We reviewed Part 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 10 earlier this week. Last night, AXSTV and New Japan Pro Wrestling brought us Part 2 of the January 4, 2016 matches from the Tokyo Dome in Japan. The first broadcast was amazing and so this one is expected to be just as good.
The first bout is the first ever Never Openweight 6-Man Tag Championship featuring Toru Yano, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe against Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Tama Tonga. Before the match starts Yano spits and throws water on his opponents and all six men start brawling with each other. It’s chaos in the early going as The Briscoes double team Takahashi outside the ring. Yano and Tonga finally slow things down as the legal men fighting in the ring with their respective teammates on the apron. Yano is isolated in the corner and Bad Luck Fale is tagged in. He sits on Yano’s chest to try and get the pin, but he kicks out at two. All three Bullet Club members get in the ring and triple-team Yano after taking out The Briscoes. Fale squashes him in the corner and Yano desperately needs to make a tag.
Mark Briscoe gets the tag against Takahashi and puts on a nice series of offense. Takahashi counters with a fisherman’s buster and then tags Tonga in. Jay Briscoe gets the tag and plants Tonga, cover but kick out. Huge neckbreaker by Jay but Tonga again kicks out. Jim Ross and Josh Barnett question the slow count by the ref. Tonga takes control for a moment but Jay battles back. Jay gets Tonga up on his shoulder trying to slam him down, but Tonga holds on to the top rope for dear life. Yano runs over with a steel chair and smashes it down on Tonga’s hands, forcing him to let go. Mark leaps off the top rope and hits Doomsday Device with his brother, planting Tonga. Jay covers for the three count and the team of Jay and Mark Briscoe and Yano are the first ever Never Openweight 6-Man Tag Champions!
The second match of the night is Los Ingobernables de Japon member and villainous heel Tetsuya Naito taking on Hirooki Goto. His fellow Los Ingobernables members, Bushi and EVIL, accompany Naito to the ring which is not good news for his opponent, Goto, who comes out all alone. Naito attacks a camera man before the match for getting too close to him. Before the match starts EVIL and Bushi attack Goto from behind. Naito rolls in and starts fighting Goto as the bell rings. But Goto isn’t staying down for long, he forces Naito to roll out of the ring with his attack. As Goto starts fighting Naito, EVIL attacks from behind and viciously throws Goto into the steel guard rail. Ouch.
EVIL puts a chair on Gotos neck and then whacks it with another chair. Naito sets up a table and gets Goto up on the apron. Naito hits a neckbreaker into the table on Goto. Back in the ring, Goto hits a sunset flip powerbomb off the top rope which is really amazing. He covers, but Naito miraculously kicks out at two and we head to commercial. When we return, Naito and Goto battle in the center of the ring. Naito hits a hurricanrana off the top rope and gets a near fall on Goto. The two trade forearms in the middle and work the crowd into a frenzy. Goto picks up Naito and hits a neckbreaker, driving Naito down onto his knee. Goto tries to kick Naito, but Naito grabs his foot and swings it into the ref, knocking him to the mat. Doesn’t take long for EVIL to come in and hold Goto as Bushi spits mist at him.
But Goto moves and the mist hits EVIL. Goto plants Bushi and turns to face Naito. Naito kicks Goto in the groan and covers. The ref has recovered, he counts but only a two count. Goto lifts Naito and hits his Shouten Kai suplex finisher. He covers and that’s the ball game. Goto wins an incredible match! Nice final couple of minutes at the end of that one with lovely back and forth with everyone setting up a strong finish. Really enjoyed that one. Goto stands alone and overcomes incredible odds. After the match, he is interviewed backstage and asked about his victory. He says it was sort of a hollow victory because he was fighting Naito and it wasn’t for a title. He also says he has never wrestled in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom. He says this year he will become the face of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The final match of the night was for the IWGP Tag Team Championship with champs Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows being challenged by Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma. Anderson and Honma start things off. Anderson rakes the eyes of Honma and then moves out of the way of Honma’s falling headbutt. Gallows tagged in and he punches Honma in the corner. Anderson gets back in and misses with a running senton. Honma tags in Makabe. He makes easy work of Anderson, forcing him to roll out of the ring and regroup. Honma and Makabe double team Gallows, knocking him outside the ring as well. All four men fight out on the floor. Gallows throws Makabe into the guard rail and then clocks him with a chain, as Anderson distracts the ref.
