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
Shelton Benjamin was scheduled to return back to the WWE ring in August. Unfortunately for him, and wrestling fans, he is now on the injured list after the discovery of a tear in his rotator cuff.
He recently spoke on the Jim Ross Report podcast and stated he has been wrestling actively with the tear for more than two months. After taking an awkward Suplex in a New Japan Pro match, Benjamin landed squarely on his shoulder, taking his and his opponents weight full on it. He continued to wrestle and felt soreness but did not realize the full extent of his injury.
Benjamin was signed in July, and was teased with a vignette on Smackdown Live. However, once the injury was fully explored it was determined he was not medically cleared to wrestle after his full physical examination. He is slated for surgery sometime in the near future and the date to his return to action is currently unknown. Shelton Benjamin is a former WWE United States, Intercontinental, and Tag Team Champion. It’s a shame he was put on the back burner, but WWE has wonderful doctors and there will no doubt be a triumphant return for The Gold Standard.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Greetings, pro-wrestling fans! This has been a very interesting week in the world of sports entertainment! We shit the bed on Monday and Tuesday and missed our weekly Raw and Smackdown Live episodes. Our sincere apologies. Our laptop bit the bullet and left us stranded. We had to improvise most of the week but we are finally back and better than ever! So here’s what you may have missed this week in wrestling.
— The late, great Mr. Fuji got his own Collection added to the WWE Network featuring his work as a solo competitor, tag partner, and manager. Alberto Del Rio officially got released by the WWE. Fans around the world were left wondering if his girlfriend, WWE Superstar Paige, was transitioning out of the company as well. The beloved fan favorites American Alpha took their tag team antics to Sportscenter’s Off The Top Rope Wednesday night to discuss their start as partners, amateur careers, and future as a team. The Coach kept it light and it was just a likable interview for the pair of future Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
— Wednesday night gave us some serious wrestling action as NXT saw four matches during the hour long broadcast including: Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, Ember Moon, and TM61. It was a fun show and the Full Sail Crowd was lively. Read all about it HERE. Following NXT, the WWE Network gave us the final round of quarter-final matches for the Cruiserweight Classic. Zack Sabre Jr. took on Noam Dar and T.J. Perkins wrestled Rich Swann. It was two more classic matches for the CWC and set the stage for next week’s live two hour finale. See who made the Final Four in our full review.
— Thursday Night! I knew you’d come! Yes, TNA brought us a brand new episode of Impact Wrestling. And yes, Broken Matt Hardy treated the entire world to another fantastically epic moment in pro-wrestling history. Decay (Rosemary, Abyss, Crazzy Steve) invaded Cameron, North Carolina and tried to steal King Maxell. It was one for the history books as Decay or Delete gave us more fireworks, more green mist, and more insane Hardy moments than ever before. And if that wasn’t enough, Gail Kim tagged with Jade, the King of the Mountain Championship was retired, and The Miracle got an opponent for Bound For Glory. Don’t hesitate to read all about #ImpactOnPOP!
— AXSTV brought us some killer tag team action on Friday’s new episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was worth watching and featured some of Japan’s biggest names. Read all about the phenomenal hour long broadcast HERE. We don’t typically cover UFC on here, but we did this past Saturday as UFC 203 saw the debut of former WWE World Champion CM Punk in the octagon. Unfortunately it was a brutal first fight. Mickey Gall tapped Punk out in the first round. We covered the event briefly HERE.
— And of course, last night Smackdown Live presented the 2016 Backlash pay-per-view. It was a premiere event and was arguably one of the best live WWE Network shows put on so far this year. We crowned a first time ever Smackdown Women’s Champion, first time ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions, and both the Intercontinental and World titles were defended. Who won? Who retained? Well, you don’t think we’re gonna give that information away here do ya?! You have to go read our article with full match results and feedback. That’s all for now. See you tonight for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Friday’s episode featured two tag team matches from November 21, 2015 in Korakuen Hall. Both matches are in the World Tag League 2015 Tournament. Big time players in this one, so without further delay let’s review.
