved to see him run with that look as he character reset to try to make us all forget about the years wasted in a dead end relationship with Toru Yano. Seeing everyone in the ring, I just know this is going to be a wild, fun brawl.  I’ll continue to focus on wrestling gear as this brawl is happening.  KES isn’t wearing matching gear for some reason.  Suzuki is wearing his alternate-alternate black gear with a red stripe w/ a patch of gray.  I’ve said it before, but Bullet Club really needs to take lessons from Suzuki-Gun on these tag team brawls.  Suzuki-Gun always makes it seem like a fight is revolving around a wrestling match.  Bullet Club makes it seem like a boring attempt at professional wrestling.  I pointed out how Crazy Man Iizuka gets dressed into professional wrestling gear every day.  He’s like a super villain in a way.  Completely nuts, but knows he has to look the part.  At 6:20, Honma counters a Suzuki choke into a deadlift suplex.  Suzuki and Kojima have an awesome exchange with Suzuki no-selling Kojima’s Machinegun Chops over and over.  Kojima responds by no-selling Suzuki’s Penalty Kick.  A big brawl breaks out.  KES finally ends up with Captain in the ring.  They hit a Hart Attack and quickly finish him off with the Killer Bomb.  After the match, Suzuki-Gun absolutely decimated the babyface team, looking like world beaters.

Match 4: NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Desperado
Result (Time):  Liger pinned Desperado at 16:55 with a top rope Brainbuster
Match Rating (0-10): 5/10
Comments: You know it’s a big time match because Desperado didn’t wear a shirt.  They’ve first started teasing this match last March.  Think about that.  Desperado does a lot of stalling early in between spots.  Liger dominates the first four minutes until TAKA Michinoku and Taichi come out and use trademark Suzuki-Fun tricks to take advantage.  So Desperado puts on his T-shirt again.  They use the ring bell mallet to work over Liger’s left arm.  They fight into the crowd and Desperado Conchairto’s the left arm at the six minute mark.  The referee, ever the impartial official, refuses to count the pin when they get back in the ring because of the use of numerous instruments that were used for EVIL!!!  Desperado continues to work on the arm.  Liger tried making a comeback, but like ever stupid babyface, attempted to use his bad arm.  You can imagine how that worked out for him.  Desperado then big splashes the arm. Which makes me think Desperado is wearing the shirt because he think’s he is fat and thus, a splash would hurt a arm laying flat on the ground.  10 minutes in and Desperado goes after the mask.  He gets the mask half way off.  Desperado throws the referee from the ring.  Suzuki-Gun attacks, which leads Tiger Mask to come out and hit a dive onto numerous people…you know the spot that somehow happens in nearly every single junior heavyweight match.  Tiger takes TAKA and Taichi to the back to put an end to the shenanigans.  Desperado hits that flip dive through the ropes that will someday kill him and then goes back to the arm with a low dropkick from the middle rope.  Liger teases taping out to a cross armbreaker at 13:00 before making the ropes.  Liger kicked out of Desperado’s wackily named finisher at the 15:00 mark.  My computer informed me the wackily is not a word.  Liger hits another clothesline with his bad arm, as he appears to have totally forgotten about the ten minutes spent on that.  He hits a running Liger Bomb and finishes Desperado with a sloppy looking Superplex/Brainbuster at 16:55.  That was okay.  They took a lot of shortcuts to get around Liger’s weaknesses (mainly the fact that he a 50 year old Junior Heavyweight).  I didn’t like Liger throwing clotheslines with the bad arm, but I suppose that is better than juniors who forget about knee injuries.  After the match, Liger appears to challenge Tiger Mask, based off my limited knowledge of Japanese.  So they’ll have a match sooner or later and their combined age will still be less than the combined age of Triple H & Sting.

Match 5: Bullet Club (Kenny Omega and Young Bucks) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Time Splitters
Result (Time):  Time Splitters & Taguchi d. Bullet Club when KUSHIDA pin both Bucks with a rollup/German Suplex (9:16)
Match Rating (0-10): 6/10
Comments: Taguchi comes out without a care in the world, which like 8% of the reason that I completely hate this ridiculous character.  I think I’ve FINALLY come around a little bit on the Bucks.  I take back that I once said “I prefer to watch the Gracie’s to the Bucks.”  I enjoyed their crotch chops during each count of the ring out count.  But the kicker was the same three guys in the crowd who kept laughing at it every time.  Like a cheater, Taguchi illegally punches Omega just to be able to get into the match.  He should be suspended for such flagrant breaking of the rules.  He continues to do stupid things like Doink the Clown before reversing every move like Rey Mysterio before becoming Tough Guy wrestler Kurt Angle all within 35 seconds.  There’s just no consistency in the guy at all.  He’s 35…perhaps it is a mid-life crisis.  The babyfaces hit the dive on a bunch of guys, you know, like happens in every single Junior Heavyweight match?  The finish was pretty creative, but made the Bucks look completely incompetent.  KUSHIDA rolls up Matt Jackson.  Nick comes flying in the ring.  KUSHIDA hits him (all while still pinning Matt, but the referee quit counting) and then KUSHIDA hits a German Suplex Hold on Nick (all while still holding Matt in the rollup) and pins both of them.  That’s still not as tough for me to describe as it is for me to understand why anyone would root for Taguchi.

Match 6: Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano
Result (Time):  Fale & Tonga d. Okada & Yano when Fale pinned Okada with the Bad Luck Fall (10:17)
Match Rating (0-10): 5/10
Comments: I don’t recall seeing Yano/Okada in a straight tag team match.  I could research it, but why?  It was a really nice camera shot of Okada posing in one corner with Yano doing his pose over in the other corner.  Okada’s left ribs are taped up.  As I watch this, I am fascinated at the potential of an 18 month Toru Yano vs. Bad Luck Fale feud.  The monster Fale just having one weakness, an inability to defeat Toru Yano.  I decide to check Fale’s Wikipedia page.  They have finally updated his weight.  He now weight 320 pounds.  For the longest time, it listed him at 249.  At 6:00, Yano does his turnbuckle removal spot, which allows for the hot tag to Okada.  Okada was awesome, as he tried to kip up, but was unable, due to his ribs and left knee, which was also taped up.  Okada locks in the Red Ink and Fale had no clue that’s supposed to be a potential finisher for Okada (to be fair, at this point, why would he?), so Okada drops the hold and attacks Fale as he slowly starts to get into the ring.  Fale tags in and Okada bodyslams the big man and sells the ribs and knee.  at 9:40, Yano saves Okada from a pin after a spear/lariat combo from Bullet Club.  However, Okada was already dead from that move, so Fale picks him up and hits the second best move in professional wrestling, the Bad Luck Fall and BAD LUCK FALE PINS KAZUCHIKA OKADA.  The fall of Okada continues.  Fale continues to pick up wins, as he’s now pinned Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kazuchika Okada in the last seven months.  This is a great story with Okada.  Losing the big title match and then losing the following night due to the injuries of the previous night.

Match 7: Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata
Match Statistics: Times The Final Tag Of The Match To YOSHI-HASHI has worked for CHAOS: 1
Result (Time):  Nagata pinned YOSHI at 13:58 with the Backdrop Hold
Match Rating (0-10): 7/10
Comments: I typed the name of the man taking the fall in all caps for this match.  I really hope the build off of Nagata so he can do something in 2015.  Other than that awesome (quick) feud he had with Shibata, he was just totally forgotten about last year. Makabe and Ishii square off to start.  Then Nagata and YOSHI.  Then Nakamura and Ibushi.  All re-matches from last night.  People say WWE is bad with giving away rematches.  A big brawl breaks out at 4:45 as Ibushi looks to be in peril.  Thankfully this allows for Ibushi and Ishii to battle for a little bit, which is always good.  Ibushi somehow turns the tide with a double stomp to Nakamura’s skull.  Ishii and Makabe continue their war soon after.  It really looks like they’ll have a rematch coming at The New Beginning.  They continue to battle as YOSHI-HASHI ominously continues to stand on the apron, waiting for the tag that will seal his team’s defeat.  That fateful tag happens at 10:40, as Ishii moved his hand past the outstretched hand of Shinsuke Nakamura, the 2014 G-1 runner up, the defending New Japan Cup winner, the four time reigning IWGP Intercontinental Champion, former numerous time IWGP Champion, as he decided the best chance at this juncture of the match was to rest his hopes and dreams with YOSHI-HASHI and his parachute pants.  Ishii’s decision proved to be a poor one as Nagata hits the Backdrop Hold on YOSHI and gets the win.  After the match, Nagata determined that beating YOSHI-HASHI on back to back nights was enough to warrant a shot at the Intercontinental Championship.  Nakamura, looked equally shocked.  However, he recognized that he could be facing Bad Luck Fale like Okada, so he accepts the challenge.  In all seriousness, that should be a really great match!