Back in the ring, Anderson clobbers Makabe with strikes. Gallows tags in and continues attacking Makabe. Honma is outside the ring with blood on the back of his head. Hasn’t stirred much for a few moments. Gallows and Anderson double team Makabe. Anderson covers three times, but Makabe kicks out each time. Makabe with a hard clothesline on Anderson and finally Honma has recovered. Makabe tags him in and he slams Gallows then drops a headbutt on Anderson. Honma chops Anderson in the corner, whips him to the other but Anderson recovers and kicks him away. Gallows trips Honma up and then gets in the ring to help Anderson hit a couple of moves into a cover. Makabe interrupts the count and keeps his team alive.
Gallows and Anderson set up Honma for the Magic Killer but Makabe breaks it up and knocks Gallows out of the ring. Headbutt on Anderson by Honma. He slams Anderson and then hits the top rope. Unfortunately, Gallows runs in and punches him, stunning Honma. Anderson tries to get a Gun Stun off the top rope, but Honma jumps down onto the apron. Back in the ring, Anderson hits a brutal running powerbomb on Honma but the small man kicks out at two and three-quarters. Honma counters two Gun Stuns in the ring and then headbutts Anderson. Both men are down. Both Gallows and Makabe are tagged in. Nelson Powerslam on Makabe and Gallows covers, but only a near fall. Anderson and Gallows try to tag team Makabe, but he knocks them both down with a double clothesline.
Makebe and Gallows collide with each other and Makabe wins that exchange with a clothesline. Makabe and Honma set up Anderson for a Headbutt Doomsday Device off the top rope. Honma slams Gallows and then hits a falling headbutt. Makabe climbs the top rope and hits a King Kong Knee Drop and covers. One. Two. Three! Honma and Makabe win! This is the 39-year-old Honma’s first ever championship in the company! What a moment. Wow, fantastic match. After the match, Honma says it is a dream come true. He thanks Makabe and says this is all because of him. The DVR shows another new episode next Friday so you know we’ll be here with coverage. Maybe some Wrestle Kingdom 10 Part 3?? We can only hope. Just a wonderful program with three great matches.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Please take a moment to visit the Go Fund Me page of the folks who run Face To Heel. They are in a bad way and could use your donations. Thank You.
AXSTV hit us up with another broadcast from The Land of the Rising Sun on Friday, with a new episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling. The episode features two matches from November 7th, 2015 out of Namba, Osaka, Japan from the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
Our first match of the night features Bullet Club member Karl Anderson challenging Shinsuke Nakamura for his IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Anderson comes to the ring with six other members of the Bullet Club. Crowd goes wild for the beloved Nakamura as he enters solo. Grappling against the ropes to start. Then a forearm by Nakamura and a knee by Anderson. The two work into a frenzy just coming straight for each other. They finally separate and crowd applauds. Nakamura drops Anderson to the mat with an ankle submission. Knees to Anderson from the ground. Anderson kicks Nakamura in the head and he rolls onto the apron. Anderson tries to pull him up but Nakamura kicks him. Interference as the ref is distracted and Doc Gallows tosses Nakamura off the apron onto the steel guardrail. Ref starts a twenty count. Nakamura gets on the apron and Anderson hits him with a Gun Stunner, then dropkicks him back out onto the floor. Ref starts another twenty count. Anderson leaves the ring and powerbombs Nakamura onto the apron. Commercial break. Great match so far.