The first match is a Block B Official Match featuring Tatsuya Naito and EVIL taking on Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. EVIL comes to the ring wearing a purple and black cloak and hood, carrying a plastic scythe. Naito comes out wearing his silver skull mask. He gets to the ring and takes the mask off. Instead of Naito, it’s the masked wrestler Bushi. Crowd cheers despite Bushi having apparently now joined Los Ingobernables. Anderson and Gallows of The Bulletclub come out flying solo. Before the bell rings, all four men attack one another in an all out brawl. The bell rings and Anderson and Gallows isolate EVIL, getting him out of the ring. Then Naito gets attacked and dumped outside as well. In front of Bushi, Gallows throws EVIL into the guard rail.
In the crowd, Anderson puts a hurting on Naito. Crowd in a rare frenzy. Anderson throws Naito out of the steel exit door and then joins Gallows ringside, who is beating EVIL with a chair. They get EVIL in the ring and Anderson takes control. Gallows goes to his tag corner. Naito is shown making his way slowly through the crowd. They spill outside the ring. EVIL puts a chair around the neck of Anderson and throws him into the steel post. Back in the ring, EVIL starts biting Anderson. This one is less of a wrestling match and more of a free-for-all. Ref is really letting them get away with everything but murder here.
After a commercial break, EVIL and Anderson are actually wrestling in the ring. Spine buster by Anderson and he crawls towards Gallows for the tag. Gallows knocks Naito off the apron and kicks EVIL to the mat. Naito gets the tag and drops Gallows. EVIL comes in and they tag team Gallows into a cover after knocking Anderson off the apron. Two count. Naito attacks the ref in the corner. EVIL is down. Gallows and Anderson tag team Naito. Huge powerbomb by Gallows and a cover. EVIL breaks it up before the three count. Gallows and Anderson get EVIL out of the ring and continue double-teaming Naito. Gallows and Anderson try a Gun Stun. EVIL breaks it up. Kick by Naito on Gallows and then Bushi mists him on the apron. Gallows gets hit with a Tranquilo and Destino by Naito (try saying that five times fast) and Naito covers for the win. Interview afterwards shows EVIL and he says, “Everything is evil.” Bushi says he has decided to follow Naito.
The second match is from Block A of the tournament. The team of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin go up against Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi. Elgin and Yoshi-Hashi kick off the bout. Elgin throws Yoshi-Hashi across the ring and flexes his bicep. Yoshi-Hashi against the ropes, tries a shoulder tackle but Elgin doesn’t move. He slams Yoshi-Hashi and then drops him with a gorilla press. Vertical suplex and Yoshi-Hashi is reeling. Cover by Elgin, but a kick out. Tanahashi tags in and calls out Okada. Yoshi-Hashi tags him in and they go at it, eventually spilling out of the ring an into the crowd. Ref starts a 20 count. Both get back to the ring at 18. Okada tags Yoshi-Hashi in and he plants Tanahashi, who seems to be singularly focused on Okada. Tanahashi fights back and gets Elgin tagged in. He punches Yoshi-Hashi multiple times and slams him into a cover. Kick out at two. Yoshi-Hashi blocks a powerbomb attempt and tags in Okada. Okada goes to work on Elgin but he manages to tag in Tanahashi who puts Okada down and locks in a cloverleaf submission. Okada fights out and the two keep battling as we head to a commercial break.
When we return, Yoshi-Hashi and Elgin are fighting. Yoshi-Hashi gets a quick cover on Elgin but he kicks out early. Okada and Yoshi-Hashi tag team Elgin. They plant Elgin and Yoshi-Hashi tries another cover, but Elgin kicks out. He turns the tables and picks up both men. He slams them both and the crowd applauds. That was a really great spot. The crowd starts a chant for Elgin. Elgin then powerbombs Yoshi-Hashi off the top rope. Cover, but Okada breaks it up before the ref can count to three. Yoshi-Hashi rolls up Elgin and almost gets a pinfall. Yoshi-Hashi hits a reverse DDT and then climbs the top rope. He tries a dive off, but Elgin rolls out of the way and Yoshi-Hashi hits the mat hard. Multiple kicks by Yoshi-Hashi and he puts Elgin down for another near fall. Elgin and Tanahashi team together to put Okada down. Elgin powerbombs Yoshi-Hashi into a cover and gets the three count. After the match, Okada and Tanahashi stare each other down. Tanahashi gets on the mic and says Elgin is an amazing partner.