Match 8: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Katsuyori Shibata, Hirooki Goto & Tetsuya Naito vs. A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, & Yujiro Takahashi
Match Statistics: Percent of Matches that Tanahashi has had his hair pulled from the apron against Gallows/Anderson: 100
Result (Time):  Bullet Club wins when Styles pinned Tanahashi with the Styles Clash (14:40)
Match Rating (0-10): 6/10
Comments: So Bullet Club has officially reached the nWo’s peak of bloatedness, as Cody Hall has joined the group.  He even wears his Dad’s style ring gear.  Could you imagine how ridiculous Dustin Rhodes would have looked throughout his career if he wore polka dots like his father?  I’m losing my attention here really early.  I just can’t take Bullet Club 6+ man tags anymore.  They are all exactly the same.  Tanahashi and Styles jaw before the match, so that answers my question from the beginning of the review on who the next challenger for the title is going to be.  At 5:00, Yujiro slams Naito’s non-taped up knee into the ringpost because it’s Yujiro.  I swear there are more Bullet Club corner-people out there than people with cameras.  Long heat sequence of working on Naito’s knee, which I now notice is also taped up.  I apologize, Yujiro.  I doubted you and for once, I was wrong about you.  Naito makes the hot tag at 10:00.  Shibata nails the SHIBATA DROPKICK at 11:00.  Styles and Tanahashi tag in at 11:50.  I notice Tanahashi’s lower back is taped up.  Apparently Tanahashi’s back has only now started giving him trouble.  At 13:30, Shibata hit an awesome boot to the face on Styles as he tried to hit the Styles Clash on Tanahashi.  Guns & Gallows hit the Magic Killer and Styles follows with the Styles Clash to pin Tanahashi at 14:40 to set up the Main Event of The New Beginning.  After the match, Styles challenges Tanahashi for a rematch.  Karl Anderson then grabs the mic and talks about Bullet Club for a while.  He may have been speaking English, but all I didn’t care at all, so it may have been Japanese.

Final Thoughts: This show set up Tanahashi v. Styles, Nakamura v. Nagata, Okada v. Fale, & Liger v. Tiger Mask.  Not too bad of a show at all, despite most of the roster taking it easy after Wrestle Kingdom.  

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9 (1/4/2015) Results & Review

Wrestle Kingdom IX Review
January 4, 2015
Tokyo Dome – Tokyo, Japan

Welcome to my new review style.  Breaking it out for the first show of the year.  My goal is no longer to cover move by move calling of matches, but rather watching matches and providing things that are interesting to me (and perhaps only me) and then moving on.  So don’t expect the 6,000-8,000 word marathons that I usually have.  I’m trying to just make my point and have a good time while watching wrestling.

Match 0: New Japan Rambo – 15 Man Royal Rumble Match
Finish (Time):  Yugi Nagata wins pinned YOSHI-HASHI with the Backdrop Hold (25:58)
Match Rating (0-10): 5/10
Entrant # 1 (0:00) – Tiger Mask
Entrant # 2 (0:00) – Yuji Nagata
Entrant # 3 (1:00) – Taichi (and El Desperado and TAKA Michinoku…I guess)
Entrant # 6 (3:30) – Jushin Thunder Liger
Entrant # 7 (4:53) – Sho Tanaka
Entrant # 8 (6:15) – Hiro Saito
Entrant # 9 (8:10) – Yohei Komatsu
Entrant #10 (9:26) – Captain New Japan
Entrant # 11 (11:00) – Tama Tonga
Elimination 1 – Captain New Japan by Tama Tonga (11:15)
Elimination 2 – Desperado by Tiger Mask (12:00)
Elimination 3 – Liger by Komatsu (12:03)
Entrant # 12 (12:18) – YOSHI-HASHI
Entrant # 13 (14:04) – Manabu Nakanishi
Entrant # 14 (15:55) – Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Entrant # 15 – (17:50) – The Great Kabuki
Elimination 4 – Kabuki DQed for the mist (20:01)
Elimination 5 – TAKA submitted by Fujiwara (20:15)
Elimination 6 – Fujiwara pinned by Taichi and dog pile (20:20)
Elimination 7 – Taichi by Young Lions Sunset Flip Combo (20:40)
Elimination 8 – Hiro Saito by missed back splash (21:30)
Elimination 9 – Tiger Mask by Young Lions (22:05)
Elimination 10 – Tanaka submitted by Nakanishi (22:58)
Elimination 11: Nakanishi pinned with Tama Tonga Small Package (23:25)
Elimination 12: Komatsu pinned by Tonga (23:53)
Elimination 13: Tonga by YOSHI (24:29)
Elimination 14: YOSHI by Nagata at 25:58

Comments: I love how New Japan just does a straight cold open into Tiger Mask walking to the ring.  Screw intros.  Screw production.  This is the preshow!  Let’s go!  I LOVE Yuji Nagata’s fake theme music.  The intro (which they skipped tonight) always makes me think of Pirates of the Caribbean.  Taichi is number 3!!!  I hope he takes the entire minute to get to the ring.  Well, all of Suzuki-Gun comes out.  I have no clue what is going on.  And they take 1:23 to get into the ring.  All three of them.  Glad to see New Japan already making their Rambo as wacky as Royal Rumbles are nowadays. Liger is Number…4? or 6?  I don’t know.  This is wacky.  Liger doing the Surfboard to Desperado in a battle royal.  You can still see things in wrestling that you’ve never seen before.  Here comes Sho Tanaka!!!  I bet he’s the first one out.  I love TAKA managing to find creative ways to avoid wrestling in a battle royal, hiding behind the ring post.  Out comes Hiro Saito.  Well, yeah…I’ll admit I have no clue who he is.  I don’t care.  He looks more immobile than Manabu Nakanishi, so he’s got that going for him.  All of Suzuki-Gun is standing on the apron like it’s a tag match.  They are so awesome.  Komatsu comes out and beats on the old dude.  I’m probably really disrespecting this guy, ah well.  Captain New Japan obviously washed his outfit with a bunch of Naked Snake’s gear after he finished Operation Snake Eater.  Now I’ve reached the point where I can’t keep up with everything.  Stupid battle royals.    Can you imagine 15 real people fighting to throw each other over a rope?  Nakanishi is # 13.  I really wish he was # 1.  You can never get enough Nakanishi.  What is the referee doing in there?  FUJIWARA ARMBAR!!!  I thought he was live-blogging/tweeting this show.  He may get the Iron Shiek WrestleMania 17 treatment here.  THE GREAT KABUKI!!!  I am being serious…I have no seen him one time since Royal Rumble 1994.  Well, I think that’s everyone…but who knows.  Maybe Suzuki-Gun was one entrant.  Stupid battle royals.  Elimiinations are happening hot and heavy now.  Grandpa Saito appears to have one move.  Young Lions are really getting to shine.  Nagata has gotten to wrestle over 20 Minutes so far!  Good for him.  A bunch more eliminations.  YOSHI and Nagata are the final two.  YOSHI winning would be an all time upset and as I type that, Nagata hits the Backdrop Hold to win at 25:58).  That was a lot of fun.  I like the added fun of having pins and submissions in the battle royal.  Reminds me of WWF WrestleFest.

Match 1: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions ReDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) vs. Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA)
Finish (Time):  RedDRagon wins with O’Reilly pinning Romero with a Brainbuster/Kick to the back combo (13:01)
Match Rating (0-10): 5/10
Comments: Oh great…that wackysinging lady is back for the English introductions.  I’m being serious here (and I told my wife this same thing yesterday): I’ve often though of wearing an eye patch to a job interview, just to see what would happen.  I love how they start this match as if it’s not just going to be 8 guys hitting moves in rapid succession in about five minutes.  I am supposed to analyze stuff here, eh?  Um…I love Koslov’s dancing.  That never fails to make me smile.  Is that analysis?  Whatever.  I’m too tired to care.  It doesn’t help that the scrolling text on the Titan Tron opposite of the hard camera is putting me in a trance.  I could probably watch Rocky Romero throw clotheslines for an hour straight and still be laughing.  Five minutes into the match and it’s 8 guys hitting moves in rapid succession.  Ooh.  Here comes the diving on everybody spot that’s in every single multi-man light heavyweight tag team match in history.  That superkick Nick Jackson hit on O’Reilly was sick.  MELTZER DRIVER!!!  Followed by a mistimed breakup spot.  Lame.  Poor referee had to look stupid and stop counting.  You know the amazing thing is that Jesse Ventura would still know who the legal man is in this match.  Me…I just hate multi-man matches.  ReDRagon wins off a brainbuster on Romero.  Meh.

Match 2: Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tomoaki Honma vs. Bad Luck Fale, Jeff Jarrett & Yujiro Takahashi
Finish (Time):  Kojima, Tenzan, & Honma when Honma pinned Yujiro with the Smiling Headbutt of Doom! (5:35)
Match Rating (0-10): 4/10
Comments: It is a crime that Bad Luck Fale does not get his entrance music played for this match.  What a surprise.  A Bullet Club match that begins with a big fight all over.  Kojima hits the chops right away.  This match sures doesn’t seem like it’s getting more than five minutes.  And the hot tag to Honma at 2:53.  Homna: Misses the Headbutt off the ropes.  Big fight on the outside.  The match is near the finish…already.  Flying headbutt by Honma off the ropes.  I love that spot.  I’m going to launch myself at you with my head!!!!!!!!  And Jarrett clocks Yujiro with the guitar.  Yep…even if Jarrett hit Honma, that positioning seems like a bad idea.  HONMA GOES UP!!! HE………..HITS THE SMILING HEADBUTT OF DOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!  HONMA!  HONMA!  HONMA!  HONMA!  HONMA!  Amazing.  Amazing.  Amazing.

Match 3: Toru Yano, Naomichi Marufuji, TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls) vs. Takashi Iizuka, Shelton X. Benjamin, & Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer)
Finish (Time):  Team Yano when Marufuji pinned Iizuka with a Shining Wizard (5:11)
Match Rating (0-10): 3/10
Comments: Iizuka vs. Yano is already at levels of I NEVER WANT TO SEE THIS AGAIN that Orton vs. Cena got to back in 2008.  This is actually my first time watching TMDK.  This match has the pacing of the last match.  Which is probablya good thing.  After all, Tanahashi and Okada are going for 40+ minutes tonight.  Iizuka tags in at 3:39.  I doubt he’ll tag out.  Remember everyone.  Crazy man Iizuka got dressed today and put on professional wrestling gear.  Marufuji gets the pin.  They are rushing through these filler matches tonight.  Kind of strange to see this out of New Japan.  I’m used to them giving every match time.