When we return, Anderson is punching Nakamura in the center of the ring, then he hits a reverse neckbreaker. Running powerbomb into a cover. Nakamura kicks out. Nakamura fights back and puts a headlock sleeper on Anderson as they lay on the mat, wrapping his legs around him. They stand and before Anderson can separate Nakamura hits him with a reverse powerslam. Huge spinebuster out of no where by Anderson and Nakamura is down again. Forearm by Nakamura. Forearm by Anderson. Another by Nakamura. Chop by Anderson, kick by Nakamura. Then they trade blows until Nakamura drops Anderson with an elbow. Scissors kick and then a running knee. He covers, but Anderson narrowly kicks out. Nakamura leaps onto the top rope, but as he leaps off, Anderson catches him with a Gun Stunner. Nakamura rolls out onto the apron. Anderson pulls him up by his hair and lifts him to the top rope. Firemen carry into a slam. Cover, but Nakamura kicks out. Anderson goes for a Gun Stunner, Nakamura reverses it into a landslide. Good action as we head into another commercial break.
Clothesline by Anderson into a cover when we come back. Kick out. Bernard Driver by Anderson. Another false finish. Nakamura refuses to quit. Cross arm breaker counter by Nakamura. Anderson rolls him over into a cover and Nakamura has to let go. Bomaye by Nakamura, covers and that’s it. Nakamura retains. Great stuff. I enjoyed that match immensely. Just enough Bullet Club interference to make it interesting and not annoying. And both guys really put the moves on. After the match, AJ Styles comes in and he and Nakamura stand forehead to forehead. Styles points a finger gun at Nakamura. Crowd oh’s and ah’s. Styles takes the IWGP IC belt from Red Shoes and hands it to Nakamura. He points to it and says, “I’m taking it.” Crowd cheers. This is a match any wrestling fan wants to see. Nakamura gets on the mic and says he’s been waiting for Styles and he’ll see him at the Tokyo Dome. YEAOH!
The second match of the night is Tomohiro Ishii defending his NEVER Openweight Championship against Tomoaki Honma. Middle of the ring grapple to start as the two lock up. Headlock by Honma, but Ishii tosses him against the rope. He tries a shoulder tackle but Honma doesn’t go down. Then the two trade several forearms as the crowd cheers. Ishii off the ropes and Honma plants him with a shoulder tackle. Running headbutt but Honma misses and Ishii elbows him in the back of the head. Big chop and Honma is down. Another chop. And another sending Honma in the corner where he takes multiple chops and forearms. Running slam from Ishii. Headbutt by Ishii. Chop by Honma, headbutt by Ishii. Nobody is pulling punches here. This is strong style all the way. Half crab submission hold by Ishii. Honma makes it to the ropes to break. A bunch of strikes near the throat by Honma, drops Ishii and tries the headbutt again but misses. Honma picks up the much bigger Ishii and slams him with a vertical suplex. Crowd is mesmerized, as am I. That was an impressive feat of strength. Honma finally lands a diving headbutt. He then hits a blockbuster off the second rope and covers. Ishii kicks out at two. Bunch of shots and a headbutt by Ishii drops Honma. He whips Honma into the corner who then explodes out and punches Ishii in the back of the head over and over. Massive elbow by Ishii puts Honma down again. Ishii lifts Honma up to the top rope and vertical suplexs him all the way to the mat. Honma somehow manages to kick out at two. Honma plants the champ with a DDT. Both men down.
Honma kicks Ishii onto the apron. Jumping headbutt knocks Ishii onto the floor. Honma climbs to the top rope. Honma just falls off the top rope all the way to the floor and hits Ishii on the shoulder with a headbutt. Red Shoes starts a double countout. Honma throws Ishii back into the ring. Honam slaps Ishii and then clotheslines him into a pin. Ishii kicks out, dazed. Back suplex by Ishii, but Honma pops right up and hits two diving headbutts on Ishii. Cover, and again a kick out at two. Brain buster by Honma, but Ishii headbutts him and both men collapse to the mat. The pair trade headbutts. It’s brutal to watch. Powerbomb by Ishii and a cover, but Honma holds on. Sliding clothesline and another kick out at two. Headbutt by Honma. Headbutt off the second rope. The champ manages to kick out at two. Bunch more headbutts by Honma. They are getting a little old now, if I’m being honest. A diving headbutt off the top rope into the back of Ishii. Spinning heel kick by Ishii, running clothesline and a cover. Honma kicks out. Honma tries one too many headbutts and Ishii catches him mid-air with a punch. Clothesline and a cover, but Honma again kicks out. Crowd in a frenzy. Brain buster by Ishii and finally Honma stays down. Ishii retains in a brutal hoss match.