Very fun episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling. When you see really good tag team action, it makes you remember how weak some other promotions tag divisions are. Tanahashi and Elgin, although fighting their first match as a team, really put on a great show. They are a good duo. Both matches were entertaining and told excellent stories. Thanks once again to Jim Ross and Josh Barnett for their wonderful commentary that only adds to the program. As of right now, my DVR shows another new episode will be on next Friday. We’ll see you then.
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
It’s not often that the F2H family gets to cover Ring of Honor. Unfortunately, our cable provider doesn’t air their regular broadcast. So we really only ever get to “stream” the pay-per-views. We do, however, cover New Japan Pro Wrestling. And tonight that world famous organization clashes with the ROH all stars to bring us one epic night from Las Vegas!
We start things off with Kamaitachi vs Jay White vs Donovan Dijak (accompanied by Prince Nana) vs Lio Rush in a four-way to determine the #1 Contender for the Ring of Honor Television Championship. Rush and White clear the ring and go after each other with lots of speedy, high-flying moves. This one is hard to follow as there is one fight going on outside the ring and another inside the ring, and at the same time it’s supposed to be a tag match. Weird booking. But the action is fun and there isn’t a dull moment. Jay White takes control of the match with European uppercuts to all his competitors. Lio Rush is fast as hell and he’s taking down guys left and right! Can barely keep up with this one. Some really amazing moves from all four guys. The crowd is in a frenzy. Dijak does a corkscrew senton off the top rope to take down all three guys outside the ring. That big man can get up! Dijak hits Feast Your Eyes finisher on Lio Rush and becomes the #1 Contender to the TV title. That was a thrilling match to kick off the show. Great job to all four guys. Wow!
“The Last Real Man,” Silas Young comes out next to take on NJPW royalty in Katsuyori Shibata. Crowd starts a Shibata chant as soon as he hits the ring. Strong grappling to start this one. Shibata gets Young against the ropes and they break apart. Slingshot over the top rope and Young takes Shibata down. Really great technical style hoss match. Big, powerful moves and skilled action. These guys came to play. Shibata is always a pleasure to watch. Moonsault by Young and he covers, the ref counts three but Shibata leans up and the ref says it was only two. Young cusses the ref out, but keeps fighting. Rear naked choke by Shibata then a Penalty Kick by Shibata into a cover for the win. Spotty finish, mostly because the ref fucked up. But overall another entertaining battle. After the match, the two slap each other and then shake hands. Crowd applauds.
Bullet Club vs Chaos in a 6-man tag up next. Don’t know a lot about the six guys in this match, or even their names. But the match overall is a fun spot-fest that fires the crowd up. The turnbuckle pad is used as a weapon at one point and this whole thing breaks down into utter madness as all six men get in the ring to brawl. Chaos wins this one, but after The Bullet Club just beats the hell out of them. Hangman Page comes down and starts putting the noose on Tama Tonga’s neck. Jay Briscoe runs in to save the day. Briscoe and Page square off, a new ref comes out and this match is underway! No holds barred!
Briscoe and Page grab chairs and whack them together. Full on fist shots by Briscoe as Page is on the mat. Briscoe flies into the crowd as he topples Page into the barricade. Crowd starts a “Man Up!” chant. Briscoe suplexes Page on the ramp. Back in the ring Briscoe uses Hangman’s noose and wraps it around Page’s neck. But Page recovers and throws a steel chair in Jay’s face. Page’s turn to use the noose as he chokes Briscoe against the ropes. Ref can’t do anything here, as we have no rules! Submission hold hanging off the rope as Briscoe is being choked by the noose. Outside the ring, Page powerbombs Briscoe into a chair. He uses the noose to tie up Briscoe’s hands on the barricade. Page grabs a chair, kicks Jay in the head, and hits him with the chair. Then spits on him. Page searches under the ring, and pulls out a table. Page sets Briscoe up on the ring apron, lifts him, but fails. Briscoe blocks it and falls into the ring. Page grabs another chair. The two trade blows in the ring and Briscoe flips Page onto the chair as it lays flat on the mat. Page spits right in Briscoe’s eyes. Neckbreaker by an enraged Briscoe. He picks up the chair. He puts the chair over Page’s throat and kicks the bottom of it, then hits a spinning neckbreaker. Crowd erupts. Jay sets the chair up in the corner through the second and third ropes. He puts Page’s face against it and then wraps the noose around his neck. He ties the noose around the top rope. He runs and leaps into Page, once. Twice. And a third time as the crowd chants “One More Time!” Huge clothesline into a two count, but Page kicks out. Briscoe tries to use the table, but Page moves and nothing happens.