Match 4: UWF Rules: Minoru Suzuki vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
Finish (Time):  Minoru Suzuki tapped out Sakuraba with the SAKA OTOSHI (9:22)
Match Rating (0-10): 8/10
Comments: HOLY CRAP!  White gear from Suzuki.  This is amazing!!!!!!!!  HE DYED HIS FREAKING HAIR!!!  This match is at least an 8 before it even started.  He’s all Ted DiBiase at SummerSlam 1992.  Man, Suzuki looks totally different.  Hopefully this propels him to the title match he so rightly deserves.  Sharpshooter from Sakuraba.  Dang, Suzuki roles through.  It’s been a lifelong dream to see that in a real MMA bout.  The Suzuki rop arm bar spot was the best he’s done in a long time.  He ate shot afer shot until he finally avoided a blow and locked in the arm bar in a flash.  Sakuraba gets the visual win on the floor with the Kimura at 4 minutes on Suzuki.  Hopefully that leads to the SAKA OTOSHI.  Suzuki selling the arm like a man.  Holy crap.  Suzuki these guys are killing each other with these slaps.  SAKA OTOSHI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Sakuraba taps!!!   And people though I was crazy for picking Suzuki.  2015 is going to be his year.  I loved this match.

Match 5: NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe
Finish (Time):  Makabe pinned Ishii with the King Kong Knee Drop to win the title (12:21)
Match Rating (0-10): 8/10
Statistics: Ishii is making the second defense of the title in his second reign with the title.  He has two body parts taped (his shoulder and his knee).  He’s also a huge fan of Harvey Dent.
Comments: These guys are throwing shots.  I’m trying to concentrate, but I always get so excited to see the SAKA OTOSHI that I really can’t concentrate.  I know Ishii will be able to make me forget that in a minute or two.  At 5:46…I can’t understand how Ishii did not die.  Makabe German Suplexed him right on the back of his head.  That was SICK.  And then Makabe does a falling backdrop on Ishii off the middle rope.  I do not want to be Tomohiro Ishii right now.  My gosh.  In the other Ishii wars, there was still the fluidity of professional wrestling in it.  This is just ungraceful brutality.  I love it.  SLIDING CLOTHESLINE!  That gets two.  I say it every match.  That should be his finisher. Awesome near fall at 10:35 with the Dragon Suplex Hold from Makabe.  Pulling out a new move into your move set for a big match adds those additional believable near fall oportunities.  Ishii may be overusing the one count kickouts a bit in this match.  After the Double Axe, I think that was the third time?  Second for sure.  Makabe hits the King Kong Knee Drop and…wins?  Well, I wasn’t expecting that.  I am sure Ishii will get it back in a couple of months.  That was a brutal, brutal war.

Match 6: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kenny Omega
Finish (Time):  Kenny Omega pinned Taguchi with a modified Black Out (13:18)
Match Rating (0-10): 2/10
Comments: All I can say for Taguchi, who at 35, decided that he’s now a comedy tough guy, is that at least he isn’t do the Ricky Rude pose every 18 seconds.  They go right to the flipping, dodging, and diving that I love so much about Junior Heavyweight matches.  I’ve got nothing to say.  I am bored to death.  Twitter blocked me from typing “I’m bored” in multiple Tweets.  Taguchi hits a dive onto Omega and the Young Bucks…because you need to do that spot in every Junior Heavyweight match.  Omega took a nasty bump into the corner pad of a Omega hurricannranna reversal, as he continues to reverse mores at a ridiculous pace.  Omega falls off the ropes for no reason and then clocks Taguchi in the chin with a dropkick.  Two nice spots in this match full of dullness.  There’s the Dodon Cradle.  Ugh.  There may be no spot I hate worse in wrestling than that.  Oh wait.  Taguchi drops the Ankle Lock to attack the Bucks.  I hate that spot more.  Taguchi hits a Black Out style move with Taguchi on his shoulders to win.  I could look up the name, but I just want to never think of this match again.  It may have been good.  It may have been bad.  I don’t care.  I hate Taguchi.  This gets a 2/10.

Match 7: IWGP Tag Team Champions Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata
Finish (Time):  Shibata & Goto won the Tag Team Titles with Shibata pinning Gallows with the Penalty Kick (9:00)
Match Rating (0-10): 5/10
Statistics: Anderson & Gallows won the titles one year ago at Wrestle Kingdom 8.  Heading into this match, Hirooki Goto is 2-18 in New Japan Pro Wrestling in title matches.  Heading into this match, Goto & Shibata are 2-1 against Goto & Anderson in tag team matches in the last year.  Two non-title wins and one title match loss.
Comments: Goto and Shibata do their missed clothesline spot 1:15 into the match.  Interesting.  After back to back title matches leading into the most sure-fire projected title change on the show, I am actually starting to wonder if Goto’s choke factor will come into play again.  Shibata makes the hot tag at 3:53.  Gotta save time for Tanahashi & Okada!  Five minutes in and all four guys are fighting.  SHIBATA DROPKICK ON GALLOWS!!!!  I love when Goto and Shibata hit the Penalty Kick on Anderson and they get up, having to clue what to do because Goto has no clue how to win title matches.  Soon after, they beat up Gallows for a while and Shibata hits the Penalty Kick to win.  Well, that was a pretty uninspired effort.  Pretty much sums up the last year with Anderson & Gallows as the tag champs.

Match 8: Tetsuya Naito vs. A.J. Styles
Finish (Time):  Styles pinned Naito with a Styles Clash off the middle rope (14:22)
Match Rating (0-10): 8/10
Comments: Loving A.J.’s white and blue ring gear tonight.  Man, they come out firing.  Naito’s thud hitting the ring mats on the floor off the ring apron dropkick sounded sick.  They are going at a frantic pace until Styles catches Naito’s knee and goes into the heat segment working on the knee.  I figure the winner of this match gets the winner of the main event next month.  That being said, a Tanahashi v. Okada rematch is equally likely.  I sit here trying to come up with a scenario for Minoru Suzuki to jump over these guys, but I’m just a Suzuki nerd like that.  Man, the Superman Forearm at 6:27 was awesome.  That move never fails to look amazing.  These guys are really hitting hard, but it’s almost a shame because these two are built for the longer match.  It’s too bad this whole match feels like a G-1 sprint.  Nice work on Naito falling and selling the leg leading into the Calf Killer.  That was a really nice sequence.  I love, love, love when the announcers call the Bloody Sunday.  Holy crap.   Naito backdropping Styles over the top rope when starting from the middle of the ring.  That looked nastyall around.  Awesome finish with Styles countering a top rope hurricannranna into the Styles Clash off the middle rope.  Naito’s struggling to avoid it made it all the better.

Match 9: IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi
Finish (Time):  Nakamura pinned Ibushi with the Boma Ye (20:11)
Match Rating (0-10): 10/10
Statistics: Nakamura is defending the title tonight for the second time of his fourth title reign.
Comments: 93 minutes left in the broadcast as Ibushi walks out.  I’m enjoying trolling people on the Twitter that are terrified of Okada and Tanahashi going an hour.  I jokingly Tweeted, “Sadly there is no enough time left in the broadcast for TWO 60 minute draws.”  Nakamura makes a Statue of LibertyCrown and a cape that would make the Bat-Man jealous look AMAZING.  Bell rings and they don’t touch for the first 34 seconds.  They don’t do much for teh first 90 second and then have an awesome flurry exchange after that.  They then do a handshake spot that lead in to more awesomeness and Ibushi stole the NAKAMURA JIGGLE.  This is great.  At 5 minutes, Nakamura locks in the first side headlock of the night (any WWE show would have been on the 15th of the night by this point), but he quickly transitions to more interesting holds.  I know Ibushi does the corner moonsault to the floor spot every single match, but I still cringe every single time he does it.  Ibushi dodges the first Boma Ye attempt at 10:35 into the match.  Crowd is strangely silent so far, even though it has been really good.  They quickly pop a few seconds later after Ibushi hits the Springboard top rope hurricannranna.  Nakamura really sold his arm after Ibushi hit the standing corkscrew star shooter.  My gosh…that roundhouse kick at 12:40.  Nakamura looked just loopy.  This has so much great stuff in it.  Ibushi misses the Phoenix Splash and Nakamura immediately hits a Boma Ye to the back of the head.  Nakamura paint brush kicks Ibushi over and over and Ibushi goes nuts with punches and Nakamura returns the favor after pushing the referee into them.  This is awesome.  Two guys are just losing control of their styles because the other man keeps getting under his skin.  Ibushi then starts stealing Nakamura’s Smackdowns!  I mean, Nakamura’s moves (Reference to the old stealing of finishers in WWE Smackdown video games).  HE HIT THE BOMA YE AND NAKAMURA KICKED OUT AT ONE!!!  Ibushi is going full on heel at this point.  These shots these guys are exchanging. My gosh.  Somehow Ibushi counters the Boma Ye into a double stomp to the gut.  I don’t understand physics, but I think that proves that physics do not exist. Ibushi drives that point home with a Springboard German Suplex from the top rope…where Nakamura was still on the apron.  This match is just insane.  Nakamura hits a Boma Ye off the middle rope and Ibushi just stands up. Nakamura finally catches him with another one and gets the win.  Amazing match.  I am not hesitating on a 10/10 on that match.  Ibushi manages to be even more amazing by shoving away Nakamura after the match.  Give me Nakamura v. Suzuki next, please.

