Hawke’s NJPW New Year Dash Review 1.5.2017
It’s time for everyone’s favorite 411mania.com tradition! Hawke reviews the biggest NJPW show of the year: NEW YEAR’S DASH~! While I did not review the whole Wrestle Kingdom show from the night before, I did check out some of the matches. You can check out my thoughts if you’re interested.
Onto the big show!
January 5, 2017
Kyle O’Reilly, Ricochet, & David Finlay vs. Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, & Henare
This was a rock solid sprint of a tag opener. Everyone was just flying around in there without a care in the world, and they went home before it could overstay its welcome.
This was a nondescript way for Kyle to finish up in NJPW though. Oh well. Finlay and Ricochet finished the Young Lion off with their combo finisher. (***)
Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu vs. BULLET CLUB (Adam Page & Yuiro Takahashi)
This felt like a leftovers match from a World Tag League instead of something that should be put on the night-after Wrestle Kingdom show. Oh well. Please skip this one, as it was a waste of time. Page won after giving Yoshi the poison tombstone. (1/2*)
BULLET CLUB (Adam Cole, Nick Jackson, & Matt Jackson) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Trent?, & Rocky Romero)
This was a charming undercard match. They didn’t go for a super serious match or anything like that. Instead, they worked at a good clip and packed in plenty of action. The finish even set up a future ROH World Championship shot for YOSHI-HASHI. Fun times. YOSHI won after catching Cole with a small package. (***)
Cole and the Bucks attacked YOSHI-HASHI after the match to confirm that YOSHI vs. Cole is indeed a direction ROH/NJPW is going in.
TEAM2000 (Scott Norton, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Hiro Saito, & Cheeseburger) vs. BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, BONE SOLDIER, & Bad Luck Fale)
Scott Norton is a very charming motherfucker. He was a great wrestler in his prime, and it was nice to see him in some nostalgia matches on #OneFour and #OneFive. He basically got the “Meng” push of 2017. Much like Meng last year, he should be facing Shibata like immediately. Also like Meng though, I need to deal with the fact that it won’t happen. Oh well.
The other real notable aspect of this match was that one Kenny Omega felt like a complete non-entity. Obviously, one would expect him to remain a huge player in NJPW for as long as he’s with the company. It seemed weird that there was no attempt to capitalize on his performance from the night before. Oh well.
Kojima pinned BONE SOLDIER to win this match that allegedly happened. (**1/4)
Los Ingobernables (Hiromu Takahashi & KUSHIDA) vs. Michael Elgin & KUSHIDA
While this match probably went too long for its own good, it was very effective at pushing new title feuds and with being fun in its own right. They worked a high energy match which packed in plenty of solid action. Dragon Lee cameoed to take out Kamaitachi which sets up matches for him with the champ and KUSHIDA. Elgin then got to finish Naito with the Burning Hammer to rekindle their issue for the IC title. While that is not my desired direction for either guy, it was not at least in an impactful enough way to hopefully heat up their rivalry. Thumbs up, NJPW! (***1/4)
Katsuyori Shibata, Yuji Nagata, Juice Robinson, Togi Makabe, & Tomoaki Honma vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, & Will Ospreay)
Besides a fun sequence with Ospreay and Shibata and then a well done comedy routine by Yano, this was some real forgettable stuff. The big takeaways from this match were that Shibata vs. Ospreay and Goto vs. Juice were matches that were going to happen sooner rather than later. Juice even got to pin Goto with the Killswitch. (**1/2)
This match was really here just to set up Suzuki-gun returning and fucking destroying CHAOS. It was a fucking hot angle and done very well. Suzuki and Okada and KES vs. Yano/Ishii were both immediately established as imminent title programs. You would have to expect both title matches on the New Beginning tour.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi, & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Los Ingobernables (EVIL, Sanada, & BUSHI)
This match was for LIJ’s NEVER Openweight Trios Championship.
This was a very easy-to-watch main event. It was nothing to get overly excited about, but it was not bad. The biggest issue the contest had was that Nakanishi was basically the center of attention down the stretch.
Nakanishi is charming for a completely immobile middle-aged gentleman who was literally never close to ever being good at professional wrestling. He should not be the focal point of any match though. The fact that he actually pinned BUSHI cleanly to end the match was just beyond “Meh.” The NEVER trios division has the biggest margin of error for any division in NJPW, and they somehow continue to make it progressively more and more worthless. (**3/4)
The immediate title programs for NJPW look like this:
Okada vs. MiSu
Naito vs. Elgin
Goto vs. Juice
Kamaitachi vs. Dragon Lee and KUSHIDA
Ishii/Yano vs. KES
Old geeks vs. Los Ingobernables.
While some of those matches are not really exciting on paper, most of them are at least fresh which is an important way to start the year.