Page puts the noose around Briscoe’s neck and tries to hang him off the rope but Briscoe blocks it. Page drops him outside the ring. Page tries a flip off the apron but catches a big boot right to the face. Crowd explodes. He rolls Page up onto the apron and sets him up for a powerbomb into the setup table. But Page blocks it and slams Briscoe head first into the table. Page lands badly though, and gashes his knee open pretty badly. It starts running blood down his leg. Something white is sticking out of it. Briscoe’s back is bleeding. They roll into the ring and Page tries a pin but Jay barely kicks out. Page wraps the noose around his neck and tries to choke out Briscoe. His face turns red as blood oozes down his back. Crowd starts another “Man Up!” chant. Right of Passage finisher by Hangman Page. He covers and that’s all she wrote! Page defeats Briscoe. Goodness! What a match! One of the best things I’ve seen all week in the world of pro-wrestling.
Dalton Castle peacocks to the ring to take on “The Rainmaker,” Kazuchika Okada, in another NJPW and ROH square off. Let the streamers fly! Okada is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, so this is a huge match for Dalton Castle’s career. Win or lose, he’s got to bring it. Crowd is hyped for both competitors as they enter the ring. Split chant from the crowd before the bell rings. First ever matchup between these two, and both shake hands before they begin. Respect from both as the match starts slow, with both feeling out the other. Crowd continues chanting for them both. Clever back and forth at the start, setting up a good story in the ring. Okada hits a big move and Dalton’s Boys come up on the apron to fan him off, showing their own fangirl appreciation. Ha! Running knee on the apron and Castle takes over. Okada falls to the floor outside the ring. Slow grind for a few moments as Castle puts on some holds down on the ring mat. Castle did a Hurricanrana to throw Okada out of the ring. Back in the ring, Okada kicks out at two but then takes a toss by Castle, who has really taken control of this match. Castle suplexes into a bridge and pins Okada. Narrow kick out at two and a half.
The Boys get in the ring to interfere but Okada stops them. He leaps off the top rope and drops an elbow on a prone Castle. Castle pops up and spins Okada around on his shoulder, hits Bangarang and goes for a cover, but Okada rolls out of the ring. Ref starts a ten count. Castle comes out, stopping the count. He pushes Okada into the ring. Suplex on Okada, another two count. Okada hits a Tombstone Piledriver on Castle and then sets him up for the Rainmaker. One. Two. Three. And that’s the ball game. Okada wins in a really exceptional match. Dalton Castle came into his own skin and this one was just another great bout on what has been an off the charts match card so far tonight.
The Television Championship title is on the line next as Mark Briscoe challenges Bobby Fish. Grappling into ground work submission to start. Then see-saw strike trading. The pace is slow, but they are trying to do something here. The animosity is palpable. A fantastic running reverse neckbreaker by Briscoe off the arpon. Then he slams Fish back first onto the apron. Off the apron again, Briscoe drops a running elbow on Fish. Back in the ring, Fish takes control working Briscoe’s back and leg. Briscoe fights back and tries a pinfall. His back is hurting him and his offense has been hindered. Fish gets him up and down with a double knee shot. The story told throughout this one is great. It was easy to get emotionally invested. Powerbomb by Briscoe, and he takes to the tap rope. He drops a frog-splash elbow on Fish. Narrow kick out and the crowd can’t believe it. The two trade blows on the top rope and Briscoe takes a hard suplex on his neck. Fish tosses him into the corner and suplexes him down for the count. Three seconds later and Fish retains. Now that was an old school type of wrestling match. Really loved that one. No hard feelings afterward as both men shake hands in the ring. All love and respect. The crowd just got a real treat with these two.