Match 10: IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
Statistics: Coming into the match: Tanahashi has won the title once from Okada.  Okada has won twice from Tanahashi.  Okada leads the “official” series 3-2-1, including the last two decisions in the feud.
Finish (Time):  Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned Kazuchika Okada with the High Fly Flow (30:58)
Match Rating (0-10): 10/10
Comments:  Sigh.  No Buster Sword or Velociraptor from Okada tonight.  53 minutes of PPV time left if my stream hasn’t lagged behind.  They lock up 59 seconds into the match.  It is an annoyance of mine that when guys go for a long time (like the last match), they really draw out the opening of the match.  Captain New Japan is really distracting with his green mask on red jumpsuit combo.  Probably will be less annoying when Okada and Tanahashi are not battling over a side headlock.  Four minutes in and they lock up.  Hopefully they are bored of the headlock spot.  They are obviously going 30+ minutes (I predicted 43), so it’s to be expected.  Heck, Nakamura and Ibushi started slow as well.  It breaks down into a forearm war at around the five minute mark.  At 5:45, Okada hits a running uppercut, which sends Tanahashi spiraling off the top rope to the floor.  The first of many great spots to come.  At 8 minutes into the match, Tanahashi runs  right into a high angle Fireman’s Carry slam on the ramp.  Okada hits Tanahashi with a sliding dropkick at 9:40 so hard that I initially typed his name “Nakamura”.  At 15:15, Okada hit Tanahashi with a dropkick flying backwards.  Okada managed to wave the referee to get the heck out of the way mid move.  Tanahashi misses the High Fly Flow at 16:53.  Really seemed early for that.  Maybe they aren’t going 43?  That’s why these guys are so good.  You can know the finish.  You can feel like you know how long they will wrestle for.  But they will always make you questions everything you think you know about them mid-match.  Rain Maker pose at 18:05.  Always an impressive shot at the Tokyo Dome.  These two continue to block make each other work so hard to hit every trademark spot.  Part of the fun of the matches as they wrestle each other more and more.  Tanahashi attacks the knee.  So we had the Okada head segment from 9-14 minutes.  Tanahashi’s starts at the 20 minute mark.  HOLY…CRAP.  Tanahashi hit the High Fly Flow off the top over the guardrail onto a standing Okada.  He looked like he jammed his left wrist into the ground on the move.  Guess I was wrong about the heat segment.  Okada rolls through a standing High Fly Flow into a Tombstone that Tanahashi reverses into a Tombstone of his own into a High Fly Flow to the back into another High Fly Flow….which Okada kicks outs of.  Because…of course he did.  We’re only at 23 minutes.  I don’t think there’s a chance at 43 at this point.  My gosh.  What a sequence.  Tanahashi goes for the Rain Maker.  Okada dodges and hits his own Rain Maker and Tanahashi kicks out.  Because…of course he did.  Both men are dead at 26 minutes, as they tease a in ring double countout.  Amazing counter of the Tombstone into a rollup by Tanahashi.  Much better than the Dodon Cradle.  Holy crap..  Every tease of the Rain Maker now….Okada hits the OKADA DROPKICK at around the 29 minute mark.  I am shaking as I type this.  Tanahashi goes back to work on the knee with two Dragon Screws over the middle rope.  He follows with a High Fly Flow with Okada still draped over the middle rope.  My gosh. Another High Fly Flow.  He hit one more.  That finishes.  Holy freaking crap.  What a match.   That was literally a perfect wrestling match.  It gets another 10/10, but it gets it for different reasons.  The last match got it because of the sheer awesomeness of the brutal spots with two guys going nuts on each other.  This one gets it because of the beauty of professional wrestling.  Two MASTERS creating a Shakespearian work of art that wove together to tell a story that only they could tell.  I don’t have any other words for it.  Okada leaving, literally covering his eyes to hide the tears from his face.  That’s amazing, amazing stuff.  What a match.

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling (10/13/2014) Results & Review

Decided to vary from my typical review style.  Instead, I’m going to basically write…well…whatever comes in my head as I watch it.

Match # 1 – Bullet Club (Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga) vs. Togi Makabe, Yuji Nagata, Kota Ibushi, & Tomoaki Honma – The only real question leading into this match is whether Tonga or Honma takes the fall.  Big brawl to start…you know, like every other Bullet Club match ever.  Guns & Gallows sets Nagata up for the Magic Killer 20 seconds in, but he’s saved.  Corner whip and Nagata dodges and fights off the tag champs.  Nagata blocks a Gun Stun and locks in the Eye Roll Arm Bar.  Gallows breaks it up before the eye roll, though.  He eats an Exploder for his troubles.  In comes Honma and they unleash chops and kicks on Anderson.  A double shoulder block follows.  Honma hits some chops in the corner. Flying Forearm and a bulldog.  HERE IT COMES!! Honma…..MISSES the Smiling Headbutt off the ropes.  Camera shows Fale walking around the ring, earning his pay check.  Fallows with a body slam and three insanely entertaining elbow drops.  He follows with a big splash for a two count.  I hope he tags in Fale and Fale would do a Big Splash, too.  IN COMES FALE.  I am sure hopeful now.  Fale tosses Honma straight up and he lands face first.  A brawl breaks up the pin.  Fale goes for the Bad Luck Fall.  Honma escapes and hits a big clothesline.  He winds up for another one, but Fale hits a 360 clothesline.  Honma dodges the charge and Makabe tags in.  Makabe fights off a Grenade and hits a corner clothesline.  10 mounted corner punches on Fale follows.  Fale blocks a Northern Lights Suplex and they stagger each other with a couple double clotheslines.  Makabe charges right into a Samoan Drop.

5:00 – Anderson tags back in and hits a corner kick.  Makabe comes right back with a lariat and they sell death.   In comes Ibushi and Tonga.  Guess we know the finish.  Ibushi dodges a whole bunch of charges and ends up hitting a springboard corner moonsault to the floor on the tag champs.  Ibushi then hits a Springboard Dropkick for a two count.  Ibushi unloads with shots but gets killed with a Spear, landing on the back of his head.  Tonga hits a Stinger Splash and a Flap Jack.  Big Brawl breaks up the pin.  Fighting everywhere.  Tonga goes for his finish. Ibushi dodges and hits a roundhouse kick.   Phoenix Splash finishes. (Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma, & Togi Makabe d. Bullet Club at 7:50 when Ibushi pinned Tonga with the Phoenix Splash – Rating: 4/10 – The eight men went in and hit their signature spots as fast as possible and called it a tag team match.  Ibushi seems like he’s got big things heading his way as a Heavyweight.  I can’t wait to see what happens.)

Match # 2 – NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title Match – Champion Chase Owens (w/ R. Bruce Tharpe) vs. BUSHI – The ONLY reason that I am watching this match, I stress the word ONLY, is because I want to see Bruce Tharpe and his amazing coat that he chose for tonight.  He went with a sparkling red coat and MATCHING red rimmed glasses.  Holy crap.  That just took his act to another level.  Bruce Tharpe is what is missing from the Bullet Club.  Now that his entrance is finished, I don’t want to watch this anymore.  Having never seen Owens before, I hope he isn’t another generic flipping guy.

Hand shake to start.  BUSHI turns his back and Owens attacks.  Owen hits a dropkick off an Irish Whip and an elbow tot he back of the head.  BUSHI comes back with a head scissors take over.  Owens goes to the floor and BUSHI hits a suicide dive.  BUSHI goes up top and hits a high cross body the was as great as Ric Flair’s on Harley Race at Starrcade 1983.  Owens fights back and hits an elbow to the back of the head for a two count.  Owens with a bodyslam for a two count.  Owens lay in a bunch of sloppy side elbows to the head.  Does he not know how to throw a forearm?  Owens then does a corner whip.  He covers for a two count.  It’s interesting the New Japan decided that they needed another Junior Heavyweight Title around as soon as Ryusuke Taguchi became their champ. Owens rolls through a cross body and turns it into a Fireman’s Carry into a gut buster for a two count.  Crowd was impressed.  BUSHI fights right back and hits a top rope dropkick and a Spinarooni.  Sunset Flip with six rotations follows for a two count.

5:00 – Feels like 45.  BUSHI with a school boy rollup.  Owens dodges an enzigiri.  And again but BUSHI hits a back kick.  BUSHI with a Code Breaker for a two count and he heads up top.  Queue Bruce Tharpe who stands on the table.  BUSHi jumps over Owens.  Owens hits kick off the top and hits a wacky top rope Diamond Cutter with BUSHI flipping for a two count.  Owens hits a slingshot backbreaker and another backbreaker.  He follows with a Package Piledriver and gets the clean win. (Chase Owens pinned BUSHI at 6:55 with a Package Piledriver – Rating: 3/10 – Dull.  Didn’t care.  But it appears Chase Owens is going to be around for a while.  I assume this will follow the Conway vs. Kojima plan until Jushin Liger wins the belt.)

Match # 3 – NWA World Tag Team Title Match – Champions Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer) – Sadly, no Bruce Tharpe for this one.  Archer was a sweet skull mask.  I’ve always appreciated that KES always reverts to matching ring gear when they team up together.  Well, this HAS to be the night TenCozy loses the belts, right?  I think I’ve said that for their last 5 defenses against KES.