Two amazing title matches from NJPW. Could have used four to five more minutes of Nakamura and Anderson. Ishii and Honma was exciting to watch but the headbutts got old after awhile. Still, another action packed 60 minutes from NJPW. Thanks to AXSTV for putting this on the air. My DVR doesn’t have a new episode scheduled for next Friday, so as usual we’ll cover them whenever they come back. Have a good week everyone!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Apologies for posting this a few days late. There was just so much going on this weekend, I forgot to check the DVR. Plus with Death Before Dishonor on Friday night, I assumed there would not be a new episode of NJPW airing. But AXSTV decided we needed more, and more is always a good thing. Let’s get started with our review of the latest episode.
Friday’s episode featured November 7th, 2015 matches from Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, in Namba, Osaka, Japan. Jim Ross and Josh Barnett on commentary, as always. The first match is Ricochet and Matt Sydal vs Rocky Romero and Beretta in the Super Junior Tag Tournament Finals. Richochet and Romero kick things off, action is fast paced to start. Sydal tags in and he and Richochet double team Romero. Near fall. Both teams utilizing their tags and partners really well in the opening moments. A lot of time is spent with all four guys in the ring just whooping ass. The ref lets it go and we all get to witness an exceptional tag team match. Ricochet hits an amazing flip off the top rope to the outside. In the ring, Sydal does the same and gets a near fall. Richochet and Matt Sydal hit a duo of Shooting Star Presses and do a double count pinfall for the win. Exciting match, but we could have easily given it another 7 or 8 minutes.
The second bout features Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata taking on Kazuchika Okada and Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba and Shibata kick things off with some mat work, grappling. The pair are evenly matched and neither gets the upper-hand in the early going. Shibata gets locked in a vicious submission. His face goes red and he starts to fade. Shibata uses his strength to drag Sakuraba over to the ropes and gets the break. Okada gets tagged in and immediately dropkicks Shibata. Okada and Sakuraba take clear control outside of the ring. They work well in tandem. Stiff kicks by Sakuraba on Shibata, flooring him to the mat. All four of these guys are damn fine wrestlers and you won’t find much better out of Japan. World premiere athletes is the only way to describe them. High Fly Flow by Tanahashi leaves Shibata to hit Got TO Sleep on Sakuraba for the pinfall. Excellent stuff. After the match Tanahashi calls out Okada and they face off in the ring. Tanahashi says the day he becomes champion is approaching. He then attacks Okada as security comes in to separate them. Okada fights back and they can barely keep them apart. They battle down outside the ring. Okada clocks Tanahashi multiple times with his briefcase. He gets on the mic and screams, “Come get me, you fool!” Then he leaps on Tanahashi. Finally, they break it up. Okada is being interviewed backstage and Tanahashi attacks him again! Wow. That was intense.
The final match of the night is Hirooki Goto vs Evil. I am going to be brief on this as I just have too many plates spinning trying to write this at 5PM on a Sunday and also get ready for SummerSlam. Evil runs the table to start as the action is slow grinding. We got to see Evil on Friday at Death Before Dishonor. He is a very methodical heel, and he pulls no punches. Evil bites Goto on the neck at one point. Goto finally gets some offense in and a near fall. Crowd mostly flat throughout this one. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. Japan crowds are much different than over in the States. Goto gets a submission on, as Evil screams in pain. Naito walks down and dropkicks Goto off his partner. He shoves the ref aside and picks Goto up. Goto fights back but then takes a lowblow and Destino finisher. The ref calls for the bell. Goto wins via disqualification. Naito attacks Goto and the security that runs in to save him. Shibata runs down and gets Naito and evil out of the ring.
