NJPW 42nd Anniversary, Ota Ward Gym, Tokyo 3/6 Report
NOW WITH GIFS!
by Zach Dominello
Opening match: Yohei Komatsu and Sho Tanaka vs. Suzuki Minoru and Taichi
Good short match with simple, but effective storytelling. The young guys are easily outmatched from the get go. Minoru really gave it to them with his kicks and strikes – I was legitimately worried about their well being at one point. The young guys mounted a small comeback and for a split second they had me thinking they could pull off an upset victory, but Minoru (not so much Taichi) was just too good and put away Komatsu with a Kimora lock(?).
Kushida and Manabu Nakanishi vs. Jado & Gedo
Not a bad match, the action was a bit slow whenever Kushida wasn’t in the ring. Nakanishi gets a good reaction from the crowd and is a pretty entertaining performer, but he moves at half a mile an hour. That being said, it’s still impressive seeing him hit a double drop kick from the top rope.
Jado continued with his best Flair impressions – I really love his fake-out Flair flop.
Kushida pinned Gedo after hitting a pretty ugly corkscrew moonsault – Kushida landed on his own face before hitting Gedo. Looked painful for both guys. He should work on that move if he’s going to use it again in the future.
Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask and Super Strong Machine vs. El Desperado, Bushi and Captain New Japan
Not a bad match considering the average age of the competitors involved. Captain New Japan was they guy that got worked over most of the match. The pace quickened when El Desperado and Bushi were involved, but they didn’t really have much to do in the match.
Liger pinned Bushi with a brainbuster.
Bushi’s ring gear was the most interesting thing here. He was wearing a pretty out there matching mask and tights combo – it looked like Mexico threw up on him.
Desperado tried to attack Liger after the match and challenged him to a match. I think Liger made it a mask vs. mask match.
The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Prince Devitt and Tama Tonga) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma and Tougi Makabe
Much better trios match than the previous one. Better action and better storytelling overall.
The Bullet Club won after Fale hit the border toss on Honma after Honma (as always) missed his diving headbutt.
Devitt worked over Taguchi for a lot of the match, building up their one-on-one match later on (if that’s where they’re heading).
Pretty underwhelming show so far. Nothing bad, just forgettable.
During intermission they played some highlights of Inoue’s matches while he himself was talking on commentary.
Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Yujiro Takahashi and Takashi Iizuka vs. Tenzan, Kojima, Yuji Nagata and Kazushi Sakuraba
Iizuka has his pouch around his neck. This does not fair well for commentator Shimpei Nogami (Thanks Dave!). This time he kept it simple and painted a black bikini on Nogami and put on red lipstick.
The heels used the exposed turnbuckles to their advantage early on and worked on Sakuraba most of the match. In the end Kojima pinned YOSHI-HASHI with a lariat. YOSHI-HASHI has been getting pinned a lot lately, a bit like Honma. They’re just the guys that lose matches it seems.
Katsuyori Shibata and Hirooki Goto vs. Doc Gallows and ‘Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson
Doc Gallows looks like a giant Ninja Turtle with that green face paint.
Goto got worked over early on. Anderson hit a really cool running powerbomb – I love that move!
After one double team move by Goto and Shibata, Goto hit his Shouten Kai finisher on Anderson to get the win. Pretty short match – no near falls like you would normally see, just a double team move and a finisher and that’s that. Very decisive win over the tag champs. Shibata is super over – I can’t wait for his eventual title match with Okada.
Good match but I wish there was a bit more tension, it was almost an easy win for the challengers.
Tetsuya Naito and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Shinsuke Nakamura
Ishii and Naito started the match. Crowd is definitely on Ishii’s side. Naito was getting a mix of cheers and boos.
Tanahashi and Nakamura are just amazing working together. In their first exchange they’re doing simple things that get the crowd right into the match. Tanahashi tried to do Nakamura’s shaky leg thing in the corner, but it backfired as Nakamaura turned it into a Tanahashi style dragon screw.
As expected, this match was fantastic. There was good interaction between both guys on both teams, not just Naito vs. Ishii and Tanahashi vs. Nakamura. It was good to see them mix it up a bit.
Ishii pinned Naito with a devastating brainbuster – Ishii brought Naito down right on top of his head. Looked really dangerous. Match of the night so far.
Main Event: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi
This match was pretty brilliant, but the problem going in was that it felt like Ibushi had zero chance of beating Okada. Ibushi is great, but I just couldn’t see Okada losing clean to the junior heavyweight champ.
That being said, both guys worked hard to make it feel like Ibushi could actually pull off a surprise win.
In a scary moment, Okada hit a running dropkick which sent Ibushi flying backwards into the lower turnbuckle, but Ibushi was too low and his head clipped the bottom rope before hitting the apron. Looked like it could have been a serious injury, but Ibushi was fine afterwards.
Okada was in control early on and looked to have the match in his pocket when he hit the tombstone piledriver. Okada went for the Rainmaker lariat but Ibushi hit a lariat of his own – this is where things really picked up and Ibushi looked like he might actually pull off the win. Ibushi hit pretty much all of his big moves, but Okada kicked out each time. Ibushi was on a roll until he missed the Phoenix splash. Okada hit a high German suplex, held on and followed it up with the Rainmaker lariat for the win.
Easily the match of the night. It would have been better if it felt like Ibushi seriously had a chance, but to their credit Ibushi looked strong even though he lost, and I did think for moment Ibushi could actually do it
After the match Okada and Gedo talked to the crowd.
Good show overall, the last two matches were a lot of fun. The Shibata/Goto tag match against Gallows and Anderson was also good, but the ending felt a bit abrupt. As with a lot of New Japan shows I’ve seen over the past year, the lower card was rather forgettable – nothing bad, just forgettable, while the upper card was fantastic.
Thanks to doomsday519.tumblr.com for the GIFS .