411′s NJPW King of Pro Wrestling PPV Review 10.11.12
To say this will be uninformed analysis would be an understatement. I don’t follow NJPW closely at all (I try to watch the Devitt and Okada related matches when time allows), but I wanted to check in when they produced such a big show with so much hype. Feel free to yell at me in comments for not knowing things about the product, the wrestlers, the currents stories, etc.
October 8, 2012
Ryogoku Sumo Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata & Strong Man vs. CHAOS (Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii)
Strong Man! This was labeled as a Manabu Nakanishi Return Match.
The rudos jumped Nakanishi. Nakanishi made his own comeback though and tagged in Strong Man. Strong Man did his thing, and Nakanishi tagged back in. The rudos used a steel chair to cut him off though. They choked and beat him with the chair. Bullies. Then they worked him over in the ring. Nakanishi was able to tag out to Nagata, who made a hot tag. Nagata got a nearfall on Ishii with an exploder. Yano came into the match and ate a gamengiri from Nagata. The tecnicos did a stereo submission spot, but eventually the rudos escaped. Nakanishi killed Yano with a German suplex. Yano hit Nakanishi with a kick to the balls (in front of the referee) and Iizuka hit Nakanishi with a metal glove thing (behind the ref’s back): 1…2…3. Apparently it’s a metal finger.
I was actually really enjoying that until the crap finish. It was nothing special, but I had fun during most of it. Has Strong Man always been doing a Scott Steiner impression? I’ve been aware of Strong Man for a while, but I’ve never sought out his matches.
Match Rating: **
Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov)© vs. The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) [IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles]
Time Splitters isolated Rocky in the early goings. The champs ended up on the floor, and the tecnicos took them out with stereo slingshot planchas. The champs were able to play the numbers game to isolate Shelley. They got the heat on him for a bit. Koslov did his Russian dance spot, complete with stereotypical Russian hat. Rocky and Koslov acted like they were about to fight at one point, but instead, they hugged it out. Great men. Shelley was finally able to tag out, and KUSHIDA ran WILD on the champs. KUSHIDA hit a standing moonsault on Koslov for a nearfall. Romero gave KUSHIDA a super hurricanrana, and Koslov hit him with a frog splash: 1…2…NO! Koslov hit KUSHIDA with a big thrust kick: 1…2…NO! Shelley finally recovered and helped send the champs to the floor. Shelley and KUSHIDA then hit stereo dives. KUSHIDA hit Romero with a moonsault, and Koslov had to make the save. Romero dumped Shelley to the floor. KUSHIDA tried to powerbomb Romero, but the champ reversed it into a rollup: 1…2…3!
Great Jr. tag title match, especially for the second match on the show. I’ve never been a big fan of Koslov or Romero, but they are awesome together. KUSHIDA and Shelley have great chemistry for such a new team, and they should hopefully get more great matchups in NJPW. I really enjoyed this one.
Match Rating: ***1/2
Kota Ibushi© vs. Low Ki [IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title]
Ki won the belt from Devitt a few months ago, but then Kota won the belt from Ki in July. This is the rematch. I heard their first match together was awesome, but I have yet to see it.
Ibushi went for a moonsault to the floor early, but Ki was able to dump him onto the barricade on the floor. Low Ki worked Ibushi over after that. Ibushi came back with some kicks. Ibushi kicking is always fun. Ki locked in an abdominal stretch. Ki ended up on the apron, and Ibushi hit the carthwheel kick to send Ki to the floor. Ibushi then hit his moonsault to the floor. Back in the ring, Ibushi hit a standing shooting star for a nearfall. Ibushi hit a bridging German for another nearfall. Ki avoided the double jump moonsault and killed Ibushi with a shotgun dropkick: 1…2…NO! Ki avoided another suplex and hit a double stomp: 1…2…NO! Ibushi came back with a standing corkscrew moonsault: 1…2…NO! Ibushi hit a buckle bomb for another nearfall. Ibushi went to the top rope, but Ki kicked his legs out. Ki then hit a SUPER KI KRUSHER! (He struggled a bit to hit that): 1…2…3!!! Ki is now a three-time champion.
A hell of a match here, and it’s gotta be one of the best Ki matches since he got fired from the WWE. It’s no surprise it happened with Ibushi who has been one of wrestling’s most entertaining workers for years now. KI still has plenty to contribute to the professional wrestling business if that’s what he wants to do. I will definitely track down their first match now.