Some great tag team action for this broadcast. And the main event match set up some interesting feuds in the future. I look forward to seeing another episode next week on AXSTV. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to eat some chili and watch SummerSlam!
Please checkout our Go Fund Me page to help my wife and myself out during our time of need. Thank you!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
I had to stop and wonder if maybe today was my birthday and I just forgot. I woke up, turned on the television and saw three all new episodes of New Japan Pro Wrestling on the DVR. I cannot wait to start watching, so let’s get started. The three broadcasts feature matches from October 12th, 2015 Ryogoku Kokugikan, also known as Ryougoku Sumo Hall, from Sumida, Japan. The matches will be presented in three parts.
First bout on the first episode features Tomoaki Honma versus Yoshi-Hashi. Yoshi-Hashi comes out first, brandishing a long, red walking stick. Yoshi-Hashi goes right for Honma’s injured lower back which is taped up. They spill outside the ring and Yoshi-Hashi throws his opponent around against the steel barricade. He then hits Honma in the gut with the red walking stick. Half Botson crab hold by Yoshi-Hashi but Honma crawls to the rope and breaks it. Twice during the opening minutes Honma tries for a running headbutt dive and misses wildly. Commercial break.
After the break Honma’s back causes him to crumple to the mat. He manages to suplex Yoshi-Hashi and then finally lands the headbutt. Quick DDT and then he climbs the top rope. Honma jumps off and lands a blockbuster on Yoshi-Hashi. Near pinfall, but a kick out at two. Honma takes control but he misses with a diving headbutt off the top rope. Both men down. Powerbomb by Yoshi-Hashi into a bridge pinfall, but Honma kicks out at two. Two headbutts by Honma but Yoshi-Hashi kicks out at two. Diving headbutt off the top rope by Honma connects and he gets the pinfall victory. Okay match. Pretty straight-forward with no real surprises. Several moves were over-utilized and neither guy really looked as if their heart was in it. Flat interviews by both afterwards. Slow start to the show.
This next one shouldn’t disappoint. It features Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, and Kazushi Sakuraba versus Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Bad Luck Fale. Nakamura and Anderson start the match. Fast action to kick things off and a moderate applauds from the crowd. Gallows and Sakuraba tag in. Gallows chops him in the throat. Bedlam breaks out ringside as Anderson and Fale beat down Nakamura. Sakuraba is isolated in Gallows’ corner and Bad Luck Fale is tagged in. Anderson and Nakamura make their way back in and go to work. Crowd showing some love to Nakamura. The goofy Yano tags in to take on Fale. Crowd cheers. Yano is quite a character. Tama Tonga runs in as Gallows distracts the ref and tries to take out Yano. But he lowblows both Yano and Fale. Yano covers and gets the pinfall! Absolutely ridiculous. Of all the talent in this match, Yano wins it. HaHa. Too Funny. This match suffered from being way too short.
The main event for the first episode is Togi Makabe defending his NEVER Openweight Championship against Tomohiro Ishii. Slow grind to start this one. Outside the ring Makabe throws Ishii against the barricade multiple times. The two agree to get back in the ring and fight. HaHa. Double clothesline, neither goes down. This one turns into a hoss match with both men beating the hell out of each other in simple ways. This one is cool if you loike big man strong style, but it doesn’t really deliver the wow factor of a championship bout for me. The match ends when Ishii hits a vertical brainbuster on Makabe and wins the title. After the match Tomoaki Honma, whom we saw earlier, comes out to challenge Ishii for his newly acquired title.
The second episode features Part 2 of the October 12th matches. Our opening contest has champion Kenny Omega defending his IWGP Junior Heavyewight Championship against Matt Sydal. Fast action to start the show, crowd is lively. Omega takes a break from the action to get a drink of water, then spits it on Sydal. Omega then takes the tape off his wrist, balls it up and throws it at his opponent. Hard backbreaker by the champ and he’s clearly in control. Sydal recovers with a flurry of offense and a dive out of the ring. He gets a huge reversal and damn near pins the champ. Crowd very appreciative. But a full Nelson suplex and a running knee sets up Omega’s One Winged Angel finisher and he pins the challenger to retain. Good start to the show, exciting match to watch. Could have benefited from another few minutes.
