New Japan is back after an incredible G1 and is now on the Road to Destruction. No iPPV for this one, instead this show appeared on Japan’s Samurai TV.
Kota Ibushi is in action for the first time (in New Japan) since his title loss and injury at the hands of KUSHIDA. No A.J. Styles, but the bullet Club is in action against CHAOS in an 5 on 5 elimination tag match.
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Alex Shelley & Sho Tanaka vs. El Desperado & Taichi
Sho Tanaka! My second favourite Young Lion. Taichi! My least favourite human being, followed closely by Yujiro Takahashi.
Taichi came out with his microphone again. I can’t tell if he’s singing or just lip syncing. Nor do I care.
Tanaka was looking hot, until Taichi blasted him with a superkick. Taichi attacked Shelley’s still taped shoulder. Shelley is one of three wrestlers sporting injured shoulders on this show, along with Alex Koslov and Tomohiro Ishii. In Japan it’s injured shoulders, in the U.S. it’s broken legs (Silas Young, Davey Richards).
Tanaka put Desperado in the Boston Crab, but Taichi broke it up. Desperado put Tanaka away with a double team Guitarra de la Muerta (Death Guitar?).
Good little opener.
Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Maximo & BUSHI
Hey it’s Maximo. I haven’t seen him since the last Fantasticamania. I don’t get to see much CMLL.
Pretty funny start with Liger and Tiger trying their darndest not to have to wrestle Maximo. Liger sneakily started the match with BUSHI. Maximo got tagged in and Tiger Mask was reluctant to enter the match. BUSHi and Maximo make for a pretty fun tag team. Maximo’s thing was trying to kiss his opponents throughout the match, which made the finish quite funny. Liger gave Maximo a taste of his own medicine by rudely pulling down his singlet to reveal Maximo’s left nipple, then kissing a shocked Maximo and rolling him up for the win. Funny stuff.
Maximo’s reactions are really good. I really liked how everyone was shocked at what Liger did. Tiger wouldn’t even shake Liger’s hand after the match. Fantastically ridiculous shenanigans.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan
Yohei! It’s been so long since I’ve seen Yohei in a match. What a treat!
My favourite part of this match was when the Captain ill-advisedly hit Tenzan with his own Mongolian chops. That ended in a wheel kick by Tenzan.
Komatsu got caught in a double team move by Nakanishi and Nagata. Nakanishi came off the top ropes with a chop while Nagata kicked Komatsu in the head. Captain New Japan finished off Komatsu with the Caribbean Death Grip.
Fine match. Zero for two for the Young Lions.
Toru Yano, Rocky Romero & Alex Kozlov vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka & TAKA Michinoku
Uff, Iizuka. Here we go. On the other hand, it’s great to see the team of Romero and Koslov back together after Koslov’s shoulder injury. His shoulder is still taped up. These guys really need to start taking time off to recover if they want to enjoy a long lasting career. On the other other hand, Taichi came out with Suzukigun looking as awful as ever. Not so great to see.
Koslov and Romero had their patented disagreement/almost fight/make up hug. Suzuki kicked Romero in the back as he came off the ropes and then put him in an armbar using the top rope. Meanwhile, Yano was getting choked out by Iizuka in the crowd somewhere.
TAKA copied Romero’s repeated lariats in the corner, finished it up with a high knee.
Yano came in and immediately removed the corner turnbuckle. Yano and Iizuka took turns running into it and inverted dropping each other.
Romero and Koslov hit few nice double team moves on Suzuki, before Suzuki caught Koslov with the Gotch piledriver for the win.
Pretty fun match overall. Mainly the parts involving Romero, Koslov and Suzuki. But Yano and Iizuka had a couple of funny moments also. The worst part was Taichi. The worst part is always Taichi. He didn’t really do anything, he’s just the worst.
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Hirooki Goto & Kota Ibushi
It’s the return of Ibushi! Well, to New Japan anyway. He recently returned to DDT in a fun match against Shuji Kondo. It’s great to see him back in action. Hopefully we’ll get to see him and KUSHIDA go at it and have that title match that they should’ve had, instead of delivering concussing kicks.
Old Pastry Eater and Goto started things off. A real battle of the jaw breakers, or breakees, I guess.
Honma came in and missed a Kokeshi on Ibushi, because of course. Makabe and Honma delivered a double team spike piledriver on Ibushi on the outside. That’s a nice “welcome back.”
Honma briefly had Ibushi in a single leg crab, complete with kicks to Ibushi’s head, but Goto threatened to break it up so Honma let go. Honma did that a couple of times – see Goto coming and break up the hold himself out of fear of Goto.