KES attacks at the bell.  Corner whip and clotheslines on Tenzan.  Smith then hits a running knee and Archer with a big splash.  Cover by Smith for a two.  Smith with an uppercut but gets spun around as he gets nailed with a spinwheel kick from Tenzan. Kojima tags in and that dirty cheater Tenzan hits three illegal Mongolian Chops.  They continue to illegally double team Smith as THEY CUT TO BRUCE THARPE WITH THE BELTS.  He still looks amazing, by the way.  Archer spits in Tenzan’s face and continues to work on Kojima.  Archer steals Smith’s delayed vertical suplex and holds him up for 19 seconds!!!!  That gets two.  Please, please, please tag in Smith and do the same thing!!!!  Ah man.  Smith tags in and they hit a double team move for a two count.  Man, they passed up on such an amazing spot there.  Smith locks in a sleeper hold and Kojima gets to the ropes.  Smith hits a gutwrench suplex and gets a two count.  The challengers continue to work on Kojima in the corner.  Archer gets back in and hits a bodyslam and a running shoulder block.  He then taunts Tenzan’s mullet.  Archer goes up top for OLD SCHOOL!  Crowd (and announcers) loved that one.  He hits it and covers for two.

5:00. Smith tags back in and hits a delayed bodyslam.  Smith goes to the middle rope and breaks his tailbone in half on a missed legdrop from the middle rope.  Ouch.  Kojima hits a DDT and tags in Tenzan.  Running shoulderblock.  Then he illegally hits Archer on the apron.  Tenzan hits another illegal Mongolian Chop in the corner.  He climbs up top and hits his horribly inefficient drive the head into the ground move for a two count.  Tenzan bust out his inner Kurt Angle with a back suplex/Olympic slam combo.  Smith finally catches Tenxan not cheating, which allows him to his a powerslam.  He tags in Archer.  Archer nails Mongolian Chops and Bruce Tharpe is SO HAPPY.  Archer holds the ropes and Tenzan whiffs on a spinwheel kick.  That was so great.  Tenxan comes back and with a falling back body drop.  Kojima in and he hits 29 Kojima Chops.  Forearm and top rope elbow for a two count.  Archer comes right back with forearms.  Kojima blocks a clothesline and hits a rolling elbow.  Archer comes right back and hits an F4 (it wasn’t an F5) and gets a two count.  Tenzan, even the cheater runs in and they hit a 3D on Archer.  Smith saves his partner from the cheating at two.  Tenzan holds up Archer, illegally and KOJIMA GOES FOR THE LARIAT, BUT ARCHER DUCKS AND HE HITS TENZAN (who shouldn’t have been in the ring anyways.  Horrible refereeing)!  That was great!

10:00 – Smith with a Tiger Suplex.  Archer with a Chokeslam.  The challengers go for the Killer Bomb.  Kojima kicks out and clotheslines Smith over the top rope.  He gets Archer up and hits a Brainbuster.  Archer gets a shoulder up at two.  Off comes the elbow pad. Archer ducks the lariat and Smith jumps in just in time for KES to hit the Killer Bomb and the world famous NWA World Tag Team Titles. (Killer Elite Squad d. TenCozy at 11:22 when Archer pinned Kojima after the Killer Bomb. Rating: 7/10 – I loved that match.  It played to each wrestler’s strengths and told a beautiful story (if you keep cheating, eventually your friend will lariat you.)) After the match, TenCozy starts shoving each other!  Interesting!!!

Match # 4 – SPECIAL TAG TEAM MATCH (I stress the Special) – Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka – Last night on the Twitter, I put a comment on there about how bad I felt for Minoru Suzuki every time he post a photograph of his new haircut on Twitter, knowing that he had to get it specifically for another Toru Yano tag team match.  Iizuka continues to totally destroy Suzuki’s entrance by his walking through the crowd shenanigans.  Okay, I know people are going to hate this match, but remember, this potentially could be the second to the last time they ever do it.  Then you’ll feel bad when they don’t do it anymore.  Iizuka teases attacking Shinpei Nogami, but he doesn’t.  That’s the best part of his act, too…his failure to do that anymore, while it doesn’t fit with Suzuki-Gun, sucks.  Suzuki totally ignores Yano.  Another sign their feud is almost over.

0:00 – Suzuki and Sakuraba start.  They grapple for hand position.  I am actually looking forward to their Tokyo Dome match.  Suzuki gets Sakuraba in the ropes and slaps him across the face.  Suzuki dodges a shot and unloads on Sakuraba with slaps and kicks and stomps away…laughing all the time.  Suzuki throws the referee away.  I have a feeling there is going to be a quick finish tonight.  Suzuki pulls the referee away again as Sakuraba is down.  He finally lets him get back up.  Sakuraba gets back control.  Suzuki reverses and goes for an arm bar.  Sakuraba goes for the Kimura and transitions into a Fujiwara armbar.  Suzuki gets to his feet but Sakuraba locks it in.  Iizuka breaks it up and Yano throws him to the floor. Suzuki hits some slaps with his good arm, but Sakuraba comes fighting back.  He goes for the Kimura again. Yano tags in.  Sakuraba unloads with slaps and kicks in the corner.  Yano tries pulling Sakuraba away.  Suzuki gets up and punts Sakuraba.  Awesome.  Suzuki kills Yano with a slap and tags in Iizuka.  Out comes the rope and he chokes Yano with it.  Suzuki locks in a Kimura on the floor and chokes Sakuraba with a cord.  Back in, Yano removes the corner pad and Iizuka gently runs into it.

5:00 – Yano does his pose, so Iizuka kicks him.  Suzuki locks on a front face choke on the floor.  Yano low blows Iizuka and gets the pin. (Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba d. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka at 5;27 when Yano cradles Iizuka for the pin – Rating: 3/10 – The stuff with Sakuraba & Suzuki was a lot of fun.  The continued war of submissions on the floor is so much fun.)  After the match, the bell rings repeatedly to try to keep Sakuraba & Suzuki away from each other.

Match # 5 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Triple Threat Match – Champions Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov) – The three way match these teams had at the ROH/NJPW shows was the best three way match I’ve seen in years, so I actually expect this to be good, despite my hatred for three way professional wrestling matches.  Koslov still has his shoulder taped up from his dislocation back on May 31st.  Time Splitters get the full on Back to the Future entrance.  Love the KUSHIDA training highlights as well.

0:00 – This is going to be nuts.  Thankfully this is not an everyone in the ring at once match…yet.  Matt Jackson and Shelley start out.  They grapple over an arm bar. More chain wrestling takes us through the first minute.  Shelley is sent in and runs into Nick Jackson’s knee.  Shelley fights off the Bucks and hits a dropkick to Matt.  KUSHIDA tags in. Shelley tags in.  KUSHIDA tags in.  Shelley tags in.  KUSHIDA tags in.  All these tags were just arm wringers then another tag.  Matt knocks KUSHIDA off and tags in Romero, who looks like he’s dropped some weight.  May be wrong.  KUSHIDA shoulderblocks Romero down and he taunts the Bucks.  KUSHIDA gets a hip toss but Romero puts on the breaks from the second one.  KUSHIDA fights out of the Hooligans corner and tags in Shelley.  They fight off the Hooligans and Matt Jackson runs in and eats some double team moves. The Champs double team Romero.  Koslov pulls Shelley to the floor and Romero hits a running knee from the apron.  Koslov forgets what corner he is in and goes to the Bucks corner.  The referee actually points that out to him.  Nice.  Romero tags in Koslov. Arm wringer and tag to Romero.

5:00 – Romero hits a snap mare and a kick to the back for a one count.  Tag back to Koslov.  Koslov gets a full nelson on Shelley and waits for Romero to hit him.  So Romero runs off the ropes over and over and over and over (in one of my favorite spots in wrestling) until Koslov gets frustrated and drops the hold.  They shove and then hug.  The crowd loves that spot.  Koslov with a snap mare into a rear chin lock.  He puts a knee in the back and pulls back for a side Camel Clutch.  Shelley fights out and runs into a back elbow.  Koslov covers for a two count.  Out comes THE HAT! Dance. Kick. Dance. Kick. Dance. Kick.  Running double stomp to the head.  Nick Jackson just runs in and throws Koslov out of the ring and goes for the cover.  Referee counts, rendering the last 7 minutes of rules obsolete.  Perhaps he got a tag in there?  Matt Jackson mocked THE DANCE.  Shelley fights off the Bucks for a second, but they quickly his 1,984 double team moves in succession for a two count.  The Bucks must have made a tag during the dance.  Nick tags in and hits a spinning enzigiri on Shelley. Nick accidentally back flips into the Hooligans corner and Romero tags in.  Nice way for a tag in this sort of match.  Koslov knocks KUSHIDA off the apron to keep Shelley from making a tag.

10:00 – Shelley fights off the Hooligans and hits a combo DDT on Koslov and Downward Spiral on Romero.  Matt Jackson tags a Hooligan and Shelley ends up reversing and suplexing him on Koslov.  Nick Jackson runs in and ends up accidently hitting a running knee to Matt, allowing Shelley to finally tag.  KUSHIDA runs wild on the Bucks and hits the Ibushi Special (the handspring kick that concussed Kota Ibushi).  He hits the Ibushi Special on both Hoolidans in the corner.  Shelley taks out a Buck on the floor.  KUSHIDA hits a backbreaker on Matt Jackson.  He goes up top and hits a high cross body on the other three opponents on the floor!  Nice!  They hit a double team move on Matt for a two count.  Matt counters KUSHIDA and they go for the Springboard Tombstone.  Shelley makes the save.  Koslov catches a tag when he pushes Shelley to the floor (from the wrong corner) and Koslov & Romero run wild on Matt.  Romero hits a springboard dropkick on a draped Jackson for a two count when Nick makes the save.  Koslov hits a Stunner on Nick.  The Hooligans hit the Springbaord Doomsday Device on Nick, but KUSHIDA makes the save.  Romero counters the Ibushi Special and Nick Jackson hits a Super Kick on Romero.  A bunch of counters between Nick and Koslov.  Romero and the Splitters are in there, leading to the Splitters hitting their double team moves.