The second match and main event features Hiroshi Tanahashi putting his Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender spot (basically Japan’s Money in the Bank briefcase) on the line against the villainous Tetsuya Naito. This is a rematch from the G1 Climax tournament back in June in which Naito bested Tanahashi. The winner of this match will main event Wrestle Kingdom early next year. Naito takes his time getting to the ring and allowing the match to start. Tanahashi dropkicks Naito outside the ring but quickly pays for it as Naito starts tossing him around against the steel railing. Naito sets Tanahashi up on the apron and crashes him down to the floor with a reverse DDT. Naito sets up a chair, sets Tanahashi in and then runs and drop kicks him back into the barricade. Naito rolls in the ring and sets up a chair. He kicks back and relaxes as Red Shoes starts a 20 count. Tanahashi makes it back in at 18 seconds. Naito goes to work stomping him in the corner and then sets him up on the ropes. Naito rubs his foot on Tanahashi and then dropkicks him. Naito spits in Tanahashi’s face. Tanahashi’s lip is busted open.
Tanahashi goes to work on Naito’s legs and he barely gets out of a Texas Cloverleaf submission. This bout is so evenly matched that I can barely pull my eyes away to type. Both men want to destroy the other and neither is backing down. The pair work the crowd into a frenzy at times. Tanahashi employs some quick chain-wrestling and drops Naito. Crowd starts chanting for him. Naito hits a Slingblade, near fall on Tanahashi. Naito throws Tanahashi into Red Shoes and the ref is down. Naito’s new partner, Takaaki Watanabe, comes into the ring and the two provide a beatdown to Tanahashi. Katsuyori Shibata and Hirooki Goto run in to save the day, dropping Naito and Watanabe. Shibata tries to revive Red Shoes, who rolled out of the ring. Low blow in the ring by Naito and a nearfall on Tanahashi as Red Shoes comes in for the count. Slingblade counter by Tanahashi, and then he climbs to the top rope. High Fly Flow splash and then another into a pinfall. Three counts later and Tanahashi is still going to the Toyko Dome. After the match, Goto and Watanabe fight. Shibata runs Watanabe out of the ring. Naito walks out with his new protege, smiling, as if the result of the match didn’t even register. He was just happy to cause chaos in the ring. What an amazing match. Well told, great execution, and a strong debut from Watanabe. Naito continues his phenomenal work as an evil heel.
The third and final episode features, you guessed it, part three of the Oct. 12 matches. The entire 60 minute episode will be devoted to Kazuchika Okada defending his IWGP Heavyweight Championship against A.J. Styles. Styles comes out first with fellow Bullet Club members Anderson, Gallows, and Tonga. Red Shoes is the referee for this one. These two have battled four times this year, splitting the outcomes. The bell rings and here we go. The crowd starts an A.J. Styles chant, but he yells at them to shut up. “I know who I am!” and he points to the Bullet Club and says that’s all he needs and they’re his family. Okada goes to work on the left arm of Styles, wrenching it behind his back to start. Styles reverses it and pushes him against the ropes. Back and forth, quick grappling from both. They part and the crowd applauds. The two trade slaps and Styles wobbles down to his butt, shocked. The Bullet Club gets involved early, dragging Okada out of the ring and beating the hell out of him as Styles distracts the ref. Tonga powerbombs Okada on the apron and rolls him back into the ring. Near fall, but Okada manages to kick out at two.