Match Rating: ***3/4
Prince Devitt (in a suit) showed up after the match. Devitt says he wants the belt back. Ki says he is the best in the world.
TenKoji (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan)© vs. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) [IWGP Tag Team Titles]
Smith and Archer jumped the champs at the bell. The gaijin are the rudos, and they started the match working over Kojima. Kojima managed to hit Archer with an Ace Crusher, and he then tagged in Tenzan. Lance Hoyt is YOUR heel in peril. Smith eventually got bored and attacked Tenzan from behind. They hit Tenzan with the Hart Attack for a nearfall. The rudos worked over Tenzan for a bit. Archer even did Taker’s Old School on Tenzan. Weird. Kojima and Smith tagged in, and Kojima delivered a million fucking chops in the corner. Kojima hit a diving elbow drop for a nearfall. The champs hit Smith with the 3-D. Archer ate the 3-D as well. Smith hit Kojima with a Liger Bomb for a nearfall. Archer gave Tenzan a chokeslam. Archer and Smith gave Tenzan a double powerbomb. Kojima then ate a double powerbomb: 1…2…3! Decisive victory for the new champs.
I’m not really interested in any of these guys, but they worked a smart match that definitely got the crowd invested. It’s hard to believe that Lance Hoyt is having a successful run in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Match Rating: ***
Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi
These guys were a great team once upon a time. It seems like forever ago. Naito of course had one of the best matches of the year against Okada.
Yujiro attacked him before the bell. Naito managed to send him to the floor. Naito was selling his right leg, which was bandaged up. Yujiro gave Naito a super armdrag that caused Naito to writhe in pain. Yujiro went after the injured leg. Naito tried for a couple of pinning combinations, but Yujiro survived them and hit a big lariat: 1…2…NO! Yujiro hit a Dominator. Yujiro then locked a cool leg submission. The referee stops the match, and Yujiro wins.
Yujiro brought in two steel chairs after the match, and he gave Naito’s injured knee a con-chair-to. Naito had to be stretchered out.
This was more of an angle than a match. I thought it was well done.
Match Rating: **
Togi Makabe & Wataru Inoue vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata
Shibata and Inoue started the match. They brawled briefly on the floor, but they made it back to the ring, where the rudos worked over Inoue. Inoue was eventually able to escape and tag in Makabe. Sakuraba illegally locked in a kimura. The rudos then double teamed Makabe. Inoue tagged back in. Inoue speared Shibata, but Sakuraba got a sleeper on Inoue. Shibata then delivered a stiff running kick to the chest of Inoue: 1…2…3
This was a fun, heated (like everything on this show) brawl. It didn’t overstay its welcome as the crowd was into everything for the short duration (less than eight minutes). This isn’t a match that anyone will remember from this show, but it’s not one to skip at all.
Match Rating: **3/4
Kazuchika Okada © vs. Karl Anderson [IWGP Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership in Tokyo Dome]
Okada had previously earned this title shot by winning the G1 Climax. Anderson was his opponent in the finals, and he is now getting another chance to earn that title shot. Why? I’m not entirely sure. Someone should leave a condescending comment explaining why. Okada has become one of the best wresters in the world this year. As much as I like Anderson, NJPW would be insane to not have Okada win the belt on January 4th from CenaHashi.
Okada slapped Anderson. Anderson was in control after that for a bit. Anderson went after Okada’s right arm. Okada avoided a knee drop. They ended up on the floor, and Okada used the barricade to hit an elevated DDT. Okada tried to get a countout win, but Anderson made it back into the ring. Okada started to work him over. Anderson managed to hit a not-so sick kick, and he then made a comeback. They ended up on the floor, and Ander dropkicked Okada over the barricade. Anderson then hit an elevated neckbreaker to the floor. Anderson hit a superplex for a nearfall. Okada came back with an Air Raid Backbreaker for a nearfall. Okada hit a high angle FU for another nearfall. Anderson came back with a diving neckbreaker for another nearfall. Anderson then hit a TKO for another nearfall. Okada went for a Tonbstone, but Anderson reversed into one of his own: 1…2…NO!!! Anderson went for an Ace Crusher, but Okada avoided it. They did a bunch of awesome reversals until Okada hit a Tombstone and then the RAINMAKER: 1…2…3!!!!!!