Triple threat tag team match for the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship up next. Tetsuya Naito and Evil vs Michael Eglin and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs the current champs The Addiction. Glad for this match as the introduction of all three teams is long and drawn out so I finally get a break to grab a beer and take a piss. This has been non-stop action all night. I’m exhausted! Naito and Tanahashi start the match off. But its short lived as Christopher Daniels tags himself in on Tanahashi. Naito plays mind games and then hip-tosses Daniels out of the ring. Naito tags in Evil and they double team Daniels. Eglin and Kazarian tag in. The Addiction take over the match and isolate Tanahashi in their corner. Naito tags himself in and then he and Evil double team Tanahashi. Then Naito and Evil go after The Addiction. We lose track of who the two legal men are. Kazarian and Eglin are, apparently. Eglin wallops Kazarian in the corner. Eglin double suplexes The Addiction! All hell breaks loose with people diving out of the ring and guys being thrown into the barricades. Crowd is eating it up. The action is incredible. The ref gets distracted and Daniels accidentally clocks Kazarian with the title belt. Tanahashi hits a Slingblade on Evil. Tanahashi goes for a High Fly Flow, Daniels tags himself in unbeknownst to Tanahashi, who lands on Evil. Daniels runs in and covers both, as the legal man and The Addiction retains! Clever finish! I liked that alot.
The Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Championship is on the line next as Adam Cole challenges Jay Lethal in a match that has been many months in the making. Lethal goes to work early, with some huge chops in the corners. Cole recovers and stomps him. Lethal ducks, as Cole goes over the top rope. Outside the ring, Lethal continues chopping. Then a dropkick to the back and Cole is down. Lethal checks under the ring but comes back empty handed. He dropkicks Cole again. He checks another side of the ring and comes out again with nothing. He walks around the ring and on the third side, he pulls out a table. Lethal props Cole against the table and climbs to the top rope. Lethal jumps but Cole moves and Lethal throws himself into the table. Lethal’s head is now busted open and bleeding. Cole throws Lethal against the ring post. The champion is reeling now. Lethal has a contusion on his lower back. Looks nasty. Both table spots tonight have been brutal with men landing badly and getting hurt.
Lethal dropkicks Cole out of the ring. He runs, bouncing off the ropes and dives out onto Cole. He does it again and again with the second and third times sending Cole into the barricade. And a fourth time. Then a fifth. Crowd is rowdy. A sixth dive and this time Cole counters, throwing Lethal into the barricade. Cole throws the champ into the ring. The two trade punches in the middle of the ring. Cole spits on Lethal and then hits a Shining Wizard. Only a two count on the champion. Cole sets up in the corner, stomping his foot for a super kick. Lethal stands, moves out of the way and clotheslines the challenger to the mat. Low blow by Cole and the ref doesn’t see it. A cover, but Lethal gets his leg on the rope at the last possible second to keep hanging on. Cole locks on a sleeper hold and Lethal starts to fade. Lethal fights back and hits the Lethal Combination. Both men down, gasping for air. Lethal covers, two count. Lethal suplexes Cole. And again. The champ climbs to the top rope. He drops an elbow and covers Cole. Two count. The two trade kicks back and forth to the crowd’s chagrin. Lethal tries his finisher, but Cole lands a super kick. Cole hits two Last Shots but Lethal kicks out! Cole screams, “The title is mine! You ain’t shit!” Then he spits on Lethal. Lethal hits the Lethal Injection but Cole kicks out. Crowd is out of their minds! “This Is Awesome!” chant. Last Shot, Shining Wizard, Last Shot by Cole and he covers Lethal to take the title! Oh my! The world title changes hands! Jay Lethal put on the fight of his life but just couldn’t over come! A fantastic sports spectacle! Now, THAT is pro-wrestling. Cole doesn’t realize that Kyle O’Riley has crept up behind him. He turns and O’Riley clobbers him to end the show.
A fantastic crowd in Las Vegas tonight, helped to feed the atmosphere and make each wrestler feel welcomed. All competitors brought their A-game and the night flew by. There wasn’t a bad match on the card, at all. There were no lulls in action, there wasn’t even time to take a breath. This one was balls to the walls from the gate. Bravo to Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling both for bringing us an epic pay-per-view. I enjoyed every moment. What did you all think? Let us know your favorites moments and matches in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
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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 is a carry over from last week’s episode, giving us part 2 of the September 27, 2015 matches from the World Memorial Hall in Kobe, Japan. We’ll see tag team action and a Battle For the Right of Challenge match. As per usual, Jim Ross and Josh Barnett are on commentary. Let’s review some matches!