After a commercial break, Styles runs the table, keeping Okada down and winded. Okada recovers with a DDT and finally gets back to his feet. He misses with an elbow but dropkicks Styles out of the ring. Okada tries to whip Styles into the barricade, but he leaps over it. Then Okada plants him with a DDT on the ground. He throws Styles into the ring and gets a near fall. Styles manages to reach the ropes to break the count. Springboard forearm by Styles drops Okada. He follows it up with a gut-buster and a cover. Okada kicks out. Styles suplexes Okada into the corner. The two trade forearms in the middle of the ring, dropping one another. Huge dropkick by Okada, crowd erupts. There is just so much high caliber offense in this one. Okada covers Styles, but Anderson grabs his feet and pulls him out of the ring. Okada throws Anderson into the guard rail and then climbs back in the ring. Instead of going after Styles, he bounces off the ropes and flips out of the ring, taking down all three members of the Bullet Club. Back in the ring, Styles puts Okada on the top rope. He superplexes him to the mat and covers. Okada barely kicks out. Commercial break.
When we return, Styles tries to get Okada to tap with several leg submissions. Okada struggles to hold on. He crawls to the ropes and lunges out to break the hold. But the damage is done. Moments later, Okada hits a Tombstone Piledriver on Styles. Okada is too tired to cover Styles, writhing as he holds his left knee. Back on their feet, Okada hits a series of vicious clotheslines. He follows it up with the Rain Maker finisher and pins Styles! Crowd goes wild. This was Okada’s first title defense and he was successful in more ways than one. He goes on to face Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom. What a spectacular match. This was so good, eaxctly what pro-wrestling should be. It shows how great two athletes can be when they care about what they are doing in the ring. Anderson and Gallows help carry Styles out. In the ring, Okada says A.J. helped add to the shine of the belt. Crowd applauds. Tanahashi enters the ring behind him. He says, “Next time…it’s me and you Tanahashi.” He hands the mic over and Tanahashi says Okada is the champion and he’s the man. Tanahashi says the man should be champion.
The trio of episodes started off slow, but grew better and better as the night went on, culminating in an exceptional second half of the three hour block. Josh Barnett and Jim Ross did another round of fantastic commentary, covering each moment with clarity and professionalism. The highlights were, of course, Naito and Tanahashi, and Styles vs Okada. The top guys at New Japan Pro Wrestling are some of the finest damn athletes on the planet. Can’t even believe TNA wasted both Okada and Styles when they were with their company. Shame. Now it appears that WWE is going to waste Styles much the same. At least we will always have his NJPW work. If you plan on watching last night’s episodes, I would advise skipping the first one and just watching the final two. You’ll thank me later. What did you think of our breakdown and the matches? Let us know in the comments below. Currently, my DVR schedule doesn’t show any new NJPW episodes next week, so it might be a few weeks before we write about them again. But as soon as they are on, we’ve got ya covered. Have a good weekend, wrestling fans!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Tonight’s broadcast comes from Kobe World Memorial Prefecture Hall on September 27, 2015. Only two matches during the hour long broadcast, so you know they are going to be good. First up is Shinsuke Nakamura challenging Hirooki Goto for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Minor grappling to begin, as Goto clamps down and tries to overpower Nakamura. The two break and the crowd applauds. Goto takes control with a few headlocks and then hip-tosses Nakamura. Then Goto clotheslines the hell out of Nakamura and he goes tumbling out of the ring, leading us to our first commercial break.
After the break, Goto stomps Nakamura outside of the ring and then pulls his neck back against the unrelenting steel barricade. Nakamura reverses him with a whip, back first into the guard rail. Goto then tosses Nakamura into the rail and Red Shoes starts the twenty count. Nakamura makes it back up to the apron and drops some devastating knees on Goto, much to the crowd’s chagrin. Back in the ring, Nakamura lands a backstabber, then a reverse powerslam. Goto drops Nakamura to the mat and gets a hammerlock submission on the challenger. Nakamura stretches his long legs and narrowly reaches the rope, but the damage may have already been done.
Goto goes to work on Nakamura’s left arm. Cover but Nakamura kicks out at two. Nakamura stays down on his knees and Goto kicks him hard in the chest, then sweeps his foot out and punts Nakamura’s left wrist. Nakamura recovers and knees Goto in the back of the head. Both men stagger to their feet and trade blows in the center of the ring. Nakamura takes the upper-hand with a knee to the gut and a kick on the back. Bomaye by Nakamura, but Goto kicks out at two. Nakamura puts his opponent on the top rope and tries to lift him up on his shoulders, but Goto reverses and lands a bunch of punches and headbutts. Goto stands and sunset flips Nakamura into a pin, kick out at two! Commercial break.