15:00 – The Splitters both miss dives and the Bucks wipe them out with dives.  Romero holds them all in place and Koslov goes for a dive and slips!!!!  oh my.  His foot was tied in the top rope and he crashed hard.  That cannot be good.  Matt Jackson hits a moonsault off the top on both Hooligans and his partner once they get Koslov out.  Man…Koslov…I can’t get over that.  Koslov battles back on Matt in the ring.  Corner whip by Matt.  Koslov dodges the charge and Romero hits his repeated clotheslines and finally hits a 360 clothesline on Matt.  Romero springboards into a superkick.  Koslov runs into a spear and superkick and another spear.  Nick hits a running knee and Matt covers for a two count.  The Bucks hit a Buckle Bomb kick combo and then plant Koslov with the More Bang For Your Buck.  Matt held off Shelley, but Romero charges all of them over, breaking up the pin at 2.9.  Romero now fights off the Bucks. He does his spider move and the Bucks both kick him off.  The Bucks then get derailed by everyone.  Bodies are just flying everywhere.  Koslov and KUSHIDA are in and KUSHIDA eventually rolls Koslov into a cradle and bridges for the pin. (Time Splitters d. Young Bucks & Forever Hooligans at 19:55 when KUSHIDA pinned Koslov with a Bridging Cradle – Rating: 7/10 – I was going to go all Jesse “the Body” and complain about the finish, but I rewatched the end and KUSHIDA did in fact tag in right before the finish as Matt Jackson was hung up in the Tree of Woe in the Splitter’s corner.  That being said, this was a really hard match to follow.  Way too much going on.  Koslov’s slip on the top rope was really scary.  Hope he’s okay…he’s had a really bad run of bad luck in New Japan shows this year.  Anyways…I am trying to think of things to type to explain why I didn’t give this my equivilent of four stars and it comes down to the fact that I can’t remember a single thing that happened in that match only one minute after I finished watching it.  My review was useless, because all it said was “double team move” over and over and over again. —- However, I am looking forward to the Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Tournament that usually comes up on the next tour.  That should be a lot of fun.)

Match # 6 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match – Ryusuke Taguchi vs. El Desperado – I’ll take “Wrestlers I never want to watch another match in my life for $800, Alex.”  In all the strange booking decisions of 2014 in New Japan, I think putting a title on the black hole of suckitude that is Ryusuke Taguchi tops even the year and a half Yano v. Suzuki feud for the most stupid idea ever.

0:00 – There are two El Desperado’s!  They attack Taguchi along with TAKA Michinoku.  The one, of course, is Taichi.  Desperado hits him with the belt and the referee, in the interest of fairness, rings the bell.  Desperado hits a stacking powerbomb and Taguchi kicks out at two.  A belt shot and a powerbomb isn’t enough to put away Ryusuke Taguchi, kids.  TAKA and Taichi double team Taguchi with a chair.  Desperado spanks Taguchi.  So…three men, a belt, a chair, and a spanking isn’t enough to stop Ryusuke Taguchi.  He’s whipped into the guard rail and gets in at 16.  Camera cuts to Desperado picking his nose…Taguchi is draped on the ropes and is actually holding the ropes to hold himself in an INCONCEIVABLE position and Desperado hits a move from the middle rope.  I can’t even remember what it was because I hate everything about this match so much.  Desperado fish hooks Taguchi’s nose (with the finger he was using to pick his nose earlier)…so we can add boogers to the list of things that can’t stop Super Taguchi.  He is crotched over the top rope and Taichi pulls his legs.  We can add balls to things that can’t stop Super Taguchi.  He is again illogically hooks in the corner and Desperado kicks Taguchi repeatedly in his glutial area.  That gets a two count.  We can add being humbled to the list of things that can’t stop Super Taguchi.

5:00 – Oh God.  Only 5 minutes.  Desperado plays bongo’s on Taguchi’s backside and then hits a dropkick to his gluts.  I wish I was making this up….then Taguchi does a butt bump the get advantage and then hits him with repeated butt shots to the face.  Next, Jacque Rougeau will come out to teach Taguchi all of his famous crotch to the face maneuvers.  (Seriously, look back to the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers matches.  90% of Jacque’s moves were of that variety.)  Tauchi locks on an Ankle Lock for a second.  Eventually he trips Desperado and dropkicks him to the floor.  Taguchi then hits a flip dive to the floor.  The camera continues to focus in on Taguchi’s butt.  I wish I was dead.  Taguchi twist an ankle on a missed dive, but quickly locks in a Indian Death Lock for no good reason.  Desperado hits a punch and Taguchi reverses moves at a pace only appreciated by Rey Mysterio fans.  He hits a sit down slam for a two count.  Can we just get to the part with the Dodon Cradle and get to the finish already?  Desperado hits a flip dive into the corner for a two count.  Desperado goes for his finisher.  Taguchi reverses and eventually locks in the ankle lock and Desperado gets the ropes.

10:00 – Dodon Cradle time.  They keep reversing.  Taichi blacks Taguchi with a chair and Desperado hits his finisher and…Taguchi kicks out, of course.  He tries it again, and Taguchi reverses for the 10,000th time and hits the Dodon.  Apparently reversing everything is too much work, as he can’t make the cover.  He dropkicks TAKA off the apron and locks in the Ankle Lock.  Desperado grabs Taichi  The referee breaks that up and he throws Desperado into Taichi.  He hits a Dodon Codebreaker and then Ankle Lock submits him (Ryusuke Taguchi submitted El Desperado at 12:21 with the Ankle Lock – Rating: 0/10 – That is my lease favorite professional wrestling match of all time.  Three men, a belt, a chair, a finisher, balls, humblings, and spankings all weren’t enough to stop Taguchi.  He countered more moves than Rey Mysterio in 1996 (basically everything) and it made for one of the worst things I’ve ever watched in my life.  Ryusuke Taguchi is a worse professional wrestler than either Daniel or Rolles Gracie.  He has less charisma than Nailz.  His goatee is worse than Andre the Giant’s right sideburn.  His green trunks scream “LOSER.”  I loathe the thought of having to see him beat Taichi (who his next match is against) who is everything that Taguchi is not.)

Match # 7 – NEVER Openweight Title Match – Yujiro Takahashi v. Tomohiro Ishii – One man…one man has managed to have a less than four star match vs. Tomohiro Ishii in 2014.  One man.  Let’s see if it is possible for it can happen again.  I hope not, as for whatever reason, people always tend to let Ishii slip to the back of the pack for wrestler of the year, when he’s been far and away THE Wrestler of the Year.  Yujiro got a tattoo, eh?  Now looking like a low rent MMA fighter, just like Karl Anderson.

0:00 – Ishi take middle of the ring and they lock up, like any good Ishii match.  Yujiro gets position on the ropes and Ishii dodges a shot.  DUELING FOREARMS….quickly won by Ishii.  Yujiro comes back with an eye rake.  I should note that Ishii’s shoulder is still taped up.  Yujiro probably injured him practicing the match (yes, I know what happened.)  Yujiro with a slap and Ishii shoulderblocks him down.  They roll to the floor.  Ishii rolls Yujiro back in and bodyslams him.  Ishii with a chop and another and another…they lack authority because Yujiro isn’t man enough to take them.  Yujiro dives to the floor again.  He catches Ishii on a charge.  Ishii reverses a whip into the guard rail and Yujiro continues his run away strategy.  He gets in and boots Ishii as he enters and them rams him into the post.  Yujiro then hits a running Big Boot, sending Ishii flying to the the guard rail.  Yujiro goes to work on the floor.  He then bodyslams him rib first onto the guard rail.  Ishii sells it AMAZINGLY, as always…or Yujiro just hurt him, AGAIN.  I type with all caps a lot in Ishii matches…Back in, Yujiro hits eight of the wimpiest looking punches ever and then hits a couple more, proving the referees are incompetent.  He lighting taunts Ishii as Ishii jaws back and hits two headbutts to the gut.

5:00 – Yujiro with a kick to the face.  He hits a snap mare and locks in a rear chin lock with a knee in the back.  He then hits a running low sliding boot for a two count.  Yujiro wins another exchange.  Ishii no sells a boot.  He dodges a second.  Yujiro elbows out of a German Suplex and Ishii eventually hits it as Ishii landed very nastilly (Yujiro’s fault.)  Ishii with repeated shots.  Yujiro reverses a corner whip and Ishii shoulder blocks him.  Ishii hits a powerslam and covers for a two count.  Ishii now taunts Yujiro.  He runs into another boot from Yujiro but comes back with a forearm so Yujiro comes back with a Stun Gun.  I figured out the problem with Yujiro vs. Ishii.  I’ll get into it at the end.  Yujiro hits a Yakuza Kick into the corner.  He puts Ishii up top and hits a scary belly to belly suplex off the top for a two count.  Ishii blocks a Fisherman’s Suplex.  Yujiro comes right back with a Buckle German Suplex.  Poor Ishii.  He follows with the Fisherman’s Suplex for a two count.  Ishii continues to sell his bad shoulder.  Yujiro taunts Ishii and grinds his boot into his head.  Ishii is not getting up, so Yujiro stomps away.