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish defend the IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship against Kushida and Alex Shelly (the Time Splitters) to kick things off. Shelly and Kushida come out first. Fish and O’Reilly, of Ring of Honor fame, come down second. Kushida and O’Reilly start the match. Mat work to start, with lots of counters and an applause break from the crowd. Shelly and O’Reilly take turns working Shelly’s left arm for a few moments, not allowing him to tag Kushida back in. He finally gets the tag and goes to work kicking Fish. Kushida locks in a hold on Fish as Shelly locks up O’Reilly. O’Reilly slaps Kushida over and over. Kushida punches back and then works on the left arm of Fish, getting payback for his partner. Dragon Screw from Fish drops Kushida to the mat. Great action to start the show as we head to our first commercial break.
After the break, Shelly and O’Reilly are in the ring. Kushida climbs in and he and his partner take turns punching O’Reilly. Outside of the ring, Fish runs Kushida into the metal barricade. Shelly drops O’Reilly in the ring with a right hand. O’Reilly recovers and the two trade punches and kicks until Shelly is dropped by a clothesline and then a vertical brain buster. Kick out at two and O’Reilly rolls him over for an arm bar. Fish leaps off the top rope and headbutts Shelly’s shoulder. Kushida moonsaults off the top rope and breaks the hold. Shelly rolls up O’Reilly but kick out at two. Fish and O’Reilly double team Shelly and get a near fall on him. Crowd applauds the effort. Outside the ring, Kushida leaps off the apron onto Fish, and then O’Reilly drop kicks him over the railing. Ref starts a twenty count as all four men are out of the ring. Shelly and O’Reilly roll inside. A fantastic series of moves from Fish and O’Reilly on Shelly, garnering a cheer from the crowd. Not even sure what all those moves were called but damn fun to watch. Chasing the Dragon finisher by O’Reilly and Fish. Shelly is covered for the three count. Now that’s the kind of wrestling I like to watch. Fast-paced, lot of great offense. Just a well-rounded tag match with four great competitors. Two thumbs up. After the match, Roppongi Vice comes down and attacks all four men, demanding a shot at the titles.
The right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the Tokyo Dome is on the line in our second and final match of the show. Basically, this is a #1 Contender match to be in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom. Current “rights holder” is Hiroshi Tanahashi. Bad Luck Fale is challenging him, being accompanied to the ring by Tama Tonga. Crowd starts a Tanahashi chant as soon as the bell rings and the crowd favorite is shoved to the mat by Fale. The big man takes down Tanahashi and works some mat holds. Fale picks up Tanahashi and throws him over the top rope. Back in the ring, Tanahashi tries to pick Fale up for a body slam and just can’t get him up. So instead Fale picks him up and dumps him onto the apron, then clotheslines him to the floor. Tama Tonga of the Bullet Club attacks Tanahashi while the ref is distracted. Fale splashes onto Tanahashi on the apron and then throws him hard into the metal barricade. Then again. Ref starts a twenty count. Tanahashi rolled in at 19. Fale steps on Tanahashi’s chest, holding onto the ropes. A knee to the gut and a slam floors Tanahashi. When he recovers, he again tries to lift Fale and almost gets him up, but Tanahashi collapses on him and slams down on top of him. Down on the mat, Fale grips Tanahashi’s shoulder. He scoops Tanahashi up and slams him down. He goes for a splash but Tanahashi moves. After a series of running forearms off the ropes, Tanahashi is finally able to drop Fale. A senton on Fale and a near fall. Tanahashi uses his legs to take Fale over the top rope and onto the floor outside. Tanahashi climbs to the top turnbuckle and leaps out and onto Fale. Commercial break.
