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
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