10:00 – Ishii finally works back to his feet and he looks mad.  He eats some forearms and looks more mad.  Veins are popping out of his forehead.  He clocks Yujiro with a forearm and a corner clothesline.  He puts Yujiro up top and hits the deadlift superplex for a two count. Yujiro blocks a lariat and an enzigiri, but runs into a lariat.  Ishii is on fire now!  Ishii hits a stacking Last Ride Powerbomb and the entire arena thought he won.  Brainbuster is blocked … by both men.  Ishii floats over and Yujiro grabs the referee.  Ishii blocks a low blow but runs into a Yujiro lariat.  Both men are down.  DUELING FOREARM time.  Ishii asks for more shots. Ishii responds and unloads he gets caught and no sells a German Suplex.  Yujiro then hits the Intercollege Slam for a two count.  Yujiro pulls Ishii up.  He goes for Tokyo Pimps.  Ishii blocks it by backbodydropping out.  He catches a boot and goes for a headbutt, but Yujiro downs him with a forearm.  He dropped like a bug on a windshield.  Tokyo Pimps gets a two count for Yujiro.

15:00 – Yujiro then hits the Buckle Bomb (thankfully not killing him this time).  He picks Ishii up and Ishii avoids the Miami Shine.  Ishii finally hits the headbutt.  ISHII BUCKLE BOMBS YUJIRO!  Well, Ishii’s done it again.  Against all odds…following a Taguchi match.  Wrestling Yujiro freaking Takahashi.  Double clotheslines.  Ishii absorbs one and hits another headbutt.  HE NAILS THE RUNNING SLIDING CLOTHESLINE (which should be his finisher) and Yujiro kicks out at two.  Yujiro floats over for the Brainbuster.    He pushes Ishii into the referee.  Ishii blocks the low blow and hits another lariat to the kneeling Yujiro.  He turns him inside out with a lariat and that gets a two count.  Ishii nails the Brainbuster and we have a new champion.  (Tomohiro Ishii pinned Yujiro Takahashi at 17:46 with the Brainbuster – Rating: 9/10 – Okay…first my problem with Yujiro vs. Ishii.  For the first 10 minutes, we had to sit through another dull Yujiro match.  Those aren’t good.  Once Ishii starts wrestling an Ishii match, it was a five star match for the rest of the match.  It’s sort of like Ric Flair.  You go in the ring and wrestle a Ric Flair match, it is guaranteed to me amazing.  If you go in to a Ric Flair match and not let Flair take the lead, it can be very much not good.  Same thing.  Ishii has one style, but if you just run with it, it’ll be great.  This match was so good for the last seven minutes, it bumped the match up about four or five rating points.  Had they just kept that pace for all 17, it would have been very special.)

Match # 8 – Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto – I promise I did not capitalize the name of the man that is taking the fall just to spoil who is taking the fall in this match.  Nakamura pulled out his insanely awesome red pants for this match.  YOSHI-HASHI has his designer walking stick.  Goto, well, I have nothing to say about him.  And Shibata just stares down Nakamura.

0:00 – Nakamura and Shibata start.   The are very cautious to start.  Very very cautious.  They finally start grappling 50 seconds in.  They work into the ropes.  Shibata with a clean break.  Nakamura wasn’t expecting that.  They grapple again.  Nakamura goes for a leg trip.  Into the ropes.  Nakamura does the head in chest break so Shibata kicks him.  Shibata goes for a double leg.  Shibata sprawls and Shibata dodges a roundhouse kick.  Loved that exchange (and so did the crowd.)  Shibata tags out, so Nakamura decides he’s not interested in wrestling a person who isn’t Shibata and tags YOSHI-HASHI.  YOSHI gets an arm drag.  He then shoulder blocks Goto down.  Shibata dodges an attempted shot, clearly not in the mood to wrestle anyone not named Nakamura.  YOSHI blocks a German Suplex and Goto follows him into the ropes and hits a clothesline.  Goto hits some shots in the corner.  Corner whip and a spinwheel kick and a belly to back suplex follows for a two count.  Goto then locks on a Boston Crab.  Shibata runs in and boots Nakamura off the apron, just for fun.  Shibata clocks Nakamura from getting in to break the hold.  YOSHI claws and reaches the ropes.

5:00 – Goto stomps YOSHI and pulls him back to his feet.  YOSHI blocks a suplex.  Goto blocks one, too. YOSHI floats over on another attempt and walks into a Fireman’s Carry.  YOSHI slips out and hits the Blockbuster off the ropes.  In comes Shibata and Nakamura off tags.  DUELING FOREARMS!!!  Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!  Sorry…just chanting along with the crowd.  They hit around 15,435 consecutive forearms (each one more entertaining that the previous one) and Nakamura downs Shibata and hits the Nakamura Jiggle in the corner.  He puts Shibata up top and hits the running double knees for at two count.  Shibata blocks the reverse slam and locks in the sleeper.  He then hits a German Suplex.  Shibata hits forearms in the corner, downing Nakamura.  Uh oh………………………………….SHIBATA DROPKICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Never accept any imitations, folks.  Shibata with a suplex and a cover for a two count. Nakamura hits the roundhouse kick and the reverse slam.  YOSHI attacks Goto and they fight on the floor.  Nakamura signals for the Boma Ye.  Shibata sidesteps and locks in the Sleeper Hold.  Nakamura fades to the ground.  He fights back to his feet.  Shibata locks in a double arm Octopus Stretch. INSANE!  YOSHI with the save.  Goto breaks up a Cross Armbreaker.

10:00 – And….Nakamura concedes the match by tagging in (SPOILERS) YOSHI HASHI.  YOSHI hits all of his trademarks moves that he hits in tag team matches prior to him getting pinned. Do I really need to type it at this point?  He hits a really sloppy slam or piledriver or something.   Goto and Shibata fight on the floor.  YOSHI with a powerbomb and a cradle for a two count.  YOSHI goes up and Goto stops him from hitting a move.  Goto and Shibata hits their double neckbreaker to their knees off the top.  Shibata with the save.  Goto takes out Nakamura and Shibata follows with the Penalty Kick.  YOSHI hits Shibata with a lariat for a nearfall as he went for another PK.  YOSHI runs into a SHIBATA DROPKICK (standing variety…)  Shibata locks in a sleeper hold.  YOSHI fades and Penalty Kick! GOAL!!!!! (Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto d. Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI at 13:42 when Shibata pinned YOSHI with the Penalty Kick – Rating: 7/10 – Perfectly fine tag team match.  I just had a tough time getting into it with how obvious the finish is…and the fact that I still haven’t gotten into YOSHI-HASHI despite his mini push last month.)

Match # 9 – No. 1 Contender’s Contract “Title?” Match – Kazuchika Okada v. Tetsuya Naito – My question is what would happen if Okada lost by countout?  Is it like the Million Dollar Championship in that it can change hands by countout or disqualification?  Okada, minus the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Buster Sword comes out.  Nothing of note, I just want to point out that he’s missing two really awesome props that he only used once to promote a trading card game.

0:00 – I must point out that I watched their G1 match last night again.  I gave that a 9/10.  I expect nothing less from this, considering I expect them to get about ten more minutes.  They lock up and exchange hammerlocks.  Okada has a strange streak of gray-blue in the front of his hair tonight.  Now I know how I should dye my hair for work tomorrow.  Naito slaps Okada and the crowd comes unglued.  I know people think Naito has no chance in this match, but there is not a better guy on the roster to be in this spot at this show.  Look at last year when Naito got to wrestle Yujiro Takahashi in this spot.  Don’t complain about this match.  Okada with a snap mare and a sliding dropkick.  Naito with another slap and Okada crumples to the ground.  Referee is checking on Okada.  Wow…he’s either selling well or he really got clocked.  Naito get’s bored and stomps him as a trainer comes over.  Naito tries an Irish Whip and Okada crumples down.  The trainer and Gedo check on him some more as Naito stomps him to the floor.  Really smart move by Naito there.  It give Okada some time to figure things out.  But yeah, if he’s this bad, the match should be stopped.  Naito jumps out at 15 and rolls Okada back in the ring.  Naito with a safe snap mare and a running Senton and Okada kicked out at 2.9.

5:00 – Okada locks in a head scissors.  He’s doing what he can to give Okada his time, even as he cinches the hold in deep.  He releases and covers for a two count.  Okada still looks loopy.  He stumbles to his feet into the corner.  Naito kicks him in the chest.  Okada finally fires back with some forearms and Naito hits some nasty forearms and kicks to the chin.  Corner whip by Naito as Okada lightly goes into the corner.  Definitely legit.  I’ve never seen Okada be that soft going into a corner.  Naito hits a Draping Neckbreaker in the corner for a two count.  He locks in a rear chinlock.  I mean, there really is nothing wrong with stopping this match.  They have another PPV for Okada to win it back… But anyways, Okada seems to have his bearings now and hits a flap jack.  He hits some shots on Naito and boots him in the mouth.  Corner whip and a back elbow.  Okada puts Naito up top and hits his always impressive dropkick that sends Naito flying to the floor.  On the floor, Okada whips Naito into the guard rail and boots him over.  Still don’t agree with guys wrestling with concussions, but he’s not as bad off now as Ibushi was in July.  Okada then hits a Draping DDT on the floor.  Naito goes straight down onto the top of his head.