After, both men are down on the mat, gasping for breath. Both crawl up to their feet in the corner. Goto charges but takes a kick. He turns and lifts Nakamura up and slams up. He goes for a cover but kick out at two. Up on the top rope, Goto flips and slams Nakamura into his knee. Somehow Nakamura kicks out again at two. Headbutt by Goto. Closed fist punch by Nakamura, Goto floored. Another headbutt by Goto. Goto tries to punch Nakamura but he reverses it into a flying armbar. Goto counters and puts his own armbar on. Goto slams his leg across Nakamura’s face over and over, never releasing the hold. He transitions it into a hammerlock on the right arm. Nakamura counters and kicks Goto in the face. Bomaye blocked, but Nakamura knees him. Nakamura off the ropes and another Bomaye! Cover and Nakamura wins the belt after 22 minutes of awesome action! Great match!
Afterwards, Nakamura puts the belt on but Gallows and Anderson of The Bulletclub come down to the ring. Anderson says he beat both Nakamura and Goto in the G1 Climax Tournament. He wants a shot at the IWGP Intercontinental Championship so he can hold two belts at once (as he is currently IWGP Tag Team Championship with Gallows.) Nakamura gives a “Yeaoh!” which we can assume is a oh hell yeah, you got yourself a match! Crowd goes wild. The two stare each other down. Nakamura shoves him away and dismisses him out of the ring. Nakamura climbs the corners and presents to the crowd.
Up next is Katsuyori Shibata vs Tetsuya Naito. Naito does his usual slow walk to the ring, infuriating the crowd. Naito barely takes his mask off and Shibata kicks him off the apron. The two go at each other outside the ring. Shibata is thrown into the steel guardrail. And again. Naito dropkicks Shibata against the railing and then poses in the ring. Ref starts a twenty count as Naito goes outside the ring and throws Shibata into the crowd! Naito rolls him back in the ring and stomps on Shibata’s face. Then his back, twice. Shibata is now sitting in the corner. He takes kicks over and over to the face. Then a bunch of forearms. Ref tries to break it up and gets thrown across the ring. Neckbreaker by Naito. Shibata finally recovers and beats the holy hell out of Naito with several vicious forearms. Shibata uses the rope to put a triangle lock submission on Naito. Ref breaks it up. Shibata kicks him in the corner, then the opposite one. He rubs his boot down and across Naito’s face repeatedly. Then a running kick to the face. Outside the ring, Shibata throws Naito into the railing four times! Then kicks him over the railing! Back in the ring, abdomen stretch locked in on Naito, who slow crab-walks to the ropes to break it up. A beautiful running dropkick in the corner by Shibata! Commercial break.
When we return following the break, Naito is down in the corner and Shibata suplexes him into a pin, but Naito kicks out at two. Naito stands and spits right in Shibata’s face. Dropkick and suplex by Naito, but Shibata flips him head over heels with a strong lariat. They stand and trade forearms. Crossface submission by Shibata after he reverses a kick down to the mat. Naito reaches the ropes for a break. Kick to the face and then the gut by Shibata, Naito down. Shibata teases him with a couple quick kicks. Sleeper hold by Shibata. Naito grabs the ref, turns him around and kicks Shibata in the nuts. Destino finisher and Naito gets the pinfall! Ref never saw the shenanigans. Typical heel work from Naito. What a fun match. That one was really solid throughout. Wonderful story told and very cringe-worthy offense with both men being battered. A trainer comes in to check on Shibata and Naito beats the hell out of him. As he walks up the ramp, Naito attacks the cameraman. Shibata charges up the ramp and jumps into Naito. After, Naito is bleeding from the mouth.
Overall, an absolutely fantastic episode of New Japan Pro, as is pretty much the status quo. My only complaint is I need more! Give me ten hours and it wouldn’t be enough. This is what wrestling is all about. Two big thumbs up.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker