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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: NJPW New Beginning 2013

August 20, 2013 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: NJPW New Beginning 2013  

February 10, 2013
Hiroshima, Japan

CHAOS (Jado, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, Tama Tonga, Tiger Mask &Yuji Nagata
The match started as a brawl. I assume this will be a nothing match. A tag match broke out. It turned into a brawl again. It turned into a tag match again. This match sucks. The crowd is pretty hot though. Liger got worked over. He eventually tagged out to Tiger Mask. Tiger Mask made a nifty comeback. Tiger Mask got cut off, but he managed to tag out to Nagata. The match broke down again. Eventually, Nagata hit Jado with a bridging saito suplex: 1…2…3

This was way better than the typical NJPW iPPV opener.
Match Rating: **1/4

Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA)© vs. Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) [IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match]
These teams have had five billion matches in the past year (approximately).

Before the match, Koslov sang the Russian national anthem. Everyone stood up and politely listened. Japan is the best. KUSHIDA was briefly worked over to start the match. Shelley tagged in and ran wild for a bit. Eventually, Shelley was cut off, and the Hooligans worked him over ever-so briefly. KUSHIDA tagged in and found much success. KUSHIDA was cut off and worked over. The Hooligans got some nearfalls on him. The champs fought back. Romero ate an Air Raid Crash and a moonsault: 1…2…NO! Koslov saved Rocky from another pinfall situation. Shelley took out Rocky with a tope suicida. KUSHIDA hit Koslov with a corkscrew splash: 1…2…3!

This was a fun junior tag title match. I’m not a big fan of the Hooligans, but I love the Time Splitters. That being said, I wish these teams would face off with someone else for once.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Prince Devitt © vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match]
These two have been multiple time tag team champions. They are both bayfaces here.

Devitt hit the tope con hello early on. Devitt was in control for a while after that. I just noticed that Taguchi’s tights read “Funky Weapon.” The Funky Weapon made a comeback and hit a tope con hello of his own. Back in the ring, Taguchi was in control for a bit. Devitt managed to cut him off with a lariat. Devitt got a nearfall with a double stomp to the back of the neck. Taguchi got a nearfall with a pinning combination. Devitt hit a Pele Kick, but Taguchi fired right back with a lariat. Taguchi got a nearfall with the Dodon. Taguchi went for a super Dodon, but Devitt reversed it into a super brainbuster. Devitt then hit a Ghetto Stomp: 1…2…NO! Great nearfall. Devitt hit the Reverse Bloody Sunday for another nearfall. Devitt then hit a Trouble in Paradise and a Bloody Sunday: 1…2…3!!!

This match was so easy on the eyes and really came out of nowhere as a great time. I’m probably overrating this match, but I just enjoyed it so much. There’s not much else to discuss, other than recommending that you go out of your way to watch it.
Match Rating: ***3/4

Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer)© vs. TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) [IWGP Tag Team Title Match]
The NJPW heavyweight tag title scene is the shits. I feel like we get the same middling match every time out.

The match started as a brawl. The Squad isolated Kojima for a bit. It was whatever. Tenzan tagged in and ran mild (not a typo) for a bit. He was eventually cut off. Smith hit a superplex, and they both tagged out. Kojima ran through Archer. Archer came back with a chokeslam. Archer went for a moonsault, but Kojima avoided it. The match broke down. Smith ate an 3D. Tenzan suffered the double powerbomb. Kojima gave Archer an Ace Cutter and a lariat, but then Taka Michinoku dragged the referee out of the ring. Archer hit Kojima with the Blackout, but Tenzan made the save. Tenzan was taken out, and Kojima then ate the double powerbomb: 1…2…3

The action was whatever and the referee interference was annoying, but the crowd was pretty much into all of this. The match (and the division as it currently stands) is not for me, but I cannot deny that it was successful.
Match Rating: **3/4

Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi
I’ll take matchups I don’t care about for $500, Alex.

Yujiro hit a tope suicida early on. He was in control for a few minutes after that. Makabe eventually made a comeback and hit a bridging northern lights for a nearfall. Yujiro came back with a Drunk Slam for a nearfall of his own. Yujiro then hit a moonsault for another nearfall. Makabe came back with a lariat. Makabe then hit a rolling DVD, a lariat in the corner, and an avalanche German! Makabe followed that up with a diving knee drop: 1…2…3.

This was a very basic match that no one (especially me!) seemed to care about very much. It felt like a match designed to cool the crowd down.
Match Rating: **1/4

Hirooki Goto & Wataru Inoue vs. Laughter7 (Katsuyori Shibata & Kazushi Sakuraba)
This could be amazing.

Things started relatively slowly. Laughter7 managed to isolate Inoue for a bit, and they went after his legs. Goto eventually tagged in and ran wild for a few moments until Shibata cut him off. Sakuraba took Inoue and himself to the floor. Shibata got a sleeper on Goto. Inoue made the save. Goto gave Shibata a DVD onto his knee. Sakuraba and Inoue tagged in. Inoue caught him with a viscous knee strike and a buzzsaw kick. Sakuraba went for a single leg and got a pinning combination: 1…2…3

This match was just starting to get going when it ended. They did a lot of cool stuff throughout the match, but they seemingly just scratched the surface of what they were capable of.
Match Rating: **3/4

Kengo Mashimo vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t like Nakamura. I wish I did.