10:00 – Okada rolls Naito back in the ring.  Naito floats over on a bodyslam and hits a slick Tornado DDT using the top rope as the pivot point.  Naito springs up and hits the top rope dropkick.  Corner trip Slingshot Dropkick follows.  Naito holds the ropes and Okada whiffs on a dropkick.  Naito hits a low dropkick to the head.  He puts Okada up top and goes up.  Okada slides under and gets the Over the Shoulder Neckbreaker.  Okada hits a dropkick to the gut that sends Naito launching across the ring like my brother did to his best friend in his only professional wrestling match of his life.  Okada hits another slam and get a two count.  Okada goes for the Tombstone.  Naito slides out but runs right into a DDT.  Okada kips up.  Bodyslam and Okada goes up.  He hits the top rope elbowdrop.  RAIN MAKER POSE!!!!!!  Rain Maker is blocked.  Naito runs into some uppercuts.  Okada sends him in for the dropkick, but Naito catches him with the Flying Forearm.  Naito puts Okada on the top and hits the top rope hurricannranna.  Naito with a German Suplex Hold for a two count.

15:00 – Dragon Suplex is block by Okada.  Naito hits an enzigiri.  Okada reverses a whip and dodges the forearm.  Naito dodges the Rain Maker and hits a Shining Wizard.  Overhead Head and Arm Suplex gets two.  Naito hits the slam and then misses the Stardust Press.  Fans really thought he was going to win it right then.  Both men are down, drained, and at least one of them is concussed.  Naito runs into a boot in the corner.  Naito charges again right into the Tombstone position.  He tries repeatedly to slip out.  He finally does and escapes with elbows.  He leaps at Okada into the Tombstone again.  He slides over and hits a rolling front kick and gets a Dragon Suplex Hold for a two count.  Okada slides behind and hits the Okada Dropkick to the back of the head.  Okada then hits the Tombstone Piledriver and screams in delight.  Rain Maker is countered twice.  Naito ends up on Okada’s shoulders and slides over into a German Suplex hold for a two count. Okada keeps him wrapped and pulls him up and hits the Rain Maker for the pin.  (Kazuchika Okada pinned Tetsuya Naito at 19:18 with the Rain Maker – Rating: 9/10 – Concussion be darned, Okada is the man.  Excellent match.  Naito continues to be one of the best wrestlers in 2014, despite flying totally under the radar.  His handling of the concussion in the minutes that followed was excellent.)

Match # 10 – IWGP Heavyweight Title Match – A.J. Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – In case the doubt was ever in question, Jeff Jarrett accompanied Styles to the ring.  Still can’t believe I am typing Jeff Jarrett’s name in 2014…20 years after watching him as an 11 year old in WWF.  I feel sick watching this, because this is not the kind of thing I want in my professional wrestling…which is why I avoid WWE now and watch only New Japan Pro Wrestling.

The referee tries to eject Jarrett right away and they somehow talk him out of it, proving once again that how incompetent New Japan referees are.

0:00 – Tanahashi gets back control.  They reverse a bunch and Styles grabs the ropes.  Clean break.  They lock up again.  Tanahashi gets a hammerlock.  Styles reverses.  Tanahashi with a drop toe hold and grabs a face lock.  Styles works to his feet and gets into the ropes.  Clean break.  Tanahashi smiles at that.  They cautiously grapple for position. Styles grabs a headlock.  Tanahashi tries sending Styles in, but Styles holds the headlock.  Tanahashi tries rolling to a cradle but Styles kicks right back out and holds the headlock.  Tanahashi works to his feet and rolls through reversing straight into a headlock of his own.  Styles works to his feet.  He tries sending Tanahashi in, but Tanahashi holds that headlock.  You ever wonder how difficult it is to write a near move for move review when one of the men is named “Tanahashi”?  His matches vs. Nakamura are brutal.  Tanahashi hits a reverse cross body from the middle rope and grabs another headlock.  This has the pacing of a 60 minute broadway (is that the term they still use?), which I’d be fine with.  I’ll go with 32 minutes right now as my prediction.

5:00 – Styles escapes to the headlock and they get back to their feet and circle.  Tanahashi with an arm bar.  Styles reverses into one of his own.  Tanahashi reverses back .  He works Styles down to his knees.  Styles gets back up and tries rolling through, but Tanahashi holds the arm bar still.  Crowd politely chants for that.  Styles pressures Tanahashi into the ropes.  Styles teases a clean break, but quickly pulls Tanahashi, who hits throat first on the bottom of the top rope (he was sort of laying on the middle rope.)  Styles stomps away and hits a big backbreaker.  Jeff Jarrett claps in agreement, waiting for the 31st minute of the match to interfere. Styles hits some chops.  He goes into the ropes and Tanahashi follows, clotheslining Styles over the top.  Tanahashi goes for a plancha, but Styles sidesteps him.  Tanahashi dodges a baseball slide and rams Styles back first into the guard rail.  Tanahashi whips Styles at the guard rail.  Styles jumps over.  He tries the Superman Foerarm off the guard rail, but Tanahashi sidesteps and hits a Northern Lights Suplex (released) on the floor.  Tanahashi rolls Styles back in the ring and Styles begs off.    Styles rolls to the floor again.  Tanahashi follows and Styles catches him and rams him back first into the ring and then the guard rail.

10:00 – Tanahashi gets back in at 14.  Styles stomps away.  He gets Tanahashi up and hits a bodyslam.  Styles hits a jumping knee drop off the ropes.  I really hope Minoru Suzuki comes out after this match and challenges Styles.  Just wanted to throw that in there while Styles has a chinlock on.  Tanahashi escapes and runs into the Styles Dropkick, which even got a replay from the fancy New Japan production truck.  Styles slams Tanahashi into the corner and hits some shoulders to the gut.  Tanahashi comes firing back with kicks, so Styles chops Tanahashi back into the corner.  Corner whip and a jumping clothesline follow from Styles.  Corner whip again.  Tanahashi gets the feet up and hits a Double Axehandle from the middle rope.  Never expected to see that move in this match.  That move and a Bear Hug.  If I see a Bear Hug though, I may never watch pro wrestling again.  Tanahashi with a flying Forearm and then hits the front flip off the middle rope for a two count.  Styles floats over on a bodyslam and hits an enzigiri.  There have been so many of those tonight.  Styles ends up on the apron and tries the Superman Forearm, but Tanahashi catches him on the Springboard and pushes him to the floor.  The leads to the High Fly Flow from the top to the floor (the cross body version, anyway.)

15:00 – Jeff Jarrett claps for Styles, looking at his watch, knowing he has to clap for 16 more minutes before his time to do anything.  Back in at 16.  Tanahashi goes for the High Fly Flow, but Styles pops up and knocks him down.  He goes for the Styles Clash, but Tanahashi blocks by holding his arms out.  Smart.  Styles responds with a Buckle Suplex.  Springboard Superman Forearm gets a two count.  Styles signals for the Styles lash.  Tanahashi blocks it. He ends up landing on his feet in a powerbomb and then sends Styles in a 360 on a Power Bomb throw type move.  Styles dodges a clothesline (well…kind of).  They exchange shots and Tanahashi hits the Straight Jacket Suplex Hold for a two count.  Tanahashi hits an ugly Sling Blade as Styles seemed like he was supposed to do a 360 on a lariat.  Styles dodges a clothesline and hits a German Suplex into a Dodon style move and covers for a two count.  Crowd just isn’t as into this as I’d expect them to be.  Styles goes for the Bloody Sunday.  Tanahashi blocks twice.  Tanahashi escapes and hits a snap Dragon Suplex.

20:00 – Tanahashi goes up top and hits the High Fly Flow to the back.  He goes up again (like an idiot) and he actually hits the High Fly Flow.  And Jeff Jarrett is 11 minute early.  He pulls the referee out and uncuffs his shirt.  and unbuttons his tie.  They show a guitar at ringside.  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.  Ugh.  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.  Jarrett grabs the guitar and Styles hits a Pele Kick.  Bloody Sunday.  Jarrett throws the referee in and Tanahashi kicks out at two.  Styles Clash but Tanahashi fights out.  Styles throws Tanahashi into the referee. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.  Jarrett in with the guitar.  Some dude saves Tanahashi and chases Jarrett off.  Checking stuff out because I heard WWE alot…Hang on.  Okay…Yoshi Tatsu.  Well, I’m indifferent to that, I guess.  Hopefully that is the end of the shenanigans.  I’m thoroughly annoyed by now.  DUELING FOREARM time.  They sell extreme exhaustion.  Referee is still down, by the way…being attended to by Captain New Japan.  Styles then hits a low blow and Tanahashi summons his inner Curt Hennig on that sell job.  Styles hits a kneeling Piledriver.

25:00 – Styles goes for a Springboard 450.  Tanahashi gets his knees up.  Tanahashi goes up and eats knees on the High Fly Flow.  Crowd doesn’t know what to think for all of this wackiness.  They chant for Tanahashi.   Styles pulls Tanahashi to the corner.  He goes up and pulls Tanahashi up, too.  He’s gets him up and goes for teh Clash off the top.  Tanahashi escapes and tosses Styles off Ric Flair style.  Tanahashi goes up and hits the Cross Body High Fly Flow.  Tanahashi goes up and HITS THE HIGH FLY FLOW!!!  Holy crap!  Tanahashi won the title!!!  Tanahashi is the champion again.  Tanahashi wins the belt for a record 7th time and with that win he ties Great Muta for the most days holding the title in history (1,238).  Wow. I really did not expect him to win that, but made for a cool finish. (Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned A.J. Styles at 27:08 to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title with the High Fly Flow – Rating: 8/10 – Very good match, held back by the 20 minute build to Jeff Jarrett.  Once they finally got rid of that distraction, it really allowed the performers (not the side shows) to shine.  Story wise, it doesn’t make sense, but NJPW clearly had no confidence in Styles’ Japanese drawing power and with the Tokyo Dome looming, this is the best money match they have.)