Honma did a nice deadlift suplex on Ibushi. Ibushi turned a Honma lariat into a huricanrana for two. Honma went for the diving Kokeshi, and missed. Surprise. Though he did hit a running Kokeshi headbutt out of the corner. Nice combination by Goto and Ibushi. Goto head butted Honma into a bridging German by Ibushi. Ibushi kicked Honma’s head off and squished him with the Phoenix Splash for the win.
Really fun match. Nice return win for Ibushi. But poor Honma. Poor poor Honma. When oh when will you win again?
Goto and Makabe continued fighting after the bell. Luckily, Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu were there to pull them apart. Well, they tried.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA vs. Tetsuya Naito & Ryusuke Taguchi
Oh Taguchi. Will you ever get your groove back? Actually, Taguchi looked pretty good in this match. He and KUSHIDA work really well together. The final sequence between the two of them was really fun. A lot of back and forth, nearfalls and reveals, ending when Taguchi locked on the Ankle Lock and KUSHIDA tapped. Tanahashi and Naito were kind of just there. Surprisingly, they didn’t click very well in this match.
Taguchi cut a fairly lackluster promo after the match. He is actually good in the ring, like this match showed, but his personality and charisma are just not coming through at the moment.
Special Elimination Match: Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Gedo vs. Karl Anderson, Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows, Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga
Ishii, YOSHI, and Nakamura came out together, but Okada got his own entrance (with Gedo of course). Selfish. Bullet Club all came out together (not out of the closet). I aways think it’s better for a team to make their entrance as a team. Unity and all that.
I believe it’s ‘over the top’ rules. Fale tried to throw out Nakamura immediately. CHAOS made the save. By the way, why on earth is Ishii wrestling. His shoulder is taped and clearly he hasn’t recovered. He should not be working yet. That Japanese mentality is going shorten his career.
Ishii took down Takahashi with a shoulder block using his injured shoulder. You’re killing me, Ishii.
Tama Tonga speared YOSHI out of his boots from out of the corner. I’m happy to see YOSHI-HASHI back. It’s been a while. Something something makes the heart grow fonder. I hope this is the start of a new era for YOSHI. A new jobber-less era.
Okada came in like a house on fire and tore Anderson apart. He hit everything but the Rainmaker. Gedo came in and got some good near falls on Tonga, but was eventually eliminated with a double underhook DDT. Nakamura evened things up with a Boma Ye on Tonga to eliminate him. Nakamura put Fale into an armbar using the top rope. Both men toppled out to be eliminated.
Ishii got Gallows up for a nice vertical suplex and a big lariat. Ishii got caught on the apron and Gallows big booted him to the floor and out of the match. Okada quickly eliminated Gallows with a lariat over the top rope. Anderson went for a sneaky Gun Stun but Okada caught him, put him on the apron, and dropkicked him out. Okada’s hot streak ended when an already eliminated Anderson kicked him off the apron.
It now comes down to YOSHI-HASHI and Takahashi. The battle of the Hashis. Really fun back and forth. Yujiro hit a fisherman buster but YOSHI kicked out. He then kicked out of an Angle Slam. The YOSHI of old would’ve lost by now. This really could be a new era. YOSHI escaped Miami Shine and hit a big lariat. He did a nice powerbomb and rolled over to make it a pin but only got two. He then went to the top and hit a Jeff Hardy Swanton to put Takahashi away. YOSHI-HASHI just…WON! My gawd! CHAOS was more surprised than me.
After the match, Gedo cut a promo. It looks like Okada and YOSHI are challenging the tag champs.
All in all a really fun show. It was great to see a lot of the guys who were missing during the G1. Ibushi looked good in his return. I’d really like to see him and KUSHIDA have another go at their title match.
It was nice to see the Young Lions in action too. Tanaka and Komatsu are both really fun to watch.
Seeing three wrestlers perform with taped up shoulders was a little discouraging. I understand that it’s the Japanese mentality to just work through it, but they’ve got to think about the long term effects or they’re careers will be sadly shortened.
KUSHIDA and Taguchi managed to outshine both Naito and Tanahashi in their tag team match. KUSHIDA and Taguchi, despite his lack of heat, work really well together and put on really enjoyable match.
The 5 on 5 main event was a lot of fun, especially with YOSHI-HASHI being the one to get the win. It looks like YOSHI-HASHI and Kazuchika Okada have got their eyes on Anderson and Gallows’ tag team titles.
All in all a very good show and a very welcome return to action for New Japan.