Nakamura was in control early. He tried to win by countout. Kengo came back though, and he went after Nakamura’s left arm. Nakamura came back, and they traded a lot of strikes. Nakamura hit a funplex and called for the running knee. Kengo blocked it with a dropkick. Kengo locked in an armbar, but Nakamura made the ropes. Kengo hit a buzzsaw kick for a nearfall. Nakamura came back with a middle rope dropkick and a running knee: 1…2…3

This show’s streak of flat matches CANNOT be stopped.
Match Rating: **3/4

Lance Archer cut a promo about wanting the IC title. For some reason, he sounded like he was speaking with a faux-British accent. Taka Michinoku also said some things. Nakamura buried his face in Archer’s tits. I think that meant he accepted his challenge. I could be wrong.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki
Two of the very best wrestlers in the world.

Okada hit a nasty Yakuza early on and then did the Rainmaker pose. I got goose bumps. They ended up on the floor. Suzuki almost got into it with Gedo, while Taichi attacked Okada. Suzuki was in control after that, and they made their way back to the ring. Okada came back with a DDT a sliding kick for a nearfall. Okada hit a diving elbow and called for the Rainmaker. Suzuki avoided it and locked in a sleeper. Okada escaped, but he ate a big sliding boot for his troubles. Suzuki locked in another sleeper, and Okada escaped again. Okada avoided the cradle piledriver and hit an Air Raid Crash on the knee. Suzuki came back with an armbar. Okada made the ropes. Suzuki went after the injured arm. Okada avoided another cradle piledriver attempt and then got a knee submission. Taichi had the referee distracted, which made Okada break the hold. Suzuki got a sleeper as Ishii and Taichi at it. Okada escaped. Suzuki delivered a lot of slaps, but Okada hit a dropkick. Suzuki avoided the Rainmaker and hit the cradle piledriver: 1…2…3! WOW!

I forgot who won this match, and that finish surprised me greatly. It actually makes a lot of sense as it set up Suzuki as a very credible challenger for Okada after Okada took the title from Tanahashi. This was a very fun match, as you would expect. It didn’t reach the epic levels I was hoping for, but hopefully their main event on PPV will do just that. If Minoru Suzuki and Kazuchika Okada are not a regular part of your wrestling diet, you’re missing out as a fan.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Hiroshi Tanahashi© vs. Karl Anderson [IWGP Heavyweight Title Match]
NJPW aired an AMAZING video package explaining the story of Karl Anderson’s road to this moment. NJPW, you have my heart and soul. NJPW is slowly becoming what WWE should have been.

The first thing of note to happen was Tanahashi going after Anderson’s left leg. Anderson fought back and hit an Ace Crusher on the guardrail. Tanahashi made it back into the ring, but Anderson was in firm control of the match. Tanahashi fought back and hit a High Fly Flow to the floor! Anderson came back with a Brogue Kick on the apron. Anderson then hit a SUPER F-5: 1…2…NO!!!! Big nearfall. Anderson then a diving neckbreaker: 1…2…NO! Tanahashi avoided the Gun Stun and hit a short-range lariat. Tanahashi went back after the injured wheel of Anderson. Tanahashi avoided another Gun Stun and hit a sling blade. He followed that up with a 2K1 Bomb, but Anderson blocked the High Fly Flow: 1…2…NO! Anderson came back with a Sick Kick and a Liger Bomb: 1…2…NO!!! The crowd is molten. Anderson then hit the sitout tombstone: 1…2…NO! Tanahashi hit a couple more dragon screws on the injured leg. Anderson came back with a Razor’s Edge Bomb: 1…2…NO! Tanahashi caught Anderson with a backslide for a nearfall. He then reversed an Gun Stun into a Dragon Suplex and then hit another Sling Blade. Tanahashi avoided another Gun Stun and hit one of his own: 1…2…NO! Anderson just can’t hit the Gun Stun! High Fly Flow to a standing Anderson. Another High Fly Flow: 1…2…3!

One of the best matches of the year. This match’s story was so simple and logical. Anderson was the equal competitor, but he know his best chance to win was hitting the Gun Stun. Recognizing that he may not survive the Gun Stun, Tanahashi did everything in his power to avoid it. The heat was great. The crowd bit on every important nearfall. I loved this.
Match Rating: ****1/2

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.

Watch some NJPW for free (legally):
Kurt Angle vs. Yuji Nagata
Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (one of the best BOSJ matches ever)
Prince Devitt vs. Kenny Omega
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karl Anderson
Prince Devitt vs. Kenny Omega
Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibsuhi
Davey Richards vs. Kota Ibushi
Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hirooki Goto vs. Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson
Mistico vs. Averno
PAC vs. Bushi
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Masato Tanaka
Prince Devitt vs. Koji Kanemoto
Minoru Suzuki vs. Katsuyori Shibata
ORLANDO JORDAN vs. Yuji Nagata

The 411: This is certainly one of the weaker NJPW iPPVs since they started doing them, but that just speaks to the quality of NJPW's quality at the moment. The two junior titles matches and the main event are absolutely worth tracking down. Anderson vs. Tanahashi was definitely one of my favorite matches of 2013. Anderson stepped up in the biggest opportunity of his career. NJPW continues to be the best wrestling promotion in the world. Watch them.
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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