Twenty count going on when we return from break. Both men get back in and Tanahashi tries locking in a leg submission but Fale kicks him away, then hits a huge splash. Tanahashi kicks out at two. Fale literally sits on Tanahashi’s chest to pin him but he narrowly kicks out at two. Fale tries for his finisher but Tanahashi slaps him to the mat. Fall away slam by Fale. He spears Tanahashi and tries his finisher. Tanahashi blocks it and hits a Slingblade. Top rope and Tanahashi leaps off only to be caught by Fale and dropped. Cover, but another kick out. Crowd is lively now. Tanahashi superplexes Fale off the top rope! High Fly Flow frog splash off the top rope and Tanhashi pins the big man for the win. What a really smart match. Fantastic outing from both competitors. Fale is a tremendous worker for a big man. If Braun Strowman in WWE watched some tapes of Bad Luck Fale, he could really learn how to be a big man working a match. After the match Tanahashi gets on the mic and calls out Naito. Naito walks out holding a chair. Tanahashi says he will put his rights on the line if Naito will fight him. Naito walks half way down the ramp and then turns quickly around and leaves. Crowd is unhappy with the typical Naito antics.
Next Friday is going to be a whopper. AXSTV has promised three new back-to-back episodes so we will have a long, in-depth article covering all that happens. If you aren’t watching this show, you are really missing out. If you did tune in, let us know what you thought about the matches in the comments below. See you next Friday!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
AXS TV took a break broadcasting a new NJPW episode last week. It was sorely missed in the F2H household. But they are back this week in their regular 9PM time slot. Let’s see what they have in store for us, with lots of gold on the line. Josh Barnett and Jim Ross on commentary as per usual.
Tonight’s matches come from September 23rd at the Okayama Prefectural Multipurpose Grounds auditorium at the Momotaro Arena in Okayama, Japan. There are some good matches coming our way. First up is a match for the IWGP Tag Team Championships. Champs Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows (Bulletclub) take on Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima (as the team Tencozy). Tenzan and Gallows start the match. Although Tenzan is no lightweight, Gallows massively towers over him. Gallows starts the match dominant, tossing Tenzan around. Amazingly, Tenzan gets him up for a suplex and his momentum carries on. Cover, but no count from the ref as Gallows moves quickly. Triangle submission hold by Tenzan, Gallows stands him up, but Tenzan slams him down, never taking the hold off. Tenzan climbs the top rope but Anderson grabs his ankle and Gallows kicks him off. Anderson tags in.
Doesn’t take long for Kojima to get the tag and he hammers Anderson in the corner. Opposite corner and a full body slam. Climbs the top rope and drops an elbow. Two count kickout by Anderson. Crowd starts a Kojima chant, but Anderson shuts that down with a running dropkick. Powerbomb attempt by Anderson, Kojima reverses. Gallows enters and they tag team Kojima. Ref does nothing to stop it. Kojima nearly falls, but kicks out at a late two. The Club goes for their finisher, but Tenzan runs in and breaks it up. Anderson sets up Kojima but it’s reversed, and he hits a Koji Cutter on Anderson. All four men in the ring with only Gallows standing, but Kojima flips him over with a vicious clothesline. Suplex on Anderson and a cover. Slow count by the ref and Anderson kicks out at two. Clothesline on Anderson and another kickout at two. Tenzan breaks up the action, attacking Anderson. But a quick counter and the native boys are both down. Magic Killer on Kojima and this one is over. Gallows and Anderson retain. Brutal match. Some funky language by Gallows throughout that AXS did not try to censor and that seemed shocking to the crowd. Great match. I wish WWE would let Gallows and Anderson run like this. After the match Gallows and Anderson cut a promo while drinking beer. It’s hilarious. Good start to the show.
Second bout of the night is Kushida versus Kenny Omega for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Kushida wears the belt in, lets see if he can overcome another member of the infamous Bulletclub. Kenny Omega tries to shake hands before the match. Kushida reluctantly reaches out. The shake goes without incident and the crowd claps for Omega’s sportsmanship. Seems like a trick, though, and Kushida is definitely going to keep his guard up. Omega starts grappling, and Kushida takes him down to the mat. It’s obvious from the start this one is evenly matched. Omega gets Kushida against the ropes, ref calls for a break and Omega again shows sportsmanship and cleanly breaks. Crowd claps again. The match slows way down as Omega shakes his hand again, but finally the other foot falls and Omega spits in Kushida’s face. Sportsmanship over. Kushida throws Omega out of the ring, leaps out and tries a Hurricanrana but Omega reverses it, slams him down. Gallows grabs Kushida and holds him. Omega jumps in the ring and tries to leap out but Kushida moves and Gallows is taken out. Kushida’s turn to leap out of the ring and he drops Omega. Ref starts a twenty count.
