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Kevin’s NJPW Castle Attack Night Two Review

February 28, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Castle Attack
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Kevin’s NJPW Castle Attack Night Two Review  

NJPW Castle Attack Night Two

February 28th, 2021 | Osaka Jo-Hall in Osaka, Japan

Okay, so there was no way I was going to review night one. Putting The Guerrillas of Destiny in singles matches is cruel and unusual punishment that I refuse to have subjected myself too. Of the important matches White/Ishii ruled (****) and Okada/EVIL existed (**¾). This show has a few interesting things so I’ll give it a shot.

The Empire vs. TenKoji
Will Ospreay is still a bad human being. Satoshi Kojima is seemingly as wholesome as they come. Choosing who to root for here is easy. These guys have worked a ton lately and have had some quality bouts so they knew what they were doing here. I liked the action, Tenzan is best in tag matches these days and Kojima is still awesome. There was something I wondered about. Tenzan used the Mongolian Chops that he was banned from using. They never made it clear what the repercussions would be if he used them. Would it be a DQ? Suspension? Fine? If WWE booked this and didn’t explain it, they’d get roasted. Anyway, Kojima hit the lariat on Cobb and scored a surprising win heading into the New Japan Cup after 9:56. A good tag even with the odd chops stuff. [***]

Chase Owens, EVIL and Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano
Okada’s theme makes me wanna twerk. Jay’s theme is sick too but in a different way. This was your usual multi-man tag fare. The guys who had big matches yesterday took the night off a bit other than Ishii who was still pissed about losing. Jay White can afford to do that because his character work can carry him. EVIL and Okada were there, while Yano bought the comedy and Owens took the bumps. Okada beat Owens with the Money Clip in 8:35. Fine enough for what it was. [**¼]

IWGP Tag Team Championship: The Guerrillas of Destiny [c] vs. Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI
The rest of the show involves titles. Imagine booking your entire division around Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa. That’s just asking for disaster. No wonder it’s the worst division in all of wrestling. Anyway, a lot of this match followed traditional tag formula. YOSHI-HASHI played the face in peril, always bringing fire to his hope spots. A hot tag to Goto is rough since I don’t think anyone cares about him anymore. He got booked into oblivion a long time ago. G.O.D. got help from Jado to hit a Gun Stun and retain after 15:46. Inoffensive and solid enough. If you want another example of this joke of a division, G.O.D. is on their seventh reign and this was their 11th successful title defense ever. Yikes. [**½]

NEVER Openweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi [c] vs. The Great-O-Khan
GO ACE! New Japan would be a lot better if I just got to see Tanahashi 24/7. The Ace carried this goofy character to a good match in the Tokyo Dome. This time around, O-Khan came out firing and tried to put Tanahashi away quickly. A lot of this was O-Khan bringing the more hard hitting style the division is known for while Tanahashi opted for the classic style he’s made famous. It’s part of his goal to make this a piece of the division and I am all for it. An interesting moment occurred late involving Yota Tsuji. O-Khan wanted him to hand him a chair but Tsuji opted to slide it to Tanahashi, who hit a drop toe hold onto it. I’m glad that didn’t immediately set up the finish as Tanahashi and O-Khan went at it for a bit more. There’s something about Tanahashi matches that make the drama work where it doesn’t for a lot of other NJPW guys. Tanahashi eked out a win with a counter leading to a pin after 18:44. An improvement on the WK match due to the story and you can tell that this had Tanahashi’s fingerprints all over it. [***½]

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs. El Desperado vs. El Phantasmo
The injury to Hiromu Takahashi sucks. Of these three, I like BUSHI, ELP is okay, and Desperado is fantastic. Since NJPW doesn’t run these matches that often, they don’t have many common tropes to fall into. They still use the ones seen in WWE a ton like one guy being out of the action for a bit but that’s to be expected. Desperado was taken out with a piledriver on the aisle and by being unmasked by ELP. The segment with just ELP and BUSHI going at it wasn’t anything special and you just knew they were killing time until Desperado returned. When he did, things picked back up. They delivered some solid drama late as you got the feeling that with Gedo’s love of gaijin, he would’ve put the title on ELP. However, Desperado surprised many by hitting Pinche Loco twice and beating ELP in 23:12. A hell of a week for Desperado, winning two titles. He deserved this after stellar performances lately and especially in the BOSJ Finals last year. A very good match only hampered a bit by the middle portion. [***¾]

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi [c] vs. Tetsuya Naito
It’s a Wrestle Kingdom rematch. Ibushi won their matches at the G1 23 (****), 2015 New Japan Cup (****), G1 28 (****¼), 2019 New Japan Cup (****½), G1 Supercard (****¼), and WK 15 (****½). Naito won at the G1 27 (****¾) and Dominion 2019 (****¼). There’s also the story of Naito trying to save the title he once loathed. Unlike some of their other matches, this one went to the mat early, which made sense given that both men had bad knees entering this. It made for a slower burn than their previous matches, which was welcome since they usually to balls to the wall and try to kill each other. I liked this approach and appreciated that the whole thing moved picked up at just the right time. It was only after trading submissions that they moved into the stuff they’re known for. Again, I bought into the drama here because there was a legitimate chance that Naito would win. I bit on near falls, though not for Destino because that never ends it. In fact, his second Destino was blocked and that exchange led to the Kamigoye that put him away after 27:50. A great main event though not on the level of their best work. [****]

Post-match, El Desperado came out to challenge Ibushi for the Anniversary Show. That’s a match I didn’t know I needed but GIVE IT TO ME. To top it off, Desperado issued a challenge for the double gold gimmick. Do it, Gedo. Don’t be a coward. Make Despy a quadruple champion.

The final score: review Good
The 411
That was an enjoyable show. It didn’t go too long and nothing was bad. The middle matches were skippable but inoffensive. The main event is great, Desperado got to look like a star, and Tanahashi was once again the ace.