Just an awesome match. I don’t know what else to say. These two will hopefully have a chance to main event a show for the IWGP Heavyweight Title next year. Okada is truly one of the best in the world. He is the total package. Anderson’s improvement has also been incredible to watch. Hopefully, he is a singles star in NJPW for years to come.
Match Rating: ****
Shinsuke Nakamura© vs. Hirooki Goto [IWGP Intercontinental Title]
Shinsuke’s mannerism seem straight out of a 90′s action movie.
They ended up on the floor early with Goto in control. They returned to the ring with Goto still in firm control. Goto locked in a submission that looked like a Koji Clutch variation. Shinsuke managed to get to the ropes. Shinsuke came back with a running knee strike and a double stomp. They brawled some more. This match is a big comedown from the last match. Shinsuke hit a backbreaker out of a Fireman’s Carry, but then Goto hit a neckbreaker out of a fireman’s carry. Goto hit a discus lariat for a nearfall. They ended up on the top rope, and Goto hit a super neckbreaker out of a fireman’s carry. Goto then hit a Blue Thunder Slam (I made that name up): 1…2…NO! Shinsuke came back with a short range knee strike and then the Boma Ye (knee trembler): 1…2…3!
I’ll probably take some flak for not digging this match too much, but these two really never got me invested like a lot of other matches did on this show. It was fine and all, but it just wasn’t on the same level as some of the stuff that has come before it.
Match Rating: ***1/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi© vs. Minoru Suzuki [IWGP Heavyweight Title]
Suzuki unsuccessfully challenged Cenahashi for the belt at this year’s Dome show. Cenahashi lost the belt to Okada, but has since regained it. Suzuki defeated Tanahashi during the G1 to earn this match.
Tanahashi locked in an abdominal stretch and seemingly mocked Suzuki. The crowd and Suzuki did not appreciate this. Suzuki locked in a triangle choke in the ropes. They spilled to the floor, and Suzuki used the barricade to do an armbar. Suzuki continued to go after Tanahashi’s left arm. Suzuki brought him back to the ring, and he continued to go after Tanahashi’s injured left arm for a while. It was grand. Suzkui went for a running kick, but Tanahashi caught his leg and hit a dragon screw. Suzuki sold the injury like his right knee exploded. Tanahashi was still selling his left arm, but he was now in control of the match. Suzuki managed to come back by getting a kimura on the injured arm. Suzuki was biting the tape that was covering Tanahashi’s injured arm. Suzuki got a cross armbreaker, but he couldn’t fully lock it in. Tanahashi managed to make the ropes. Tanahashi went right back after Suzuki’s leg. Tanahashi locked in a Figure Four, and Suzuki writhed in pain. Suzuki fought and fought until he finally made it to the ropes. Suzuki could barely walk, but he managed to hit a dropkick, which got the crowd excited. They traded slaps to the face. Suzuki managed to lock in a sleeper and take the champ down. It looked like Tanahashi had passed out, but he just managed to make it to the ropes. Suzuki delivered a bajillion slaps to the face. Tanahashi tried for another dragon screw, but Suzuki avoided it and got another sleeper. Tanahashi avoided a cradle piledriver and hit a dragon screw on the injured knee. Tanahashi then kicked out that knee. Tanahashi went for a frog splash, but Suzuki got his knees up. Suzuki delivered some more slaps, but Tanahashi managed to get a dragon screw in the ropes and then a diving cross-body. Frog Splash from Tanahashi: 1…2…3!!! Amazing. I believe that was the only pinfall attempt in the entire match.
Yujiro Takahashi showed up after the match. He appears to be the next challenger for the Heavyweight Championship.
This was everything I want from professional wrestling. I imagine myself watching this match over and over again for years to come, because it was just so damn special. They didn’t do a single nearfall during the match, but not once could you call the match boring or anything of the sort. There was great character work, great wrestling strategy, and it was an incredible atmosphere. This is easily one of the best matches of the year. You all absolutely must go out of your way to see this match.
Match Rating: ****3/4
The 411: For the most part, NJPW does not do enough to keep me interested show to show. I’m usually only looking out for certain matches from certain wrestlers, and I can go months without seeing a single match from the promotion. I’m not saying I’m now a hardcore NJPW fan, but I will definitely look to watch more of their big shows if they are anything close to the quality of this. This is the show of the year. Do what you have to watch this show. Here is another good review of the show.
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