Moonsault by Kushida but Omega kicks out. Kushida puts in a wrist lock. Omega breaks out and hits a gut wrench powerbomb, but Omega narrowly kicks out. The two trade kicks, then Omega goes off the rope, springboard into an elbow and Omega down. Gallows in the ring, but Alex Shelly stops him. Kushida takes both men down and then Omega grabs him and then hits him with a knee. Omega lifts him up for the One Winged Angel finisher but Kushida breaks out of it and then kicks him in the chest. Anderson runs in and hits a modified Stunner on Kushida. This time Omega hits One Winged Angel, and Kushida drops the belt. Omega wins via pinfall and is the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. After he gets on the mic and calls out Matt Sydal. In a backstage interview Kushida curses shame on Omega and asks him, “Is that the way you want to win?”
Our final matchup tonight is for the NEVER Openweight Championship, featuring champion Togi Makabe taking on challenger Kota Ibushi. Makabe clearly has the size advantage. Red Shoes is refereeing the match. Ibushi goes right at the champ, but can’t move him. A dropkick off the ropes finally drops Makabe to the mat. They roll around on the mat trading punches. It spills out of the ring. Makabe throws Ibushi stomach first into the metal guard rails. He rolls back in the ring and the ref starts the twenty count. Ibushi rolls in only to take some punches in the corner. Makabe runs the show now and Ibushi barely holds on. Vicious kick off the rope and Ibushi takes the champ down. Punches traded in the middle of the ring, spinning gut kick by Ibushi. Makabe out of the corner and he takes another kick, near fall but he kicks out at two. The champ recovers, gets Ibushi up into a King Kong Powerbomb and slams him down. Ibushi kicks out at two. Clothesline in the corner and a series of blows by Makabe. Ibushi breaks out and delivers his own headshots on the top rope. Frankensteiner into a cover, but Makabe kicks out. Huge clothesline by Ibushi and the champ slams into the mat.
After a quick commercial break, both men are outside the ring. Makabe throws Ibushi into the steel guard rail on one side and then the other. Makabe gets a table and the crowd oh’s and ah’s. Makabe gets Ibushi up for a powerbomb, but Ibushi reverses it and then dropkicks Makabe into the guard rail. Ibushi adjusts the table and picks Makabe up. Ibushi lays Makabe on the table, climbs to the top rope and jumps off, stomping Makabe in the chest. The table does NOT break, and it looks like Makabe took a hard blow. Ref starts a twenty count, which seems about four minutes late. Both men roll back in the ring. Huge powerbomb by Ibushi and Makabe barely gets his shoulder up before three. Crowd is applauding and cheering now. Great series of moves between the two men in the corner and Ibushi suplexes into a bridge. Slow count by Red Shoes and Makabe kicks out. Ibushi tries a flip off the top rope but Makabe moves and Ibushi takes the impact right on his head, face first. Kicks and clotheslines by Ibushi but Makabe does not go down. They trade clotheslines and both refuse to drop. They wobble in the center of the ring. Punches back and forth between the two. Makabe clotheslines the hell out of him and goes for a cover, but Ibushi kicks out. Makabe throws Ibushi off the top rope, King Kong Knee Drop and that’s the ballgame. Makabe retains. What a fantastic match! Kota comes out and gets in Makabe’s face after the match. The champ gets on the mic and says he is going to show everyone true pro-wrestling. In regards to his challenger, Makabe said Ibushi’s great skill brought his anger out and that’s why he won the match.
Great to see NJPW moving in the 2015 calendar year with their broadcasts. They were stuck for several weeks in July 2015 showing all the great G1 Climax Tournament. Three great matches for vital championships in Japan. That main event was in the right spot. A fantastic battle between Ibushi and Makabe. The story told in Omega and Kushida’s match was brilliant. And the opening bout between The Club and Tencozy was fun to watch. Another excellent outing for NJPW.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker